Vision of Graves' eye disease patient restored after switch to low-carb, gluten-free diet

by Jim Ritter

Don Parker was facing a second surgery to treat the bulging eyes and double vision he was experiencing due to Graves' eye disease. But then ophthalmologist James McDonnell, MD, of Loyola University Medical Center, recommended an alternative therapy that did not involve surgery or medication.

McDonnell told Parker to change his diet, lose weight and take a nutraceutical (natural food product) that's designed to restore proper immune and digestive function.

Parker followed McDonnell's regimen. He lost more than 35 pounds by giving up soda pop and eating a low-carb, gluten-free diet with lots of vegetables. Each day, he takes 12 capsules of the nutraceutical.

"My double vision is almost gone and there is so little bulging in my eyes that they look almost completely normal," he said.

Graves' , also known as Graves' ophthalmopathy, is present in about half of people who have Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder. In Graves' disease, the immune system attacks muscles and other tissues around the eye. This can cause the eyes to bulge out and become misaligned.

Bulging eyes can be treated with orbital decompression surgery. The surgeon removes bone and/or fat from behind the eye, allowing the eye to move back into its socket. Double vision can be treated with a different surgery, which straightens the eyes by adjusting the eye muscles.

When Parker came to see McDonnell, he already had undergone one orbital decompression and was facing a possible second surgery for his . But rather than recommending , McDonnell suggested a holistic approach.

"Once you clear up and balance your body, a whole raft of problems can go away," McDonnell said.

Parker said his doctor appointment with McDonnell served as a wake-up call. "I was at a crossroads in my life," Parker said. "I would have to either change my ways or die. Dr. McDonnell helped me get back on track."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Glaucoma can affect babies, too

Jul 02, 2014

(HealthDay)—When Olivia Goree noticed something just "wasn't right" about her 6-week-old son's eyes, she trusted her instincts and took him to the doctor. What she never expected was the diagnosis: glaucoma.

Guard your good vision, experts say

May 23, 2014

(HealthDay)—Smoking, decorative contact lenses and laser pointers all pose a threat to your eyes, but sitting too close to the television or computer screen doesn't, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ...

Recommended for you

Looking ahead: Whole eye transplant under development

Sep 22, 2014

The concept of a whole eye transplant seems futuristic, if not impossible. But with a $1million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine hope to someday ...

A second look at glaucoma surgery

Sep 18, 2014

New research led by Queen's University professor Robert Campbell (Ophthalmology) has revealed using anti-inflammatory medications after glaucoma laser surgery is not helpful or necessary.

Stem cells have potential to repair diseased corneas

Sep 18, 2014

Corneal transplant (keratoplasty) is a known means of successfully treating corneal disease. However, without unlimited donor corneas, researchers say there is a need to study alternate methods of treatment ...

User comments