Blinking – Key for Dry Eyes, Tired Eyes

Did you know that blinking helps prevent dry eyes?

blink eyesThe most frequent complaint to eye doctors is dry eyes, known as aqueous insufficiency, meibomian gland dysfunction, or dry eye syndrome. Twenty-five percent of patients who visit ophthalmic clinics report symptoms of dry eye, making it a growing public health problem and one of the most common conditions seen by eye care practitioners.1

As we age we are more likely to experience dry eye: 2.7% in people aged 18-34, but 18.6% over 75 years old.  Women are twice as likely to suffer from dry eye as men. 2 Continue reading “Blinking – Key for Dry Eyes, Tired Eyes”

Seniors at Risk for Vitreous Detachment & Floaters

exam eyes vitreous detachment floatersTwo-thirds of your eye comprises the vitreous, composed of about 98% water and 2% collagen, hyaluronic acid, other substances, and fibers that attach to the retina.  It takes up the space between the retina and the lens and has many important functions:

      • maintains the shape of the eye
      • serves as a shock absorber
      • cushions the eye against any blows or pressure applied to the eye
      • helps keep the retina in contact with the membrane at the back of the eye
      • enables transmission of light to the retina

Because the jelly-like vitreous has the consistency of gelatin, like gelatin, it tends to dry out and shrink with age. As it shrinks, it often detaches from the retina. This is a very common occurrence in elderly people. Continue reading “Seniors at Risk for Vitreous Detachment & Floaters”

Three Top Nutrients for Eye Health

eye exam antioxidantsDid you know that there are three nutrients that are fundamental to visual health? Why are they so important?

The top three nutrients for your eyes (and brain) are lutein, zeaxanthin, and mesozeaxanthin.  Lutein, zeaxanthin and mesozeaxanthin are primarily found in the macula, that center part of the retina essential for detailed vision.  They are found, not only in the macula, but in all of the retina, in the lenses, and in the aqueous humor.  People with macular degeneration, other retinal diseases, and cataracts are deficient in these nutrients.

They are of the phytonutrient carotenoid category, the antioxidants that give fruits and vegetables their color: green in spinach and kale, orange in cantaloupes and oranges, and red in tomatoes. Continue reading “Three Top Nutrients for Eye Health”

Nitric Oxide Shown to Lower Intraocular Pressure Naturally

Why is nitric oxide important for vision?

nitric oxide beets
Beets contain dietary nitrates. Your body converts them to nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide, one of the principal oxides of nitrogen, is produced naturally to assist with many health aspects. It contributes to vasodilation, relaxing the muscles that line your blood vessels allowing them to widen and improve circulation.  In that capacity it allows nutrients and oxygen to travel throughout the body efficiently.

As a free radical, in excess, nitric oxide (NO) contributes to inflammation, so should only be taken in recommended dosages.  In a balanced system, it is beneficial and can actually reduce inflammation. And in the case of glaucoma, it can be helpful in reducing elevated eye pressure (IOP) naturally.

Note: Nitric oxide should not be confused with nitrous oxide, a gas that dentists use to help patients relax. Continue reading “Nitric Oxide Shown to Lower Intraocular Pressure Naturally”

What is Brain Fog?

senior with brain fogHave you been feeling forgetful, confused, unmotivated, irritable, anxious?  These may be symptoms of “brain fog,” a general term for decreased cognitive ability.

Top descriptors of brain fog are ‘forgetful,’ ‘cloudy,’ and ‘difficulty focusing, thinking, and communicating’.1 Symptoms of brain fog can include: slow or hazy thinking, difficulty focusing, confusion, lack of concentration, low motivation, trouble remembering things, irritability, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and lack of incentive to exercise.

Causes or Contributing Factors

Metabolic Factors

    • Hormonal changes. Changes to the three primary hormones dopamine, serotonin, and cortisol, determine your mood, energy, and focus. Cortisol helps keep you awake and alert and is often called the body’s primary ‘stress hormone.’ Dopamine and serotonin help keep you joyful, motivated, and calm. Hormonal changes that occur with menopause can also cause brain fog as can imbalances in thyroid output.2
    • Chronic fatigue syndrome is a clinically defined set of symptoms of unknown etiology most notable for persistent fatigue lasting greater than six months, is of new onset, not related to exertion or improved with rest, and is debilitating to a person’s lifestyle.3

Continue reading “What is Brain Fog?”

