The Connection Between Hashimoto’s and Macular Degeneration

In the video “The Connection Between Hashimoto’s and Macular Degeneration,” Dr. Martin Rutherford explores the potential link between these two conditions. With years of experience treating Hashimoto’s, Dr. Rutherford has noticed patterns in patients, witnessing a multitude of symptoms such as weight gain, hair loss, and autoimmune gastritis. He believes that Hashimoto’s inflammation can affect various areas of the body, including the brain and eyes. Remarkably, Dr. Rutherford has observed cases where patients’ macular degeneration improved after effectively managing their Hashimoto’s, highlighting a possible connection between the two conditions. This video delves into his observations and thoughts on this intriguing topic.

The Connection Between Hashimotos and Macular Degeneration


In this article, we will explore the potential connection between Hashimoto’s disease and macular degeneration. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid, while macular degeneration is a degenerative eye condition. While it may seem like these two conditions are unrelated, there have been observations and patterns in patients with Hashimoto’s and eye problems that suggest a possible link. We will delve into the symptoms, risk factors, and management of both conditions, as well as discuss case studies and the importance of regular eye check-ups. Understanding the connection between Hashimoto’s and macular degeneration can help individuals with these conditions seek appropriate treatment and potentially improve their eye health.

Understanding Hashimoto’s

Hashimoto’s as an autoimmune disease

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. This leads to chronic inflammation and ultimately results in an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States, primarily affecting middle-aged women. It is important to note that Hashimoto’s is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management and treatment to maintain thyroid hormone levels.

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s

The symptoms of Hashimoto’s can vary from person to person, but commonly include fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, depression, muscle aches, and sensitivity to cold temperatures. Additionally, individuals with Hashimoto’s may experience changes in their menstrual cycle, constipation, dry skin, and difficulty concentrating. It is essential to recognize these symptoms and seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Factors that contribute to Hashimoto’s

While the exact cause of Hashimoto’s is still unknown, certain factors can contribute to its development. These factors include genetic predisposition, hormonal imbalances, high levels of stress, and environmental triggers. Research suggests that there may also be a link between Hashimoto’s and gluten intolerance or sensitivity. Eliminating gluten from the diet has been reported to alleviate symptoms in some individuals with Hashimoto’s, including those related to eye health.

Understanding Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration and its types

Macular degeneration is a common eye condition that affects the macula, which is the central part of the retina responsible for sharp vision. There are two types of macular degeneration: dry and wet.

Dry macular degeneration is the more common form and occurs when the macula gradually thins and breaks down over time. This can result in a gradual loss of central vision, making it difficult to see fine details or perform tasks that require sharp vision.

Wet macular degeneration, on the other hand, is less common but more severe. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak fluid or blood, causing rapid vision loss. Without timely treatment, wet macular degeneration can lead to permanent vision impairment.

Risk factors for macular degeneration

Several risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing macular degeneration. These include age, as the condition is more common in individuals over the age of 50, family history of macular degeneration, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and being of Caucasian descent. Understanding these risk factors can help individuals take preventive measures and seek early detection and treatment options.

Symptoms of macular degeneration

The symptoms of macular degeneration may include blurred or distorted vision, blind spots in the central field of vision, difficulty seeing in low lighting conditions, and a decrease in the vibrancy of colors. It is crucial to be aware of these symptoms and consult an eye care professional if they persist or worsen, as early intervention can help slow the progression of the condition and preserve vision.

The Link Between Hashimoto’s and Macular Degeneration

Observations and patterns in patients with Hashimoto’s and eye problems

While the exact link between Hashimoto’s and macular degeneration is still being researched, there have been observations and patterns in patients with Hashimoto’s and eye problems. Many individuals with Hashimoto’s have reported experiencing various eye conditions, including retinal detachments, bulging eyes, and macular degeneration. This suggests a possible connection between the autoimmune response in Hashimoto’s and the inflammation that can occur in the eyes.

Effect of gluten on Hashimoto’s and eye health

In some cases, eliminating gluten from the diet has been associated with improvements in the symptoms of Hashimoto’s, including eye problems. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, and some individuals with Hashimoto’s may have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance. The elimination of gluten may reduce inflammation and the immune response triggered by Hashimoto’s, potentially alleviating symptoms affecting the eyes and improving eye health.

