Vision Forte - Research Brief
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Vision Forte - Research Brief:
The human eye is an elongated ball about 1-inch (2.5 cm) in diameter and is protected by a bony socket in the skull. The eye has three layers or coats that make up the exterior wall of the eyeball, which are the sclera, choroid, and retina.
The outer layer of the eye is the sclera, which is a tough white fibrous layer that maintains, protects and supports the shape of the eye. The front of the sclera is transparent and is called the cornea. The cornea refracts light rays and acts like the outer window of the eye.
The middle thin layer of the eye is the choroid, it is the vascular layer of the eye lying between the retina and the sclera. The choroid provides oxygen and nourishment to the outer layers of the retina. It also contains a nonreflective pigment that acts as a light shield and prevents light from scattering. Light enters the front of the eye through a hole in the choroid coat called the pupil. The iris contracts and dilates to compensate for the changes in light intensity. Just posterior to the iris is the lens.
The third or the innermost layer of the eye is called the retina. Within the retina there are cells called rod cells and cone cells also known as photoreceptors. The rod cells are very sensitive to light and do not see color. The cone cells are sensitive to different wavelengths of light, and that is how we are able to tell different colors. At the center of the retina is the optic disc, sometimes known as "the blind spot" because it lacks photoreceptors. It is where the optic nerve leaves the eye and takes the nerve impulses to the brain. The cornea and the lens of the eye focus the light onto a small area of the retina called the fovea centralis.
Retina is the only part of nervous system that is open to the light, and its excess can cause the damage. According to epidemiologic evidences, there is a connection between the intensity and spectral distribution of light, and development of some diseases – such as age-related macular degeneration of retina. Blue and ultra-violet lights are the most harmful for eyes. In the evolution process the reliable anti-oxidant light defense mechanism was developed with carotenoids playing the major role in this process.
Studies have found that higher intakes of fruit and vegetables can decrease the risk of age related eye problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. It is thought that certain dietary antioxidants protect against free radical damage involved in the pathogenesis of these diseases. The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin may be at least in part responsible, as they tend to accumulate in tissues of the eye. (1)
The yellow color of the macula lutea is due to the presence of the carotenoid pigments lutein and zeaxanthin. The macular carotenoids are suggested to play a role in the protection of the retina against light-induced damage. Epidemiological studies provide some evidence that an increased consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin with the diet is associated with a lowered risk for age-related macular degeneration, a disease with increasing incidence in the elderly. Protecting ocular tissue against photooxidative damage carotenoids may act in two ways: first as filters for damaging blue light, and second as antioxidants that can help reduce harmful free radicals that can occur in cells and may contribute to cell damage. (2)
Human body cannot synthesize carotenoids, they are obtained from food. We are born with necessary amount of lutein and zeaxanthin, but their levels decrease, mostly because of the unfavorable effect of the environment. This is why it is important to receive them from outside.
Lutein is found in a variety of plants such as spinach, kale, broccoli, bilberries, and grapes. Lutein is also present in eggs and in corn and is partly responsible for the yellow color they have. In spite of the fact that lutein is easily absorbed from the food, studies demonstrated that most of us do not get an adequate amount of it. (3)
According to the research most of the Europeans receive only from 1 mg to 3 mg lutein per day, but scientists recommend that 6 mg is the minimal amount required by the organism.
Vitamin-antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, beta-carotene also provide an eye protective effect from damage, and promote restoration processes. Vitamin C level in the eye tissues decreases with age, and this can affect the capillary wall integrity and increase the risk of cataract development.