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Experience in healing eyesight on the Paleo diet

by 3482 · August 21, 2014 at 03:10 PM

I see so many people today wearing glasses, it's not even funny. There's no way that our natural state is for a great proportion of people to see fuzzy, it's just not good for hunting and survival to me.

I realize that a lot of this is probably due to long hours of straining TV and computer use, but there must be a dietary dimension to that as well.

As anyone noticed better eyesight since going the Paleo path? I think it's kind of sad that someone would be stuck wearing glasses for all is life because bad dietary choices and it would be nice to be able to tell people that chances are that it is reversible after all.

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2512 · July 11, 2010 at 04:31 AM

I have a blog post in the pipeline about my own experience, but I'm still waiting on some figures so for now I'll give you an outline. I'd be very surprised if diet could influence genetic eye defects and other issues that are linked to actual damage. However, I was diagnosed with myopia (short-sightedness) when I was 19-ish, and was told that this was the 'normal' age to need glasses for about a third of the population. Like so many of these 'normal' statistics, it certainly makes you wonder whether the cause may well be a lifestyle issue rather than something that was just bound to happen to most of us. Hunters would be in big trouble if a third of the tribe could no longer trust their vision not long after reaching reproductive age.

I've worn glasses for 6 years, getting new glasses every one or two years, accompanied by an eye test. The testing reported that each eye had a slightly different issue, and was getting slightly worse at different rates.

My latest test, a month ago? My first test since going Primal?

The vision in my right eye has improved significantly, and although my left still prefers the same prescription, it shows signs of having strengthened as well. My optometrist was pretty gobsmacked, telling me that she'd never had anyone's vision improve this acutely. She asked whether I'd been doing eye exercises or made any other changes, and I told her that I had cut out grains and sugar. She was excited by this and promised that she would get in touch with experts in her field to find out whether any other reports or research existed to explain my results.

I'm not hoping necessarily for further improvement - I'm certainly not holding my breath than eating paleo foods is going to reverse teen-onset myopia completely! - but knowing that perhaps my vision will not continue to worsen over the course of my life, the fate otherwise promised to me, is an absolute blessing. Yet another reason to tack onto the list of why one should never consume grains and sugars.

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6218 · November 08, 2011 at 11:15 PM

Not to burst anybody's bubble but there can be statistical fluctuations.

I tried eye exercises and those books that claim to get rid of glasses when I hit puberty and got glasses (low prescription that time). It didn't work for me. I was a bookworm devouring 1 novel per day(Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc.) so looking back I'm sure that contributed to my myopia.

I did do some VT - vision therapy and vision training to help with eyestrain at near/computer work which did help subjectively and objectively (measured with prisms). My mother did the same. But neither of us eliminated our glasses.

There are some genes involved with myopia. I do believe in epigenetics - gene interaction with the environment so I don't think everyone is doomed by their genes.

In my experience, a change within +/- 0.50 in one or both eyes is common from year to year because the refraction for glasses is subjective - and even objective measurements like an autorefractor can have more fluctuation then that!

You could have been slightly overcorrected (sometimes by an entire 1.00 diopter in each eye) in the past. Sometimes when people change eye doctors, this is corrected.

I would also like to see someone cured without refractive surgery (LASIK, and the like) from -3.00 D to 0 (no prescription) in their glasses.

That being said, it seems that Vitamin D and being outdoors affects myopia!

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/21/opinion/21wang.html?_r=1&src=rechp

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/752152?src=mp&spon=36

Now high insulin levels can affect myopia. There are other issues that high-carb, glucose, and insulin negatively affect the eye.

http://www.thehealthierlife.co.uk/natural-health-articles/eyesight/myopia-high-carbohydrate-diet-increase-risk-00750.html

Illiterate and less-educated populations have much lower myopia rates vs. more educated and literate populations as shown in China (rural vs. urban) and Israel (Orthodox vs. Reform Jews - the former have to memorize and read a lot more of their holy texts). This is even in populations that share much of the same genes, suggesting the environment of constant near work (computer and reading which was never part of our evolutionary history) and perhaps less sunlight/Vitamin D contributes to myopia.

I think it maybe easier to prevent (especially before the age 18) myopia then to change it afterwards. However, I could happily be proven wrong - track your glasses prescriptions!

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810 · July 08, 2010 at 03:39 AM

Keep in mind that we use our eyes very differently from paleo people: we read things close-up.

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4531 · July 08, 2010 at 03:35 AM

The structure of the skull, eye orbits, sinus, jaw, and eyes themselves are set pretty early in development. Reading a bit of Weston Price will point that out abundantly! It seems that a poor diet (in our mother's womb, and in early infancy through our teen years) can certainly set us up for poor vision, poor tooth health, etc. That stuff is set pretty solidly and a return to our natural paleo nutrition isn't going to fix it.

