What Eye Doctors are Telling Patients About Nutrition


Not long ago eye doctors would tell patients who confided that they were taking vitamin supplements, “There’s no harm in continuing those supplements if you wish, but they won’t have much affect on your eye disorder.” 

Now eye doctors (optometrists and ophthalmologists) have been reading the results of large, well-done studies published in refereed journals—studies that make it increasingly clear that (a) what are being called “prudent diets” are statistically likely to be preventive of many of the most common eye disorders, and (b) some supplements are additionally helpful  as antioxidants, or as heavy-metal chelators, or as cofactors for nutriture interactions, or for restoring mineral balances, or simply as supplemental foods——and as such, many of these specific supplements can be preventive of eye disorders.  And we now have substantial data confirming these findings.

 The Key

 At the Nutritional Optometry Institute in Lake Hiawatha we have been in the vanguard of dietary research and therapy in the prevention of eye disorders, and we have helped contribute to the mass of evidence that is accumulating.  The mass of evidence reveals that expensive supplements can be helpful and actually quite useful, but inexpensive diet reforms really are the key.


Following is an excerpt from an optometric journal article I wrote more than a decade ago, as Chair of the Nutrition Committee of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development:


 At 8 years of age, he is in one of my vision training therapy (V.T.) classes.  Although he’s been classified as “learning disabled,” his I.Q. was measured as normal last year.  Because of my nutritional training and expertise I was suspicious of Kevin’s poor performance in V.T. and in his school work, both of which could be caused by dietary indiscretions. 

Diet assessments are completed for virtually all new patients without additional fee and more comprehensive nutrition workups in my office are optional for most patients, but routinely done for V.T. patients——patients for whom a large investment in time and training can be undermined by poor nutrition.  The laboratory analysis of Kevin’s food intake revealed that 65 percent of the carbohydrates in his diet are refined carbohydrates.  At age 8 he’s already a sugar junky with his “highs” dependent on candy, Twinkies, sugared cereals, and foods which the body converts too rapidly to simple sugars——basically foods which have been stripped of the nutrients required to metabolize the sugars, starches, and fats. 

Associated with this daily barrage of sweets and overprocessed foods, I found restriction in Kevin’s ability to think and act his age.  [Fortunately, one year after the end of the V.T. And diet enhancement, Kevin was at the top of his class in reading and comprehension skills.] 

How did Kevin’s diet and that of many Americans get so bad?  Food markets are designed for impulse buying of convenient foods.   And so many people think that today’s typical diet can’t be all bad——because almost everyone eats that way.  A majority of Americans have been lulled into making dangerous assumptions about food.

Dangerous assumptions 

  One such assumption is that nothing important is lost in cooking meat to be  more than rare, tossing out the cooking water from vegetables, and eating canned fruit. 

The statistics of Emanuel Cheraskin, MD, DMD, of the University of Alabama, demonstrate that persons whose diets are high in processed foods statistically do less well in maintaining physical and mental health.  [Our statistics at the Nutritional Optometry Institute reveal that the major performance decrements first become significant when measured body tissue nutrient reserves become depleted below minimum acceptable values, as associated with longterm ingestion of these fractionated foods. 


  At least 50 percent of our food by weight should be in the raw state——the way our great, great grandparents ate it——including lots of raw fruits and vegetables.  Instead, many Americans, especially children and retired persons, eat only processed foods.  Processed foods by themselves are only “partial foods” and are insufficient to build or maintain good health.  Eating more of partial foods actually is often deficit inducing for needed  nutrients. 

“Partial” foods lack key trace minerals, vitamins, and enzymes; nutrients which are essential in the control of intraocular pressure, and the prevention of myopia, and more than 100 eye and vision dysfunctions. 

In our next article, we’ll talk about the specific nutrients that are essential to prevent and reverse the most common of the eye and vision disorders, including the many species of cataracts, the macular degenerations, and the vitreous pathologies.

“In the Vanguard of Dietary Research and Integrative Therapy in the Prevention and Reversal of Eye and Vision Disorders”

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