Category Archives: Herbal Remedies

Helping Our Aging Eyes

Problems with eyesight can occur at any age, but in seniors they are more common.  For most eye conditions, the risk rate increases for those over 70- or 80-years old.  However, many of the eye conditions that arise as a result of age are considered to be normal by many medical professionals, although physiological or biological compensations are possible.  Aging does increase the risk for some sight-threatening eye conditions, which is why it is important to be informed and to have regular eye check-ups.

Let’s say there’s a woman who is 56-years old and her eye doctor says she has borderline high intraocular pressures of 26 and 27 mm Hg (mercury).  The doctor will test her visual field and optic nerve.  If the results of the visual field are fine, the doctor will either monitor it regularly or possibly give medication to lower the pressure anyway.

Here, the patient’s body is telling us way ahead of time that something is wrong, and steps need to be taken to help it.  Instead of being thankful to the body for this warning and taking measures to correct it with a natural program, the doctor will either wait until the problem becomes serious enough to demand medications, or put the patient on medications in a preventive mode, without attempting to address the real underlying issues.  An often effective natural approach includes dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, such as: omega-3 essential fatty acids, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C and physical exercise, which have all been shown by research to help lower eye pressure naturally without medication.

Common Aging Eye Conditions

The age-related eye conditions that are more common than others, and also less serious, are:

  1. Dry Eyes, due to lessened production of tears, are experienced by 75% of seniors over the age of 65. Dry eyes can also be caused or worsened by smoking, drinking coffee, menopausal changes, computer use, overuse of sugar, dehydration, and allergies or could be a symptom of a larger problem like diabetes or auto-immune diseases. Artificial tears are sometimes prescribed but these give only temporary relief and may exacerbate the problem. Homeopathic eye drops for women and for men are quite helpful.
  2. Presbyopia, or Age-Related Focus Dysfunction, is a blurring of close vision which makes it difficult to do fine work. While far-sightedness is caused by inherited and environmental influences on the shape of the eyeball, Presbyopia is due to age-related thickening of proteins within the lens, making the lens less flexible.
  3. Cataracts are so frequent among seniors that many eye doctors consider them to be normal. Blurry, hazy vision that worsens over time and over-sensitivity to light are signs that an opaque spot on the lens of the eye may be growing and obscuring vision. Causes may include: buildup of free radicals in the metabolism, chronic stress or pain of the back and neck, food sensitivities or allergies, eye-harming side-effects of prescribed drugs, smoking, and poor digestion.  Cataracts, too, may be formed as a result of other eye surgery or diseases such as diabetes.

Reduced pupil size makes seniors’ pupils less responsive to changes in ambient lighting, needing more light for reading and protection from bright sunlight.

Serious Eye Conditions

Other age-related eye conditions are more serious and need to be addressed immediately either through holistic approaches or in combination with conventional medicine.  These more severe eye ailments are:

Glaucoma – refers to diseases that cause optic nerve damage, some of which are related to an increase in intraocular pressure, and which cause progressive vision loss.

Symptoms are very few until diminished vision is noticed.  Conventional treatments can be pretty drastic but research is showing that vigorous exercise may reduce the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma.

Macular degeneration – is the leading cause of blindness among Americans over the age of 65.  Dry macular degeneration causes gradual central vision loss and results from aging and thinning of tissues in the macula or deposit of pigment.  Wet macular degeneration arises from the body’s attempt to make up for lack of nutrients by building extra blood vessels beneath the retina, but the new blood vessels leak fluid which causes permanent damage to the retinal cells.  Studies are showing that AMD (age-related macular degeneration) is a nutritional and lifestyle responsive eye disease.

Diabetic retinopathy – is vision threatening damage to the retina caused by diabetes.  Blindness is largely preventable if the patient and doctor work together for proper use of medications, blood sugar testing, supplements, proper diet and lifestyle.

Cataracts – Many eye doctors still consider cataract surgery to be the only remedy.  However, there are holistic alternatives that may help, such as; homeopathic or nutritional eye drops.

Nutritional, Herbal & Microcurrent Therapies Effective for Eye Ailments

Antioxidants that have been shown to slow or even reverse the progress of macular degeneration are found in blueberries, artichokes and pecans.  Important antioxidants include: the carotenoids, astaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as nutrients and enzymes that behave like or support antioxidant functioning – glutathione, superoxide dismutase, CoQ10, and alpha lipoic acid.

The carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin are pigments found in fruits and vegetables, and in high concentration in the macula of the human eye, where they reduce the risk of light-induced oxidation damage that could lead to macular degeneration and glaucoma.  Foods rich in these nutrients are green leafy vegetables, especially kale and spinach, collards and turnip greens.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce the risk of both dry eye and macular degeneration.  Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish such as sardines, herring, salmon and tuna and to a lesser degree in dark green leafy vegetables, flax seeds, walnuts and flaxseed oil.

Vitamin A as an antioxidant plays an important role in immune function, helping the surface of the eye to be an effective barrier to bacteria and viruses.  It may help or slow the progression of dry macular degeneration. Beta carotene (Vitamin A) is found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe.

Vitamin C helps the body form connective tissue like collagen which is found in the cornea of the eye.  Studies are showing that Vitamin C may help prevent the formation of cataracts and vision loss from macular degeneration.  Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits and many vegetables such as bell peppers.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant which helps protect cells in the eye, and throughout the body, from damage due to metabolic by-products. Vitamin E is found in wheat germ, almonds, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds.

Zinc may help against macular degeneration and night blindness by helping to absorb Vitamin A and helping enzymes fight free radicals. Zinc is found in oysters, seafood, eggs, black-eyed peas and wheat germ. Selenium helps to absorb Vitamin E and is found in oysters and other seafood as well as in wheat germ.

Magnesium helps relax the muscles that control circulation of vitreous gel in the eye; it is found in almonds, wheat germ, and green leafy vegetables. Chromium is a trace element, tied to blood sugar regulation, fat metabolism and blood circulation. It is especially found in brewer’s yeast, eggs, and potato skins.

