Macular Degeneration; Macular Regeneration
Macular Degeneration; Macular Regeneration
John is a well-known radio personality and film producer with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the nutritional field. To his frustration, and despite a healthy diet and nutritional supplementation, he had progressed from the typical dry macular degeneration with small hard shiny deposits in the retina, and a loss of nearly 2 lines of visual acuity (20/30+) over several years, to the more serious wet macular degeneration with scarring, retinal bleeding and inflammation surrounding degenerating retinal drusen in the left eye at the age of 65. Wet macular degeneration often affects one eye first and the other within several years. Visual acuity in the left eye had progressively dropped from 20/30+ at the beginning of 1997 to 20/80, a disturbing 50% loss of vision, in a period of just 6 months. Very concerned about the rapid deterioration in John’s vision, Harvard trained retinal specialist, Dr. Bruce Ballon immediately set up an emergency appointment for John to fly to Honolulu for laser cauterization of the leaking blood vessels. As noted in his clinical records, he “explained that ‘time is of the essence’, and loss of central VA (visual acuity may progress rapidly from wet AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) if laser is indicated and not performed.” He also noted “that he may permanently lose the opportunity to delay progression of AMD (by laser tx) by postponing tx now.” John, however, having had many positive experiences over the years with nutrition, elected to give natural vision care one last, but concerted effort to save his vision, knowing that with laser there would certainly be some additional damage to retinal tissue, even with the hoped for outcome of ‘delayed progression’.
John obtained a copy of Dr. Swartwout’s summary of the nutritional literature on macular health and followed the recommendations carefully. He was already eating lots of fresh vegetables from his own garden, taking a good multi-vitamin and an anti-oxidant complex specifically designed for the eyes. He added eye drops containing Vitamins A, C and E as well as silver and MSM. To his daily supplement program he added bioflavonoids from pine, grape, bilberry and other sources, as well as a blend of mixed carotenoids. He also decided to add a small dose of ginkgo, avoiding higher doses because of the bleeding in his retina. He also increased his levels of carotenoids and vitamins B complex (especially B6 and biotin), C, D and E as well as minerals calcium, magnesium, zinc picolinate and selenium. To this he added flora, flax, shark cartilage, milk thistle, coQ10, carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, NAC and MSM. He was concurrently taking saw palmetto.
For years, John had also been taking an aspirin product containing caffeine for his headaches. When he learned that aspirin could contribute to his retinal bleeding, he stopped taking this product as part of his total healing program. He was pleased to find that after being on the whole regimen for 4 to 5 weeks, the headaches actually subsided.
At John’s last checkup with Dr. Ballon, the noted retinologist was extremely pleased with John’s response, stating that he had never seen such fast recovery in 12 years of practice. He reported that the retinal drusen were no longer swollen and decomposing. Not only had the bleeding, inflammatory and degenerative processes been halted completely, but to Dr. Ballon’s amazement, even the retinal scarring was being reversed. In fact, John’s remarkable improvement had made such an impression on him that Dr. Ballon described his case on a radio show several days later to illustrate the potential of our growing understanding of nutrition to heal the eyes and recover lost vision. John’s vision had been fully restored to the previous level of 20/40.
Dr. Ballon writes "...Mr. DeCosta has had dramatic improvement in his vision despite having had wet macular degeneration. The improvement in his vision occurred after beginning intensive use of powerful antioxidants, vitamins and herbl treatment, including Ginkgo Biloba, bilberry and grape seed extract. He gave me a copy of the report that you had written on this topic, and I appreciate all of the work that you did on a subject that obviously needs more research, but is very promising for patients who have very few alternatives."
At 80 years of age, Verna of Honokaa, Hawaii had become one of the statistics. After suffering loss of her central vision in both eyes due to wet macular degeneration, she was classified as legally blind, with vision of only 20/400 in the right eye and 20/200 in the left eye.
In searching for answers to her plight, she was referred to Dr. Swartwout by a Doctor who ha