How to Improve Your Vision with Nutrition : Exclusive Renegade Health Interview with Dr. Jeffrey Anshel

Thursday May 24 | BY |
| Comments (46)

sacred valley peru
You don’t need great vision to appreciate this view! (Above the Sacred Valley, Cusco, Peru.)

Renegade Health has been around for years, but we’ve never covered nutrition for the eyes…

In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever interviewed a holistic eye doctor. Ever.

So today we’re having an online, ribbon cutting ceremony for the first holistic eye interview here on the blog.

Dr. Jeffrey Anshel gets the distinction of being the inaugural interviewee and we’re going to talk about why vision gets bad, how to place your computer screen so you don’t strain your eyes, and the best nutrition for your eyes.

Let’s get rolling (my comments and notes follow in writing)…

Listen to Part 1 here:

dr jeffrey anshel nutrition for eyes

Click the play button to start the call:

Download

My comments on this interview with Dr. Anshel…

1. What causes vision issues?

Dr. Anshel says that by reading the studies you’ll see it’s difficult to determine what causes bad vision. A good percentage of it is genetic — meaning if your mom and dad both have bad vision chances are you will too.

But some is also environmental or adaptive. It seems like our eyes these days are more likely to have to read up close than far away. This influences how our eyes adapt.

As for computers and reading, again Dr. Anshel says there are not any solid studies that can point the finger in this direction, but it certainly seems like there is a connection.

2. What are vision ergonomics?

Just like you’d have an ergonomically correct chair in your office, Dr. Anshel explains why it’s important to set up your computer for your eyes.

Reading books don’t seem to the biggest problem when it comes to strained vision because the book is close and the eyes are naturally slanted down when reading.

The biggest issue that Dr. Anshel sees is computer monitors that are too high, causing excessive strain on the eyes. It’s easier for you to focus close when your eyes are pointed downward, so if your monitor is level with your eyes, then you will get excess vision and eye muscle strain.

The best level for your monitor is where the top of it is level with your eyes when sitting. This way you can look slightly downwards at it and allow your eyes to naturally focus.

Dr. Anshel shares that laptops are at a better angle, but they’re not great for your arms and shoulders. I agree. I have to do upper back and shoulder exercises to ensure that I don’t turn into a “desk turtle.” (Rounded back from sitting at a desk all day, every day.)

3. Get high quality sunglasses to protect your eyes.

The sun has been shown to break down the eye’s lens, so it makes sense that a high quality sun protecting pair of glasses would be great to assist in your own personal eye care. Be sure you don’t get cheap ones from the drug store. Just because they say UV protection does not mean they’re good.

Dr. Anshel has looked through his eye exam equipment with many different sun glasses to see how clear the letters turn up. He’s been continuously surprised at how poor some of the lenses are constructed.

I’m not the type to wear sunglasses, so this is something I may consider.

The only problem with moderate to expensive sunglasses for me is that I’m a self proclaimed glasses bulldozer.

I have sit on, stepped on, or laid on at least 4 pairs of glasses in the last 4 years — totally destroying them. By doing so I’ve cost us hundreds of dollars.

I need rubber ones.

4. Supplements and nutrition for the eyes.

“What goes in our mouths comes out our eyes,” says Dr. Anshel.

I agree.

In this interview, he first makes sure to address carrots and their benefits to the eye. He wanted everyone to know that carrots affect the health of the retina, but do not directly improve vision. Making the retina healthy can keep vision good, but it doesn’t necessarily improve it.

Lutein and zeathanthin — carotenoids similar to beta-carotene — are nutrients found most abundantly in the eye. These nutrients filter high intensity light and act as antioxidants to maintain retina cells.

DHA from algae or fish oil is a long chain essential fatty acid that helps repair and support the rods and cones of the eye. This nutrient keeps the eyes from degenerating.

Finally, B vitamins are responsible for nerve impulse assistance. One study that Dr. Anshel explains shows that these vitamins can prevent macular degeneration.

