Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
18 Aug

The Modern Assault on Eyesight

We in the Primal community talk a lot about the modern medical situation – the growing prevalence of lifestyle disease and the misguided, costly paths conventional health wisdom too often prescribes. Still, some conditions seem less – well, conditional – than others. Take eyesight, for example. If we wear glasses or contacts, we look to our families or age. While genetics and years certainly have their influence, is that the entire story for everyone? Is vision a wholly “closed” process – set in motion and then untouched by overall health and physiologic interaction, or is it more dynamic and systemic than that?

I get a fair number of emails from folks who wonder about their eye health in a Primal context. A while back I looked at the potential role of sunlight in preventing myopia, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. The post got people thinking. What are the other factors and theories behind the myopia surge? And as for readers’ individual circumstances, were they really destined to wear glasses? Is there anything they can do once they’re already living with a vision prescription? Glasses or no, what can we do to support the well-being of our eyes throughout our lifetimes?

As is customary, let’s revisit the Primal backdrop. In hunter gatherer days, of course, our ancestors depended upon good vision for survival. If you can’t see well enough to decipher the outline of a hungry predator watching you, you’re probably not going to make it very long. Likewise, if your vision doesn’t allow you to participate effectively in either hunting or foraging expeditions, your chances are likewise diminished. Although you might have survived young childhood under the watchful eye of tribal caretakers, you probably wouldn’t have made it long enough to procreate.

That doesn’t mean there was absolutely zero variation. Research a couple years back showed that men tend to have better distance vision and women have better near vision. The researchers related the discrepancy to our respective roles in hunting and gathering. Men, the primary hunters, required the ability to see clearly across a vast field to bag the dinner. Women as primary foragers benefited from strong visual acuity up close as they located and then discerned edible from inedible plants.

Although we can’t submit Grok to the standard eye exam, study of existing traditional societies reveals an unsurprising picture. As Dr. Loren Cordain notes (PDF), research involving modern hunter gatherers reveals near perfect eyesight in studied groups. Among vision impairments that do exist, myopia (nearsightedness) is the most common. Statistics for myopia in these traditional groups settle out at zero to three percent and consist of almost exclusively mild cases.

Fast forward to today’s modern societies, and we find a much different picture. The numbers for myopia, for example, have skyrocketed in the last thirty years across the developed world, and children oddly appear to be the hardest hit. Singapore is often cited as the worst off. As many as 80% of 18-year-old military conscripts exhibit myopia as do 20% of children under seven and 70% of those graduating college (PDF). In Sweden, 50% of 12-year-olds have myopia (PDF).

In the U.S., the prevalence of myopia is 42% in people 12 to 54-years-old and 34% in 12 to 17-years-old. As for other visual impairments, more than 17% of people over the age of forty are diagnosed with cataracts. For age-related macular degeneration, it’s more than 6%. For diabetic retinopathy, there’s another 3.4%. For glaucoma, it’s about 2%. Add it all up, and that’s a whole lot of us voted off Grok’s island.

As much as genetics matter, we’re clearly looking at a whole other animal here. Enter environment. Although you might not hear it often enough, diet for one thing plays a significant role in eye conditions. Cordain among others has emphasized the role of carbs, particularly fast-acting carbs, in the development of myopia, for example. Insulin spikes don’t do your eyes good any more than they do the rest of your body. Insulin influences the release of growth related hormones, which is telling when you remember that myopia stems from unchecked growth that throws off the precise balance of eye structure and development. When it comes to full-blown diabetes, retinal damage caused by diabetes is now the leading cause cited in new blindness cases in American adults. Diabetics are also twice as likely to develop glaucoma, another major cause of blindness in the U.S. Myopia and hypothyroidism, both on the rise, are also known risk factors for glaucoma. Among risk factors for “age-related” macular degeneration are obesity, high blood pressure, low antioxidant diet, and inactivity. This just keeps getting better.

Even if we avoid the major pitfalls and walk away from the optometrist’s office empty handed, what about the everyday eye strain and headaches that many of us experience? Although frequent reading has long been tied to eye problems, our growing array of electronic devices is upping the ante on dysfunction. Studies have found some 64-90% of computer users suffer from a host of pains, including “eye strain, headaches, ocular discomfort, dry eye, diplopia, and blurred vision.” (From a personal standpoint, the back and tops of my eyes feel like they’re being crushed from inside my skull from time to time. So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.) Smart phones seem to be the worst culprits (although electronic readers might not be far behind).

