While some people are predisposed to hereditary vision loss, or vision loss due to injury, other forms of vision loss can be slowed or eradicated with alternative treatments. Vision loss often occurs gradually—we only measure vision loss after the day we depend on our vision and it fails. Taking preventative measures early, even when nothing seems wrong, can strengthen the eye and prevent vision loss in the future. Think of these alternative remedies as methods to develop the eye’s immunity to diseases, conditions, or wear with age. Read on to discover remedies and preventatives for a plethora of eyesight-reducing conditions:
Dusty miller is an herb better known by its scientific name Cineraria maratima. It has been used to treat eye ailments historically and is best known for its ability to dissolve cataracts. Cataracts are dehydrated lens proteins; some doctors believe that increasing protein production, moisturizing, and dissolving the dehydrated protein cells can reduce or eliminate cataracts. Dusty miller should be made into a tincture and then diluted with saline water. Sources say that commercial products will not work—make the solution at home.
Minerals and vitamins in wheat germ, or whole wheat products, prevent macular degeneration and stimulate protein and cell production. Wheat germ specifically reduces the risk of cataracts. Wheat germ contains zinc and vitamins A and C, nutrients that rejuvenate the eye and help prevent future diseases. Switch from processed flower to whole wheat baked products and add wheat germ to liquid foods and drinks, like yogurts, smoothies and juices.
Lemon juice should never go in the eye, but some studies show that eating lemons, or infusing foods with lemon juice, can protect the eye’s capillaries. Lemons are packed with vitamin C; any product with vitamin C will protect eye health from bacteria, dryness, or lack of blood flow. Lemon peel can be added to many drinks, lemon juice added to many dressings, and lemon zest used to flavor different dishes, including vegetables and kinds of fish. Experiment with incorporating lemon and other citrus into your diet, in moderation.
Eyebright is not often studied, but has been used as a tincture, ointment, and ingested since the 14th century. Users prefer eyebright, also called Euphrasia officinalis, to treat inflammatory diseases, including inflamed capillaries. The oils are extracted from the flower head and diluted with milk, water, or saline water, as a drop. Historically, eyebright has been smoked and ingested in diluted syrup. Eyebright is thought to fight bacteria and reduce eye inflammation, clarifying the eyes and helping them retain their strength.
Gingko possesses antioxidants that help strengthen the body’s immune system generally, protecting nerve cells. As such, gingko has been used to treat eye inflammation and other ailments. Gingko makes the capillaries more efficient and helps the retina to receive blood. Some believe gingko improves vision overall. Gingko can be used as a diluted tincture, or gingko tea bags can be soaked in water, cooled, and used as a compress over the eyes for ten to fifteen minutes per eye.
Garlic and other foods with high antioxidant levels can help prevent or reduce cataracts. Some studies show that antioxidants have helped protect cataract formation in animal eyes. Garlic also contains selenium and quercetin, components that help protect against eye diseases. Related to garlic, turmeric contains an antioxidant called curcumin that accomplishes many of the same things. Garlic can be added to many savory dishes and used as garnish.
Green tea is famous for its soothing properties and bacteria-absorbing capabilities. Green tea can be brewed and drunk to help eliminate multiple problems, clarify the skin and regulate the body’s blood pressure, heart rate, and sugar levels. Now, scientists know that green tea can protect the eye from eye disease. The tea contains antioxidants called catechins, one of many antioxidants that fight disease. The best known antioxidants for eye health are vitamins A, C, quercetin, lutein and zeaxanthin. The eye can absorb these antioxidants, no matter whether or not green tea is drunk or applied topically. Treatment comes as simply as brewing a green tea, or cooling soaked tea bags for compresses. You can also rub green tea through the bag into the face, like a wash, to clear up bacteria. The skin will absorb the same antioxidants.
Some doctors cite that black currants and black currant oil possess eye health-boosting properties, higher than even lutein, or other antioxidants. Black currant oil contains anthocyanins, the pigment that gives the berry the rich, deep purple color. Evidence shows that anthocyanins are renowned in their ability to fight disease. Black currants are additionally packed with the antioxidants that nourish and protect vision. They enhance blood flow, reduce bacteria and inflammation, and are rich in fatty acids.
Homemade Eye Drops
Some remedies on this list included tinctures, diluted in saline water to make eye drops. Producing eye drops is a widely-practiced vision protecting alternative remedy. Eye drops can be made by diluting all kinds of herbs and oils, many of which support the body in other ways. A few examples include:
- Borage—Steep the leaves in water and let the tea cool before washing your eyes.
- Marigold—Steep the leaves with parsley and allow cooling before washing your eyes.
- Castor Oil—Just one drop in each eye helps relieve eye pain.
- Witch Hazel—Helps eye irritation and dryness.
- Cucumber—Place a slice over each eye to decrease puffiness and moisturize the eye.
Many of the same foods and alterative remedies that help rid the body of toxins also reduce risk of disease in the eye. Vision is worth protecting at all costs—once it begins degenerating, it is difficult to replenish and sustain. Yearly eye exams are important in monitoring overall eye health, but many of these remedies can determine the extent of that eye health well into the future. Do you incorporate any of these remedies into your routine today; if not, which would you try?