Why eating right can save your sight…

London: Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the UK, known to affect some 608,213 [i]. AMD is the most common cause of registrations for blindness or partial sight[ii] and is more common in women than men (vii).


AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows a person to see fine detail and gradually destroys the sharp, central vision, which is needed for seeing objects clearly, and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving2. Although it rarely results in complete blindness, it robs the individual of all but the outermost, peripheral vision, leaving only dim images or black holes at the centre of vision and often stripping those with the condition of their confidence and independence.


With many of us valuing sight over any other sense, it is essential that we maintain our eye health, this can helped by ensuring you are receiving key nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins C, E and A and Carotenoids. So during AMD Awareness Week (22-30 September) is a good time to remind you about what your eyes need from your diet:



·         Omega-3 fatty acids: Our bodies are unable to produce Omega-3 fatty acids, so we must obtain them through our diet. DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is one such Omega-3. The highest concentration of DHA in our body is found within the retina, where it plays an essential role in regulating its function[i]Omega-3 fats are also thought to protect the arteries that supply blood to the retina[ii]Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in: Oily fish, such as salmon, herring, mack
erel, anchovies and sardines.


·         Vitamins C, E and A:  Are essential for eye health as they have antioxidant properties and therefore help protect against free radical molecules. Produced by the interaction of light and oxygen, free radical molecules can cause chemical damage to the retina. Studies have shown that people who eat adequate levels of antioxidants, which counteract free radical damage, tend to preserve their eyesight for longer than those who don’t[iii]Vitamins C, E and A can be found in leafy greens = Kale / spinach / cress / parsley / leafy cabbage.


·         Carotenoids: Are natural fat-soluble pigments found in certain plants and provide the bright red, orange, or yellow colour of many vegetables.  Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids that accumulate in our retina, and are most concentrated in the macula and also occur in the lens of the eye. They act as antioxidants, protecting the tissue of the eyes by absorbing harmful blue light and neutralising harmful free radicals. As the body can’t produce lutein by itself, it has to be absorbed from food. Peppers, Carrots and Tomatoes are all a great source of carotenoids.


Your vision-boosting shopping list


  • Oily fish, such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines
  • Leafy greens = Kale / spinach / cress / parsley / leafy cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Seeds and seed oils, such as sunflower and safflower
  • Nuts and nut oils, such as almonds and hazelnuts
  • Red pepper
  • Blackcurrant
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Red meats, especially beef, lamb and liver



In an ideal world, our diet would provide us with all the vitamins and minerals we need – but evidence from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that a significant proportion of the UK population simply doesn’t achieve nutritional sufficiency through diet alone[1]

Ian Grierson, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Liverpool notes: While research suggests that vitamins A, C, E and zinc can help keep the eye healthy, it is carotenoids, the pigments that occur naturally in plants and algae, which offer the most precise way of targeting the damage that causes sight loss. In particular, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin act directly to absorb the damaging blue and near-ultraviolet light, in order to protect the macula. Any yellow or orange plants or vegetables contain them. They are also abundant in green vegetables such as kale and spinach.


“We should be eating 6mg of lutein a day, but the average consumption is only 2mg, which is way too low. In the Second World War, our average intake was 4-5mg and we weren’t even trying. But you cannot just eat vegetables alone, as lutein needs fat to be absorbed.  Egg yolk is one of the UKs main sources of lutein – there is not much there, but the little there is absorbed efficiently. That is why eggs Florentine is such an effective meal – the spinach is a high source of lutein and the egg yolk maximises absorption In fact, a 2005 study at the Ohio State University, Columbus, found that carotenoids absorption was enhanced by the consumption of avocado oil and fruit.”


So, what to do is you aren’t gaining all the nutrients you need from your diet?



Ocuvite Complete Eye Vitamins & Minerals 60 CapsulesBausch + Lomb’s Ocuvite® Complete is an advanced supplement, formulated to provide nutritional support for the eye based on the most current research. Ocuvite® Complete contains high quality omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C&E, and zinc. Available from Boots, independent pharmacists and optometrists, priced £15.25 (RRP). “The advantage of nutritional carotenoid supplements is that the levels are much higher than those found in food, so supplementation is a much more reliable way of ensuring consistent levels of essential micronutrients are absorbed by the body. A supplement providing the right balance of lutein, zeaxanthin and Omega-3s is not only safe, but could protect eyes against future age related changes when diet alone fails to deliver,” note professor Grierson.




