Sometimes we tend to take our bodies for granted, but if we recognized the sophisticated inner workings that go into them, we would treat them with greater respect. Since the eye is our second most complex organ after the brain, it should come as no surprise that we have always been fascinated by it.
Everything in our body is connected, so it’s no wonder that healthy vision and a healthy brain strongly correlate with a healthy gut. There are more than 100 trillion microorganisms in the human gut, and they can all affect our eyes!
How does our gut microbiome affect our eyes?
Gut Microbiome And Gut Microbiota
First, we need to understand the gut microbiome and gut microbiota. The term “microbiome” generally refers to the genetic makeup of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeast in or around the human body. Individual microbes themselves are commonly referred to as “microbiota.” Food, medicines, stress, and sleep habits can impact the bacteria traveling to our gut, affecting microorganisms and viruses part of the microbiome and significantly impacting human health and disease.
These free-living microorganisms are involved in various physiological processes, including nutrition, host immunity, drug metabolism, and endocrine signaling. They are found in the gastrointestinal tract and are shaped by environmental and lifestyle factors, including geography, diet, and medications. Research suggests that 70% of our immune system is in the gut.
Microbiota’s Role In The Development And Progression Of Eye Illnesses
Some illnesses include diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and uveitis. A study indicates that some naturally occurring gut microbes can trigger uveitis, a disorder causing blindness. Suppose a healthy gut microbiota performs its duties in digestion and immune system defense and keeps the body balanced. When the gut microbiota causes systemic inflammation because of abnormal activity, the body will defend itself from the onset of numerous illnesses.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Illnesses such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). AMD is an acquired retinal degeneration resulting in central vision impairment because of the derangement of neovascular and non-neovascular blood vessels. As the general population ages and if they are smokers, vision impairment rapidly increases.
According to a meta-analysis, AMD was predicted to impact roughly 200 million people globally in 2020 and about 300 million in 2040 despite significant geographic and lifestyle variations.
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Glaucoma can damage the eye’s optic nerve and can worsen over time. A rise in internal ocular pressure is typically the cause. Glaucoma is often genetic and doesn’t appear until much later in life. The optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain, can be harmed by increasing fluid pressure in your eye and, within a few years, resulting in total blindness or irreversible vision loss.
According to research, the link between Helicobacter pylori infection, a bacteria that infects your stomach, and the raised ocular pressure caused by glaucoma have become a trending topic of study. Research shows that H. pylori may be a catalyst for a systemic autoimmune response, which causes a number of inflammatory chemicals to be released.
Diabetic retinopathy is the most general complication of diabetes and is a severe microvascular condition. It is predicted that by 2030, there will be nearly 200 million cases of this condition. Important insights have been made stating a potential connection between the gut microbiome and diabetic retinopathy. Research has shown that critical physiological activity, like metabolized energy and microenvironmental homeostasis, is influenced by gut microbiota changes.
Conditions like Uveitis are also influenced by microbiome activity. It’s a common instance of eye inflammation where the middle layer of tissue of the eye wall is impacted. Uveitis develops unexpectedly and rapidly gets worse. Symptoms include eye pain and blurred vision. People of all ages, including children, can be affected by the illness, which can impair either one or both eyes.
Studies indicate that alterations in how substances pass through the intestinal wall and microbiota might influence the severity and development of ocular inflammation, such as uveitis.
Dry eye disease is a common ailment that arises when your tears cannot sufficiently moisten your eyes; this might happen for various reasons. For instance, dry eyes may develop if your tear production is insufficient or of poor quality. The instability of the tears can cause inflammation and surface damage to the eye.
Surprisingly, abnormalities in the eye’s surface microbiota can be found similar to those in the gut microbiome. Changing the eyes’ microbiota also impacts ocular autoimmunity and decreases the generation of immunoglobulin deficiency.
Balance Gut Microbiome
One question remains: Can we balance our gut microbiome? Of course! We can change the gut microbiome for the better with certain antibiotics, short-chain fatty acids, high-fiber diets, and pre and probiotics. When administered in the correct dosage form, they help to balance and normalize the gut microbiome.
Antibiotics: Antibiotics are the most obvious way to change the bacteria in the gut. Based on animal experiments, if you use targeted antibiotics to change the bacteria in the gut, you can dramatically reduce the severity of autoimmune diseases. Increasingly, more evidence shows that antibiotics change how our immune systems work and how well we can fight off infections and digest food.
Short-Chain Fatty Acids And A Diet With A Lot Of Fiber
Short-chain fatty acids and a diet with a lot of fiber: Ongoing research shows that different diets can positively affect the microbiota, which can help reduce inflammation in the eyes. Some bacteria will become more active in the gut if you eat a lot of fiber. These bacteria make short-chain fatty acids that help regulatory T cells develop and make it less likely that your eyes will get inflamed.
Probiotics: Some types of bacteria that live in the gut can stop inflammation from getting worse. Probiotics might change the make-up of the gut microbiome and provide beneficial functions to the gut microbial communities. This could improve gut inflammation and other intestinal or systemic disease symptoms. Maybe even outright stop them from occurring. What we consume and how gut bacteria alter their contents impact the structure and operation of microbial communities in the gut. The relationship between the microorganisms in our bodies and our eyes has recently attracted more attention.
So, Let’s keep the conversation going with a few more eye care articles. Shall we? Read 9 Most Important Vitamins To Repair & Heal Your Eyes or 15 Foods To Boost Eye Health
There are more bacterial cells than human cells in your body. Most of these bacteria live in your gut and help keep you healthy in important ways. Human health and disease are affected by the microbial symbionts in the gut, but only recently were linked to eye diseases. Looking at the link between gut microbiota and eye diseases, as well as how we might be able to fix imbalances in the gut microbiome to make the diseases they cause less problematic.
We have discussed in detail autoimmune uveitis, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and primary open-angle glaucoma. We also discuss what we know about the new area of ophthalmology research and what studies have to say about gut microbiomes. Included are treatments that could cure the disease, such as using antibiotics, short-chain fatty acids, a high-fiber diet, and prebiotics and probiotics.