Great article about the best foods to eat to save your eye sight

imageBy Dr. Mercola

Failing vision is often accepted as a natural part of aging, but it’s really more of a side effect of our modern lifestyle. Aging does not automatically equate to decreased vision, provided you’ve properly nourished your eyes through the years.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness among the elderly, followed by cataracts. The pathology of both of these conditions has been attributed to free radical damage, and the condition is in many cases largely preventable through an antioxidant-rich diet.

Certain health conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, can also have a detrimental impact on your eyesight, and these too are primarily lifestyle-driven. Here, I’ll review specific foods known to support and promote eye health, along with a few additional tips for protecting your vision as you grow older.

To to read the full article, click here.

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Day Two Hundred and Ninety-Eight on the Road to Recovery – Doing Better and Learning to Live with My New Eye

It have now been 298 days since my vitrectomy and I am doing better.  My eye now has a corrected vision of 20/60 with glasses.  It is still a bit awkward at times to see in low light and I have learned to be extra careful with stairs and low lying objects that I sometimes do not see right away.  I do have some double vision so a prism is in place in my glasses to assist me to reduce the double vision. I am slowly getting use to it and learning to live with the vision in my left eye.  Thankfully, my other eye still has a corrected vision with a contact lens and glasses of 20/20 but uncorrected, it is still 20/1400. I do know that my “good” eye does have lattice degeneration but this has been there for several years already so I am carefully watching my eye. Although I have been recommended to have preventive surgery to prevent another torn or detached retina, I have decided not to do it at this time.  After all that I have been through over the past year, I decided to watch my other eye a bit longer rather than pre-empting surgery.

My diet, which I have sustained for the past nine months, continues to have an amazing impact on my eyes and my overall health.  I wrote about my mostly raw paleo diet a few months ago on this blog.  I now realize that we really are what we eat and for those who have had one detached retina or are at risk of a retina detachment, changing your diet can make a big difference in your life.  In this modern day, fast paced world of ours filled with processed fast food, we are really the one’s that damage our own bodies the most.  Rising levels of heart disease, cancer, and diseases like diabetes (which also leads to macular degeneration) are mostly all due to the food we now eat.  Looking at more primitive societies and our ancestors, they did not suffer from many of the degenerative diseases we suffer from today.  Quite a bit has been written about raw pale diets and their ability to heal the body and I have found this to be true for me as well:

Overall, I have to thank a variety of people for helping me get on this diet and to guide me through this process.  A friend who goes by the nickname “good samaritan” on his website took the time to really help me out when I was suffering and facing another serious surgery.  The diet he started me on not only helped me avoid that operation altogether but also changed my life.  The writings of Mark Sisson and Chris Kresser really helped guide me along the way.  I now feel much healthier and younger overall and plan to remain on this paleo diet, or as Chris Kresser likes to call it, “paleo template”  to continue to strengthen my eye as well as to stop any degeneration in my remaining “good” eye.  I guess in a way I was able to wake up and realize that I wanted to live a longer and healthier life rather than simply eating food that in the long run was just speeding up the deterioration of my eyes and my body overall.  You can improve your eyes and your health but it does take some will power.  Again, you really are what you eat.  I have proven that over the past nine months!

I have another check-up in September and will occasionally provide updates to this blog but I do consider myself now almost complete with my road to recovery.  Again, thanks to my surgeon, Dr Amadeo Veloso, the staff at the Asian Eye Institute, my family, friends, colleagues, and others who reached out to me over the past 10 months.

Thanks again and God bless you all!

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Day Two Hundred and Eighteen on the Road to Recovery – Preparing forYAG Laser Surgery

It has been five weeks since my cataracts surgery. My vision improved somewhat and I can see at 20/100 through pinhole glasses and 20/60 through pinhole glasses with corrective lenses but my vision is still foggy. This is due to the film that formed behind the cataract so today I will have a YAG laser capsulotomy to improve my vision. Wish me luck!

