Thankful for Our Partners

Written By: Jeanne and Ingrid - Nov• 28•15


Jeanne’s Take:

Ingrid Ricks is my RP partner in crime and the person who has made this journey not only tolerable but gratifying. We all need someone who understands the struggles firsthand and who opens up their ears and their hearts when you need it most.

Of course there’s more to life than RP; a fact we are living with every day of the week and every week of the year. My RP buddies are precious to me, but how could I survive the daily battle without my life partner, gold star and my rock; my husband Larry.

Eye disease is not a solitary activity – it doesn’t lend itself to the brand of autonomy we seek to hold dear. We need help – be it physical, emotional or plain old “second sight”. A broad shoulder to cry on, someone to co-share the humor of our periodic falters and face plants, and a pair of eyes focused the right way on the right things at the right time.

My husband is that person; he wears the RP partner badge with surprising aplomb and a steady measure of pride. He allows me the luxury of moving through the world knowing I have support when I need it while allowing me my independence when I can’t tolerate the inevitable alternative.

Most importantly Larry has managed to turn the ultimate lemon – my sight – into lemonade; from the genius idea of buying a tandem bicycle (that we ride virtually everywhere) to turning strenuous eye acupuncture trips into spirited mini vacations. My man is a marvel!

I took an informal poll of RP partners and their voice is united – they worry, they try to strike the necessary balance and they do what they can to grease the wheels of protection and encouragement.

Not an easy row to hoe; indeed our RP partners are our unsung heroes. They didn’t ask for this any more than we did, but they sustain and persevere for better or for worse. I am indebted to mine – how about you?

John and Ing Thanksgiving 2015

Ingrid’s Take:

The day my RP diagnosis was confirmed wasn’t pretty. I remember arriving home, making a beeline for the fridge and pouring myself a water-size glass full of Chardonnay—which I immediately started guzzling in hopes it would block out the terrifying thoughts raging through my mind.

Then I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard John’s steady, unwavering voice.

“We’ll get through this,” he said. “We’ve got each other  and whatever happens, we’ll make it through.”

As I’m sure all of you have experienced, the down days with this eye disease can be tough. But with each belly flop over a dog or sign, each crash into a corner wall or cement post I didn’t see, John has been there to pull me up and patch me up—both physically and emotionally.

I’m so fiercely independent that learning to lean on him hasn’t been easy. In fact, most of our challenges over the years have been caused be me trying to go it alone rather than remembering that this eye disease impacts John’s life in a huge way too and that we are, in fact, in this together. Like Jeanne’s husband, Larry, John has become my second sight in the dark, and a huge support system day in and day out. He is there to take my hand in dim light and crowded stores, and to gently remind me that despite my eyesight issues, I can still see, that it could be a lot worse and that there is more to life than eyesight anyway. He also reminds me of all I’ve got to be grateful for. That list is too long to post. But at the core, it comes down to him, our amazing daughters Sydney and Hannah, a great network of friends (thank you Jeanne for navigating these RP waters with me), walks on the beach, family poker nights, and daily morning coffee and conversation with John.

This past week I’ve experienced another health scare— a kick in the gut that put my RP struggle into perspective, reminded me that every day is a gift, and reiterated that all any of us has for certain is Now. And like always, John has been by my side.

Life is a roller coaster with unexpected turns and twists and ups and downs. But what I know for certain is that John’s got my back and I’ve got his. And that whatever comes our way, we’ll get through it because we’re going it together.


Acupuncturists Who Treat RP

Written By: ingridricks - Nov• 24•15

So many of you have been asking for this that I’m re-posting what I have.  Hopefully we can grow this list in a huge way over the next year — with a focus on affordable, ethical, skilled practitioners who are committed to treating Retinitis Pigmentosa and other degenerative eye diseases If anyone has positive experiences with other practitioners, please contact me at

Note: This is only meant to be a resource guide — please do your own research before choosing a practitioner to work with. Methodologies vary significantly among practitioners and RP patients respond differently to treatments. Costs vary greatly as well.


