Q. Dear Terry, “I noticed last year that I was seeing more eye “floaters.” I’ve had glasses most of my life and my vision has never been perfect. However, I’m hoping there is something I can do to minimize these pesky floaters. What do you think?”– Beau M., Seattle, WA
A. Dear Beau, Eye floaters are specks or dots in our field of vision that can move around and are difficult to focus on. While floaters are not typically dangerous, they can be a signal of underlying damage or inflammation. Adding specific nutrients can make a big difference and a few of my favorites include astaxanthin, CoQ10, and French grape seed extract.
One of the causes of eye floaters is inflammation. Inflammatory changes in the eye, specifically the vitreous humor, causes debris to be released and becomes what we call a floater. Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant for the eye and helps protect the eye from oxidative damage and inflammation. Astaxanthin can also protect the eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Clinical work shows that even one month of astaxanthin supplementation can boost the blood flow to the macula, which is the focusing center of the retina. I prefer astaxanthin that comes from the freshwater microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an excellent antioxidant for eye health, as it helps preserve mitochondria function in the retina. Conditions like diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and others have responded positively to CoQ10 supplementation.
Because CoQ10 and astaxanthin can be difficult to absorb, I think a plant-based absorption enhancer, called gamma cyclodextrin, is necessary. Gamma cyclodextrin has a strong track record in improving bioavailability. In fact, gamma cyclodextrin has been shown to boost CoQ10 absorption by as much as 800 percent. I would take 50 mg of CoQ10 and 2 mg of astaxanthin (from H. pluvialis), combined with gamma cyclodextrin, once or twice per day.
Because our eyes are nourished by some of the smallest blood vessels in the body, I also think French grape seed extract is an important addition. Grape seed extract helps protect the walls of our blood vessels from damaging free radicals. Oxidative damage in the eye can cause vision loss and cell death. Grape seed extract has also been studied for its beneficial effects on night vision. I prefer French grape seed extract with low-molecular weight oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) that are well absorbed. I would take 150 to 300 mg of grape seed extract twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally