Natural Remedies for Blepharitis & Dry Eye with Dr. Marc Grossman
Dr. Marc Grossman is an optometrist and licensed acupuncturist, and he’s been practicing for 40 years. Growing up in New York City, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do until having a conversation with his college basketball trainer and learning all about the field of optometry. After receiving his optometry degree he concentrated his efforts into vision therapy and learning disabilities.
After being in practice awhile, he went to school for acupuncture, which changed his life in terms of how he viewed vision conditions. He now uses functional medicine, Chinese medicine, and Western optometry when treating all of his patients. Although three patients with the same condition in an optometric practice may all receive the same treatment, this is not so in a functional medicine practice. Every single person is different and requires multiple avenues of treatment, including functional medicine as well as conventional optometry.
The Relationship Between Chinese Medicine and Dry Eyes
In Western medicine, we talk about disease and the focus is on treating that disease. In Chinese medicine, we talk about dis-ease in the body and the mind. Everything has to do with relationships - relationships to the environment, to your family, to your body systems. In acupuncture, the goal of every treatment is balance and harmony. The meridians look similar to a subway system throughout the body, and in certain areas of the body there may be stagnation (like horrible traffic in some areas of a city). The goal is to increase the flow of energy to those meridians to create balance and harmony between elements of the body.
For example, all of the meridians in Chinese medicine go to the eyes, so there are many avenues that can be taken through Chinese medicine and acupuncture to help heal the eyes. This is the key to the medicine of the future! Dry eye can be an acupuncture and Chinese medicine imbalance or it can be just a meibomian gland issue.
Mindset and Eyelid Hygiene
When you learn from us at Eye Love, you’ll learn about the importance of mindset, eyelid hygiene, plant-rich eating, hydration, sleep, stress reduction, toxin elimination, and exercise. Each of these has its place in health, and especially health of the eyes. First and foremost, you cannot conceive unless you believe. Proper mindset is essential because if you don’t believe you’ll get well, you never will.
Also, we talk about dental hygiene, but why don’t we talk about eyelid hygiene? It is just as important to prevent future issues, and Dr. Grossman has a great addition to this. You must remember to breathe, blink, and beam. When you’re working, practicing your eyelid hygiene routine, or just moving throughout your day, use the three Bs: make sure to breathe, blink your eyes fully, and beam (or smile!)
In regards to green smoothies and proper diet, Dr. Grossman emphasizes the importance of a plant-rich diet. It’s so important to fill your body with green leafy vegetables and antioxidant berries first thing in the morning. This will highly benefit your visual system. We often recommend green smoothies right at the beginning of the day because they make such a huge difference in how people feel overall.
Eliminating processed foods can be tricky because people have different food sensitivities, but eliminating the most inflammatory foods is the most important. Excess sugar is a big one here, because sugar can wreak havoc on the body and every system within it. Everyone with eye disease should increase their intake of organic vegetables whenever possible, to flood the system with antioxidants and nutrients not often found in processed foods.
Because much of the underlying reason behind dry eye is because of acidity, you may want to have room temperature water, apple cider vinegar, and a squeeze of lemon juice before the green smoothie. Eating your greens will also help keep your body more alkaline. Click here to read more about the importance of alkalinity.
Continuing with hydration, it is so important because many people are dehydrated and this can contribute to eye disease. It’s recommended to drink half your body weight in ounces of filtered water per day (this means roughly 75 ounces for someone who weighs 150 pounds). Dr. Grossman recommends drinking no more than 4-6 ounces of water at a time to avoid overriding the kidneys. When we flood the cells full of water, our cells are much more able to do their jobs properly.
Get Restful Sleep
If you sleep 5.5 hours or less per night, your body will produce less adrenal hormone than needed and you’ll fall into adrenal fatigue. For most people, between 6.5-8 hours of restful, deep sleep is recommended for optimal bodily function. Some helpful recommendations include taking melatonin before bed, drinking chamomile tea, using blackout curtains, and utilizing white noise. Also, avoid electronics before bed and pick up a paper book or practice yin yoga to obtain restful sleep. If you’re on your computer later at night and you can’t avoid it, make sure to wear blue light blocking glasses to avoid extra blue light exposure, which will hinder your ability to sleep.