Acupuncturists & Naturopaths (Including some MDs/Ophthalmologists) Specializing in RP Treatment


Here are some great websites & documentaries focused on diet, lifestyle, and disease:


Books on Holistic Treatment Approaches for Eye Diseases:


Meet Seattle Eye Acupuncturist Lee Huang

Written By: ingridricks - Nov• 20•15


I first reached out to Lee Huang nearly a year ago, after an Internet search for “eyesight”, “vision” and “acupuncturist” in the Seattle area pulled up her name.

Like my acupuncture experiment partner, Jeanne Aufmuth, I was determined to find someone local who could help me maintain my remaining eyesight. In my case, it was because the frequent trips across country to access quality treatment from eye acupuncturist Andy Rosenfarb were taking a huge toll on my marriage and I knew it wasn’t a sustainable treatment path for me.

Lee’s background was promising. She had started her career as an opthalmalogist and eye surgeon in China and had spent more than ten years working at the Red Cross hospital before moving to the U.S. in the late 1990s and pursing her other passion: traditional Chinese medicine. She was devoted to helping patients suffering from severe eye conditions and has spent the past ten years seeking out specialized training in TCM Ophthalmology. She returned to China in 2007 to study under Professor Fang Su, a TCM specialist in eye conditions, where she gained hands-on training treating eye conditions ranging from dry eyes and glaucoma, to age-related macular degeneration, vitreous opacities, and retinopathy. She continued her training with renowned eye acupuncturist Hoy Ping Yee Chan, who used periocular acupuncture to treat eye diseases.


When I contacted Lee, she had already taken an online course offered by eye acupuncturist Andy Rosenfarb and had read his book on Chinese Opthalmalogy .But she needed live hands-on training for Retinitis Pigmentosa and didn’t know where to get it. That’s where eye acupuncturist Lizbeth Ryan came into play. I connected the two of them and Liz agreed to provide the necessary training. It took awhile to coordinate schedules, but Lee completed her weeklong intensive training with Liz in Arkansas in October, followed by a comprehensive one-day workshop that Andy held in Oregon — where he took the time to discuss my case personally with Lee and give her tips regarding the use of electro-acupuncture.

I’m not a religious person. But I’ve been known to shout out a prayer or two and thanks to Lee’s devotion, combined with the willingness of Liz Ryan and Andy Rosenfarb to share their knowledge, I feel like I’ve finally been heard.

My week-long treatment with Lee started on a Monday with a 45-minute consultation, where Lee methodically went through my health background, diet and lifestyle, and determined that I struggle with long-term blood stagnation, which is impacting blood flow and circulation to my eyes. That, said Lee, was the main underlying issue she would address during my treatment week.

Then it was down the stairs to obtain a visual field test from a local eye clinic to establish a baseline (Lee has negotiated a discounted rate of $55 per VF test for her patients) and back up to Lee’s office for a far and near acuity test before starting treatment.

Right Eye Visual Field before treatment

Right Eye Visual Field before treatment

My treatment with Lee consisted of three intensive acupuncture sessions each day: two treatments incorporating the deep penetrating micro acupuncture treatment (hands, feet and points above my eyes) followed by a full-body constitutional treatment to address my underling blood flow stagnation issues, coupled with the electro-acupuncture treatment. Lee also gave me some Chinese herbs that she said would help to get the blood flowing throughout my body.

Right Eye Visual Field after three days of treatments (9 treatments total)

Right Eye Visual Field after three days of treatments (9 treatments total)

On day four, I underwent another round of eye tests. The Visual Field test, which extends 30 degrees, reflected what I already knew: that I have very little central core remaining. But it also showed that after nine acupuncture sessions, I had increased light perception in areas that had gone dim—which for me is a huge victory. My far and near acuity tests also showed improvement. I went from 20/40 far acuity to 20/30. When wearing my reading glasses, my near acuity went from 20/50 to 20/30.