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Weightgain in middle-age increases risk of blindness in men

Putting on weight in later life increases the risk of men developing age-related
macular degeneration (AMD), researchers in Australia have discovered.

small increases in waist size seem to raise the risk of AMD by up to 75 per
cent. But women do not appear to be affected.

reason may be the hormone oestrogen which woman have in higher levels all their
lives.  In men abdominal fat releases
oestrogen which causes inflammation in the blood vessels behind the eyes.



the Australian study, researchers at the University of Melbourne examined changes
in the waistlines of more than 21,000 men and women, aged between 40 and 69,
over several years and tracked how many went on to develop AMD.

concluded that the chronic inflammation caused by obesity was involved in AMD.

the Australian team found that for each increase of 0.1 in the waist/hip ratio,
a man’s chances of developing AMD increased by 75 per cent.

affects older people, usually after the age of 50. The numbers affected are
likely to increase as the ageing populations increase in developed nations. The
report suggests that healthy eating earlier in life helps prevent the disease.

in ten cases involve ‘dry AMD’, which develops over several years. The rest
involve ‘wet AMD’, which can cause blindness in a matter of months.

is caused by the growth of new blood vessels over the macula, a small
oval-shaped area at the back of the eye that helps us pick out visual details

involves monthly injections into the back of the eye of drugs designed to curb
the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Given early enough, it can help to
prevent complete loss of vision.

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Man’s eyesight restored with his own stem cells


London: A 38-year-old-man has had his vision restored with stem cells after being blinded in an ammonia attack.

Russell Turnbull, 38, lost the sight in one eye in 1994 when he was squirted with ammonia after trying to stop a row on a bus in Newcastle.

He was left with Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency (LSCD), a painful condition which requires constant treatment.

The new treatment was developed by scientists at Newcastle University.Their method involves taking a small amount of stem cells from a patient’s good eye, cultivating them in a laboratory, and implanting them into the damaged cornea.

He was was treated at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) and is one of of eight patients who successfully underwent the treatment developed at the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI).

It is hoped that the technique could eventually be rolled out into clinics.

Check out how obesity can affect eye health – live TV web chat today


London: How can your weight affect your eyesight?

Obesity directly affects sight loss, so if you’re overweight or just worried about your sight, log hrs (GMT)

It is common knowledge that expanding waistlines are linked to life-threatening conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. But many of us are unaware that obesity is also linked to blindness and other serious eye health issues.

Excess body weight can cause damage to blood vessels in the eye – linked to the onset of glaucoma and diabetes. Studies have also shown people with a high body mass index (BMI) tend to have low macula pigment density and are therefore at greater risk of suffering diseases such as AMD (age-related macular degeneration). Likewise, too much alcohol, too much smoking, and even too much time at the computer screen contributes heavily to losing your eyesight.

According to official figures almost one in four UK adults are obese (23% in 2006), expected by the government to hit one in three adults next year. However many Brits are unaware that they even class as ‘obese’ and are therefore putting their eyes at risk.

National Eye Week (9th to 15th November), organised by the Eyecare Trust, seeks to promote the importance of looking after your eyes and making regular visits to the optician. If you are worried about how your weight can affect your eyesight, make sure you log onto our live and interactive Web TV show with a director of the Eyecare Trust Rosie Gavzey and David Dickinson, (pictured) for top tips on adjusting your lifestyle to keep your eyes healthy, advice on spotting on the early warning signs and ideas on how to meet the cost of eyecare and eye wear.

Rosie Gavzey, a Director of the Eyecare Trust and David Dickinson, join us live HowObesityaffectsEyehealth on the 9th of November at 14:00 to discuss sight loss and obesity.

Click here to submit questions before the chat HowObesityaffectsEyehealth

For more information visit www.nationaleyeweek.co.uk

Thousands have glaucoma without knowing, say experts


London: Glaucoma affects up to half a million people in the UK and is the second largest cause of unnecessary sight loss.[1]

Around a quarter of a million people don’t know they have the condition as glaucoma often doesn’t have any symptoms in its early stages.[1] Boots Opticians urges you to have regular sight tests, which are crucial to help detect early signs of the disease.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. To book an eye test at Boots Opticians, call 0845 120 4343 or visit www.bootsopticians.com

Carolyn Zweig, Boots Opticians says: ‘Regular eye tests are a vital health check, which not only test your sight, but they can also detect eye conditions such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, before you notice the effect on your sight. How often you have an eye test depends on your age and the recommendation of your optometrist, but as a general rule, children should be taken for an eye examination by the age of five and eye tests should be taken every two years after that until the age of 70. At 70 and beyond, you should have an eye test every year.’

