by Eva K Strube, OD
We live in an age filled with changes in how our bodies must cope to survive. One such change is the importance of near vision. Our high-tech culture is causing problems with our vision, but there are at least two ways to counter the effects: Behavorial Optometry and better Nutrition.
Our bodies were designed in the days of the cave people, so let’s think about it. How did they use their eyes? They were hunters looking for game and needed to recognize who was enemy and who was friend. Our eyes and theirs were designed to see the distance clearly. They lived outdoors under sunlight and moonlight. Some were artists, weavers, planters, gatherers, but they didn’t live long enough to need reading glasses!
Then at the time of the industrial revolution, people began to use their eyes indoors, working at arms length. By 1900, we wanted all our children to read (up close). With the information highway on computers, we will spend more and more of our time tracking small objects up close, even though our vision muscle systems are not designed to do so. Our culture is causing an epidemic of visual stress.
What can we do about it? Go to an eye doctor who practices behavioral optometry (see next section). Ask questions, such as, what alternatives are there? If you look for help, it is there: therapeutic lens prescribing, Nutritional Counseling, Vision Therapy, Environmental Ergonomics.
You are now aware of the array of available help.
Those who use complementary methods of healing have many times been surprised by the field of vision care. There is a group of doctors who seek a deeper form of healing than cutting the eyeball or wearing stronger glasses. We are Behaviorists – some refer to us as Functional Optometrists. Our assumption is that how the patient uses the body – including eyes – determines how s/he sees.
The Behavioral Optometrist uses the basic exam, but asks different questions and often prescribes non-traditional lenses. We usually offer vision therapy which combines sensory and motor work to give the vision system a chance to change patterns which are no longer useful.
Some offices, offer Nutritional Counseling for better vision. We recognize other factors such as visual stress, color, emotional states, hormones and light, which can contribute to patients’ visual functioning. Often, we use an interdisciplinary model to coordinate efforts with other professionals working with a given person to create synergy in healing.
So, look a little deeper into who you use for healing your vision.
Nutrition Effects Vision
How does what we eat influence how we see? Can the molecules of food we ingest, digest and recombine actually make a difference in the process of how we measure space, perceive color, track a target, or see detail? Yes.
Studies have shown that those who choose a diet high in anti-oxidants are far less at risk for macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts than the rest of us. Blood flow in the eye – the retina in particular – is very high, making whatever we eat very available there. Molecules called free radicals from environmental and nutritional sources can bind to sites where nutrients belong, reducing the tissue’s ability to function perfectly. If the blood brings with it anti-oxidants, these vital nutrients will combine with the free radicals, leaving the nutrients to feed the cells without restriction.
The more junk food you eat, and pollution you experience, the more you accumulate free radicals. The more raw foods you take in, the more anti-oxidants are present in your blood.
So, kudos to the healthy eaters – you’re helping your vision, too.
Also see My Child Does Not Have an Attention Deficit Disorder! A Look at Visual Perception Deficit by Becci Davis
Dr. Strube has been practicing Behavioral Optometry in Golden CO for 16 years after graduating from Pacific University in Oregon. She has had wonderful success with Vision Therapy for both adults and children, especially for learning disabilities. She is an avid speaker on the vision subjects, such as vision in learning and sports performance enhancement. Fluent in Spanish, she is able to assist bi-lingual patients better. She believes that listening to patients is the most important part of her practice.