Yet more eye-watering news about treatments for common eye problems 

Sunday 13th May 2012

This week I got a bit grumpy about the way common eye problems are dealt with, although I may have been a bit more vocal than I needed to be.

Although I am what Lara likes to call “a cantankerous sod” (mainly when I'm shouting at the telly or grumbling about supermarkets) I'm just surprised MORE people aren't MORE angry MORE often.

The way I see it these days, people spend a lifetime contributing to society, working hard, raising kids, paying taxes, fighting wars, building homes, businesses and communities.

Then you get to old age.

Suddenly, a switch is flicked. You're no longer a cash-generating, tax-paying baby machine for the government and big business.

Now you're just a pain in the proverbial. A health hazard.

Charming, isn't it?

Once you've paid your dues and get old, you become a drain on resources. You ask for help with your ailing health and you get shrugs and claims that “WE HAVEN'T GOT THE MONEY”.

In short, you get let down.

Here's why I'm so angry

This tantrum of mine began when I was watching a news report about a 69-year old local woman.

She recently lost most of the sight in one eye because of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Now she expects to lose it in the other.

Now, there are drugs that could save her remaining eye, and give her a decent quality of life.

But supplying that drug is not commercially viable.

She now fells she has no alternative but to go to the High Court in an attempt to force the NHS to provide a drug which she says could help her failing sight. It's either that, or she will have to pay £5,325 for private treatment.

In short, despite there being a drug to stop her going blind, she can't have it.

Well, it's her fault for being ALIVE I suppose.

This story angers me for two reasons. Firstly, the fact that the health of elderly citizens is only considered when it's of monetary value.

Secondly, not one of the related reports I read actually offered any actionable advice. It's as if the ONLY option is this expensive drug.

Well, it's not. You can do something right now to save your eyesight.

It's not expensive, it's not tricky…

In fact, it's downright delicious, as you'll see in a moment.

Why the elderly don't have to go blind

I've found out that 18,000 people go blind every year in the UK because of age-related macular degeneration.

It must be a horrible, frightening process.

But let me bust a BIG myth for you.

It's not inevitable. You do NOT have to lose your vision with macular degeneration. There are steps you can take today that could help you stabilise, and even improve, your vision.

I'll get to these in a moment. Let me first tell you what happens to your eyes in later life…

Near your retina there's a tiny, yellowish area called the 'macula'. This is the bit that controls your central vision which you use for reading, writing, driving and recognizing faces.

When you get older, the cells in the macula deteriorate, causing some or all of these symptoms:

 - Straight lines start to look wavy

  - Distinct shapes are blurry, while words appear blurred

  - Colours look dimmer

 - Dark areas, or a fog, begin to block the centre of your vision

Okay, so far, so scary. You may even recognise some of these symptoms.

So if you're worried, go and talk to your doctor or get an eye test. As always, you should consult an expert for advice on these things.

Once you know what's what, you can start to take some crucial nutritional steps...

Yes, once again, I have to return to my favourite super-food...

How fish can help protect your eyes

The easy, quick solution is to get hold of some omega-3 fish oil.

According to online medical guru, Ray Sahelian, M.D, the oils found in fish and flaxseed are hugely beneficial.

He says his patients notice “improved colour perception and depth of vision, enhanced night and distance vision, and overall enhancement in visual awareness after several days.”

Better still, go straight for the fish…

A few years ago, researchers at the University of Sydney found that people who ate one weekly serving of omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish, such as salmon and mackerel, reduced their risk of developing AMD by 40%.1

In The Macular Degeneration Handbook, health writer Chet Cunningham says that if you think you're in the early stages, you should “start an aggressive attack with a vitamin and mineral programme.”

These include grape seed extract... bilberry... selenium... vitamin E... beta carotene... vitamin B2, B6 and B12... Marigold... and silicum.

A good way to get all of these into your system every day is to try an eye multivitamin like Vision Clear. This packs them all into one capsule.

Easy peasy.

I've recommended this supplement before so I won't go into too much detail. You can read all about it here:

Vision Clear

So, you can go on the attack with fresh fish and multi-vitamins...

Not too painful is it?

But watch out for these drugs

Finally, I am not a doctor and I'm not suggesting you come off these drugs…

But I think it's worth reminding you of some conventional medicines that can cause eye problems. This way you are armed with the facts.

 - Plaquenil (hydroxchloriquine sulfate). This is often prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis. It has been shown to cause retinal damage.

 - NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium. These can cause side effects such as cataracts, dry eyes, and retinal haemorrhages when used over the long-term.

One two three... BREATHE and RELAX

Okay, having written all this down, I actually feel a bit more relaxed; at least I feel I’ve done my bit in the fight for health justice!

So stay tuned! I've got plenty more bees in my bonnet and factoids up my sleeve.

Yours, as always



1Chua, B. et. al.;(2006) Dietary Fatty Acids and the 5-Year Incidence
of Age-Related Maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2006;124:981-986


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