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HEALTH Holistic ophthalmology makes the future brighter



Published: Sat, June 25, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Gregory Fagert, a Columbiana eye doctor, has been exploring holistic eye care.

By L. CROW

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

Even though Dr. Gregory Fagert has just recently begun exploring the possibilities of holistic eye care, he is seeing positive results with his patients.

Dr. Fagert, a 1989 graduate of the Ohio State College of Optometry, has had a practice in Columbiana for 14 years. He began learning about nutrition, homeopathics and other natural remedies for eye health about a year ago, and has been using them with his patients for about six months. He is enthusiastic about expanding his knowledge of alternative medicine for the eyes, and is working with several mentors, doctors who are nationally known for their pioneer work with natural eye remedies.

Opening his eyes

Through a series of events, beginning with his own back injury, Dr. Fagert was led to one person after another who provided him with information and natural products for alternative eye care, starting with nutraceuticals, remedies which are comprised of herbs, vitamins and minerals.

Beginning with the nutritional approach, and now learning more about homeopathic remedies, Dr. Fagert is working with dry eyes, allergy eyes, macular degeneration and some cataract and glaucoma problems.

"Dry eyes is a condition in which the patient does not produce enough tears," Dr. Fagert said. "It can be caused by allergy medicines, or often is a sign that something else is wrong in the body. It is believed that dry eyes is caused by inflammation, which can mean the patient may have arthritis, lupus or some other condition. Traditional prescription eye drops suppress the immune system, which can help the eye problem temporarily, but does not get to the root of the health problem. And when the patient quits using the drops, the condition comes back. Over-the-counter drops are a 'band-aid' approach to dry eyes. They simply replace tears, and don't hurt, but don't help that much either."

Holistic mentor

Perhaps the person who has been most influential to Dr. Fagert, and who acts as his mentor, is Dr. Edward C. Kondrot, an ophthalmologist with a mile-long list of credentials. In addition to practicing ophthalmology since 1982, he became a doctor of homeo-therapeutics in 2002.

He is a practitioner in Phoenix, has written several books, including "Healing the Eye the Natural Way," and is also the chief formulator for a line of natural eye health products, Natural Ophthalmics, based on his own research and clinical use.

Dr. Fagert has found the Natural Ophthalmics products useful for treating a number of conditions, including dry eyes. They work with the same theory as all homeopathic products, to stimulate the body's own healing capacity. There is a different dry eye formula for men and women. Dry eye in women can be associated with menopause or hormone imbalance.

One of Dr. Fagert's patients, Kelly Skrinyer of North Lima, has been using the natural drops for allergy eyes and bears testimony to its effectiveness. "Before I used Allergy Eyes, my eyes were itchy and filled with mucus," she said. "But ever since I've used these drops, I no longer have mucus, and my eyes have been itch-free. I can now wear my contacts longer with much improved comfort."

Fighting macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is a concern for many people, and the leading cause of blindness in those over age 60. "In MD, there is usually something else going on in the body, like high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease," Dr. Fagert said. "Smoking also decreases vitamin C and blood circulation, and increases the risk of cataracts, glaucoma and MD. Cataract surgery can increases the risk of MD, so we try to avoid surgery with eye drops and nutraceuticals."

Natural Ophthalmics nutraceuticals for macular degeneration include ingredients such as lutein, bilberry, ginkgo biloba and green food extracts, such as spinach. They also carry an oral spray to boost antioxidant absorption. In addition, Dr. Fagert recommends dietary and lifestyle changes, like the elimination of coffee, margarine and alcohol, and to stop smoking and taking aspirin. Increase certain fish, eggs and vegetables in the diet, and decrease dairy products, red meat and sugar. Exercise regularly to increase circulation, and practice meditation or some other method of deep relaxation.

Jim Romeo of Columbiana has used the eye drops and vitamins for macular degeneration and has noticed positive results.

"My father had MD, and Dr. Fagert was concerned that I would have the same problem," he said. "Since I started using the natural products, my eyesight has improved, and so have my cataracts, which was also a problem my father had." Cineraria is the homeopathic remedy used in treating cataracts.

Dr. Fagert said that by the end of the year he plans to be certified in microcurrent stimulation and is learning more about other forms of natural healing for the eyes.

XLaughing Crow is a practitioner of holistic healing. She may be reached at laughingcrow@neo.rr.com.




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