I’ve pursued acupuncture enough to know that the only way to sustain improvements (or even maintain existing eyesight) is to repeat the intensive treatment regime every few months. And at least for me, given the severity of my RP, I’ve learned that I need the regular intervals of intense, eye-focused treatment.

Left Eye Visual Field Before treatment

Left Eye Visual Field Before treatment

Thankfully, because Lee is local (takes me an hour and 15 minutes via two buses to get to her office—but I’ll gladly take that), I now have the ability to schedule monthly maintenance treatments between my quarterly weeklong treatments to maximize the treatment benefits and do everything I can to maintain my remaining eyesight.

The other good news is that I can afford it. Lee is committed to keeping her treatment costs affordable for eye patients and charges $65 per treatment session (she recommends 15 to 18 treatments per treatment week). Her in-depth patient consultations are included at no additional charge.


I’ll post my VF tests throughout the year so all of you can track my treatment experience with me. In the meantime, I want to again thank Lizbeth Ryan and Andy Rosenfarb for making the RP training available to Lee, and continue to SHOUT out the need for accessible, affordable training for acupuncturists across the globe so anyone who wants to try this treatment has the ability to access it.


To contact Lee Huang:




Riding the RP Rollercoaster

Written By: Jeanne Aufmuth - Nov• 11•15


If there’s one thing that’s clear about RP it’s that it’s a moving target. Not only are our eyes in constant flux but the methods with which we treat them are an experimental roller coaster.

And no two RP patients are alike. Ingrid and I embarked on our whole-body acupuncture study together yet from entirely different clinical perspectives. We both emerged with positive albeit diverse results according to our specific challenges and needs.

Acupuncture has done wonders for my visual field and also improved my night vision. Most importantly – and I can’t emphasize this enough – it has helped me combat the fear and depression inherent in losing one’s sight. My weekly session of whole body needling affords me an extraordinary measure of calm and well-being that is sustaining on virtually every level.

But there’s always the search and that search is relentless. I just finished a week-long treatment with David Russell in Petaluma, CA. Micro-acupuncture treatment is an intriguing contrast to the whole-body method – the needling more intense, the points more precise and the sensation more visceral. I went into this round with an improved attitude and a refined visual field so I can’t emphatically claim a sizable boost. However less than a week after treatment I found myself in the unenviable position of second row seats at the movies (heretofore a visual calamity) and – miracle of miracles – I could see the ENTIRE screen. That can only be attributed to the ongoing treatment in all its forms and I’m eminently grateful for it.

There’s no single magic fix and it behooves us all to explore the alternatives and find what fits. Moving forward I’m looking at a healthy combination of the two disciplines – a steady commitment to the intensive eye-based discipline punctuated by the weekly maintenance of “classic” acupuncture.

My personal struggle centers around an edema – a pesky macular pucker that results in glare, light sensitivity and desaturation of color and contrast. That’s my cross and I’m learning to bear it and determined to beat it with all the gusto I can muster!


Changing Course with my Acupuncture Treatment

Written By: ingridricks - Nov• 09•15

I had a sobering kick in the pants last week when I underwent a visual field test at an eye doctor’s office and saw on paper what I’ve been sensing for the past month or so: that the little amount of central core vision I have remaining—the small window that enables me to see parts of my daughters’ faces when I look at them from across the table—has been dimming to the point that I now need bright light to see them.

Right Eye Visual Field before treatment

Right Eye Visual Field before treatment

As those of you who have been following this blog know, I’ve taken a different path with acupuncture this past year in the name of affordability and accessibility. I’d experienced improvements during my yearlong treatment with Dr. Rosenfarb in New Jersey, but the cross-country trips every three months were taking a serious toll on my marriage. I was also hearing from lots of RP patients out there struggling to hold onto their eyesight who could not afford the travel and treatment expenses coupled with the ongoing time off from work, and I was determined to find a local solution for me and for everyone else out there.

