If you thought you’d seen it all in terms of the impacts of COVID-19, think again – because the latest area of health to be affected by the virus, according to research, is eye health, Rosie Greenaway reports
As the pandemic marches on, The London Ophthalmology Centre has noted an increase in the number of people attending clinic with complaints of pain and inflammation in and around the eye after having had COVID.
According to a recent study by BMJ Open Ophthalmology, the commonly reported forms of irritation coronavirus patients are presenting with include photophobia (18%), itchy eyes (17%) and sore eyes (16%).
Vik Sharma, clinical director at the London Ophthalmology Centre, says: “COVID seems to be affecting the eyes in various and mysterious ways. Firstly, I have seen patients myself, and heard many reports from colleagues about people who report inflammation in the eyes with active COVID-19 infections. Secondly, people with long-COVID … have complained of blepharitis and eye pain some time after the COVID-19 infection has passed. We do not yet have sufficient scientific data however people should be aware and seek treatment for their eye conditions.”
There’s no doubt that some persistent eye conditions may require medical treatment, but among the advice Sharma gives to patients is the use of omega-3 for improving blepharitis – an aggravating affliction which features red, swollen, itchy lids and edges of the eyes.
Not a dry eye in the house
Most people are oblivious to the health perils of a dry sclera (the jelly-like bit your finger meets when you touch your eyeball). But according to a poll by eye care expert Rohto, dry eye can lead to long-term damage; 20% of dry eye sufferers end up with severe dry eye disease which affects night driving, reading and night vision. So getting a head start on the problem is vital.
Optometrist Francesca Marchetti recommends regular use of eye drops which ‘break the vicious cycle’ and help avoid long-term cornea damage – and Peep Club Instant Relief Eye Spray is here to do just that. Brand founder Gill Sinclair describes it as a ‘gentle but powerful’ mist, clinically proven to relieve unpleasant dryness. “It also happens to be the perfect pick-me-up for tired eyes after a day (or night) spent in front of screens.” Peep Club’s Heated Eye Wand is another treat for dry eyes, offering three settings – heat, massage and red LED – depending on need. Taking it one step further, the company launched a Moisturising Portable Humidifier for ‘bedside table, home office or back-to-work desk’. It replaces moisture in the air around your workspace or bed, helping eyes stay moist between blinks.
Tired eyes need look no further than Sensory Retreats vegan-friendly Dreamy Eyes Masks which are self-heating and have a gentle jasmine fragrance to make the idea of an early night that bit more appealing.
Supplements for sight
Lauded for its ability to help eyes see in low light, vitamin A is fundamental for eye health. Fushi Wellbeing’s Wholefood Vitamin A offers vision support through a combination of beta carotene, pro-vitamin A and wholefood powders of kale and carrot. Lutein and zeaxanthin are part of the same carotenoid family, boasting retina-boosting benefits and the potential to prevent cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Astaxanthin, too, is said to be of use in caring for the durability of eyes, acting as a ‘first line of defence’ against oxidative stressors which, over time, damage eyesight.
“COVID seems to be affecting the eyes in various and mysterious ways”
Launched this year and containing both vitamin A and astaxanthin, Manifesto is a vegan cherry-flavoured gummy primarily aimed at the beauty market but pack-ing a powerful punch for eyes too, contained within a handy reusable tin.
Heard it on the grapevine
Ever heard of gold-plated ear seeds? The Kardashians have, and they’re quite the fans. Ear seeding – a powerful technique used in traditional Chinese Medicine – has become a hot trend according to Goop, and new brand Point Zero has cashed in with its 24K Gold Plated Ear Seeds, designed to be applied to acupressure points on the ears where they can help calm anxiety, boost immunity and aid sleep without the use of needles. Point Zero co-founder Ayesha Grover says the seeds clear energy blocks and bring the body back into balance. “The tiny gold-plated accessories are subtle enough to be mistaken for micro pieces of jewellery and look so pretty on the ears.”
In general, ear health might not be the sexiest subject, but from cleaning away excess wax to blocking out the sound of someone snoring, it is a core part of everyday life. For some years forward-thinking brands such as Bambaw, Eco Panda and The Humble Co have been ahead of the curve, offering eco-friendly ear buds as an alternative way before the ban on single-use plastic ones was even mentioned. But more recently other reusable options have hit the market: QiEco, for example, developed the Reusable Cotton Bud made from medical grade silicone, whose tip can be washed in warm, soapy water, presented in magnetic bamboo storage case.
While Hopi ear candles have long been a fabled means of withdrawing wax from deep inside the ear canal, many people automatically head for their community nurse when ears become blocked – providing the perfect sales opportunity for health stores with premium or organic olive oil on their shelves; in preparation for the syringe, a few drops in each ear can soften wax and make extraction less painful.
