Hope for Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration does not have to be a sentence of progressive loss of sight. Although almost totally unknown, there is – and has been for twenty years – nutritional treatment that can preserve and even improve vision. This is a story of hope. However, it did not begin that way.

When my husband, Mark, was first diagnosed with macular degeneration, the message we received was, "Macular degeneration? We have new drugs for wet macular degeneration." This wasn't reassuring because we are very close to my aunt who has been treated with these drugs for over thirteen years and became legally blind during that time. No hope for her, just progressive loss of sight.

The week after he was diagnosed with macular degeneration at a routine refraction appointment, he had an appointment with a retina specialist. She told us that his dry macular degeneration was already in the intermediate stage and gave us no hope except for telling us that when his condition progressed to the wet form of macular degeneration, drugs could be injected into his eyes that could slow the progress of the disease. This statement was not at all encouraging for us because my aunt has taken over a hundred injections in her right (wet) eye and yet the disease progressed to a degree of blindness that makes it impossible for her to live independently at home. She is also legally blind in her left eye which is affected with advanced dry macular degeneration.

Our hope came from something I had heard eighteen years previously when my mother was diagnosed with early stage dry macular disease. I was listening when she was told by her allergy doctor, "There is an intravenous (IV) therapy protocol for macular degeneration that stops it in its tracks."1

One week after we saw the retina specialist, Mark had an appointment with a naturopath at a clinic that could give him the macular degeneration IV protocol. Rather than delaying giving Mark help while the clinic obtained the necessary solutions for the IVs, the doctor got him started immediately on eating an intensely nutritious diet. She even knew how to get foods he did not like into him. Her "Eye Smoothie" (recipe in Beating Macular Degeneration With Nutrition) contains kale and fish oil, and he doesn't mind them that way. He also began taking more supplements, getting more exercise, and drinking more water. When his blood tests results came back, his diet became even better for his eyes. His food choices were changed due to his hemoglobin A1c blood test result being in the pre-diabetes range. Our new goal became to protect his eyes from blood sugar surges.

When the IVs began, he noticed a small improvement in some aspect of his vision every week. At first he noticed things at night such as a line of car headlights extending for miles while driving in the dark and the lighted railings at the water plant behind our house in the evening, which he thought were beautiful. The next week, he noticed that a family across the street had Venetian blinds on their patio door. He had never before detected the slats when light shone though the blinds in the evening. The following week headlights became two separate twinkling lights rather than one shining blur of light.

Then colors which he hadn't realized he wasn't seeing became intense and very enjoyable. He suddenly loved the color of a bright blue blouse that I'd had and worn in warm weather for two years. He hadn't realized that I owned a blouse that color before. Yellow traffic lights and school busses were bright orangish-yellow just as he remembered from elementary school years. The purple gem iris in our yard with white and bright orange or yellow markings in the centers were a delight to him. They had had bloomed unnoticed the previous spring.

The question that arose was, "Why is intensive nutritional treatment for macular degeneration almost unknown and rarely practiced?" I'm not sure there is a good answer to that question. Both eye doctors we saw initially recommended the AREDSTM formula supplement, which is woefully incomplete. (See more about this here). After they've told a patient to eat kale, salmon and egg yolks and take this supplement, their work on nutrition seems finished.

There is very little good nutritional advice for macular degeneration or diabetes to be found either in books or on the internet. It's all about eye injections, diabetes drugs, and American Diabetic Association diets that are so liberal and dependent on drugs that they almost insure that all diabetics suffer complications that lead to amputations, blindness, and heart disease.2

But take heart: there is hope! To read more about our journey, click here (Diagnosis) or here (Nutritional History) To read medical information about macular degeneration, click here. To hear about treatment for macular degeneration click here.

For the principles of how to beat macular degeneration, click here.

Finally and most importantly for hope, read about Mark's progress and improvement in vision here.

1 Not every macular degeneration patient needs to take IVs to arrest the disease. Early stage dry macular degeneration, especially, responds well to an intensively nutritious diet and supplements. In Save Your Sight! ophthalmologists Marc and Michael Rose, MD, who treat macular degeneration with food and supplements rather than IVs, write, "We have seen hundreds of patients halt the progression of macular degeneration and dozens actually reverse it." Quote from: Rose, Marc R., MD and Michael R. Rose, MD. Save Your Sight! Natural Ways to Prevent and Reverse Macular Degeneration. (New York, NY: Warner Books, 1998), xii.

2 "The target blood sugar ranges for people with diabetes listed by both the Joslin Diabetes Center and the American Diabetes Association go as high as 130 mg/dl for fasting blood sugar and up to 180 mg/dl after meals or snacks. It is these levels that lead to widespread damage in people with ‘controlled' diabetes… Debilitating, life-altering repercussions are expected in people with diabetes who are being treated according to current standards." Quote from Carpender, Dana. The Low-Carb Diabetes Solution Cookbook. (Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press, 2016), 14.