Dr. M. SCUNZIANO, MD, NMD
LOSING YOUR VISION?
… YOUR HEARING?
DISCUSSION ON PREVENTION
OF FURTHER LOSSES
COPING WITH or MANAGING YOUR DEFICIENCIES
1) WHAT IS SIGHT?
2) STEPS IN THE PROCESS
3) HOW CAN WE LOSE VISION?
4) EYE RELATED CAUSES
5) OTHER CAUSES
6) MORE SERIOUS/LIFE
7) HOW DO WE HEAR?
8) WHAT ABOUT BALANCE?
9) BALANCE DISORDERS
10) ON HEARING LOSS
11) RISK FACTORS FOR HEARING LOSS
12) SYMPTOMS OF HEARING LOSS
13) ON LOUDNESS/MAX DECIBELS
ALLOWED BY LAW
14) PREVENTION OF VISION AND
15) RECOMMENDATIONS BY
16) OTHER SUGGESTIONS
IF YOU CANNOT READ THIS, YOU
MAY NEED A GUIDE DOG….
IF YOU CANNOT HEAR THIS, YOU
MAY NEED A GURU
The EYES are the medium through which light from outside of the body
can pass through in order for the BRAIN to see an image. It is through
the structure of the eye that we can see the world around us. Not only
does this VISUAL SYSTEM allow us to see images when we are awake
and conscious, but it also serves to imprint images that are
remembered for recall at any given moment including the time of SLEEP.
SIGHT is, therefore, a function of the gatekeeper (EYE) which permits
the entry of the guest (LIGHT) into the home (BRAIN) and the chemistry
allows for a harmonious interplay (IMAGE) that will be imprinted
indefinitely. There are many ways to literally look at sight, but for this
discussion, we will focus on the sight that we use to view or everyday
WHAT ARE THE STEPS IN THE PROCESS OF
1) Light touches through a thin veil of tears that bathes the front of
2) This is the CORNEA that is curved (arced) and will refract or bend
the light as it enters the eye. There are no blood vessels here.
3) The light projects through a small pool of AQUEOUS HUMOR that is
clear watery fluid that keeps a constant pressure within the eye.
4) The pupil receives the light and the amount of light that actually
enters the rear of the eye itself is controlled by the muscles of the
5) The LENS is the next part that takes the light and it is this part
where light is focused. The lens changes its shape to focus on light
reflecting from near or distant objects.
6) Focused light then passes through another watery fluid that is
more of a jelly texture called the VITREOUS HUMOR
7) Light finally reaches the RETINA- the inner lining of the back of
the eye; here is where there is a transduction or change of the
light energy into signals that will move into the back of the brain;
here is where we have a MACULA with its center called the
FOVEA (a VERY SPECIAL PLACE)
8) The macula and fovea have cells that include RODS and CONES
will pick up the light energy and send the energy into nerves out
through the back of the eye.
9) The OPTIC NERVE is the nerve bundle that extends from the
retinal cells via a special CHIASM to the back of the brain where
In order for all these magnificent processes to occur, there must
be a rich BLOOD SUPPLY to the eyes, particularly to the retina.
HOW CAN WE LOSE THE VISION?
Many diseases and conditions can cause vision loss. The origin
can be in the eye itself or caused by other conditions that affect
the whole body.
Age-related macular degeneration- there is loss of detail in the central
Cataracts- lens clouding that causes blurriness (most common cause
as one ages)
Eye infection or inflammation- conjunctivitis or pink eye (temporary
change of vision); retinitis or infection of retina; may be genetic
Eye tumor- retinoblastomas in childhood are seen in about 500-600
children each year in the US; melanomas in the eye are seen in about
1,200 adults a year.
