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Nutritional therapy can halt the development of diabetic retinopathy, confirms eye expert

Human Eye

Dr. Pawan Gupta, a vitreo – retina specialist, believes that nutritional therapy can halt the development of diabetic retinopathy, but its efficacy depends on how far along the disease has progressed. While he agrees that Nutritional therapy is beneficial to those suffering from diabetes. He said that: “ nutritional therapy has a role if the disease has not set in.” But, once diabetic retinopathy has set in “… the therapy has only an adjuvant role.”


Dr. Gupta’s works at the Eye7 (Eye Hospitals) and he supports recent findings discussed on a paper published at the European Journal of Nutrition, which suggests that a nutritional therapy, if adopted in the initial stages, can halt the development of diabetic retinopathy. The paper discussed findings that nutrition is plummeting the inevitable development of diabetic retinopathy, and that it provides superior-efficacy.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are approximately 93 million people with diabetic retinopathy worldwide. But, how can Nutritional therapy halt the development of diabetic retinopathy?

Nutritional therapy halt the development of diabetic retinopathy through two nutrients present in certain foods, called: lutein and zeaxanthin. These, can tackle the areas affected by the onset of diabetic retinopathy, such as: blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye.

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It is important to note that within the eye, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are present in high concentrations in contrast to other human tissues. The concentrations of Lutein and zeaxathin are highest in the macula, especially in the center of the macula (the fovea). Therefore, they have a role in eye- related diseases, since macular pigments enhance visual function in a variety of ways.

It has already been established in many studies, that patients with diabetic retinopathy have significantly lower lutein and Zeaxanthin concentrations. Therefore, it is no surprise that supplementation of lutein prevented reactive oxygen species formation in rats that were induced to develop diabetic retinopathy.

Lutein and Zeaxathin are not produced in the body and must be consumed through diet. Therefore, the only way to halt the development of diabetic retinopathy is by using nutrition before the disease has set in, and using nutrition as a way to manage this eye disease. Its been reported that these two carotenoids can slow the progression of age - related Macular degeneration, and improve Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

The highest dietary concentration of Lutein and Zeaxathin are found in green leafy vegetables, egg yolk, corn, citrus, and other foods. According to the American Optometric Association, the recommended amount of a lutein supplement is 10 mg/day and 2 mg/day of a zeaxanthin supplement. Other scientifically proven, natural supplements that treat diabetic retinopathy are: ginkgo biloba and omega 3 fatty acids.