Chandra and I with our precious blind children
A thank you card written by the blind children from the camp on braille paper
My wife and I work with the legally blind. I have been learning new things about the blind since 1997. In 1998 I met a group in Temple. I saw how unfortunately many who are legally blind have more disadvantages than visual. I met a friend in 1999 who attended Criss Cole, which is a vocational education program for legally blind to get into the workplace. She is legally blind, and asked me if I could teach a little Jiu-jitsu to her fellow students. I told her I would be happy too. I learned that many who are legally blind have other issues such as being confined to accept limitations, and to settle for them. I taught on Sundays and did so for a few years. I remember my first challenge dealing with a blind student. It had nothing to do with sight. There was a 20 year old girl who did not listen, interrupted my class and was trying to twist another blind student’s arm. I stopped, and gave her a definition of respect, courtesy, and how I did not appreciate that behavior. I notified her that I was here on request, and was not going to tolerate disrupting my class. She was born blind. This may have been the first time in her life she was ever not pitied, or felt sorry for. Something happened. She became the best student that day. She remembered the moves, terminology, and began helping her partner. I was so proud of her, but I had to pontificate on why she was like that to start with. In 1998 I met a legally blind women who formed a group for blind people. However, each blind person I met, I realized each of them were cursed with pity and each of them were dependent on family or friends for basic needs. I wrote an article in 2012 when I taught the first camp at the school of the blind in an article with this quote:
“..I really would love to see (no pun intended) all blind people and visually impaired get a type of education, a type of work or career, and to progress forward. They also need to know they are not alone, and not abandoned….and to sit, talk and let these blind and visually impaired students know that they are people, and we do not involve pity or sympathy. This is what martial arts is about…”1
When people develop blindness, they have one of three main causes:
1) An inborn genetic trait
2) A condition generated over time due to either malnutrition
3) A TBI (traumatic Brain Injury)
Most blind persons deal with their conditions according to how they are taught to recover. Vocational education, cane training, learning braille, developing transportation and other changes of life. One issue I have never heard once in meetings with any groups, executives, staff or organizations relating to the legally blind is nutrition. The WHO in my 2013 article is quoted as saying 80% of all visual impairment can be avoided or cured. In that past article, I mentioned some of my goals teaching the blind at my clinics:
1. I remind them how they have goals, focus on them, and never let anyone deter, or put you down because of your condition.
2. Maintain goals with daily reminders.
3. The third is to study nutrition.
My back up Law Enforcement officers from APD and Travis County speaking to Camp challenge on practical self defense
Grandmasters Carlos and Helio Gracie pose
Below are photos of thank you letters from blind children at the camp.
Points about nutrition regarding blindness I researched in medical journals are some of the following:
Spinach vs. Age related Macular degeneration
Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) November 2, 1994, sings the praises of spinach.
C and E vs. Cataracts
Those who eat more sensibly and supplement antioxidants such as vitamins C and E develop cataracts much more slowly, if at all, even from lengthy sun exposure. In the Nurses’ Health Study, women who supplemented vitamin C for 10 years or longer had 77% lower prevalence of early opacities and 83% lower prevalence of moderate opacities, compared with those who consumed little of the vitamin.
Macular degeneration and diet
Monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame and nearly all processed foods contain dangerous quantities of glutamate, aspartate, cysteine and related compounds. These excitotoxic drugs, added to foods, discharge nerve cells in the mouth to augment the sensation of flavor. Aspartame breaks down into carcinogenic, eye-destroying formaldehyde and deadly methyl alcohol.
Dr. Wright on selenium, taurine, vitamin E and zinc
Some patients of his recovered from macular degeneration using this therapy and have stayed clear of it for as long as four years.
Vitamin D and calcium
Arthur A. Knapp, MD, used 50,000 units of vitamin D and one gram of calcium on intermittent days. These helped against eye conditions including myopia, keratoconus, cataract, optic nerve atrophy and retinitis pigmentosa.
Lea Davies on inhaled steroids and glaucoma
Davies from Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, adds that inhaled steroids may cause about one-third of the 3,000 glaucoma cases developing each year among Americans over 65.2
In my article last year, I discussed more on nutrients and medical resources:
Quitting smoking reduces the risk
From JAMA Ophthalmology, news release, Jan. 2, 2014.