Final Word: That’s the end of part 1 of this interview on natural eye care. Tomorrow, Dr. Anshel and I will discuss the Bates Method, what eye exercises are best, and a special homeopathic remedy for itchy eyes.

Your question of the day: Do you have bad vision? If so, what have you tried to improve it?

If you want more information about Dr. Anshel, please be sure to visit his website here.

Live Awesome!
Kev

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

46 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Mary says:

    Yes, I have bad vision. In college (pre-everyone-has-a-computer)my eyes would change 2-3 times/year. It’s stabalized the past few years, but now since I’m over 40, my close vision is deteriorating. Is he going to go over this? All the optomitrists/opthomologists that I’ve been to say it’s natural. I would love to get rid of glasses or at least lower my prescription.
    Someone told me that sugar will cause the eyes to deteriorate also.
    Will he discuss Lasik surgery? I’m not interested in it, but my husband is.

  2. carvacrol says:

    When I got my eyes tested in my early 20s I was told that I would never ever need glasses because my eyes were almost perfect. After 20 years working in IT my eyesight has deteriorated quite a lot. Every optician has told me it’s because of spending too long focusing on the screen. I have tried the Bates Method but didn’t have any success with it.

  3. carvacrol says:

    @Mary – you mentioning sugar reminded me of when I did some water fasting. After around 5 days my vision improved about 80-90%, but then deteriorated again when I started eating again. I have also noticed that my vision is much worse in the mornings if I eat lots of sugary things the day before. So sugar makes a major difference to my eyesight. So these days I don’t have hardly any sugar and my eyesight is better than it used to be. It also improves if I’m away for a few days and don’t have my laptop with me. So sugar and laptops are what make my eyes bad!

  4. Delores says:

    I had 20/200 vision (legally blind) as a child. I ate raw sunflower seeds for 18 months starting at two tablespoons daily and upping it to what I could eat. I went from 20/200 to 20/60 in 18 months and that has never changed and I am 68 now. I was raised in Alaska and ate lots of fish and had terrible vision. So I must have needed something more. Fruits and veggies were expensive so probably did not get enough of those. I moved to Washington state and started growing my own food and eating raw seeds. Maybe more sunshine helped too. Ketchikan has 160 inches of rain a year.

  5. Aimee says:

    HI! Have followed your site from the begining! Great stuff. I have pretty bad myopia and have the intention of NOW doing eye exercises and healthy eyeball visualizations to give me 20/20 vision. It’s possible for me to have the lazer surgery but I prefer to do it the natural way if possible. I’ll give it 2 months to see some/any results. I’m very happy with this content and will put it to use AND am looking forward to tomorrow’s content. Thanks and keep giving us fabulous info:-) B-)

  6. Niraja Golightly says:

    I’ve noticed a big difference in the quality of my vision when my chronic sinusitis begins to create more swelling and pressure in my frontal and ethmoidal sinuses. It took me years to figure this out. Maybe the muscles and tissues of my eyes get more distorted temporarily? Anyone else notice this? Suggestions? Water and juice fasts temporarily calm down the sinusitis, and allergy challenge diets didn’t really provide clear answers, either. Thanks!

  7. Linda says:

    Hi Kevin! I noticed something that may be of interest to you. I startd having difficulty with small print. As one ages this can happen. However, I found quite by happenstance, that when I used a LED flash light to read by, the letters or text on the page was amazingly clear! No reading glasses needed! So I tried it on different fonts and sizes. With the same result. That’s when I asked different friends to try it. They all said WOW! It was also clear and easily discernable in sunlight. I think for some vision concerns it’s the lighting! They have done something to the luminosity of light bulbs. Better bulbs cost more with a different label. It’s not just about makeup looking different outside anymore. Has anyone else noticed this?

  8. Frank Siciliano, O.D. says:

    Jeffrey Anshel is a colleage of mine with the rest of us who are members of the Ocular Nutrition Society. It’s great to hear his comments !

