Beyond the great information below, there isn’t a whole lot available on the internet on alternative therapies to reverse a detached retina. You’ll find some suggestions online for herbs and nutrients, but I don’t think there’s any evidence to show that those things have really helped. I do believe in nutrition for reversing some health problems. In this case, there are other explanations for the cause and correspondingly there’s another approach to reversing it.
Table of Contents
What Causes a Detached Retina?
Injuries and Diseases
It’s not unusual for boxers to suffer a detached retina from a blow to the eye. Some diseases like diabetes or tumors can also lead to it.
The Main Cause: Myopia
By far, a retinal detachment is most common in highly nearsighted (myopic) individuals. This has been documented, and it is well known today that high myopia is a risk factor for retinal detachment.
Conventional medicine’s reason for this association with myopia is in high myopia the retina is stretched because of the elongated eyeball. However, the elongation of the eyeball is often extremely slight, a fraction of a millimeter, or not at all, and they view myopia today as an uncoordinated set of refractive components in the eye, of which an elongated eyeball is only one. Even then, the relationship is tenuous. They don’t understand it very well. This is just one of those cop-outs, throwing so many variables into the mix to make the true cause sound more complicated than it really is. It’s an example of scientific reductionism, looking at all the component parts but not understanding that there’s a reason they are all working together (or not) a certain way.
The retina is being stretched because a force is being applied that the eye was not designed to accept gracefully. Chronically tense muscles are exerting force on the eyeball. This tension and force is not perpetual. It is lessened at times. It also increases at times when a person causes a lot of eyestrain, which is really just an effect of misusing the eyes and putting the eye muscles under chronic tension.
Patients who have had LASIK surgery for myopia have a higher than normal rate of retinal detachment. I haven’t found any studies that specifically look at whether LASIK actually increases the risk for a retinal detachment versus people with myopia who did not have LASIK done.
Tom Quackenbush, a prominent vision improvement teacher, writes in Relearning to See:
A guest at one of my Introductory Lectures had a v ery high degree of nearsightedness. his ophthalmologist told him he had no signs of detached retina – but that he would have it someday because of his very high myopia.
I have met many people who have detached retina. Most of them had very high degrees of myopia.
Excerpt from Better Eyesight Magazine, March 1921:
RELIEF OF RETINAL DETACHMENT
By Clara E. Crandall
Twenty-five years ago Samuel D. was struck in the left eye by a nail thrown carelessly from a roof, and nineteen years later, while he was chopping wood, a stick flew up, hitting him in the face and injuring the same eye.
There were, apparently, no serious consequences from either of these accidents, but about a year after the second one the patient noted that his sight was getting dim. He consulted an oculist, thinking that he probably required glasses, and was told that he had iritis. He was given drops for this condition and had been using them for a month when, on May 12, 1916, while digging in the garden, he went suddenly and completely blind in his left eye. The cause proved to be a detached retina, and the oculist whom he consulted sent him to a hospital where he underwent a thorough examination. His teeth were X-rayed, and it was thought best to remove his tonsils. He was then kept for eight weeks motionless, flat upon his back.
At the end of this time it was found that the retina, as a result of the complete rest, had become partially reattached and the vision was, to some extent, improved. Hoping to improve it still further, the doctors operated upon the eye, but without success. Two weeks later a second operation was performed, after which the eye became totally blind again. The condition of the left eye was complicated by a traumatic cataract, and senile cataract now developed in the right. He was sent to another hospital in the autumn where he was again thoroughly examined, but the doctors decided that nothing more could be done for him.
And so, with one eye totally blind and cataract rapidly obscuring the sight of the other, Samuel went back to his work as a gardener, trying to resign himself to the dark future before him. From month to month he struggled on; but he found it increasingly difficult to do his work, and felt that the time would soon come when he would have to give it up. He suffered greatly from the strain of trying to see and complained of a constant yellow glare in the blind eye, together with many other painful and unpleasant symptoms which, he said, interfered with the sight of his right eye also.
From a time several years antedating his sudden attack of blindness Samuel has been in the employ of my family; after he became blind I went to Dr. Bates to have some eye troubles of my own treated, and, hearing of the many remarkable cures that were effected by his method of treatment, it occurred to me that he might be able to do something for Samuel. It seemed to Samuel a forlorn hope, but as it was the only one, he allowed me to take him last May to Dr. Bates’ Clinic in the Harlem Hospital.
