Poor Night Vision: What Can You Do?

night visionPoor night vision or night blindness can be a life-limiting symptom. Night blindness can be caused by either an inherited or acquired reason. Poor night vision disorders (night blindness, impaired dark adaptation, etc.) include the experience of reduced vision in dimly lit environments, including at night. They include partial or complete impairment in ability of the eyes to adapt from brightness to darkness. It is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem, usually located in the retina. It is common for patients who are myopic (nearsighted) to have some difficulties with night vision, but this is due to optical issues rather than to a retinal condition. Symptoms include difficulty driving at night, tripping over objects when walking in the dark, and slow response when light conditions change (such as entering a dark movie theater). Photoreceptor cells in the retina allow you to see in dim lighting. When they malfunction, vision in dark conditions becomes difficult.

The photoreceptors called “rod cells” are mainly responsible for night vision. Rods can detect single photons and transmit that data to rod bipolar cells. This makes dim light information more usable to the brain. Continue reading “Poor Night Vision: What Can You Do?”

Your Eyelids: Styes, Blepharitis, and more.

eyelid Natural Treatments for the Eyelid

For mild cases of chalazion, styes, pterygium, and blepharitis, the following are ways to naturally treat these conditions. If these issues are persistent or affecting your vision, be sure to get seen by your eye doctor.

Note that our EyeEase Formula 2 fl oz is back in stock.

Stye

A stye is a red, painful lump near the edge of your eyelid that may look like a boil or a pimple with a white dot in the center. They are the result of a bacterial infection, often a staph infection. They’re very common and most people have one at some time.

    • External. This type of stye emerges along the edge of the eyelid at the base of an eyelash. It can become yellow, filled with pus, and painful when touched.
    • Internal. With internal styes, swelling develops inside of the eyelid. Generally, this type of stye is much more painful. It is also possible for the eyelid itself to become infected. This is known as cellulitis, and it can result from the stye on the surface of the eyelid, or from the sinus cavity adjacent to the eyelid.

In most cases, a stye will begin to disappear on its own in a couple days. Learn more about styes.

Chalazion

A chalazion is a cyst-like bump in the upper or lower eyelid caused by inflammation due to a blocked oil gland rather than infection. It may look a bit like a stye. (Here’s a comparison.) While a stye involves a bacterial infection, a chalazion has no infectious element and may take much longer to resolve.

Chalazia usually, but not always, do not involve redness, soreness, and swelling. Twenty-five percent of chalazia show no symptoms other than the visible bump, and they usually disappear without treatment. But they can grow to a bothersome size and even blur vision, because they distort the shape of the eye. Learn more about chalazia.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is identified as inflamed eyelids which may arise from a number of causes such as irritations and allergies, infections, and insect bites. It can range from a mild, chronic condition due to allergies, or to a severe form with ulcerated eyelids and even damage to the eyes or eyelids.

    • Anterior blepharitis is found on the front and outside of the eyelid along the line of eyelashes. Inflammation there is most commonly caused by bacteria or scalp dandruff.
    • Posterior blepharitis is found on the inner moist part of the eyelid that touches the eyeball. It is usually caused by dysfunctioning meibomian glands, but sometimes scalp dandruff or acne rosacea.

Learn more about blepharitis.

Conjunctivitis

The moist membrane lining the inside of your eyelids is called conjunctiva.  It is more exposed to the exterior environment than any other part of the body and therefore open to more microorganisms than any other membrane in the body. There is also a thin layer of conjunctiva covering the surface of the cornea. If it becomes infected, conjunctivitis is the result. Pink eye infection generally starts in one eye and easily spreads to the other eye. Red, irritated eyes result that go away in three days to a week. If the symptoms last longer than that you should see your eye doctor. This is important because if the infection enters the cornea (the transparent surface of the eyeball) little cloudy areas can develop that may harm your vision. Learn more about conjunctivitis.

Pterygium

If the conjunctiva undergoes benign but uncontrolled cell growth it is called a pterygium. It’s a raised, cream-colored growth usually on the nasal side of the white of the eye. It may be transparent, or can be yellowish or reddish. Before the growth extends onto the cornea it’s called a pingueculae. When it extends onto the cornea it’s called a pterygium.

Often called surfer’s eye, it is common among people who spend a lot of time in the wind and sun. Learn more about pterygium.

Recommended Products

EyeEase Formula 2 fl oz contains a range of wild-crafted herbs in a tincture to help reduce inflammation, draw out heat. It has natural antibiotic properties and helps reduce symptoms such as itching and redness.

