- Age-related macular degeneration can be stopped and reversed
- It is vital to determine and treat the causes of the degeneration—usually a combination of nutrient deficiencies and digestive difficulties
- A treatment program of intravenous minerals, herbs, amino acids, vitamin supplements, and often hormones, has been used for over twenty-five years with tremendous success
Age-related macular degeneration (also termed “dry” macular degeneration) is preventable, and prevention is always best! It’s not widely known that the progress of age-related macular degeneration can be stopped—and very frequently significantly improved—for the majority of individuals with dry macular degeneration with a treatment program developed at Tahoma Clinic during the 1980s.
My father was diagnosed with dry macular degeneration by an ophthalmologist; at the time, he was told his vision was 20/80 (with glasses) in each eye. After the being treated with the Tahoma Clinic Macular Regeneration Program, he said he could see significantly better; the same ophthalmologist told him his vision (again with glasses) had improved to 20/30 in each eye. In 1990 we published two case studies[i] describing successful treatment of dry macular degeneration. The Tahoma Clinic Macular Regeneration program is so often successful because it treats one of the major causes of the problem!
No, we’re not eye doctors! That’s why we insist that all diagnoses be made by each individual’s eye doctor, and that everyone we treat have their visual acuity (20/20, 20/30, etc.) determined by an eye care professional. Understandably, it’s unbelievable—especially to medical doctors—that a “natural medicine clinic” has been stopping and often reversing deterioration in dry macular degeneration for thirty years.
It was unbelievable to Dr. Tom Dorman, too, a California physician who relocated to Washington state to join Tahoma Clinic in the 1990s, where he practiced for several years before moving on to his own practice. He wrote the following in 1998:
It was an amazing experience when I joined the Tahoma Clinic—that I found a routine for managing macular degeneration. It would have been impolite of me to have said what I thought: “It cannot be.” Of all the forms of quackery, the assumption that a nutritional physician could cure that which the specialist for the eye could not was the most brazen and not likely to be substantiated. Now, in retrospect, I am glad that I did not hastily express skepticism.
It fell to me, however, to follow the protocol established at the clinic and treat many of the individuals who flocked (and who still flock) to our clinic asking for help with this disease. Mostly the disease was diagnosed correctly by their ophthalmologists across the land, and mostly they were told and are still being told that nothing can be done: “The prognosis is hopeless.”
Well, having utilized the protocol for macular degeneration in my own practice for one-and-a-half years, since my move from California to Washington state, I can testify from the clinical experience I have gained personally that about seven out of ten of the patients who have come in with this diagnosis (and only those in whose case the diagnosis was correctly made) benefited substantially from the regime used to improve their vision. One must emphasize that in advanced cases, the dosage of the nutrients required isso high that these need to be administered through an intravenous protocol carefully. Accordingly, this is usually done in our clinic setting. A course of treatment of about eight weeks is required. Many of these people come and stay in motels near the clinic during the course of their treatment; but what a boon it is to save one’s vision! I, for one, now stand foursquare behind this routine, based on my clinical experience.
—Thomas Dorman, MD
Thank you to Dr. Dorman—who sadly is no longer with us—for this independent perspective on the Tahoma Clinic Macular Degeneration Program!
Treat the cause
As noted above, our program is so often successful because it treats the cause. This case study—first published in 1996—is an excellent illustration of one of the major causes of dry macular degeneration.
Elaine and Tom MacDonald walked to my office, Tom guiding Elaine as unobtrusively as he could. He showed her a chair, and they both sat down.
“As you may have guessed, I’m not seeing as well as I’d like,” Elaine began. “My eye doctor tells me it’s macular degeneration in both eyes, though the left is worse than the right. I’ve been taking those vitamins that eye doctors are starting to use these days, but they don’t seem to be helping at all, and my vision is slowly getting worse.”
“We’ve heard you have a treatment that can help macular degeneration sometimes,” Tom said. “We’re hoping it’s not to late to help Elaine.”
“As it is now, I can read an interstate highway sign if I’m standing right in front of it,” Elaine said. “And that’s with my glasses on. I was a teacher before I retired, and I so miss being able to read my books and newspapers.”
“Of course she can’t drive anywhere either,” Tom added.
“How’s your health otherwise?” I asked.
“As far as I can tell, it’s OK. I don’t have the energy I’d like, but then I’m 67, so I guess that’s to be expected.”
“No other bothersome symptoms?”
“None that I can think of.”
I asked about her health history, family health history, diet, and exercise. Then we went to an examination room for a physical exam. All appeared OK until we got to her fingers. Her nails bent very easily.
“Excuse me, but your fingernails aren’t very strong, are they?”
“They’ve been that way all my life. Never have been able to grow nice nails like some women do. Mine, they crack, peel, chip. . . . I took gallons of gelatin when I was younger, but it never helped. The last few years I’ve been taking a lot of calcium, it helps a little. They’re stronger for a while, but then bad again. Can’t really put it together with anything.”
“Do you get cramps in your legs?”
“Oh, two or three times a week, especially at night, but occasionally when I’ve been doing a lot of walking. But there’s nothing unusual about that, is there? Tom gets them, too, and so do some of our friends. We thought it just went with our time of life, like this gray hair.” She touched her head.
“You’re right,” I replied. “Those of us past fifty do get more leg cramps than younger people, but those cramps aren’t an inevitable part of aging. They’re a correctable malfunction.”
I made a few notes. We finished her exam, and went back to my office.
“What shall I do first about eyes?” Elaine asked. “I’m anxious to get started right away.”
“First, have your stomach tested. . . .”
“My stomach? How will that help my eyes?”