Microcurrent Stimulation Treatment

  • Re-stimulate and energize dormant retinal cells (cells are like batteries — when they run low in energy, they become sluggish and dormant),
  • Boost the cells’ ability to rid themselves of waste products which interferes with the flow of energy, nutrients and communication,
  • Increases blood supply to the area stimulated. By increasing blood flow to the area, cells and tissues still living can get nourished and refreshed.

Research suggests that the microcurrent electrical stimulation device approximates the level of electrical activity present in a healthy eye, resulting in stimulating retinal activity and energizing dormant cells, as well as improving microvascular circulation, nerve conduction and velocity.

Microcurrent stimulation increases ATP (energy) synthesis in the retinal cells needed for membrane viability and waste management.  (A major concern for those with dry macular degeneration is excess waste not reabsorbed and eliminated which results in waste accumulation called “drusen”.)

The treatment of patients with Macular Degeneration entails the periodic administration of very precise amounts of tightly controlled electrical current through electrodes applied to the skin at specific areas around the eye. The electrical current is used to stimulate the retina as well as the diseased macula in order to help protect sight.  The procedure is safe, non-invasive and painless and no side effects or adverse reactions have been observed.

There are several metabolic processes that are enhanced through the use of Microcurrent Stimulation.  The first way is to boost the cells’ ability to rid themselves of waste products.  A cell with “stuck” waste products becomes a dead cell and interferes with cellular communication throughout the area where it is located.  Cells need to take in nutrients and eliminate waste like all other living organisms.  The energy supplied by Microcurrent Stimulation innervates cells to become vital and less sluggish.

The second way Microcurrent Stimulation works is by increasing blood supply to the area stimulated.  By increasing blood flow to the area, cells and tissues are nourished, refreshed and oxygenation is increased.

In general, the electrical current gently wakes up the cells from sleep and stimulates the healing process.

Addressing Nutrient Deficiencies

Seniors, whose efficiency of digestion is compromised, and who take medications which deplete key nutrients, or who live in institutions, may have trouble getting enough fruits and vegetables to supply the nutrients required for eye health.

Juicing is a flavorful and efficient way to guarantee an adequate intake of enzymes, vitamins and minerals. A daily glass of fresh organic juice for retinal support may contain ginger, garlic, asparagus, leeks, spinach, Jerusalem artichokes, parsley, pumpkin, beets, celery, cabbage, carrots, raspberries, and chlorophyll; while a glass of juice aimed at optic nerve health prevention would include celery, cucumber, carrots, radish, parsley, turnip, beets, raspberries, cabbage, apples, and plums.

Case Histories of Effective Alternative Treatment

Case Hx 1 – for Glaucoma

Trish P., a 58 year-old Caucasian woman, came in for her annual eye exam.  Her only symptom was that her current reading glasses felt a little weak.  She was given slightly stronger reading glasses to help her near visual acuity.  Her optic nerves were normal.  When I tested her eye pressure, her right eye was 26 mm HG and her left eye was 27 mm Hg (normal eye pressure is 10-22 mm Hg).

Due to the fact that her eye pressures were above normal, a visual field test (to test her peripheral vision) was done, plus an optic nerve scan called an OCT of the optic nerve.  Both these tests came out within normal.  There were no other medical issues.

Since high eye pressure could be an early sign of glaucoma there were three possible choices:

  1. Come back every 3 months to check her eye pressure and, if needed, do the visual field and OCT optic nerve scan again.
  2. If the eye pressure did not come down to normal, possibly prescribe an eye drop medication to help lower the eye pressure.
  3. Give her a diet and glaucoma prevention program that incorporates exercise, nutrition, herbs; possibly, chiropractic and body work, acupuncture

The first two choices are the traditional choices offered in most medical offices.  By following the third choice, within three months, her eye pressure was then tested to be: right eye 17 mm Hg and left eye 16 mm Hg.  It has now been 12 years and her pressures have never been high again nor has she ever needed any medication for her eyes.

Glaucoma daily protocol

Vitamin A 5000 IU

Beta carotene 15,000 IU

Vitamin c 2000 mg

Co enzyme Q10 100 mg

Coleus 200 mg

Bilberry 200 mg

Grape seed extract 200 mg

Ginkgo biloba 120 mg

Omega 3 oils 1000 mg

Omega 6 (borage or black currant seed) oils 1000 mg

Alpha lipoic acid 150 mg

Juicing recipe (some combination of the food below plus your favorite fruits and vegetables)

Celery, cucumber, carrots, radish, parsley, turnip, beets, raspberries, cabbage, apple, plums (not too much fruit).

Case Hx 2 – for Glaucoma

Betty L. was diagnosed with glaucoma at the relatively young age of 53.  She started drop therapy and found she was highly allergic to all but two medications.  The drops worked to lower her pressures for almost a year, but then her pressures started to creep up again.  She had run out of options for drop therapy and was facing laser surgery, when she found my website and ordered some of my recommended products for Glaucoma.  She convinced her ophthalmologist to delay laser surgery, while she gave these products a chance.

She was so excited and grateful to report that after using the herbal products, Coleus Forskolli and herbs for her liver, her IOP went from 19 to 14 in 7 weeks.  Laser surgery was canceled, and her ophthalmologist asked her to bring the herbs in at her next checkup because he wanted to see what she was taking.


Case Hx 3 – for Macular Degeneration

Frances C. was a 78 year-old woman in good health.  She had a thorough eye examination from her eye doctor that showed dry macular degeneration in both eyes.  Her visual acuities were 20/100 in the right eye and 20/60 in the left eye.  Her main component was when she focused on reading or faces, it seemed wavy and fuzzy. Her eye doctor told her to come back in 6 months to monitor it.

We put her on a nutritional/ herbal protocol (see below) along with microcurrent stimulation treatment twice a day for 10 minutes at a time.  After 6 months on the program, her vision in the right eye was 20/60 and her acuity in the left eye was 20/40.