Homeopathy and the Eyes

homeopathic eyedrops

Looking at the eyes from a holistic, integrated perspective gives us the best opportunity to maintain our whole body, eye, and brain health. Whole body means the relationship between the mind, body, emotions, and spirit. This perspective has been the good health foundation for thousands of years in Chinese and ayurvedic medicine, as well as more recent holistic practices such as homeopathy and functional medicine. Continue reading “Homeopathy and the Eyes”

Dry Eye Relief

Untreated dry eye syndrome can cause permanent eye damage,1 particularly to the cornea.

Relief for Dry Eyes

Dry eye syndrome affects up to 49 million Americans. It is an epidemic partially the result of excessive computer and cell phone use. Studies have shown that people who use computers, smart phones and tablets are at greater risk for dry eye syndrome,2 at least partially due to the fact that they blink less during computer usage, reducing the protective tear film over the surface of the cornea.

Causes of Dry Eye

Dry eyes are a condition of the entire body, not just the eyes. Women approaching or in menopause commonly suffer from dry eyes due to hormonal changes, which also contribute to internal drying.3 The tiny tear ducts and delicate tear film require many body systems to be working correctly. Therefore, those who suffer from dry eye should consider making changes to their diet and introducing nutritional supplements.  One of the most important aspects for people who suffer from dry eyes is the prohibition against sugar and artificial sweeteners. Sugar increases the risk for dry eyes. This condition has many potential causes and risk factors:

  • Excessive screen time. Computer workers have low amounts of mucin 5AC, an important component of the mucus layer.
  • Dysfunction lacrimal gland with reduction in essential oily secretions, or blocked ducts on the lid margin. These problems make the tear film evaporate too quickly.
  • Changes in the tear film. Any disruption of the tear film can lead to dry eye. The tear film needs to have a specific composition and be distributed properly. For example, an eyelid problem can impact tear film distribution.
  • Hormone fluctuations, especially in women. Dry eye is common in women who are going through major hormonal changes (pregnancy, birth control pill users, peri-menopause, menopause, and post-menopause).
  • Age. Seniors naturally produce about 40% less lubrication than younger people. Free radical damage over time may be partly to blame.
  • Pollution. Smoking, windy conditions, air conditioning, and allergies can contribute to dry eye.
  • Contact lenses worn long-term can reduce corneal sensitivity, resulting in dry or watery eyes.
  • Medications can cause dry eye as a side effect; for example, decongestants, diuretics, antihistamines, and codeine. Prescription medication side effects can include itching, stinging, burning, and redness.
  • Eye surgery.
  • Nerve damage from diabetes. 54.3% of diabetes patients suffer from dry eye syndrome.
  • Arthritis or other auto-immune conditions such as Sjogren’s Syndrome.
  • Chronic, systemic inflammation. Dry eye is a symptom of chronic inflammation. Current research points to chronic, systemic inflammation as a contributor to many diseases including heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and even neurodegenerative diseases. C reactive protein in the blood is a marker for inflammation. Inflammation is part of the normal healing process, but chronic inflammation is unhealthy.

Our natural tear film is composed of:

  • An outer oily layer, which keeps tears from drying up too quickly,
  • A middle watery layer, which wets and nourishes eye tissue, especially the cornea, which has no blood vessels, and
  • An inner mucus layer, which helps the tear film stick to the eye surface and draw moisture into the cornea.

So, when any layer of the tears is not being produced at needed levels, dry eye symptoms occur.

Nutrients that help reduce dry eye symptoms.

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient present naturally in tear film of healthy eyes. Vitamin A plays an important role in production of the mucin layer, the most innermost lubricating layer of tear film that is crucial for a healthy tear film. Vitamin A deficiency leads to loss of mucin layer and goblet cell atrophy.4

Oral supplementation with essential fatty acids (EFAs) may help by reducing inflammation and by altering the composition of meibomian lipids.5 Of particular interest is research showing that many of the signs and symptoms of chronic dry eye improved relatively quickly, as early as 6 weeks.