Recommended dosage is 1/2 dropperful 3 times a day taken internally for treatment when irritation is present. Best taken on empty stomach.

Note: EyeEase is not eyedrops, and should be taken internally only, unless used with a compress. If used as a compress, here are the preparation instructions:

    • Boil 8 ounces of water.
    • Add 1 dropper of EyeEase.
    • Let the water cool down (this will evaporate the alcohol).
    • Then dip a clean washcloth or compress into the solution and place over your closed eye(s) for 5 minutes, 2-3 times per day.
    • If the condition persists, contact your eye doctor.

Eye Doctor Plus Reusable Moist Heat Compress Treatment Pack – Relief for dry, sore, tired and gritty eyes with optimum temperature effective treatment.

Pleo-MUC (Mucokehl) eye drops 5X (10 Single Vials) – Pleo Muc (Mucokehl) eye drops are a homeopathic preparation made using a minute quantity of mucor racemosus in a sterile solution. Homeopathics operate on the principle of like treats like and the tiny quantity stimulates the body to naturally heal itself.

This particular homeopathic preparation is helpful for dry itching, red, or irritated eyes. There are a number of underlying causes or contributing factors which can include: blocked meibomian glands, chronic dry eyes, environmental exposure to dust and other particles, allergies, low level immune deficiency, blocked meibomian glands.

Other Products for General Eye and Body Health

Advanced Eye & Vision Support Formula (whole food) 60 vcaps – whole food, organic, GMO formula for retinal and overall eye health

ReVision Formula (wild-crafted herbal formula) 2 oz – This wild-crafted herbal formula is based on a classic Liver patent formula used in Chinese medicine for overall eye and body health.

Advanced Eye & Vision Support + Revision Formula – combo package.

Dr. Grossman’s Whole Food Organic Superfood Multi-Vitamin 120 Vcaps

Dr. Grossman’s Advanced Eye and Dr. G’s Whole Food Superfood Multi120 Vcap Combo – 2 months supply

Note all combo packages are discounted 10%.

Natural Eye Care Michael Edson’s Alzheimer’s Article in the Townsend Letter

The latest Townsend Letter features co-owner of naturaleyecare.com Michael Edson, L.Ac., MS  and his article, Underlying Causes and Natural Treatments for Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The publisher’s discussion of Michael’s article also mentions that studies report that the Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccination reduces the risk of dementia by 42% with similar results for flu and pneumonia vaccines.  Both results may be due to reduced overall inflammation in the body.

Top Nutrients for the Brain

Top nutrients for the brain include: ashwagandha, CoQ10, curcumin, DHA, ginseng, gingko biloba, glutathione, lutein, resveratrol, taurine, and vitamins B2, B6, B9, B12, and D3. Interestingly, most of the essential nutrients that support healthy retina, optic nerve and overall eye health are needed in the brain as well and are allowed to pass through the blood-brain barrier.

Continue reading “Natural Eye Care Michael Edson’s Alzheimer’s Article in the Townsend Letter”

Glaucoma, IOP, and Herbal Extracts

 glaucoma aging seniors.The most common form of glaucoma is “open-angle” glaucoma, where the eye pressure or IOP remains higher than normal (typically 8-20 mm Hg). Eye doctors also look at changes in peripheral field typically measured with a visual fields test and any changes in the optic nerve such as optic nerve thinning or increased cupping. Ocular hypertension is diagnosed when IOP is higher than normal but there as no signs of glaucoma. In addition glaucoma can occur without high IOP, “normal or low tension glaucoma.”

The most common treatment for lowering eye pressure is the use of prescription eyedrops which either reduce the amount of aqueous fluid produced or increase the drainage. Often these eyedrops are effective in lowering eye pressure but do have unpleasant side effects for some people.

In some cases, medication can be avoided completely with natural approaches though it is essential that the patient get checked on a regular basis to make sure that the IOP is at recommended levels, and work closely with the eye doctor. Continue reading “Glaucoma, IOP, and Herbal Extracts”

Diet and Eye, Brain and Overall Health

healthy dietFood for the Brain

Eating a healthy diet is one of the critical factors in helping both maintain good brain, eye and overall health. Also, the way we eat affects our digestion and how well we are able to breakdown and absorb the essential nutrients in the food we take in. Here are some basic recommendations.