Researchers have identified a couple of reasons behind smart phone eye strain. Because of the tiny screens and smaller fonts used on smart phones, the researchers found people generally hold their smart phones closer to their eyes than they would printed text. Study results showed people held their phones an average of only 12.6 inches away from their eyes while reading website text and 14 inches when looking at a text message. (The average distance for printed text is nearly 16 inches.) The researchers noted that font size on smart phones were an average of 20% smaller than printed text. In some cases, viewed fonts were 70% smaller. (Time for that monocle.) What does this mean for us techno-suckers? Because of the size and distance, our eyes have a harder time focusing on the print. The strain involves two processes called accommodation, the adjustment from near to far distance, and vergence, eye movement toward and away from one another.

Modern lifestyles are especially setting up our children for strain as well as poor eye health. The diminished physical activity level and high screen time of many children’s days have been connected with narrower blood vessels in the eyes, a characteristic of various common eye problems. Research at the University of Sydney associated every additional hour of screen (or otherwise sedentary) time each day with vessel narrowing of 1.53 microns, a measurement reflective of a 10 millimeter (mm HG) rise in systolic blood pressure.

What gives here? Well, a few things. Yes, we live longer than we used to. Research supports genetic correlations with all of the aforementioned eye disorders. However, environmental and lifestyle factors are known risk factors for all of these diseases as well. Sure, our genetics might predispose us to type 2 diabetes or AMD, but our health in both those areas isn’t black and white. When it comes to eye health as in any other aspect of health, our individual health efforts can make an impact. This isn’t to say any given person will be able to achieve perfect vision solely with a healthy lifestyle, but who wouldn’t want to make the most of what they have? We can take steps to preserve our vision, whatever it is at this moment, and stave off future dysfunction.

Our factory setting rests at good vision just as it does good overall health – within the context of our ancestral environments and lifestyle. When we live the life our genes expect, our body is able to work optimally. We increase our chances of vision preservation and decrease our chances of developing serious eye disorders.

Studies show that overall nutrition plays a crucial and evolving role in eye health. Breast feeding, for example, appears to offer some protective benefit against myopia, likely due to the advantages of omega-3 fatty acids. Continuing a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of developing AMD and can even stem the progression of AMD once it begins. Cutting out carbs, particular refined grain, can also “stall” AMD in its tracks. (It seems we’re looking at dynamic physiological interaction here.)

Antioxidants are likewise essential to eye health. Studies show the B vitamins and vitamin D is also important to the development and progression of AMD. Subjects of one study whose antioxidant intake was high were less likely to develop lens damage and certain kinds of cataracts.

What the body requires of and how the body processes antioxidants for the purpose of eye health appears to change over the course of our lifetime. The carotenoids have long been recognized for their role in maintaining optimum eye health. As we age, they may become even more essential. Lutein and zeaxanthin, researchers believe, help protect the eyes by countering the damage of free radicals and blue light. With a lifetime of exposure, our need for these carotenoids likely rises.

Finally, want another reason to enjoy that glass of red wine? Resveratrol, a 2010 study suggests, helps curtail uncontrolled blood vessel growth in the eyes, a process implicated in diabetic retinopathy and AMD.

Then there’s the question of lifestyle as a whole. Compare the sedentary lifestyles we live today with the continually active lives of our ancestors. Inactivity is a risk factor for many eye disorders, and the “near work” of reading, texting, and other activities undoubtedly explain much of the modern explosion in myopia rates. Though individual genetics contribute a predisposition, the lives we choose to lead have their say as well. In the instance of myopia, for example, we may all in a sense be predisposed as a species. As researchers from the Australian National University explain, “high heritability sets no limit to the potential for environmentally induced change.” With the advent of “education and urbanisation,” we’re seeing that “[a] propensity to develop myopia in “myopigenic” environments thus appears to be a common human characteristic. We’re designed to look out across a vast savannah, not be limited to the dimensions of a living room, let alone a smartphone screen. Clearly, we need to expand our visual horizons.

As is so often the case, living as close as we can to our genetic expectations goes a long way toward countering the strains of modern patterns and supporting our inherent functioning. Eating Primal, getting sunlight, staying active, and enjoying a visual life of distant, outdoor scope all become part of a more natural, Primal kind of prescription for maintaining the best eye health we can.

