Eye disorder list, common and rare information, degenerative diseases, treatment with supplements and herbal products, vitamins and natural therapies
June 26 2018 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

There are a number of eye disorders that can influence vision. Eye disorders among the elderly are a major health problem. With advancing age, the normal function of ocular tissues decreases and there is an increased incidence of ocular pathology. The most common causes of age related eye disorders and visual impairment in the elderly are presbyopia, cataracts, age related macular degeneration, primary open angle glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.
   Before I discuss these eye disorders --  I have included a list further down the page --  I would like to mention a product that I have formulated that may be of benefit to some individuals. Please discuss with your physician regarding the use of Eyesight Rx. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any particular eye disorder.

Vitamins, supplements, nutraceuticals that have an influence on how well we see
Vitamin C -  (Ascorbic acid)
Citrus bioflavonoids (eriocitrin, hesperidin, flavonols, flavones, flavonoids, naringenin, and quercetin)
Mixed carotenoids for better vision (astaxanthin, beta carotene, cryptoxanthin, lutein eye pigment,
Lycopene found in tomato and watermelon, zeaxanthin found in corn). Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in high concentrations in the retina. Having greater amounts of yellow pigment in your eyes could boost your ability to see distant objects in hazy conditions. In a laboratory experiment, University of Georgia researchers simulated hazy conditions in order to test the distance vision of people with different levels of yellow pigment (also called macular pigment) in their eyes. The volunteers had widely varying amounts of yellow pigment, which represents accumulations of the nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin. The study was published in the September 2014 issue of the journal Optometry and Vision Science.
Bilberry extract (Vaccinium myrtillus)
Eyebright extract
Jujube extract (Zizyphus jujube)
Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgo biloba)
Mucuna pruriens extract (Cowhage)
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
Lycium berry extract (Lycium Barbarum) also known as goji berry
Sarsaparila (Sarsaparilla Smilax)
Alpha lipoic acid antioxidant, also improves color perception.
Carnosine at a dose of 100 to 200 mg can improve vision.

Q. What is your opinion of Eye Pro MD: Supports & Maintains Healthy Eyes - Synergistic Formulation Containing Zanthin Astaxanthin + Lutein + Zeaxanthin + Verilla Omega 3 ALA formula for better vision?
   A. I am not familiar with Eye Pro MD Zanthin eye formula but it seems to have good ingredients. Zanthin is a brand name for astaxanthin.

Eye exams
To keep your eyes healthy and functioning at their best, especially as you get older, regular eye checkups after age 50 or 55 are a good option. Eye disorders such as glaucoma, cataracts, and even diabetes related eye problems can be diagnosed early and managed, preventing worse eye problems in the future.

Decreased vision in older individuals is most commonly due to:
Macular degeneration, in which the eye's macula changes and affects your ability to see clearly.
Glaucoma, a condition caused by increased pressure from fluid in the eye.
A cataract, which occurs when the lens of the eye becomes clouded.
Diabetic retinopathy, which occurs among diabetics when blood vessels in the eye are damaged due to high blood sugar levels.

The following are some common eye disorders:

Age-related macular degeneration refers to damage to the macula area of the retina of the eye. Vitamins and herbs can help in this condition. Older adults who smoke are twice as likely to suffer from this degenerative eye disorder that is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly as their non-smoking peers.
   Yellow pigments in pumpkin and corn play a role in protecting people from developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The eye disorder is one of the leading causes of blindness in elderly people, but there is no cure and only limited treatment options are available to slow its progression. For several years, scientists have suspected the condition - caused by the deterioration of the back of the retina - had links to diet. In particular, it has been suggested that the pigments lutein and zeaxanthin, found in corn, pumpkin, egg yolks, and some leafy green vegetables, are beneficial in reducing the risk for this eye disorder. Fish oils may also help reduce the severity of this eye disorder.

Amblyopia or lazy eye is weak vision or vision loss in one eye that cannot be fully corrected with lenses. Amblyopia usually develops in children before age eight.

Astigmatism is a condition in which an abnormal curvature of the cornea can cause two focal points to fall in two different locations making objects up close and at a distance appear blurry. Eyesight Rx can be helpful.

Blephariits an inflammation of the edges of the eyelids involving hair follicles and glands that open onto the surface. Posterior blepharitis causes eye irritation from inflammation, and leads to the development of meibomian gland dysfunction.

