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Blinded by the light

MagazineJuly 1991 (Vol. 2 Issue 4)Blinded by the light

A leading ophthalmologist charges that with most eye disorders, the drug or surgical "cure" is worse than the disease

A leading ophthalmologist charges that with most eye disorders, the drug or surgical "cure" is worse than the disease

Perhaps more than any other body part, doctors act as though eyes have a life of their own, disconnected from the rest of our bodies. The medical profession tends to view eye problems as purely mechanical, a retina that somehow got detached, a globe that somehow got misshapen or stubbornly refuses to stay straight or see correctly, a bad toss of the dice that has somehow, without our having anything to do with it, "just happened".Consequently, the prevailing medical approach is to surgically or chemically get those errant lenses or muscles back into line that is, to correct vision by attempting to treat the symptoms, not the underlying cause. In most cases, the underlying cause isn't understood and certainly never connected to our diet or any other drugs we may be taking.

But at least one doctor in the UK takes issue with this approach. Stanley Evans went to Africa in 1964 for an extended research programme into the causes and prevention of blindness in Africa. He planned to stay five years and ended up staying 17, during which time he completed a great deal of research into the nutritional causes and correction of eye disease. Evans has countless anecdotal cases of patients in Africa and Britain (and indeed from many other countries) who have been helped or cured through his dietary and orthoptic (ie, eye exercises) approach. Here is his view of the dangers of some orthodox treatments and the basic nutritional regimen he recommends. Read it and weep.


Glaucoma, one of the leading causes of blindness in the UK, is a disease where eye pressure, due to an obstruction in the outflow of the aqueous humour, becomes elevated, eventually damaging the optic nerve. The orthodox methods of treating glaucoma fall under the following categories:

Surgical methods may be adopted if the tension within the eye is very high and drugs fail to reduce it to a safe level within a few hours. (If high tension is allowed to persist for 12 hours, permanent damage is almost certain to occur.) Sometimes this operation is often performed as an alternative to drugs.

Drug based methods consist of one or more of the following:

A miotic such as pilocarpine given as drops into the eye to constrict the pupil and stimulate the ciliary muscle.

Acarbonic anhydrase inhibitor such as Diamox or Daranide to inhibit secretions and thereby reduce the production rate of the aqueous humour.

Administration of an osmotic agent such as Mannitol (Osmitrol) to aid the aqueous outflow.

Recently a new experimental medical method is to use timolol maleate as an eyedrop. This is an antihypertensive similar in action to propranolol hydrochloride. Special reporting is required when this is prescribed as there are a number of serious side effects from this type of drug, some lethal. It is known to cause "dry eye" in its eye drop form marketed as Timoptol.

In some cases patients have been given all the above treatment and still the tension in the eyes is not controlled. Besides being ineffective, there are serious side effects from the use of all these drugs.


The normal mechanism of the pupil,which changes in light, is destroyed by a miotic such as pilocarpine. This kind of drug also substantially reduces the visual level which is impaired to begin with, simply because the size of the pupil is artificially reduced, and so, consequently, is the level of light entering the eye. It is well established that seeing is directly related to the intensity of illumination of the object viewed. In some cases using a miotic in eyedrop form can reduce the visual level by 50 per cent.

Miotics also create artificial night blindness. Prolonged use produces paralysis of the sphincter muscle, so that even when you stop using the drug the pupil remains abnormally small. The effect of this is to permanently impair the visual level and create permanent night blindness, even after glaucoma may be cured.

Pilocarpine can also frequently cause cataract, as has been noticed in various journals.

Diamox (acetazolamide)

This particular drug frequently causes drowsiness, numbness and tingling of the face and extremities. Less frequent side effects include fatigue, excitement, thirst, headache, dizziness, lack of muscle coordination, increase in breathing rate, tinnitus (noises in the ears), hearing loss and gastrointestinal disturbances. Fever and skin reactions have been reported, as have a few fatalities. The American Journal of Optometry also reported that such therapy can also cause myopia, lens displacement and very low intra ocular tension with risk of retinal detachment, oedema of the retina and changes in the refractive ability of the eye.


This eye drop form of timolol maleate, which is still in its experimental stages, can effect the central nervous system. Even if you use it in one eye it not only affects both eyes but also other secretions in the body. Its serious side effects include heart failure and other heart disorders, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, depression, hallucinations, insomnia and gastrointestinal disorders.

Besides these individual side effects, any of the orthodox treatments for glaucoma, which are directed towards treating the symptoms of raised tension, can make the intra ocular tension too low below the safe level and cause a detached retina. This can easily happen when patients are sent away for several months without being regularly monitored, and especially in cases of high tension when all these drugs are sometimes given together.

The Dangers of Surgery for Squinting or Strabismus

The last 50 years has shown that most cases of strabismus, or squint (when eyes are not properly aligned) can be cured with nutritional therapy. However, many cases of squinting are still treated surgically, and in every such case serious damage is done to the binocular function.

Thirty years ago, by combining nutritional therapy with orthoptic therapy, I witnessed many cases of strabismus cured within a few weeks. This compared to the years it took to cure the condition through traditional methods, such as wearing a patch over the normal eye. The success rate of these traditional methods is very low, which is why the majority of cases are referred for surgery.

