In this health video you will learn a necessary and healthy diet to follow.
Read the full transcript »
Raena Morgan: Hi, I’m Raena Morgan with iHealthTube. We’re visiting with Dr. Robert Abel, Jr. He is an ophthalmologist in Wilmington, Delaware. He practices preventive eye care as well as surgery. What got you interested in eye health? How long have you been involved? Dr. Robert Abel, Jr.: Well, it’s very interesting because I realized that in traditional medicine we treat symptoms and not disease and not causes. We think that we are doing something but it is the basic cause that is the root of the later deficiencies and then disorders that we see. The eye’s a perfect example. It has a high metabolism. It needs lots of good nutritional foods and supplements in order to keep going, and all of the nutrition is in the liver. I took several courses in graduate biochemistry and nutrition and realized it’s so important to feed the eye because vision is mandatory in society today. 80 per cent of what we do is visually oriented and people’s eyes are so necessary. At the same time, sunshine and other stressful activities, self-chosen and occupationally available, are things that deteriorate the tissues of the eye, and…good nutritional support is mandatory. Raena Morgan: And, you talk about nutrition. Most of us don’t think about feeding the eye, as you say. Dr. Robert Abel, Jr.: That’s correct. I mean, the retina, which is the back of the eye—let me be a little more specific. Raena Morgan: Okay. Dr. Robert Abel, Jr.: If we were to look at an eyeball… Raena Morgan: Let’s look at an eyeball. Dr. Robert Abel, Jr.: An eyeball is basically a bag of water. Raena Morgan: A bag of water—that’s very interesting. Dr. Robert Abel, Jr.: A bag of water—it is a coated layer with outer coatings of a cornea and a sclera. And, it has two lenses—the cornea, and the lens of the eye, which focus light onto the back. There are fluid filled areas where people can see floaters, and then there’s the retina, which is a carpet of receptors. It’s kind of like your rug being shaped like a bowl, waiting for the light to hit it and to send the message through the optic nerve to the brain. The retina is constantly breaking down, building up, breaking down—like a flashbulb—every microsecond is a little flashbulb. And, the health of that retina depends on external nutrition. Raena Morgan: That’s amazing. Most people wouldn’t think that, self included. Dr. Robert Abel, Jr.: Most people tend to believe that things take care of themselves and don’t have a problem until they have a problem. In fact, most people do not see a deficiency in their vision. One deficiency is how long it takes people to recover from glare at night after car headlights. By taking certain important basic supplements, that we’ll discuss later, like Lutein, [which] are very important in the rebound from glare and the protection from light stress on the retina. Raena Morgan: Okay. And so, there are nutrients that we can take to feed the eye besides our diet. Diet, we would begin there? Dr. Robert Abel, Jr.: Well, I think you begin always with your diet because you make a choice on what you put in. It has to be absorbed, go through your liver. And, at night time when you’re sleeping is when the nutrients seep out into the remote places when your muscles aren’t taking up all the energy in all the food. Diet is critical but we don’t always get enough of the right foods in our diet and therefore supplementation, I feel, is very important for people of all ages. Raena Morgan: What is the liver’s role in the nutritional part of the eye? Dr. Robert Abel, Jr.: The fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are stored in the liver. Raena Morgan: All right. Dr. Robert Abel, Jr.: And, the essential fatty acids, the omega 3s, and the lesser important omega 6s, are stored in the liver. So, when the retina is breaking down, it needs nutrients. The lens of the eye, which is what can become a cataract—the lens of the eye has no blood supply and no nerves, so it is al