Facts about glaucoma

The first World Glaucoma Day was March 6th 2008
There are four types of glaucoma – the most common is open angle or chronic glaucoma

Chronic glaucoma causes gradual blockage of the eye’s drainage tubes leading to a build-up of pressure which damages the optic nerves
50 per cent of glaucoma sufferers go undiagnosed in developed countries[2]
Up to 95 per cent of glaucoma sufferers go undiagnosed in the developing world [2]
Around two in every 100 people over 40 in the UK have glaucoma [3] which equates to approximately 600,000 people

[1] RNIB.org.uk

[2] World Glaucoma Association

4 Based on figures from The Office of National Statistics
5 The College Of Optometrists

Spire offers new injection for age-related blindness


London: A new quick procedure not widely available on the NHS which treats age related blindness disease is now available at 13 Spire Healthcare hospitals around the UK.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the central part of your vision and occurs mainly in older people. About one in 100 people aged 65-75 and one in eight people aged over 85 suffer from serious AMD that can result in complete loss of central vision.

There are two types of AMD known as the wet kind and the dry kind. Wet AMD is more destructive and is characterised by abnormal blood vessels growing at the back of the eye. These extra blood vessels leak and can cause rapid loss of sight.

Mr Timothy Dabbs, a specialist eye consultant at Spire Leeds Hospital said:
“Although Wet AMD progresses rapidly and is destructive it is treatable. We inject a special drug under a local anaesthetic to control the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye.

“On average a patient will need six injections, they are quick procedures
and patients can normally go home about an hour later. Although they may
not regain full sight, the treatment will often prevent further damage and in some instances can reverse some of the damage already caused.”

Erika Bennett, a patient recently treated at Spire Leeds Hospital, said:
“From not being able to read at all I can now read with my reading glasses.
There is a small improvement with every injection and the treatment itself isn’t painful.

“The staff at the hospital made me feel very comfortable. I had lots of confidence and trust in Mr Dabbs as he made sure he explained every detail of the procedure to me. I would recommend anyone suffering with this condition to try this treatment.”

How to tell if you have AMD
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know may be suffering from AMD, the best self test is to look directly at a straight line such as a door or window frame and using only one eye at a time to see if there is a noticeable kink in the frame which appears to move with your gaze. Your optician will be able to confirm if there is deterioration in your eyes.

The Hospitals currently offering this treatment include:

Spire Bushey Hospital

Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital

Spire Cardiff Hospital

Spire Edinburgh Hospital

Spire Gatwick Park Hospital

Spire Harpenden Hospital

Spire Leeds Hospital

Spire Leicester Hospital

Spire Manchester Hospital

Spire Norwich Hospital

Spire Southampton Hospital

Spire Sussex Hospital

Spire Wellesley Hospital

About Spire
Spire Healthcare is one of the leading independent hospital providers in the UK, with a 25 year heritage of customer service and clinical excellence. It was formed in 2007 from the sale of BUPA Hospitals to leading private equity company Cinven.

Spire Healthcare has 25 hospitals across the UK, providing services for private and insured patients as well as NHS funded patients under the government’s Choose and Book scheme. It also offers cosmetic and weight-loss surgery.

Its hospitals carry out more than 160,000 in-patient and day-case treatments a year and work with over 3,000 consultants. It is proud to be the first independent hospital group to publish clinical outcome data.

Thousands may go blind as UK government denies key drug to elderly

London: The UK government’s drug watchdog is refusing to allow doctors to precribe a drug which could save the sight of thousands of elderly people who live in England and Wales.

At the same time the drug – Macugen – is available on the public health service, the NHS, to those living in Scotland.

Macugen is used to treat the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, where veins leak causing blindness.

The watchdog, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. said another drug, Lucentis, could be used but only if patients have gone almost blind in one eye and the disease is far progressed in the other.

It also restricted the use of Lucentis to a specific type of the condition which affects only around 20 per cent of sufferers.

There are around 26,000 new cases of wet AMD, which affects the macular region at the back of the eye, in the UK every year.