I've got a 10 week old baby boy, that I am trying to set up for the best future with all this in mind. Seems about 75% of my family and my wife's family require corrective lenses. Time will tell if we can reverse this course a bit with our little guy and proper foods.

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40 · September 24, 2010 at 06:48 PM

I had my eyes tested a few months ago. Pre-paleo, my contact lens prescription was -8.5/-7.5. I usually get tested every two years and it had been at this prescription since my early 20's (I'm in my 30's now). After a year of eating paleo, my new prescription is -7.5/-7.0. I guess it's possible my optometrist was way off in the new assessment of my eyes so I'm interested in seeing what happens when I go for my next eye test.

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40 · July 28, 2010 at 05:58 PM

Since going Paleo, I have taken to wearing glasses less often (on the computer mostly; also when I drive, a pretty rare event). My eyesight has been pretty "bad" ever since I started wearing glasses at the age of 11 or 12. My left eye clocks in at something like 20/80, and the right is a woeful 20/300 (or worse; I am quoting numbers from years ago from memory). With less time wearing glasses, I have noticed that I get unexpected moments of clarity. Today, on the way to work, I looked up the road and read street signs that are ordinarily just fuzzy blurs. I was not squinting or misshaping my eyeballs or trying anything (not consciously, anyway). Things just snapped into place for a minute, then faded back too normal. These moments of clarity have been coming more frequently (and lasting longer) since I started noticing them a while ago. If I could reach a point where they would last indefinitely, I could probably get rid of my glasses! But who knows whether that will happen. For me, the jury is still out on how much of my problem is environmental (and therefore correctable without the easy solution that manufactured lenses provide).

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1435 · July 09, 2010 at 08:36 PM

I've pondered this one a bit and haven't come up with any good answers. I'll try to find the link, but I saw an article a couple of months ago about why US soldiers do so much better in firefights against Afghan insurgents, despite (or sometimes because of) the insurgents' incredible fortitude. Among many factors was the incredibly poor eyesight of the Afghanis, most of whom were illiterate and had never used computers. So I'm not sure our modern lifestyle is necessarily is to blame for poor far-field vision.

This still leaves open dietary causes for long-term eyesight degradation, because the Afghanis probably have a fairly typical grain and rice-based diet.

But from an evolutionary perspective, it seems strange that the performance of our eyes over time is so poor. Puzzling for sure.

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2316 · July 08, 2010 at 07:26 AM

I read about an insulin-eyesight connection several times in the past but the only link I found doing a quick search was this one: http://www.rnib.org.uk/eyehealth/eyeconditions/eyeconditionsdn/Pages/diabetes.aspx

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446 · December 09, 2011 at 12:02 AM

I have come to the question a little late, but I have been paleo for nine months and am starting to notice that I am taking my glasses off a lot or not putting them on first thing in a morning.

Now this is unusual. I was, at my last test, 5.25 in one and 5.75 in another. My eyesight is normally very poor, but it is definately a lot sharper now than it has been for years. I can actually walk around my house fairly safely.

Interestingly, I did notice odd flashes of clarity (never experienced anything like this in twenty years of needing glasses) about three months ago, and it seemed to correlate to me eating more steak.

Oddly, the consistent sharpness (rather than odd flashes) seems to date to the point I started taking cod liver oil about a month ago.

And I will say ... since I have been taking cod liver oil, I have noticed some very odd physical and mental "adjustments".

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20 · February 24, 2011 at 01:53 AM

Ive been paleo for a month now. I was diognosed with shortsightedness about 3 years ago and told there was no way to reverse the damage-only to slow it down. Since the diet change I have noticed a small improvment latley, im also finding it is easier to focus on far away objects. In a few months I'm going to get retested to confirm.

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20 · February 01, 2011 at 02:29 AM

I have been paleo for one month now and the very first thing I noticed about three day in was my vision being clearer. At first I thought I just must have got good sleep and was actually refreshed. Then over the next two or three day I felt the same way and was in awe of how clear things looked. I told my wife after about a week and she just gave me a look like YEAH OK (she is not full paleo yet). In talking to my dad who also began paleo the same time as I did he asked if I had felt anything from doing paleo. I began to explain my eye sight changes and he cut me off and said the same exact things as I did. He didn’t tell anyone of his vision change because he felt no one would believe him. It was to cool to have someone else understand what I going to explain. So in my opinion cutting out sugars/carbs has defiantly had a positive impact on our vision…among other things.

