You are a Powerhouse of Vision and HealthAug 30, 2020 01:10PM ● By Cassandra Rose
Often, after a degenerative eye disease diagnosis, life can feel overwhelming and scary, so it’s uplifting to know that you have powerful tools available to support your eye health. The most powerful tool in your toolbox is you. You are a powerhouse of possibility and vision.
A wonderful way to bring this into focus daily is to practice eye massage with visualization. Directly massaging around the eye can be very beneficial as it increases blood and lymphatic flow. This allows more nutrients to reach your eyes and more inflammatory waste to be carried away. Start at the inner corner of your eyebrow and work all the way around the boney ridge that surrounds the eyes. You can use small circles or gentle lifting and pinching of the skin. Close the session by rubbing your hands together until they are warm and then cup your palms over your eyes while you picture your health vision and all that you want to see. Give your eyes some loving energy as the first and last thing you do for your day.
Nutrition also plays an important role in eye health and is something you can do for yourself daily. According to a 2002 study by Sackett & Schenning, supplementing with carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc reduces the risk of macular degeneration by 25 percent. In a five-year follow-up of this supplementation, there were no adverse health outcomes reported. In addition, those taking the formula showed less circulatory disease-related problems due to the zinc. This supplement is often called AREDS after the name of this study and is readily accessible in most stores.
Consider increasing these nutrients through the foods you eat. Make a simple stir fry with plenty of yellow bell peppers—they are full of carotenoids, vitamin C and deliciousness. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on your salad to increase vitamin E. There are so many easy, nutritious and delicious options to explore.
Another way you can protect or improve your eye health is with exercise. In a meta-analysis of nine studies, it was found that exercise played a significant role in delaying the onset and slowing the progression of macular degeneration. A daily exercise routine can bring so much benefit to your life, including vision. The type of exercise most beneficial to the eyes is cardio. Just like massage around the eyes, it can increase blood and lymphatic flow and it does that for your whole body. A good goal is to break a sweat at least once a day. Start slow and check in with your doctor if you are new to exercise. Incremental change is powerful and sustainable.
Perhaps the most important thing you can
do for yourself is to be patient and kind. Think of how you would want to
take care of your friends and loved ones. Now, give all that love, kindness and
patience to yourself. There are a whole range of outcomes that can be
considered successful when thinking about chronic degenerative diseases. The
following two cases show the range of possible success from the very rare to
the very common.
Patient number one is a 46-year-old mother diagnosed with macular degeneration. During her initial consultation, she reported mild visual distortion in her right lower visual field. Without her glasses, her acuity test showed that her right eye was 20/320 and her left eye was 20/250. She experienced a great deal of irritation in her right eye and it was visibly red and slightly puffier than the left eye. She has a history of surgery in her lower right eyelid due to a childhood cyst removal. Her Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scan shows drusen in the retina and macula in both the right and left eye.
This patient received a course, visits and followed a home program of massage, nutrition and exercise. In the office, her visual acuity tests had dropped two lines each. Her right eye dropped to 20/250 and her left eye dropped to 20/160. The results from the Amsler grid showed that she was not seeing a distortion in her right visual field any longer. She also experienced significant sleep improvement and reported feeling more resilient to her emotional ups and downs. As recommended, she visited her ophthalmologist to receive a follow-up OCT scan to confirm improvement in her eye health. In a highly unusual outcome, it was found that she had no visible drusen in either eye.
Patient number two is an 86-year-old woman. She had been diagnosed with macular degeneration 10 years before beginning the macular regeneration treatments and has been coming in for visits for eight years. She has also followed the home program of massage, nutrition and exercise. Her vision is stable and has shown no signs of degeneration for the last eight years. The health marker she chose for herself is her comfort with reading for long periods. When she began the program, she was able to read for only 10 to 15 minutes at a time. She would experience extreme eye fatigue, mild headaches and mild temporary visual blurring. When she follows her schedule, she does not experience any of these symptoms and reports that she can read until she is tired of reading. When she is unable to keep her regular schedule, she will start to experience fatigue with reading. It subsides again when she gets back to her routine. Through this all, her macula has not shown any degeneration in eight years. In the most common outcome, her vision is stable.
Both vastly different patients are successful at continuing to see, read, drive, work and live their best lives. You can, too.