Glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration & co. – what can naturopathy do?
Despite major advances in conventional medicine, many eye diseases are still widespread. What additional alternatives can a naturopath offer?
At first glance, the numbers, which were published during last year’s ‘Sight Week’, sound alarming (https://www.woche-des-sehens.de/infothek/zahlen-und-fakten/augenkrankheiten-zahlen-fuer-deutschland/). According to them, more than 900,000 People in Germany suffer from glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy has affected more than one million patients. With regard to age-related macular degeneration, the number even reaches over seven million sufferers! The data, taken from the renowned Gutenberg Health Study, shows how widespread eye diseases actually are among the population.
Many of those affected would like to have more detailed information, which also includes supportive alternatives to the traditional conventional medical therapies. However, there is still a big information deficit here.
Cataracts, glaucoma and other eye diseases – how dangerous are they?
Although eye diseases are very common in Germany, they are rarely discussed in everyday life. Not only does this make many People feel inadequately informed, but it also represents a missed opportunity – because those who are aware of the dangers of eye diseases can do something about the health of their eyes and take the early warning signals more seriously.
The consequences of untreated eye diseases can be very serious, depending on the diagnosis. There can even be a danger of complete blindness, as may occur with untreated glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration (AMD). According to official data, the latter is concurrently the most common cause of new blindness in Germany (http://www.gbe-bund.de/gbe10/abrechnung.prc_abr_test_logon?p_aid=59002893&p_uid=gast&p_sprache=D&p_knoten=FID&p_suchstring=26492#Kap4).
The insidious part of it is that many eye diseases creep up on us and are hardly noticeable for those affected at the beginning, as Christian Rüger, naturopath at Naturheilzentrum Bottrop, notes: “During the initial stage, the symptoms of many eye diseases are hardly noticeable to sufferers themselves. This is true even in the case of diseases that endanger eyesight long term, such as glaucoma and AMD. Regular eye tests are therefore an important factor in preventative measures.”
300,000 accidents caused by untreated eye diseases?
Another no-less-dangerous dark side of untreated eye diseases is that the poor eyesight which they cause can result in accidents. According to estimates by the Professional Association of German Ophthalmologists (BVA), the number of traffic accidents caused by poor vision is 300,000. (http://cms.augeninfo.de/index.php?id=336).
According to the explanations given by the cited ophthalmologist, Dr. Gernot Freißler, this number is also due to the fact that visual impairments often manifest themselves in situations where visibility already is hampered by external circumstances such as dusk or fog. Accidents are possible even if a Person’s vision is not noticeably impaired during the day and when conditions are good. However, if visual field defects or obvious visual impairments are already apparent to the Person concerned, the BVA recommends an examination by an ophthalmologist.
What supporting possibilities does naturopathy offer?
While the detection of eye diseases should be carried out by a licensed ophthalmologist, who is usually in charge of the conventional medical treatment as well, there are also alternative treatments on offer from complementary medicine.
“Therapeutic options in naturopathy such as eye acupuncture or the use of plant extracts to treat eye diseases have already been tested in many studies. Among other things, some of the results point toward measurably positive effects,” says Rüger. It is important, however, not to ignore the strengths of conventional medicine: “Complementary medical treatment cannot replace conventional medicine when it comes to eye diseases, but it does make sense to supplement it.”
Preventative measures increase the chances of early diagnosis
Good preventative measures can be a tried and tested way of averting the consequences of eye diseases such as blindness or accidents caused by visual impairments. These include, in particular, regular examinations at the ophthalmologist, which the BVA recommends once a year for People over 40.
In their current video, the naturopaths and lifestyle bloggers, Farid Zitoun and Christian Rüger from Naturheilzentrum Bottrop take a closer look at the topic of eye diseases and their pitfalls. At the same time, they give tips on how to reduce the risk of many eye diseases through heightened awareness.
In the latest Tumblr post by Naturheilzentrum Bottrop on the topic of natural remedies for eye diseases, they also discuss the ways in which each Person can actively make a positive contribution to the health of their eyes.