Based on Nice’s recommendations, 80 per cent of these patients – more than 20,000 a year – will be left to go blind. Macugen and Lucentis, known as antiVEGF drugs, stop the deterioration of the sight.

On Monday the Scottish Medicines Consortium, the rationing body north of the border, approved Lucentis for all NHS patients after previously giving the green light to Macugen.

It is the latest example of post-devolution Scotland giving its patients access to many drugs denied those in England and Wales, which is covered by NICE.

The drugs are also available in many other countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, the U.S. and Australia.

Nice’s draft guidance, which is up for consultation, was greeted with anger from charities, clinicians and opposition politicians. The Royal National Institute of Blind People said it was ‘outraged’.

Head of campaigns Steve Winyard said: ‘Anti-VEGF drugs have the potential to halve the number of people going blind each year and patients in the UK who can benefit from them must all have them – and quickly.

‘It is simply unacceptable that Nice is recommending that only a small minority of patients within England and Wales will benefit from these ground-breaking treatments. Nice must reconsider.

‘Anti-VEGF drugs are cost- effective. It is much more expensive to support someone once they have lost their sight than to provide sight-saving treatment.’

Tom Bremridge, chief executive of the Macular Disease Society, said: ‘Limiting the treatment options to 20 per cent of patients who would benefit is unjustifiable and allowing one eye to go blind before treating the second is cruel and totally unacceptable.’

Winifred Amoaku, consultant at the Royal College of Opthalmologists, said the two drugs worked differently. She attacked the fact that only Lucentis had been given the go-ahead because some patients would benefit more from Macugen.

‘Both treatments should be made available to opthalmologists,’ she said. ‘One treatment doesn’t fit all and opthalmologists should be able to prescribe the most suitable option for their patient.’

The Nice ruling comes despite a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine which found that the sight of nine out of ten patients given Lucentis improved or stabilised after two years of treatment.

Lucentis costs up to £2,000 per injection or £28,000 for a full course of treatment, which is 14 injections over two years. Macugen is around £1,800 per injection or £36,000 for a full course of 20 injections.

Dr David Gillen, medical director of Macugen manufacturer Pfizer, said: ‘Macugen has been shown to maintain vision in patients will all types of wet AMD and has a licence to reflect this.

‘From a cost perspective, it has been convincingly demonstrated that Macugen’s cost-effectiveness can be enhanced when treatment is started at an early stage before too much vision is lost.’

Stem cell surgery for ageing eyes available within five years, predict doctors

London: British scientitsts are working on a proecdure to use stem cells as a cure for age-related macular degenertion, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly.

The first 45-minute operation would use stem cells grown in a lab to cure the dry form of the diseease and it is estimated that the procedure will be available within five years.

The improvement in sight is likely to be great enough for the the blind to regain the ability to carry out everyday tasks such as reading or driving.

The pioneering stem cell surgery tackles age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most common cause of blindness in the elderly. There are about 300,000 sufferers in this country and the number is expected to treble in the next 25 years to around one million as the population ages.

AMD, which affects a quarter of over-60s in the UK and more than half of over-75s to some degree, occurs in two forms. While the ‘wet’ form can be combated with drugs, there is no treatment for the ‘dry’ form which accounts for 90 per cent of cases.

The treatment centres on human embryonic stem cells grown in a laboratory. These are ‘blank’ cells with the power to turn into different cell types and are used to create small patches identical to the cells damaged in the eyes of AMD sufferers.

Packaged into a syringe, the patch is injected into the back of the eye where it replaces damaged cells and restores sight.

The technique is being developed by scientists and doctors from University College London, Moorfields Eye Hospital, also in London, and Sheffield University, working together in the London Project to Cure Blindness.

Their work has been boosted by a £ 4million donation from an anonymous American benefactor.

Project director Professor Pete Coffey said: ‘This could have a tremendous effect on a huge population who have no current therapy.’

The technique has been tested on rats suffering from a condition similar to AMD and their sight was restored.

Further evidence that the technique is likely to succeed comes from human operations. In these, the researchers restored vision using healthy cells taken from the corner of the patient’s own eye.

In some cases, the transplants were so successful that the patients were able to read, cycle and use a computer.

However, such surgery is extremely complex and time-consuming and so unlikely to be suitable for large-scale use. Using ‘readymade’ patches of cells would greatly simplify the operation, making it suitable for use on millions.