  9. Dorothee says:

    Many things on eyes and vision! I “had to” go more or less raw vegan because of antibiotics that left me without defense. Became MCS (multiple chemical sensitive) meaning pain when smelling or even eating even “good” stuff. For short, I realize that flowers and the blue sky look like on a postcard now. Really shiny.
    I read somewhere (naturalnews.com maybe?!), that poly unsaturated oils make are eyes go blurred (I don’t know what you call it in english, sorry!), you get like a film and they operate with laser on it. Anyway! Don’t use the fast oxydizing oils, rather eat the soaked grains, but use coconut oil instead. Also sorbit is bad!
    As for the sunglasses: another article on naturalnews talks about a study of vitamin D absorption where people are asked not even to wear their prescription glasses. The person who did, absorbed less vitamin D. Also Andreas Moritz says so. On top of that, the brain thinks it’s night and will therefore not protect the skin from burning and won’t produce vitamin D (look at his youtube videos). Dr. Robert Cassar (youtube: “You are what you eat, drink and breathe!”) says that the black mold living in our gut, likes you to wear sunglasses! So if you’re light sensitive, maybe you’ve got black mold inside. After all, we are not born with sunglasses stuck to our faces!
    As for myself, as I can’t bear the material glasses are made of, I don’t wear any since 1 and a half year now and my view has improved…Judge for yourselves! Take care, Do!

  10. debbie says:

    I was diagnosed with the beginning stages of cateracts when I was 43 yrs old. I stressed over this diagnosis for two years while at the same time noticing more and more floaters (a definate sympton of cateracts). I did a great deal of research and decided to start taking astaxanthin. I took this for 4 months before my next eye exam. The doctor cannot find any sign of cateracts now and the floaters have dissappeared. I am a dire fan of astaxanthin now and will continue to use this forever more.

  11. Victoria says:

    Kevin,
    You might want to interview Thomas Quackenbush from Amsterdam about eyes to get a revolutionary and very helpful interview. He is easily available by email and phone if you browse his name.
    Loving your posts!
    🙂

  12. sue says:

    @Linda Yes as we age we need brighter light. Halogen bulbs are good also. I have eye problems and have found out that not only genetics, but aging, is a problem. No alternative to aging! High blood pressure can cause damage to the very small veins in the eyes; of course diabetes causes vision problems; and many get macular degeneration. I don’t know what causes that besides aging, yet lutein & zeanxathin are helpful as somewhat of a preventative and are also supportive. So many old people have lost much of their sight, so hopefully nutrition can help this. I think glaucoma is very genetic, but not sure. It is something to be avoided and I hope he will talk about glaucoma. Also cataracts happen and they can be taken care of routinely by a simple operation. Sun is hard on eyes and the best lenses to avoid sun effects are called Blublockers.

  13. Anna21 says:

    Great interview. Just curious, has anyone tried pinhole glasses?

  14. Kailey says:

    I have been avoiding wearing sun glasses because I have heard the opposite. That wearing them all the time is like continuing to walk with crutches even though your leg is already healed. Just that it keep your eyes from ever being able to be strong enough on its own to handle being in the sun. Naturally I gravitated to that idea because I feel like our eyes should be adaptive in its natural environment. Any thoughts?

    Also Eyes are muscles. They need some good massaging and exercise as well! That alone has been shown to greatly improve vision.

  15. one ofthe exercises thati do is makingmore water come out of the eyes. This I found resulted in cleansing the inside of theeyes.
    And blowingof air into the eyes naturally while riding a motorccycle.
    These things produce more tears and the eyes are clean at theend of thejourney.I wash them immdtly so that the bad will not be with us.