At this time he was still without light perception in the left eye, and with the right was unable to make out the smaller letters on the test card when it was held a foot from his face, while even the largest letters appeared gray and blurred. Dr. Bates told him that the cataracts could be cured, and encouraged him to hope for improvement in the condition of the detached retina also. He told him to leave off the dark glasses he had been wearing, to palm as often and as long as possible, to drink twelve glasses of water a day, to imagine and flash the letters on the Snellen test card, and to imagine everything, himself included, as swinging.
Samuel followed these instructions conscientiously, and in a short time the strain and other distressing symptoms from which he had previously suffered were greatly relieved. The sight of the blind eye improved gradually. At the first visit he became able to distinguish light, and later he saw the shadowy image of a moving object, at first only when held close to the left side of his head, but afterward in all parts of his field of vision. The perception of light in the blind eye has grown steadily and the vision has so improved that now, at a distance of fourteen feet, he can see a moving object against a strong light, while at the near point he even thinks that he can sometimes catch a glimpse of the large letter on the Snellen test card. With the right eye he can read the smallest letters on the test card at the near point, and they appear black and distinct. At fourteen feet he can flash them.
Among those who have benefited by Dr. Bates’ remarkable discoveries, there is no one who owes more to them than Samuel D.; for now, instead of having to look forward to blindness and utter dependence on others, he has been enabled to take up his life with renewed courage and interest, confident that if he faithfully continues the treatment he will eventually obtain good vision in both eyes.
Excerpt from Better Eyesight Magazine, Nov 1926:
Detachment of the Retina
By W. H. Bates, M.D.
In detachment of the retina, the inner coat of the three coats of the eyeball become separated from the other coats. At first only a small part of the retina may become separated, but later the detachment may increase fn extent until the whole retina is separated from the other parts of the eye. In the early stages, the sight may be good and remain good for some months and even for some years. Usually the patient complains of a lose of vision almost from the beginning.
Detachment of the retina occurs frequently in high degrees of myopia. Some statistics report that one-third of all cases of extreme myopia sooner or later develop detachment of the retina, at first in one eye and afterwards in the other eye. However, it may occur in normal eyes without any inflammation of the other coats. The detachment, which is observed covering tumors of the eyeball, usually presents a different appearance from other forms of detachment. Detachment of the retina is a rare disease. “Galezowski found it in 5/10 of 1% of ophthalmic cases. It is supposed to be caused by muscular exertion, coughing, sneezing, vomiting, anger, or fear. Injuries of the eyeball cause a small proportion of cases.” (Ball.)
I believe that mental or ocular strain is the principal cause.
“In the beginning, the symptoms of detachment are periodical dimness of vision, flashes of light and the appearance of sparks, dust or soot before the eyes. The field of vision becomes less and there may be the appearance of a cloud or floating specks before the eye. Patients have complained that they can see only a part of an object at a time. So long as the center of eight is not involved, the vision of objects straight ahead is good. Sometimes the detached retina may functioaate for a time, producing vertigo. In uncomplicated cases, there is no pain.” (Ball.)
Orthodox Methods of Treatment
Ball in his “Modern Ophthalmology” states:—”The treatment of retinal detachment is an unsatisfactory—in fact, almost hopeless—task. While in a few rare instances the retina has become reattached spontaneously, and a few recoveries have followed the administration of saline purgatives, and some cures have followed the internal use of mercury, lodid of potassium, and salicylic acid, the majority.of successful results thus far reported have been attributed to surgical intervention. Surgical intervention, proposed by Sichel in 1869, has assumed numerous forms: simple puncture of the sclera and chorioid (Sichel), discission of the retina (Von Graefe), drainage by a fine gold wire passed to the chorioid by means of catgut (Galezowski), dislaceration with two needles (Bowman), iridectomy (Galezowski and others), injection of iodin into the subretinal space (Galezowski, Gelpke, Scholar), electrolysis (Gillet de Grandmont), cutting of vitreous bands and transfixion of the eyeball (Deutschmann, Jaencke), injection of a 3.5 per cent strength solution of gelatin in a physiologic salt solution between the sclera and capsule of Tenon (de Wecker), puncture of the eyeball with the galvanocautery (Galezowski, Abadie), injection of normal salt solution into the vitreous after evacuation of subretinal fluid (Walker), and injection of air into the vitreous (Jensen). Most of these procedures should be ruled out of the domain of modern ophthalmology. All are dangerous to the integrity of the globe, and one of them—intra-ocular injection of iodin—has been followed by meningitis and death.”
