As children, we were told to eat our carrots if we wanted good eyesight. Carrots contain beta-carotene, which the body can convert into vitamin A—a necessary nutrient for optimal vision. For most of us, that’s were our knowledge of vitamins and eye health stops. Over the last twenty years, many studies have demonstrated that certain foods and natural supplements can play a major role in the treatment of eye problems. From the best-selling author of Smart Medicine for Your Eyes comes a new, concise guide to these powerful substances.
What You Must Know About Food and Supplements for Optimal Vision Care is divided into three parts. Part One is an overview of nutritional principles. This section explores the function of nutrients that benefit not only the visual system but also the entire body. Part Two provides a list of common eye disorders and includes a brief discussion of each condition, supplying handy charts that detail the nutritional, herbal, and homeopathic treatments that may be used to alleviate each disorder. Part Three offers further guidance by presenting dietary approaches to eye health and providing important information on the interaction of various foods and medications.
There is so much you can do to support eye health through good food and wisely chosen supplements. In this helpful and easy-to-use resource, Dr. Anshel provides you with a wealth of information on the most effective natural products and foods available to promote optimal vision.
Jeffrey Anshel, OD, FAAO, received his Bachelor of Science in Visual Science and his Doctorate of Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry. After serving as a Navy optometrist, he worked at a clinic with other healing practitioners, where he learned about the role of nutrition in eye health. He also developed the “20-20-20” rule for easing computer-related eyestrain. Dr. Anshel is the founder and former president of the Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society, and the current president of Corporate Vision Counseling. He is now based in Hawaii.
Part One NUTRITION AND VISION
Other Helpful Substances,
Eye Structures and Supportive
Central Serous Retinopathy,
Computer Vision Syndrome,
Dry Eye Syndrome, 80
Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis,
Recurrent Corneal Erosion,
Part Two EYE PROBLEMS
The Need for Supplements,
RDA Vs Optimal Health,
How to Choose Supplements,
Eyecare professionals are committed to giving each patient a lifetimeof seeing clearly and comfortably with healthy eyes. They draw upon their educations and years of experience to assist in the remediation of eye health and the treatment of vision disorders. I have had the fortune of exploring several modalities of healthcare, ranging from Eastern philosophies to ancient European concepts. What I have learned is that there may be more than one truth when it comes to healing the body. There has been a recent increase in teachings commonly known as functional or integrative medicine. Integrative medicine, as defined by US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), combines conventional medical treatments and alternative treatments for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness. It is a concept that is now getting the attention of many academic health centers. It is important to note that integrative medicine is not synonymous with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). It has a far larger meaning and mission, in that it calls for a return to health and healing as the focus of medicine and emphasizes the centrality of the patient-physician relationship.
In addition to providing the best conventional care, integrative medicine focuses on preventative maintenance of health by paying attention to all relative components of lifestyle, including diet, exercise, stress management, and emotional well-being. It insists on patients being active participants in healthcare, as well as on physicians viewing patients as whole persons—minds, community members, and spiritual beings—not just as physical bodies. It is a philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically, and one that uses natural, effective, and less invasive interventions whenever possible. Finally, it asks physicians to serve as guides, role models, and mentors, and not only as dispensers of therapeutic aids. Integrative optometry follows many of these same principles. The eye maintains inherent healing abilities. For example, lysozyme in tears is anatural antibiotic. If a doctor balances the tear film through proper nutrition and flushes the eye with lubricating drops, tears themselves can fight potential infection. Research is finding that many eye conditions are actually extensions of general nutritional status, so it follows that general nutrition may improve eye conditions. Studies on nutrients and combinations of nutrients and their possible roles in eye health are ongoing. You’ll often hear that vitamins and minerals are not regulated. There are, however, regulations concerning dietary supplements, and they are enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was enacted in 1994 and defines a dietary supplement as “a product taken by mouth that contains a dietary ingredient that may include vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids and substances such as enzymes, organ tissues, glandular and metabolites.” These products must have a disclaimer that says, “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any disease.” This means that these products are considered similar to foods, not drugs. It is clear that nutrients can heal the body and alleviate illness (e.g., vitamin C for scurvy, vitamin D for rickets), but it is still the responsibility of supplement companies to manufacture their products according to cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices) standards and to use GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) ingredients. These concepts are mandated by the FDA. FDA regulations dictate that food and dietary supplements do not need “pre-market approval,” which is mandatory for drugs. Drugs, however, do not need “pre-market notification,” contrary to both food and dietary supplements, which do. A pre-market submission made to the FDA must demonstrate that the device (or nutrient, in this case) to be marketed is at least as safe and effective—that is, substantially equivalent—]as a legally marketed nutrient not subject to pre-market approval. Dietary supplements and drugs maintain the same requirements in the areas of labeling, GMP facility registration, and advertising. Food does not require mandatory adverse event reporting, while dietary supplements and drugs do. Since these are federal regulations, all states abide by these protocols, and the advertising issues surrounding promotion of nutrients and their benefits fall under the auspices of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
This handbook is divided into three parts. Part one is an overview of nutritional basics. It is meant to be used as a reference guide to the various nutrients and the ways in which they support not only the visual system but also the entire body. Part two is a listing of the common eye disorders encountered on a daily basis by practitioners. Within this listing, a brief discussion of each condition and the nutritional aspects of its treatment are offered. The charts within each section offer a number of nutritional, herbal, and homeopathic therapies that may have an influence on each disorder. Not every nutrient is required to be taken, but you will be able to see which nutrients support which ocular structures and learn the recommended dosage of each substance. Part three is a review of the nutritional approaches commonly recommended to maintain optimal health, including diet types, food choices, and homeopathic formulas.
The purpose of this book is to offer a quick and easy reference guide to use when considering integrative therapy. It is not meant to encourage you to bypass traditional Western medicine but rather to show you howto integrate other therapies with those treatments whenever appropriate. If possible, work with a doctor that maintains a referral network of nutritional professionals such as nutritionists, dietitians, chiropractors, and naturopaths. Eyecare providers should work together with these professionals— and keep the lines of communication open—for the common good of the patient. Nutritional supplements do not cure illnesses on their own, but may enhance the body’s ability to fight disease. Even with medical intervention, a well-nourished body heals faster than one that is nutritionally deficient. Nutritional supplementation is just that: a supplement to a wellness program. It is not a replacement for a good diet. Nutritional therapies provide cellular support, encouraging organs to rebalance and heal themselves. As the adage goes, “Nature heals the body but the doctor collects the fee.”