Like a self-destruction device, our eyes or bodies are not immune to anything, let alone themselves. This has never been more true as can be seen in diseases such as lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the immune system begins attacking healthy cells. If not controlled, it can be fatal.
This just goes to show that sometimes our bodies turn against us. These issues are not exclusive to the immune system. Our eyes also pose a threat to their own health as we age. A chemical shift in the eyes has been shown to cause blindness in many middle-aged people.
This chemical shift can be hard to detect, but researchers have an idea of what’s causing it. What we have for you today is how to prevent this chemical change in a safe, natural and healthy way!
What Causes Chemical Change?
The RPGR Gene
According to an article published by the University of Edinburgh, researchers have looked into a gene that could be causing these damaging chemical changes. The RPGR gene is what seems to be igniter of this chemical change.
First, a little about the RPGR gene, which is essential to maintaining healthy vision. The gene is equipped with instructions for making protein. Protein in the eye is not well understood. While it is absolutely crucial for maintaining healthy and normal vision, it can also harm the eyes.
Cataracts, for example, are caused by a protein buildup on the lens of the eye. This then causes blurred central vision and may even lead to blindness. Too little protein can lead to vision impairments as much as too much protein can.
The RPGR gene does not regulate the amount of protein that is made by the body. It only provides an instruction manual for how to make it.
Retinitis Pigmentosa and the Flawed RPGR Gene
A chemical change in the eyes is thought to be caused by two things: flawed RPGR gene and retinitis pigmentosa. These two conditions together make quite a destructive team.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare genetic condition that causes the cells in the retina to die. If you’ve read our blog before, you’ll know how important the retina is. Our retina is the reason we see in color and with such precision. It is home to thousands of photoreceptor cells. If these cells die or get damaged, repair is possible, but your eyesight will never be the same. It often leads to blindness.
How does retinitis pigmentosa occur? Well, it starts with the RPGR gene causing damage to the eye. How the RPGR gene becomes flawed is not known. However, we do know that it can cause a chemical change in the eye that begins to kill off photoreceptor cells in the retina and then leads to retinitis pigmentosa.
For the time being, there is no cure for this condition. More research is needed to better understand the RPGR gene and why it becomes flawed in some people and not others.
Protecting your Eyes with Food
A lack of a cure does not mean helplessness. We don’t have to sit around waiting for our RPGR gene to maybe cause retinitis pigmentosa. We can take active steps to make sure that it doesn’t have a chance to reach that stage. The way we can do it is easy as pie. All you need to do is eat the right food!
Broccoli: hated by children, but heaven for your eyes. This vegetable is high in lutein, which is an antioxidant that helps to keep your eyes healthy. Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body to protect your cells from damage. Broccoli will help to protect the cells in the retina.
Apricots are nature’s candy, especially when they’re dried. The beta carotene found in apricots are thought to help fight macular degeneration. In fact, any fruit or vegetable that has vibrant coloring has a high beta carotene count and will help to prevent macular degeneration.
Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, are high in zinc and vitamin E. These two help to keep your eyesight sharp. The next time you’re looking for something to snack on, reach for a handful of nuts instead of chips. Nuts are packed with substantial fats that will keep you full for longer in addition to providing numerous health benefits.
Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids work to strengthen the nerves in the eyes. Flaxseeds are great because they are a worry-free way to get omega-3s into your diet, especially if you’re vegan. A tablespoon of flaxseeds in your next smoothie is all you need!
This fatty acid can also be found in eggs and fish.
5. Citrus Fruits
Like broccoli, citrus fruits are very high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two types of antioxidants. They are also rich in vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin for boosting your immune system. Vitamin C also helps our bodies to absorb iron, which is crucial for keeping our blood vessels healthy and strong to prevent breaking and clotting.
Don’t Keep the Doctor Away
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” is a cute phrase (mostly because it rhymes), but it is actually damaging to your health. You should never go out of your way to avoid the doctor! We know going to the doctor can be scary especially when they start using that tone that says, “I have some bad news…”
Regardless of how many fruits and veggies you eat to help protect your vision and maintain a healthy lifestyle, you always need to see your doctor. Your eye doctor can help you spot potential dangers in your vision before they become full blown impairments or diseases.
If you’re eating the right foods and seeing your eye doctor at least once a year, then you’re on the right track to healthy vision.