Holth (Wien. Med. Woch., Feb. 3, 1912) claimed that in cases of detachment of the retina, a piece of the sclera was excised from the eye without injuring any of the coats of the eye (chorioid). The hardness of the eyeball was then diminished for some weeks or months, and in two cases the detachment of the retina disappeared, and the field of vision became enlarged but vision itself did not improve. The most important point was that in one case the myopia decreased from 18 Diopters to 5 Diopters, in another from 16 Diopters to 10 Diopters and in a third case from 12 Diopters to 5.5 Diopters.
The author explains the effect of the operation as follows: “In the first months after the operation subchorioideal lymph oozes through the opening in Tenon’s capsule and on account of this the absorptive capacity of the chorioid is increased. By the traction of the outer eye muscles, the walls of the myopic eye become compreesed, and the myopic refraction becomes diminished.”
The Writer’s Method of Treatment
The results of the preceding methods of treating detachment of the retina as well as of many other methods which are not reported, have been practically of no benefit. It is my desire to call attention to the fact that detachment of the retina is curable because it has been cured. In the course of a lifetime, most ophthalmologists have seen one or more cases of detachment which recov-ered spontaneously, or without any treatment. This fact suggests that if some patients recover without treatment, detachment is curable under certain conditions. It can be demonstrated that the cause of detachment of the retina is a mental strain and is not necessarily due to an injury to the eye by a blow. If it is due to mental strain, relaxation of the mental strain should be followed by a benefit. In all cases of retinal detachment which I have observed, relaxation methods of treatment have always been followed by an improvement or a cure of the detachment. These methods of obtaining relaxation are those which are unconsciously practiced by the normal eye, when the normal eye has normal vision. For example, the stare or the effort to see distant or near objects, always causes imperfect sight. Rest or relaxation of the eyes is always a benefit to those with imperfect sight. The normal eye is moving all the time, and an effort to keep the normal eye stationary is always followed by imperfect sight. People with normal eyes and normal sight are always moving their heads and eyes from one point to another, and do not look fixedly at any one point continuously.
One can rest the eyes by blinking without necessarily staring or straining. To keep the eyes wide open continuously always makes the sight worse. Patients with detachment of the retina use their eyes in the wrong way, just as near-sighted people use their eyes incorrectly. In many cases of detachment, the patients suffer from the annoyance of bright sunlight. By gradually accustoming the eye to the sun, the symptoms of retinal detachment usually improve.
A sharpshooter came to me for treatment of detachment of the retina. He said that when he saw the bull’s eye at 1000 yards, it appeared to be moving. When he tried to stop the movement, the effort made him very nervous and his sight became so imperfect that he could not see the bull’s eye at all. When he allowed the bull’s eye to move, the score was better. At that time, he spent so many hours at target practice that he became very nervous and tired. The interesting fact was that the left eye which was not used in aiming, developed detachment of the retina while the right eye, which was used almost constantly, remained normal. If the detachment were caused by eyestrain, we would expect the eye which was used to be affected. On the contrary, the eye that was not used developed detachment of the retina. It was the strain of his mind, and not the strain of his eyes which caused the retinal detachment.
The dark glasses which he was wearing to protect his eyes from the sun, were so strong that they seriously interfered with the vision of his good eye. The left eye had very disagreeable symptoms. He imagined he saw red, blue and other colored lights. All the treatment that he had received in the hospital had not relieved these sensations. These lights disappeared after he had prac-ticed the various swings for many hours daily. Subjective symptoms disappeared first, and when he became able to obtain a considerable amount of relaxation, the objective symptoms or detachment then disappeared. The treatment which brought about this result was much the same treatment that is employed in the cure of myopia, astigmatism, far-sightedness, or squint. Relaxation or rest was very beneficial. Palming was particularly help-ful. Any treatment which promoted relaxation was always followed by an improvement in the detachment of the retina.
