Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) has been well researched for its antioxidant properties for maintaining good health. Spanish researchers from the University of Jaén have found a way to add yet another antioxidant especially beneficial for good eye health, to extra virgin olive oil. Lutein is a carotenoid found in green leafy vegetables. In fact, lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the retina and macula of the eye.
Research has shown that lutein may help to prevent or reduce the severity of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) of the eyes. AMD is a disease that mainly effects seniors, as aging is the main risk for developing it. AMD causes a deterioration of the macula which is found in the retina of the eye.
Lutein from Seaweed
The researchers extracted lutein from seaweed and found a unique way to add it to extra virgin olive oil without the taste or color of extra virgin olive oil being affected by the addition of lutein.
The researchers hope that since the consumption of EVOO in Spain is high, the addition of the lutein will protect Spanish people from developing AMD as they age. It will be interesting to see future results to see if this will work.
Spain is the Number One Most Healthy Country in the World
Spain has been rated as the number one most healthy country in the world and the Mediterranean Diet and the consumption of extra virgin olive oil are believed to be the basis for the health of the Spanish people.
Age Related Macular Degeneration of the Eye (AMD)
AMD is an age related retinal eye disease that destroys sharp, central vision in the macula of the eyes and this usually affects people after the age of 50. Diseases of the retina are a major cause of blindness in the United States.
Read more about aging and other vision problems in our blog post of February 20, 2018.
Tips to Help Protect the Eyes
- Wear good sun glasses that have ultraviolet protection against the rays of the sun. Best are sunglasses that also protect eyes from the sides.
- If you sit at a computer, be certain to remember to blink often and to turn your eyes far away from the screen every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds or more.
- Quit smoking, as it dries up the eyes and this can lead to further vision problems.
- If you suffer from dry burning eyes, see your eye doctor about getting special drops or artificial tears that will help to lubricate the eyes and keep them from developing further vision problems. See more about dry eye syndrome in our blog post from March 8, 2019.
- Eat eye-healthy foods like leafy greens, beets, yams, apricots and carrots.
- Your doctor may also recommend special supplements to take to keep the eyes healthy like lutein.
- Make sure your blood pressure is under control. High blood pressure can sometimes lead to bleeding in one or both eyes and other problems.
- If you suffer from diabetes you must also be under the care of an eye doctor, as diabetics suffer from eye problems like diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blindness. Make sure your glucose is under control.
- If you wear eye glasses, make sure you do not forget your annual visit to your eye doctor. A painless dilated eye exam by a qualified ophthalmologist can detect all kinds of vision problems long before you experience symptoms. In fact, once there are symptoms, extensive irreversible eye damage and vision loss may have taken place.
Short-term Rehabilitation and Long-term Skilled Nursing Care
If you or your loved one are in need of short or long-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing care, be sure to choose a facility like the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York that has a consultant ophthalmologist (eye doctor) available to the Van Duyn medical staff.
We only have to eyes, so it pays to do all we can to protect them. Ask your eye doctor about taking a supplement like lutein which has been shown to be very eye-healthy or better yet include lots of green leafy vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes and apricots in your diet.