• Jacqueline Smillie

Caring for Our Eyes, part 1

Losing Eyesight is a big deal in my family

My great aunt gave up painting when she went blind. In her mid-80s my maternal grandmother lost her eyesight from glaucoma. My mother developed glaucoma at 73 and my father had cataracts. Later he was struck with total blindness due to a severe attack of temporal arteritis that the doctor completely misdiagnosed. Another family member is dealing with glaucoma right now. I now have dry eye syndrome and bouts of eye infections from flare ups of Reactive Arthritis and they concern me.

While medical advances now prevent or slow down blindness in millions of people, I still prefer to do what I can to maintain healthy eyes and avoid cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. I can’t recommend to you what to do for eyesight, but I can share what I have learned and applied to keep my family’s eyes healthy and in some cases even restore vision. In this email I’ll present the context to understand how to keep eyes healthy. In the next email I’ll list what we have done specifically for healing our eyes and body and our results.

A holistic understanding of what it takes to support healthy eyes 1. Use medical and holistic approaches to healthy eyes. The eyes are not separate orbs with their own needs but part of the whole body and its needs. If there is an issue in the eyes, the same problem will be found elsewhere in the body too and visa versa. Most articles on vision and eyes are from a medical perspective and are so micro-focused on eye disease that they miss the big picture. Even ophthalmologists often don’t understand the whole picture. My two favorite articles summarizing the eyes in context of the whole body are: Aging Eyes and Cataracts and Aging, both by physiologist and biochemist Ray Peat PhD.

2. As the body ages so do the eyes. If we slow down or reverse the aging of the body the eyes responded nicely.

Aging is a process where bones and hard tissues soften while muscles and soft tissues harden. When soft tissue hardens, like in an aging heart or a hardened lens or eye muscle, the tissues don’t fully relax. Not only are they less flexible but over time they also retain too much water causing inflammation.

Worse yet, cross fibers begin to hook together restricting movement and circulation. Your flexor and extensor muscles get sort of Velcro’d together so they can neither fully extend nor fully contract. This happens with all muscles of the body including eye muscles. “Old” people look old because they are shorter in stature from softened bones and stiffer from hardened and glued together muscles. The same is true with their eyes and their ability to see.

3. Developing cataracts is an inflammatory process. Glaucoma is most often edema of the eye due to chronic inflammation. Most eye aging is correlated with inflammation and can be prevented and reversed by avoiding or reducing inflammation.

Muscle cramps are a sign of high acid and inflammation. What Causes Leg Cramps Even as a teenager my legs would cramp after exercise, sometimes all night long. Exercise makes me too acidic and herbs don’t the trick. My current protocol allows me to be almost entirely free of leg, hand and toe cramps so I know my lactic acid is in a more normal range. (I’ll go over my protocol in the next email.)

4. Hormonal imbalance can cause stiffness and less optimal performance in the body does the same with the eyes too. Low DHEA, testosterone and thyroid with high estrogen, in men and women, is a leading factor in inflammation and stiffness throughout the body and the eyes. “Data from the Women’s Health Study suggests a 69-percent increased risk of dry eye associated with post-meno­pausal estrogen therapy and a 29-percent higher risk for women taking estrogen plus progesterone therapy.” Hormones and Dry Eyes

5. More women than men have age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.This is a real clue as to why hormones are so important to vision. Women at Higher Risk than Men for Eye Diseases

6. The benefits of the hormone, Vitamin D, is directly related to the health of the eyes. Vitamin D prevents macular degeneration, dry eyes, floaters and other eye issues.

7. Nerve regeneration is possible, even the optic nerve. Near infra-red light regenerates optic nerve.

8. Understand that like the body, the eyes need to be exercised too.

I hope you found this meaningful, hopeful and useful. I’d love to hear from you. In the next email I’ll share the specifics and successes I have had healing our eyes. And I will share the deeper significance of what our eyes do for us.

Be the light, share the light, see the light in others,

Jacque

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