Eye trauma- corneal abrasion
Glaucoma-progressive loss of vision with increased pressure buildup
inside the eye; optic nerve is damaged; peripheral vision is first to go
Refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness) with the
eye shape too elongated for lens so light isn’t focused
properly on the retina; hyperopia (farsightedness) with the
eye being “too short” for the lens, one cannot see up close;
astigmatism (irregularly shaped cornea) that caused double
Strabismus- “crossed eyes” or eyes pointing in other
directions; the brain can favor one eye and cause decreased
vision in the other eye- this is called AMBLYOPIA or LAZY EYE
Presbyopia- “aging eye” in which lens hardens to reduce all
Detached retina- the retina becomes loosened from the blood
vessels that nourish it with oxygen and nutrients. Seen in
trauma and diabetes.
Retinitis pigmentosa- hereditary degeneration of the retina
Retinopathy of prematurity- abnormal development of the
blood vessels of the eye due to prematurity of birth.
Congenital- may be a result of lack of formation of the
visual system; intrauterine trauma or other diseases that
can affect the fetal vision development such as rubella,
syphilis, chicken pox, HIV, group B strep
Diabetes Mellitus- blood vessels are damaged; weakening
of vessels may start leaking or overgrow the retina
Hypertension- high blood pressure that leads to narrowed
vessels and reduced nutrients to the eye
Migraines-vision changes, phenomena, usually temporary
OTHER CAUSES OF VISION LOSS…
Multiple sclerosis- blindness in one eye that comes and goes
due to central nervous system (brain) changes
Vasculitis- blood vessel inflammation
Down’s Syndrome- a significant number of these children
have combined vision and hearing losses.
Medications or other medical/surgical related interventions-
medications that can affect vision are numerous that include
those for bladder incontinence, asthma/respiratory-related
inhalers, steroids, plaquenil (used in rheumatoid diseases),
anesthetics, cancer drugs and many more. Always be aware
and check with the doctor/provider about this potential
MORE SERIOUS OR LIFE-THREATENING CAUSES…
Increases pressure in the skull from trauma
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)- an early
stroke or signal of impending stroke
There are many other conditions of the eye that can
contribute to altered vision that is temporary or permanent.
One condition called HYPHEMA is a commonly seen “bloody
eyeball” that is usually not a serious issue. This is often seen
with persons taking blood thinners who sneeze, cough or
move suddenly causing a minor leak of the blood vessels
between the cornea and pupil. It resolves within 1-2 weeks
and needs no special treatment.
Like the eye, the ear is a magnificent structure that is crafted so well it
must have taken a true genius to make! The system is a complex
organization of cells, hairs, nerves and tiny bones (the smallest in the
body) that take sound energy and convert it into that which the brain
can understand. As, stated above for the sight, the hearing that we will
discuss is focused on that which we experience in normal daily
activities and not that which enters the realm of hallucinations and
Sound waves travel into the outer ear canal (where we have our wax
buildup) then hit the tympanic membrane (eardrum) to cause a
vibration. This vibratory movement is picked up by 3 tiny bones behind
the eardrum (this is now the middle ear where fluid and infections
commonly occur). The sound is then sent through semicircular canals
into another bony structure called the COCHLEA.
The COCHLEA is the final place acting like a transducer that has fluid in it
sending the sound energy to the cells that will cross into the COCHLEAR
NERVE to the brain for interpretation of the sound.
SOUND is recalled so that a voice, a note, a chirp or a blast is
remembered and can be instantly brought into awareness at any time,
just like in vision.
BALANCE is controlled in the INNER EAR where the SEMICIRCULAR
CANALS and COCHLEA are housed. The visual input along with the fluid
and inner ear structures are all involved in the balance or imbalance
that one experiences.
This is all controlled by a VESTIBULAR
SYSTEM that consists of:
WHAT ABOUT BALANCE OR LOSS OF IT?