Effects of DL-alpha-lipoic acid diabetic cataract in rats
( Zhonghua Yan Ke Za Zhi. 2004.) Alpha lipoic acid ingested orally can effectively reduce STZ-induced blood glucose and inhibit diabetic cataract formation in rats.
Selenium has been linked with a reduced risk of cataract
Selenium activates the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase, protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage.
Bilberry has been studied in rodents as a way to prevent cataracts
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids detected in the human lens
These nutrients play a role in preserving lens clarity. (Archives of Ophthalmology, January 2008.)
Higher intakes of vitamin C
Intake of antioxidants had long-term protective associations against development of nuclear cataract. (Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87 1899-1905.)
Medications, prescription drugs and eye disease
1. Beta blocker heart medication use is associated with a higher incidence of cataracts. (British J Ophthalmology 2009.)
2. SSRI drugs, such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil, increase the risk for this eye disease.
3. Treatment with topical corticosteroids increases the risk.3
My wife and I spoke at the Blind Veterans Association in San Antonio, Texas. There are so many soldiers who have disabilities, pain, and blind diseases. I spoke on diseases and more on research nutrition correlates with vision in medical journals:
Cod liver oil: a potential protective supplement for human glaucoma
From Int J Ophthalmol. 2011; 4(6): 648–651. Published online Dec 18, 2011. doi: 10.3980/j.issn.2222-3959.2011.06.15
Oral Zinc in Macular Degeneration
(Newsome D A, Swartz M, et al: Oral Zinc in Macular Degeneration. Arch Ophthal, 1988; 106: 192-198.)
Nutritional supplementation, electrical stimulation and age related macular degeneration
(J Orthomol Med, 1993;2. 8: 168-1715. Allen, MJ: Treating age related macular degeneration, Letter. Optom Vis Sci, 1994; 71: 293.)
Opthalmologist Dr. Ronald Pugh on Macular degeneration
Dr. Pugh discussing Macular degeneration and how 27 of his patients were reversed with supplements and minerals.
Dr. Ronald Grisanti Research on carnosine and cataracts
(Quinn PJ, et al, Carnosine: its properties, functions and potential therapeutic applications, Molec Aspects Med, 13; 5:379-444, 1992)4)
Speaking to veterans, my wife and I also brought our invented product called St Jude’s Miracle Oil®. Our product is a proprietary blend of 9 essential oils registered under the US Trademark and Patent office, and is protected by trademark and patent laws. The special blend is a trade secret not public, and is also protected by law.
The product has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-histaminic actions. Each particular oil can be referenced from medical journals such as the NCBI, PubMed, JAMA and the Essential oils Desk reference book 5th edition. We sampled it to many soldiers in pain and we look forward to our research with PTSD and legally blind veterans.
Going back to the point of this article, the above references on nutrition are just a scratch. Above you can read a common relationship with Glaucoma, Retinitis Pigmentosa to diabetes or other nutrition related causes. Why do we not review nutrition in conjunction with our other therapies. Doctors usually tell people to get exercise, eat your fruits and vegetables, but the data on nutrition they are lacking. If the World health organization states 80% of blindness can be prevented, shouldn’t we pay more attention?
I was at my bank making a deposit. The teller was talking about her glasses. I told her I didn’t know she wears glasses. She told me she wears contacts, but her sight is bad. She stated her mother is legally blind with Macular degeneration. I was immediately thinking of Opthalmologist Dr. Pugh who studied nutrition to improve his patients vision. I asked her if there was nutrition that could help her restore some vision, what would she do? She responded by telling me she wouldn’t do anything, that she sees fine with her contacts.
Each year I speak at the Texas School of the Blind and I teach a two hour course on Jiu-jitsu, philosophy and speak on health. My wife and I were at the TSBVI career fair to speak to blind students about joining the workforce when they graduated. A young girl spoke to me, and told me she desired to have an independent life. I told her if she ever wanted advice to contact me. There are some students who have blindness from birth or DNA defects. But others who are starting to develop Glaucoma, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Macular Degeneration or other forms of blindness later in life related to diabetes, malnutrition and other environmental factors we should have funding for research.
I love to teach blind persons a class in Jiu-jitsu. It teaches them how they don’t need their eyes and are on a level playing field. This application should also be applied in life, work, health, goals and philosophy. Ironically, both blind persons and normal vision individuals do not have access to data out there by medical researchers for vision. Our society deserves it, and is entitled to it.
Professor William Vandry
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