When one eye deviates from its normal position, the usual surgical method of straightening the eye is to cut one or more of the extra ocular muscles which are responsible for moving the eye in the direction of the deviation, and suturing it further back on the surface of the eyeball so as to weaken its pull. Alternatively, the muscle or muscles responsible for moving the eye in the opposite direction may be cut and sutured further forward on the surface of the eyeball so as to increase the pull and thus overcome the deviation. Frequently, both these procedures are combined, and it is very common for the good eye as well as the deviating eye to be operated on.

The surgery thus destroys the normal function of all the horizontally acting muscles. Not only is the delicate relationship between the photoreceptors in the retinae and the individual muscle fibres of all these four recti muscles disrupted, but the motility of all four muscles is seriously impaired. The normal eye movements are restricted in both horizontal directions.

Furthermore, it is very rare for a patient to undergo a single operation. Even when a compound surgical procedure is adopted, frequently this has to be repeated one or more times because the operation by its very nature has such a high potential for inaccuracy. The first operation may reduce the deviation, or cause one in the opposite direction, so that another operation has to be done just to correct the error of the first one or repeated several times before the eye appears straight.

In performing such an operation the surgeon is confronted with a most delicate task, and it is not possible to accurately forecast the result. Often the first operation is not expected to completely correct the deviation; the surgeon will deliberately operate in stages, rather than attempting to do it all at once. This has to do with the scale of the surgery. The eyeball is a globe of less than one inch in diameter. Changing the position of the insertion of a muscle by only one millimeter will change the position of the eye by approximately 5 degrees of arc. Most operations are performed to correct deviations this slight. Even when the most accurate apparatus possible is used with the highest level of skill and experience, the kind of accuracy called for is too high to ensure success. Apart from this, the healing process can completely upset even the most superior surgical job. The fact that the eyes may appear straight after an operation or series of operations does not mean that the two eyes are working together correctly and giving normal binocular vision.

Every time an eye muscle is cut and sutured in a different position, the delicate circuit connections feeding the group of muscle fibres that have been cut no longer remain in circuit with the cells of the nuclei in the brain stem, the photoreceptors in the retinae, or the brain cells in the visual cortex or motor cortex. This means that the delicate mechanism designed for providing eye balance and movement is irreparably disrupted.

For the past half century I have been consulted by a large number of patients who have been operated on for squint and who experienced very serious trouble because they were unable to move their eyes correctly or change fixation with comfort. Many patients experienced double vision whenever they attempted to move their eyes from the straight ahead position.

In every case of squint, the patient or parent should never consent to surgery before a thorough trial of nutritional orthoptic therapy. That never harms the eye functions, but invariably improves them, whereas surgery always permanently destroys at least part of the delicate visual mechanism, and frequently causes far more trouble than does leaving the strabismus alone. Often the parent is too anxious to straighten a squint in a child when he is young in the mistaken belief that nothing can be done later. Many cases of strabismus have been cured by the nutritional approach even after many years, whereas with surgery, the normal binocular vision is very unlikely ever to be restored.

Dangers of Using Corticosteroids

Another area where I've have seen cases in which serious damage has been done to the eye is with the use of steroid and cortisone eye drops. In a number of cases the cortisone drops cause the pupil to be fully dilated and paralyzed, and so intolerant to light. The outsized pupil size (often in just one eye) is also disfiguring. And some cases even after the drug had caused the damage, it was still being prescribed!

In other cases, steroid and cortisone drops have been used to treat eye infections, causing serious corneal ulceration; besides impairment of vision, this also caused disfigurement.

The side effects of these eye drugs have been well documented. In l975 T. F. Schlaegel reported to the American Academy of Ophthalmology that the use of corticosteroids can cause serious eye disturbances, some of which have caused blindness, including optic nerve changes, swelling of the optic nerve head, changes in the crystalline lens and myopia. There have also been reports in the literature about patients treated with steroids for arthritis developing cataracts, and patients using steroids to relieve discomforts caused by contact lenses subsequently developing cataract or glaucoma. Other reported side effects include extensive and irreversible retinal damage, corneal perforation necessitating corneal transplants, increase in intra ocular tension in glaucoma patients, swelling of the optic disc, and other eye disturbances.

Dangers of Laser Eye Treatments

The latest innovation to treat eye problems which has received a good deal of press is the laser. It is now used to treat retinal detachment, diabetic retinitis, macular degeneration and glaucoma. In every instance, its use destroys that part of the eye on which the laser is directed.

In the case of retinal detachment, although the laser will attach the retina to the chorid (a membrane in the eye near the retina) so as to prevent it from falling forward, the patient will have blind zones in the visual field resulting from the adhesions created by the laser even in what appears to be a successful operation. There is also evidence that the laser itself can bring on cataract. If such a powerful light beam is directed through the cornea, lens and vitreous, which takes place in the laser techniques, there is a great risk of causing damage to these transparent components. If the laser is too strong, for instance, both cataract and corneal burns result.

A nutritional approach to eye disease

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