The scientists are now working on making such patches, measuring just four by six millimetres, which will be injected into the back of the eye under local anaesthetic in an procedure lasting between 45 minutes and an hour. The patient, who would have to take drugs to stop the cells from being rejected by the body, could go home the same day. After two to three weeks, vision should start to improve.

It is not yet known how long the effects will last but the patients who had transplants of their own cells are still benefiting from the treatment which took place two and a half years ago. While the patches are most likely to benefit those in the early stages of AMD, the researchers believe it should be possible to adapt them to treat those in later stages.

It is hoped that the technique might also benefit those who have lost their sight as a complication of diabetes.

Consultant surgeon Lyndon da Cruz of Moorfields Eye Hospital said that within ten years the procedure could become as commonplace as cataract surgery.

He said: ‘If we can do a single procedure in a person under local anaesthetic in 45 minutes, it’s feasible.

‘The science is something we can work on but the surgery has to be something we can deliver to many people.’

Eye experts said the research offered real hope to sufferers of AMD. Tom Bremridge of the Macular Disease Society said: ‘This development is exciting and encouraging for current and future generations of AMD patients.

‘While treatments for “wet” AMD are advancing rapidly, sadly, patients with “dry” AMD have had no prospect of any viable therapy.’

Professor Alistair Fielder, of the charity Fight for Sight, said the research represented ‘a real chance to tackle an untreatable condition and bring hope to many’.

He added: ‘It is marvellous to think that clinical trials could start within four years.’

Although many believe it is wrong to use embryonic stem cells – plucked from an embryo in the first days of life – in medicine, sophisticated laboratory techniques mean it should be possible to generate a treatment for millions of people from cells derived from a single embryo.

Stem cell research offers hope for treating and curing a host of conditions.

In recent work, British experts have succeeded in growing a ‘ miniliver’ – a tiny bundle of liver cells – from stem cells, while Israeli scientists have grown a tiny section of beating heart tissue from stem cells gleaned from human embryos.

Dirty contact lenses put wearers at risk of blindness

London: Almost three quarters of contact lens wearers are risking blindness because of their dirty habits, according to a new study out today. The new figures show one in five people lick their contact lenses before putting them in their eyes and two out of five apply their lenses with dirty hands.

Shockingly over 15% of wearers will pick an unwashed contact lens off the floor and pop it in their eye and 70% of people keep their lenses in for far too long every day. But careless contact lens wearers rarely realise their bad habits increase the risk of their contracting eye diseases, including conjunctivitis and acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare but very painful and potentially blinding infection of the cornea, the transparent covering at the front of the eye.

Men are the lazy ones when it comes to caring for their eyes, with more than half sleeping in their lenses and 44% not bothering to wash their hands before putting their lenses in. But surprisingly women have the dirtiest habits. Nearly a quarter of women lick their lenses before popping them in their eyes and 16% will use a dirty lens they have dropped on the floor, according to research by the UK’s College of Optometrists. And you have heard of sharing make-up, some women even share their contact lenses with their best friends.

Experts warn even habits that seem harmless such as washing lenses in tap water or with a different cleansing solution can damage the wearers’ eyes. Tap water contains bacteria that can blind you and using the wrong solution not only harms the lens but can also produce allergic reactions or even burn the eye.

Optometrists advise contact lens wearers never to wear other people’s lenses, a lens that is chipped or damaged or put the wrong lens in the wrong eye. The experts add people should always clean their lenses either after wearing them or before putting them in their eyes and to make sure their hands are clean before handling them.
And a final warning, don’t wear your lenses too long or sleep in them and visit an optometrist at least every two years.

Kevin Lewis, President of the College of Optometrists said: “Good eye care is crucial for everyone but even more important for those of us who wear contact lenses. Poor hygiene can lead to infections which range from a simply uncomfortable but temporary problem to a very nasty health issue that may lead to blindness in a matter of days.”

“Our eyes are precious and we need to appreciate that treating them carelessly and with bad hygiene habits is likely to cause problems in the future.”

For more information visit www.college-optometrists.org

1 in 4 adults fail to get eye sight check, says new survey from Centrum

London: Our eyesight is our most precious sense1, according to a new survey commissioned by Centrum*2, the world’s number one selling multivitamin, which now contains FloraGLO lutein3, a natural form of lutein that can help maintain healthy eyes.

