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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Resveratrol may assist those with Macular Degeneration

Photos: For The First Time Researchers Show Reversal Of Earliest Sign Of Retinal Aging, Using A Resveratrol-Based Nutriceutical Matrix (Longevinex®)

11 / 30 / 2009

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Using a high-output camera to film the back of the human eye, for the first time researchers have shown that a resveratrol-based (rez-vair-ah-trawl) nutriceutical matrix can effectively remove cellular debris from the human eye that accumulates with advancing age and correlated this with significant improvement in visual acuity and night vision in an 80-year old man. Resveratrol is widely known as a red wine molecule.

To view the Multimedia News Release, go to:

The accumulation of cellular debris in the retina is believed to be the first detectable sign of retinal aging.

Dr. Stuart Richer OD, PhD, Chief, Optometry Section at the Veterans Medical Center in North Chicago, in a report entitled "Molecular Medicine in Opthalmic Care," published in the December 2009 issue of the journal Optometry, says this may be the first time an intervention has been documented to reverse aging changes in a human retina.

The patient, an 80-year old male, came to the eye clinic complaining of loss of night vision. Commonly prescribed nutriceuticals, such as lutein, vitamin E and fish oil were employed with no positive result.

After 5 months on the dietary supplement regimen, five measurable parameters of vision improved to varying but significant degrees including night (contrast) vision, visual acuity, color and side vision. Upon testing, it was also found the patient also experienced improvement on a survey of mental tasks. The patient said, "My night vision and thinking have gotten much better."

The underlying cause

A broad body of evidence exists to assert the claim that the human eye and all other organs in the human body "rust and calcify" with advancing age. Dr. Richer prescribed a nutriceutical matrix (Longevinex® -pronounced long-jev-in-ex) designed to remove excess intra-cellular minerals by a process called chelation (key-lay-shun), particularly calcium, iron and copper, that build up in retinal tissues over time.

About lipofuscin

Dr. Richer explains that the retina of the eye begins to show signs of retinal aging, usually beginning in the third decade of life, with the progressive accumulation of lipofuscin, the medical term for cellular "garbage" that pollutes cells as they age. Researchers believe lipofuscin is not an innocent bystander -- that it generates free radicals, gene mutations and even cell death.

Molecular medicine

The use of natural iron-chelating polyphenolic molecules, such as resveratrol, quercetin and rice bran employed in this case, has been proposed as an intervention that addresses a wide range of age-related changes in the brain, eye and blood vessels. These molecules work by their mineral chelating (key-lay-ting) properties.

Older patients can't wait for a cure

Dr. Richer says this case may serve as an early example of the potential for molecular medicine to make an impact in eye care. "While only one case, these patients do not have time to wait for controlled long-term studies and 'best available evidence' needs to be employed, given there are no foreseeable side effects or undue cost."

While Dr. Richer says this is not a proven cure yet, he thinks modern medicine may soon be able to prevent the onset of aging changes in the retina decades before vision is lost. He says prevention is the best approach.

The future

If this paper foretells what is to come, young adults may soon be able to obtain a non-invasive retinal/lipofuscin assessment many decades prior to the development of aging changes in the retina and then later utilize oral mineral chelators to promote a healthy retina.

Furthermore, it becomes evident that by measuring lipofuscin deposits, that not only the biological age of the human eye can be assessed apart from its chronological (calendar) age, but that lipofuscin measurement may serve to help determine the biological age and the "speed of aging" of the entire body.

Lipofuscin accumulates in all tissues of the body with advancing age. System-wide, age-reversing effects could also be estimated in this non-invasive manner. With this discovery optometry offices may soon become anti-aging centers.

Dr. Richer has no financial interest in the product. Resveratrol Partners LLC, makers of patent-pending Longevinex®, provided the nutriceuticals for this patient. To learn more, visit

Pycnogenol improves acuity in Diabetics

Study Shows Pine Bark Improves Circulation, Swelling And Visual Acuity In Early Diabetic Retinopathy

12 / 02 / 2009

Research reveals Pycnogenol is effective in visual improvement in subjects

(Dec. 2, 2009) – HOBOKEN, NJ – According to the National Institute of Health, 40 percent to 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes already have some stage of diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy, damage to the retina caused by leaky blood vessels, is a major cause of blindness in people with diabetes and is one of the most feared diabetic complications. In fact, up to 80 percent of all patients who've had diabetes for 10 years or more will experience some form of diabetic retinopathy.

A recent study published in the Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics reveals Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, can improve microcirculation, retinal edema and visual acuity in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy.

"Previous research has shown that Pycnogenol® may reduce the progressing advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy," said Dr. Robert Steigerwalt, a lead researcher of the study. "While previous studies focused on the latent stages of diabetic retinopathy, the aim of this new study was to show the protective effects of Pycnogenol® in the early stages of this growing diabetic complication."