“As we get older, an increasing number of symptoms and health problems need to be approached by checking the stomach and the rest of the digestion first. By the time we’re sixty, at least half of us who have symptoms or health problems have problems with digestion and nutrient assimilation. The leg cramps that you and many past-fifty people have are usually a symptom of inadequate digestion and assimilation of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other minerals.
“In your particular case,” I continued, “it’s likely you’ve had digestion/assimilation problems for years. If we don’t ‘patch up’ these problems as best we can, we won’t have as much of a chance to help your eyes, since all the nutrients our eyes need enter our bodies through the digestive tract.”
“Maybe that’s why these vitamins the eye doctor gave me aren’t working?” she asked.
“Likely that’s part of it, but they don’t have all the necessary nutrients, and the few they do contain are in very small quantities.”
“Why do you think I’ve had digestion problems for years?” Elaine asked. “I don’t have any digestive symptoms, as far as I can tell.”
“Your fingernails. A large majority of women who have cracking, peeling, chipping fingernails also have poor stomach and digestive function.”
“Really? You’re saying I could have had glamorous fingernails all these years had I only known?”
“Don’t know about glamorous, but at least a lot stronger. But getting back to tests . . . along with the stomach test, we need to check further on your digestion through a stool analysis, looking at mineral levels, amino acids, and hormones, particularly testosterone.”
“So far,” Elaine said, “I think I understand checking my digestion and the minerals—even these vitamins that you say are weak have minerals—but amino acids? Testosterone?”
“Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. If we hope to rebuild cells and tissues, we need to make sure amino acids are adequate. Yours have a higher probability of being low. . . .”
“Because of poor digestion and assimilation.”
“But what about testosterone?” Tom asked. “What does that have to do with eyes?”
“It’s certainly not the most important factor, but vision is so important that we want to cover all the bases right away. Testosterone is the most powerful anabolic steroid that our bodies make naturally. Anabolic steroids do much more than stimulate the growth of muscles. They stimulate repair and regrowth of many damaged body tissues. I’ve observed that correcting unusually low levels of testosterone can help tissue repair in either sex.”
“How long will it take to get the tests done so I can get started?”
“The tests are important, but I recommend you start treatment today or tomorrow, as soon as your tests are turned in. Over the years, I’ve found that if we give key nutrients intravenously, particularly zinc and selenium, twice weekly, we make much faster progress. We make sure the quantities are safe, of course, but also sufficient to do the job.”
“Just zinc and selenium?”
“Those are the most important minerals, but we make sure to back them up with a variety of minerals and other nutrients. And of course, I’ll ask you to start with oral supplementation, too.”
“But what about digesting and assimilating them properly?”
“Your stomach test will be completed and the results known today; the remaining tests on your digestion will be completed in just two or three days.”
“What about the rest of the tests? Shouldn’t we wait for them?” Tom asked.
“We’ll adjust or add to what we’re doing as soon as they become available, but since we know many of the major items of importance we can start them right away.”
“How often does this work?” Elaine asked.
“Not every time, but definitely more than half the time.”
“How long before I know one way or another?”
“In my experience, if we use the IVs, digestive aids, all the oral supplements, and hormones if necessary, you can see—literally—results starting in four to six weeks. If there’s been no improvement in six to eight weeks, then it’s not likely this all will help.”
“I hope it works for me,” she said. “In addition to the IVs, what supplements should I take?”
“Very, very likely, the list will start with taking betaine hydrochloride with pepsin at meals, to replace what your stomach likely isn’t doing, and pancreatic enzymes after meals. Together, these should restore a large part of weak digestive function.
“We’ve already covered zinc and selenium, two most important minerals,” I continued. “Vitamin E and taurine are very important, too. Bilberry and ginkgo—herbal medications—contain flavonoids and other substances important to the retina. Vitamin A, copper. . . .”
“Hold on,” Elaine said. “I can’t remember all of this.”
“You don’t need to. There are several combination formulas available in natural food stores that contain most or all of these ingredients, including one designed by Dr. Alan Gaby and myself.”
“IVs, digestive aids, a combination formula with the nutrients you’ve recommended . . . anything else?” Tom asked.
“The tests will tell us if amino acids, testosterone, and possibly other hormones are advisable.”
“When I start seeing results, how long will I need to continue having IVs?” Elaine asked. “I certainly can’t get those done for years and years.”
“You won’t need to. Remember, much of the problem is due to poor digestion and assimilation, and you’ll be taking care of that so that oral supplementation has a better chance to do the job. But just for insurance, when the IVs are discontinued, we’ll ask you to use some of the key nutrients in DMSO, which gets them in through the skin. But don’t worry about that now, we’ll cover it when the time comes.
“Also,” I said, “please remember that this treatment doesn’t work every time. I’ve observed it to work in a majority of cases; unfortunately that’s not 100%.”
“At least all these nutrients won’t hurt me,” Elaine said.
“And we’ll pray that Elaine’s in that majority,” Tom added.
“Please do! That’ll help, too.”
In four weeks, Elaine’s vision started to improve. After eight months of treatment, she reported that instead of just being able to read interstate highway signs, she could read books and newspapers again. She’s continued her treatment, and five years later has maintained her vision at that level.
Tahoma Clinic physicians have been treating individuals with previously diagnosed age-related macular degeneration since 1986 with the degree of success mentioned by Dr. Dorman. If you’re been diagnosed with macular degeneration, consider treatment at Tahoma Clinic with the Macular Regeneration Program. A strong chance of stopping visual deterioration and—even more likely—improving vision makes the time, expense, and effort involved worthwhile.
[i] Wright JV. Improvement of vision in macular degeneration associated with intravenous zinc and selenium therapy: two cases. J Nutr Med 1990;1:133-138