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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Smart Medicine for Your Eyes in Encinitas

Jeff Anshel, OD, FAAO, and owner of E Street Eyes in Encinitas

Jeff Anshel, OD, FAAO, and owner of E Street Eyes in Encinitas believes that a healthy lifestyle—diet especially—is imperative for healthy vision. A pioneer in holistic vision care, Anshel made the link between better nutrition and eyesight back in 1978 when he opened an office for holistic optometry at the Center for Total Health in Solana Beach, California. “It was a mecca for alternative healthcare. It hit me pretty early on that all of the other practitioners had nutrition attached to their specialty—everybody but me! I thought about it, and it made total sense that our eyes would be affected by what we put into our bodies. Think about all of the blood that flows into the eyes, all of the nerves. Linking eye health to nutrition was an obvious connection.”

Soon, Anshel began incorporating more alternative modalities, including nutritional counseling, into his vision practice. However, he says, in the late 70s and early 80s his ideas didn’t have a lot of industry support. While still focusing on better nutrition and lifestyle suggestions in his holistic practice, he discovered a new area of interest— helping those with computer vision problems. “I was an assistant professor at the Southern California College of Optometry several years ago. During my one-year term there, I kept running across people with vision problems that didn’t match up with their ages. For instance, many in their early thirties were just developing nearsightedness. I realized that it was long-term computer use that was deteriorating everyone’s vision,” he says.

In addition to E Street Eyes, where he provides eye exams and caring for contacts, glasses and prescription sunglasses, Anshel began a separate consulting business, Corporate Vision Consulting. He would travel to corporate workplaces to assist computer users in reducing eyestrain when locked into computer viewing on a full-time basis. “I often tell people about the three B approach—blink, breathe and break. We really don’t blink enough during the day, especially when we’re staring at screens. We also need to maintain a steady breath. As for breaks, every 20 minutes take 20 seconds to look at something that is at least 20 feet away.”

In 2001, a major study was released that showed that certain antioxidants slowed down macular degeneration. “After that study, more eye doctors and consumers became aware of the importance of nutrients for eye health,” he says. With that in mind, this Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry started the Ocular Nutrition Society to teach his colleagues about nutrition for their patients. He also began offering supplement evaluations along with complete eye exams. “During these evaluations, I look at my patients’ vitamin supplements and make recommendations for optimal eye health.”

Anshel says he couldn’t be happier with his practice. “I’m having fun doing what I’m doing. I have a short commute to the beach from my work and home, and nutrition is a fascinating subject as it keeps me learning and on my toes. I feel that I’m really making a difference in the lives of my patients. And I just love staying active, whether it’s walking on the beach or working out at the gym.”

E Street Eyes is located at 128 West E Street, in Encinitas. For more information, call 760-931-1390 or visit Mention this article to receive a half-price discount on a supplement evaluation when you come in for a complete eye exam.

Erin Lehn Floresca is a frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.

Dr. Anshel is the author of several books including Healthy Eyes, Better Vision; Visual Ergonomics in the Workplace, Smart Medicine For Your Eyes, and the Ocular Nutrition Handbook. For more information on each of these books and to order, visit