This was very exciting as she now can pass the driving test and she is now 82 years and her macular degeneration has continued to be stable and has not gotten worse.

Macular Degeneration Daily Protocol

(Below is just a general protocol emphasizing the important nutrients; an individualized program for each patient is recommended.)

Vitamin A 5,000 IU

Beta carotene 15,000 IU

Lutein 10 mg

Meso zeaxanthin 10 mg

Zeaxanthin 2 mg

Vitamin c 2000 mg

Magnesium 500 mg

Bilberry 200 mg

Grape seed extract 200 mg

Resveratrol 100 mg

Omega3 oils 1000 mg

Omega 6 (Borage or Black Currant Seed) oils 1000 mg

Taurine 750 mg

Zinc 30 mg

Wear U.V blocking sunglasses wrap around type whenever outside

Eliminate smoking

Microcurrent Stimulation Treatment

Juicing recipe (some combination of the foods below plus your favorite fruits and vegetables)

Broccoli, green and red bell pepper, raspberries, apples, leafy greens, parsley

Case Hx 4 – for Cataracts

Douglas H., a 70 year-old male came into the office complaining of glare and blurry vision.  The examination showed he was beginning to develop cataracts in both eyes.  The right sought worse than the left.  His visual acuity with glasses in the right eye was 20/40; in the left eye 20/30.

I recommended a diet and nutrition program increasing the antioxidants and staying away from refined sugar, alcohol and limiting dairy products.  I also told him to wear UV blocking sunglasses that wrapped around his eyes. It is now 8 years later.  His acuity in his right eye now is 20/30 and his left eye 20/25, though he still has small cataracts on examination, he no longer complains of glare and his vision has improved.

Cataract nutritional daily protocol

Vitamin A 5000 IU

Beta carotene 15,000 IU

B2 100 mg

Vitamin C 2000 mg

Vitamin D 2000 IU

Vitamin E 400 IU

Chromium 200 mcg

Carnosine 1000 mg

Zinc 30 mg

Selenium 200 mcg

Alpha lipoic acid 150 mg

N-acetyl-cysteine 600 mg

Succus Cineraria Maritima 1 drop three times a day homeopathic eye drop for cataracts

N-acetyl-carnosine Can-C™ Eye Drops with 1% n-acetyl-carnosine

or Oclumed eye drops (solution containing n-acetyl-Carnosine eye drops plus other antioxidants for lens support including Glutathione, Taurine, n-acetyl-cysteine)  1 drop three times a day


Juicing recipe (some combination of the nutrients below plus your favorite fruits and vegetables)

Carrot, celery, spinach, endive, blueberry, parsley, apple

Lifestyle Measures for Preventive Eye Care

Diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease also increase the risk of age-related eye diseases.  And as we get older, poor eyesight can lead to depression and anxiety – such as fear of falling – producing unnecessary changes in gait, loss of balance, and restricted mobility at a time of life when staying active is important to maintain health and quality of life.  The good news is that maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, good nutrition, regular check-ups and eye vitamins or food supplements, may prevent or ameliorate many of those conditions.  Therefore, prevention is the best medicine for warding off debilitating eye conditions.

Here are valuable lifestyle measures to follow to ensure that they don’t occur:

  1. Protect eyes from intense ultraviolet light: wear a hat with a brim when going out, wear sunglasses that protect the eyes from UV radiation – sunglasses that wrap around the eyes are especially beneficial.
  2. Watch the sugar intake. Again, for most eye conditions, a higher risk of developing problems is associated with higher sugar intake. For example, in the case of cataracts, sugar limits the ability of the eye to keep the lens clear.
  3. Adopt a healthy diet including lots of leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and drink water daily.
  4. Do not smoke. Smoking substantially increases risk factors. For example, the risk of developing cataracts is doubled if one smokes.  For men, smoking more than a pack a day, the risk is 205% higher, and for women, the risk is 63%.  For macular degeneration, if one smokes, the risk is 2.5 to 3.5 times greater.  If one is over age 80 and smokes, the risk jumps to 5.5 times more likely to develop AMD.
  5. Get regular exercise. Walking is one of the best things we can do. Interestingly, a research study in 2013 pointed out that physical unfitness is a greater risk than obesity.  In other words, people who are overweight but who are physically fit – people who walk and do other daily activity involving movement – have better overall health than those who are thin.
  6. Don’t keep your eyes focused in one place for a sustained period of time. Change your focus; look up out a window when you’re doing close work to give your eyes a break. Sustained contraction of the eyes can lead to a contraction of your upper body and neck. Also, don’t stare, that causes tension on the visual system.
  1. Get at least 20 minutes of natural sunlight a day. Go for a walk. The eyes are light sensing organs. It’s important to get enough sunlight so that they operate optimally.

Many patients ask me, is there a point where the conventional and alternative approaches can work together?

I first explain that it is the body’s remarkable defense system and genetic knowledge that keep us healthy and alive.  The body often gives us signals way ahead of time that a problem is emerging, and that we need to make some changes.  We need to pay attention to these signals, and listen to what our body is asking from us.  The advances that modern medicine has made are astounding, particularly in dealing with acute problems and emergencies.  If a patient suddenly had a retinal detachment, I would want them to be taken to a conventional retinal specialist immediately.  But conventional medicine has lost sight – no pun intended – of the long-term picture, which is what we must focus on for nurturing the body back to health.  Working on this plane is really the strength of what is referred to as Integrative Medicine.  Ultimately, it will be the blending of traditional and alternative medicine that in the long run will provide the best treatment for health and healing – and keeping one’s precious gift of sight for an entire lifetime.


