My eyesight is not as good as it used to be. I’ve heard from doctors, teachers, peers, and my parents, that eyesight declines with age. And, until recently, bought into that notion without thinking that there was something I could do about it. That is, until I read a book by Dr. Edward Kondrot, M.D. Dr. Kondrot has been a opthalmologist for more than 40 years-the first 25 as a typical western medicine-trained surgeon and clinician. Dr. Kondrot had an epiphany 15 years ago, when homeopathic treatment cured his life-threatening asthma. After that experience, he decided to devote his practice to alternative (I call it rational) medicine. His book is called 10 Essentials to Save Your Sight. I started reading it to prepare for a lecture on balance i will be giving in May here in Phoenix. This book, along with other research I’ve been doing, has really opened my eyes ( no pun intended) to the possibility of improving my eyesight. I urge you to read the book. Here’s a Readers Digest version on Dr. Kondrot’s suggestions.

He (and I) believe that the greatest health issue facing us today is our diet. Unless we make some drastic changes, we can forget about saving our eyes, or for that matter, our overall health. First topic; buy organic. Why? Because every study comparing organic with non-organic food has shown that organic has a much higher nutritional value. One study, conducted by Doctor’s Data, a premier clinical lab with over 30 years experience, researchers randomly selected different servings of organic food in supermarkets and compared them with comparably sized servings of non-organic produce. In every one of the comparisons, organic produce had five to 10 more times the nutritional value. Even though organic is pricier, maybe twice as much, you still get much more bang for your buck. Also, levels of lead, mercury, and cadmium were much higher in the non-organic food. Remember, you are investing in your own health.

Secondly, there are some mineral supplements that may be needed for better eye health. Zinc is extremely important for vision, and most people are deficient in this mineral. Zinc is essential for almost all enzymatic reactions in the body. Enzymes are proteins that catalyze or accelerate chemical reactions by cells. If zinc levels are low, the biochemical reactions in the body will not work up to capacity. Zinc deficiency is also related to macular degeneration, which slowly robs you of sight. Some of the zinc supplements sold are poorly absorbed, and anyone over 60 has a diminished ability to absorb zinc. This is another reason why raw, organic foods are essential. You can order a do-it-yourself zinc test kit online to see if you qualify for more zinc in your diet. Chromium deficiency is associated with glaucoma. Chromium-rich foods are eggs, molasses, red wine and red grapes, and heavy cream. In addition, one needs to avoid vanadium-rich foods. Vanadium inhibits chromium absorption, so if you are low in chromium, avoid commercially fed poultry, kelp, seaweed, and chocolate. Folic acid can help reduce macular degeneration. If you have high homocysteine levels in the blood, begin to take supplemental methyl folate and vitamin B12. Your Mom was right, “eat your carrots for your eyes.” She was right. Get your vitamin A from fruits and vegetables. Carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, and Swiss chard are great sources. Finally, vitamin C plays a supportive role in cataract health. Although studies to date are inconclusive, vitamin C is so important for dozens of bodily functions, and it’s water-soluble, supplementation is a good idea. Try to buy a sustained release vitamin C.

EXERCISE! everyone knows exercise is important for general health, and it becomes more important as we age. It will also directly improve your ability to see. Eyes need nutrients and fluid, and exercise brings more of these to the eyes via improved circulation. Brain health depends on healthy neurons. Your eyes have neurons too, especially in the retina. Exercise increases certain growth factors, and an extremely important one is brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). I’ve talked about BDNF before. It acts like Miracle-gro for neurons. BDNF increases with exercise. Higher levels of BDNF, better eye health. Any type of exercise will do, traditional, or other types like dancing, trampolining, or whole body vibrational exercises. I apologize for being a bit long-winded with this blog, but I find the info very important. I hope you do too.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.