Cataract involving the lens
A cataract is an eye disorder in which the lens of the eye becomes dense or opaque and does not properly transmit light.

Chalazion is a small bump that develops on the upper or lower eyelid. It is caused by inflamed meibomian glands that produce the oil in tears.

Cicatricial pemphigoid is the ocular manifestations of autoimmune bullous disease.

Congenital nystagmus
This is an eye disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary back and forth movement of the eyes. When nystagmus is found in an infant, it is referred to as
congenital nystagmus. Most of the time, congenital nystagmus is diagnosed by 3 months of age.

Conjunctivitis, sometimes called pink eye, infection
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels in the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the sclera and inside of the eyelids. Conjunctivitis may be caused by bacteria or viruses, making it quite contagious. For most kids with pink eye, also known as acute infective conjunctivitis, the condition will usually resolve on its own, without antibiotic treatment.

Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) is a bacterial or viral infection that usually spreads very easily. To help prevent pinkeye:
Keep your hands away from your eyes.
Frequently wash your hands.
Each day, use a clean washcloth and hand towel.
Try not to share washcloths or pillows.
Wash and change pillowcases often.
Throw away mascara and other cosmetics if you have pinkeye. Never share cosmetics since the virus can pass to another person.
Do not keep your contact lens cases longer than recommended, and do not add new solution to the existing solution instead of emptying the contact lens case first.

Contact lens care to prevent infection
Contact lenses may alter the natural bacterial environment of your eyes. The eye surface of contact lens wearers tends to harbor bacteria normally found on the skin surrounding the eye. Whether this is caused by finger-to-lens interaction or the actual act of wearing contacts remains unclear. But the findings raise questions as to whether this shift in microbial composition might boost the risk for eye infections. Wearing contact lenses is known to increase the risk of microbial keratitis and other inflammatory eye conditions.

The risk of infection from wearing contact lenses increases due to these bad habits: include sleeping, napping or swimming with contacts in; reusing the same solution; rinsing lenses in tap water; or not replacing lenses and storage cases as recommended.

Allergic conjunctivitis
Sometimes called allergic pinkeye, is characterized by red, crusty, itchy and watery eyes due to these common triggers:
Ragweed, grass, tree and other pollens.
Animal dander or secretions, such as saliva.
Irritating cosmetics, perfumes or medications.
Smoke and air pollution.

Corneal abrasion
Wearing contact lenses too long over several days without taking them out can cause corneal abrasion with blurring of vision, like looking through an unclean window. This can cause eye pain and tearing, along with sensitivity to light. Most cases heal by themselves within a few days without any treatment.

Wear a pair of protective goggles any time you are near machinery that could send particles into the air.
Trim your fingernails short.
Keep low-hanging tree branches trimmed.
Take care when cleaning, installing and removing contact lenses.

Diabetic retinopathy 
This is an eye disorder of the retina resulting from changes in the eye blood vessels and found in some people who have diabetes.

This is called double vision. Statin drugs may cause rare instances of eye muscle disorders such as ophthalmoplegia, diplopia and ptosis

Dry eyes and how to treat it naturally with supplements and herbal products
Dry eye disorder condition happens when there is not enough moisture in the eye. When someone has dry eyes, the eyes feel sandy and gritty. Dry eye may be caused by low humidity, smoke, aging, certain diseases, and certain medications (i.e., antihistamines, decongestants).

Floaters, what causes them, who is at higher risk?
Floaters appear as spots, dots, or lines and affect or interrupt vision. Floaters are usually caused by bits of debris in the vitreous humor or perhaps a small blood clot. Sometimes it can be caused by a tiny amount of blood.

There are three management choices for floaters: patient education and observation; surgery; and a laser procedure known as YAG vitreolysis. About half of floaters go away after the the laser procedure. JAMA Ophthalmology, news release, July 20, 2017.

Risk factors
At risk patients include those with known retinal diseases, diabetes, previous eye surgery, eye trauma, previous eye inflammation or uveitis, bleeding disorders, chemotherapy, and blood thinning therapy. Anticoagulants include warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), NSAIDs such as Motrin and Aleve, and aspirin (Bayer).
   Some of the time a floater may be reduced in size or disappear after a few months or years. In many cases, though, floaters can stay for several years or forever.