Thanks for reading today. Let me know your thoughts on maintaining eye health with natural means. Have a great day, everyone.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I love hearing about the role that nutrition plays in eye health – yet another area where primal is best. :) It inspires me to continually read of the impact of food in all areas of my life!

    Crunchy Pickle wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • True, crunchy.

      Still, the article doesn’t cover the things that really cause bad eyesight, and the ways to fix it. I found the GettingStronger forums, and Alex Frauenfeld’s site and forum to be very clear on this, and helpful.

      It’s NOT really sunlight or diet. It’s close-up eye strain.

      I had -6.75D glasses, a year ago. I’m at -4.50 now, a massive improvement. And it’s not because of sunlight or other vagueness. It’s very concrete and clear, the use of prescription lenses, and how to manage close-up.

      The amount of guessing, fluff-talk kills me, when the correct answers are available, out there (though maybe not the most easy to locate online). A lot of good behavioral ophthalmologists and clinical research will tell you all the same things.

      Just Google gettingstronger and the frauenfeld method. No doubt, that’s where the whole eye subject bullseye is.

      PaleOhm wrote on July 6th, 2013
      • Hi, Alex.

        Christoph Dollis wrote on September 5th, 2013
      • Wrong. sunlight DOES play a part in myopia. Sunlight AND less near work reduce and prevent myopia. Going outside, doing outside activities (such as sports) and taking breaks when studying, and studying outside in around 1,000 lux (ie the shade) is the key. Watch SciShow’s video on myopia on YouTube by searching myopia SciShow.

        Myope wrote on May 5th, 2016
  2. I come from a family with a terrible ocular history, and because of my son’s childhood interest I am terribly interested in anything to do with vision.

    Thanks for this great info. It’s easy for me to feel helpless living in the modern world with all our screens–so I want to know what we can do about it!

    Also….breastfeeding may prevent nearsightedness. Sweet! Who would’ve thought it?

    Anne wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • Breastfeeding and a nutritious primal diet! I come from a family with terrible ocular history too. My daughter’s dad’s side too is absolutely terrible. I started reading weston price’s work and things along those lines when my daughter was a baby and became determined to stamp out the line of myopia (and crooked teeth). So far so good. Her eye sight is perfect and her teeth are straight! 6 years of paleo and 1.5 years of breastfeeding. She’s a little freakin miracle!

      Peggy The Primal Parent wrote on August 18th, 2011
      • Wow. I’m very impressed and inspired! I’m hoping for the same too, as we’re planning on having one next summer.

        Jess wrote on August 22nd, 2011
  3. I remember being 7 years old and wishing for glasses because my older sister had them and I thought they were just SO cool. Be careful what you wish for…

    Emily Mekeel wrote on August 18th, 2011
  4. Mark,

    I’m intrigued by the Bates Method for improving eyesight and am thinking about trying it. Jimmy Moore interviewed someone several months ago who discussed this – you stress your eyes by wearing reading glasses, and reading just beyond where it seems to be in focus. Your eyes “adjust” and you can read effectively. Over time, you train your eyes and improve.

    Matt Brody wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • I got interested in the Bates Method some years ago. I think that it can be helpful to a degree, and can perhaps help mitigate eye strain, but I don’t think it will reverse things like high myopia or bad astigmatism. Good luck, though – no harm in trying it!

      lyra wrote on August 19th, 2011
  5. “Give me land lots of land in this country that I love Don’t fence me in.” or wall me in

    I guess looking good naked and good vision go hand in hand, interesting… more research needed.

    alex wrote on August 18th, 2011
  6. I think there is a strong correlation between braces and glasses. Neolithic foods probably have have a detrimental effect on proper cranial development leading to the need for both.

    sbhar wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • Dr. Weston Price in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration established a correlation between neolithic foods and cranial development

      Sagar wrote on August 18th, 2011
      • WAP also talked about the aborigines and their ability to see and track animals, literally miles away, that their white colonial counterparts could not even see. Their abilities were so advanced it was seen as an almost sixth sense in one of the harshest environments on earth in one of the oldest known living races.

        He also described the natives physical degeneration resulting from the displacement of their native diets as being more damaging than almost any other group of natives in the world.