  16. Lori says:

    I have ocular hypertension of 24 right eye & 27 left eye. No damage to nerves yet, but Dr wants to give Rx drops to lower pressure and reduce chances of developing glaucoma. I’m searching for a natural alternative. (I’m 47 & wear progressive lens glasses, so several vision concerns)

  17. Judy says:

    Hi, Kevin!I thank you so very much for covering this valuable aspect of health.I have torn retinas, very blurry vision,hundreds of floaters and flashing lights, and would love to know how to heal them with natural techniques and nutrition! Would it be possible to have Dr. Anshell on again so he can address more concerns?
    Thank you once again, Kevin, for tackling this topic!
    Judy

  18. Tracie says:

    I sit at a desk all day, and I have to wear reading glasses most of the time. I am a big farmer’s market fan, and I consume fresh veggies abundantly from there or from my garden depending on the time of year. I am now about two weeks into fresh farmer’s market veggies instead of storebought, and I am not wearing reading glasses as I type this. So…I firmly believe that consuming fresh veggies, the fresher the better…greatly helps eyesight. And, it’s almost immediate. I wish we had farmer’s markets year round where I live..but alas…we do not here in Nebraska. I am going to try my hand at growing my own cold tolerant veggies in my greenhouse this winter though…like salad greens and stuff.

  19. There are 3 things I recommend when it comes to improving your natural vision:
    1. Eye exercises. Your eyes are muscles just like in the rest of your body. If you don’t exercise them they will weaken. Exercising them keeps them strong.
    2. Wearing pinhole glasses. Pinhole glasses are a great tool to relax your eyes and relieve any tension in them. They’re inexpensive and look just like sunglasses. So you can even wear them like sunglasses and no one will even know.
    3. This should be a given, but eating enough fruits and vegetables. Not just the 5 that we’ve been indoctrinated with since we were toddlers. Raw fruits and veggies should make up at least 60% of your diet. I know that sounds radical, but making a switch like that will bring some amazing physical results – and pretty quickly too.
    I’ve found an easy way to kind of cheat the system is by juicing (come on, who really enjoys eating raw celery?)
    One glass of juice can have nutrients from up to 10 different veggies. And that’s live nutrients, the kind your body really craves.
    Hope that was helpful. Use it wisely!

  20. Ira edwards says:

    At age 81, I have near perfect vision, far and near. That was not true 20 years ago.
    One factor that can cause sharper vision with age is annular cataracts, which gives a pinhole effect. Since I have good night vision, I don’t think that is my case.
    I walk while I read, which keeps my eyes frequently adjusting for distance, and I think that is a factor.
    I also get good nutrition, largely consistent with Weston A. Price principles, with lots of animal fat and fairly low carb, and with phytonutrient food and supplements. My vision began to improve before I knew much about nutrition, So I don’t have much of an explanation.
    For what my advice is worth: If you spend time at a computer, look away two or three times a minute to keep the focus mechanism working. Spent time outdoors and get sunshine. I never use eye protection, but enjoy nature naturally. Get good nutrition withoug obsessing on what it is.
    Ira Edwards, author of HONEST NUTRITION

  21. Ira edwards says:

    Typos are so much easier to see after the comment is posted.

  22. jAnna says:

    I have bad vision – cataracts, retinopathy, and a detached retina, I think. The eye doctor said the cataract was too dense to see behind it. I have turned to an all raw food diet – not anything cooked, no meat or dairy, no beans, no cooked vegetables, no grains – only raw vegetables. I did that to try to reverse what may be cancer, but I have some effects on my eyes. Over 3 months the vision in my left eye went from 2400 to 2200. Three months ago, I could only see light and dark. Now I can see the technician’s hand as she waved it in front of my – no definite lines, but I could tell that is was her hand. I could also watch myself crocheting, but could not see the crochet hook or the the yarn.

  23. Claudia says:

    Yes I do have bad vision. I have worn glasses since I was 8 yrs. old and I’m 67 now. I now wear progressive lenses which I don’t really like but since my close vision has started to deteriorate I need them. I also have cataracts which will need to be removed soon. This should improve my vision. But I’m disinclined to do this procedure yet when I can still see reasonably well. I take a yoga class where we do eye exercises and I practice them at home. They consist of raising your eyes up & down, side to side, & rolling them around. It is supposed to stimulate the optic nerve and improve eyesight. It certainly makes my tired eyes feel better.