Right Eye Visual Field after three days of treatments (9 treatments total)

Right Eye Visual Field after three days of treatments (9 treatments total)

I thought I had found my answer with my local acupuncturist. She’s an amazing person and highly skilled acupuncturist who has been focusing on whole body acupuncture with an emphasis on eyes. She even donated extra treatments for me for a few months to help me. It seemed like everything was going well. In fact in my outer periphery, my eyesight is fairly good right now. I now see most everything from the 45-degree mark on. But that stubborn donut of blindness around my central core hasn’t budged and the dimming I was sensing is REAL.

Last week, I decided to give a new acupuncturist a try. Lee Huang, who miraculously practices in the Seattle area where I live, worked as an eye doctor in China before moving to the US and has been treating people with vision problems for the past five years by focusing on underlying issues. She recently underwent live micro acupuncture training with eye acupuncturist Lizbeth Ryan, as well as online training and an intensive one-day workshop with Andy Rosenfarb.


Left Eye Visual Field Before treatment

Left Eye Visual Field Before treatment

Before starting treatment, I had a comprehensive visual field test taken by an independent eye clinic and then had another visual field test after three days (nine acupuncture sessions) of treatment.


I’ve posted my Before and After Visual Field tests above.. These tests measure 30 degrees (which is where most of my vision loss has occurred). As you can see, I have very little central vision remaining. But the good news is that the treatment did help in the areas that have dimmed (especially my right eye…though if you look at my left eye, you’ll notice a dark spot to the bottom left of the white blind spot that everyone has. That’s where I can now see bright lights when I could see nothing before.  I’ll write a much more in-depth blog post later this week on all of this. But I needed to share this with all of you today.


Tanya’s Eyesight Saving Quest: Guest Post

Written By: Tanya Imani-Farley - Oct• 19•15


I have been struggling with RP my entire life. Even when I don’t remember struggling with it, I was.

When I was a toddler my mom recalls me holding her hand extra tight when going into dark places. Of course it was easy to write it off as “afraid of the dark” when there was no family history of eye disease or even eye problems, let alone an awareness that such a thing as “Retinitis Pigmentosa” existed.

As I grew into an older child, I struggled with seeing small print from a distance and had a hard time with things like trick-or-treating on Halloween, where other kids ran rampant through the neighborhoods at night while I was always left behind, cautiously stepping my way around hoping I didn’t fall. It wasn’t until I had difficulties passing my elementary school’s standard eye screening exam that my parents had any indication that anything was out of the ordinary. It was then that the optometrist saw something that didn’t look right and needless to say, I soon became a regular at the local university’s ophthalmology clinic.

I will never forget the day the doctors told my parents that their daughter had a debilitating eye disease and would be going blind in the next few years. They even instructed them to start researching “special schools” for the blind. I was 10 years old then. Now I’m 38 and can say the prediction of going blind was inaccurate. I won’t bore you with the details that happened between age 10 and now but I will say that I have a fully functional life. I have all the “normal” things in life including a career, a loving husband, and three beautiful children. So far, my eyes have stayed mostly stable throughout my adulthood.


Right around my third pregnancy, a couple years ago, my eyes started to change more quickly. I noticed some dimming in my mid-periphery that had not been there before. This is when I researched everything, going to Foundation Fighting Blindness seminars, reaching out to others, joining groups, finding out the facts about how acupuncture works and even scheduling my first acupuncture treatment in Canada. When my third child was only two months old, I left my family and flew to my first attempt to maintain, and perhaps even restore, any lost eyesight. That was two years ago. Since then I’ve continued with the intensive week-long acupuncture treatments every six months in New Jersey and have even made a family vacation of a treatment session in California. I have also committed to seeing an acupuncturist in my local city two or three times a month so that I can maintain optimal eyesight in between the traveling treatments. Making time to see my local acupuncturist and traveling to the week-long treatments has proven to be a challenge. However, when well planned, it’s worked. I squeeze the local appointments in right before or right after work. The travel sessions are coordinated months in advance to ensure I catch the red eye flights to save a day of travel and give my family enough time to plan my absence.

