Home Health and Wellness Integrating Holistic Health Into Optometry

Integrating Holistic Health Into Optometry

Dr. Roitstein, an advocate of nutritional counseling and holistic medicine, in red skirt and black blazer
Dr. Roitstein

Carrie Roitstein, OD, CPNP, INHC, FOWNS, started her journey into the world of holistic health around a decade ago. It began not with nutrition but with cosmetic care products. She delved deeper into cleaner beauty products and nontoxic ingredients, highlighting the under-regulation of ingredients. Then she broadened her focus to nontoxic foods and cleaning supplies.

“I realized that if I wanted to talk the talk, I needed to walk the walk,” she recalls. This conviction led her to pursue an integrative health coach certification. She was among the first to complete the partnership program between the Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society and the American Nutrition Association (ANA), becoming a board-certified personalized nutrition practitioner.

Dr. Roitstein has been sharing her insights through professional journal articles and has expanded her patient care approach over the years. Recently, she secured a fellowship with a goal to work with optometry schools and nutrition societies. Her aim is to bridge the gap between eye health and holistic wellness.

UNDERSTANDING WELLNESS

“We have a long way to go,” she admits. Despite advancements in understanding from the AREDS study, the specific links between food and eye health are just beginning to gain recognition. Beyond nutrition, Dr. Roitstein emphasizes the importance of an integrated approach that includes sleep, stress management, toxin exposure, community involvement and exercise.

In her practice, she encourages patients to make small lifestyle changes. These include eating more colorful vegetables, which can lead to significant health improvements. She advocates for movement, whether it’s walking the dog, weight training or yoga, rather than rigid exercise regimens.

A WELLNESS-DRIVEN PRACTICE

Facebook post from glimpse shares importance of nutrition
The practice shares information on nutrition and holistic health on its social media posts.

Dr. Roitstein’s career spans nearly 30 years. For 16 years, she managed a 25-location private practice in Chicago before it was sold. Even then, she recognized the importance of incorporating discussions about nutrition and supplements into eye care. Now, she owns the two-location Glimpse Vision in Chicago with several partners, focusing on wellness-driven practices.

“Personalized service builds our practice,” she says. She and her team ensure thorough patient care, from advanced technology to in-depth conversations about diet, outdoor time and device use. This approach has resulted in more referrals, including from MDs who seek her expertise in nutrition.

She collaborates with other health care providers, including functional practitioners and internists, to address specific deficiencies or imbalances in her patients. While she will send out patients for bloodwork, when necessary, she uses genetic and MPOD testing along with a lifestyle assessment to tailor her supplement recommendations.

HOLISTIC APPROACH

“My primary focus is on conditions like dry eye and rosacea, which often require specific supplements,” she explains. She also addresses neurodegenerative conditions, cataracts and glaucoma prevention through comprehensive testing and long-term treatment plans involving anti-inflammatory diets and omega supplements.

The “Food is Medicine” public health initiative, supported by the federal government, has been promoting the significant role that food and nutrition play in preventing and managing chronic disease. That’s a concept she endorses and believes is taking hold. “Patients are more interested in living a balanced, healthier lifestyle,” she notes, adding that doctors must reinforce these messages to counter the misinformation prevalent on social media.

Her comprehensive approach extends to treating migraine sufferers with premium eyewear and lens tints, another referral avenue. “Personalized progressive lenses can’t be ordered online,” she points out, emphasizing the precision and care her practice offers. It’s part of her focus to ensure that her patients receive the best possible support for their overall well-being.

Listen to this podcast where Dr. Neda Gioia and Dr. Julie Poteet talk about the ANA certification available to Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society members.

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