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Day One Hundred and Eighty Three on the Road to Recovery – Preparing for Cataract Surgery

It has been a while since my last post and my eye has continued to heal.  In fact, with my raw paleo diet, the PVR membrane has released on its own and I no longer require a membrane peeling surgery.  Tomorrow I will however need to undergo a cataract surgery and possibly a YAG laser capsulotomy two weeks later to remove some of the cataract that formed behind the main lens due to the first vitrectomy operation.

The surgeon is being quite careful with my cataract operation tomorrow.  I have been on anti-infection eye drops every six hours for the past three days in preparation for tomorrow’s operation.  I understand that I will be sedated for the procedure and will need several eye drops for 2-3 weeks after the operation and will need to wear protective eye wear for two weeks.  I do hope to get fitted for glasses soon and get most of my vision back in my one eye over the next two weeks.  I will be fitted with a toric lens implant to correct for my astigmatism which is 2.0.

The past few months I have learned to adapt to using my good eye to see.  My biggest problem is vision on my left side and judging the distance of objects, especially stairs.  Walking down stairs, especially at night or when there is not much light, is quite difficult to do and I have stumbled more than one over the past few months but luckily always caught myself.  I have gotten back to my normal busy routine at work and have returned to a fairly regular family life but I do hope and pray that I get most of the vision back in my left eye after tomorrow’s surgery.

One positive thing about this whole experience continues to be my overall health from my raw paleo diet which I have sustained over the past five months.  I continue to see a very dramatic effect on my cholesterol levels especially my VLDL levels and triglyceride levels which have dropped dramatically since I have been on this diet.  My LDL levels have also come down while my HDL cholesterol has increased.  I feel much stronger and healthier than before and have gone for five months without a headache or being tired throughout the day.  My heart rate has now dropped from 80-85 to 60-65 and my blood pressure has dropped from 120/70 to 100/60.  In fact, the doctor was amazed during my recent heart stress test that I was able to last so long on the treadmill and told me I had a heart that was more of a 28-year-old than a 48-year-old!  So, eating a diet the way we were meant to eat, naturally, and mostly raw including plenty of rare grass-fed beef, raw sashimi fish, 3-4 organic duck eggs (mostly the yolks) every day, and plenty of fresh organic vegetable juices and natural young coconut water from fresh coconuts is very healthy.  I have learned that we really are what we eat.  This diet also is also the best for those with serious eye problems and helped me with everything from reducing inflammation to helping the PVR membrane peel away on its own.

So I am keeping positive thoughts for tomorrow’s surgery. Wish me luck!

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Day Seventy-Seven on the Road to Recovery – the Benefits and Side-Effect of Prednisone vs. Natural Alternatives for Tractional Retinal Detachments

As I mentioned in my last post, in November I was suffering from a tractional retinal detachment with swelling on both sides of my eye and underneath the PVR scar tissue. Due to the extent of the tractional detachment observed on Saturday November 20, I was scheduled for another vitrectomy on Wednesday November 24.  This time, in order to prevent increased swelling and possible additional scar tissue formation, the doctor placed me on 60 mg of prednisone.  There are two main positive side-effects of prednisone at doses this high.  The first effect is to reduce swelling and inflammation in the eye and the second effect is to reduce the white blood cell count and the immune system so that additional scar tissue (PVR) is prevented from forming.  However, after being on this dose of prednisone and lots of prayers from family and friends, I noticed that my vision was improving and was fortunate to have another checkup on Tuesday, the day before the scheduled operation.  The doctor was surprised that the swelling was significantly reduced and he decided that we could postpone the operation.  He had wanted me to stay on prednisone at 60 mg for at least two weeks and then to gradually reduce the dosage over a period of 15 more days.  Luckily, I was scheduled for blood work the week after getting on prednisone and learned that my fasting blood sugar levels had soared to 146 (way above diabetic levels) and my white blood cell counts were down by more than 70% and were at less than 50% the normal minimum range so my immune system was being temporarily shut down.  Luckily I was able to text the doctor the results and he agreed to immediately reduce the amount of prednisone to 40 mg for 5 days then 20 mg for another 5 days and then 10 mg.