Avoid Distractions

Eat without distractions. Eat slowly without watching TV or being distracted by other activities. Continue reading “Diet and Eye, Brain and Overall Health”

The Glycemic Index – A Key Health Factor

What is the Glycemic Index and Why Is It Important

glycemic indexThe Glycemic Index represents the relative rise in the blood glucose level two hours after consuming food. It is a system that ranks foods on a scale from 1 to 100 based on their effect on blood-sugar levels.

Why Is It Important

The current American diet contains excessive sugar, refined carbohydrates, poor oils, and processed foods resulting in an epidemic in obesity, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, cancer, eye disease, and even dementia related disorders.

High Glycemic Index Foods

These include all refined carbohydrates  and sugars, white foods including white rice, bread, pasta, sugar, most commercial cereals, instant oatmeal, baked potato, corn.

Glycemic Index & Foods

Low glycemic index (GI of 55 or less): Most fruits and vegetables, beans, minimally processed grains, pasta, low-fat dairy foods, and nuts.

Moderate glycemic index (GI 56 to 69): White and sweet potatoes, corn, white rice, couscous, breakfast cereals such as Cream of Wheat and Mini Wheats.

High glycemic index (GI of 70 or higher): White bread, rice cakes, most crackers, bagels, cakes, doughnuts, croissants, most packaged breakfast cereals.

A high glycemic diet is pro-inflammatory which coincides with an acidic diet. An alkaline diet is anti-inflammatory.

In general, it is helpful to maintain a strong alkaline diet further described in detail in our book “Natural Eye Care: Your Guide to Healthy Vision and Healing.”  The keto diet can be considered for its strong anti-inflammatory benefits, or the paleo diet,1 although there are potential long-term issues, also described in the diet chapter.

Your gut helps to manage levels of inflammation and therefore, keeping your gut healthy with the right foods is essential to keeping your brain healthy and reducing your risk of brain inflammation.

Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods. Avocados, broccoli, cocoa (dark chocolate 85 percent or higher), green, leafy vegetables, nuts (in particular hazelnuts and walnuts due to their high levels of brain-protecting, inflammation reducing vitamin E and antioxidants). Oily fish such as wild salmon, trout, tuna as well as sardines, herring, anchovies, and mackerel have strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Food Sources for vegetarians: chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, as well as algae.

Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates (particularly all white, refined foods). Low carbohydrate diets how been shown to reduce inflammation. Refined carbohydrates have a high glycemic index. Research has shown that just a single meal with a high glycemic load can impair memory in both children and adults. The effect on memory may be due to inflammation of the hippocampus, a part of the brain that affects some aspects of memory, as well as responsiveness to hunger and fullness cues.2 3 One study found that elderly people who consumed more than 58 percent of their daily calories in the form of carbohydrates had almost double the risk of mild mental impairment and dementia.4

Have a Healthy Diet

  • Avoid vegetable oils, sodas and other sugary drinks (including anything with artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame (NutraSweet®, Equal®), Saccharin (Sweet’N Low®, SugarTwin®), Acesulfame K (Sunett®, Sweet One®,)  Sucralose (Splenda®). For an excellent natural sweetener, try stevia.
  • Also avoid trans fatty acids such as those found in most margarines and many fast foods, frosting, crackers and chips.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats (cheese, milk, butter and other dairy products).

Recommended Products

Advanced Eye and Vision Support Formula – general whole-food-based nutrients for vision wellness.

Dr. Grossman’s Meso Plus Formula with Astaxanthin – essential nutrients for retinal and macular health.

Revision wild-crafted Formula – based on classic Chinese medicine formula for vision wellness.

Learn more about vision and brain wellness diets and how to care for vision conditions with our comprehensive guides

Natural Eye Care: Your Guide to Healthy Vision and Healing

Natural Brain Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Other Related Diseases

Mesozeaxanthin: Star of Macular Carotenoids

carotenoid supplements and foodsMesozeaxanthin, less well-known than lutein and zeaxanthin, is the most powerful antioxidant of the threesome, but the combined trio presents the most potent protection for the eye than any of the three carotenoids alone.1  Out of all of the roughly 7000 carotenoids known in nature, it is these three that are found in great concentrations in the macula, the key part of the retina, responsible for central vision. Continue reading “Mesozeaxanthin: Star of Macular Carotenoids”

Melatonin: More than a Sleep Aid

What is Melatonin?

melatonin and sleepingMelatonin is a hormone primarily released by the pineal gland at night, and has long been associated with control of the sleep–wake cycle. It is typically taken at night before bedtime as a supplement. In addition to melatonin’s application as a sleep aid, this supplement can also be used for lowering eye pressure — such as in cases of open angle glaucoma or glaucoma suspects.  Research shows melatonin may also protect the eye’s macula by supporting the functioning of the mitochondria, the tiny “batteries” in each cell. Alzheimer’s disease appears to be linked to poor quality sleep and melatonin production; therefore, melatonin may prove to be a useful supplement and research is underway. Keep reading for details plus information about supplements available on this website.

