I introduced you to Michal Schwartz in Part 1, and her work clearly supports some strong points we’ve been making on our visionhelp blog for quite some time to counteract medical dogma. One of the major points is that the eye and brain are inseparable in terms of function and, in part, this stems from the fact that the retina does a considerable amount of pre-processing of information prior to sharing visual information with visual processing streams throughout the rest of the brain. It is really high time for critics of vision therapy saying that “you’re overstepping your bounds because these are brain problems you’re dealing with, not eye problems” to let it go, and appreciate the eye as an intimate part of the central nervous system and the outermost part of the brain.
Repeat after me: The eye is part of the brain … the eye is part of the brain … the eye is part of the brain. There now, doesn’t that feel better? It’s really quite simple. The eye is a necessary but not sufficient part of the visual process.
Professor Schwartz makes this point forcefully and beautifully in her new book, Neuroimmunity on p.113, where she demonstrates that the retina is a continuous part of the brain. This leads her to the following conclusion: “Although anatomists consider the eye as an extension of the brain, modern medicine in the West has dealt with the organ as if it were a separate entity.”
Professor Schwartz’s revolutionary focus has been on glaucoma, and showing how damage to the optic nerve and neurosensory retina is really a secondary degeneration due to a self-perpetuating cascade, or domino effect of free radicals and unbalanced neurotransmitters resulting in toxicity common to all neurodegenerative conditions of the central nervous system. Although this has shifted the paradigm in glaucoma, it has yet to be appreciated for its impact on other aspects of the visual system, the most obvious being in cases concussion and trauma associated with mTBI. Professor Schwartz’s focus on repair has been the development of a vaccine approach not in the conventional way we think of childhood vaccines, but to promote a balanced immune response that stops the domino effect and reduces further death of neurons.
Clearly there are other ways to boost the immune system and brain function, not the least of which is immune-boosting foods. Neuroimmunity and its influence on the CNS, brain, eye and visual system has its roots in the field of pyschoneuroimmunology. Steve Cool lectured at a COVD meeting on the subject about 20 years ago, and prior to that Elliot Forrest made some of these linkages in his COVD lecture about Canon and Selye, and in his book on visual stress. Most recently, Merrill Bowan has alluded to this in terms of the role of dopamine neurotransmitter balance in response to lenses, prisms, and vision therapy.