A recent study by the Nigeria National Blindness and Visual Impairment Study Group had predicted that by year 2020, about 1.4 million Nigerians, age 40 and above will lose their sights. This is rather unfortunate considering the fact that the causes of most common eye diseases are either preventable or treatable.

Although I am not an ophthalmologist but I strongly believe that the information that I am about to share with you here will be of immense benefit to you. Irrespective of the nature of the eye disease - Glaucoma, Cataract, Diabetic Retinopathy and Macular Degeneration, etc, several research findings have demonstrated that depletion of glutathione has been found to be a key causative factor.

Glutathione, known as the mother of antioxidants by scientists plays an important role in maintaining and protecting eye health in people of all ages, especially those in their 40s and above.

Now, let us try to look at the different type of eye disease and how glutathione can help protect or treat it.

Glaucoma is the most serious of all eye diseases and if not treated promptly could lead to irreversible blindness. It is a disease in which the pressure of the fluid inside the eye is too high, resulting in a loss of peripheral vision. If the condition is not diagnosed and treated, the increased pressure can damage the optic nerve and eventually lead to blindness. A person who has glaucoma may not realize it at first, because the disease often progresses with no symptoms or warning signs. Several studies in the past and even recently have shown that oxidative stress, resulting from low levels of glutathione in the eye is definitively linked to the development and progression of glaucoma.

These studies clearly indicate that glutathione levels play a critical role in the cellular defense against oxidative stress and that there is a strong connection between glaucoma and low glutathione levels.

Cataract comes from a Greek word meaning “waterfall.” It is the commonest type of eye diseases usually associated with a clouding or darkening of the lens in the eye. This clouding interferes with your eyesight, and it is usually slowly progressive. According to Dr. Edward Kondrot, the traditional treatment that most ophthalmologists adopt is to remove the cataract maybe through eye surgery. They don’t go further to look at the underlying cause. In some cases, they will insert a plastic lens to take the place of the natural human lens. You can imagine the potential problem that a plastic device inside the eye could cause.

What really causes cataract disease? This is an important question that you must find the right answer from the physician so that you do not continue to waste your money and time managing symptoms of the disease without addressing the root cause.

There are three major causes of cataract - aging, nutrition and heavy metals. Aging is a naturally factor but there is still so much you can do to age gracefully. It has been discovered that the levels of glutathione in the eye gradually decrease with age and can diminish rapidly due to the formation or growth of cataracts.

Heavy metals on the other hand have the potential to disrupt the biological activities of proteins in our eye cells. Boosting your glutathione level is the only way to halt the damage that was created by exposure to these metals. Glutathione helps detoxify the aqueous fluid of the inner eye and has been shown to increase fluid outflow in people with glaucoma. Glutathione exists in extremely high concentrations in the lens of the eye and is essential in maintaining lens health.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness among most diabetic patients. Diabetic eye disease comprises of a group of eye conditions that affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma. In fact, some recent scientific studies have also shown that almost all diseases of the eye, including Diabetic retinopathy, are associated with an increase in oxidative stress and a depletion of glutathione levels.

Decreased levels of glutathione are linked to macular degeneration, one of the most common eye diseases affecting people of all ages. Macular degeneration is a condition in which the center of the inner lining of the eye starts to thin, causing optic nerve damage and potential bleeding. The loss of vision in the center of the visual field causes blurred vision, impaired night vision and difficulty reading.

Research studies indicate that people diagnosed with macular degeneration have decreased levels of glutathione in eye cells. A recent study found that low levels of glutathione are associated with rapid progression of the disease. The same study showed that high levels of glutathione are associated with healthy eyes and the prevention of eye disease.

The summary of the findings of these researches indicate that in order to maintain eye health and prevent diseases that may cause blindness, antioxidant levels in the eye must be significantly higher than found in healthy blood plasma.

This is a natural antioxidant that is responsible for getting rid of harmful chemical and substances that the human body comes into contact with. Medical scientists call it the ultimate cell protector or the master antioxidant. It is the body’s first line of defense and that is why your glutathione level determines how healthy you will live. The bad news is that, once you are above age 21 your glutathione level begins to deplete and this could be further accelerated by the combined effects of poor diet, pollution, toxins, medications, stress, trauma, infections and radiation. When a person is no longer able to produce a certain amount of this antioxidant; it then becomes a deficiency.

Once this happens a person’s body becomes susceptible to unrestrained cell disintegration from oxidative stress, free radicals, infections and cancer. Glutathione deficiency has been attributed to be the root cause of over 75 chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, hypertension, arthritis, poor sexual performance, dementia, eye diseases, etc.

For many decades, the subject of glutathione has been the focus of most medical researchers. As at today, there are over 100,000 articles on glutathione published in pubmed (the USA official online library of medical research).

Although some nutritional scientist had discovered that there are some natural fruits or foods that contains the precursors (glycine, glutamic and Cysteine) needed by the body to produce glutathione but another problem is that, due to the complex nature of our digestive system, the body does not get the adequate amount of these compound to produce enough glutathione. In fact, Cysteine which is a very fragile precursor for producing glutathione has been the limiting factor because it cannot survive our body’s complex digestive system. It is usually destroyed even before it gets to the cells where it is needed mostly. This makes supplementation the most effective imperative.