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Recognising World Sight Day at O2B

World Sight Day (WSD) is an international day of health awareness, held annually on the second Thursday of October to focus attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment.  Co-ordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), this year WSD falls on 13 October 2016.  The focus of WSD is to highlight that 80% of all blindness is avoidable (i.e. preventable and/or treatable) – 4 out of 5 people have avoidable visual impairment caused by health conditions including cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and even diabetes.

– 4 out of 5 blind people are needlessly impaired

– About 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide. With preventable causes being as high as 80% of the total global visual impairment burden.

Here at O2B Healthy we wholly support WSD and are committed to increasing global awareness of these mostly preventable eye health conditions, so for the whole month of October we will donate $1.00 for every bottle sold of our natural eye health formula to The Blind Foundation of NZ.

Many of us think that as father time ticks on that it’s inevitable that our eyes will tire and we will need glasses as we age.  But this simply isn’t the case.  In order to understand visual impairment, let’s take a look at the basic structures of the eye, so we can see the ways that the light signal can be degraded or distorted, resulting in poor vision.

The entry point for light into the eye is the cornea, a transparent tissue in the very front of the eye that acts as the window that all light must pass on its way to forming a visual perception. The light signal next encounters the lens, which focuses it finely on the third structure of the eye: the retina.  When it is on the retina light is converted into a neural signal that sent by the optic nerve that is then interpreted by the brain as an image.   Deteriorating vision as we age is usually the result of a problem with one of these four structures, including oxidative stress/free radical damage and inflammation.

Oxidation of the Lens

The lens should be crystal clear and rubbery or jelly-like to ensure that it can focus easily on images that are very far away and very close. With oxidation the lens loses its pliable nature it cannot focus over a wide range of distances. This hardening often occurs around 40-50 years when people notice the need to hold the newspaper farther away in order to read the print or extend their arms. If you imagine what happens to an egg white when cooked, this clouding and rigidity is quite a good comparison and the resulting conditions to the eye are presbyopia (from the Greek words presbus, meaning old man, and opia, meaning eye) and cataracts.

So how can nutrition protect our precious sight and prevent degeneration of our visual acuity as we age? 

The lens and cornea like most body tissues are dependent on adequate levels of antioxidants and accessory nutrients to protect their function.  Antioxidants neutralize naturally occurring free radicals and prevent damage to cell proteins, lipids and carbohydrates.  So ensuring good dietary levels of key antioxidants should be at the top of the eye health shopping list.  Antioxidants are readily available from plants, and it’s so important to have a colourful diet in order to have a good and varied supply.  (Read more about antioxidants below)

  • Red-purple coloured plants have water-soluble antioxidants called flavonoid anthocyanins (over 500 identified). Found in foods algae, berries, fruit, vegetables, leaves, bark, roots and spices.
  • Red-yellow coloured plants have fat-soluble antioxidants called carotenoids (over 600 identified). Found in foods algae, flowers, leaves, fruit, roots, vegetables and spices.  β-carotene is converted to Vitamin A (Retinol) a very potent antioxidant that funds retinal health.

If dietary consumption of these antioxidants is not adequate then visual acuity can diminish and supplementation is recommended to help protect sight, prevent oxidative damage and even reverse damage to slow the progression of established degenerative eye conditions.

O2B Blackcurrant Powder is an amazing source of Vitamin C in itself but it also provides high levels of flavonoid anthocyanins.   Recent studies have shown Blackcurrants have multiple benefits for sight including dilating and strengthening capillary and blood vessels, slowing down visual field deterioration in glaucoma, elevating ocular blood flow of open angel glaucoma (OAG) and decreasing intraocular pressure.  By increasing the general blood flow to the eye, more antioxidants are delivered to help prevent free radical damage to the lens and help with boosting the immune systems activity to prevent infections of the eye.  With 100g of blackcurrants providing more than 300% of daily-recommended intake value of Vitamin C it’s not hard to see why Blackcurrants have one of the highest anti-oxidant values (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity- ORAC) of all fruit.  Years of studies have shown that consumption of fruits rich in Vitamin C and flavonoids help develop immunity against bacteria and viruses, preventing illness whilst scavenging harmful oxygen-free radicals that cause degenerative health conditions and diseases like cataracts and glaucoma.

O2B Pro-Vision is a powerful blend of antioxidants that have clinically been shown to have an affinity for eye and visual health.   Formulated specifically to help protect normal vision and help prevent age-related degenerative conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts.  This broad spectrum formula focuses concentrated levels of antioxidant complexes to support and fund the macula lutea and retinal function of the eyes to help protect sight.  Containing therapeutic levels of Bilberry extract and synergistic quantities of Blackcurrant powder, Eyebright, Lutein, Zeaxanthin extract, Vitamin C, Copper, Zinc, Selenium to maintain and enhance all aspects of eye and visual health.  Many clinical studies highlight these powerful antioxidants offer protection against eye and sight disorders including glaucoma and macular degeneration, cataracts, night blindness, presbyopia & other age related degenerative eye disorders, including eye infections, styes, blepharitis and dry eye syndrome.

Dry Eye Syndrome is a condition brought on by aging, prolonged use of video display terminals (VDTs) or hand held devices, wearing contact lenses or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction.  Dry Eye that causes itchy, burning, red, sticky, watering, light sensitive, foreign body sensations and styes.  The reason behind these symptoms is that the tear film of the cornea becomes compromised which can lead to corneal abrasions that if left can cause permanent damage to sight.  For a natural treatment of Dry Eye, there have been exciting studies from the US about flaxseed oil that show significant improvement in sufferers, with 85% of all participants reporting total relief of their symptoms within two months of supplementing 2,000mg flaxseed oil daily.  This study highlights that the essential fatty acids found in flaxseed oil aid the Meibomian Gland in the eyelid  to maintain the corneal tear film by secreting an oil on top of the tear film of the cornea that prevent the tears from evaporating.  Further studies have shown that flaxseed oil supplementation promotes and funds faster healing from corneal abrasions or laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery.

All about Antioxidants

Antioxidants can be water-soluble or fat (lipid)-soluble, and so some exist within the lipid or the water part of cellular structures.  Cellular antioxidant defenses can be classified into primary and secondary systems. The primary defenses include familiar nutrients like vitamins (vitamin E and vitamin C etc.), carotenoids (β-carotene, lycopene etc.), thiols (glutathione, lipoic acid), ubiquinols, flavonoids and polyphenols (from herbs, teas, grape skins) and so on and a variety of enzyme systems (catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase etc.). Primary defenses interact directly with harmful free radicals and the secondary include enzymes that breakdown or repair proteins, lipids and DNA.

Written by O2B Healthy Nutritional Therapist, Ali Maskell B.Sc. (Hons) with acknowledgement to The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

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