It’s important to maintain our eyes particularly nowadays our eyes are quite often strained by:

  • Too much internet surfing
  • Too long at playing computer games
  • Watching long hours of television ( football matches and other types of competition)
  • Studying overnight,
  • Lack of sleep coupled with a full day’s work in front of the computer, or reading books may cause eyestrain and fatigue.
  • Too much smoking increases free radicals which accelerate ageing and affects the body’s ability to absorb or extract necessary vitamins and minerals from food. It can also affect appetite which may result in a poor diet. These are known to damage eye tissues and ultimately affect eye health.

Besides a good diet on fresh fruits and vegetables which can help promote eye health since they are rich in vitamins A, C and E and antioxidants. Examples of the fruits and vegetables are found in oranges, kiwifruit, dried apricots, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, spinach.  Besides the above, let’s look at some herbal cure using herbs like the following:

  • Bilberry
  • Eyebright
  • Lycium or (Kei Chi (Chinese word)
  • Lutien  (good sources include vegetables such as spinach, brussel sprouts, cabbage and kale)

Bilberry:

  • Bilberry has been used as a medicinal herb since the 16th century.
  • In Europe, bilberry extracts are now part of the conventional treatment of many eye disorders
  • Bilberry works by improving the microcirculation and regeneration of retinal purple, a substance required for good eyesight.
  • Bilberry contains Vitamins A and C, providing antioxidant protection which can help prevent free radical damage to the eyes (Vitamin A is required for sharp vision, while Vitamin C helps form collagen and is needed for growth and repair of tissue cells and blood vessels).
  • Anthocyanidins found in bilberry fruits may also be useful for people with vision problems. It is believed that British Royal Air Force pilots flying night missions during World War II ate bilberry jam to improve their vision and relieve tired eyes. The jam was made from ripe bilberries which are deep-blue red in colour.
  • Anthocyanidin, which belongs to the class of flavonoids, is a pigment common in fruits and vegetables. Bilberry (vaccinium myrtillus) is one of the richest sources. However, in recent years, hot and dry weather has reduced the harvest of bilberry. This makes the fruits even more precious.
  • Anthocyanidins help protect the retina, the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye and sends nerve impulses to the visual areas of the brain.
  • Studies conducted in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s suggest that the anthocyanidins contained in bilberry fruit preparations improve symptoms of a variety of visual disturbances including nearsightedness, cataracts, and macular degeneration
  • Anthocyanosides support and protect collagen structures in the blood vessels of the eyes, assuring strong, healthy capillaries that carry vital nutrients to eye muscles and nerves.

Benefits of Bilberry:

  • Improves capillary strength and flexibility
  • Increases capillary blood flow in the eyes
  • Increases the generation of enzymes responsible for energy production in the eyes
  • Improving oxygen supply to the eyes, acting as anti-oxidants and strengthening tiny blood vessels.

Eyebright:

  • Eyebright can be orally taken or used as an eye wash for treating conditions of the eye.
  • The tannins in it may decrease eye inflammation, as well as make a protective film over the surface of the eye.
  • The caffeic acid in it may act as an anti-infective agent.
  • Eyebright is a European wild plant.
  • It is traditionally used to treat eye irritation.
  • The whole herb is used medicinally.
  • Eyebright is used primarily as a topical compress of eye inflammation.
  • It is beneficial for reducing redness and swelling. Nowadays, you can find eyebright as a supplement, normally in combination with bilberry for synergistic effects.

Bilberry and eyebright are beneficial for:

  • Glare sensitivity
  • Contact lens discomfort
  • Changes in colour perception
  • Red and burning eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry and itchy eyes
  • Help prevent watery or dry tired eyes.

Bilberry and eyebright are best combined with lycium (also known as kei chi by the Chinese) and lutein (found in vegetables such as spinach) for synergistic effect.