        Very, very sad how their culture was destroyed and the nutritional knowledge that was lost as well.

        David Caldwell wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • Yes, I am proof that cranial abnormalities (face bones) due to nutrition deficiency during pregnancy DOES result in bad eyesight.
      I have an underdeveloped right side of the face, giving me a slight astigmatism on that side with bone pressure on the outside of the right eye socket. Bad eyesight in that right eye since childhood.
      My right eye sits slightly lower on my face than the fully developed left eye and its facial bones. (This is all slight and nobody would notice this right off the bat)

      On that right, underdeveloped side I have crowding of teeth, an impacted wisdom tooth and difficulty breathing through that nostril. On that side I have also a cowlick =-P

      I know for a fact that nutrition has EVERYTHING to do with this, except, it isn’t MY fault, it’s my Mothers!

      I am now undergoing slow palatal expansion to repair some of the damage done to me by mother(nature), by a craniofacial orthodontist. So far, I have ditched my glasses for my astigmatism, my eyeball is now straight, and can be held straight within the eyesocket, all day. The vision is still kinda bad (too much MMORPG’ing), but I try to limit viewing things nearby and focus on things far away often to relax my eye muscles.

      I started the primal diet 6 months prior to starting the slow palatal expansion, which will affect my entire facial bones up into the frontal bone.
      If people are interested in reading more about this go to Health Matters to Me by Ryan Koch (Adult Palatal Expansion).

      Primal Palate wrote on August 18th, 2011
      • I had to wear a palatal expander when I wore braces to correct dental overcrowding. I had never heard that it could impact vision, and mine didn’t change. But it did widen my sinus cavities and improved my breathing quite a bit.

        But I think going Paleo has helped my sinuses more than anything. I’ve had chronic swelling in my ears and nasal sinuses for years. The doctors usually just want to prescribe allergy medicines or steroids, which I hate, so I’ve been just living with it. Finally the swelling in my ears is going away. It’s amazing.

        sqt wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • I have long wondered about this. I already wore glasses when I got braces around age 11. My front teeth were moved back to align with my too-small lower jaw, and I always wondered if that affected the development of both my sinuses and eye sockets. My vision continued to get worse after my orthodontia was removed, and I developed allergies around that time as well.

      lyra wrote on August 19th, 2011
    • That would make sense, as the maxilla (upper jaw), which is underdeveloped in the case of crooked teeth, also happens to form the floor of the eye socket. If this is underdeveloped, the eyeball itself is not supported properly in the socket and is more likely to become oblong, resulting in myopia or astigmatism.

      Erin wrote on August 23rd, 2011
  7. There’s pretty solid evidence that age-related macular degeneration (the most common cause of blindness in the US) is caused by excessive omega-6 and insufficient omega-3. One study reported that an “evolutionary” ratio *prevented* ARMD. I posted some of the studies here:

    Tuck wrote on August 18th, 2011
  8. Pre-natal and childhood nutrition affects the development of the palate and facial bone structure, including the shape of the eye sockets. It appears the poor nutrition results in a narrowed palate, crowded teeth and a tendency to become near-sighted.

    Kathleen wrote on August 18th, 2011
  9. I think that environment has the biggest effect on eye health. I eat primal. But, I have been working in an office environment sitting in front of a computer with no natural light for 5 years now. About 3 years ago I discovered that I needed glasses. However, my twin sister, who works as a personal trainer in a gym and is rarely in front of the computer, still has 20/20 vision. She eats “well”, but is not primal.

    Sarah wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • Unfortunately I sit in front of a computer all day too. I recently graduated from college and just started my career so I have only been doing it for about a year and a half. I hope I wont need glasses, I try and do everything so that I wont end up with them, I look horrible in glasses lol :p

      Mike wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • I am an identical twin and an airline pilot and I do not wear glasses, and at 48 years old I still have 20/20 vision. My brother, also healthy, but an attorney who spends his days reading documents in front of computer screens has had glasses for 20 years. Environment and epigenetics must play a part, interesting.

      David Caldwell wrote on August 18th, 2011
      • Do you manage to eat primal when you are working? As a flight attendant myself, I find it very, very difficult :-(

        Chantal wrote on August 6th, 2012
  10. About 20 years ago I was having head aches and a hard time seeing things at a distance. I was prescribed glasses, which I wore for about a year. The glasses seemed to make my eye sight worse. So I gave them up. My eyes became stronger, and only in the last couple of years did I need to start wearing reading glasses. I try to not use reading glasses to much though, I don’t want my eyes to become weak and dependent on them all the time.