Semicircular canals, cochlea and other
structures that pick up mechanical forces, sound, bone and joint
positions. So when you spin or move your head from left to right,
jump, swim, lie down or assume any position…
YOU KNOW JUST WHERE YOU ARE in space AND YOUR BODY WILL
DO ALL IT CAN TO RIGHT ITSELF OR KEEP THE HEAD FROM
Infections, head injuries, blood or lymph circulation problems,
visual, skeletal, sinus issues, low blood pressure, low blood sugar,
medications can all cause balance issues. If you have any of these
problems, it is crucial that you look closely at your lifestyle to
understand what you may be doing to contribute to this miserable
condition. If it is a drug or a bad food diet that is present in your
daily activities, you will need to make necessary changes for the
reversal or amelioration of the problem. Do not just assume age is
the major factor.
Hearing losses can be the result of anything that disturbs the outer,
middle, inner ear or auditory system directly to the brain. Birth
defective hearing is not uncommon and can be associated with
maternal illnesses or embryologic errors in the development of the
hearing apparatus. Most often, hearing loss/impairment is
ACQUIRED. It is via damage to nerve cells or hairs that the sense of
audition is affected.
About 50 million Americans have some form of hearing loss or
damage. Many more people are yet to be diagnosed or even know
that they have the problem
ON HEARING LOSS…
2) Congenital or early childhood disease or exposures- a woman who
develops rubella during pregnancy has risk for serious birth defects
including hearing loss of the infant; mumps and measles can also
potentially affect hearing
3) Noise- either recreational or occupational
4) Illnesses- high fevers, meningitis, severe ear or sinus infections
5) Meniere’s disease- affect 2.5 million Americans; an inner ear
problem; fluid buildup in the inner ear; excess salt is associated
6) Ruptured eardrum- sudden change in pressures like a blast, a
perforation by blunt trauma or a severe infection can cause a
rupture and hearing impairment or complete loss.
7) Medications- like diuretics, e.g. furosemide,
bumetanide, ethacrynic acid; others include
gentamycin (antibiotic), high dose aspirin,
anesthetics and chemotherapy.
8) Wax or cerumen buildup- ear checks by a health provider are
important. Impacted was can be contributing to ones lack of or loss
of hearing. It blocks the conduction of sound into the deeper ear
structures. NOTE: it is not necessary to have the ear canal “squeaky
clean” because some wax in the ear is protective against external
entries of sound or particles.
9) Aging- cells get older, the ear structures can weaken, harden or have
reduced blood circulation
SYMPTOMS OF HEARING LOSS…
Difficulty understanding words
Turning up volume on radio or TV
Frequently asking people to speak louder
Avoidance of social interaction and
conversations among others
*Decibel levels (sound wave measurement) are measurable and the
following is a list of levels and the ranges of safe, risk or injury to
*SAFE: 30- whisper 60-normal talk 70- washing machine
*RISKY: 85-90- hair dryer, power lawn mower, heavy city traffic
*CONTINUED RISK: 95- motorcycle 100-snowmobile, hand drill
110-chain saw, rock concert
*INJURY: 120- ambulance siren 140- jet engine at takeoff
(pain threshold) 165 12-gauge shotgun blast 180-
ON LOUDNESS AND WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE…
90- 8 hours; 92- 6 hours; 95- 4 hours; 97- 3 hours; 100- 2 hours; 102-1.5
hours; 105- 1 hour; 110- 30 minutes and 115- 15 minutes or less
*(From the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication
Disorders, 2008; the National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Heath, 2009; American Tinnitus Association; Department of Labor’s
Occupational Safety & Health Administration, 2005 )
>>>>>So, if you are at a rock concert for more
than 15 minutes, your ears are being violated
Avoidance of those elements that can create or set the stage for loss
of both of these senses is most important. AWARENESS of your
actions is essential in protecting those precious parts of the anatomy
that provide us with complete connection to our world.
While we cannot stop aging, we can make provisions and set up
lifestyles that are most suitable or healthiest for the sake of
preserving these organs.
The following information has been selected as being probably the
best in terms of alternative or natural approaches to the well-being
and treatment of vision and hearing.
