In 1994, at age 46, I went to an eye doctor for a routine exam and a new prescription for my glasses. The exam included checking my retinas. The doctor told me that I had moderate macular degeneration, a disease that is considered incurable, and usually happens in old age. What a shock!
The macula is the part of the retina that is involved with central vision. Macular degeneration results in declining vision and eventually blindness in the center of the visual fields. Peripheral, or side vision is preserved. The doctor told me that there was nothing that could be done about it, and this was not the type that could be helped by laser surgery. He gave me a bottle of vitamin and mineral supplements in hopes of slowing the progression. At that time, my vision wasn't noticeably affected, but he said it wouldn't be long until it was.
This wasn't the kind of news I wanted to hear. I immediately felt a sense of despair and helplessness. I was afraid of being disabled, and being single at the time, would have no one to take care of me. I wouldn't be able to drive or read. And I wouldn't be able to continue in my work, which requires intact vision. I entertained all sorts of fears and feelings of worthlessness. Such a disease could be very devastating to my life and self-esteem.
After a period of despair, I decided that this was ridiculous. I became convinced I could do something about it. Reminding myself of my youth and how much living I still had to do, I took a stand for my health! I decided that there would be things I could do and then I LOOKED for them. I investigated alternative medicine and found that Ginkgo Biloba and Lutein were reported to help prevent macular degeneration. I read about visualization and guided imagery. While taking various supplements to strengthen my body, I visualized the retina being whole and healthy. Repeatedly affirming, "I can see clearly", and "macular regeneration", I created a solid belief and positive feeling about my wellness.
With glasses my vision was sharp - I could even make out fine detail on distant objects. Whenever I thought about my eyes, I would affirm my clear, sharp vision. After several years my vision was as sharp as ever. To this day, eight years after hearing the diagnosis, my vision is still sharp. This year I had a complete eye exam at a different eye doctor who said there was no sign of macular degeneration. A medical doctor who gave me a physical confirmed that my retina was normal. I was excited, as I had erased all signs of a supposedly progressive, incurable disease. In my case the retina regenerated, right on target with my affirmation, "macular regeneration."
About a year and a half after that first eye exam which indicated that I did not have any macular degeneration, I had another eye exam by a different optometrist when I was getting new glasses. This optometrist also found no macular degeneration. Having two independent optometrists tell me that I had no macular degeneration 8-9 years after being diagnosed with it made it all the more convincing that I had indeed reversed the disease process.
The mind has a very powerful influence on the body, and attitude is crucial in maintaining or re-establishing health. Your body reacts to your thoughts and feelings, so it is important to maintain a positive attitude and positive beliefs. Also, having a good reason to live and having meaning and purpose to your life is important. The body must get the message that you want to thrive and that your life is important. Spiritual healing has repeatedly shown itself to be a strong factor - not yet explainable by medical science. I healed spiritually as well as on the physical and mental levels. Knowing that people were praying with me and for me helped!
Gordon Abbo is a psychiatrist in private practice in Florida who is interested in holistic health. He is also a Reiki Master, a hypnotherapist, and a minister of the Universal Brotherhood Movement(nondenominational healing ministry).