Along with this, I make a conscious effort to care for my eyes everyday by taking all the recommended supplements and herbs including: TUDCA, Fish oil, Lypo-Spheirc Vitamin C, Astaxanthin, Zeaxanthin with Lutein, Bilberry drops, MSM eye drops, Oculotrophin, Neurotrophin and a mix of Chinese herbs. I’m also aware of my diet, ensuring I’m getting plenty of dark leafy greens, berries, orange veggies and oils. Often times the most challenging part of the care I put into my eyes is lowering my stress levels. This is almost impossible to do given my lifestyle, but crucial for my eyes. Therefore I take time to breathe and empty my thoughts so that my body can continue to focus on healing my eyes. The dedication, time, and commitment this has required often feels overwhelming as I try to fit it in around my other busy-life obligations. But I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. If all this work means that I will be able to see my family until the day I die or even see them for 10 years longer than I would have, it’s worth it.


My eyes improved after my first acupuncture treatment and haven’t gotten worse since. I see an ophthalmologist once a year who confirms my eyes have improved and have been staying stable for the last two years. What’s more, I don’t worry about going blind anymore. If anything, I’m doing all that I can now to keep my eyesight, so I’ll have no regrets that I could’ve done more.

With all that being said, I still have what we call “RP”. I am not cured and still struggle with the disease at times but I am much better off doing everything, than I am doing nothing.

I can see the difference and I live the difference.


All my love and support,



Staying the Course

Written By: ingridricks - Oct• 05•15


I saw Patrick Kennedy on 60 Minutes Sunday night and listened to him talk about his ongoing battle with alcoholism and mental illness. He pointed out that while he has been sober for five years, he realizes that this is a battle he’ll have to fight every day for the rest of his life—that when you are dealing with a chronic disease, there is no cure and that it requires a conscious effort every day to win the fight.

Our fight to save our eyesight is the same. There isn’t a magic pill that’s going to maintain or restore our vision, and at least for now, there is no cure that’s going to fix it. But I know many of us have discovered that if we do everything in our power from a whole-body health perspective (including acupuncture and/or micro-current stimulation for some of us), we do have the ability to save our eyesight—or at the very least, greatly slow the progression of our eye disease.

Some days are tough. There are plenty of mornings when I don’t feel like jumping out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to make time for my green juice, eye exercises and micro current stimulation. There are days when I don’t feel like heading to the gym to get in my cardio and strength training workout. Constantly making healthy eating choices, limiting my alcohol intake, avoiding stress and maintaining a positive attitude can be challenging as well.

But then I think about that devastating appointment I had with yet another retinal specialist nearly three years ago, in which I left convinced that I had only three years of any sort of eyesight left. I think about how powerless and scared I felt, how heartbroken I was at the thought of not being able to see my daughters or husband, and about how terrified I was of being stripped of my independence and sense of self.

I love my eyesight. I know it’s a gift and today—thanks in large part to the holistic health approach I’ve been taking—I have even more of it than I did at that appointment nearly three years ago. And thought I occasionally slip up, it’s  enough of a motivator to get myself back on track and keep me Staying the Course.


End of Trial – New Beginning

Written By: Jeanne Aufmuth - Aug• 19•15

Main blog image1894

Jeanne’s Take

Where to start? At the beginning of course. I met Ingrid at a low point in my RP journey and it’s safe to say that what I read in her blog changed my life. While researching the ever-elusive “cure” for RP, I stumbled on Ingrid’s adventures with acupuncture and knew I had nothing to lose.

Like many of us who have experienced target-based acupuncture, my first two weeks of treatment put me leaps ahead of where I started on virtually all fronts; night vision, visual field, contrast, etc. Jump-starting those dormant cells so boosted my morale that I contacted Ingrid personally to thank her for putting her message out there. And thus a partnership was born.

