Preventing Eye Disease by Marc Grossman, O.D., LAc & Michael Edson, M.S., LAc

Important diet and nutrition recommendations:

The typical Western diet, with refined grains, too many sugars and processed foods and poor oils is an inflammatory diet, contributing to or ultimately causing chronic inflammatory disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia and eye issues. The high inflammation level in the body is reported to be an important factor in premature mortality. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables as well as being low in refined carbohydrates, along with targeted supplementation of antioxidants helps keep one’s body and eyes healthy and free of disease.

  • Maintain a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and grains.
  • Go organic– know what you are putting into your body
  • Limit refined products– lessen the amount of sugar (particularly white or refined sugar), and refined carbohydrates. Try stevia as a sweetener rather than sugar. It is far more concentrated so you only need a small amount.
  • Whole grains– likewise, eat whole grains rather than refined white flour, rice, etc.
  • Avoid aspartame (foods labeled “diet”)
  • Avoid man-made fats (corn oil and safflower oil, trans fats, and hydrogenated vegetable oils including canola oil).
  • Limit alcohol consumption to one glass of red wine daily. Alcohol helps reduce protective glutathione levels because it interferes with liver functioning.
  • Cut down on caffeine, coffee, and soft drinks Watch your intake of soft drinks (3 tablespoons of sugar per can!) and processed foods that contain sugar. Sugary sodas are linked to a 23% greater risk of heart failure.
  • Avoid monosodium glutanate (MSG), which is used as a flavor enhancer, because it is a potential retinal toxin (Inv Oph 1996; 37: 1618-24)
  • Avoid fat blockers like Olestra which impair the absorption of carotenoids (Argus, August 1996;19:18:July 1996;19:22).
  • Slow down on the fast foods and fried foods.
  • Read the labels when you buy processed foods – avoid artificial sweeteners, flavorings and colorings. Avoid hydrogenated and transfatty acid containing foods which disrupt the digestive process.
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils or transfatty acids like those found in margarine, as well as saturated fats

Important lifestyle recommendations:

  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection whenever outside in the sun. The best lens color is amber, which neutralizes blue light. Brown is the next best color. Note: Cheaper glasses may have a coating to block out UV light that can rub off overtime. Many people think it is the tint that helps protect one’s eyes, but it is actually the UV filter on, or in, the lens. So, if the filtering coating wears off, a dark lens actually increases pupil dilation, allowing more light to enter the eyes.
  • Eliminate smoking. Smoking produces cyanide, a retinal toxin. A 2005 review of 17 research studies determined that the risk of macular degeneration in smokers is two to three times higher than in non-smokers. A 2015 study again looked at this issue, this time investigating specific damage to the macula as a result of smoking and finding significant damage to many tissue layers of the macula.
  • Limit the amount of medications. Talk to your doctor or get a second opinion to make sure that you are not taking more (both prescription and non-prescription) medications than you really need and that your medications do not conflict.
  • Exercise every day. Get at 20 minutes of aerobic exercise daily by walking, swimming, or other sports or activities that you enjoy.
  • Avoid microwaves. Leakage from microwave ovens are a direct cause of cataracts, so avoid peeking into the oven door window while you cook. In addition, food proteins exposed to microwaves can become toxic to the lens, which is made up mostly of proteins.
  • Manage your mental health. Emotional well-being is very important to good physical health. Fear, anger, stress, etc, are important factors in many diseases. You can help balance your emotions through meditation, prayer, exercise, martial arts, etc.A 2012 U. California study found that 12 minutes of yoga daily brought about measurable changes in 68 genes, resulting not only in reduced stress, but reduced inflammation – an issue in diabetic retinopathy, optic neuritis, macular edema, heart disease, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.

Daily Activity:

  • The single-most important thing you can do for vision health and overall health is to stay active. A sedentary lifestyle is the worst possible activity-type for your health. Researchers found that regular exercise rivals or surpasses medications for many conditions and should be considered an important part of medical prescriptions.
  • New research points out that exercise is more important than diet in controlling your weight – and appropriate weight is a key factor for a healthy life.
  • Research has shown that simple exercise is linked directly to a healthy retina.

For more information go to or call 845-255-8222

Join Marc Grossman and Laura Sewell at a Kripalu workshop, Learning to See for Thriving & Surviving June 30-July 2

Marc Grossman, Doctor of Optometry and New York State Licensed Acupuncturist is author of several books, including Natural Eye Care – Your Guide to Healthy Vision.  Since 1980 Dr. Marc Grossman has helped many people maintain healthy vision and even improve eyesight. He is best described as a Holistic Eye Doctor, dedicated to helping people with such conditions ranging from myopia and dry eyes to potentially vision threatening diseases as macular degeneration and glaucoma. His combined multi-disciplinary approach using nutrition, eye exercises, lifestyle changes and Chinese Medicine provides him with a wide array of tools and approaches to tackle difficult eye problems. Dr. Grossman founded the Rye Learning Center in 1980, a multidisciplinary center for learning problems, in 1996 co-founded Integral Health Associates in New Paltz, New York, and in 1999 co-founded Natural Eye Care, Inc.


by Marc Grossman, OD, LAc