Dr. Marc Grossman, O.D., L.Ac., is best described as a Holistic Eye Doctor, who uses an integrative and multi-disciplinary approach.  Since 1980, he has dedicated himself to helping people with such conditions ranging from myopia and dry eyes to potentially vision-threatening diseases such as, macular degeneration and glaucoma.  His varied academic training includes degrees from SUNY and Tri-state Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine – amid other schools – in Optometry, Biology, Physical Education and Learning Disabilities, also: yoga, bioenergetics, nutrition, Chinese medicine and acupuncture, the Alexander technique and Feldenkrais.  Instrumental as founder of several health centers in the Hudson Valley, Dr. Grossman is the author of the best-seller, Magic Eye Beyond 3D: Improve Your Vision, and lectures nationally on various eye care topics.

Dr.Marc Grossman O.D.L.Ac. Medical Director ” The

question is not what you look at, but what you see.

” – Henry David Thoreau

Cataracts an Integrative Medical Approach

The world is changing. Our concepts of Western medicine have shifted with new research coming out regularly supporting the benefit of lifestyle, diet and targeted supplementation. The approach of a symptom-oriented treatment protocol isolates the person from the health condition, defining them in terms of diagnosis and specific medications for that diagnosis.

The holistic and Eastern Medicine approach seeks to look at each person as a unique individual so treatment strategies can often vary from person to person even with the same diagnosis.

By combining the medical approaches of the East and West along with other alternative health modalities, we may be able to achieve better health with less cost and greater success in helping patients preserve vision.

Types and Prevalence

Age of Onset

Cataracts are defined less by the age of onset than by the size and location. The age of onset does not determine the cause. Anyone with a genetic marker for cataracts could be more vulnerable todamage due to environmental toxins. 1

Senile or age-related cataract occurs after age 45. Age-related cataracts are generally attributed to multiple environmental insults accumulated over a number of years, including ongoing exposure to sunlight, oxidation in the lens, as well as poor circulation and delivery of essential nutrients to the eyes.

Cataracts in Adults

Cataracts tend to worsen over time and are the major cause of blindness. Almost 40 million people in the U.S. alone, suffer from cataracts. Only 10% of people are affected with cataracts by age 55, but the figure jumps to 50% by age 75, and 70% by age 80+. 2 Cataract removal is the most common surgical procedure covered by Medicare with almost 3,000,000 surgeries performed per year.

Location of Onset

Nuclear cataracts are those found in the central part of the eye lens. Due to the location of the cataract, these tend to impact vision to a greater degree than those located elsewhere on the eye lens, even in early stages of development.

Cortical cataracts are found on the outside part of the eye lens and are commonly found in people with diabetes. Given the location of this type of cataract, these may have little effect on vision, particularly in the early stage of development, but they can develop quickly in diabetics.

Posterior subcapsular cataracts appear on the back part of the eye lens. Symptoms can include sensitivity to bright light, seeing of halos, and/or difficulty in distance vision.

Secondary cataracts are not technically cataracts; however, they are called this in mainstream medicine. Secondary cataracts occur when old cells of the original lens remain in the eye and collect on the new artificial lens. They may occur in up to 50% of post-cataract surgery patients, and they can result in symptoms similar to the original cataract condition. Doctors use a YAG laser treatment to “burn” off the excess cells from the new lens. This procedure is typically fast, painless, and very effective, and usually done in the eye doctor’s office.

About the Lens

The healthy eye lens is completely transparent, allowing the maximum amount of light to reach the retina. The lens is comprised of water and a highly concentrated mix of several proteins, including protective proteins that prevent the lens proteins from aggregating and clumping. A cataract results when the proteins start to clump up, clouding the lens, and reducing the amount of light that can pass through. If not treated, the color of the lens starts to change from being clear to yellowish and eventually brownish.

The lens has a microcirculation system which operates in lieu of blood vessels. It has been proposed that this system is a flow of ions that generates a flow of water through the lens. An extracellular flow of water moves nutrients into the lens; an intracellular flow of water removes wastes from the lens.6 Signs and Symptoms

Early Stages

Vision blurriness and sensitivity to glare, particularly at night, and/or seeing halos are signs of early stage cataract development. These symptoms can vary depending on the location of the cataract on the eye lens. For example, a cataract located in the center of the eye lens will affect vision more than when located on the outside of the eye lens.

Moderate Stages

At this stage, the eye doctor will usually recommend surgery, particularly if vision cannot be improved better than 20/40 with eyeglasses, due to the cataract. The location of the cataract on the lens also determines whether surgery is recommended at that time. For example, one may have a moderate cataract located on the outside of the lens with little impact on vision, while another’s cataract may be small but located directly in the center of the lens causing a more significant effect on vision. Symptoms again, include blurriness of vision, sensitivity to glare (particularly at night), and possibly less color clarity. Double vision, or seeing multiple images, is another common symptom at this stage.

Late Stages

As cataracts get harder and stiffer, they are more difficult to remove. They can also liquefy, and if not removed, can cause substantial inflammation, pain, and possibly infection. At this stage, people often can see shapes, but not detail. While an advanced cataract raises the risk of complications from surgery, unless there is a medical reason to avoid it, surgery should be performed. This is a crucial point in the development of cataracts, and if left unaddressed, further complications could result.

Causes and Risk Factors Conventional perspective

Here are a few specific known causes of cataracts that most doctors acknowledge:


  • Smoking
  • Increase in age
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Obesity
  • Genetics
  • High blood pressure
  • Use of pharmaceutical drugs, long term use of steroids
  • Diabetes, persistent blood sugar imbalances, even not diagnosed as diabetes
  • Long term exposure to sunlight
  • Physical trauma, such as getting hit in the eye with a ball
  • Exposure to chemicals


Cell Phone Radiation

Less known to most doctors, but theorized by some researchers is that radiation from cell phones can lead to early cataracts (in addition to causing other ocular problems).7

Conventional Treatment

Cataract surgery is performed when the cataract is considered “ripe enough.” Typically, eye doctors begin to recommend surgery if one’s vision cannot be refracted to 20/40 or better, due tothe cataracts. Of all the eye diseases, cataracts are the most amenable to treatment with

conventional medical methods. The standard treatment is an outpatient procedure to remove the lens using a technique called phacoemulsification. A surgeon uses an ultrasonic beam to break-up the hardened lens, and then vacuums up the pieces from the eye with a suction device. An artificial lens, called an intraocular lens or IOL, is inserted to replace the cataract lens.

