Saving Your Sight

By Dr. Carol Wentz Randaci

Resolving emotional issues and changing to a whole food,   plant-based diet are keys to eye health.

If you’ve been diagnosed with AMD, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts or other debilitating vision conditions, you can begin the healing process by resolving emotional issues and   changing to a whole food, plant-based diet. The health of your eyes is not separate from the health of your entire body. The primary problems contributing to the current state of “dis-ease” include emotional, chemical and environmental stress, poor diet  and overwork. Any of these can have a detrimental effect on your principal health—including vision. Within this realm, emotions and diet are two significant areas that have a drastic impact on your vision health. Through the lens of Oriental Medicine, let’s look at each component separately, but bear in mind the two factors are interrelated.


First, let’s take a look at the negative emotions that can impact eye  health.

Worry: This can be defined as a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems that may or may not even exist. Worry can decrease the amount of qi (or vital life force) your body  is able to produce, which can lead to the manifestation of ulcers and styes, as well as eye inflammation.

Grief and Depression: Grief, as in deep sorrow, is most often connected to traumatic loss. It turns into depression with a reduction in qi, leaving you tired, fatigued and withdrawn. Grief may also impair the circulation of retained water and fluids, leading to swollen and painful eyes.

Fear and Panic: These emotions stem from a deep and unsettling lack of trust. Fear can be a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being  of someone. This deep-seated emotion can constrain, diminish and stagnate the healthy flow of qi. Fear and panic can injure the fluids hydrating your eyes, leading to dim vision, a total lack of light perception, or an over sensitivity to light. Panic also can be attributed to many cases of acute glaucoma.

Anger and Rage: Although anger is a natural emotion, when overly expressed it can lead to deep-seated impressions that, like a rut in the road, become your go-to reactive response to any situation you feel is annoying or unpleasant. The long-term result of unregulated anger is often floaters and visual disturbances. The term “blinded by rage” has significance here.


All four of the most common causes of vision loss—age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetes retinopathy, glaucoma and  cataracts—can be prevented with a healthy plant-based diet.

As an Oriental Medicine Doctor specializing in vision disorders, I’m often asked if food or certain diets can change a person’s genes. The simply answer is yes; while what you eat won’t change the sequence of your DNA, your diet has a profound effect on how you “express” the genes encoded in your DNA. The foods you consume can turn on or off certain genetic markers that play  a major—or even life or death role—in your health outcomes.

Your DNA changes throughout your life. It can be damaged and significantly increase your susceptibility to health conditions leading to vision problems. The most significant consequence of oxidative stress in the body is thought to be impairment to DNA that can permanently damage your eyesight.

Nearly all of your cells’ genes are influenced by the nutrients received through food. In fact, in many cases the effects are so strong that changing a cell’s metabolic profile could make some of its genes behave in a completely new manner. So while a healthy  and nutrient-rich diet will promote eye health, eating highly processed and high-fat foods will most likely increase the risk of eye problems. For example, researchers at the University of Oxford in England say vegans are 30 to 40 percent less likely to develop cataracts than people who eat meat.

Foods that create a healthy environment for your eyes include antioxidant-rich citrus fruits, leafy greens containing phytochemicals, and non-ocean produced omega-3 algae. Dark green veggies like dandelion greens, bok choy, beet greens, kale, spinach, arugula, collard greens and broccoli all hold the iconic antioxidant duo lutein and zeaxanthin—two important plant pigments key in maintaining good eye health. They’re also highly effective in preventing serious eye conditions, like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Research has shown that eating a 1/4 of a cup of slightly cooked greens four to six times per day supplies the nitric oxide needed to keep your blood vessels cleared of the plaque that eventually leads to heart disease and cuts off the oxygen and nutrients to your eyes.

Nuts and legumes, rich in omega-3s, zinc, and vitamin E, also are good for eye health. They include almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, pecans, and macadamia, Brazil, and hazel nuts.

Additionally, many seeds, including hemp, flax and chia, are rich in omega-3 and vitamin E. Citrus fruits that benefit your eyes include lemons, oranges, grapefruit, rose hips, amla, Barbados cherries, guava, kiwi, mango and cantaloupe.

Make the changes now to see clearly for as long as you live.

Dr. Carol Wentz Randaci is the director of the Vegan Culinary Institute in Sarasota, FL, a board certified Oriental Medicine Doctor and Acupuncture Physician, Energy Therapist, Naturopath and Hopeful Human. Dr. Carol has trained with alternative medicine’s finest physicians and has practiced Raja Yoga meditation under the guidance of Ram Chanrda, Babuji Maharaja for 36 years. You can reach Dr. Carol at AiZen Healing Center by emailing or calling 941.284.8894.

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