The research shows that we dread losing our sense of independence the most and not being able to see loved ones if our eyesight was to get worse, yet 1 in 4 of us have never had their eyes checked.

In the UK we value our eyes more than any other sense: 61 per cent say it is the sense that they would least like to lose. Compared to other parts of the body, eyes are also the ones that we are most squeamish about getting injured (63%).

The Centrum survey found that if our eyesight was to get worse, we would be most worried about losing our independence (46%) and not being able to see loved ones (27%), with other concerns being not being able to read (8%), drive safely (6%) or see in an emergency (4%).

However, our priorities appear to shift as we get older, with those over 65 years old being as worried about not being able to see their loved ones as not being able to read (17%). Those living in Wales and East Anglia are particularly loving groups, being the only regions where loved ones (38%/41%) feature higher than personal independence (36%/35%).

The strength of the love for our families is also evident when asked what the most amazing thing is that we have ever seen: nearly half of those surveyed (47%) said it was a family moment, such as the birth of their new baby or grandchild, a christening or a wedding. These overtook spectacular natural sights and landmarks as the most amazing sight. Again, those in Wales are more family-orientated than most, with 62 per cent choosing a family moment as their most amazing sight being pipped only by the 66 per cent in East Anglia.

Keeping our eyes healthy is the main reason that we get our eyes checked (29%), although reminders from opticians (23%) and difficulties with reading (14%) are also important factors. Despite all of this, most people do not appear to be taking the best care they can of their eyes.

One of the things we can do to help keep our eyes healthy is to eat foods that contain lutein, a natural pigment that helps protect our eyes. From research we know that only one in five people in the UK are aware of lutein. 4 Lutein cannot be made by the body, so we have to make sure we get it through the foods we eat. Lutein can be found in spinach, kale, peas, cos or romaine lettuce and broccoli. Although there is no recommended daily allowance of lutein set in the UK, some other countries suggest we need to have about 6mg a day (which equates to about one bowl of spinach a day).

Centrum research showed that less than half of those surveyed (42%) eat foods that contain lutein on a daily basis. Beside food, we can also get lutein through certain vitamin and mineral supplements. Centrum contains vitamins and minerals specifically designed to supplement the daily diet, with Centrum and Centrum Select 50+ now also containing lutein.
Notes for editors:
1. The survey, carried out for Centrum by BMRB Omnibus, quizzed 1,000 adults over the age of 16 across England, Scotland and Wales in June 2006.

2. Centrum is a multivitamin that’s complete from A to Zinc. It is a comprehensive formula of vitamins and minerals specifically designed to supplement the daily diet. Three other variants are carefully tailored to the needs of children (Centrum Kidz), the over 50s (Centrum Select 50+) and people who lead an active or hectic lifestyle (Centrum Performance).

3. Lutein is a carotenoid that is found in fruit and vegetables. It has been shown in clinical trials to help protect against retinal damage. FloraGLO lutein is a natural form of lutein that is extracted from marigold plants. It is an ideal form for human health because it’s identical to the lutein found in dark green vegetables. It is easily absorbed by the body, and deposits itself in the eye to absorb potentially harmful blue light and protect the eye.

4. Lutein Brand and Health Awareness Study UK March 2006, produced by Frost & Sullivan on behalf of Kemin.

Lead in water pipes may cause cataracts, say US scientists

Lead in drinking water pipes could increase the risk of cataracts, it has emerged.
Researchers claim a build-up of lead in the body over the years from older plumbing systems could help trigger the eye disorder.

U.S. scientists working on the Normative Ageing Study in Boston checked lead levels in 795 men with an average age of 69. Cataracts were found in 122 of them.

They discovered that men in the top fifth of the lead level range were almost three times more likely to have a cataract than those in the bottom fifth.

The team, who published their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association, said: ‘Results suggest that cumulative lead exposure is a risk factor for cataracts. Reduction of lead exposure could help decrease the global burden of cataracts.’

Cataracts cause the eye lens to cloud over, leading to impaired vision or even blindness. Threequarters of people aged over 85 have a cataract bad enough to affect their sight, with women more likely to be affected than men.

Anita Lightstone, head of eye health at the Royal National Institute for the Blind, said: ‘We would not wish people to be unduly alarmed as in a large number of cases cataracts can be removed with an operation and good vision can be restored.’

Another American study – published yesterday in the Journal of Nutrition – suggests eating dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, can help prevent cataracts.