Patients who may not be considered good candidates for cataract surgery include those with a history of heart conditions, retinal bleeding, or other health issues considered risky for surgery.

After Surgery

Vision improvement may be noticed immediately after surgery, but there can be initial blurriness due to inflammation, so that improvement is typically noticed within 2–3 days. One may feel itchiness and discomfort for a few days, which should disappear with the antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops prescribed by the eye doctor. An eye patch can help temporarily protect the eye. Complete healing usually occurs within eight weeks after surgery.


Your eye doctor will recommend avoiding physical movements and activities for the first week after surgery. These include: bending from the waist, lifting objects

Risks After Surgery

Although cataract surgery is typically very successful, it can cause trauma to the eye for a small percentage of people. Such trauma can include choroidal hemorrhage, macula edema, retina tears/detachment, vitreous tears/detachment, and/or flashes, and eye floaters.8 9

Overall, up to 20% of all cataract procedures are for diabetic patients.10 High levels of sugar in the blood contribute to cataract formation; diabetics are 2–5 times at risk for getting cataracts.11 12 13

Blood sugar interferes with the lens’s ability to pump out excess fluid from the eye and maintain its clarity. With too much dietary intake of sugar, this function can become difficult or impossible.

Diabetics with severe non-proliferative and proliferative diabetic retinopathy have a higher risk of progressive disease after surgery

Complementary Approach

Though most conventional physicians attribute cataracts to general aging, we believe that a cataract is often a symptom of an underlying condition due to a metabolic imbalance. It signals that the natural processes of your body are breaking down on some level, and that the normal flow of nutrients into the eyes, and waste products out of the eyes, has been compromised.

While we do recommend cataract surgery for those with moderate to severe vision loss, we prefer to use complementary therapies, including nutritional intervention, where surgery is not considered essential. Through these and other complementary medical treatments, it is possible to slow and even reverse the growth of cataracts.

Even people preparing for cataract surgery should seek to improve their overall health before they go through this invasive procedure, as this will aid in healing times and help protect the retina. Because cataracts typically progress slowly over many years there is often time for preventive measures to work quite successfully.



Combinations. Studies have also shown that rather than looking at vitamins and nutrients in isolation, combinations tend to decrease cataract risk significantly. For example, a combination of antioxidant group carotenes, vitamins A and C, and an omega-3 group were more effective than those nutrients in isolation.15  Another study showed a combination of vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, E, and carotene in the diet significantly lessened the risk of all cataract types.16

Vitamin C (buffered and ascorbated). 2,000mg per day, split up and taken with meals. The normal healthy lens of the eye contains a higher level of vitamin C than any other organ of the body, except the adrenals. When cataracts are forming there is a decreased level of vitamin C in the aqueous humor as well as in the overall body. Vitamin C has been shown to control sugar imbalances that often play a role in cataract formation.


Source. Good sources are citrus fruits, red peppers, and tomatoes.17 18 19 20

Note. When supplementing with vitamin C, for better absorption make sure the formula you take is ascorbated and buffered (to slow the breakdown of vitamin C and extend absorption time in the body) with nutrients such as bioflavonoids, rutin, rosehips, calcium, magnesium, and/or potassium. Plain ascorbic acid flushes out of the body quickly.

Glutathione. 500mg–900mg, if taken in capsule or pill form. The sublingual form has 5-10 times greater absorption so the dosage will be smaller. Follow label instructions. Referred to as the anti-aging antioxidant, glutathione is considered the most important antioxidant made by the body.

It is very effective in preventing cataract formation and is crucial in possibly altering free radical damage. Some studies have shown that many lenses with cataracts contain approximately one fifth of the amount of glutathione as compared to normal lenses.

Glutathione levels are even lower in nuclear cataract lenses compared to cortical cataract lenses. 21 22

Source. Food sources that help boost glutathione naturally include: milk thistle extract, whey protein, and foods high in sulfur such as arugula, avocado, bok choy, Brazil nuts, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, dried apricots, eggs, garlic, kale, mustard greens, onions, radishes, roasted peanuts, turnips, and watercress.

The Perfect Pair: Glutathione and Vitamin C

The importance of vitamin C to eye health cannot be understated; concentrations of vitamin C in the lens are 20–30 times higher than those in the plasma.24 Vitamin C doesn’t work alone: it needs glutathione to improve the use of ascorbic acid (the purist form of vitamin C) in the body.

Glutathione and vitamin C are thought to work together to promote proper water balance within the lens and prevent the protein clumping that can lead to cataracts.

Very Important

Lutein. 6mg–20mg per day. This powerful antioxidant is found both in the lens of the eye and retina, and it helps protect the eyes from damage due to sunlight exposure by filtering out light.25 26 27 28 29

Zeaxanthin. 2mg–12mg per day. This powerful antioxidant is found in the lens of the eye and the retina, which helps protect the eyes from damage due to sunlight exposure by filtering out light. 30 31 32 33

Alpha-lipoic acid. 120mg–300mg per day. Alpha-lipoic acid has been found to halt complications resulting from blood sugar imbalances and hardening of the lens. Oxidative damage results in cataract formation, and increasing antioxidants, particularly alpha-lipoic acid, can help prevent or stop cataract formation.34 35 36



An optimal potency multivitamin is an important foundation of any cataract prevention program. It should include flavonoids and carotenoids. Scientists found that the risk of cataract formation decreased in the regular users of multivitamin supplements (one-third risk decrease).