The randomized controlled study, conducted by G D'Annunzio University in Italy, investigated a total of 46 diabetic patients over a period of three months. The Pycnogenol® treatment group consisted of 24 patients, with 22 patients placed in a placebo treatment group. Each of the patients had been previously diagnosed with diabetes for at least four years prior to participating in the study and their blood glucose was well controlled by diet and oral anti-diabetic medication. Patients had early stage retinopathy characterized by capillaries in the eye leaking fluid into the retina causing swellings. At this stage only minor bleedings into the retina occur and damage to light-sensing cells may still remain largely reversible.

Subjects were treated with three 50 mg Pycnogenol® tablets (total 150 mg. of Pycnogenol®) or placebo tablets in the morning after breakfast over a period of three months. Following treatment with Pycnogenol®, the major positive observation of this study was visual improvement, which was subjectively perceived by 18 out of 24 patients in the Pycnogenol® group. Testing of visual acuity using the Snellen Chart (the standard eye chart used by eye care professionals to measure visual acuity) showed a significant improvement from baseline 14/20 to 17/20 after two months of treatment with Pycnogenol®. There were no improvements found in the control group.

The retina is considered swollen when the diameter of the macula exceeds 500 micro meters and treatment with Pycnogenol® significantly decreased the swellings below that level, as judged by the high resolution ultrasound imaging used in the study. Furthermore, the blood flow velocity in capillaries nourishing the light sensing cells improved. The authors suggest that both effects account for the improved vision of patients. In the control group, retinal edema was not relieved, blood flow velocity remained unaffected and no visual improvements occurred.

In contrast, all 22 subjects in the control group maintained the same diabetic macular swellings as they were diagnosed with at the beginning of the study.

"Pycnogenol® has been intensively investigated for decades to stop the progression of diabetic retinopathy and help patients to maintain their remaining eye sight," said Dr. Steigerwalt. "Our study suggests that Pycnogenol® taken in the early stages of retinopathy may enhance retinal blood circulation accompanied by a regression of edema, which favorably improves vision of patients. Pycnogenol® may be particularly beneficial for preventing this complication in diabetic patients, based on the large number of individuals who were diagnosed when the disease had already significantly progressed."

Over the past decade, numerous studies have been published on Pycnogenol's® health benefits for people living with diabetes. Most notably, research results on five clinical studies with over 1,000 diabetes patients showed that Pycnogenol® has the ability to seal leaky capillaries in the eye. This capability impedes the progression of vision loss in patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy.


About Pycnogenol®

Pycnogenol® is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine that grows along the coast of southwest France and is found to contain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids, which offer extensive natural health benefits. The extract has been widely studied for the past 40 years and has more than 220 published studies and review articles ensuring safety and efficacy as an ingredient. Today, Pycnogenol® is available in more than 700 dietary supplements, multi-vitamins and health products worldwide. For more information, visit

Natural Health Science Inc. (NHS), based in Hoboken, New Jersey, is the North American distributor for Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all) brand French maritime pine bark extract on behalf of Horphag Research. Pycnogenol® is a registered trademark of Horphag Research Ltd., Guernsey, and its applications are protected by U.S. patents #5,720,956 / #6,372,266 and other international patents. Horphag Research Ltd. Is the recipient of the 2008 Frost & Sullivan North American Health Ingredients Excellence in Research Award. NHS has the exclusive rights to market and sell Pycnogenol® in North America and benefits from more than 35 years of scientific research assuring the safety and efficacy of Pycnogenol® as a dietary supplement. For more information about Pycnogenol® visit our Web site at

Skipping Sentences While Reading

Many of my patients report that while reading they have to follow along with their finger or they will find that they are skipping lines. Usually they have had many eye examinations during their lifetime. Seldom has any doctor asked this question. They are almost universally surprised that something can be done to assist them in this problem. We test all of our patients for a condition called a vertical phoria. In this condition we find a clear misalignment of the eyes. Almost every patient has a small degree of misalignment in a horizontal plane. Those who have a misalignment in the vertical plane will complain that they have difficulty following along a line and moving to the next line. There is of course an underlying problem which is patient posture. Patients with this problem often lean to one side while sitting in the exam chair. I point this out to my patients, but I also point out that I am not a chiropractor or alignment specialist. What I can offer the patient is a special lens which allows the image to focus on corresponding points in the eye. There is no visible difference in this lens which is known as a vertical prism, but the patient usually notices an immediate improvement in the clarity of reading material and an improvement in their ability to read along without skipping lines. It would of course be in the patients best interest to improve their actual posture, but as this is not my specialty, I am limited to assisting them in simply seeing better. There is real help utilizing postural therapy, but I will not go into that in this blog. If you or someone you know suffers from the inability to follow along a line I would be pleased to have you contact me with your questions or comments.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Treatment for Red Eyes

Do you have a red eye? Have you been told that its just "pink eye" and that nothing can be done about it. I hear this comment every day in my office. "I thought if I left it alone, it would get better." "Its just my allergies." All of these comments may be correct, but in some cases a red eye can linger for weeks or months. In my office, I am proactive in treating red eyes. Whether they are caused by bacteria, virus, dry eye or even allergies, I feel it is important to assist patients in achieving a satisfactory outcome.