Curcumin: The Unexpected Protector of Your Vision
While it’s well known that polyphenol compounds from blueberry, bilberry, and other sources protect eyesight and the delicate blood vessels in the retina, curcumin is better known from stopping pain, alleviating depression, and fighting tumors. But this amazing compound from turmeric may also provide a first line of defense against diabetic retinopathy, conjunctivitis, and age-related macular degeneration, among other eye conditions.
A review of preclinical and clinical studies has found that because curcumin works along so many inflammatory pathways, it actually stops the damaging inflammation that can cause a variety of vision problems. For example, because curcumin inhibits pro-inflammatory cytokines associated with dry eye disease, it may help individuals suffering from that condition, especially when combined with clinically studied sea buckthorn oil.
Scientific studies have found that curcumin may stop conjunctivitis, in part, because of both anti-inflammatory and anti-allergen effects. And, in laboratory studies of age-related macular degeneration and diabetic neuropathy, curcumin preserved photoreceptor cells and increased levels of natural antioxidants to protect blood vessels.
While curcumin from turmeric has been a part of traditional medical practice in Asia for thousands of years, the compound can be difficult for the body to absorb efficiently. That is why it is important to choose curcumin that has been blended with turmeric essential oil to enhance absorption and provide ar-turmerone, an anti-inflammatory component found naturally in the oil.
Radomska-Leśniewska DM, Osiecka-Iwan A, Hyc A, Góźdź A, Dąbrowska AM, Skopiński P. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in eye diseases. Cent Eur J Immunol. 2019;44(2):181–189. doi:10.5114/ceji.2019.87070
Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) derived from the rhizome of Curcuma longa L. has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine in Asian countries to treat liver diseases, rheumatoid diseases, diabetes, atherosclerosis, infectious diseases and cancer. It exhibits a wide range of pharmacological properties, which include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antimicrobial and anticancer activity. Herein the mechanisms of curcumin impact on oxidative stress, angiogenesis and inflammatory processes are described indicating that curcumin use may inhibit those pathological conditions and restore body homeostasis. Its effectiveness was also proved for major eye diseases. In this review, the influence of curcumin on eye diseases, such as glaucoma, cataract, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, corneal neovascularization, corneal wound healing, dry eye disease, conjunctivitis, pterygium, anterior uveitis are reported. The analysis of a number of clinical and preclinical investigations indicates that curcumin may be used as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of various eye disorders.