Flavonoids. 1,000mg per day. Quercetin and rutin are important antioxidants that are synergistic with vitamin C, meaning they need each other to work efficiently. Of the two, quercetin seems to be one of the most effective flavonoids in the prevention of cataracts.37


Green tea extract. 500mg–725mg per day. High in antioxidants, this supplement helps protect the eyes against oxidative damage.39

Selenium. 200mcg per day. Patients with senile cataracts were found to have significantly lower blood- and intraocular levels of the mineral selenium than controls.40

N-acetyl-carnosine (NAC). 500mg per day. Statistical analysis revealed the significant differences over 6 and 24 months in cumulative positive changes of overall characteristics of cataracts in a group taking NAC.41

Bilberry, 180mg–240mg per day, taken along with vitamin E, 400 IU per day. Some studies suggest that bilberry may slow cataract formation. Bilberry combined with vitamin E stopped cataract formation in 48 of 50 patients with senile cortical cataracts.42 In an animal model supplementation with bilberry extract helped to protect DNA and improve enzyme activity in lens tissue.43

Resveratrol. 250mg per day. Resveratrol activates an enzyme called sirtuin type 1 (SIRT1), which protects against oxidative stress in human lens epithelial cells.44 This enzyme inhibits oxidation in the eye’s lens and protects against cataract development.

Melatonin. 1mg–3mg before bedtime. Melatonin can help increase levels of reduced glutathione in the body.45

Milk thistle. Suggested dosage 480mg–960mg per day. Milk thistle contains silymarin (its main ingredient), which possesses both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Because of this, milk thistle may help boost glutathione by preventing glutathione depletion in the liver and helping to cleanse the liver, which is essential for lens health.

Vitamin E. Suggested dosage 400 IU per day. In percentages that were statistically significant, studies have found that high levels of dietary vitamin E, supplemental vitamin E, and high levels of vitamin E in the bloodstream are all tied to a lower risk of cataract. As the levels of vitamin E dropped, the incidence of cataract increased. 46 47 48 49 50 51

Saffron. Suggested dosage is 20mg per day. An interesting and related study found that crocin, a saffron apocarotenoid, was helpful in reducing diabetic cataracts.




There is a strong correlation between the risk of cataract onset and the patient’s diet. Subjects who ate the most meat had the highest rate of cataracts, and those who ate fish but not meat had a lower rate. Vegetarians had a lower rate and vegans had the lowest rate of cataract incidence.53

Whenever possible, a nutritional program should be maintained for at least three to four months to help with quicker recovery and retinal support, before considering cataract surgery.

Juicing. Juicing is a great way to deliver nutrients to the body. Our juicing recipe for cataracts is some combination of the following. You can add your favorite fruits and vegetables.

  • Fresh apple, endive, carrots, celery, parsley, blueberry, and fresh leafy-green vegetables.
  • Not too many carrots because of their high natural sugar content.

This combination helps warm and detoxify the body and provide great nutrients for nourishing the eyes.

Very Important

Reduce or eliminate all types of refined sugars (particularly white sugar, but also fructose, sucrose, fruit juice concentrates, maltose, dextrose, glucose, and refined carbohydrates). Thisincludes “natural” drinks that contain a lot of sugar, including all fruit juices. Those people who are lactose intolerant are at higher risk for cataracts. 54

Drink eight glasses of water per day (preferably filtered or purified). This is optimally taken as a fourounce glass of water every half-hour, to equal 16 four-ounce glasses.

Our bloodstream can only effectively handle about four ounces at any one time. When you drink more at a time, this means more work for the kidneys to filter water that hasn’t had a chance to travel through the lymph system and to clean body tissues. Adequate water intake helps to maintain the flow of nutrients to the lens and to release wastes and toxins from tissues.

Eat foods high in Vitamin A or beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. These substances are called antioxidants, and most of the nutritional components of cataract prevention and reversal are related to boosting antioxidant levels. Antioxidants are one of the most important combatants against free radicals, a major cause of cataract formation (and other eye disease). A good diet supplemented with antioxidant vitamins and minerals can help prevent the damage due to oxidation and free radicals.55 56 57 58 59 60

Eat foods high in antioxidants, including leafy-green vegetables, garlic, onions, beans, celery, sea vegetables, apples, carrots, tomatoes, turnips, and oranges.


Eliminate dairy products, at least temporarily. Some foods, particularly dairy products, can exacerbate eye problems by creating mucus and causing sinus congestion, which can impair lymph and blood drainage from the area around the eyes. When lymph and blood can’t flow in and out of the eyes, nutrients don’t reach the eyes effectively, and toxins and metabolic wastes aren’t eliminated as efficiently. Try avoiding dairy for a month to see whether you become less congested and your eye issues clear up.


Note. Many people are lactose intolerant to some degree. Generally, reducing or eliminating dairy from one’s diet has innumerable positive benefits on the eyes and the entire body.


While supplementation is important, nothing replaces a positive, healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, daily meditations or walks in nature, and a healthy diet.

The rapid pace of life often interferes with people taking time to care for themselves properly, and on all levels—mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. However, proper care maximizes the mind/body connection and its inherent healing potential, which is essential for restoring and maintaining health.

Avoid smoking. Researchers have established that smoking cigarettes substantially increases the risk of developing age-related cataracts. Smoking accounts for about 20% of all cataract incidences.61 62

Eye Drop Recommendations

The following eyedrops have either a long history of safe usage for cataract management and/or have research studies showing related benefits to lens health. Take one eyedrop formula to start or any combination of the three. We recommend taking eyedrops for at least 3–6 months to start; this will help you determine their efficacy. Look for a reduction in common symptoms to cataracts, such as related reduction in blurriness and/or less sensitivity to glare, particularly at night.

