Jo Ann Jeffers, OD, is turning her career toward a different approach to care, one that still includes traditional optometry but goes beyond it, as well.
She continues to practice at Cherry Grove Eye Care in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. But she’s reduced her time there—she sees patients part-time these days—and is devoting more hours to working with caregivers in other fields, such as anti-aging medicine and chiropractic care.
She also has a fellowship with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, and in those studies she learned about the variety of holistic care treatments. “I’ve been passionate about natural health for a long time,” she says. “As I got into anti-aging medicine, I started finding new products and lifestyle changes to offer to patients.”
In her optometry practice, she started introducing patients to homeopathic products to treat eye conditions such as dry eye, vitreous floaters and glaucoma. And as part of her broader holistic approach, she combines those homeopathic products with changes in nutrition and the use of high-quality vitamins.
“I introduce to patients that they can go with over-the-counter treatments or homeopathic products. I explain to them that
homeopathy is not about just masking the symptoms. Homeopathy stimulates the body’s immune system, so you get to the root of the
cause, and they like that.”
Her preferred supplier is Natural Ophthalmics. She likes the range of products covering everything from dry eye to macular degeneration. There are Tear Stimulation Dry Eye Drops for Women who encounter dry eyes due to hormonal imbalance. And there are Tear Stimulation Forte Drops that address inflammation, MGD and general dryness. She asks patients to try the products and come back in a month. “They are almost always doing better,” she says. Homeopathic products “allow your body to heal itself. It’s something that really works.”
Some patients are more willing than others to test a homeopathic approach. “It depends on the depth the patients want to go to,” she says. With macular degeneration, for example, she says the progression can be slowed “by using good-quality ocular vitamins and homeopathics,” she says. “I also have protocols for ocular allergies, for vitreous floaters and even for glaucoma.”
The quality of vitamins and nutrients and how they’re made “are a big deal,” she says. Many over-the-counter products use substances that Dr. Jeffers says make them less effective. “My job is to look for companies that make products with natural ingredients and don’t have any fillers or additives,” she says. “Natural ingredients will be absorbed much better.” She has great confidence in the Natural Ophthalmics line of homeopathic and nutraceutical products, which she sells.
Dr. Jeffers’ work beyond optometry is a new effort called Inner Vision Healing Arts. Under that name, she has been working at the Labod Chiropractic Center in Little River, South Carolina. “We are just helping people in a more natural setting,” she says.
Besides nutritional eye care and anti-aging counseling, she also offers clinical hypnotherapy to deal with issues such as depression, weight loss and smoking cessation. She provides craniosacral therapy, which involves a “soft touch” technique in hour-long sessions designed to improve patients’ general wellness.
She offers patients help with nutritional eye care, with an emphasis on dietary changes and using high-quality vitamin supplements when needed. She also helps patients develop an anti-aging regimen of dietary changes and nutraceutical products.
Dr. Jeffers has a seven-acre farm near North Myrtle Beach, where she grows vegetables and keeps chickens. She has a couple of bee hives, along with a mule and a rescued pony.
As she makes this career turn toward a holistic approach to health care, she’s finding a willing market of patients. She says, “If you believe in it, which I do, people listen.”