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Vision of Graves' eye disease patient restored after nonsurgical treatment

Advice to switch to low-carb, gluten-free diet made the difference

MAYWOOD, Ill. (July 9, 2014) – Don Parker was facing a second surgery to treat the bulging eyes and double vision he was experiencing due to Graves’ eye disease. But then ophthalmologist James McDonnell, MD, of Loyola University Medical Center, recommended an alternative therapy that did not involve surgery or medication.

McDonnell told Parker to change his diet, lose weight and take a nutraceutical (natural food product) that’s designed to restore proper immune and digestive function.

Parker followed McDonnell’s regimen. He lost more than 35 pounds by giving up soda pop and eating a low-carb, gluten-free diet with lots of vegetables. Each day, he takes 12 capsules of the nutraceutical.

“My double vision is almost gone and there is so little bulging in my eyes that they look almost completely normal,” he said.

Graves’ eye disease, also known as Graves’ ophthalmopathy, is present in about half of people who have Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder. In Graves’ eye disease, the immune system attacks muscles and other tissues around the eye. This can cause the eyes to bulge out and become misaligned.

Bulging eyes can be treated with orbital decompression surgery. The surgeon removes  bone and/or fat from behind the eye, allowing the eye to move back into its socket. Double vision can be treated with a different surgery, which straightens the eyes by adjusting the eye muscles.

When Parker came to see McDonnell, he already had undergone one orbital decompression and was facing a possible second surgery for his double vision. But rather than recommending surgery, McDonnell suggested a holistic approach.

“Once you clear up and balance your body, a whole raft of problems can go away,” McDonnell said.

Parker said his doctor appointment with McDonnell served as a wake-up call. “I was at a crossroads in my life,” Parker said. “I would have to either change my ways or die. Dr. McDonnell helped me get back on track.”

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Media Relations

Jim Ritter
Media Relations
(708) 216-2445
jritter@lumc.edu
Anne Dillon
Media Relations
(708) 216-8232
adillon@lumc.edu