Cineraria homeopathic eyedrops. 1 drop in each eye, 2-3 times per day, best taken at least 30 minutes apart from other eyedrops. This eyedrop has been listed in the Ophthalmology Physician’s Desk Reference herbal section for over 38 years as a treatment for cataracts. They can be taken by themselves or with other eyedrops. 63 64

N-acetyl-carnosine eyedrops 1%. 2 drops in each eye, 2 times per day, best to separate each eyedrop by approximately one minute. See Appendix Section 5 for product recommendations.65

Oclumed eyedrops. One drop in each eye, 2 times per day. These eyedrops contain a range of antioxidants including l-carnosine, n-acetyl-l-carnosine, l-glutathione, cysteine ascorbate providing a source of vitamin C), l-cysteine, taurine and other nutrients to support the repair of the damaged lens tissues.


Long-term regular exercise, as opposed to a burst of exercise training,reduces the risk of cataracts.

High levels of inactivity increase cataract risk.66

Many therapies promote improved flow of energy and circulation throughout the body. The daily stress that we encounter due to a poor diet, emotional imbalances, lack of regular exercise, and more, can cause areas within the body to tighten up, which restricts circulation. The eyes are the second most biologically active part of the body; only the brain is more active. So, they require a great deal of nutrition and the free flow of blood and energy to remain healthy.

Eye exercises are helpful for maintaining good vision and promoting microcirculation in the eyes




Yoga. Inversion poses in yoga have been shown to aid blood flow to the heart and head. It may seem counter-intuitive, but the blood is more freely able to move to the upper extremities, these exercises can be very relaxing to the eyes and face. As such, they are particularly helpful in the prevention of eye conditions. One of the best and safest inversion poses is lying on the floor with your legs up a wall. Beginning, as well as advanced yoga practitioners equally enjoy this posture.

After cataract surgery, avoid inversions. This includes standing forward bends like Uttanasan and Prasarita Padottanasana, and even downward-facing dog. You can still include modified poses like half dog pose at the wall. If you apply the rule of not bending past 90 degrees from vertical, you will minimize the pressure increase to the head and subsequently to the eye. Other rather obvious poses that could have a similar effect are those that require strong, sustained contraction of the abdominal muscles, which would also increase blood pressure in the eyes.

Poses like boat pose (navasana), deep held twists (even sitting versions), and arm balances like crow pose also fall into this category.

In a time of healing you want to keep the nervous system quiet, spending more time in the “rest and digest” part of the autonomic nervous system. So, spend the two-week healing period doing gentler practices, including lots of supported restoratives and guided meditations on health and healing.

Other Modalities

Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views the development of cataracts as often being related to a chronic imbalance in the Kidney meridian, which is related to the emotions of fear and grief.

The Liver meridian “opens to the eyes” and is associated with overall eye health, and the Kidney meridian “opens to the lens” and provides blood and nourishment to the retina.

Since most of the major meridians (in terms of energy flow) pass through the eyes, the imbalance inherent in eye issues may be related to an imbalance in other meridians, that may affect the Kidney and Liver meridians. Where the imbalances lie is best determined through an intake evaluation by an acupuncturist.

Here are the common Chinese medicine patent formulas related to cataracts:

Kidney yin tonic may be taken in a dosage as directed by your practitioner.

Shi hu ye guang wan (dendrobium pill for night vision) nourishes Kidney yin and clears the Liver to improve vision. It is indicated for cataracts as well as red, irritated, or swollen eyes, poor or blurred vision, eye strain from reading or from computer use, excessive tearing, and pain around the eyes.

Ming mu di huang wan (brighten the eyes) nourishes the Liver, enriches the Kidneys, and improves vision.

Zhu jing wan (preserve vistas pill) tonifies and nourishes the Liver and Kidneys, enriches the yin, and improves vision. Symptoms related to deficiencies in these meridians include weak and aching lower back and knees, excessive thirst, poor memory, cough, asthma, shortness of breath, and wheezing.

Qi ju di huang wan (rehmannia 6 plus chrysanthemum and lycii) nourishes Kidney, Liver blood,and yin. This formula is a classic adaptation of “liu wei di huang wan” (rehmannia 6), with a special emphasis on the eyes. In particular, the formula is helpful for dry eyes, redness, and heat caused by yin (fluid) deficiency.

Celosia 10 was designed for disorders such as cataracts as the lens and cornea are exposed tissue easily subject to “wind” disorders.

Essential Oils

Laurel leaf helps with lymph support.

Clary sage helps balance the endocrine system.

Saffron benefits include the following properties: antibacterial, blood purifier, antioxidant, decongestant, and memory enhancer.

Frankincense helps relieve chronic stress and anxiety, reduces pain and inflammation, and boosts immunity.

Carrot seed properties include antiseptic, disinfectant, detoxifier and antioxidant.

Keep essences away from the mouth, eyes and mucous membranes; if a few drops get in one of these sensitive areas it may be uncomfortable for 15-30 minutes but not harmful. You can lessen discomfort by adding a pure oil like olive or coconut oil to neutralize the irritating effect. For the eye area, dab a few drops around the outside of the eye. Do not put the neutralizing oil in the eye

Put 1⁄4 cup of avocado oil with 1⁄4 cup of calendula-infused oil. Slowly add 5 drops each of the following oils. Then close the bottle and shake well; apply 4 drops of this mixture on your clean face. Massage in gentle circular motions. Leave overnight.

Other Therapies

Acupuncture supports the healthy flow of energy and circulation through the eye. There are eight acupressure points around the orbit of the eye, which can be massaged periodically throughout the day to help relax the eyes and stimulate energy and circulation flow.

On the Horizon

Research on animals using eyedrops containing lanosterol showed reduced severity of cataracts.

Future research needs to be done on humans to identify the effectiveness. The application of the molecule lanosterol was shown to dissolve the lens protein buildup that causes cataracts in animal subjects; it may provide a non-surgical treatment for humans in the future.67


Using lasers as a pretreatment to cataract surgery is showing potential for improvement in the safety and results of surgery.