Ingrid and I had similar contemplations regarding acupuncture – if two weeks of eye-based acupuncture could yield such positive results, what could be gained by weekly treatments of whole-body needling? We gave ourselves six months to test the results of this symmetrical style of healing; I’m delighted to report they’ve been a game changer.

And I’ve learned a few things along the way. To wit…

  •  Acupuncture is for life. A weekly session of traditional Chinese medicine in the form of acupuncture benefits your eyes and so much more. Acupuncture encourages the whole body to work in unison in order to cure. This was our theory and it has borne countless upshots, from a wider visual field and steady maintenance (or even improvement over the original push) to extinguishing the fear, stress and anxiety that are an inherent measure of our condition.
  •  Attitude is King. We all experience the frustrations of any number of symptoms and they are legion. There are a variety of coping mechanisms but none more crucial than a positive outlook. The world can deliver incomprehensible tragedies; on occasion the imminent loss of sight feels like one but it doesn’t have to. Turn a needlessly dark restaurant into a playful sensory expedition – each bite a savory surprise (do you really need to see what you’re putting into your mouth?) If nothing else, I’ve learned that worry and defeat get me nowhere – not good for my health, not good for my family, not good for my sight.
  •  Health and well-being. Herbal enhancements help and only you can determine the balance that’s right for you. Fish oil, Lutein, Turmeric, Astaxanthin, and TUDCA among others are known for their healthful eye properties. The trick is to work these enhancements into a healthy diet without letting them take over. It didn’t take long for me to discover that three sets of pills a day was cramping my style; as I endeavored to turn focus away from the negativity of my diminishing sight it was clear that the jumbo pill dispenser wasn’t cutting it. RP isn’t an illness – take what you need, take it when it suits you and get on with it.
  •  Exercise. Cardio, swimming, biking, hiking. In the immortal words of you-know-who Just Do It! Fire up some tunes and dance like a maniac for ten minutes a day. Daily stretching and yoga keep me flexible and grounded – a headstand a day keeps the doctor away!
  •  Strength in Numbers. I’ve gained two enduring friendships from my battle with RP – lovely compassionate women whose company I treasure and whose solace I seek. The slings and arrows of their affliction are dissimilar yet so comparable to my own. An eye opener in and of itself – Retinitis Pigmentosa affects everyone differently but its bonds run deep.

The bottom line is crystal clear. Stay strong, maintain the fight and continue to believe. In yourself, in continued support of family and friends, and in your beautiful, inimitable eyes.


Ingrid’s Take

When I think about my journey over the past six months, the word that comes to mind is Empowerment.

I still have RP, still struggle to find my way up and down stairs or through a crowded restaurant, still see very little in the dark. But thanks to this informal acupuncture study with Jeanne and a continued focus on whole body health, I’m convinced I’ve found an affordable, accessible, balanced way to maintain and even improve my eyesight.

Since first incorporating acupuncture treatment more than two and a half years ago, I’ve experienced significant gains in my outer periphery. What hasn’t changed is my central visual core – at least not in a way that I can detect with my real-world tests. But that, in itself, is huge for me because after years of steady decline, it hasn’t gotten worse.

What I know for certain at this point is that our eyes are connected to everything else in our body and that when we take care of our bodies both physically and emotionally, we are also benefitting our eyes.

For me, this means eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet, taking vitamin and mineral supplements (see Jeanne’s list and add liquid minerals and Vitamin D), limiting my alcohol intake, doing daily cardio/strength training exercises, avoiding stress, maintaining a positive attitude, and enjoying life to the fullest.

It also means regular eye exercises and acupuncture.

I view acupuncture as a way to help keep my body in balance and increase oxygen and blood flow to my eyes. It also relaxes me and has been amazing for my mental health. Like Jeanne, I plan to continue acupuncture with my local acupuncturist for the long term because I know it’s helping me.