Does taking too many fish oil pills, or eating too much garlic and onions cause excessive blood thinning and lead to a floater due to blood?
   A. I am not sure. I wonder if thinning the blood too much with certain herbs can lead to floater due to a little bit of blood. This is a good question.

Do you have any medication or herb or supplement eye floaters?
   I am not aware of supplement studies with eye floaters. I doubt the intake of any particular vitamin, mineral, nutrient, supplement or herb will have a major influence as a treatment for floaters.

Medical, surgical treatment
Surv Ophthalmol. 2015. Vitreous Floaters: Etiology, Diagnostics, and Management. Management of symptomatic vitreous floaters currently is either with observation, vitrectomy, or Nd:YAG laser. Published evidence is consistent with a low risk profile and excellent success rate for floater vitrectomy, particularly with sutureless small gauge instruments and a corevitrectomy. Nd:YAG laser treatment of floaters, reported less commonly, claims resolution of floaters ranging between 0 and 100%; however, both peer-reviewed literature and assertions on web-based non-peer-reviewed laser vitreolysis sites remain to be substantiated, and at present only vitrectomy has proven value.

How long do floaters last?
Floaters can stay in the eye for long periods, several months or years, but with time they can get smaller and move away to the sides where they no longer interfere with vision and most people start getting used to it and no longer notice it.

Glaucoma vision problem
Glaucoma is not a serious eye disorder when mild, but can be very serious when severe, potentially leading to blindness. Glaucoma is a disease that impairs the optic nerve. In glaucoma, fluid and pressure build up in the eye and damage the optic nerve.

Hyperopia or farsightedness means a person has trouble seeing clearly up close. Eyesight Rx could be helpful.

Warm bottles of Champagne combined with improper cork removal can cause serious, potentially blinding eye injuries. The pressure inside a bottle is powerful enough to launch a cork at 50 miles per hour. Injures from a flying cork include rupture of the eye wall, acute glaucoma, retinal detachment, ocular bleeding, dislocation of the lens and damage to the eye's surrounding bone structure. In some cases, these injuries require emergency eye surgery or can lead to blindness in the damaged eye.

Iritis inflammatory condition
Iritis is an inflammation of the iris of the eye.

Keratitis, infection of the cornea
Millions of Americans misuse contact lenses -- wearing them too long, not cleaning them properly -- and that causes almost a million cases of eye infection in the United States annually. These infections are clinically known as keratitis, an infection of the cornea, the clear dome that covers the colored part of the eye. Keratitis can cause pain and inflammation and, in severe cases, even blindness. For the estimated 40 million Americans who wear contact lenses, the largest risk factor for this infection is the improper care of their lenses.

The cause of keratoconus is unknown.

Myopia, commonly known as nearsightedness - People who have this eye disorder have trouble seeing clearly in the distance. Eyesight Rx could be helpful. An eye formula for myopia and hyperopia eye disorder.

Night blindness
Surgery on the intestines can lead to the malabsorption of vitamin A, and this in turn can create eye problems years or even decades after surgery, especially when other illnesses are present. Eye disorders that can result from vitamin A deficiency include dry eye, softening of the cornea, damage to the retina, and night blindness.

Optic neuropathy
Impotence drugs such as Viagra and Cialis can increase the risk of eye damage in men who have a history of heart disease or high blood pressure. Scientists at the University of Alabama in Birmingham found that men who had suffered a heart attack were 10 times more likely to have optic nerve damage if they had been taking leading anti-impotence pills. Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is the most common cause of acute optic nerve disease in people over 50 years old. It can cause permanent loss of vision in one or both eyes.

Klin Oczna. 2014. Nutritional optic neuropathy (aka deficiency optic neuropathy) is a dysfunction of the optic nerve resulting from improper dietary content of certain nutrients essential for normal functioning of the nerve fibers. Most commonly, it results from folic acid and vitamin B complex deficiency associated with malnutrition or poor dietary habits, incorrectly applied vegetarian diet, or chronic alcohol abuse. Obese patients after bariatric surgery constitute another risk group of optic neuropathy. Nutritional optic neuropathy is characterized by painless, gradually progressing, bilateral and symmetrical decrease in visual acuity, which can be accompanied by the color vision dysfunction. Progression of the neuropathy is associated with optic nerve atrophy, manifesting as complete disc pallor. Treatment of nutritional neuropathy includes dietary supplementation, aimed at compensating for the deficient nutrients. The treatment is mostly based on folic acid, vitamin B complex, and protein replacement, as well as eliminating risk factors of neuropathy.