What Can Melatonin Help?

Insomnia

Melatonin is best known for helping us get to sleep. It is secreted by the pineal gland, acting as the body’s biochemical signal of biological darkness. In other words, our bodies biochemistry signals that you are ready for sleep. Blue light suppresses production of melatonin 1 to a surprisingly profound degree.2

If you are exposed to blue light right before bedtime (e.g. checking your email one more time), it throws off the internal rhythm that allows you to get adequate sleep. Nearly 75% of children now use some sort of electronic device in their bedroom. The use of these devices markedly impacts sleep quality, which in turn, contributes to social adjustment problems, behavioral problems in school and at home, and surprisingly, weight gain.

Similarly, it has been found that sleeping in a room that is not dark, also disrupts sleep, or makes it less effective in reducing fatigue and alleviating the accumulated stress of the day. Most studies found that exposure to light in the room, during sleep, reduces melatonin production by 50%.

While most research on the effects of smartphones on sleep and circadian rhythms have involved children and teens, adults are also adversely impacted. One Flemish study included more than 800 adults, 50% of whom owned smartphones, and 60% of whom used their smartphone during the night. Nighttime phone use and texting at night markedly increased how long it took to fall asleep and markedly decreased the quality, duration, and efficiency of sleep. In younger adults, nighttime electronic-device use was tied to more fatigue and later rising time. In older adults, it was associated with shorter sleep duration and earlier rise time.3

Recommended dosage is 1mg–3mg before bedtime.

Supports the Immune System

Melatonin plays a dual role in supporting the immune system, at least partially because it helps promote glutathione levels in the body, an essential master antioxidant.  It communicates with the immune system and influences white blood cells to fight infections and inflammation. Lowered levels of the super antioxidant glutathione4 are present in “clinical conditions like autoimmune disorders, neurological disorders, diabetes, and microbial infections”5 which are characterized by white blood cells. In other words, melatonin protects white blood cells from free radicals by supporting normal glutathione levels.

Lowers Eye Pressure

Intraocular pressure (IOP) is usually lowest at night, which is also when natural levels of melatonin are near their high in the circadian cycle. IOP is highest in the morning when melatonin is low. There seems to be a correlation between IOP and melatonin; supplementing with melatonin may lower IOP. 6 7

Protects the Macula

Melatonin also protects the macula, the center part of the retina which is responsible for your central vision needed for close-up work such as reading. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the loss of central vision and is caused by deterioration of the macula. A combination of melatonin (3mg), zinc (8.7mg), and selenium (50 mcg), taken before bedtime, helps stabilize AMD with some remarkable improvement in the fundus of the eye after taking the combination for 6 months. 8 9

Supports Mitochondrial Functioning

A 2020 review proposed that melatonin protects the macula by supporting mitochondrial function. Mitochondria are the “energy-producers” of cells, and are essential for cellular health. As we age DNA repair functions, antioxidant activity, and lack of mitochondrial renewal lead to significant increase in free radicals. These changes cause inflammation and premature cell death in the retinal pigmented cells that protect the retina and macula.10

Helps Night Vision

Photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (melanopsin-expressing retinal ganglion cells “mRGC”) release melanopsin which affects pupil dilation and adaption and suppresses melatonin11 between dark and bright light (such as recovery after glare of an oncoming car headlights).

Melanopsin’s presence in retinal nerve cells is linked to reduced levels of melatonin and the relationship may be involved in poor night vision. At night, melatonin is secreted by rod and cone photoreceptors, functioning as a dark adaptive signal and it, in turn, modulates these photoreceptors.12

Aids Alzheimer’s Disease Issues

Melatonin may be a useful agent in preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  Classic markers of AD include the build-up of beta amyloid plaque, as well as excessive tau protein resulting in neurofibrillary fiber build-up.13

The production of melatonin runs parallel to AD progression. Quality of sleep is dependent upon melatonin, and it appears to be a safe and effective treatment for AD patients with sleep dysfunction.14 Melatonin stimulates non amyloidogenic processing and inhibits beta amyloid precursor protein processing which culminates in amyloid aggregates – a neuroprotective function in AD pathology.15 It decreases AD-like tau hyperphosphorylation, protects the cholinergic system and is anti-inflammatory. It may be a useful agent in preventing and treating AD.16 Weak melatonin signaling (melatonin receptor type 1A gene) appears to contribute to the cascade of AD pathology.17

Recommended Products

NEWDr. Grossman’s REM Sleep Support (sublingual) Formula – great sublingual night-time formula with melatonin, and a range of other nutrients to promote a good night’s sleep.

