National Eye Health Week takes place on 21 – 27 September 2015 and aims to make people more aware of how to prevent eye problems. Eye care charities, organisations and health professionals from across the UK are joining together to promote the importance of eye health and the need for regular sight tests for all.
National Eye Health Week has been established to communicate the importance of good eye health. Below are some common eye problems and ways to help combat them.
Dark circles under the eyes may have a variety of causes. Lack of sleep is perhaps the most obvious culprit. If you’re not getting 7 or 8 hours a night of good quality sleep, this is worth addressing first of all – nothing else you can do will make up for the lack of sleep!
Thyroid problems or anaemia can be two other potential causes. If you’re confident that you’re getting enough sleep but are still feeling excessively tired (which can be a symptom of both these conditions) as well as still have the dark circles, then see your doctor to get tested for both of these conditions. If you are diagnosed with anaemia or have very low iron levels, then an excellent iron supplement to take is Nature’s Plus Hema-Plex, which also contains B vitamins and vitamin C that work in synergy with the iron for total blood support.
Dark circles can also be made worse by smoking or excess alcohol consumption.
If you’re experiencing red or bloodshot eyes it’s wise to see your doctor first of all, to rule out conjunctivitis, blepharitis or uveitis (all these are types of inflammation of different areas of the eye) and other more serious causes such as high blood pressure. It’s also important to see a doctor if you’re experiencing these symptoms following an injury to the eye, even if it was just a scratch.
Bloodshot eyes may be related to capillary fragility – when the walls of the capillaries become weak. Other symptoms you may notice include nosebleeds or easy bruising. If this is the cause, it’s vital to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin C from a variety of fruits and vegetables. Taking a daily supplement of vitamin C with bioflavonoids could also be helpful – try Quest’s Bio C Complex, taking two tablets a day.
Bloodshot eyes, like itchy eyes, can also be the result of an allergy. If you’re also experiencing other allergic or hay fever-type symptoms such as sneezing or general eye irritation, then try a quercetin-based supplement such as Nature’s Plus Quercetin Plus, taking the maximum dose on the label. For longer-term support for immune imbalances, it can be helpful to take a supplement based on beta glucans and the immune-supporting ingredients vitamin D, selenium and zinc, such as Quest’s Immune Biotix.
Dry eyes may be caused by a deficiency in vitamin A. True vitamin A is only found in animal foods – especially liver, other organ meats and cod liver oil; with some in egg yolks, butter, fish, other meats and grass-fed dairy products. Although vegetables are often said to contain vitamin A, they don’t – they only contain beta-carotene or ‘pro-vitamin A’, which the body may only convert to vitamin A in very small amounts (as little as 3 per cent!).
The best ways to get enough vitamin A are to either eat a small serving of liver once or twice a week, take a good-quality cod liver oil supplement, or make sure you’re regularly eating the other animal foods listed above. When choosing a cod liver oil supplement, go for one that contains naturally occurring vitamin A, such as Garden of Life Icelandic Cod Liver Oil (www.nutricentre.com, £20.19). If you’re vegetarian or vegan, then a vegan-friendly vitamin A supplement may be the best way to ensure you’re getting enough – but make sure you get vitamin A as retinyl palmitate or retinyl ascorbate and not beta-carotene. (Note that liver and individual vitamin A supplements should not be consumed if you’re pregnant or planning pregnancy.)
Another cause for dry eyes can be a condition called Sjögren’s syndrome. This is an autoimmune condition that can affect many areas of the body and particularly the glands that produce saliva and tears. If you suffer from Sjögren’s syndrome then it is best to work with a nutritional practitioner or doctor who can work with you to tackle the underlying immune imbalance.
Puffy eyes may be related to an imbalance between sodium and potassium in your diet – specifically, too much sodium (salt). Most processed foods tend to be high in added salt, providing sodium but very little potassium – these include breads, cereals, sauces, processed meats and snack foods. In contrast, vegetables contain much more potassium than sodium and better match the natural balance that we should be getting. So cutting down on processed foods, avoiding adding salt to your foods (unless you don’t currently eat any processed foods) and increasing your fresh vegetable intake can help.
The causes of itchy eyes can be similar to bloodshot eyes. A particularly common cause is allergies. If you’re also experiencing other allergic or hay fever-type symptoms such as sneezing or general eye irritation, then try a quercetin-based supplement such as Nature’s Plus Quercetin Plus, taking the maximum dose on the label. For longer-term support for immune imbalances, it can be helpful to take a supplement based on beta glucans and the immune-supporting ingredients vitamin D, selenium and zinc, such as Quest’s Immune Biotix.
Advice provided by www.naturalhealthpractice.com/