J Clin Neurosci. 2017. Bilateral retrobulbar optic neuropathy as the only sign of zoledronic acid toxicity. Zoledronic acid is a potent new generation bisphosphonate increasingly used in oncologic patients and it is usually well tolerated. Optic nerve toxicity is not a side effect recognized by either the FDA or the drug manufacturers, and to our knowledge, this is the first case of zoledronic acid-related bilateral retrobulbar optic neuropathy with late onset. Patients treated with bisphosphonates should be informed about the possibility of ocular side-effects, and ophthalmologists should be consider discontinuing the drug.

Optic neuritis, maybe a natural treatment can help?
Molecules. 2014. Evaluating the anti-neuroinflammatory capacity of raw and steamed garlic as well as five organosulfur compounds. Analysis results indicated that the anti-neuroinflammatory capacity of raw garlic is a highly promising therapeutic candidate for treating inflammation-related neurodegenerative diseases.
   My comments: These diseases include: Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, Multiple sclerosis, Optic Neuritis, Transverse Myelitis, Neuromyelitis Optica.

Presbyopia is caused when the center of the eye lens hardens making it unable to accommodate near vision, it is a condition related to the loss of the elastic condition of the human lens.

Pterygium information
A pterygium is an external whitish lesion on the surface of the eye, sometimes encroaching on the cornea.

Red eye - Bloodshot eyes - Scleral injection - Conjunctival injection.
Red eyes are a common eye disorder. They are caused by dilated blood vessels leading to the appearance of redness on the surface of the eye. Red eyes can mean a medical emergency or they can be totally benign. This is usually a serious condition if there is pain and loss of vision.
   Bloodshot eyes appear red because the vessels in the surface of the white portion of the eye (sclera) become enlarged and irritated. This may result from extremely dry air, sun exposure, dust, foreign body, an allergic reaction, infection, trauma, or other conditions. One common cause of a red eye is straining or coughing. This can lead to a bright red, uniformly dense bloody area on the sclera. This is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Although this bloody area may appear alarming, it is a fairly common occurrence and of little significance. If you notice a bloody blotch in one eye that doesn't hurt, but just looks bad, don't worry. It generally clears up on its own within a week or two. Eye infections or inflammation can occur in different locations. They cause redness as well as possible itching, discharge, pain, or vision problems. Common causes of red eyes include blepharitis, conjunctivitis, corneal ulcers, uveitis, cold or allergies, foreign objects in the eye, acute glaucoma, corneal scratches caused by sand, dust, or overuse of contacts, bleeding problems -for example, from excess use of blood thinning drugs.

Retinal detachment is a serious eye disorder. In this condition, the retina separates from the back of the eye.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Retinitis pigmentosa is the name given to a group of hereditary eye disorders, all of which involve the eye's retina, the light-sensitive nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, and all of which cause a gradual, yet progressive, loss or reduction in visual ability.

Retinoblastoma information.

Diabetic retinopathy information
Hypertensive retinopathy - this eye disorder occurs due to high blood pressure for many years or decades. Hypertensive retinopathy improves once the hypertension is lowered.

Strabismus crossed eyes.

Stye is a noncontagious, bacterial infection of one of the sebaceous glands of the eyelid. A stye looks like a small, red bump either on the eyelid or on the edge of the eyelid.

Subconjunctival hemorrhage
Q. I recently ordered Eyesight Rx to help me with my vision mostly to help me with my evening vision as it is not as clear as it used to be. In the past, I have gone to the doctor for what he called subconjunctival hemorrhage in one of my eyes. From what the doctor told me, its nothing serious, might be caused by exerting myself or even sneezing. When my eye does get one of these, it looks awful as my eye is very, very red. In about 3-5 days, it clears up and goes away. I seem to have 1 or 2 of these every year. I didn't get Eyesight Rx originally for this reason, but I was wondering if Eyesight Rx might help me in this area of what is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage? If not, would there be any other products you offer that might help in this area?
   A. We are not aware of any natural products that would prevent this condition. Eyesight Rx works mostly on the retina so it is not likely to affect the conjunctiva but we can't be sure since we have not had any feedback from anyone with subconjunctival hemorrhage who has used it.

