What else can be done for uveitis? The important thing to remember is that there is no natural cure for uveitis.
There are a lot of things you can do that help, that, is, there are many complementary treatments, but nothing that exempts you from having to go the ophthalmologist and eye surgeon.
Other remedies may be more or less helpful.
- Eyebright (euphrasia, Dr. Christopher's), according to a standard herbal reference for doctors of which I am coauthor, as well as the research literature, is mildly antiseptic and mildly anti-inflammatory. It doesn't have all the side effects of prednisolone and other steroids, but it isn't as effective, either. If you need an antinflammatory medication to stop the formation of scar tissue so you don't have permanent changes in your vision, sorry, eyebright is not enough. Predforte, by the way, isn't herbal. It's the steroid drug prednisolone diluted in sterile water.
- Vitamins make a difference in uveitis, but vitamin D is even more important than vitamins C and E. Sometimes the problem with vitamin D is not getting enough vitamin D, but having the enzymes needed for converting vitamin D2 into vitamin D3. This is most commonly a problem for people whose uveitis is caused by Behcet disease. Deficiencies of vitamin D3, which are easily corrected with inexpensive supplements (just be sure you are getting D3, not D2) can prevent uveitis in Behcet's disease.
- Lutein, an antioxidant found in spinach, kale, carrots, egg yolks, and chicken skin, reduces the severity of inflammation in some cases of uveitis.
- In a growing number of cases, especially among people of Middle Eastern descent, gluten seems to be a trigger for the inflammation of uveitis and gluten restriction relieves it. The majority of people who have uveitis are not gluten-sensitive, but cutting out wheat and related grains may help.
- Probiotic bacteria (the friendly bacteria found in foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut) help control Klebsiella, a bacterium found in dirt that can establish itself in the digestive tract and emit toxins that inflame the iris of the eye, causing iritis. These foods probably also relieve uveitis.
- Echinacea can reduce the inflammatory response to infection. Echinacea angustifolia will work better than Echinacea purpurea, but both are helpful.
There are some natural therapies for uveitis that people who have never actually had the disease may recommend. Some "experts" recommend a hot compress of eyebright and other herbs. Chances are that would be extremely painful, and not help in healing.
The most important thing to remember about any kind of treatment for uveitis is that working with your doctor can save your sight. If you can't get along with your doctor, get a referral to another one. Use natural therapies, but avail yourself of every available option, including medicine.
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