The Possible Role of Antioxidants in Blindness Prevention

The eye connects us to our world. Sight gives us the ability to relate to others, allows us to appreciate the beauty around us, and makes the intake of information easier. The loss of sight can lead to a sense of isolation and depression.1–4,5

Many people view the loss of sight as one of the most terrifying disabilities that humans face. While blindness is typically associated with aging, recent evidence suggests that factors such as oxidative stress and protein breakdown may start causing irreparable damage to the eye long before old age. The use of antioxidants may serve to protect the eye and sight.

The three most common causes of sight loss are macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Macular degeneration and glaucoma are irreversible conditions whose progression can only be slowed. Cataracts can be treated surgically. However the surgery can be a painful, expensive procedure and has rare but serious complications.6–8

Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and free radicals build up and cause damage that is called oxidative stress within the body. Reactive oxygen species have caught the attention of the scientific community and is now being linked with several disease processes including cancer, diabetes and mental illness. Recent scientific evidence in the eye suggests that the three leading causes of blindness maybe at least in part be caused by oxidative stress.

The prevailing theory in medicine is that the ganglion cell death in the eye that causes blindness in glaucoma is caused by excess in the pressure in the eye. However, new evidence suggests that oxidative stress may also play a large roll in the death of ganglion cells and the development of glaucoma.9–13

The death of retinal cells that characterizes the progression of macular degeneration-induced centralized vision is also believed by some experts to be caused by oxidative stress build-up in the eye.14–17

Cataracts are caused by the breakdown of proteins within the clear lens of the eye that cause it to become cloudy and difficult to see through, effecting vision. Some of this protein breakdown is associated with oxidative stress.18–21 It is believed that the majority of oxidative stress is generated in the eye via photochemical reactions caused by exposure to sunlight although oxidative stress can be caused by neuronal dysfunction in certain conditions.19,22

Antioxidants fight free radicals and reactive oxygen species by neutralizing them and thus causing them to loss the ability to cause oxidative stress. Antioxidants can be found in many different foods. Some examples are blueberries, raspberries and olive oil. The regular intake of these foods can be beneficial to your health and can combat oxidative stress. However, science is finding that more concentrated doses of antioxidants can be even more beneficial in combating eye disease than diet alone. The use of antioxidant supplementation may protect the eye from oxidative-stress induced damage and disease.

Hydroxytyrosol, a powerful antioxidant derived from olive byproducts, has a chemoprotective effect on retinal cells, the type of cell that is damaged by the progression of macular degeneration and possibly other eye diseases.23

Many macular generation patients have a lowered level of glutathione, an antioxidant found in the body. Scientists use glutathione as an indicator of reactive oxygen species within the body. A decrease in glutathione suggests that the body has a high number of reactive oxygen species within the body. N-aceytl-cystiene has been shown effective in promoting the increase of glutathione levels in the body.24 This phenomena also nearly eliminated the development of cataracts in some groups of laboratory animals.25 Other studies found the NAC-induced increase in glutathione had a less dramatic but still positive effect on cataract development.26–28Recent evidence suggest that antioxidant supplementation with n-aceytl-cystiene may inhibit the glaucoma-induced death of retinal ganglion cells.29

As scientific understanding about oxidative stress and its role in eye health progresses, scientific evidence suggests that antioxidant supplementation could play a large role in treatment. The regular, long-term intake of antioxidants may serve to neutralize harmful ROS and thus reduce disease causing oxidative stress damage, in the eye. Evidence suggests that antioxidants may protect the eye from the development and progression of the three leading causes of blindness.

Olivamine10TM is based in cellular biology and epigenetics. Olivamine10TM is composed of small molecules that have undergone laboratory research, and the reported findings indicate they are involved in maintenance of healthy cells. Hydroxytyrosol and N-acetyl-L-Cysteine found in Olivamine10TM have been carefully researched within a university laboratory. Published reports show that both work within the cells to effectively remove free radicals and repair damage caused by oxidative stress.

Recent studies, funded by McCord Research at a major university, showed when cells were treated with hydroxytyrosol, an ingredient in Olivamine10, they lived longer in laboratory testing than cells that were not.

*The information on this page is not intended to replace the advice of a physician. Anyone seeking to take any of the nutrients discussed in this section or anywhere on Pinnaclife’s website, should only do so under the care of a Physician or other health care provider.

Article References: The eye connects us to the world around us

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