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What Does Hyaluronic Acid Do for the Eyes?
October 27th, 2010 - dave

In the eye, Hyaluronic Acid acts as a shock absorber and lubricant and keeps the structures of the eye snug so that they work optimally. Think of how different it feels to walk barefoot on a hard surface—you can feel the shock in your legs and hips—versus walking with soft shoes or cushioned insoles. Most of this skeletal shock is transferred up the vertebral column to the skull and the eyes and brain. It only makes sense to have a shock absorber within the eyes to stabilize vision and protect delicate eye tissues. As in the joints, Hyaluronic Acid also helps aid transport of nutrients. Hyaluronic acid in the eye is found in a structure called the vitreous humor, which is a clear gel that fills the central part of the eye.

It’s formed by a network of collagen and Hyaluronic Acid and occupies about 80 percent of the eyeball’s volume. The hyaluronic acid molecules are large coils that hold water; in the vitreous they are entrapped in a matrix of collagen fibers. Most of the collagen is at the surface region of the vitreous, where it comes in contact with the rest of the eye, giving it a somewhat more solid surface. There is less collagen in the central region, which is a more liquid portion, comprised of about 99 percent water. Collagen fibrils attach the vitreous gel to points around its margin, particularly to the retinal and lens structures.

Common Eye Problems that Occur with Aging

Floaters, Posterior Vitreous Detachment and Light Flashes

The original three-dimensional net-like structure of collagen fibers begins to deteriorate once body growth has halted at adolescence. This deterioration is slow and involves having some strands of collagen clump up, and some of the original compartments of gel merge into larger compartments. At this point, “floaters” may begin to appear, usually in people between 40 and 70 years of age, but can occur earlier in the nearsighted or those that have undergone cataract surgery. Many people believe that these floaters are materials released into the eye, when, in fact, they are shadows on the retina from light encountering the irregularities in the gel matrix. Such irregularities are mainly caused by coalesced collagen filaments, which form fibrils. The floaters are especially visible while looking at a plain, well-lit background. Floaters look like spots, dots, or curly lines that move with your eye and appear suspended in front of you. Flashes of light are also a common eye complaint, a symptom of posterior vitreal detachment (PVD), and are produced from the pulling on the retinal tissue as the gel separates. The pulling fires the nerves on the retina, producing a flashing image. In serious PVD where a retinal hemorrhage occurs, people see a shower of sparks. Large hemorrhages can produce large blobs in the field of vision and you could even suffer a retinal tear which can be much more serious since the vitreous can get behind the tear, pushing even more retinal tissue loose. Most PVDs aren’t associated with retinal tears, but one thing’s for sure, there’s a correlation between the breakdown of Hyaluronic Acid within the vitreous and the breakdown of intercellular Hyaluronic Acid in the dermis, the vessels, and the synovial fluid.

Supplements for Eye Health

The human eye is the only place in the body where both the nerves and blood vessels of the body can be fully visualized without cutting into the body. The eyes literally act as a window to the status of your health. With macular degeneration, diabetes, and high blood pressure leading to an ever-increasing number of people to lose some or all of their vision, now is the time to take charge.

It is imperative to be proactive when it comes to your health, especially your eyes. After all, when you become forced to be reactive in the arena of health, you are already behind and are trying to play catch up to regain your health, rather than more simply maintaining it.

Now that oral bio-identical HMW Hyaluronic Acid has been proven to be absorbed by the body and so much of the eye is made up of HA, it coul be an excellent idea to supplement Hyaluronic Acid for better overall eye health.

Aother powerful nutrient is a carotenoid called lutein that concentes in the lens of the eye.  Lutein is a yellow pigment typically derived fom marigolds and yellow foods.  This is no accident because yellow is perfect for battling photon damage caused by UV-B light.  Other related caroenoids that can help are zeaxanthins, also yellow and derived from corn (Zea mays).  By battling photon damage, lutein and zeaxanthin help protect the eyes from cataracts, Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) and glaucoma. It ismore effective for photon damage than alpha or beta carotene or even lycopene.

Lutein can even inhibit the lipofuscin in the eye.  Lipofuscin is also known as liver or age spots on the skin. Lipofuscin forms in the eye and is a specific type of cellular trash that builds with age and diminshes the function of nerves in the body.

Zinc protects the macula and the optic nerve, battling ARMD by blocking damage from UV-A radiation.  For proof, look at how zinc oxide cream is used to protect the skin from the sun.  It is also helpful against night blindness.

Bilberry(a wild European blueberry not unlike wild American Huckleberries) has been made famous during World War 2 when RAF pilots were given bilberry jam to fight noght blindness by restoring visual rhodopsin. You may not know about rhodopsin, but you’ve seen the effects of a lack of it if you walk into a dark theatre and can’t sit for about 5 minutes because your dark adaptation is impaired.

Many other antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E can help prevent destruction of the fragile structures of the eye.  When it comes to protecting the eye, it is definitely a team effort.

Comments

  1. Marilyn Yoder says:

    Will it help relieve the eye pressure in glaucoma? Or is that caused by something else?
    Marilyn

  2. dave says:

    From the below study, it seems that HA couldbe helpful for glaucoma.

    Wyburn and Bacsich suggested that the constant production of Hyaluronic acid in the- eye and its removal, presumably by enzymatic hydrolysis, was in some way concerned with the maintenance of normal ocular tension and the condition of simple glaucoma may well be related to some upset in the Hyaluronic acid Enzyme system. Pierre showed (1951) that Hyaluronic acid is present in the ocular tissues which binds the water in the tissue spaces. According to them, it is being constantly destroyed by Hyaluroniase which is present in the Iris and Ciliary body. Barany (1955) has mentioned that the resistance to aqueous outflow is reduced to half by perfusing the rabbit’s eye with small quantities of Hyaluronidase, suggest­ing thereby the presence of Hyaluronic acid in the outflow barrier. Similar experiments were conducted by Francis et al (1956) on rabbit and human eyes and they came to the conclusion that in rabbits the increase in the aqueous outflow through the angles during perfusion was 50% and in human eyes, 25%. It is interest­ing to note that these workers do not mention anything about the Hyahuronic acid content of the aqueous itself.

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