Can Vitamins Alone Help My Eyes?

On Episode ​42 of the Better Eye Health Podcast, ​​​​​​​the question of just using one aspect of the program comes up in terms of just taking vitamins alone to help reverse eye disease. At times people do not want to do the multiple components of the program and only want to do one, thinking that will cover the issue. Dr. Miller talks about this and why it is important to do all that you can. 

As always you will find the link to the Podcast, as well as the full transcript. You can also download a PDF of the transcript down at the bottom the page. Enjoy! 


BETTER EYE HEALTH PODCAST - EPISODE 42


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BEH PODCAST EPISODE 42
WILL VITAMINS ALONE HELP MY EYES

The topic that I wanted to talk about today is one I get frequently from people who are first considering the program. They are told they have some serious eye problem. They are told by their doctors there’s nothing that can be done, except maybe take some eye vitamins. The thing I wanted to address is what happens if you only do what your eye doctor recommends, which is only to take the basic vitamins. For instance, something like the AREDS formula or OCUVITE. What could you except?  What would happen if you did not do anything besides that? 

THE REASON FOR THIS QUESTION

The reason I pose this as a question and address this today is that the answer to that is very well known. The reason that this is well known, result in studies dating back to the 1950s and 60s, which attempted to look at the effects of different vitamins, formulas and supplements on the natural history of these diseases. When I say these diseases, I mean things like Macular Degeneration, Retinitis Pigmentosa and Stargardt disease - these degenerative retinopathies or degenerative retinal diseases. The results of hundreds and even thousands of studies are interesting. One of the things they’ve shown is that there is no vitamin that anyone has ever tried that  stopped or reversed these diseases. 

JUST SLOWING THINGS DOWN

They simply slow down the course of these diseases. The natural history of all these diseases is that over time, your eyes gradually get worse. There is no point on the course of these diseases, where there is remission or things get better for a while. What’s more typical is that you may have something happen and you lose a certain amount of visual function and then you may plateau.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN TO YOUR VISION

Your vision may stabilize and stay that way for a few years. But then it will slowly keep drifting down. Then if you have a disease, especially something like Macular Degeneration, there is a complication in the later phases of this diseases where it can leak or bleed into the retina, which as a result can cause damage very quickly. Damage meaning, loss of vision and physical damage to the retina. That’s why doctors are so aggressive about treating this problem. What you hear today in 2016 about treatments for Macular Degeneration are not treatments so much as treatments for the complications. 

USING THE TERM MACULAR DEGENERATION

I use Macular Degeneration as the common term for all these diseases. That’s because number one, this is the most common of these problems. But number two, I feel it’s fair to lump them all together because genetically, these diseases are more alike than different. There’s one gene, the ABCR gene, that can look like Macular Degeneration if you have that genetic defect. It can look like RP or it can look like Stargardt.

So these diseases are much more alike than they are different. They all have a very similar natural history. One of the differences is that for things like RP and Stargardt disease, the onset, or the beginnings of problems, can be early in your life. They can happen while you are still relatively young. But, the natural history is just to put it simply progressive loss of vision and progressive damage to the retina. 

SOMETHING REMARKABLE

The natural history does not include any kind of remission or period where things get better. One of the reasons I say that is that you have to understand that this is well described, and well-studied. So, when something comes along like the program we’re doing, where even a few people get better, that is so outside the norm. The result is remarkable. Even with documented cases of people getting better, it has been very hard to get mainstream medicine interested in this program. 

THE NULL SET

One of the hardest things in medicine is defining what’s called the null set. What happens if you do nothing. So one of the reasons that the standard for research and medical research is the double blinded placebo control study is that you can examine results from a study if it’s a double blinded placebo control study. You can decide if the results are significant and meaningful or not - even if you can’t define the null set. 

The classic would be a disease like rheumatoid arthritis. In something like rheumatoid, people can go into remission, where they may have a bit of damage to their joints, but all the inflammation goes away and they are suddenly ok. You know if you are doing a study to do a treatment in a disease where it’s possible that things can just get better on their own, it’s hard to know if the improvement that you see is due to the treatment you did or whether its just a natural healing.

DEFINING THE NULL SET

For instance, when you’re talking about a disease like Macular Degeneration, things never get better on their own. Never, ever, ever do they get better on their own. That essentially defines the null set. The reason that is important is that even if you have just a few isolated cases - case reports - even that data becomes meaningful because you know the definition of the null set. You know what happens if nothing is done, so if something is done and people get better it is by definition, significant. 

VITAMINS ALONE WILL TAKE YOU ONLY SO FAR

So, I just say this because a lot of people feel that they just want to not do anything, take their chances, and just take the vitamins their doctor recommends. And they’re just essentially resigning themselves to a lifetime of seeing their vision dissipate and go away. So that’s all I want to say about that. I’m not saying this to be negative, because all of you who are on this call are doing something that’s at the very least, I would expect, stabilizing your vision, so you’re not going to lose any more. 

CONCLUSION

One of the reasons we’ve added these additional calls with me to the program, you know the 3, 6 and 9 moth calls is to keep better track of this and to look for other things in your health that might be obstacles to your eyes getting better. So, it’s important to realize that if you’re doing everything we’re asking you to do and you’re not getting better, then we need to be talking. That means there’s something we’re missing, because this should work for everybody. That’s the goal, because this is supposed to be a program that just flat out works for everybody.


BETTER EYE HEALTH PODCAST - EPISODE 42
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About the author

Carlyle Coash