Published On: Thu, Apr 7th, 2011

Treat Eye Problems Naturally or Conventionally?

Treat Eye Problems Naturally or Conventionally?

Treat Eye Problems

Naturally

Or Conventionally

As We Age?


Conventional advice below  (offered by the NYTimes article published April 1, 2011 By MICHELLE ANDREWS)

What to Do When You Can’t Read the Fine Print


To this we add our comments, namely challenging the notion that “there is no escaping it”  and that supposedly “diet and exercise have less effect.”  This is  a typical allopathic mantra, supporting the persistence of pandemic eye illnesses.
Vision plans get you hooked in the allopathic loop. Then glasses and other lenses serve as tiny crutches. They keep eye muscles weak and ever weakening over the span of  a life.
In contrast to the conventional approaches,  we offer some alternative and holistic eye advice.

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NY Times April 1, 2011

EVERYTHING seems to stiffen up as people age, and our eyes are no exception. As the years go by, the lens of the eye becomes harder and less elastic. The result is a gradual worsening of our eye’s ability to focus on objects up close, called presbyopia. There’s no escaping it. Diet and exercise, the baby boomers’ weapons of choice for warding off age-related health problems, have less effect.

Presbyopia is an eye illness that generally starts in the mid-40s, when people begin to notice that they have difficulty punching out a number on their mobile phone or reading a book. Over the next 20 years or so, the eyes continue to lose their ability to zoom in on things; by about age 65, it’s often impossible.

Here’s some advice on what to ask them about, and how to pay for it.

Getting a Vision Plan

Many employers offer or provide vision insurance, but it can also be purchased as a stand-alone product. At Vision Service Plan, a large vision insurer, individual coverage costs between $149 and $181 annually, depending on the state, said Gary Brooks, V.S.P.’s president for vision care.

A typical plan covers a comprehensive annual eye exam and provides a certain amount, often a few hundred dollars, toward the purchase of contact lenses or glasses. Like health insurance, prices may be cheaper if members use a practitioner in the insurer’s network. For many types of corrective lenses, however, vision insurance coverage is inadequate. The biggest advantage may be that the coverage encourages baby boomers to get annual eye exams, which can catch vision problems at an early stage.

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness, yet half of people with glaucoma don’t know it, said Dr. J. Alberto Martinez, an ophthalmologist in private practice in Bethesda, Md.

Wearing Glasses

The easiest and cheapest solution for presbyopia is to go to your local drug or discount store and buy a pair of $10 reading glasses. For those whose only vision problem is presbyopia, cheap reading glasses may do the trick. But for many patients, one-size-fits-all reading glasses cause eye fatigue, said Dr. Martinez. If that is the case, prescription glasses or contacts may be best.

The least expensive prescription option is bifocal or trifocal glasses with a visible line separating the top portion of the lens, which corrects for distance if necessary, from the bottom portion, which corrects for presbyopia. On trifocals, there is a middle section that corrects for intermediate distances. These lenses can be bought for under $200; frames are priced separately and can run from under $100 to more than $1,000 for those by high-end designers.

Progressive eyeglass lenses — in which the lens power gradually increases from the top of the lens to the bottom — eliminate the unsightly focal lines and avoid the image jump that can occur with traditional lenses. The downside is that progressive lenses often are significantly more expensive than bifocals or trifocals, sometimes $400 or more, and can cause visual distortions that some people have difficulty adjusting to.

Wearing Contact Lenses

Bifocal and multifocal contact lenses have two or more prescriptions in the same lens, similar to eyeglasses. They come in a range of hard and soft materials with various disposable options.

In the past, some doctors told patients with presbyopia that they were not good candidates for multifocal lenses. Although fitting presbyopic patients with multifocal contacts is more complicated than fitting people without it, it’s a good option for many, said Kathryn Richdale, a senior research associate also at the Ohio State College of Optometry. “The lenses have come a long way in the past few years,” she said. Expect to pay a fitting fee of up to $200, and up to $500 a year for lenses.

Some patients do well with a different therapeutic approach called monovision. Rather than correcting both eyes for both distance and near vision problems, monovision corrects one eye for distance vision and one eye for near vision. “Your brain learns to ignore the image that’s not in focus,” said Dr. James Salz, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of Southern California.

This can be accomplished with contact lenses or through Lasik surgery reshaping the cornea. If someone is considering an irreversible process like Lasik, however, it’s important to test monovision first with contact lenses, say experts. And insurance generally does not cover Lasik surgery, which typically costs up to $2,500 per eye.

Research shows that about 70 percent of patients tolerate monovision, said Barry Weissman, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, Los Angeles. As people age and their presbyopia worsens, however, the growing difference between the two corrections often causes discomfort, he added.

Contact Lens Replacement

As the eye ages, the lens may develop cataracts, or cloudiness. Eye surgeons correct the problem by replacing the lens. Now some of these intraocular lenses can also correct for presbyopia. But be warned: health insurance will generally cover cataract surgery, but if you opt for one of the new lenses that correct presbyopia rather the standard single-focus lens, you’ll have to pay the difference — up to $2,500 an eye.

Some ophthalmologists are now replacing people’s healthy lenses with presbyopia-correcting lenses. Because it is not medically necessary, insurance won’t cover the $3,000 to $7,000 cost per eye. And some doctors are wary of the practice. “To correct just for presbyopia, I myself wouldn’t do that,” said Dr. Bishop. “I don’t believe the risks are outweighed by the benefits.”

Alternative Eye-to-Eye Comments

It is not true that nutrition has little effect on our eye health as we age.

This applies both to the common conditions of presbyopia and the second major aged-related eye disorders, macular degeneration or AMD. The is a progressive disease of the retina. It is where the light-sensing cells in the central region of vision or macula stop working and die. The disease is most common in people age sixty and over, and is the leading cause of visual impairment in senior citizens and it is estimated that 15 million Americans have it, with about 2 million new cases diagnosed annually.

Studies from Harvard University have shown that aggressive nutritional intervention can prevent macular degeneration.

Conventional medicine doesn’t work with the paradigm of prevention and/or cure but rather with perpetual maintenance treatment for profit. We see this in most all major chronic disease categories. So the scenario is generally that if you need glasses, you go see an eye doctor who will prescribe them at a dear cost. You then thank the doctor for helping you see better. In a couple of years the prescription is no longer strong enough and you go through the same routine with a stronger prescription, and the cycle continues over and over through your life.  Its an eye doctor’s profit paradise. The problem then is that each time this happens, the muscles of your eyes actually weaken, further reducing your ability to focus on your own without glasses.

Through proper nutrition and eye exercises our eyesight can remain strong and even improve over time.

Among generally effective approaches are holistic dietary changes, see our many blog posts under the category nutrition, and supplementation with omega 3 essential fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C – along with physical exercise. All these approaches will improve the overall health of the eye naturally. As to macular degeneration,  Hundreds of studies have shown the benefits of a nutritional programs in helping prevent macular degeneration. They emphasize carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, anti-oxidants, taurine (an amino acid), along with the benefits of micro-stimulation.

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