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I See, You See! How well do you see?

Updated: Aug 18, 2019

Your vision is a big part of your general health. Most of us take our vision for granted, an eye exam here and there, maybe corrective lenses will do the trick. How would you feel though if you began to lose your vision as you aged? How would you feel if as you aged you were diagnosed with a retinal disease that could cause you to lose your vision or even go blind? Macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and a host of others fall into the category of retinal disorders. Aging is a known cause of cataracts, but even cataracts can be caused form a retinal disorder.

Would it surprise you to hear that what you put in your body plays a huge role in your eye health? We have all heard that carrots are good for you eyes and that is true since they contain carotenoids that when eaten turn into vitamin A. A healthy whole foods diet will give your body the nutrients it needs to provide the proper vitamins and mineral for good eye health. Your lifestyle is a key to prevention of retinal disorders. Regular use of tobacco and alcohol and/or corticosteroids can cause retinal disease.

I have a personal experience with this. My sweet mother-in-law was diagnosed with macular degeneration when she was older. She was the mother of 9, lived on a ranch, grew the most beautiful flower garden every year that I have ever seen. As this disorder progressed it was sad to see her life change from very active to unable to do her beloved quilting, plant her garden or even see the beautiful faces of the many grandchildren in her life. I remember when they came to her home to make things a little easier for her and cut markings on the dials for her stove burners so she could feel them to be able to tell when she turned the burners on and off. She gave up reading and listened to audiobooks. Eventually she could no longer run her household so she and my father-in-law moved into an assisted living facility. We visited them there each time we traveled to see them in Canada.

Some years later as I was tapering off a prescribed benzodiazepine sleeping pill one of the side effects for me was high blood pressure. When I went in for my yearly eye checkup I was shocked when my doctor informed me I had macular degeneration with a bleed going on in my right eye. Can you imagine the concern and fear that diagnosis would create in my mind? I was told I needed to see a specialist who would come to their office the following week for treatment. I met with him and was told I would need several eye injections over a period of months to stop the bleed in my eye to prevent me from going blind. I had just begun seeing my functional medicine doctor so had not learned too much about how functional medicine treats health issues differently from conventional medicine. I agreed to the program the specialist told me was the only way to stop the bleed. Little did I know how nasty those eye injections are or that they totally mess with your nervous system! Something I did not need!! I was a hot mess with each injection of the three that I did have. When I finally tearfully shared this with my functional medicine doctor she told me to STOP. I did stop and never went back for the rest of the prescribed injections. I will tell you I was frightened during that time. My functional doctor changed my diet. She added a supplement of beta carotene and eventually added a vitamin which included all of essential vitamins for eye health. Two and a half years later I decided to have my eyes checked again. I had been wearing progressive lenses due to the normal aging of the eyes previous to the macular degeneration problem. I was delighted to hear that there was no further damage to my eyes and that rather than losing vision my eyes had improved so much that I no longer needed glasses for anything!! The doctor suggested I buy a pair of over-the-counter reading glasses for those times when I would be reading fine print. I needed to wear glasses to drive but have since renewed my driver’s license twice and each time passed the vision screening without glasses. If you or a family member have been told “there is nothing that can be done” that is not true.

Change your lifestyle…change your health!

Health/Wellness coaching is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. It is not intended to substitute for the advice, treatment and/or diagnosis of a qualified licensed professional. Trained Health Coaches may not make any medical diagnoses, claims and/or substitute for your personal physician’s care. As your health/wellness coach I do not provide a second opinion or in any way attempt to alter the treatment plans or therapeutic goals/recommendations of your personal physician. It is my role to partner with you to provide ongoing support and accountability as you create an action plan to meet and maintain your health goals.

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