As Jeanne mentioned, a positive outlook and belief in our eyesight and ourselves are key in this fight. My secret?  Surrounding myself with a few amazing, newfound friends who exude positivity, strength and an incredible sense of humor as we tackle this eyesight saving journey together.

Funny image for blog post

Art Therapy

Written By: Jeanne Aufmuth - Jul• 20•15

eye art post

Eyes and art enjoy a long and storied history and why not – the eyes are the windows of the soul. What better inspiration for the creative mind than attempting to capture the eye’s shrouded and brooding mystery?

When my youngest child went off to college, I started tackling that long list of dreams that were not fully realized. One of those was art – though I could barely draw a stick figure. I’d heard the rumors that an artist lives inside all of us and decided to see for myself.

My beginnings were sketchy- no pun intended. I started with watercolor and when I tired of that medium (not edgy enough) I moved to collage which satisfied my passion for all things paper. From there I decided to take my iPad for a spin and voila I discovered my oeuvre!

What started as doodles naturally segued to eyes – always on the forefront of my mind. In turn that blossomed into a thriving pillow business yet always with an emphasis on the enigmatic eye.

Like me, I assume you are preoccupied with your eyes. This post is rather self-serving as I don’t have the answers or hot RP tips. Except to declare that art is a pristinely cathartic skill for taking one’s mind off of the daily struggles of our affliction. A focus outside yourself and into a unique form created from imagination and folly.

The iPad offers brilliant apps both intuitive and challenging. As an added bonus it is crisply colorful, very well lit and compact enough that your art and ideas are ever at your side. Give it a try!

As a way to encourage myself to continue creating I’ve crafted a new instagram page dedicated to the fruits of my labor. Not only can I share my vision; it encourages me to keep “painting”, keep persevering and to make something beautiful out of the incessant negativity of visual impairment.

Follow my artistic journey on instagram at @eyewillartistry

Maintaining her Eyesight: Ten Years and Counting

Written By: ingridricks - Jun• 19•15

Charles and Marisa Anniversary edited

Marisa Postlewate may suffer from Usher Syndrome 2A – a degenerative disease that consists of both Retintis Pigmentosa and progressive hearing loss. But most people wouldn’t know it by interacting with her.

At almost 61, Marisa has nearly fifteen degrees of clear central vision and hearing that works fine with the help of hearing aids—and she has been holding steady with both her eyesight and her hearing for the past ten years.

Her secret? A whole-body health approach—which she attributes to Dr. Damon Miller and his Better Eye Health program—that focuses on diet (in a huge way), supplements, daily cardio exercise, eye exercises and acupressure, regular micro-current stimulation, reduced stress and a positive outlook on life.

I’ve been tracking Marisa’s journey for the past two and a half years and recently asked her if she would share her experience and eye health regime on this blog. Her story reinforces everything I’ve learned during my own eyesight-saving quest: that when it comes to eye health, overall health is key.

IR: When were you first diagnosed?

MP: I was diagnosed with mild hearing loss at age 12 and was diagnosed with RP at 40 – after my eye doctor discovered that I had cataracts and sent me to a retina specialist. When I first heard the news, I thought, “whatever.” My vision was good and I still got around at night without assistance. I had cataract surgery in both eyes, at 42 and 45, and kept driving and going about my life.

IR: So When Was Your Wake Up Call?

MP: In 2002, after having cervical spine surgery, I started noticing more RP moments: like missing a curve, or bumping into book bags in the classroom at the university where I taught. Then in 2005, I went to the Retina Foundation of the Southwest and they did four hours worth of tests including the visual field and learned that I was down to only 15 degrees of central vision.

Not long after that, I heard about Dr. Miller’s Better Eye Health workshop that was being held in Dallas. We lived only an hour away so I went. Dr. Miller introduced his program and I decided to give it a try. The following year, he came again. This time he offered a comprehensive weekend workshop that included a consultation with him. As soon as he touched me, he said, “You have a lot of inflammation going on.” He told me that before any therapy could work for my eyes, I had to reduce that inflammation.

