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Antioxidants Play a Key Role in Eye Health

Posted May 28 2009 12:17am

healthy eyes

Are you in danger of losing your eyesight as you age? Over 25% of Americans over 65 have macular degeneration. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) affects more Americans than glaucoma and cataracts combined. As you grow older, your risk increases dramatically.

AMD is a deterioration of a portion of the retina. The retina is the backside of the eye. It records images and sends them to the brain. The central portion of the retina is the macula.

The macula plays major roles in these features of vision:

  • Focusing vision
  • Recognizing colors
  • Recognizing faces
  • Reading
  • Driving a car
  • Seeing fine details

In AMD, this critical structure of vision is gradually destroyed. There are two types of macular degeneration: “wet” and “dry.” “Dry” macular degeneration makes up about 90% of all cases. A yellow substance called drusen collects under the macula. The drusen thins and dries the macula, causing deterioration.

“Wet” macular degeneration affects only a minority of people suffering from AMD. In this case, blood vessels grow abnormally under the macula. These blood vessels eventually leak. The macula bulges, causing vision loss.

Vision loss from AMD dramatically increases with age. It may start as mildly blurred vision. From there, the disease escalates. Straight lines or sentences appear wavy. It becomes difficult to see objects from far away. Fine detail is lost. The ability to distinguish color is gone.

Eventually, whole areas of vision disappear.

But there is hope. There are supplements that you can use to maintain healthy eyes.

CoQ10. One of the most powerful nutrients I prescribe to my patients is CoQ10. It’s already well known for its heart and brain benefits… and now the news just got better.

A recent study out of Columbia University shows that CoQ10 can also have a profound effect on your eye health.

The study, published this year, showed that CoQ10 levels in your retina fall 40 percent by the time you reach 80. 1 And it suggested a link to lower CoQ10 and the overall health of the macula.

The authors of the study showed that lower levels of CoQ10 meant your retina may not produce enough energy to regenerate — or to protect itself from free radical damage.

Three other potent eye nutrients are vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin.

The latest research confirms this trio’s vision-protecting power. In a study published this year, researchers in Japan gave blood tests to more than 700 people aged 65 and up. 2 Those with the highest levels of these three eyesight warriors appear to have overall better eye health.

A 2008 Australian study of over 3,600 people made a similar discovery. People who got a lot of all three nutrients through diet or supplements had better eye health than those who had lower levels. 3

Guess what these vision boosters all have in common? They’re powerful antioxidants.

It makes sense if you think about it. Your eyes are among the most delicate, complex organs in your body. They work full-time… from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night. They’re also under constant strain from inside and outside forces, including:

  • UVB rays
  • Free radicals and oxygen molecules
  • Dust, particles, and pollutants

They need a nonstop supply of key nutrients to stay healthy.

CoQ10 happens to be the strongest antioxidant in Nature. So it’s no surprise your eyes may very well need it.

To give your eyes (and the rest of your vital organs) the power they need, I recommend that you take at least 50 mg of the ubiquinol form of CoQ10 daily. It’s 8 times more powerful than the ubiquinone CoQ10 that most supermarkets sell.

To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD


  1. Jinfeng et al. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 2009. 50:1814-1818.
  2. AsiaPacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009. 18(1):1-7.
  3. Tan et al. Ophthalmology. 2008. 115(2):334-41.

[ Ed. Note: Dr. Sears is Chairman of the Board of Total Health Breakthroughs. He has written over 500 articles and 7 books in the fields of alternative medicine, anti-aging, and nutritional supplementation . To get more information on vision health, go ]

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