Using a high-output camera to film the back of the human eye, for the first time researchers have shown that a resveratrol-based (rez-vair-ah-trawl) nutriceutical matrix can effectively remove cellular debris from the human eye that accumulates with advancing age and correlated this with significant improvement in visual acuity and night vision in an 80-year old man. Resveratrol is widely known as a red wine molecule.
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The accumulation of cellular debris in the retina is believed to be the first detectable sign of retinal aging.
Dr. Stuart Richer OD, PhD, Chief, Optometry Section at the Veterans Medical Center in North Chicago, in a report entitled "Molecular Medicine in Opthalmic Care," published in the December 2009 issue of the journal Optometry, says this may be the first time an intervention has been documented to reverse aging changes in a human retina.
The patient, an 80-year old male, came to the eye clinic complaining of loss of night vision. Commonly prescribed nutriceuticals, such as lutein, vitamin E and fish oil were employed with no positive result.
After 5 months on the dietary supplement regimen, five measurable parameters of vision improved to varying but significant degrees including night (contrast) vision, visual acuity, color and side vision. Upon testing, it was also found the patient also experienced improvement on a survey of mental tasks. The patient said, "My night vision and thinking have gotten much better."
The underlying cause
A broad body of evidence exists to assert the claim that the human eye and all other organs in the human body "rust and calcify" with advancing age. Dr. Richer prescribed a nutriceutical matrix (Longevinex(R) -pronounced long-jev-in-ex) designed to remove excess intra-cellular minerals by a process called chelation (key-lay-shun), particularly calcium, iron and copper, that build up in retinal tissues over time.
Dr. Richer explains that the retina of the eye begins to show signs of retinal aging, usually beginning in the third decade of life, with the progressive accumulation of lipofuscin, the medical term for cellular "garbage" that pollutes cells as they age. Researchers believe lipofuscin is not an innocent bystander -- that it generates free radicals, gene mutations and even cell death.
The use of natural iron-chelating polyphenolic molecules, such as resveratrol, quercetin and rice bran employed in this case, has been proposed as an intervention that addresses a wide range of age-related changes in the brain, eye and blood vessels. These molecules work by their mineral chelating (key-lay-ting) properties.
Older patients can't wait for a cure
Dr. Richer says this case may serve as an early example of the potential for molecular medicine to make an impact in eye care. "While only one case, these patients do not have time to wait for controlled long-term studies and 'best available evidence' needs to be employed, given there are no foreseeable side effects or undue cost."
While Dr. Richer says this is not a proven cure yet, he thinks modern medicine may soon be able to prevent the onset of aging changes in the retina decades before vision is lost. He says prevention is the best approach.
If this paper foretells what is to come, young adults may soon be able to obtain a non-invasive retinal/lipofuscin assessment many decades prior to the development of aging changes in the retina and then later utilize oral mineral chelators to promote a healthy retina.
Furthermore, it becomes evident that by measuring lipofuscin deposits, that not only the biological age of the human eye can be assessed apart from its chronological (calendar) age, but that lipofuscin measurement may serve to help determine the biological age and the "speed of aging" of the entire body.
Lipofuscin accumulates in all tissues of the body with advancing age. System-wide, age-reversing effects could also be estimated in this non-invasive manner. With this discovery optometry offices may soon become anti-aging centers.
Dr. Richer has no financial interest in the product. Resveratrol Partners LLC, makers of patent-pending Longevinex(R), provided the nutriceuticals for this patient. To learn more, visit www.eyedoctorricher.com.