He was worried that once I stopped taking prednisone my swelling would return.  In order to prevent this, I did a little research online and learned that ginger, turmeric, and boswellia were natural anti-inflammatory herbs that were effective in helping the body to reduce inflammation.  As I reduced my intake of prednisone, I gradually increased my doses of these three herbs until I was taking 1200 mg of turmeric (95% strength), over 1000 mg of dried ginger, and 600-900 mg of boswellia each day.  These three herbs had a strong enough joint impact to continue to naturally reduce the swelling and tractional retinal detachment so that I was able to completely come off prednisone within two weeks.  Once the dosage was reduced, my blood sugar levels and white blood cell counts all returned to normal.

I do believe that the fast acting response of prednisone did prevent my immediate and more complicated vitrectomy surgery but the side-effects on my blood sugar levels, immune system, as well as my overall well-being were quite significant.  I actually felt a bit manic while on prednisone feeling very pumped and even jumpy and had problems sleeping.  I was fortunate that my raw paleo diet was able to help me handle the other side-effects such as problems with potassium levels and significant weight gain.  In fact, while on the diet and even with such large amounts of prednisone, I did not gain any weight or develop a moon face as the doctor informed me would probably happen.  He was in fact quite surprised that I was able to keep my weight stable throughout my 3 1/2 weeks on prednisone.

Over these last 4 weeks, my eye has steadily improved.  The swelling is almost completely gone and the PVR scar tissue has relaxed so much that a membrane peeling is probably no longer necessary.  In fact, I recently traveled to attend a meeting in the US and visited a retina specialist there who had treated a colleague in our Washington office.  When I told him that I had suffered from a tractional detachment and serious PVR and puckering, he could not believe it from looking at my eye.  He agreed with my doctor in the Philippines that the only thing I will need surgery for is a cataracts removal sometime in the first quarter of next year.

Right now, my left eye is still quite foggy and I can only see shapes.  With glasses, I was able to get vision back to around 20/125 but the hope is that once the cataracts is removed and a lens inserted into my eye, I should be corrected with glasses to 20/60 or possibly 20/40.  My personal aim is to get my eye back to at least 20/40 and possibly better.  My colleague in DC who also had a long series of operations for his own retinal detachment over a period of 18 months was able to get vision back in his one eye to 20/30 so I am still hoping for the best.

The cataracts operation will need to wait until my eye is completely healed from the last operation which will be sometime in March 2011.  In the meantime, I am left learning to adapt to seeing out of only my right eye.  Each day is getting better and I am hopeful that my vision will mostly return after my cataracts operation in three more months.  I will continue my raw paleo diet until that time and hope and pray for the best recovery possible.

Again, I wish to thank all my family and friends who have supported me over these past few months through prayers, advice, or equipment to use.  I have been impressed with the significant outpouring of love, friendship and prayers and know that I am blessed. This really made all the difference during my recovery.  Thank you all again!

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Day Fifty-Three on the Road to Recovery – Update on the Benefits of a Raw Food Diet

Yesterday I visited my doctor and got more good news, my retina continues to remain stable with a slight reduction in the fluid build-up under my macula.  My doctor will continue to closely monitor my PVR membrane and the hope is that the fluid build-up which was causing a tractional detachment will continue to decrease and I can delay the membrane peeling operation once the retina has properly healed.

