Dry Eye Treatments And Prevention
Dry eye cases are typical, and people often treat it with over the counter eye drops. However, my guest, Dr. Travis Zigler cautions against taking dry eye discomfort for granted. More often than not, dry eye is a cause of an underlying problem that should not be ignored.
Dr. Travis Zigler was trained in Western Medicine. He graduated in 2010 from The Ohio State University College of Optometry.
Although he was training under his uncle treating patients with dry eye and other eye diseases from 2010 to 2015, Dr. Travis Zigler felt something was missing. He eventually realized the void in his heart was because he yearned to open his practice.
Leap Of Faith
Without much hesitation, Dr. Travis Zigler and his wife quit their jobs, moved to South Carolina and started two businesses — a private practice and a commercial practice inside Walmart.
Then in May 2015, as they were building their practices, Dr. Travis Zigler came across a course selling online products. And because they had a lot of time to spare in between practices, the couple explored online e-commerce. That’s when they started their company Eye Love.
Eye Love is not just an online company selling eye medication products. Dr. Travis Zigler says that Eye Love’s mission is to end preventable blindness.
“We do mission trips every October to Jamaica and work in South Carolina. It costs approximately US$ 10,000 a year,” said Dr. Travis Zigler. “Eye Love started as a sunglass company. A year ago at a conference, I met Dr. Stephen Cabral who was a Naturopathic Doctor selling supplements. That inspired me to do the same with Eye Love.”
Eye Love currently sells natural supplements as well as products intended to treat dry eye. A whole section called ‘Heyedrate’ is devoted to addressing the eye condition.
Western Medicine Versus Eastern Medicine
Dr. Travis Zigler openly admits that he was primarily educated in Western Medicine. However, he took a 360-degree turn to shift to Eastern Medicine after his personal experience.
This happened during the time Dr. Travis Zigler and his wife were trying to start a family. After five months of unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant, they consulted a doctor who seemingly left them with no option but to resort to in vitro fertilization.
However, as the day before the in vitro fertilization approached, Dr. Travis Zigler had a gut instinct that something was amiss. Hence, they canceled the appointment and explored Eastern Medicine treatments instead.
“We did Acupuncture and herbals. About three months later, we finally got pregnant. That led us to question everything we were trained on,” Dr. Travis Zigler said. “Eastern Medicine tries to get to the source of the problem. Western Medicine on the other hands, masks the symptoms with medications.”
Correlation Between Eye Health And Diet
We all know that diet plays a significant factor in overall health. Five years ago, Dr. Travis Zigler was diagnosed with high cholesterol. This despite the fact that he ran half marathons and was skinny. After switching to a primarily vegetable diet and minimal meat, Dr. Travis Zigler’s cholesterol level dropped to 150 from 220 in just two months!
What a lot of people do not know is that the eyes provide signs of underlying health issues. Dr. Travis Zigler says that a dilated pupil can reveal if a person has diabetes, brain tumors or high blood pressure. The yellowish eye is a symptom of hepatitis.
“People have lack of education on food as a healing source. Look at your lifestyle choices. Fried foods are bad because they put the body in a constant state of inflammation,” Dr. Travis Zigler explains. “It can cause high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes or dry eye. Fried foods causes oxidated damage and destroy the cells at the back of your retina.”
This is why Dr. Travis Zigler teaches patients how to switch to a plant-based diet. According to Dr. Travis Zigler, one must try to avoid meat, dairy, sugar, processed food, fried food, GMOs, and pesticide.
“Eat organic food and frozen fruits. Avoid traditional fish, meat, and eggs,” advises Dr. Travis Zigler. ” Drink more green smoothies and change your greens from time to time. Add a banana, one and a half cup almond milk, water, a plant-based protein powder and an avocado into the smoothie for variety.”
Preventing Eye Problems
Good eyes do not only mean having a proper diet. Dr. Travis Zigler recommends wearing UV protection polarized sunglasses outdoors.
However, when you’re indoors, wearing blue light protection glasses five hours before bed is ideal. Taking the TV out of the room and shutting down everything two hours before bed likewise does wonders for our eye health.
Dr. Travis Zigler says it is hard to correct something like nearsightedness. Laptops and gadgets make it worse.
“When we look far away, our eyes relax. When we look up close, our eyes are focusing,” Dr. Travis Zigler said. “There’s something about this constant focus that’s causing us to become more nearsighted.”
Dr. Travis Zigler adds that while no definite studies are showing the real cause of nearsightedness, we can prevent it through peripheral defocus. He says that if we make our peripheral vision blurry, it prevents nearsightedness from getting worse by 60%.
Furthermore, Dr. Travis Zigler corrects nearsightedness by wearing a hard contact lens at night and soft lenses during the day. It apparently improves vision by 30%.
Dr. Travis Zigler’s wife Jenna wrote the ‘How To Reverse Dry Eye’ book. It is a complete guide on how to treat dry eye and everything else—from understanding the eye condition as well as factors that cause it.
Dr. Travis Zigler is also slated to come out with a book entitled, ‘Rethinking Dry Eye Treatment.’ Incidentally, it was his Facebook community who named the book. The book explores inflammation, sleep habits, blue light, the importance of essential minerals, supplementation and foods to avoid. Although the book has no food recipes, it does have a meal preparation chart which is easy to follow.
Pay What You Can
Dr. Travis Zigler and his wife currently maintain only one practice, after selling the other one last June. Their current practice implements a ‘Pay What You Can’ model.
Under the ‘Pay What You Can’ model, patients are given a recommended price to pay yet they have the option only to pay what they can. According to Dr. Travis Zigler, 95% of patients pay full price, and some patients don’t pay anything at all. Whatever money they earn goes back to the Eye Love Foundation.
Under the Eye Love Foundation, the public gets a free education on eye health. Dr. Travis Zigler is also planning to award scholarships next year to Optometry students whose goals are aligned with the foundation’s mission.
Another goal of the foundation is to create free clinics. The free clinics would be self-sufficient wherein people will not feel pressured to pay.
f “Most people are blind in this world. Number one cause of blindness is a lack of glasses. There are 700 million people right now who are blind because othat,” said Dr. Travis Zigler. “So if we could build a sustainability model in countries like Jamaica, we could repeat it anywhere in the world.”
Dr. Travis Zigler graduated in 2010 from The Ohio State University College of Optometry with Magna Cum Laude honors. He went on to own two optometry practices in South Carolina specializing in “difficult to fit” contact lens patients and dry eye, but soon found his passion for entrepreneurship.
In 2015, he started Eye Love, an eye wellness company with a mission to end preventable blindness. Along with his wife, Jenna, they continue to work part-time in Optometry and build Eye Love with the goal of eventually opening free clinics in the US and abroad. When he’s not working on Eye Love, he enjoys traveling to Jamaica, training for marathons, and playing the ukulele while he drinks his morning coffee.