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1303 · September 27, 2010 at 11:13 PM

It's very possible that diet plays into eye health one way or another. I know for a fact that hormones can affect eye sight. I have PCOS and was taking birth control for it a few years ago, which normalized my hormones. My vision improved quite a bit while I was taking the pills, but then I stopped taking them (trying to get pregnant) and my vision worsened again. I started paying attention to what I eat and my last check up showed that my vision had improved again.

So, it may or may not be nutrition directly affecting vision, but if not then it may be affecting hormones (insulin being one of many that can affect vision) which in turn is affecting vision.

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731 · September 25, 2010 at 10:42 PM

I think the reason so many people wear glasses these days is a function of natural selection. In hunter-gatherer days, those with poor vision as children just didn't reproduce at the same rate because they weren't successful hunters -- or they became some predator's lunch! A village lifestyle, and later, corrective lenses, eliminated poor vision as an evolutionary negative, so those genes spread. If this is the case, then hoping that dietary changes reverse this is probably wishful thinking.

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5330 · July 08, 2010 at 01:34 PM

I have experienced a percieved increase in night vision capabilities. I wonder if that's from more vitamins/minerals from eating more plant matter.

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10170 · July 08, 2010 at 10:52 AM

A paper of interest by Cordain et al here on juvenile onset myopia

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4888 · July 08, 2010 at 07:32 AM

I have found an improvement - not huge, but significant. I'm 57 y/o, didn't need glasses until 4 years ago and then only for reading / close work, and the weakest you can buy here in the UK (is it 1.25?)

I have found over the past 4 or so months that I can read the newspaper, books etc without needing glasses (simply because I realised I was no longer putting them on!) in good daylight. Cloudy, or in the evening - then I reach for the glasses.

Not a vast improvement - but useful! Also, it helps in restaurants - one less thing to need / forget!

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1866 · November 09, 2011 at 08:03 PM

I've never had a strong prescription, but use contacts and occasionally glasses for distance. I've had the same prescription for years with no changes, and was happy that my eyesight was at least stable. After about a year on paleo, my eyesight in both eyes improved, so my doctor prescribed new contact lenses that were weaker.

Given the information out there, my guess is that the improvement could be insulin related, or because of supplemental vitamin D. Whatever it is, the only major change in my lifestyle was moving to a paleo diet, especially since I've spent the last couple years sitting in front of a computer more than in the preceding years.

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65 · November 09, 2011 at 01:12 AM

I dont use glasses, but i think i have become better at focusing quickly between objects at different distances. Im also quite sure that can look further now. These things off course can also be the result of altered brain chemistry. For example can prolonged periods of stress affect ones ability to focus and create "visual snow". One thing i am sure off is that my eyes have become more vivid to look at; there is more contrast between the different shades in the eyes and im certain my limbal rings have become darker, which is the most interesting if true. Limbal rings are an age and health indicator which as far as i have learned only fades as we age. It wouldn't surprise me if paleo could lower my biological age when seen in the perspective of all the other great things living in a non-conventional healthy way has done to me. More about limbal rings here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-sex-and-babies/201104/how-big-is-your-limbal-ring

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260 · October 15, 2011 at 12:52 AM

Just returned from my eye doctor. I've been prescribed -0.75 in each eye consistently each year since 2006. This jan I had my eye exam -0.75 in right and -0.75 -0.50 (estigmatism) in the left. I started paleo mid June, 4 months ago. Like I said I just got back from the eye doctor, after 5 years my prescription has changed!! I'm now -0.50 in each eye with a bit of estigmatism in my left eye but not enough to correct.

The only thing that's changed is paleo! :D

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0 · August 21, 2014 at 03:10 PM

Fluid retention can affect eyesight significantly.  My eyes were always great until I was pregnant and I had trouble seeing far away, then it would correct itsself post pregnancy.  After my third baby, however, my eyesight did not correct itself and I had to get glasses for the first time at 26 years old and I had astigmatism in one eye.  Then two years later and after my fourth baby I had a routine exam and my astigmatism was gone and both my eyes needed a weaker prescription.  Looking forward to seeing if this new way of eating will continue to improve my eyesight.  

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279 · May 23, 2013 at 04:18 AM

I've been paleo for a year and a half, and my prescription and astigmatism improved significantly at my last appointment. However, the doc didn't seem particularly surprised. She said it's relatively common.

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0 · May 23, 2013 at 04:01 AM

I realize this is an old blog, but I had an eye exam today and my vision has also improved by 0.5 in both eyes. I am 50 years old and was pleasantly surprised and happy to say the least. I have been noticing that I am seeing better close up as well. I have mostly eliminated grains and sugar from my diet. I would say >75% over the past year. I wonder how much they would have improved if I had been 100% primal. I will find out 2 years from now when I have my eyes checked again.

