In a recent blog post about the eye-brain connection, I detailed my own difficult battle with an eye disorder called episcleritis. Although I dealt with it successfully enough to stop using steroids, some troubling issues nevertheless remained. My continued search for a magic potion that would bring my eyes back to their original sharp focus led me to some interesting findings, and I thought to share them with others who may be seeking help for threatening eye conditions that may lead to blindness if not treated early on.
I knew my yearly eye exam was due, and a few days ago I sat nervously in the doctor’s chair as I waited till my optometrist came in. Lucky for me I have one of those rare doctors who will actually sit down and have a conversation. He listens to all of my concerns and answers all of my questions. I live in Colorado Springs, and I would like to recommend Dr. Curtis W. Gales, OD, of Executive Park Eye Care to anyone in the area.
I sensed that Dr. Gales kept going back to look and look and look, and then he asked me if I’d ever had an epiretinal membrane eye test. Not even knowing what it was, I grew uncomfortable and told him no. I soon found myself in front of a strange looking piece of equipment. After the test, I followed the technician back to the office to get the results. As it turned out, the news wasn’t totally devastating, but it was nevertheless very discouraging.
Let me explain a little about this test, why I recommend you ask for one, and what it reveals. As I mentioned, in all my years of going to eye exams, I’d never even heard of the epiretinal membrane test. For that matter, I’d never been asked to take one. Without an excessive amount of medical jargon, let me just say that this test looks at the back of the eye in a very special way. Some of us, like me, have a membrane that should not be over the retina, which covers the macula. For most people this membrane is harmless. However, if it starts to thicken, it can damage the macula.
My left eye showed no harm from this membrane, but my right eye did show some early signs of damage. I will now need to seek out a specialist, and if its progression cannot be stopped, I may require surgical removal of the membrane! Did I sleep that night? Not even an hour as I tossed and turned in almost utter despair. Along with other changes, I’ve already begun to use Standard Process Oculotrophin PMG more aggressively, and this will hopefully help stop the progression. Additionally, I will search alternative ways to dissolve that membrane without surgery and update you if I’m successful.
Before I discuss a wonderful new book I recently discovered about serious eye disorders, let me pass on some recommendations from Dr. Gales and others. After that, I’ll talk about major supplements I believe are crucial for helping you resolve any eye issue.
Move Your Eye Gaze Frequently
Dr. Gales was adamant that we take frequent 5–10 second breaks by simply looking to the side or above to a wall or picture for 5–10 seconds while working on the computer or watching TV. Because we were never intended to sit in front of screens for the length of time we all now do, we’re actually abusing the natural law—and experiencing the consequences. (I discuss a nice eye exercise to do when you cannot leave your computer in “The Eye-Brain Connection.”) I too have read that it’s beneficial to take at least 5–15 minute breaks as frequently as possible to go outdoors and get natural light without any glasses. This of course should not be in direct sunlight. (And while you’re at it—drink water, beet kvass, or cabbage tonic.)
Blue Light Technology
Dr. Gales also advised that we may need some blue light protection. However, many products, including the more popular tinted glasses, completely block out most blue light, which is also dangerous.
Below are two other comments from reputable sources:
From Dr. Bruce Fife, ND, author of Stop Vision Loss Now:
“I do not use anything special on my computer or wear any special type of glasses. In my opinion, blue light is not harmful as long as you eat a healthy diet that supplies the antioxidants and nutrients the eyes need. People didn’t need special glasses 200 years ago to protect their eyes from degenerative disease. I don’t believe we do either.
“The rates of all of these eye diseases have greatly increased over the past 30–40 years. Yes, we have exposure to TV screens and computer monitors, but we spend 95 percent of our time indoors, in the shade. People in the past spent the majority of their time outside in the sun, with their eyes exposed to full sunlight and UV light, which is potentially more harmful than the light coming from a TV screen.”
The Weston A. Price Foundation also points to a small number of studies suggesting the possible danger that the blue portion of the light spectrum, which LEDs in particular produce (though CFLs do as well), may cause irreversible damage to our eyes. Remember, damage to the eye is based on light spectrum, intensity, duration of exposure, and likely the health status of the one exposed.
