Every single sense is extremely important for living. Truly, when you lose one, it suddenly becomes the most important.
Personally, I always considered the sense of sight to be one of the most important senses and was already unhappy about being short-sighted and astigmatic, not to mention having optic neuritis as a symptom of multiple sclerosis
Little did I know that I would’ve become severely sight impaired (a politically correct term for “blind“) in my 30s as my immune system damaged the optical nerve, causing blind spots in the central vision. These also cause the associated Charles-Bonnet syndrome, which is a condition where the brain tries to fill the gaps (the blind spots), causing hallucinations and mental fatigue (brain fog).
Some of the helps being received
Honestly, I keep counting my blessings, as the road to acceptance has been challenging and is still ongoing. Friends and family members have been really helpful and supportive (even by proofreading my writings).
Outstanding help has also been received from a wonderful charity, namely Berkshire Vision, that has supported me massively to accept the changes, regain a normal life, and is still helping me partake in everyday activities
The beauty of living in an era of useful technology means I can use several applications, software, and platforms to either dictate what I want to write (for example, this blog) and/or listen to any document, web page, my own dictation, or blog post.
One of the most useful apps that I have been using on my phone is Speechify. It does deserve to be mentioned as it has helped me immensely by reading out loud books and any soft writing I’m not able to read now. The reading is performed in a natural voice. with interchangeable languages and accents.
Vision and eye health
Despite the sight impairment, it is fundamental to still maintain our eye health.
Honestly, there’s been a time when I was so frustrated about the blindness that I refused to accept the difference between eye health and vision.
There are indeed several things that we can do for our eyes by attending regular eye health check-ups and introducing the right nutrients on a daily basis (listed below).
Disruptive substances and counteractive nutrients
High levels of harmful molecules (free radical oxygen species, or ROS) can damage tissues throughout the body. At the eye level, these accumulate in the retina and macula.
Therefore, it is essential to introduce daily antioxidant-rich foods, for example, those fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These can help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a condition that causes visual loss and even cataracts, where there’s the development of cloudy areas on the lens of the eye due to proteins damaged by ROS.
Vitamin A is converted from a plant pigment found in colourful fruits and veggies (namely, beta carotene).
Vitamin A also helps maintain the function of the protective outer layer of the eye (namely, the cornea). A deficiency in vitamin A may índuce little production of moisture to lubricate the eye.
Some of the foods rich in vitamin A include:
- Sweet potato
- Red peppers
A specific form of vitamin E (namely, alpha-tocopherol) has antioxidant properties.
Therefore, it helps fight free radicals. Indeed, increasing the dietary intake of vitamin E (or supplementing it) can lower the risk of developing cataracts.
Some foods rich in vitamin E include:
- Sunflower seeds
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant as well, and also an antiviral, antimicrobial, immune system enhancer, and anti-ageing. Not only does it protect against oxidative damage, but also against UV light damage at eye level as well.
Increased dietary intake (or supplementation) of vitamin C is essential to balance the
concentration decrease in the eyes due to ageing.
Foods containing vitamin C:
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
Numerous foods that contain these nutrients also contain other antioxidants, known as “the eye vitamins” – namely, lutein and zeaxanthin.
These can be found in the lens and retina of the eye, helping to prevent and/or reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
These two vision-protecting antioxidants also protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Lutein is beneficial not only for eye health but also helps to protect the brain and to increase cognitive functions. Normally, we only consume less than 2 grams of lutein per day, whereas the optimal amount would be 6 grams.
The two carotenoid antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, are present in fruits and vegetables that are brightly coloured, especially leafy greens and orange or yellow fruits, such as –
- Bell peppers
Omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role because of their anti-inflammatory power. These essential nutrients (meaning, they aren’t produced by the body and must be introduced through our diet) are highly concentrated in the retina of the eye, protecting it from damage and slowing degeneration.
Natural sources of Omega-3:
- Flaxseeds (and flaxseed oil)
- Chia seeds
As a mineral, zinc is known as “the helper molecule” as it facilitates the transport of vitamin A through the body, including the retina, to produce melanin. This is a pigment that shields the eyes from UV rays.
Moreover, cell membranes and protein structures of the eye benefit from the element zinc, as this may help to slow macular degeneration.
Sources of zinc include:
- Beans (especially, lentils, edamame and chickpeas)
- Nuts (mainly, pine nuts, cashews, and almonds)
- Seeds (such as hemp, pumpkin and sesame seeds)
- Whole grains (like wheat, quinoa, rice and oats)
- Dark chocolate
Signing off now.
Eye wish you a lovely Easter! 👁️👁️