What You Eat & Drink
Wearing Contact Lenses
Everyone has a tearfilm that protects and nourishes the front of the eye. Everyone knows that the tear film protects the eye. Most people don’t know that the tear film delivers essential nutrients to the anterior tissues of the eye and to the cornea (the clear front tissue of the eye that resembles a pocket-watch crystal)——nutrients that the cornea needs to obtain from the tearfilm to maintain its integrity.
Most people don’t know that, despite our good inheritance and genetics, we are all vulnerable to developing an abnormal tear film as triggered by simple, quite common dietary indiscretions or by the use of commonly prescribed medications. Simple, inexpensive non-invasive tests can detect the presence of the anomalous tear film and can point to the presence of likely risk factors to be reversed.
In an article that the editors of the journal “Ophthalmology” featured on the cover of their journal, my co-author Dr. Dean Hart and I reported on the “Spoilage of Hydrogel [Soft] Contact Lenses by Lipid Deposits.” We found that healthy young adults and otherwise healthy people of all ages who are not on medications are yet vulnerable to destabilizing their tearfilm and ruining their soft contact lenses. Phone for a free reprint of the Lane & Hart article.
Many otherwise normal people have one or more of the milder tearfilm deficiencies but are relatively unaware of them until they try to wear contact lenses. They may notice that their eyes feel dry, flaky, burning, itchy, gritty, irritated. Persons who wear rigid contact lenses may note that their contacts become greasy and have to be cleaned too frequently. Persons who wear the porous soft contact lenses find that so-called “jelly-bump” deposits begin forming on their contacts. These lipid deposits seep into the matrix of the contact lens, so that when the deposit is removed a microscopic chunk of the lens also is pulled away. Whether the deposit is removed from the lens or not, the lens becomes too soon uncomfortable. The deposits also become a nidus or convenient habitat for calcium to accumulate or for germs to multiply.
The Nutritional Optometry Institute has long been in the vanguard of dietary research and therapy in the prevention of eye disorders. In our research as published in the journal Ophthalmology, we found that the tearfilm that produces these effects is abnormal in that it contains diet-related triglycerides not normally found in the tearfilm and that the tearfilm is relatively deficient in diet-related potassium.
The risk factor most usually appearing to trigger deposition of fatty material (lipids) onto soft contact lenses is consumption of too much protein, especially if the protein is denatured by too much heat. The second most significant risk fact is too much dietary cholesterol. Alcohol is the third most significant risk factor and appears to potentiate the effect of the protein. Soft contact lens wearers who have as little as one cocktail before a high-protein dinner are much more likely to produce measurable jelly bumps on new contact lenses within two hours after the dinner.
In a related research study that Lane and Hart presented to the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists, we also found that patients who consume too little of fresh, ripe, raw fruits and too little of fresh, minimally processed vegetables were specially vulnerable to abnormal tearfilm breakup. We also looked at the ratios of dietary sugar to dietary potassium and of dietary sugar in
ratio to food folate. Folate, also known as folic acid, is a B-complex vitamin essential to the body’s ability to make new cells. The mucous membranes of the eyelids require this continual cellular renewal for top performance. And the tear glands and tear ducts also have a high requirement for folic acid, as does the entire lining of the gastro-intestinal tract, so necessary for optimum digestion and dietary uptake. We also found and reported that the food-obtained-folate form of folate appears to be far more effective in protecting eye and visual function than the shelf-life-assured pharmacological form found in vitamin bottles.
In our next article, we’ll talk about the specific nutrients that are essential to prevent and reverse the most common of the eye and vision disorders, including the many species of cataracts, the macular degenerations, and the vitreous pathologies.
“In the Vanguard of Dietary Research and Integrative Therapy in the Prevention and Reversal of Eye and Vision Disorders”