Vitamin D (vitamin D3 recommended). Not only is dry eye syndrome associated with low levels of vitamin D, but the evaporative type of dry eye syndrome is linked to changes in cornea structure (which may be linked to vitamin D deficiency).6 7

Evening primrose or black current oil. Black currant oil increases prostaglandin PGE1. PGE1 is a fatty compound with hormone-like effects that stimulates aqueous tear secretion and reduces the production of another prostaglandin, PGE2, which causes inflammation that contributes to dry eyes.8

Green tea extract. Patients with malfunctioning meibomian glands improved significantly compared to a control group when supplementing with this extract.

Maqui berry. Pilot studies and clinical trials9 10 show that an oral extract of maqui berry provides 72%-89% improvement in dry eye symptoms such as increased tear production and reduced dryness, discomfort, and eye fatigue.

Kidney yin tonic. The Kidney meridian helps with water metabolism throughout the body, supports overall energy, and helps with overall dryness (dry eyes, dry skin, dry scalp, etc.) The Rehmannia tonic is particularly recommended for women entering or going through menopause.

Liver tonic. In Chinese medicine the Liver “opens to the eyes” and supports overall eye health. It also helps with natural tear production. Revision formula is an excellent liver tonic.

Dietary Recommendations

Limit or avoid sugar and completely avoid artificial sweeteners. It is thought that excess sugar in one’s diet results in too much glucose making its way to the eyes, making it difficult for the eyes to utilize all the glucose. This may result in more dry eye symptoms and can cause diabetes.  Know what you are putting into your body.

Avoid toxic fats in commercial red meats, dairy products, fried foods, and hydrogenated oils (such as margarine and shortening). These fats interfere with the proper metabolism of essential fatty acids in the body and, indirectly, cause dry eye syndrome.

Gut issues may contribute to dry eye. Try taking a high-quality probiotic to replenish the healthy flora in your gut, particularly if you have been on long-term antibiotics. Once your symptoms are under control, try switching from probiotics in pill form to real food ferments such as sauerkraut, pickles, miso, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, etc. Not only do they provide a greater variety of beneficial bacteria than can be found in a pill, but they contain many vitamins and minerals.

If inflammation is a contributing factor in your dry eye, then it is imperative to look at the possibility that your gut (leaky gut) may be the source of the inflammation, as well as imbalances in gut flora.

Juicing is an excellent way to deliver nutrients to your body. Our juicing recipe includes: · Parsley, beets, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, persimmons, lemon, green-leafy vegetables, (preferably all organic

Recommended Products:

Dry Eye Package 1  – includes Women’s Tear Stimulation Homeopathic Dry Eye Drops, Dr. Grossman’s Dry Eye & Tear Film Formula 60 softgels with omega 3, 6, and 9 and our Revision Formula – based on a classic Liver tonic used in Chinese medicine.

Dry Eye Package 2  and Dry Eye Package 3  include additional components.

Any of the products in the packages can be ordered individually as well.

Tear Stimulation Forte Homeopathic Eyedrops  – for men and women

Lipo Vision Drops 15ml (.5 oz)  – contains a combination of castor, sesame, and coconut oils. Best used before bedtime for chronic night time dry eyes.

Basic Duo: Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Salad rich in Lutein and ZeaxanthinThese powerhouses provide a great starting point for your vision nutrition. Lutein and zeaxanthin (along with mesozeaxanthin) are carotenoids, a class of mostly yellow, orange, or red fat-soluble pigments, including carotenes, which give color to plant parts such as ripe tomatoes.

These macular pigments act as an internal pair of sunglasses to protect the retina from the damaging effects of UV radiation and blue light.  They support microcirculation in the tiny capillaries within the eye.  They protect the functions of the immune and anti-inflammation systems within the different regions of the eye. Continue reading “Basic Duo: Lutein and Zeaxanthin”

Gut Microbiota, Vision, and Mental Health

gut microbes and dietDid you know that how well your gut works is directly related to your healthy vision and your healthy brain?

Healthy gut microbiota function is linked to normal central nervous system (CNS) function. The microbiota is defined as all microorganisms in a particular location, such as the GI tract, and their respective genetic material. The microbiome is initially developed transmission through the placenta, amniotic fluid, and meconium. The human gut microbiota comprises more than 100 trillion microorganisms associated with multiple functions, from nutrient metabolism to protection against pathogens. Continue reading “Gut Microbiota, Vision, and Mental Health”