There are many common infections which affect the eyes. The eyes get infected by fungi, bacteria or viruses. These infections affect different parts of our eyes.
They can affect both or one eye:
- Conjunctivitis is a widespread contagious eye infection which affects everyone especially children. Also called ‘pink eye’, this infection causes the conjunctiva (outer layer of eyeball) to get inflamed. There is often a discharge and it can affect both eyes. It is caused by virus, bacteria or allergies.
- Stye is a tiny eruption on the eyelid. This occurs when bacteria on the skin infects hair follicles of the eyelashes.
Other common eye infections are cellulites, keratitis, blepharitis, trachoma, corneal ulcer, herpes simplex virus, herpes zoster.
The usual symptoms of eye infections are red eyes, discharge from the eyes, persistent itching, blurred vision, flaking of eyelids, discomfort, eye pain, watery eyes, swelling of eyelids and surrounding areas.
Another common eye condition is dry eyes. This occurs when the tears produced by the lachrymal glands are insufficient to lubricate the eyes.
Dry eyes is also caused by the weather (dry or windy), dust, pollution, cigarette smoke, fumes etc. which can dry up tears and irritate the eyes.
Those who have dry eyes suffer from inflammation, eye irritation and a feeling of a foreign body in their eyes. Very often air pollutants cause dry eyes in those who wear contact lenses.
What is Kelp?
Kelp is often called a sea vegetable or seaweed. This oceanic plant offers numerous health benefits since it is rich in nutrients.
The whole plant is dried and then used to make kelp supplements, liquid, granules, powder and animal feed. The main reason why kelp is preferred to other sea vegetables is that if harvested in the right areas, it contains less toxic metals and greater alginate content.
Kelp is rich in minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, chromium and manganese. Kelp is one of the best sources of naturally available iodine, although care must be taken because iodine content varies in different varieties of kelp.
Kelp is also rich in B vitamins like B12, B1, and B2, vitamin A, K, polysaccharides, amino acids and carbohydrates.
Kelp for the Eyes
There are many reasons why kelp can benefit the eyes. Kelp is rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A or retinol is an essential nutrient for the body.
It improves the immunity levels of the body and helps us fight various infections.
It keeps skin and eyes moist. A deficiency in vitamin A is the leading cause of blindness in children, night blindness, itching eyes, inflamed eyelids and dry eyes.
Hence, foods rich in vitamin A like kelp can prevent dry eyes, night blindness and improve vision.
It keeps the eyes moist, improves night vision, and improves vision in weak eyes by forming visual purple. Vitamin A provides retinal health and reduces risk of macular degeneration due to ageing and contracting cataracts.
By helping the eyes adapt to darkness and bright lights, it improves symptoms of night blindness. Vitamin A supplements are also said to help those with glaucoma and gives us overall beautiful and healthy eyes.
Kelp also contains good quantities of magnesium which also provides benefits to the eyes. Magnesium can relax eye muscles.
Hence conditions like Blepharospasm, twitching of eyelids and eye spasms can be alleviated with magnesium supplements. Since it relaxes the eye muscles, magnesium can avert ocular migraines. Magnesium protects the eye tissues and optic nerve from over-stimulation.
Excess accumulation of calcium in the lens can cause cloudy cataracts. Magnesium helps prevent excess calcium accumulation in the body.
Kelp is rich in vitamin B complex. B vitamins are essential for eye health. They reduce the risk of cataracts, bloodshot eyes, gritty eyes, burning sensation and protect the eyes from excess sensitivity to lights.
Deficiency in vitamin B2 (riboflavin) cause light sensitivity, eye fatigue, irritation and redness. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency can cause muscle weakness and nystagmus (trembling) of the eyes. Vitamin B12 deficiencies can cause double vision or even blindness.
Since kelp is rich in all the above nutrients, it can benefit proper eye functioning, prevent infections and maintain eye health.
Prolonged intake of kelp is not advised since it could cause an iodine overdose, which could lead to thyroid problems. Depending on where it is harvested, some types of kelp could have high concentrations of arsenic and other toxic heavy metals.
Kelp grown in protected waters off the coasts of Hawaii, Canada, Iceland, Norway or North West United States are said to be safer for consumption.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised against using kelp supplements. Those who are about to undergo surgery are usually told not to use kelp products two weeks before or after surgery due to the presence of vitamin K.
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