Who told me about glutein for eye health?

May25, 2012

After a brief hiatus to complete those piles of undone tasks [which are still not all complete but I’m making progress!], I wanted to share how communicating about health in my family may have helped my vision. I use ‘may’ because it appears to be the case, but I am not a medical doctor and can only tell you my personal experience–with a focus on how talking about health worked in this case.

First, setting the stage, I have low vision. For those of you who have low vvision, you know what this means. For others,  it means that limits related to my ability to see are significant. For example, I cannot drive… I see a low vision specialist at least every six months and more often if I feel the need based on some symptom. At any rate, in addition to impaired peripheral sight in both eyes and practically no vision in the left eye, at the last visit–my low vision doctor announced that a cataract had begun to develop. And it was in my so called ‘good’ eye. When I told my parents, my dad asked me if I was taking Lutein. He takes it for his vision. So this  family conversation started me on a path.


I looked online at google scholar and found quite a few published scientific articles about cataracts and lutein. Here is a link to one example: http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(02)00861-4/abstract I went to Wal Mart and found lutein in the 20 mg size with zeaxanthin…which some studies specifically mentioned as being important with lutein. I took it 3 or more times each week. And this week, my visual acuity was significantly improved and the start of the cataract waas reversed…not there. Hmm. Sure am glad I talked to my dad…

Interestingly, the doctor wanted to know what I was doing differently because the change was a positive and clinically significant one. I told her. And she said, ‘the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health have found that taking lutein improves eyesight…” She went on with more details but I was lost in the thought that ‘she knew this but she didn’t tell me. My dad told me…’ I have several follow-up questions for the doctor but did not ask them at the time. Why didn’t she tell me? Did she doubt the results? Did she think I wouldn’t take the supplement? She could’ve advised me to eat more fruits and vegetables with the lutein and zeaxanthin. I do eat a lot of these though and probably wouldn’t have changed my eating habits. Brussel sprouts is included in this list, as well as some others. See   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1722697/

But in the end, she didn’t say anything. I sure am glad my dad did…

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