A.Vogel Extra Moisturising Eye Drops
A.Vogel Extra Eye Drops can be used to relieve very dry, irritated or tired eyes and contain Euphrasia and Hyaluronic acid. A.Vogel’s hyaluronic acid is made from bacterial processes using a liquid culture medium of non-animal origin, which is GMO-free. There is 2x more hyaluronic acid contained within these drops compared to A.Vogel’s original Eye Drops. The unique delivery system of these eye drops presents one drop at a time and the bottle is especially sterile to avoid preservatives, ensuring that the drops can be used continuously and intensively. The drops are vegan, suitable for use with contact lenses and those over the age of 12, however parents can administer to children. RRP £13.50 for 10ml.
Lutein has strong antioxidant properties. It is the primary carotenoid found in the macula (the central area of the retina) of the eye, and it is thought to act as a filter protecting the macula from potentially damaging forms of light. Lutein complex in this product is from marigold petals.
As with all FSC’s products, FSC Lutein is made in the UK with the finest ingredients and based on widely recognised scientific evidence of their health qualities.
Suitable for Vegans and recommended to take one 20mg capsule daily with food. Available in 60 capsule glass bottles.
A win-win for your health and the planet. Screen Eyes™ is formulated by experts to feed your eyes with important nutrients to support your vision health. More and more of us suffer from Digital Eye Strain (DES), creating stress on our eyes, eye strain and fatigue. Containing the carotenoids Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-zeaxanthin, with Astaxanthin, Bilberry and essential vitamins, Screen Eyes™ enriches your macular pigment, protecting the sensitive areas of your eyes and helping reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). DR.VEGAN only uses clean and plant-based ingredients. Better Me. Better Planet.
Nature’s Answer Bio-Ear Formula
Nature’s Answer Bio-Ear Formula is an all-natural, topical high-quality liquid product recommended for sufferers of persistent ringing and buzzing in the ear. May help to safely silence ear noise and offer relief from sensitivity to sound. Bio-Ear features a proprietary blend of Bio-Chelated, concentrated herbal extracts that, when synergistically combined, have been shown to help relieve ringing, buzzing and noise, by nourishing nerve endings in the ear and gently improving circulation. Free from preservatives and 100% natural. Ease of use makes this product super appealing – simply moisten a cotton ball with the formula and leave in the ear for 2-4 hours.
Lamberts® Eyewise® With Lutein, Bilberry, Grapeseed and Blackberry
In recent years, there has been a lot of interest about two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, as evi-dence mounts that higher consumption of both, particularly lutein, may help us preserve healthy vi-sion as we age. Found in leafy green vegetables, plants produce lutein to help protect the cell con-tents from sunlight damage. Our bodies can use lutein in the same way to filter out the rays in sun-light, that can damage delicate light receptor cells of the macula. Lamberts® Eyewise® provides 20mg of pure free-form lutein per tablet, making our product one of the strongest on the market.
New Nordic Ltd
Blueberries are well known for their positive effects on eyesight.
Blueberries contain flavonoids, which have a positive effect on the microcirculation in the cells of the eye. Research shows that there are other substances in blueberries, which are good for eyesight. For example lutein, which has shown remarkable results in scientific tests.
New Nordic combines blueberries and lutein with additional herbal extracts in their Blue Berry™ Eyebright supplements aimed at the eyes. These original Swedish Blue Berry tablets are recommended to people, who want help to maintain healthy eyes and vitality.
NutraVision Herbal Tea
NutraVision® by NutraTea® is 1 in a range of 22 herbal remedy teas that has been thoughtfully for-mulated to maintain eye health and function, through venous support and antioxidant action. This comprehensive herbal blend contains 100% active botanicals that have been sustainably sourced including Orange Pepper, Bilberry and Eyebright to help maintain the function of the retina. Each natural herbal tea bag is free-from flavourings, oils and excipients allowing it to be reused through-out the day for a delicious and convenient way to support blood flow and provide antioxidant sup-port for the eyes.
Otosan Ear Care Range
Otosan’s natural ear care range provides relief from common ear problems including; wax build up, irritated itchy ears and earache. Formulated with natural and organic extracts and medical device claims they provide effective treatment for all the family without chemical intervention. Otosan’s range also includes natural relief for your nose and throat.
MaxiFocus® Sublingual Liposomal Drops
MaxiFocus® now contains Astaxanthin from AstaReal, alongside Lutein and Zeaxanthin – incredibly powerful ‘carotenoids’ that have been identified as vital nutrients for lens and macular health. This super formula contains 26 nutrients to help maintain normal vision*, and all ingredients are delivered using an advanced liposomal delivery system, with absorption up to 9x greater than tablet alternatives. All nutrients are blended in their most biologically active forms, including Methyl Folate and now with the active forms of Benfotiamine (bioavailable form of thiamine), Riboflavin (as co-enzyme B2) and Vitamin B6 (as P-5-P, co-enzyme B6), plus Selenium (as selenocysteine), enhancing utilisation further.