However, I decided to again dedicate this blog to update those who have asked about how my body is responding to a raw food diet.  As I mentioned a month ago, I really got on this diet since medicine and surgeries were still not able to properly heal my retina and keep it attached and I wanted to try everything that would help me to heal faster.  All along, I thought I followed a pretty healthy diet. I only occasionally ate lean red meat and mostly consumed cooked grains, cereals, chicken, fish, seafood, vegetables, yogurt, fresh salads and fruit and little or no fat.  My diet pretty much followed the recommended USDA recommended food pyramid:

However, I had always noticed that my cholesterol was always a bit high or on the borderline and I always had slightly high triglyceride and VLDL levels along with low HDL levels. My grandfather died of a heart attack when he was in his 60s and my father has needed lipitor to control his cholesterol so I knew I always had a slightly higher probability of cholesterol problems.

I was concerned about my eye not healing properly and the worry that each detachment/tear would make it more difficult for my eyesight to fully recover and I did risk potential blindness in my one eye if the situation did not change. After two laser surgeries to repair the tear and then a retinal detachment along with another tear, I was getting concerned.  It was then that I decided to change my diet to give my eye a second chance.  My friend in the Philippines along with another colleague of his has worked for several years to help others change their diets to heal several illnesses including cancer.  According to them, God provided all the natural plants and animals in the world for us to live and keep our bodies healthy and it was modern food industry, processed and cooked food, and a dramatic change in our diet over the centuries that has increased illness, especially cancer and affected how quickly our bodies heal themselves.

I got my blood work done and sat down one evening with my friend and the next evening with his nutritionist colleague to explain my situation.  This took place a month ago after my fourth laser operation.  The first thing that both of them told me is that I needed more raw amino acids, enzymes, and especially raw fat to help my body to heal.  The amino acids were to come from the consumption of raw organic meat, fish and eggs and the fat would be from both animals and plants.  Given my cholesterol levels, I assumed that raw fat would actually be the worst thing for me over the long run but I decided to try the diet for two weeks to see what would happen and then extend it for another two weeks.  I had read enough about the ability of people on raw diets to help their bodies to heal so I decided it was worth it to save my eyesight.

It was not easy at first, since the new food pyramid I would be eating went against everything I had ever learned about nutrition.  Basically the diet is similar to the way man ate for thousands of years before cooking became widespread.  It has been called a caveman diet or raw paleo diet.   This involved eating more protein, fat, and cutting out all processed foods, salt, and added sugar.  Everything was to be organic, grass fed and natural.  I was to eat lots of fat from raw fertilized organic eggs, meat from fresh coconuts and avocados, and even raw beef fat and raw fatty deep ocean fish including tuna and salmon. In addition my intake of protein and body-building amino acids would come from organic fertilized duck eggs (Rocky-style), raw fish and grass fed organic beef (I decided against pork and chicken for health reasons) and oysters (rich in zinc when I can find them).  The research I was able to get my hands on pointed to the healing benefits of this type of diet but I did wonder what it would do to my cholesterol levels since I was now consuming large amounts of fat and meat, much of it high in cholesterol.  My sister had long followed Aajonus Vonderplanitz and her cholesterol was excellent.  My research also showed that it was actually cooked fats and oils along with processed foods that really cause the body to increase cholesterol levels and slows down the bodies ability to heal itself.  As I stated in my earlier blog, the overall early results on my skin, eyes, body and health were quite impressive but I was also able to at least initially demonstrate that this diet can also bring about significant improvements in blood cholesterol levels.

Here are the latest results from my lab tests yesterday:

Blood work Nov 27, 2010

And here are the changes that have occurred over the past month:

  • Time Line          Oct 29   Nov 12  Nov 27   Recommended Range
  • Cholesterol       219.30   167.57   180.31    149.8 – 238.4
  • Triglycerides    238.07  152.22    106.20   10 – 200
  • HDL                     37.45     35.14      51.35     >40
  • LDL                    133.98  101.93    107.72    49 – 172
  • VLDL                   47.69    30.38     21.15      2-40
  • Chol/HDL Ratio  5.66   4.77           3.51      <4.4

In one month, this daily diet of 2-3 raw fertilized duck eggs, raw fish, some raw oysters (when I can find them) and very rare steak, along with plenty of fresh organic vegetables and some fruits (mostly in juice form), juices from fresh leaves of sweet potato plants, avocados, and other plants, some seeds (no added sugar, salt, additives or processed food) along with small portions of cooked organic quinoa, brown rice, squash and beets resulted in a dramatic improvement in my health.