    Mary Hone wrote on August 18th, 2011
  11. Decades ago, I read a book about correcting your eyesight without glasses. If I can find the title, I will post it (“Better Eyesight Without Glasses” on Amazon seems to be close to what I remember). If I remember correctly, it basically involved going without glasses and strengthening the muscles in the eyeball through exercises. You do need to go cold turkey off your glasses, though.

    Interestingly, my wife and I (and most of our siblings and parents) are myopic, but only one of my three children has a vision issue.

    Damien Gray wrote on August 18th, 2011
  12. Really interesting Mark, thanks. I’m adopted and wasn’t breastfed, so I was really fascinated by the note that breastfeeding may have an impact on eyesight. My eyesight was terrible from a young age (severely nearsighted to the point where at the worst i couldn’t make out the “E” at the top of the eye charts!). Thankfully the modern fix to this, Lasik, has brought me to 20/20 again so I can get back to scanning the plains for bison 

    jc831 wrote on August 18th, 2011
  13. Recently I was in an argument with a raw vegan (never do that about anything obviously!) who insisted that by being raw and vegan myopia can actually “go away”..You be the judge of that, but she also had some studies to refer me to..I never looked up anything just cause I know its not true..By this I mean that we can probably find studies connecting any type of diet with something about myopia..Im certain it has nothing to do with it though, its more of a genetics and lifestyle combination in my opinion..
    But thats just me..
    I eat primal but Im not expecting anything to happen to my myopia!

    theodora wrote on August 18th, 2011
  14. My mom has both the wet and dry form of macular degeneration. Never gave food a real thought – she smoked for 50+ years and thought it was that. But perhaps her crappy diet could have played a part.

    She has since gone primal, but I am afraid the damage is done to her eyes. SHe lost weight and all her blood counts are back under control. But she still doesn’t see very well. Given the physiology of the disease, I don’t see how it could be reversed.

    Primal wrote on August 18th, 2011
  15. Very interesting article.

    Both my parents have myopia and astigmatism, and doctors once told them that my brother and I would have a 95-98% chance of needing glasses by the time we were 15. I just turned thirty, and I’m 20/20 in one eye, and slightly less in the other eye. Still nowhere near needing glasses, and my brother is the same.

    We at a pretty CW based diet growing up, but I will say that my mother was very insistent on cooking everything from scratch and providing us healthy snacks rather than packaged, processed food. We were also both breastfed. It’s interesting to think about how we might have been affected by our early diet.

    Abby C. wrote on August 18th, 2011
  16. “The researchers noted that font size on smart phones were an average of 20% smaller than printed text. In some cases, viewed fonts were 70% smaller. (Time for that monocle.) What does this mean for us techno-suckers? Because of the size and distance, our eyes have a harder time focusing on the print. The strain involves two processes called accommodation, the adjustment from near to far distance, and vergence, eye movement toward and away from one another.”


    You have a small font! Most bloggers do and its fine with me but, a larger font would make it easier on our eyes! It’s why my font is a touch bigger than most blogs. More readers.

    Primal Toad wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • You can increase the size of the font on any site in your browser.

      PrimalGrandma wrote on August 18th, 2011
      • Si. On a windows machine, just hit Ctrl+ to up the font as much as you wish, and Ctrl- to lower it.

        Granted, I usually use this to lower the font so I can fit more tiny stuff on the screen. >.< D'oh!

        cTo wrote on August 18th, 2011
  17. Disclaimer: N=1 here.

    I have been eating primal for the last 1.5 years. I had a stable -3.75 power in both eyes since I was about 10 years old (32 now). Since going primal, over three office visits, my vision has steadily improved to -3.0 in my right eye and -3.25 in my left eye. It has been fascinating to watch the steady progression (and I have another check-up in a month’s time). It could be the diet, could be the wine, could be something else… but I think the former two definitely help!!

