Mind/Body medicine is based on the fact that our health and well-being depends on all the individual parts to work together effectively. The integrative approach evaluates the person’s lifestyle, habits, diet, exercise routine, stress management along with the family history in determining the healing approach. It attempts to bring in the patient as an active partner in the healing process. Specific habits have been identified in studies to be very damaging to our eye health, including smoking, excessive alcohol, coffee, excess sugar and refined foods, and hydrogenated oils (like margarines).

Nutrition and nutritional supplementation can play a key role in helping to prevent vision loss and keeping our bodies strong. More and more peer review studies are identifying specific nutrients by eye disease that are lacking in patients with diseases such as the following:

GLAUCOMA:
- Vitamin C - in parts of Europe and Asia, vitamin C is considered part of routine treatment for glaucoma. It lowers eye pressure through a combination of decreasing fluid production and improving the outflow of aqueous humor. It also improves collagen metabolism that may be one of the underlying reasons for the development of glaucoma.
- Alpha lipoic acid - studies have shown that patients with glaucoma have benefited with improvement of visual fields.
- Omega 3 fatty acids - these can help reduce the chronic inflammatory processes found in many patients with glaucoma. Fish and fish oils are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
- Ginkgo biloba- increases the circulation of blood to the eyes. It has been shown to help lower intraocular pressure in the eyes.

MACULAR DEGENERATION:
- Lutein/zeaxanthin - these two carotenoids have been shown to be low in people with macular degeneration. Increasing your intake of them either by foods (spinach, kale, collard greens) or by supplements has been found to help prevent and even improve macular degeneration.
- Bilberry- helps improve the integrity of blood vessel walls.
- Taurine - this amino acid is important for the regeneration of worn out tissues of the retina. It also helps protect the eyes from ultraviolet radiation.
- Zinc- is linked to the onset of macular degenerates when deficient.

CATARACTS:
- Vitamin C ?often when cataracts are forming vitamin C levels are very low.
- Glutathione - can be very effective in preventing cataract formation, and is crucial in stopping free radical damage.

However, nothing replaces a positive, healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, daily meditations or walks in nature and a healthy diet. The rapid pace of our lives often interferes with us taking the time to really take care of ourselves. Caring for ourselves helps to keep our bodies healthy, and nourishes the mind/body's inherent potential for self-healing.

Marc Grossman, Optometrist and Licensed Acupuncturist, has been helping people preserve their vision in his private practice for over 20 years. He is the co-author of “Natural Eye Care?(Keats, April, 1999), and lectures internationally on natural eye care, nutrition and Chinese medicine. For more information on nutrition and eye disease, you can visit his website at http://www.visionworksusa.com, or call 888-735-8475.

Author's Bio: 

Marc Grossman, Optometrist and Licensed Acupuncturist, has been
helping people preserve their vision in his private practice for over 20 years. He is the co-author of “Natural Eye Care?(Keats, April, 1999), and lectures internationally on natural eye care, nutrition and Chinese medicine. For more information on nutrition and eye disease, you can visit his website at http://www.visionworksusa.com, or call 888-735-8475.