Use of stem cells to regrow the eye lens after cataract surgery is another potential treatment of the future. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and Shiley Eye Institute, with colleagues in China, have developed a new, regenerative medicine approach to remove congenital cataracts in infants, which permits remaining stem cells to regrow functional lenses.68

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Dr.Marc Grossman O.D.L.Ac. Medical Director / ”

Co-author of “Natural Eye Care: Your Guide to Healing and Health” – 2018

The question is not what you look at, but what you see.

” – Henry David Thoreau

What Doctors Don’t Tell You

Download (PDF, 134KB)

Dr Marc Grossman:
Dr Andy Rosenfarb:

Your Guide to Preventing and Managing Parkinson’s (naturally)

Natural Parkinson’s Support

Although the primary focus for treatment of Parkinson’s Disease PD) is focusing on increasing dopamine production and reducing motor symptoms and tremors through medication, Parkinson’s is actually a multi-neurological disease with having many other causative or contributing factors that cause changes in healthy brain function. Many of these factors are also relevant for dementia, Alzheimer’s, Huntington and Wilson’s Diseases as well.

Some of the factors include:

Cholinergic circuit dysfunction – which affects aspects of memory formation and motivational and volitional behaviors.

Free radical increase and nigral cell loss – which results in loss of healthy brain cells.

High sugar levels – in the brain is toxic and result in cell loss.

Inflammation. Parkinson’s (and Alzheimer’s) is characterized by neuroinflammation that appears in old age when chronic inflammation in the body compromises the immune system

Mitochondrial dysfunction – contributes to neurodegeneration with a role in apoptosis through excitotoxicity and signaling. Mitochondria are the batteries the produce energy within our cells.

Heavy metal build-up – such as mercury, lead, arsenic causes cell death and may alter neurotransmission and lead to neurodegeneration that can manifest as cognitive problems, movement disorders, and learning and memory dysfunction.

Misfolded protein – affects the ability in the brain to “clean house”, referred to as autography which enables the brain to recycle waste products, including damaged mitochondria and large protein aggregates.

Environmental factors. Epigenetics is the study of the effect of the environment on gene expression. Environmental factors such as childhood nurturing and diet of us and our parents, stress, and other factors affect how one’s brain develops. Growth factors that promote the survival and regeneration of neurons, can be impacted.

Brain-Blood Barrier – keeps pathogens and harmful substances from reaching the brain, while allowing healthy nutrients into the brain essential for maintaining brain health.

Dysfunction in the brain-gut microbiota axis may cause IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, and anxiety, as well as neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

Dementia with Lewy bodies is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with the same abnormal protein deposits (Lewy bodies) found in Parkinson’s but in widespread areas throughout the brain. It is also seen in some patients with Alzheimer’s.

Certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as B1, B6, B12, D, and E, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc—all can mimic PD through their symptoms.

Leaky gut syndrome and alterations in gut microbiota can not only mimic PD, but are now widely accepted as relevant to the etiology, course and treatment of many neuropsychiatric disorders, including PD.

These are actually some of the issues that need to be considered when treating PD patients and are discussed in much greater delay in Natural Parkinson’s Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Managing Parkinson’s.

This book covers over 50 nutrients that such healthy brain function including ones that reduce motor coordination and tremor issues while improving one’s ability to mentally function. There is a chart in the book that cross references all these nutrients as to how then benefit the brain, broken down into 15 different categories for easy reference

Let’s look at 10 of the top nutrients:

Bacopa monniera – is known to have neuroprotective and cognition enhancing effects. Importantly it reduces alpha-synuclein aggregation (resulting in loss of neuron brain cells responsible for dopamine production), prevents dopaminergic neurodegeneration.

Curcumin – some of the benefits include reducing oxidation and the free radicals that cause the deterioration of neurons, reducing age-related mental decline, reducing inflammation, increasing neurogenesis, and regulating enzymes essential for enzyme disbursement. It also improves mitochondrial regulation, gene expression and oxidative stress plus more.

Baicalein – is a flavonoid used as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent without side effects, reduces alpha-synuclein naturally, and has neuroprotective properties.

DHA – also crosses all the brain health categories, with benefits that include supporting neuron communication, helping prevent neuron cell death, reducing inflammation, and improving memory and cognition. Low DHA levels are also known to lower brain and cellular growth factors, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (growth factor). BDNF plays an important role in neuronal survival and growth

Ginseng – has many wonderful benefits that include improving learning and memory, reducing apoptosis (cell death), inhibiting neuroinflammation, improving neuroplasticity, potentiating neuronal growth, repairing damaged neuronal networks, and reducing depression and anxiety. Ginseng may also reduce amyloid and neurofibrillary fiber build-up related to Alzheimer’s.

Glutathione – is the antioxidant found in highest amount in the brain, and tend to be low in PD patients, and is an essential part of neutralizing ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) and other free radical activity in the brain.

Lutein. Lutein’s content in neural tissue has been positively correlated with cognitive function and has been found to accumulate in the brain. Lutein has been found to be significantly related to multiple measures of temporal processing speed, an important aspect of sensory and cognitive function.

Mucuna plant (dopa bean) – has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine, and in a natural form (versus synthetic), contains a relatively higher amount of L-dopa than other plants, while providing strong antioxidant properties.

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PPQ). PQQ is a quinone compound reported to improve learning ability; it may also enhance working memory, as well as improve cerebral blood flow that can help protect against cognitive decline and dementia in the elderly. PQQ may have neuroprotective properties against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cognitive injuries, and it critical in supporting healthy mitochondrial function.

Vitamins B1, B6, B9, B12, D3 and E – are all essential in supporting healthy brain (and cognitive function), and when deficient, can mimic symptoms of PD and dementia.

Some of the best brain foods

Avocado, blueberries, garlic, ginger, goji berries, green, leafy vegetables, mulberry, mushrooms (particularly Lion’s Mane, Reishi and Shiitake), nuts and berries, walnuts.

The Natural Parkinson’s Support Book also goes into the role of essential oil for PD patients, different forms of exercise, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, yoga, modern diets, and much more.

For more information, go to where you can see the Table of Contents, an introduction and to order.