  24. Kim says:

    Hasn’t anyone tried The Bates Method? It worked for me. I worked with Dr. Kaplan many years ago (http://www.beyond2020vision.com/) and it worked for me. It requires patience and consistency as I never experienced any result for about a month. It is also very emotionally healing. I feel deeper and calmer when I do my eye excercises/games.

  25. Sharon says:

    Dr. Joe Mercola has advised against the use of sunglasses. He says that nobody really needs to wear them unless they are on the water or skiing.

    Would anyone like to comment on this?

    • Jo says:

      I have done some vision improvement activities following the Janet Goodrich Method. I find the pinhole glasses excellent after a while watching tv, but am too shortsighted to use them out and about (plus, they do look a bit ‘interesting’.) I weaned myself off sunglasses and can honestly say I really don’t need them now my eyes have adjusted. I have improved my prescription by 2 diopters, but find it hard to keep up the time required to continue the improvement. Definitely works though, although I remain sceptical as to whether it would take my prescription from -8.50 to 20/20! Carina Goodrich is now carrying on her Mum’s work, she would be another fascinating person to interview Kevin.

  26. jenness says:

    Kevin, As always, thanks for another great post. Many years ago i asked my optician what I could do to protect my eyes – he said, “Never leave home without your sunglasses, even on a cloudy day.” I never do. have you tried the Optomap? The only way to really see back of the retina and also the blood flow/circulation in the body. My eyes at 65 are still as healthy as a 30 year old. I believe the sunglasses have made a huge difference. Of course, the issue is that wearing the glasses produces less melanin to protect the skin….

  27. Thomas says:

    Can’t say enough about those fresh greens!
    Check out which foods these are in.

    Lutein:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lutein

    Zeaxanthin:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeaxanthin

  28. Kai says:

    Kevin thanks! I wouldn’t say I have bad vision but I have “floaters”-little specs that float around your visual map. Besides being protein what in the hell are these? Where do they originate from?

    I take mega bilberry daily and my night vision has really gotten much better!

  29. Thomas says:

    @Kai: Yeah, floaters are a drag. Especially on cloudy days with sun glare. Wearing shades makes it easier to not be bothered by them.

    But you should go see an optometrist if you have them. Sometimes they signal more serious damage of the retina that needs to be laser-repaired quickly. They will dilate your eyes and check for retinal tears with a bright light.

    Here’s some good info about floaters and flashes (like when it’s dark and you turn your eyes to one side and see a light flash):
    http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/spotsfloats.htm

  30. Marilyn says:

    After spending 30 years programming computers my prescription had deteriorated to worse than 375. I retired a few years ago and set about improving my vision. I estimate my vision is now about 80 maybe better. It’s continually improving. I’ve also gotten rid of my reading glasses. It’s amazing to be able to see!

    The trick was to relax the eye simply by tapping on the bone around the eye socket for 1 minute/day. This method and “palming” slowly brought improvements(it took about 4 years) . My vision improved quickly by leaps and bounds after I started supplementing with EPA and DHA. Using the B12 patches may have helped a bit.

    I’m really really surprised that he recommends sunglasses. The famous Bates method recommends “sunning” the eyes and I had read that sun resets the vision – ????? I gradually accustomed by eyes to bright sunlight and now walk around in in it without sunglasses. I totally enjoy the light.

    Work on your vision until you see small improvements. They will encourage you to persist. You will be so happy and thankful that you persisted.

  31. Heather says:

    @ Marilyn: What brand of EPA and DHA do you use and how much how often do you take it? Also, since retired how much time do you spend on a computer daily now? Many thanks.

  32. Julia says:

    I live in Phoenix, AZ – lots of sun 🙂 and I no longer wear sunglasses. You get valuable energy from the sun through your eyes and probably lots of other stuff scientists are still clueless about yet claim we need so much “protections” from nature.

    I also take fermented cod liver oil which is rich in vitamins A and D and it is the bioavailable kind from animal fat, not like the vitamin A in carrots.

    I have 20/20 vision and always have.