From a MACROBIOTIC POINT OF VIEW, dietary
imbalance is the underlying cause of most eye
problems. The need for eyeglasses, drugs and
surgery can be reduced, controlled or sometimes
avoided if measures are taken to change one’s
habits for the betterment of the eye and the ear
In traditional Oriental Medicine, the eyes
correspond with the liver whose MERIDIAN
passes through the eye.
LIVER IMBALANCES often translate into eye
Avoid food and beverage that stress the liver: meats, poultry in
particular, refined grains, simple sugars like honey, white sugar,
chocolate, ice cream, fruit juices, alcohol, stimulants, strong spices,
excessive oil of any kind; chemically grown and treated foods
Eat whole grains, not floured
Use hardy leafy greens, orange and yellow veggies, kale, mustard
greens, parsley, broccoli, pumpkins, Brussels sprouts and more
Use moderate salt (unrefined)
Moderate water- avoid excessive fluids, i.e. more than 60 ounces daily
is more than enough for the average person not doing heavy work or
Use sea veggies on a daily basis- kelp, dulse, arame, nori, wakame, etc.
Reduce volume of food in a day; chew more
RECOMMENDATIONS BY ORIENTAL MEDICINE for THE VISION:
Avoid late-night eating that burdens the liver and eyes
Do eye exercises including massage
May use sesame oil in very small quantities for eyes with the
help of a clinician who will guide you on the drops to help
remove excess fluid retention in the eye; do not do this without
A drink that is recommended to be helpful for the eye: combine
1 part dried shitake mushrooms, 1 part mung bean or soy
sprouts, 1 part daikon greens, and 1 part buckwheat groats; add
4-5 times as much water and boil for 25 minutes to make a tea;
drink 1-2 cups for 3 weeks and then every other day for 3 more
THE FOLLOWING ARE RESULTS FROM MEDICAL SOURCES ON
VISION IMPROVEMENT BY DIET:
1) Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston reported
that 1,380 people ages 40-79, who ate vitamin-rich vegetables, fruits
and other nutritious foods had 37 % less risk of cataract development.
2) In a Harvard study completed in 1995 with over 900 patients,
researchers reported that people who had the highest intake of
carotenoids, especially from dark green leafy vegetables like kale,
collards, turnip and mustard greens, had a 43 % lower risk of MACULAR
RECOMMENDATIONS BY ORIENTAL MEDICIANE FOR THE EARS:
The buildup of fat and mucus in the ear is the major cause of ear
infections and hearing loss.
In traditional Oriental Medicine, the ear corresponds to the KIDNEY,
which it shares a similar shape. Kidney problems as a rule lead to ear
problems, while underlying hearing difficulties show urinary system
Foods such as: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese and other dairy, refines
grains, sugary foods, fruits and fruit juices, spices, tropical foods, alcohol
and drugs are considered major contributors.
COLD foods, in particular, contract the kidneys and contribute to hearing
difficulties: ice cream, yogurt, soft drinks, iced beverages and other
Excess SALT is a contributor and is considered a major one for the
condition known as MENIERE’S disease. Avoiding excess salt an fluids
in both cooking and drinking.
Exposure to loud noises and other DISHARMONIOUS sounds are not
good for the ears at all.
Reduce nut and seed butters until the condition improves.
Increase beans like lentils, chickpeas, adzuki beans and black
soybeans, bean products like tempeh and tofu.
Avoid excess food, late night eating.
Avoid loud noises and you should always wear protective ear
coverings if there is exposure that may not be avoidable.
Avoid using headphones, earbuds and all devices while jogging,
exercising or just walking. These are all contributing to cell and hair
damage in the delicate ear canals.
Do be aware of airport noises and have protective ear
gear if you are working or dwelling in these areas.
Sing or hum happy tunes that will contribute to balance
at many levels, directly stimulating the ears, kidneys,
lungs, large intestines and other bodily organs and
A drink that is recommended to help the ears: prepare
a mixture of 1 part adzuki beans, 1 part dried daikon, 1
part shitake mushrooms, 1 part kombu (sea weed); add
5 times as much water, bring to boil and simmer for 25
minutes; take 1 cup daily for 7-10 days.