Yes, this diet is not easy to continue, especially when traveling, but the benefits and continued overall improvement in my health are very impressive.  My retina has remained attached and I have now lost an additional four pounds and I am at my optimal weight range between 150 – 155 lbs. down from over 165 lbs. before I had my operation.  Note that I have not obtained this weight range or pants size in over 12 years.  This diet also seems to have the potential to not only help the body to heal but to slow the aging process.  I actually look and feel almost ten years younger with much better skin and less wrinkles than I have had in years.

While I it was necessary to start large doses of prednisone for the past 8 days to reduce the swelling in my eye, the large intake of potassium rich food and no salt have helped me to better deal with most of the negative impacts of prednisone since my sodium, potassium and chloride levels have remained normal and I have not put on weight.  Other blood factors have been affected by the high level of prednisone and I will write about this more tomorrow and how I am working with my doctor to deal with these issues.

But for now, I did want to update people on the possible benefits of changing to a mostly raw natural food diet.  If you suffer from multiple detachments and your eyes are not improving even with the best surgery and medications, diet may help you.  In my case, it has been worth it!

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Day Forty-Eight on the Road to Recovery – More Good News!

Good news again from my doctor today.  Last Saturday when I visited my eye surgeon, I was informed that fluid was building up under the scar tissue (PVR membrane) on my retina and that I would most likely have to move the surgery to remove the PVR membrane to Wednesday (tomorrow).  This would have also required a more complicated procedure called a Relaxing retinectomy.  After removing the PVR membrane through peeling, incisions were to be made in the retina (retinotomy) to drain out the fluid beneath the retina so that the retina could be re-attached.  This would then most likely have included the use of heavy silicone oil to be inserted into my eye for three months as a tamponade to place and maintain pressure on the retina and hold it in place.  After the three month period, another operation would then be necessary to remove the oil.  In addition, in order to prevent additional scar tissue from forming, I was also placed on a heavy daily dose of prednisone at 60mg per day.

I had sought advice previously from other doctors and knew that this complicated option was really a last resort and I was not looking forward to these procedures which would also most likely include a Lensectomy (cataract type of lens removal) as well during the same operation.

On Saturday, I had started daily doses of prednisone and also started praying with friends and family.  Today, I was scheduled for a final check-up including measuring my eye for a clear lens implant and checking that my eye was healthy enough for yet another operation.  After all the tests, I went back to the eye surgeon for one final check-up before the scheduled surgery tomorrow.  I had mentioned to him that I had noticed a slight improvement in my vision over the past two days and was hoping that this was a good sign that the operation might be delayed a bit later.  Fortunately, I was correct!  My doctor observed that the fluid under the retina was draining away and that the traction caused by the PVR membrane was not as much as it was on Saturday.  This meant that an immediate operation would no longer be necessary and that we could wait a bit longer for the eye to heal as long as the retina could relax and be naturally connected with the retina.  For me, the news was nothing short of a miracle today!

The doctor felt that the heavy dose of prednisone was also helping to improve the condition in my eye since it is a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that was most likely helping to reduce the pressure. So in order to continue to reduce the traction,  he recommended I stay on this heavy dosage for at least two more weeks to help my eye to further heal after which time the dosage would be evaluated again.  After losing so much weight and doing so well on my new diet, I was not looking forward to becoming bloated due to steroids but at least it is much better option than an immediate and complicated surgery.  I am back to taking each day as it comes and praying a lot while I ride this roller coaster recovery ride.  I will still be checking in with the doctor twice a week to monitor my eye but, at least for now, I can relax a bit.

Thanks again for all the prayers, they are helping!

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