Can sleep improve macular degeneration?

To insure healthy melanin levels in the eyes, you should sleep in 100 percent darkness, even turning down the lighted display on your alarm clock, as it can reduce melatonin production.

by Dr. Edward Kondrot — 

Recent studies have indicated that an important factor in maintaining healthy eyesight is the melanin contained in the retinal pigment epithelium of the retina. Researchers have observed that the earliest changes in macular degeneration occur in this layer of the eye. As we age, changes in the pigment layer of the eye develop along with the production of drusen. You could describe drusen as waste material that accumulates as our retinal cells become sluggish.

How can we keep healthy levels of melanin in our eyes?

Even the slightest amount of light will reduce melatonin production. To insure healthy melanin levels in the eyes, you should sleep in 100 percent darkness, even turning down the lighted display on your alarm clock, as it can reduce melatonin production. Also be sure to get enough sunlight during the day. Getting a good contrast of light (day), versus complete darkness (night), helps the pineal glands produce the most melatonin.

A recent article studying the effects of melatonin in macular degeneration was published by the New York Academy of Sciences. The authors proposed that a decrease in melatonin in the elderly may be an important factor in retinal pigment epithelia dysfunction, which is a well-known cause for the onset of age-related macular degeneration.

One hundred patients were given 3 mg of melatonin at night for a minimum of three months. Fifty-five of the patients were followed for more than six months. After six months of treatment, their visual acuity remained stable, in general, and the majority of patients had reduced pathologic macular changes.

The study concluded that the daily use of 3 mg of melatonin seems to protect the retina and delay macular degeneration. No significant side-effects were observed.

Resource: “Effects of Melatonin in Age-Related Macular Degeneration Reversal of Aging: Resetting the Pineal Clock,” Volume 1057, December 2005 Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1057: 384–392 (2005). Changxian Yi et al.

 

Dr. Edward Kondrot, M.D.(H), CCH, DHt, is a board-certified ophthalmologist and certified homeopathic doctor in practice in Phoenix. He is the author of Healing the Eye the Natural Way: Alternative Medicine and Macular Degeneration and Microcurrent Stimulation: Miracle Eye Cure. www.healingtheeye.com, 602-631-4504 or 1-800-430-9328.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 26, Number 3, June/July 2007.

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