By Dr. Sam Berne, Holistic Optometrist
In a recent study, researchers found that small opacities covering blood vessels in the retina (called retinal amyloid plaque) are an indicator of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. These findings are pretty amazing, because caregivers, families, and patients could receive an earlier diagnosis and take action to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
The Alzheimer’s study showed that the damage caused by plaque buildup in the retina mirrored the damage inflicted on the brain. Perhaps what is most exciting about this study is that it helps us understand how to prevent Alzheimer’s from developing in the first place. The buildup of plaque in the retinal blood vessels mirrors plaque buildup in the brain. By taking proactive steps to reduce the plaque buildup in the retinal blood vessels, we can also reduce our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
So, what do we know about reducing plaque in the retina? We know that a healthy diet is the best way to prevent the buildup of beta-amyloid. Certain nutrients are known to promote eye health and keep our retinas (and therefore our brains) healthy. These include beta-carotene; vitamins A, C, E, and B12; lutein; zeaxanthin; magnesium; selenium; omega-3 fish oil; and folic acid. There is also an increasing amount of research stressing the importance of improving dietary absorption in the microbiome using enzymes and probiotics.
Understanding the intricate connection between our eye and overall health is becoming more and more important, especially as chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease become more prevalent. Luckily, research in this area is progressing at a rapid pace. The take home message? Our eyes really are a window to our health, so take good care of them!
Dr. Sam Berne has been in practice in New Mexico for over 25 years, working alongside patients to improve their vision and overall wellness through holistic methods. His whole health protocols improve vision and wellness by healing the mind-body-spirit through nutritional protocols, vision exercises and self-care therapies. www.drsamberne.com.