Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Eye-Care Professionals Hunger for Nutrition Knowledge

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bunnyBy James Gaffney

Mature Life Features

Some of you may recall, when being urged to eat your vegetables, your parents told you carrots were good for your eyesight.

While they couldn’t support this for sure, an eye-catching 86 percent of optometrists in the United Kingdom said they would take dietary supplements for eye health, according to the British journal Optician. However, less than 40 percent made such products available at their practice.

An overwhelming majority — 93 percent — reported nutrition was not included in their university education, according to a survey aimed at the application of new learning issues to their everyday practice. Nearly all of them  – 98 percent — said they wanted to learn more about nutrition.

“These survey results reveal the growing awareness and interest among these practitioners, and as their knowledge is enhanced, consumers are sure to benefit,” said Dr. Cindy Schweitzer, Cognis’ senior scientist at the time of the survey and head of its North American research programs on lutein esters, mixed carotenoids, and natural vitamin E. Cognis is a worldwide supplier of specialty chemicals and nutritional ingredients and has some 9,000 employees in almost 50 countries.

Lutein esters are an effective source of lutein and are being studied for their potential benefits in the maintenance of eye health. Evidence continues to accumulate showing that intakes of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

“We’d like to encourage eye-health organizations here in the United States to survey members to see how their nutritional wisdom compares to their colleagues in the UK,” she said.

Only 2 percent of the practitioners polled thought nutrition unimportant while about 65 percent said they recommend eye supplements to their patients on an occasional basis.

Several factors have come together to drive this heightened awareness and interest. Foremost is demographics. As the population ages, the incidence of age-related eye diseases rises. Long-term research studies are adding support to documentary evidence of age-related eye disease and the beneficial effects of certain vitamins and carotenoids.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2004

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 1, 2013 at 12:05 am

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