  33. jackie says:

    Anna, I tried the pinhole glasses. They seemed to help a little but were too annoying with all the black outlines around the holes, so I kept taking them off. I’d wear them if I was in the car and someone else was driving, but didn’t notice anything significant enough to keep wearing them. Maybe I didn’t stick with it long enough…

  34. Josea C. says:

    I’ve read and tried the Bate’s method and not sure if it has helped..maybe a little but it requires serious consistnecy it seems…and lol Bates talks a lot about how bad sunglasses are…! My prescription is -4.00 but i had perfect vision until a year of intense childhood trauma…i’m hoping this will at some point in my healing journey shift, and I’ve started taking DHA and am eating lots of sunflower seeds and hempseeds so I’ll watch for changes:) Thanks for the inspiration!

  35. satori says:

    I do remember Mr. Mercola said we don’t need sunglasses when he was talking to David Wolfe. He did suggest to wear a hat though.

    I’m not a health expert or practitioner, but I think our eyes need some sunshine like our skin do? When we stay outside for longer hours, I believe we do need some protection though. I mean we can’t put aloe gel on eye balls to treat sun burn. So we must not damage our eyes to begin with. It’s just me thinking with my common sense…

    BTW Dr. Anshel looks like my uncle. Weird.

  36. jessica says:

    I went to the optometrist two weeks ago because my floaters got really bad. They are long and many:-( every year for the last six years that I have gone for my exam my eyes have gotten worse, except this time!! Dr said I no longer need glasses. Yay! in the last year I have cut out sugar and most grains. I think that had a lot to do with it. I’ve noticed too that my floaters only bother me when I’m dehydrated…..weird!

  37. naomi says:

    thanks so much kev for your time in transcribing all this so i can take it in really quickly!! and of course thanks for the interview… it was v timely for me 🙂

  38. Cindy says:

    Great information! I also recommend for my patients transition sunglasses for computer use and night time driving. I also recommend polarized sunglasses for daytime driving to reduce glare. Every new patient in my office learns about the importance of fruits and veggies for the health of the eyes with green smoothies! I also like chlorella and spirulina powder added to my smoothies. MacuHealth is a supplement I have added to my own personal routine daily. This is also recommended to all of my macular degeneration patients and their family. Cynthia Cupal O.D.,F.A.A.O.

  39. Lisa says:

    I started to get floaters and noticed when I took a big dose of vit c or astaxanthin they would go away, so I stay floater free for now.

    My eyes used to itch a lot until I connected it with dehydration. Now when they itch I drink water and it stops!

    Tiredness really affects sight. Some good early nights help!

    Thanks Kev, as ever, great post.

    Lisa ;o)

  40. zyxomma says:

    Make sure to eat all the colors (fruits and vegetables, not every color in the M&Ms bag).

    I’ve been recommending this since long before we knew through research that those pigments are powerful protectors of our health.

    I’ve updated Bates for the 21st century. When I publish, I’ll let everyone know where to find the info.

    Health and peace.

  41. joanna says:

    Please comment to ‘floaters’

  42. Julia says:

    Astaxanthin can help protect the eyes from UV damage. No sunglasses!

  43. sarah says:

    young coconut water as eye drops is something I find helpful.

  44. Zillah says:

    When i followed the Bates Method, I stopped wearing glasses for a few years?

  45. Dorothee says:

    About floaters: if they are black spots floating in front of your eyes, I get them when exposed to toxic perfumes, pollution and a friend who underwent chemo years ago! He told me that it’s due to my liver which can’t detox fast enough. I’ve got “multiple chemical sensitivity” and mercury fillings. Also, when you are dehydrated your blood gets thicker and the concentration of toxins is higher. So when you drink some water, you dilute the toxins and the liver can handle a smaller amount but not when there are too many at once!
    Eat some liver friendly raw foods and maybe do some liver and gall bladder flushes according to Andreas Moritz. I just did my sixth yesterday and still got out hundreds of stones different sizes and colors than the last time where I could only see 20 (just for the skeptics who think it’s the olive oil ;-).
    Take care, Do!

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