Two days from now, I have an eye exam coming up at an optometrist. I am also on a waiting list for a checkup at the hospital, but with the covid-19 measures the waiting lists have grown. Because I started my own experiments on my eyes, I booked an appointment with an optometrist to see what, if anything, has happened in the meantime. I was informed that they would be able to do a standard measurement and also take a look at my retina, but that an eye pressure measurement was not possible. Something about infecting me via my eyes or the air pressure from the measuring device causing moisture to go from my eyes into the surrounding air. Right.
I decided to write down where I’m at right now. Currently, I’m the owner of a whole array of glasses, each of which I use for separate tasks. Here’s an overview. Compared you last update, you may notice I acquired a new set of glasses specifically for reading.
|WHEN I USE THEM||LEFT EYE||RIGHT EYE|
|WORKING ON THE COMPUTER||-7.25||-10|
|READING A BOOK, TYPING THIS POST ON MY PHONE||-6.25||-9|
Last time I posted this table, I was still using the glasses I now mark as “rarely”. After a while, I noticed that
- The quality of this set is lower than that of the others
- Or the advice the manufacturer gave me to decrease the pupil distance by 3 mm for close work wasn’t correct
- I discovered I could use my -10 glasses for computer work
Well, it’s maybe a bit more blurry than what you’d call “on the edge of blur”, but the -11 glasses weren’t comfortable so I switched. At the same time I discovered that when reading a book, to reach the edge of blur I had to move the book further away than what was comfortable to my arms and hands. So I bought another pair at -9 for reading.
We’ll see if it actually does something or not in two days.
Sugar and insulin
In the meantime, I’ve been in touch with a few fellow high myopes after I shared the research paper on Facebook titled “Is myopia another clinical manifestation of insulin resistance?“. Two ladies replied in shock at what I shared: both of them have PCOS, a disease where insulin resistance plays a role, both of them are lactose (milk sugar) intolerant and one has primary lymph edema which she told me is heavily influenced by carbs. Carbs often cause a sugar spike and then insulin is increased to shuttle that blood sugar into fat cells. The lady with edema indicated that after going low-carb her myopia had not worsened for the first time in her life. I’ve since shared that paper with the mother of a child with ADHD and high myopia, because ADHD is also sometimes related to sugar and insulin.
I admit I’m not cutting out carbs myself. I’ve gone dairy free a while back though, since discovering dairy gives me trouble. I’m not entirely sure if it’s the milk sugar (lactose) or the milk protein that’s giving me trouble, or both.
I believe it was Todd Becker who, in his presentation titled “Myopia: a modern yet reversible disease“, made kind of a side note remark about copper metabolism playing a role in myopia. I Google Binged it and found a couple of articles and papers on the topic.
Gene mutations associated with nearsightedness identified
“Our findings, plus information from the literature, suggest that copper deficiency could predispose people to develop myopia,” Young said. “While this wasn’t directly tested in this study, it’s possible that our diets — which are deficient in a number of minerals and vitamins — play a role, and it may be something as easy as taking a supplement with copper that helps thwart the development of myopia.”https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130502131710.htm
Two other papers with at the very least interesting titles and abstracts are Effects of Zinc and Copper Metabolism in Highly Myopic Patients and Copper Metabolism in Scleral Tissue and Possibilities of Its Correction in Myopia.
I’ve never used this medicine but it’s the medicine used in children and adults to try to slow myopia. I’m bringing this up not because I intend to take this medicine if the hospital suggests it, but because of its interesting relationship with copper. Now, I don’t know exactly what it means, but I’ve found the following relationships:
- Atropine is supposed to block acetylcholine in the nervous system and between nerves and muscles. Atropine is apparently an antidote for poisons. But it can also be poisonous itself.
- Acetylcholine relaxes blood vessels, in the eye for example. Turns out copper is required for that!
- For the lady with a daughter who has both ADHD and high myopia, problems with the cholinergic circuit are associated with ADHD and acetylcholine is mentioned explicitly at the start of this paper. Also, children with ADHD might be deficient in magnesium, zinc and copper more often than their peers.
- Atropine blocks acetylcholine from attaching to muscarine receptors. Muscarine is present in our bodies but it’s apparently also a toxin derived from mushrooms. Which explains why Atopica, the brand name for cyclosporine, a medicine I give my cat Ettie, turned her eyes yellow when the dose was too high: that medicine is made of a fungus that works on muscarine receptors for acetylcholine. Eyes are like crazy sensitive to toxins in general. Apparently the eye has every type of muscarine receptor.
- Copper apparently improves binding of acetylcholine to muscarine receptors and decreases the binding of atropine slightly. Conversely, copper deficiency inhibits the binding of agonists. Atropine is an antagonist, meaning it binds and blocks the muscarinic receptor. Too much copper and atropine doesn’t bind well. Acetylcholine is an agonist, meaning it binds and activates the receptor. Too little copper and acetylcholine doesn’t bind well.
- Interestingly, atropine could have a paradoxical effect at low doses, it could actually “paradoxically accentuate the parasympathetic actions of acetylcholine“.
So what does that mean? Well.. If atropine is not working for you to halt your myopia, you could perhaps be having a paradoxical reaction or your copper levels could perhaps be interfering with the drug? Or both? I’m not a doctor but I’ve found that if something isn’t working you need to start looking at what might work for you. You might be in that small percentage of patients not responding to treatment even though the study reported an overwhelming success in the trials of a medicine. Do your own research.
I’ve bought a multi mineral supplement that contains copper and a number of other minerals that are essential for collagen (which the eye is mostly made of). If you’re curious, I’m taking Vital Cell Life’s Multi Mineral Complex. However, obviously I don’t know if I’m copper deficient or not. Supplementing with vitamin B12 has almost entirely resolved my Raynaud Syndrome and there are gastrointestinal issues on both sides of the family so that’s likely due to malabsorption issues. I’m willing to take a shot and supplement with copper and other minerals. Funny enough I found out that the tons of dark chocolate we’ve been consuming aren’t just delicious, they also help by serving as a source of dietary copper. Oh yes, and I should go outside more….. Guilty as charged, I don’t go outside enough, even though direct natural sunlight is good for your eyesight (and mood). Likewise for stepping away from the computer and focusing in the distance. Work in progress.
Edit: I’ve focused on copper, but zinc is also implied in myopia. The supplement I’m taking has a 8:1 ratio of zinc to copper, which is recommended because zinc inhibits copper absorption.