Chances are, you are reading this because you or a dear one has been told that he or she has Macular Degeneration. Your first challenge was to become accustomed to the name of this disorder, which is also called Age-Related Macular Degeneration, or ARMD. Anyway you think about it, it is not friendly. ‘Macular’ is probably a strange term to you and ‘degeneration’ does not sound like something moving in the right direction! Adding to your confusion is the fact that your doctor may not have spent much time discussing this with you. There are several reasons why eye doctors tend to be very brief when people are diagnosed with this condition. Macular Degeneration (ARMD) affects parts of the eye that are unfamiliar to most people. Launching into an explantion of the anatomy of the eye as well as telling someone they have a serious disease is more than many doctors want to do at one time. In addition, you were probably too stunned to take in new information. I can tell you this, no doctor likes to give this diagnosis to a person because the doctor knows that the patient will be apprehensive and fearful – and with good reason since conventional medicine has very little to offer people with ARMD. Your doctor has most likely told you to go home and look at a grid (See Resources section for the Amsler Grid) on a piece of cardboard every day and call him if things change dramatically. If you asked him whether there was anything that could be done, he may have told you to take some vitamins with zinc as a supplement. Perhaps his lack of enthusiasm made you feel that this would not help much.
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You will not lose all your sight!
So here you are, looking at the Amsler Grid faithfully and wondering how soon you will go blind and becoming more and more depressed. Let’s start with the good news. You will not go completely blind from ARMD – ever. This condition results in the loss of central vision only, and the degree of vision lost varies greatly. Even those who do nothing to help their bodies cope with ARMD, will not lose all their sight. If you read this blog and make a sincere effort to implement its twelve steps, you have an excellent chance of retaining your current level of vision and even restoring some of what you have lost. Believe me. I have seen it happen with my patients. You have been told nothing else can be done. This is not true! Something can be done, and I am very happy to share my experiences with you. The Twelve Steps to Better Eyesight can improve your vision!
James Buchman, one of my patients who has Stargardt Macular Degeneration, was told by his former doctor to go home and wait for blindness to set in – and to be grateful that it might take five years. His wife Robin writes: “James could not believe that he might not be able to see our children grow, watch sunsets, enjoy paintings, and, still more frightening, lose his job as a teacher, jeopardizing the family’s economic situation. I searched the internet and finally found out about your practice, Dr. Kondrot, and Microcurrent Stimulation. We thank you for giving us hope. Perhaps James will now be able to see his children grow, maintain an active sight-filled life, and pursue his career desires. Without your help we would be preparing for a seeing-eye dog, Braille, and similar life changes.”
“Dr. Kondrot…Your continuing quest to seek answers when others have quit has changed my son’s life….”
Ken Johnson writes this about his son David, another of my patients: “Two and one half months after receiving Microcurrent Stimulation (MCS) at your office, David… is signing up for college courses. He is talking about driving. Your continuing quest to seek answers when others have quit has changed my son’s life. He is now hopeful and optimistic. He is safer and life is easier for him. My wife and I cannot thank you enough.
Who develops Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
Macular Degeneration affects 13 million Americans. Most of them are over the age of 65, but certain hereditary conditions may cause it to develop in younger individuals. Those of you reading this blog who have congenital macular degeneration, please be reassured that these methods will also work in your situation. In fact, younger people often respond beautifully to many of these treatments. Persons over the age of 75 have a 30% chance of developing ARMD; it rarely affects anyone younger than 55 years old. Caucasians develop it more than persons of color because they have less pigment in their retina, especially if they have blue, grey, or green eyes. It affects men and women equally. People who are nearsighted (myopic) have a greater chance of developing this condition as do people who work or spend a lot of time out of doors and are exposed to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight.
What causes ARMD?
Doctors like to say that we don’t know what causes ARMD. However, when you look at the relationship between age and the onset of ARMD, I bet you can guess that the same things which cause so many of the afflictions of the elderly are somehow linked to ARMD. These afflictions are arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, obesity and high cholesterol. Much as we don’t like to admit it, most of these other conditions result from our lifestyle – poor diet, lack of exercise, and the inability to cope with stress. The good news is that things that are caused by factors we can identify are more likely to improve when we eliminate those factors. Actually, I believe every disease and disorder has a cause, even childhood cancers and all sorts of things medical science likes to say cannot be explained. The truth is they cannot be explained within the framework of their thinking and understanding. Not too long ago, doctors scoffed at the idea that diet had anything to do with heart disease. Until Dr. Dean Ornish proved, within the framework of scientific research, that an improved diet, and a program of exercise, and social support along with relaxation help reverse physical degeneration, it was impossible to convince doctors of this link. Now that it has been established, the medical community has accepted this idea, and lifestyle recommendations are the norm, not just for people with heart disease, but for everyone. We all know that eating less fat and sugar and exercising more are good for us. Coincidentally, these same recommendations have been shown to help with diabetes, arthritis, and all the other chronic degenerative conditions that affect our aging population. There is that word again – degenerative.