While we are young, most of us take for granted the beauty of the sky seen with perfect 20/20 vision or the lilting song of the morning dove greeting us from the tree outside our window. Our senses provide us with this wonderful colorized, surround-sound touchy-feely world that helps define us and gives meaning to our lives. As we age, our senses can fail and we can lose connection with this sensory extravaganza known as the outside world.

Nutrition can be used to safeguard and protect our precious ability to see and hear, as we grow older. Newer research shows us how to use several key nutrients that may lower your risk of losing your sensory connection.

Older eyes are susceptible to vision loss from various age-related conditions, especially cataracts. Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can also cause you to lose vision. More than half of the population, 75 years of age suffer vision loss from cataracts, a cloudiness that develops slowly over time in the lens of the eye. Cataracts left untreated can also lead to glaucoma- a more serious eye condition that left untreated can lead to blindness.

Foods containing lutein, or carotenoids (pigments in fruits and vegetables) may reduce your risk of cataracts and help prevent glaucoma. Your best lutein foods are vitamin C foods, citrus fruits, strawberries, blueberries potatoes, tomatoes and kiwi.

AMD is a disturbing cause of blindness for 10 million elderly Americans. AMD is an overgrowth of blood vessels in the eye where they don’t belong destroying sections of the macula. A new drug, Visudyne is proving to be helpful for AMD. Nutrients and herbs the are proving helpful in treatment include Bilberry, Ginkgo Biloba, Grape seed extract, zinc and soy products.

Vitamin E has also been shown to be beneficial for eye health. Vitamin E foods are nuts, olive oils, wheat germ, sunflower seeds and avocados.

The herb Bilberry, high in anti-oxidants and minerals, strengthens the capillaries and small veins surrounding the eyes and improves night vision by allowing the eyes to adapt more quickly to low level light. Eyebright, high in trace minerals is another valuable herb that helps strengthen all parts of the eye and the optic nerve.

Hearing loss although disturbing may seem to some as less of a problem than vision loss. That misconception will become painfully obvious the next time you are in the presence an elderly person who suffers uncorrected hearing loss as they struggle to hear or simply withdraw and isolate.

Hearing loss affects one third of all adults between the ages of 65 and 74 and increases to 50 percent after age 75. Chronic infection, stroke, noise exposure and injury are the most common causes of hearing loss.

Properly fitted hearing aids correct or improve approximately 95 percent of all hearing-impaired individuals. The hearing aid has evolved from a highly visible device to a tiny sophisticated and discreet minicomputer.

This sensitive sensory organ responds well to the nutrients found in the herb Ginkgo Biloba helping relieve tinnitis or ringing in the ears. The mineral tin is also beneficial for the treatment of tinnitits.

Cochlear implants help in a small number of patients suffering profound hearing loss. This surgery can be helpful when other avenues have been unsuccessful.


Along with a simple program of wellness daily protection of your sight, avoiding undue amounts of UV rays and hearing, avoiding deafening noise will help preserve your sight and hearing well into your elder years. Till next time, Rebecca