ACG Glutathione EXTRA STRENGTH Spray 2oz. – 6-12 sprays by mouth 2 times per day.

Melatonin (50) MZS 60 x 3mg Tabs, Dr. Pierpaoli –  50 3mg tabs with zinc and selenium

Light Sensitivity: A Symptom of Another Problem

light sensitivityPhotophobia literally means “fear of light,” but it just means that you are overly sensitive to light.  Light sensitivity might be temporary, but it can be an indicator or symptom of another problem.

People with photophobia experience pain, tearing, and sometimes headaches especially when they are out in bright light too long.  A common summer example is too much light from the sun plus reflection off water when we are out in a boat.  You just want to close your eye from so much light, and later in the day or evening you may have a headache.

However, light sensitivity may be a chronic condition and therefore a symptom of another problem.

What causes photophobia?

Photosensitive retinal ganglion cells play a key role in light sensitivity.1 There are at least two (possibly three) distinct neural pathways associated with photophobia: one is a messaging pathway involving the thyroid and calcium, and another is a pituitary gland neurotransmitting pathway.2

Recent research points to impaired light processing by the photoreceptors (cones and rods) which create the electrical impulse resulting in image perception, as well as non-image-forming neural pathways.  These light signals are sent to multiple regions of the brain that control not only the senses, but the autonomic nervous system and regulation of emotions.3

Excessive bright light we may encounter during a sunny summer day at the beach can cause eye pain, but photophobia can also be caused by dry eye syndrome, optic nerve swelling,4 corneal swelling (keratitis) or a scratch on the cornea, iris swelling (iritis), cataracts, conjunctivitis (pink eye), blepharospasm,5  retinal damage, or post eye surgery.

Aside from eye conditions, photophobia can be caused by migraine headaches,6 tension headaches, cluster headaches, meningitis, brain trauma,7 and tumors in the brain or pituitary gland, as well as some medications including antibiotics, drugs that help your body get rid of excess fluid, and quinine (for malaria).

What can we do?

If light sensitivity is continuous and doesn’t go away with rest, then you should certainly see your eye doctor, and advise the doctor of your medications and any medical conditions.

In the meantime, always wear UVA/AVB 100% (polarized) protecting dark glasses outdoors which protect your retina from the damaging effects of UV / blue light. Get adequate exercise, drink plenty of water, and pay attention to your diet and nutrients.

Nutritional support

The first line of protection is carotenoids which support the macular pigment that protects the retina from UV and blue light-related damage.8

Dr. Grossman has assembled several packages for light sensitivity.  These will be especially helpful during the summer as you swim, sail, boat, hike, or picnic outdoors.

Light Sensitivity Package.  Contains Advanced Eye and Vision Support Formula (whole food, organic, GMO free),  Dr. Grossman’s Meso Plus Formula (with the carotenoids mesozeaxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin), as well as Dr. Grossman’s Bilberry/Ginkgo Formula (wild crafted herbs in tincture form).

Blue Light Protecting/Night Vision Package (2-month supply). This package contains our Advanced Eye and Vision Support Formula, Astaxanthin (a potent antioxidant), and Black Currant Seed Oil (which supplies the fatty acid gamma linolenic acid).

All of these products are available individually.

Footnotes

Keeping Your Optic Nerve Healthy

optic nerveWhat is the optic nerve and what does it do?

The optic nerve is a bundle of nerve fibers that serves as the communication cable between your eyes and your brain. The nerve fibers have a special coating called myelin.

What are the most common eye diseases associated with impaired optic nerve?

Glaucoma is the most common optic nerve disease. Most cases of glaucoma are called “open angle glaucoma” where the intraocular pressure – IOP – is above normal. Normal eye pressure ranges from 12-22 mm/Hg for most people. Higher pressures can lead to damage to the optic nerve over time, resulting primarily in effecting peripheral vision. Glaucoma is often referred to as the “hidden thief” as there typically are no symptoms until the person suddenly realizes that their peripheral vision is reduced. Continue reading “Keeping Your Optic Nerve Healthy”