The ability to see is one of our greatest assets next to the ability to think and reason. All of our senses are fantastic because they help us connect with the world. Seeing helps us to know where we are, to know if we’re in danger or in the presence of friends. To truly understand the importance of vision, think how difficult it would be to get along without it. This article is a tribute to those who have lost their vision, and a reminder for everyone else that vision is not something to take for granted.
Vision is the result of light reflecting off an object. This reflected light goes back through the lens of the eye where it is focuses on the back of the eye where there are special types of light sensitive nerves. The nerves that are called cones respond to colored light. Those that respond to black and white light are called rods. The cones concentrate in the back center of the eye in the macula and the rods tend to surround the macula.
The stimulation of the rods and cones generate electrical signals carried by the optic nerves to the brain where they are interpreted into what we see. The optic nerve is one of the 12 cranial nerves that exit the brain at the back of the head. It is located between the first and second cervical vertebra. The motor nerves for the muscles in and around the eyes also follow this path. This is why certain eye problems may be improved with chiropractic adjusting. An eye disorder that I had with one of my eyes as a child was solved this way. This was my first personal chiropractic miracle which helped reinforce my decision to become a chiropractor.
Cataracts are a problem for many older adults. It is a disease process that begins in the lens when the clear protein of the lens denatures. To envision what this looks like, imagine cooking an egg white that starts clear and ends up white. As this protein lens becomes opaque or cloudy white, it is difficult to see through. Denaturing often results from oxidizing chemicals in the environment, toxins in the body that stem from drugs or other toxic substances such as bad food, cigarettes or other smoked products, or even leaky microwave ovens or other microwaves. Avoiding these things and consuming antioxidants are on the list of antidotes.
Macular degeneration is another huge area of concern. Remember that the macula is the area on the back of the eye where the light coming through the lens focuses. The area between the lens and the back of the eye is filled with a clear gel, called the vitreous humor. There is a flow through the eye of this jelly-like substance which carries oxygen to the cells within the eye. If the ductwork, called the Canal of Schlemm, gets plugged up by particles of hard or soft fat, the oxygen is used up. When this oxygen is used up, cones and rods begin to die, and eyesight is lost.
The two forms of macular degeneration are wet and dry. The wet form progresses faster and is often found in those who smoke. The dry form involves the shrinkage of nerves. The problem is related to a lack of proper vitamins and minerals leading to this degeneration as well as inflammation. The time to fix this problem is before it’s a problem.
Another vision problem is glaucoma. While most people think that it is only a pressure problem in the eye, many people with high inner-ocular pressure don’t get glaucoma. Inflammation, poor diets, and a deficiency of hyaluronic acid and other neuro-chemicals that make up the collagen structure or the “glue” of the tissues in the body are more causative factors (Blaylock Wellness Report, August 2014).
This is important information for those people who see “floaters” or flashes of light in their eyes which takes place when the gel of the eye stars to shrink and pull away from the back of the eye. In some cases, this problem will dissipate with time. In other cases, it may lead to pealing the retina off the back of the eye which could lead to blindness if left untreated. Supplementing with Hyaluronic acid and glucosamine can help. Other flashes of light in the eye are due to what is known as a visual migraine headache.
A good diet is essential for keeping your eyes healthy. Especially important are special nutrients called carotenoids. Two of the best nutrients identified for eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin. They are found in kale, spinach, broccoli, collard greens, green leafy vegetable, peas, and eggs. For the best nutritional absorption, your vegetables can be put through a blender. Eat at least 2 non-scrambled eggs per week along with lots of brightly colored vegetables, either raw or steamed. Parboil cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage to neutralize the goitrogens that interfere with thyroid function. Take your omega-3 oil, at least 3 grams / day, and your whole food supplements, especially B complex, C, and zinc.
On the flip side, a bad diet is actually harmful. Foods that cause inflammation in your body also cause harm to your eyes. This means you must avoid all excitotoxins, remembering that MSG is often hidden behind its 50 or more names including natural flavors, beef or chicken flavor. Anything that doesn’t make sense in an ingredient list may indicate MSG.
Avoid artificial sweeteners (i.e. Aspartame), corn syrup, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), unhealthy omega-6 oils, fluoride, and foods with herbicides or pesticides. Like MSG, most of these chemicals excite the neurons in the eyes, heart, and colon as well as other parts of the body to the point of exploding and destroying the cells themselves which can result in temporary or permanent blindness.
Your eyes are your passport to seeing all the wonders of nature all around you, big and small. The more you look, the more you see. Enjoy and be grateful!
Dr. William H. Karl, D.C.
Join Dr. William H. Karl, D.C. and Dr. Jacob H. Karl, D.C. on September 18, 7 pm for a FREE workshop on Preserving Your Vision. Please register for this workshop by calling: 734-425-8220. Visit www.KarlWellnessCenter.com for more information.