Nutrition and Lifestyle Consultations in Relation to Ocular Conditions

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”- Hippocrates

Eating a balanced diet filled with the proper vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids will go a long way to reduce the risk chronic eye disease like macular degeneration, glaucoma, dry eyes, and premature cataracts. There’s no substitute for the quality-of-life good vision offers. Adding certain nutrients to a diet every day—through foods and supplements—can help save the patient’s vision. Specifically in relation to Age Related Macular Degeneration, a large human clinical trial was performed called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS2) by the National Eye Institute Researchers, linked lutein and zeaxanthin, omega 3, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc to reducing the risk of AMD.

Our eyes are connected to the vasculature in our body. In fact, the eye is an organ! Eye health is a window to overall health, and it is important to know what you are eating. This means understanding WHERE the food is coming from, WHAT is in the food, and HOW is it grown and regulated. Other factors like decreasing stress, increasing sleep, exercise, decreasing screen time and social media, meditation and maintaining meaningful relationships with our loved ones have been scientifically proven to play just as (if not more) of an important role to our health.

Dr. Yousef has a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and is a member of the Ocular Nutrition Society formed by the American Academy of Optometry. It is her passion to spend time with patients and getting to know their lifestyle and health. Many systemic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancers can affect vision.

HEALTHY DIET: most medical associations recommend a Mediterranean-style diet to prevent and lower adverse health risks. Foods that contain MSG, recombinant growth hormone, pesticides, and artificial sugars, directly correlate to many diseases, neurological conditions, and cancers. There are many different names for MSG and artificial sugars on labels. Learn them all to avoid them.

VITAMIN AND SUPPLEMENTS: understand these are most beneficial as a supplement to a healthy diet. Hence the name “supplement”. Ingredients in vitamins do not reverse a poor diet.

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Omega-3 Supplementation and the Eyes

In relation to ocular health, this is the single most important vitamin to supplement your diet. In fact, it could be argued this could be said for our entire body. Omega -3 lowers inflammation in the body, which is the driver to most diseases. Deficient Omega -3 is linked to dry eye, macular degeneration, glaucoma, early cataracts, heart disease, diabetes, and neurological conditions.

How much do I need?

To maintain good health and lower risk of disease approximately 1000 mg is recommended. To treat an ocular condition like dry eye approximately 2,000-4,000 mg is recommended. These treatment dosages must be approved by a doctor and followed carefully.

Which brand is the best?

There is no one answer. It is important to look for quality and to do this you must learn how to read the label. Vitamins and supplements are not FDA regulated so labels can look very different, and some are deceptive. Firstly, fish oil is NOT synonymous with Omega-3. 1,000 mg of fish oil does not mean there is 1,000 mg of Omega-3. Omega-3 is the value of “EPA and DHA” added together so you must look at this mg dosage. Secondly, read the serving size. If it takes 10 pills to get 2,000 mg of Omega-3 this is a very poor-quality product with a lot of additives. A quality product will yield 2,000 mg of Omega-3 in two to three pills.

Unfortunately, there is no healthy way to get the recommend dosage of Omega-3 with food sources alone. Eating too many fish has its own dangers. Omega -3 is also found in olive oils and flax seeds but in high quantities comes other risks. Supplementation is key.

For vegetarians and vegans there are algae-based Omega-3 supplements available. In fact, this is direct source of Omega-3 verses fish. Fish eat the Omega-3 dense algae and that is why fish are a good source of Omega-3. Cutting out the “middleman” is just as effective.

Omega 3’ s Southwest Vision offers

Other important supplementation to a healthy diet is vitamin C, B-Complex, and CoQ-10.