A patient suffering from a high degree of myopia, which was progressive was suddenly afflicted with detachment of the retina in one eye. He received the usual orthodox treatment. from a number of ophthalmologists living in Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, and other places, but without any benefit. When he finally came to me and was treated by relaxation methods for the relief of the high degree of myopia, the detachment became less and the myopia decreased. Considerable relaxation was obtained by the practice of the optical awing, which has been described many times in this magazine. He was first treated on July 90, 1925. The vision of the right eye was 8/200, while that of the left eye, which had the retinal detachment, was only 1/200. Looking straight ahead with his left eye, his vision was imperfect. At times he had some vision, for a few seconds only, while looking straight ahead.
His visits to the office were irregular. On October 17th, 1925, after three month’s treatment, the vision of the right eye had improved to 15/800, while that of the left eye was 5/200 plus. After the long swing, the vision of the right eye immediately improved to 15/100, while that of the left eye improved to 15/100 plus. With the ophthalmoscope,the retina appeared re-attached and was otherwise normal The field of vision was normal.
The patient returned home very much pleased. However, he made a mistake, I believe, in calling on some of the eye-specialists whom he had previously consulted, and who had all pronounced his imperfect vision from the detachment to be incurable. Some told him that they must have made a mistake in diagnosing his case, because if he had had detachment of the retina, the eye would not have recovered. They believed that all the other men who had made the diagnosis of the detachment of the retina, had also made a monumental blunder. This would have been perfectly satisfactory, but unfortunately the patient neglected the treatment I had prescribed and had a relapse. He again visited the same eye-specialists without being encouraged, and when he came back to me, he was very much discouraged. I believe that he would have returned sooner had not the other ophthalmologists influenced him against the relaxation treatment.
After studying these and other cases, I believe that the cause of detachment of the retina is usually some form of mental strain. It is gratifying to have proved that when this strain is relieved, the detachment of the retina disappears and the eye becomes normal.
Excerpt from Use Your Own Eyes, Chapter 10, by W.B. MacCracken, M.D.:
A man of fifty-three came to me with a condition of what is called detached retina, in both eyes. That condition was consequent upon an extreme degree of near-sightedness, which had been growing worse for over thirty years. The retina is held closely against the inner surface of the eyeball walls by the pressure outward of the fluid contained in the eyeball. There are different ways in which that membrane may be pulled or pushed away from the walls, so that it is separated in rolls or patches, as one sees old wallpaper sometimes separated from the wall. He wore constantly a pair of prisms, and when he wanted to read, he added a second pair of glasses, in front of the first pair. He had been informed by two specialists that he would ultimately be unable to see, even with artificial lenses. When he tried to see, he had to look below or above the lines he wanted, in order to catch the rays of light on the folds of the displaced retina. That man became able to read without any lenses, and at times he could see with very little change in the direction of his eyes. The measure which helped him most, perhaps, was the use of a Kromayer ultra violet ray lamp directed right through the lens of the eye. When he ceased coming to me he was quite happy with the fine improvement in his vision.
It would be beside the point, and of no value here, to offer any explanation of the conduct of the different factors involved in the detachment of the retinas, the failure of sight, and the wonderful improvement secured by the treatment. It is not a question of veracity—nor need it be. There are those who have opacities in the lens, called cataracts, and the rays of light are so hindered that the patient is capable of very little sight. Such conditions often improve, and the patient may even be blessed with a return of normal vision, without any treatment. A patient of mine, who was afflicted with cataracts for many years, and finally, in her own words, was almost blind, secured a wonderful improvement in two weeks, and soon had very good vision. The opacities continued, easily seen at all times, but variable, however, in size and in density. Although always helped by sunlight and methods of relaxation, there was a constant undercurrent of a special tension in her mind which would often hamper and disturb the vision, and was relieved, sometimes in a moment, when the morbid attitude of the mind was overcome by some simple expedient which secured relaxation.
Excerpt from Better Eyesight Magazine, Feb 1923:
Eye strain during sleep may produce in the normal eye severe pain with hardness of the eyeball simulating the increased tension of an attack of glaucoma. In all diseases of the eyes, inflammations of the eyelids, cornea, iris, lens (cataract) retina and optic nerve eye strain during sleep increases the severity of the symptoms with a corresponding loss of vision, temporary or more permanent. Detachment of the retina has been aggravated or produced by eye strain during sleep.
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