Uveitis is an eye disorder that occurs in the uvea, or the middle coat of the eye. Because the uvea contains the blood vessels that supply nutrients to the eye, any form of uveitis may be a serious eye disorder and may be a symptom for other serious conditions.
   Inflammation of the uvea in the eye can be caused by Behcet's syndrome.

J Assoc Physicians India. 2017. Bilateral Acute Anterior Uveitis and Conjunctivitis following Intravenous Zoledronic Acid.

Vitreous detachment
Q. My 68 year old left eye has been diagnosed has having posterior vitreous detachment. Would Eyesight Rx be appropriate for this condition? Any other suggestions? Someone advised that i consider taking nattokinase enzyme.
   A. Most of the eye's interior is filled with vitreous, a gel-like substance that allows the eye maintain a round shape. There are millions of fine fibers intertwined within the vitreous that are attached to the surface of the retina. With age, the vitreous slowly shrinks, and these fine fibers pull on the retinal surface. vitreous detachment occurs when the fibers break, allowing the vitreous to separate and shrink from the retina. In most cases, a vitreous detachment, also known as a posterior vitreous detachment, is not sight-threatening.
   Eyesight Rx was formulated to improve vision in those who are having normal age related visual decline. We don't know what kind of influence Eyesight Rx would have on posterior vitreous detachment. Same with nattokinase.

Eye disorders in children predict cardiac problems
Changes occur in blood vessels in the eyes of heavier and obese children from as young as six, warning signs that might be linked to cardiovascular disease in later life. Previously, these changes -- widening of veins and narrowing of arteries -- were only observed in the retinas of heavy teenagers and adults.

Eye disorder research
High amounts of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and zinc in the diet may help stave off age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common eye disorder in the elderly. In a previous study, high-dose supplementation with these antioxidants was shown to slow the progression of AMD, but the effect of regular dietary consumption in preventing this eye disorder was unclear. To investigate, Dr. Paulus T. V. M. de Jong, from the Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute in Amsterdam, and colleagues analyzed data from 4170 subjects who participated in the Rotterdam Study. The subjects were all at least 55 years of age and lived in a middle-class suburb of Rotterdam. During an average follow-up period of 8 years, 560 subjects developed AMD. They found that the higher the amount of vitamin E and zinc in the diet, the less likely were individuals to develop the eye disorder. Further analysis showed that consuming a diet with above-average levels of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc reduced the risk of AMD by 35 percent. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2005.

Q. A 26 year old close female friend of mine has been diagnosed with PIC Punctate Inner Choroidopathy eye disorder by two eye specialists. The doctors have proposed treating the eye with an injected immunoglobulin Avastin which, it is said, will attach to and inactivate the molecule which causes the macular swelling and bleeding in the eye. It is also suggested that this may restore some vision to the right eye. The left eye has some minor signs but no loss of vision to date. The proposed treatment for this eye disorder is disturbing and not at all promising. Any guidance recommendations that you can offer would be greatly appreciated !!! As a long time follower of your written material and emails I have high regards for your medical competence
   A. Sorry but I have not studied this eye disorder in enough detail to have an educated opinion regarding natural treatment options. The majority of patients with PIC Punctate Inner Choroidopathy are young, myopic, Caucasian women, who have unilateral scotoma and blurred vision as initial symptoms. Ocular complications can occur including choroidal neovascularization and subretinal fibrosis.

Q. I have a friend with Leber's syndrome eye disorder. Do you know of anything that can help him. i live the life i dont take drugs etc...i believe it is an autoimmune disease. Today i am going to get his colon cleaned and start cleaning up some toxins. Leberís hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) or Leber optic atrophy is a mitochondrially inherited (mother to all offspring) degeneration of retinal ganglion.
   A. Sorry, I am not familiar with the natural treatment of Leber's syndrome.

Are you familiar with INA (intranocular ophthalmoplegia). If so do you know of any natural treatments for it?
   Not at this time.

A website called naturaleyecare dot com has more information regarding natural remedies for visual conditions. The natural eye care website is managed by Dr. Marc Edson and Dr. Marc Grossman.