To help minimize possible damage, attend to the following pointers:
- Get the f.lux download to help your computer screen adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.
- Eat a nourishing diet rich in vitamin A.
- Avoid polyunsaturated fatty acids and processed foods.
- Turn down the brightness on your devices and use lower-wattage ambient light when possible. Bring as much natural light into your living and work spaces as possible. No light bulb was ever designed to be looked at directly. They’re to help you see, not be seen.
- Sit as far away from electronic devices as possible. Keep your eyes at least 24 inches from your computer and other gadget screens (farther for TVs, especially large TVs).
- Take regular breaks when working with technology. Plan a 5–10 minute break every 30 minutes and a shorter break every 10–15 minutes to rest your eyes and give them time to recover.
Powerful Standard Process Supplements at Your Disposal
Oculotrophin PMG: This is a special proprietary supplement containing porcine eye extract, which supports the repair and rebuilding of the eyes. Sound impossible? No, this isn’t an exaggeration. Some supplements you can only find when you use Standard Process. Why? To answer that question, I’d like to make a brief statement about a complex discovery made by Dr. Royal Lee, the founder of Standard Process formulas, regarding protomorphogens.
Supplements containing a protomorphogen act as decoys in the blood, distracting antibodies that may be removing dead cells from an unhealthy organ. By this decoy action, the proper nutrition can be administered in order to reduce further damage and give it time to repair or rebuild. I therefore highly recommend the supplement Oculotrophin PMG for any eye issue. (Read more about protomorphology at the Selene River Press Historical Archives.)
Iplex: This Standard Process formula is a nutritional product that nourishes the eye. It supports normal eye function, healthy cellular and connective tissue associated with the eye, and eye vascular tissue. In addition, it contains vitamins A and C complex (not just ascorbic acid, which is only the preservative wrapper), riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6. It also contains Oculotrophin PMG, but in lesser amounts than found in the main product. I’m now taking both of these supplements. Ask your Standard Process practitioner to test you for dosage and frequency.
More About My Latest Book Find
Stop Vision Loss Now, by Bruce Fife, ND: Another great and encouraging book from the author of so many others. Fife recommends the use of coconut oil, coconut water, red palm oil, and other healthy fats. In this, his latest book, he offers chapter after chapter of ways to prevent and heal a range eye conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other common eye disorders.
You’ll love learning about new and wonderful ways to use both coconut oil and coconut water in your eyes! He also discusses why red palm oil and other nutrients are essential to heal or prevent some of the disorders above. His diet recommendations are unique to those following a low-carbohydrate diet. Simply said, this book is an investment you won’t regret.
Chapters in Stop Vision Loss Now:
- A Natural Solution to Common Eye Problems
- The Human Eye
- Common Eye Disorders
- Vision Busters
- Blood Sugar and Insulin Resistance
- What You Should Know About Fats and Oils
- Top Nutrients for Good Eye Health
- The Miracle of Ketones
- Coconut Ketones
- Coconut Therapy
- The Low-Carbohydrate Diet
Appendix: Net Carbohydrate Counter
In the nutrition section, I was pleasantly surprised to find a great chart indicating the foods that supply the most carotenoids. These include lutein, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthins, alpha-carotene, and beta carotene. For example, the top four foods in terms of luetein and zeaxanthin content are egg yolks, corn, kiwi, and red seedless grapes.
Here are some recipes high in carotenoids for you:
Simple Vegetable Egg Bake
—From Naturally Ella. Excellent vegetable combinations for this egg bake include asparagus and spring onions; tomatoes, spinach, and peppers; broccoli and garlic; zucchini and onions…the possibilities are endless. The following recipe serves 4, but it can easily be halved for 2. It can even be scaled down for a single serving: simply use 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons milk, and ½-cup diced vegetables!
8 large eggs
½ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1½–2 oz. shredded cheese, such as cheddar, gouda, goat, or smoked mozzarella
2 cups diced vegetables
1–2 teaspoons fresh minced herbs, such as basil, rosemary, thyme, or parsley (optional)
1 cup cooked grains, such as millet, quinoa, or brown rice (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place 4 (8 oz.) ramekins or 2 (16 oz.) ramekins on a baking tray with a lip.