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0 · March 09, 2013 at 01:55 PM

Not paleo but bought a vitamix 6 months ago and have been doing "raw until dinner." Have worn glasses since I was in middle school. Notice a change in my vision over the last couple of months and went to get eye exam. Was told my glasses were now too strong -- my vision has significantly improved. My eye doctor asked about diet changes. I totally credit the juicing and green smoothies. BTW: I'm not diabetic so while blood glucose could be part of the reason it would have to be improvement within what is considered normal range.

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20 · November 02, 2012 at 04:51 AM

Late to the game, but just got back from my latest eye exam and thought I'd chime in. Been going to the same optometrist for the last 6 years and my eyes were steadily getting worse the first four of those years, finally leveling off the last 2 years at -6.0 for the left eye and -5.75 for the right with mild astigmatism in both. This last exam both my eyes are at -5.25 with less pronounced astigmatism. So nothing huge, but definitely enough to make my optometrist shake his head in wonder (it was kind of funny, actually). I've been primal for about 7 months. I'll be interested to see if my eyes improve even more by next year's exam. By the way, I am a jewelry maker and spend hours a day focusing my eyes about 10" in front of my face on tiny little components. Have been for 5 years now, so if anything it seems like my eyes should just be getting worse like they had been for a while.

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8 · September 20, 2012 at 07:05 PM

I'm a vegan for the last 2 years and a vegetarian for the last 32...am over 47 and have near perfect eyesight, especially close up. Distance vision diminishing slightly but not enough to need glasses while driving.

None of the close-up seeing problems everyone I know who eats meat started getting at 40. I'm now 47 1/2 and eat tons of whole grains, beans veggies, fruit, very high carb diet and not afraid to eat sugar or bread--but do so sparingly.

I also exercise a bunch--lots of cardio every day, and am on the computer for most of my work.

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20 · September 09, 2012 at 10:46 PM

I've always had perfect vision all my life. I've never liked to eat bread or sweets. But since getting married and eating my wife's food, I've noticed my vision getting fuzzier. But since starting the paleo diet 8 months ago, I've noticed my vision going back to normal again. I couldn't help but to wonder if other people have had a similar experience with the paleo diet, which led me here. It's interesting to see that a lot of other people, though not all, have improved their eye sight on the paleo diet. I can't stop telling people about the amazing affects of the paleo diet.

Other things I've noticed since switching to paleo that I wonder if other paople have experienced... No plaque on my teeth ever, I never have gas, no bad breath, never constipated

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1771 · November 16, 2011 at 10:32 PM

I was searching for some information about eyes and came across this thread...

I was reading a blog the other day about eyes and eye health and this was linked:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Perfect_Sight_Without_Glasses

Seems that this guy wrote a book about how to correct vision without wearing glasses. It's on my reading list, but not read any yet :-)

And, FWIW, my vision hasn't improved while eating paleo, but my very slight diabetic retinopathy disappeared.

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2004 · August 22, 2011 at 07:35 PM

Mark Sissons says in his post about eyesight:

"Eating Primal, getting sunlight, staying active, and enjoying a visual life of distant, outdoor scope all become part of a more natural, Primal kind of prescription for maintaining the best eye health we can."

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-modern-assault-on-eyesight-health/

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0 · May 09, 2011 at 02:39 AM

I don't even know what Paleo is . I eat what I want to, not much sugar but just because I don't like sweets too much. I have received some hormone for a problem and it is just a topical cream and the notice in the improvement of my eyesight is thrilling me. I do eat grains though, bran cereal. I am just puzzled as to why my eyesight is better. I am 60 years old and don't have to use my reading glasses unless the writing on something is real tiny like on some medicine containers.Maybe I will be able to later, who knows.

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15831 · July 08, 2010 at 01:20 PM

No improvement for me. I been wearing glasses so that i can see things far away since i was a kid. Now im thirty. I do indeed think that living paleo is prolly keeping my eyes from further deteriorating (maybe just slowing the process but...) but i have NO improvement whatsoever. Sucks.

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810 · July 08, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Sorry, probably not reversible. Preventable, quite likely.

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357 · July 08, 2010 at 03:21 AM

Nope, no such luck for me. My eyesight hasn't gotten worse under paleo, but it certainly hasn't gotten better!

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2143 · July 08, 2010 at 03:05 AM

Paleo since January and my near vision keeps getting worse, so, for me, no, diet has not changed what is for me genetically inevitable. I can't imagine that diet can influence vision but willing to consider the opposite viewpoint.

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