Inflammatory process and decreased blood supply in the brain

Hashimoto’s disease can lead to an inflammatory process in the brain. During flare-ups, the inflammatory response can decrease blood supply, particularly to the frontal lobe. Interestingly, the eyes are the only part of the brain that is visible on the outside, and they receive blood supply similar to the brain. It is hypothesized that the inflammatory process and decreased blood supply in the brain may contribute to the development or progression of eye conditions such as macular degeneration.

The role of inflammation in eye conditions

Inflammation plays a significant role in various eye conditions, including macular degeneration. Chronic inflammation can damage the delicate structures of the retina, including the macula, leading to vision impairment. In individuals with Hashimoto’s, the chronic inflammation associated with the autoimmune response may contribute to the development or worsening of macular degeneration. Managing inflammation through appropriate treatment and lifestyle modifications may help improve eye health in these individuals.

The Connection Between Hashimotos and Macular Degeneration

Case Studies and Results

Several case studies have reported improvements and even reversals of macular degeneration in individuals with Hashimoto’s who were able to successfully control their autoimmune disease. By addressing the underlying autoimmune response, managing Hashimoto’s, and reducing inflammation in the body, these individuals experienced improvements in their eye health. These case studies highlight the importance of seeking comprehensive treatment for Hashimoto’s and its potential impact on eye conditions.

Management and Treatment

Getting Hashimoto’s under control

Managing Hashimoto’s involves a multidimensional approach that aims to control the autoimmune response and restore thyroid hormone levels. Treatment options may include thyroid hormone replacement therapy, lifestyle modifications, stress management techniques, and dietary changes. It is essential to work closely with a healthcare professional, such as an endocrinologist or functional medicine practitioner, to develop an individualized treatment plan.

Effectiveness of controlling Hashimoto’s on eye health

Controlling Hashimoto’s through appropriate treatment and lifestyle modifications can have a positive impact on overall health, including eye health. By reducing inflammation and managing the autoimmune response, individuals may experience improvements in eye conditions such as macular degeneration. Regular monitoring and follow-up with an eye care professional are crucial to assess any changes in eye health and adjust treatment as needed.

Importance of regular eye check-ups

Regular eye check-ups are vital for individuals with both Hashimoto’s and macular degeneration. Eye examinations can detect early signs of macular degeneration and allow for prompt intervention to slow or halt its progression. Additionally, monitoring eye health can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of Hashimoto’s treatment and overall well-being. It is recommended to schedule comprehensive eye exams at least once a year or as advised by an eye care professional.

The Connection Between Hashimotos and Macular Degeneration

Prevention and Lifestyle Factors

Eating a balanced diet and avoiding trigger foods

Maintaining a balanced diet rich in nutrients, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids can support overall eye health. In individuals with Hashimoto’s, avoiding trigger foods, such as gluten, may help reduce inflammation and potentially alleviate eye problems associated with the autoimmune response. Consulting with a registered dietitian or nutritionist can provide personalized dietary recommendations for managing Hashimoto’s and supporting eye health.

Managing stress and maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, or engaging in hobbies, can help reduce the impact of stress on the body and immune system. Chronic stress can exacerbate autoimmune responses, including those seen in Hashimoto’s, potentially affecting eye health. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a balanced work-life routine can also contribute to overall well-being and potentially improve eye health.

Exercise and its impact on eye health

Regular exercise has been shown to have positive effects on both Hashimoto’s and eye health. Exercise can help reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and support overall immune function. These benefits may translate to improved eye health and a reduced risk of macular degeneration. Engaging in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or swimming, for at least 150 minutes per week is recommended for optimal health.


While the connection between Hashimoto’s and macular degeneration is still being researched, there is evidence to suggest a potential link. Observations and patterns in patients with Hashimoto’s and eye problems, as well as improvements reported in case studies, highlight the importance of considering the impact of autoimmune diseases on eye health. By effectively managing Hashimoto’s through comprehensive treatment, addressing inflammation, and adopting a healthy lifestyle, individuals may have the potential to improve their overall eye health and potentially slow the progression of macular degeneration. Regular eye check-ups and open communication with healthcare professionals are essential for optimizing eye health in individuals with Hashimoto’s.

You May Also Like