- In a bowl, whisk together eggs, whole milk, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Prepare your vegetables: dice any vegetables that you might typically eat raw or that don’t take that long to cook into small pieces (½ inch at most, but smaller is better). Distribute ½ cup of vegetables into each ramekin. If using vegetables that take a bit of time to cook, such as sweet potatoes or butternut squash, roast or steam them ahead of time.
- Sprinkle cheese over the vegetables. Add any herbs or grains as desired. If necessary, reduce the amount of vegetables for space. Pour egg mixture over vegetables to cover, leaving about ½ an inch of space from the top edge, as the eggs will puff up as they bake.
- For 8 oz. ramekins: bake 18–22 minutes. For 16 oz. ramekins: bake 22–25 minutes. Eggs should be puffed. They shouldn’t look wet on top or jiggle when the tray is shaken. Cheese should also be lightly browning.
- Remove from oven. Serve immediately as the egg mixture will begin to deflate as it cools.
Coconut Flour Bread
—Traditional Cook Version. This recipe is adapted from Cooking with Coconut Flour by Bruce Fife, ND. The bread is made with full fat coconut flour. It can be used much like regular bread or in lieu of pound cake. Since coconut flour lacks gluten, the leavening comes from the eggs and baking powder. Yields one 5½ x 9-inch stoneware loaf pan.
12 whole eggs
1 cup butter, slightly melted
¼ cup honey, or to taste (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups sifted coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
- Preheat oven to 335°F. Blend together eggs, butter, honey (if using), and salt.
- Combine coconut flour with baking powder. Whisk thoroughly into batter until there are no lumps.
- Pour into greased (I use coconut oil) stoneware loaf pan. Bake in the middle of the oven for approximately 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean and bread is nicely browned.
- Remove from oven and place stoneware on a rack. Allow bread to cool completely in the pan, then gently turn over with one hand on top of the bread to release the loaf.
Einkorn Porridge for One
This Traditional Cook original recipe can easily be doubled for more than one serving. Though the organic raisins are optional because they are a high sugar product, they’re also a good source of tartaric acid, good for easing constipation. Important: Einkorn is the only grain I know that’s rich in lutein and low in gluten. It’s also very high in numerous other nutrients. To learn more, take time to read my article “Ancient Grains Primer: Taking a Closer Look at Nutrient Dense Grains.”
¼ cup of einkorn wheat (rich lutein heritage grain)
½ cup spring water
½ teaspoon whey or apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon coconut or red palm oil, or a combination
¼ cup organic raisins (optional)
Raw milk, raw butter, or raw cream (optional)
Green powdered Stevia (optional)
Special equipment: grain or vegetable steamer (optional). Though I cannot guarantee steamers are BPA free, this Black and Decker steamer is a good choice as it has a small bowl.
- The night before, place einkorn with approximately ½ cup spring water into a Vitamix or blender. Run at high speed for approximately 5–7 seconds to crack the grain, unless you already have some cracked einkorn on hand. Add ½ teaspoon of whey or apple cider vinegar to the soaking water. Cover and soak overnight. Now you have cracked einkorn ready to steam in a grain steamer or bake in your oven.
- For the oven: Preheat oven to 375°F. Place slightly melted coconut or palm oil in a glass baking dish with a cover. Pour cracked einkorn, raisins (if using), and enough soaking water to cover about ½ an inch above the grain. If necessary, add more water so the grain will not dry out.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes. If desired, add raw butter, raw milk or raw cream, and a bit of green powdered Stevia to your porridge. Crispy bacon along with this is super tasty!
- For grain or vegetable steamer: follow manufacturer instructions.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
- chemical- and hormone-free meat
- wild-caught fish
- pasture-raised, organic eggs
- whole, unrefined grains
- virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
- whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
- pure, clean, spring water
- sea salt
- raw and/or cultured milk and cream products
Photo from iStock/Juanagoras
Note from Maria: I am a Certified Natural Health Professional, CNHP, not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any human diseases. Please see your medical doctor prior to following any recommendations I make in my blogs or on my website.