Did you know that our eyes are composed of more than two million working parts, and can process 36,000 bits of information every hour?
The eye is a complex organ that is comprised of many parts that work together to allow us to see and to help keep the eye healthy.
The cornea is the clear cover in front of the coloured part of our eye (the Iris) and begins the process of focusing, or refracting, light as it enters the eye.
The iris consists of muscles and pigment which regulates how much light enters the eye, thereby maximizing our visual capabilities in different light conditions. In brighter light the muscles contract, making the pupil smaller and allowing in less light while in dim conditions the muscles relax making the pupil larger.
The pupil in essence is a hole in the iris that allows light to pass into the eye to the retina.
The sclera is the white part of the eye, made of strong connective tissue that holds the shape of the eye and protects the sensitive inner parts of the eye from injury.
The conjunctiva is a thin, clear, mucous membrane lining the sclera and the inner surfaces of the eye lids, helping to keep the eye healthy and free of infection.
F. Lens (crystalline Lens)
The lens is the second part of the focusing system of the eye. It is clear, located behind the iris/pupil and attached to the ciliary body which can cause the lens to change shape. This change in shape focuses light from distance or near objects
G. Lacrimal Glands
The lacrimal glands are located in the outer portion of the upper lids and produce the watery component of our tears. This keeps the eye comfortable and healthy.
H. Ciliary Body
The ciliary body contains the muscles that change the shape of the lens in order to focus light onto the retina. It also produces the fluid (aqueous humor) that helps regulate the pressure in the eye.
I. Aqueous Humor
The Aqueous Humor is the watery fluid in the front part of the eye ball which regulates the pressure in the eye.
J. Vitreous Humor
The vitreous is a jelly like substance that fills the cavity behind the lens and ciliary body helping to keep the components of the eye stable.
The retina is the membrane lining the back of the inside of the eye. It contains the photoreceptors (rods and cones) that respond to light, as well as the many nerves that start processing the images we see and then send along the optic nerve to the brain.
The macula is the most sensitive part of the retina, and gives us our most detailed vision.
M. Optic Nerve
The optic nerve connects the retina to the brain and passes the visual information along in the form of electrical impulses.
N. Eye Lids
The eye lids cover the eye, protecting it from external irritants such as dust, wind and germs, keeping the eye moist and healthy.
About 80% of the information we process comes through our vision. Our eyes are complex organs that gather light, focus images and begin the processing of those images so that our brain can interpret what we are seeing.
Light passes through our corneas where the focusing process begins. It then enters the eye through the pupil which changes size (smaller in bright light, larger in dim) so as to optimize the image of the objects we are looking at.
The focusing continues as the light passes through the lens, which can change shape in order to focus on objects at different distances. When the light is focused on the retina we obtain a clear image of the object we are looking at. If the light is focused either in front of the retina (near-sightedness) or behind the retina (far-sightedness) the image is blurred.
The retina contains the rods and cones, which are the photoreceptors that convert the light energy of an image into electrical impulses. These impulses are then transmitted to the optic nerve and from there to the occipital cortex at the back of the brain. This portion of our brain then interprets these electrical impulses, allowing us to see the world around us.
Some guidelines to maintaining healthy eyes are:
Visit your eye doctor regularly
Wear UV protective glasses
Reduce weight to optimal level
Reduce high blood pressure
Reduce stress levels
Include lutein, antioxidants and omega 3s in your diet
Research suggests that antioxidants and other important nutrients may reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Specific antioxidants can have additional benefits as well; for example, vitamin A protects against blindness, and vitamin C may play a role in preventing or alleviating glaucoma.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids appear to help the eye in a variety of ways, from alleviating symptoms of dry eye syndrome to guarding against macular damage.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
Eye benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin: May prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Food sources: Spinach, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, squash.
Eye benefits of beta-carotene: May protect against night blindness and dry eyes.
Food sources: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, butternut squash.
Eye benefits of bioflavonoids: May protect against cataracts and macular degeneration.
Food sources: tea, red wine, citrus fruits, bilberries, blueberries, cherries, legumes, soy products.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Eye benefits of omega-3 fatty acids: May help prevent macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eyes.
Food sources: Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring; flaxseed oil and fish oil; ground flaxseed and walnuts.
RDA: None. (For cardiovascular benefits, the American Heart Association recommends approximately 1,000 mg daily.)
Eye benefits of vitamin A: May protect against night blindness and dry eyes.
Food sources: Beef or chicken liver, cod liver oil, eggs, butter, milk.
Eye benefits of vitamin D: May reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Food sources: Salmon, sardines, mackerel, milk, orange juice fortified with vitamin D.
Eye benefits of vitamin E: When combined with carotenoids and vitamin C, may reduce the risk of advanced AMD.
Food sources: almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts.
RDA: 15 mg for teens and adults (15 mg for women during pregnancy and 19 mg when breast-feeding).
If you plan to begin a regimen of eye vitamins, be sure to discuss this with your optometrist. Taking too much of certain vision supplements can cause problems, especially if you are taking prescription medications for health problems.
The Langley Optometry Clinic is pleased to recommend Ocumetics Health Sciences supplements to our patients. Ocular Essentials Macular Protection Plus and Ocular Essentials Dry Eye Formula are Canadian products developed by Ocumetics Health Sciences, that provide with a well balanced, cost effective formulations for healthy eye.
Ocular Essentials - Macula Protection plus, combines the proper amounts and types of vitamins and minerals that together create a powerful prescription for healthy eyes.
Ocular Essentials – Dry Eye Formula, is the ultimate form of dry eye treatment, taken orally works day and night to reverse damage and inflammation caused by dryness exposure. Ocumetics Health Sciences Dry Eye Formula is therapeutic for the delicate surface of the eye but it also provides the basis of good skin and hair care.
Please visit the Ocumetics Health Sciences website for more great information about this product: http://ocumeticshealth.com/.