Vision Book Review: Natural Ways to Support Eye Health

Natural Ways to Support Eye Health

Book Review by Ward Dean, M.D.

Age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy are among the leading causes of visual loss. Unfortunately, standard medical approaches to preserving sight havent offered much hope for treatment of these blinding eye diseases. In Save Your Sight (Warner Books, 1998), Marc Rose, M.D., and Michael Rose, M.D. offer natural approaches to prevent and even reverse these eye disorders.

Drs. Marc and Michael Rose are identical twins who are both ophthalmologists. They are unique in that they practice anti-aging and life extension medicine in conjunction with their ophthalmalogical specialty. These two physicians have created a program for eye health that is easy to understand and easy to follow. They start with a general lifestyle plan—ten simple steps that set the stage for interventions that are specific to each eye disease discussed in the text. You cant heal eye disease without healing the rest of your body, says Dr. Marc Rose. One chapter that covers the inner workings and anatomy of the eyes, and another that covers basic nutritional principles give us the foundation we need to understand the next few chapters on specific eye diseases.

There are chapters devoted to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataract, and a rare inherited disease, retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Each chapter enumerates the symptoms, potential causes, and risk factors of the specific disease. The Roses outline what mainstream medicine is doing for each disease, and clearly explain the risks, benefits, and likelihood of success of these approaches. In addition to these standard therapeutic options, the authors describe nutritional and lifestyle prescriptions that can be used instead of or in addition to the standard regimens.

In age-related macular degeneration, for example—which affects up to fifteen million people over the age of sixty—the macula, a crucial part of the retina of the eye, slowly deteriorates.Eventually ARMD can lead to almost complete blindness, blackening the central visual field so that only the very edges of peripheral vision are preserved. Mainstream medical approaches involve laser surgery and radiation therapy–last-ditch efforts used only when the disease has progressed to where blindness may be imminent. The Roses approach is based on the fact that ARMD, like atherosclerosis, is a disease of poor circulation. The macula atrophies because it isnt getting adequate blood flow. By enhancing the health of the circulatory system with targeted nutrients, exercise, and an antioxidant-rich diet, the progression of the disease can be slowed or even halted.

The Roses describe not only which foods are most nourishing to the eyes, but also which nutrients actually heal specific diseases. Nutritional regimens are recommended for each of the five eye diseases covered. Anecdotal reports about the experiences of patients provide examples of how well these interventions can work. An example of the unique natural regimens recommended in the book is the use of the herb Coleus forskoli (forskolin) to reduce intraocular pressure—the hallmark of the sight-stealing disease, glaucoma. Rounding out this comprehensive easy-to-read book are chapters on maintaining the circulatory system in top working order (including the use of chelation therapy with EDTA); prescription drugs to avoid which may impair eye health; the beneficial effects of exercise on vision; the importance of detoxification; and the basics of caring for our eyes.

There are also information-packed sections that give extensive resources for those who are suffering from vision loss. Save Your Sight is a unique book that should be studied in depth by anyone suffering from such eye diseases as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetic retinopathy. I strongly recommend it for anyone concerned with maintaining or improving his or her vision.

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