    Jamin wrote on August 18th, 2011
  18. I would like to bring up two different studies, one I read 20 years ago that claimed that children under 2 years of age need absolute darkness at night. They compared the children’s myopic eyes to the myopic eyes of chicks raised under a heat lamp.
    The second one I read just recently which suggested that children don’t get enough sunshine (ie intense light) to keep their eyes strong. I think this one was mentioned in the NY Times

    Mimi Torchia Boothby wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • If that study was only done on chicks I would be very skeptical of the conclusions extrapolating it to children. Bird vision and mammal vision are very, very different. For example, most birds have very poor low-light and night vision, while mammals adapted to it almost exclusively at some time in the distant past.

      cTo wrote on August 18th, 2011
  19. Along the lines of lutein and zeaxanthin, plain old vitamin C is very important to eye health. In fact the eyes can intake C at the rate of up to 1000mg a day!

    san wrote on August 18th, 2011
  20. I was on a gluten free diet until I was 9 or 10 when it was decided that I has outgrown coeliac disease ( this was 79/80 and medical CW thought this was the case)
    at that time I had perfect vision.
    By the time I was 12 I needed glasses and my eyesite got steadily worse until my mid 20’s (-4.5 and -4.25). My eyesight stabilised at this point and I had LASIK in my mid 30’s. Last year I was re-diagnosed as a Coeliac (well duh really). So there’s some anectdotal evidence as to the possible causes of myopia!

    Ian wrote on August 18th, 2011
  21. Interesting post indeeded! I wonder if it has anything to do with why me and my sister have more crooked teeth and worse eyesight while my brother (the youngest) managed to be born with better teeth and eyes. He also has better ears than me and my sister. Maybe my mom ate healthier when she was pregnant with him, though I can’t say for sure that she did.

    I didn’t learn about whole foods/primal until after my son was born, but I did catch on before he was a year. His teeth are much better than both mine and his dads (his dad’s are pretty bad) so far. Don’t know about sight yet since he’s not quite 3 and hasn’t had his vison checked. His hearing is scores better than mine, though I think mine is partially genetic since my father also has hearing issues and I am much more him genetically than my mom who has good hearing.

    Desdemona wrote on August 18th, 2011
  22. I am one of the lucky ones: at 59 I use reading glasses (with minimal graduation, 1.15), but I can read without them. Both long and short distance are good. I noticed that one of my eyes is better at short distance and the other at long, so the combined effect is good overall: knock knock – sound of knocking wood 😉
    And I think my eyesight is better since my almost two years of Grokhood

    WildGrok wrote on August 18th, 2011
  23. Great post. I was wondering if there was any research on far-sightedness. I can see fairly well distantly, but need glasses for reading since I hit 50. Only been on primal for 11 weeks and have already seen improvements overall but not eyesight

    marika wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • I wonder about farsightedness too. I have made it much longer than others in my family without needing reading glasses, but at age 46 I am starting to notice subtle changes that make me think my turn is coming. I hate wearing any glasses and would love it if my diet could help slow the progression.

      Rodney wrote on August 18th, 2011
  24. What happens if one gets Lasik for myopia, then goes paleo? Just a random thought.

    I learned a lot from this post. For some reason what we consume and how our bodies break it down chemically speaking makes sense to me. But the discussion on bone structure and how a paleo/primal life could lead to children’s bones forming in a way to not need braces is beyond my comprehension right now. Will do research! Thanks.

    Ernnmer2004 wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • x-ray vision :)

      jc831 wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • I’ll keep you apprised!

      Ian wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • Look up the research of Dr. Weston Price. Once this idea clicks you’ll wonder how the rest of the world doesn’t notice it.

      L-D wrote on August 18th, 2011
  25. There’s also the simple fact that kids aren’t outside very much – they almost never have the need to focus on something far away. When most of their time is indoors, everything is close to them, no horizons to peer at.

    Susie wrote on August 18th, 2011
  26. Todd Becker from has some really good stuff on reversing myopia.

    Doug wrote on August 18th, 2011
  27. I have not commented before but as an optometrist felt the need to chime in on this subject. I see these diseases daily in my office and part of that was behind me going “primal” seven months ago. There is no doubt nutrition has a major impact on your eye health. I see it daily. Humans have a tremendous ability to adapt and I think our myopia shift reflects the change in our environment over the last 100 years. For an example of human vision adaptation see

    Thanks for all the great work on MDA – love the site.

    serveandvolley wrote on August 18th, 2011
  28. Great last point on being “designed to look out across a vast savannah, not be limited to the dimensions of a living room, let alone a smartphone screen.”

