Optic nerve is a bundle of more than 1 million nerve fibers that carry visual messages and there is one connecting the back of each eye to the brain. The optic nerve carries signals from the eye to the brain and the brain in turn converts these signals into images. These nerves are indispensable to vision, brightness perception, color identification and any damage to an optic nerve can end you with loss of vision. When there is lack of proper blood flow to the optic nerve the nerve is devoid of nutrition and oxygen which prevents it from performing its functions properly and finally dies out. Optic neuropathy is a medical disorder that deals with visual impairment related to optic nerve damage. The condition progresses gradually starting as a change in color vision, blurring and finally total damage to vision leading to blindness. There are many types of optic neuropathy and many reasons behind each of the types.
First there is toxic optic neuropathy which is nerve damage due to the presence of toxic compounds such as methanol or certain other antibiotics. Then there is nutritional optic neuropathy which is the result of certain nutritional deficiencies (most common is B-vitamin deficiency that includes thiamin, niacin, riboflavin or folic acid deficiency). Nutritional optic neuropathy is treatable by increasing the nutrient intake of the deficient nutrient. For example, if niacin or folic acid deficiency is causing the problem dispensing supplements for these nutrients can solve the problem.
Retinopathy is another optic disorder where there is damage in the retina of the eye due to various reasons which form the basis for the various types of retinopathy-diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy and genetic retinopathy. Another important optic disorder is macular degeneration which involves loss of vision due to damage to the center of the retina (macula). Vitamin supplements can only diminish the progress of the disease which doesn’t have any other treatment options otherwise. Dry eye syndrome is also commonly seen in individuals who suffer from decreased tear production and is characterized by dryness and irritation of the eye.
We all require folate and this nutrient is added in the form of folic acid to cereals and foods making them folic acid-enriched. But sadly, folic acid is not good enough directly as a nutrient but there is a need to convert it into a metabolically active form of folate. But this folic acid metabolism that happens with the help of vitamin B3 doesn’t happen accurately in almost 50% of the individuals. So, even if the individual eats leafy greens and pumps in enough folic acid, he/she still lacks sufficient folate. Apart from vitamin B3 we need adequate quantities of vitamin B12 too for folate metabolism apart from being integral to nerve repair and nerve health.
Foods fortified with folic acid are on the rise, a single slice of bread supplies around 5-10% of the daily folic acid needs and a bowl of rice fortified with folic acid supplies around 10-20% of the daily requirements. This sometimes causes deposits of excess folic acid in individuals-maybe double or triple more than the quantity required. Such excess availability of folic acid does seem to be detrimental to health. More the amount of unmetabolized folic acid present in the blood lesser is the ability of methylfolate to cross the cell membrane along with other side effects such as increased risk of cancer, abnormal cell growth, depression, neurological complications and decreased immune response. The invention patented here aims at treating optic nerve disorders in non-folic acid-deficient organisms using a downstream folate compound and also to improve visual acuity in non-folic acid-deficient (a person who does not suffer from folic acid deficiency) organisms. This invention has been successful in treating patients with neuropathy, retinopathy, macular degeneration and other ocular pathologies by giving downstream folate compounds, vitamin B6, vitamin B3 and reducing consumption of folic acid. The invention mainly aims to use downstream folate compounds to minimize the interruption of environmental, genetic, lifestyle or medication-related factors and thereby alleviate the risk of optic disorders that can be caused due to any of these factors. The invention was tested on various subjects for a varied number of optic nerve-related conditions and all the tests proved the following things:
United States Patent & Trademark Office: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=5&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=241&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=nutrition&s2=diet&OS=nutrition+AND+diet&RS=nutrition+AND+diet
European Patent Office: https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/biblio?DB=EPODOC&II=0&ND=3&adjacent=true&locale=en_EP&FT=D&date=20180201&CC=US&NR=2018028556A1&KC=A1
World Intellectual Property Organization: https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=US73445379&_cid=P11-JXLQ4Q-69387-1
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