There is no such thing as stress. It’s how we relate to what’s going on in our lives. Certain things are stressful for some people but not for others. Meditation, prayer, and mindful breathing can all be beneficial for calming stress and helping you better handle stressful situations. It’s so important to attempt to look for the good in each situation that comes our way, As Tony Robbins says, “What if life is happening for us, and not to us?”
Taking a look at the chemicals you use in your home is so important. Personally, Dr. Grossman is chemically and electromagnetic frequency (EMF) sensitive, so he practices many detox techniques. Toxins are detoxified in the liver and the kidneys, and these are the two meridians that have the closest correlation to the eyes in traditional Chinese medicine.
Consider replacing your current toxic cleaning products with vinegar or a similar healthy alternative. Swap out dryer sheets for organic, wool dryer balls, and choose a better laundry detergent (try Eco Nuts). One of the most toxic things in our homes is deodorant. Instead of purchasing toxic aluminum-filled deodorants, opt for a natural alternative.
Exercise for Health
Exercise is the key to reducing stress, optimizing heart and brain health, and increasing blood flow. We recommend moving your body every single day for 30 minutes. In addition to this, basic eye exercises can be beneficial, and Dr. Grossman provides a free bookletabout this on his website. Dr. Grossman is even the medical consultant to the Magic Eye books, and using these books can be beneficial for the eyes.
Dr. Grossman’s Dry Eye Protocol
At the initial exam in his office, the glands of the eyelids are examined for blockages, a Schirmer test is done, and tear break up (TBUT) is completed. Tear film analysis is done as well, so he’ll be examining the quality, quantity, and if the tears evaporate too quickly for a Western optometry approach. He also looks for weaknesses or deficiencies in the adrenal glands and the liver meridian. Usually, if there are weaknesses in these meridians, acupuncture or herbs may be beneficial. In severe cases, hormonal testing may be necessary because estrogen and testosterone levels play a role in dry eye disease as well.
Once he understands how the patient uses and abuses their eyes on a daily basis, he examines their blink rate and he’ll discuss healthy diet choices with the patient. If there are issues with the adrenals and liver, an herbal formula is prescribed. This is eight different herbs that are naturally antibiotic, and he recommends placing one drop of this tincture into hot water for use on a warm washcloth. After a few minutes, using a heat mask for 10 minutes is recommended. Afterwards, he may recommend using MSM eye drops, hyaluronic acid eye drops, and castor oil eye drops. A preservative free conventional eye drop such as Oasis is sometimes recommended. For eyelid hygiene, Dr. Grossman then recommends an eyelid scrub because the glands are much more open and ready for cleansing at that point.
Other great nutritional products he uses in his office include omega-3s, turmeric, curcumin, and lactoferrin. Maqui berry supplements have also been shown to help with dry eyes. When necessary, herbs for the kidneys and liver may be recommended, and these are based on traditional Chinese formulas. Many times, seeing a functional medicine doctor in conjunction with an optometrist can be beneficial.
If LipiFlow or Miboflo may be beneficial for a particular patient, he does have those in his office to cater to those individuals. Astonishingly, 80% of patients in his practice can be treated without pharmaceuticals such as Restasis, Xiidra, or Cequa.
If you’d like to learn more about natural remedies for dry eye and other eye conditions, visit naturaleyecare.comand drgrossman2020.com. Dr. Grossman practices at Somers Eye Center, which is an 8 doctor practice in Somers, NY. You can call them at 914-277-5550 or email Dr. Grossman at email@example.com.
About Dr. Grossman
Since 1980, Dr. Marc Grossman has helped many people maintain healthy vision and even improve eyesight. He is best described as a Holistic Eye Doctor, dedicated to helping people with such conditions ranging from myopia and dry eyes to potentially vision threatening diseases as macular degeneration and glaucoma. His combined multi-disciplinary approach using nutrition, eye exercises, lifestyle changes and Chinese Medicine provides him with a wide array of tools and approaches to tackle difficult eye problems.
He is the co-founder of naturaleyecare.com, the largest consumer eyecare resource of its kind, and a respected author/co-author of a number of books on natural eye care. He is most recently co-author of the acclaimed Natural Eye Care, Your Guide To Healthy Eyes and Healing (published Jan. 2019), as well as Magic Eye Beyond 3D: Improve Your Vision (Volume 6) (2004), and Greater Vision (2001).