IR: What steps did you take to reduce the inflammation?

MP: I wasn’t overweight so that wasn’t the problem. This inflammation is nothing one is able to see, but that Dr. Miller was able to feel and he got me going in the right direction. I knew I had some food sensitivities and some more serious allergies, so I stayed away from those triggers but that wasn’t enough. I did some detoxification under his supervision and followed what Dr. Miller calls a ‘hunter and gatherer’ diet. In other words, if it’s something you cannot make in your kitchen, you stay away from it: no processed foods and no foods that come in cans, boxes, etc. because we wanted to avoid all chemicals. Whole grains were okay to include, but I felt bloated when eating them so I cut them out too. I have never been much of a “cow” dairy person so I limited myself to eating Manchego cheese (made from sheep milk) and added goat cheese, yogurt, etc.

IR: What do you recommend for others who are fighting for their eyesight?

MP: Most diseases start in the digestive system so I would recommend a comprehensive serum allergy test done to see what may be causing inflammation in their body. I had mine done through my local doctor who sent it to They set you up with and offer very helpful dietary guidelines. There are also blogs where you can ask questions. With the results of the allergy test and Dr. Miller’s six-week Healthy Eating program and overall Better Eye Health program, I was on the road to health. What I’ve learned through all of this is that what helps to keep us healthy will also help keep our eyes healthy. I’ve also learned that it’s possible to have allergies/sensitivities to healthy food. For example, I love ginger and garlic but I have sensitivity to both so I have to go easy on those. It takes a conscious effort and we need to really listen to our bodies. If we didn’t overeat and feel bloated and/or have no energy after eating and sometimes have headaches, diarrhea or constipation, something we ate or drank is working against us.

IR: What supplements do you take?

MP: I follow Dr. Miller’s basic protocol, which includes:

  • Colloidal liquid vitamins
  • Colloidal liquid minerals
  • Vitamin C
  • DHA
  • Lutein
  • Taurine
  • Probiotics

I also take:

  • Vinpocetine – good for hearing and eye health
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • B Complex
  • Calcium (I like Ezorb and you can buy it online):
  • Magnesium (chelated)
  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin K
  • Astaxanthin (works with Lutein for eye health)
  • COQ10

IR: I know that diet and supplements are only a part of your whole -health focus. Can you walk us through a typical day?

MP: My day begins with the juice of a half lemon in lukewarm water. If I am home, I will juice some cucumber with celery (good anti-inflammatory veggies) with spinach and a quarter of an apple to add some sweetness. I also have a protein powder drink with super seed fiber. For meals, it’s vegetarian dishes or fish/chicken with a variety of vegetables. I love quiche and make the crust with ground almonds so it’s loaded with protein. For snacks I have different types of hummus and eat it with celery or carrots, a half apple with almond/peanut butter, goat cheese with veggies or Manchego cheese. In the evening when I feel like a snack, I have sunflower or pumpkin seeds. I only drink black coffee, lots of water and red wine (not every night).

For exercise, I do stretches and some lightweight exercises. In addition, I try to walk at least three miles a day. I do “sunning” (sitting in sun with eyes closed and moving the eyeballs around) before 10 a.m. on sunny days. I do micro-current stimulation twice a day and try to do it at least three times a week. The acupressure and eye exercises can easily be done while sitting and watching TV and I try to do those daily. I do the light therapy (using a color therapy lamp provided through Dr. Miller’s eye health program) once a week when not traveling.

IR: Thanks for sharing all of this. It’s an inspiring reminder that we all have the power to take charge of our eye health. Any last bit of advice?

MP: I would say that it’s not one thing in particular, but living a healthy lifestyle as a whole. Stress is also a negative force that causes harm and we need to find ways to reduce its effect in the body. For me, it’s going for a walk to calm down. That, along with everything I’ve outlined above, is what’s working for me.


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