    Just another reason to start motivating yourself to get outside. I agree, “we need to expand our visual horizons.”

    Plus its always a good time to look at immense beauty and snap a few photos while your at it!

    Dennis wrote on August 18th, 2011
  29. I have been myopic all my life and have needed some kind of corrective since the age of 7. I now have posterior vitreous detatchment and a trace retinal detachment with awful floaters in my R eye. I’ve only been primal for the last 5 years, so I am now wondering if all the xxxx number of years of high carb intake, low fat dieting (failed) and close typing/screen work did the damage and it is too late to put it right.

    Jilly wrote on August 18th, 2011
  30. Interesting post, as I had been thinking about this recently. Eyesight does change – and it can be for the better. For most of my life, my eyes got steadily worse, until a) I had treatment for dyspraxia, and b) 10 yrs later discovered I was coeliac so now have a primal diet (not just no gluten). My eyes are still improving – from ‘-6’ 14yrs ago to ‘-1.5’last year. And I noticed recently that my glasses are too strong again! Reading is still comfortable – but I was so shortsighted that it affected reading too – so no way yet to see if a better diet stops that deteriorating. How to confuse your optician!

    Jenny W wrote on August 18th, 2011
    • Jenny, that is nothing short of miraculous! A couple questions if you’d be so kind to answer: How strict are you with your primal diet? Do you feel the improvement is due primarily to going gluten-free? For instance, do you still eat gluten-free bread/pasta? You may really be onto something. Thanks.

      Scott wrote on June 16th, 2012
  31. Good article. Couldn’t finish it though, my eyes started hurting……

    Dave wrote on August 18th, 2011
  32. This is interesting because my 12 year old sister was recently diagnosed with myopia.

    It didn’t occur to me that it might be lifestyle related, but when you bring it up it actually makes a lot of sense.

    Kris wrote on August 18th, 2011
  33. I am going to get palatal expansion as soon as I can afford it, and I’m *hoping* that it might improve my eyesight (particularly my mild astigmatism) through making more room for my eyeballs. I’m also planning on getting Lasik afterward, assuming I still need it–but I’ll definitely wait until the facial bones are done shifting first!

    Uncephalized wrote on August 18th, 2011
  34. I have bad, but stable, eyesight. My hope is that going primal can, at least, keep it from getting worse.

    sqt wrote on August 18th, 2011
  35. I don’t remember if this has been covered, but what about getting the benefits of wine without drinking wine? I hate the taste of all alcohol.

    Eric wrote on August 18th, 2011
  36. I did a little test once. We do a lot of hiking, and one day after a full day’s hike up in the mountains, I noticed that my vision was so improved that I didn’t need my glasses for the rest of the evening. (This was before primal living.) A few weeks later, I sat on my deck and looked out over hte gorge at the snowcaps, for a full day – huge distances. That did not help my vision. Vistas plus exercise is the moral of the story. Now I rarely need my glasses.

    Amy wrote on August 18th, 2011
  37. Great article.
    I got glasses at the age of 17 and most likely due to using the computer too often and probably some diet relation as well.
    Do you think it is possible to even improve one’s eye sight so you don’t need glasses anymore at least to a certain degree ?
    e.g. i have like dioptre value of 2

    schnib wrote on August 18th, 2011
  38. I stopped eating wheat and dairy a few years ago, but I haven’t been doing the full primal thing for more than a few days. However, JUST by going GFCF, both my eyes improved by .25. That’s not much, but they were -.25 and -.75, meaning my left eye percription dropped by half. I need to check again, because that was over a year ago… Anyone else?

    Erin wrote on August 18th, 2011
  39. I started eating primally about two months ago now. Before that, my vision was rapidly deteriorating. (My dad, a physician, asked if I’d had my blood sugar checked recently, so I think there’s something in the idea that I was at the very least mildly pre-diabetic.) Since going on it, my vision has improved dramatically. I’m only 26 and have spent my life on various low-fat, high-carb diets, thanks to being raised with an ex-anorexic mother and a dad who bought into CW too much.

    bec wrote on August 18th, 2011
  40. That was a typo on my above post. My eyesight was -.50 and -.75…

    Erin wrote on August 18th, 2011

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!