A hot towel compress or ginger compress around the ears will
help melt fat and mucus deposits in the ear.
A ginger compress on the kidneys will have an energetic effect
on the ears as well.
Wax buildup: several drops of warm sesame oil with an
eyedropper; rinse with bancha twig tea with a pinch of salt
added; DO NOT DO THIS WITHOUT GUIDANCE and
understanding amounts and the temperature of the oil before
MASSAGE the sides of the head, tapping and vibrating all
around the sides.
THE FOLLOWING ARE FROM MEDICAL SOURCES FOR THE
IMPROVEMENT OF THE HEARING ABILITY:
1) In a West Virginia University of Medicine study in 1981, more than
1,400 persons were given plant-based diets with the avoidance of
sugars, refines salts and other unnatural foods to see the effects on
hearing. Here is what was quoted:
“The response to dietary management is dramatic in most patients.
With the otologic patient, dizziness clears promptly and the sensation
of pressure in the ears is quickly relieved, along with associated
headache. Hearing improves or stabilizes, evident in the pure tone
audiogram and in the speech discrimination scores. Tinnitus often
lessens in severity and sometimes even disappears…General health
also greatly improves, and elevated blood pressure often returns to
normal. The patients have more energy and are free from headaches,
their arthritic symptoms improve, and they often sleep better.”(3)
2) Albert Tomatis, M.D., the “Einstein of Sound”, the world’s
foremost authority on the ear and its functioning,
recommends a diet that is centered on whole grains and
fresh foods. He WARNS AGAINST eating processed foods,
acid producing foods like dairy and yogurt, which he says
can BLOCK THE EAR & THE DELICATE STRUCTURES AND
PREVENT NORMAL HEARING. (4)
Lutein found in dark leafy veggies is important for
vision. If you cannot eat these veggies for certain
reasons (not the yuk factor either!), take 1000mg
twice daily in supplemental form.
Glutathione is in garlic, onions, asparagus,
avocados, fish, eggs and can be taken as a
supplement of 500mg daily
A multivitamin with vitamin C (500mg), E (400 IU),
Zinc 30mg) and Beta carotene (15mg) with a
complex of B vitamins daily has been found to help
vision and reduce chances of macular
Smoking must cease due to its damaging
effects on the blood circulation and reduction
of oxygen to the eye and ear structures.
Always wear protective sunglasses or goggles
when performing sports or working outdoors.
Indoor machinery and tools will also mean
donning proper ear and eye protection.
If you are working with solvents or powerful
chemicals including bleaches, it is best to wear
goggles. The eyes can be injured by splatter
All injuries to the eye and ears should be immediately reported to a
doctor or health provider to avoid or protect these organs from further
See your ophthalmologist/optician yearly and have your hearing checked
every few years. You may need more intervention than you realize. If you
need surgery, make sure to check on the credentials and the successes of
the specialists involved. Second opinions are always good, especially if
you are unsure and feel uncomfortable with one doctor’s opinion or
recommendation. On hearing, do not avoid a hearing aid if you have
poor audition. It is very important to not lose your connection by the
sense of hearing of you have always had it. Check on all resources to
assist with payments for hearing aids.
1). M.C. Leske, et al., “The Lens Opacities Case-Control Study: Risk Factors for
Cataract”, Archives of Opthalmology 109 (2): 244-51, 1991.
2) W.S. Christen, “Dietary Carotenoids, Vitamins A, C and E, and Macular
Degeneration,” Journal of the American Medical Association 273(23):1835, 1995.
3) J.T. Spencer, “Hyperlipoproteinemia, Hyperinsulinism, and Meniere’s Disease”,
Southern Medical Journal 74:1194-97, 1981.
4) Don Campbell, The Mozart Effect (New York: Avon Books, 1997), 39.
5) Kushi, Michio, The Macrobiotic Path to Total Health, Ballantine Books, USA and