The Role of Inflammation in Eye Diseases

The Role of Inflammation in Eye Diseases

Posted on Nov.13, 2014, under Eye Conditions, Eye Health, Living With Low Vision, Low Vision Info, Low Vision Tips, The Eye

“Inflammation is the underlying factor of virtually all diseases encountered in the twenty-first century “ states ophthalmologist and author of the SuperHealth books Stephen Pratt.

There are two kinds of inflammation – acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is when we experience something like a sprained ankle. It becomes painful, swollen and red. The body responds in many different ways to bring healing to the ankle. Chronic inflammation is less evident but no less harmful. Systemic or body-wide inflammation affects our health at the cellular level. Dr Damon Miller, author of Stem Cells Heal Your Eyes, describes it this way, “inflammation results in abnormal electrical activity …areas with abnormal electrical activity have decreased cellular and mitochondrial performance. This in turn leads to oxidative damage to tissue.” Not only does system wide inflammation lead to degenerative eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts it is the precursor to most diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. The good news is that we can improve our health at the cellular level by decreasing pro-inflammatory responses and increasing our anti-inflammatory activities.

What Promotes Chronic Inflammation?

Lifestyle choices like smoking, chronic sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, stress and being overweight contribute to this cellular breakdown. Most of today’s processed foods that include bad fats and sugar are pro-inflammatory as are refined grains and grain fed meat. “Our environment of toxins, with bad fats and too much sugar, is like pouring gasoline in a fire lit in a hearth – pretty soon it gets out of control and burns the whole house down. That’s what’s happening to our bodies ….” states Steven Pratt, MD in his book SuperHealth: 6 Simple Steps, 6 Easy Weeks, 1 Longer, Healthier Life.

What Reduces Chronic Inflammation?

Include exercise and adequate sleep for better health. Reduce stress in your life and be sure to drink plenty of filtered water to “put out the burning embers” of inflammation. Choose healthy fats like olive oil and fresh avocados for your salads. Cook with coconut oil. Use it to saute vegetables or for baking. Wild caught salmon is considered one of the top anti-inflammatory foods as are fresh fruits and vegetables which are rich in antioxidants. Spices like turmeric and ginger fight inflammation. Nuts like walnuts, cashews and almonds are sources of healthy fats as long as they are eaten raw.
The health benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet are not just for your eyes. It fights aging and degenerative diseases. Discover the key things you can do to reduce inflammation through healthy food choices: Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN