Fluoride and Degenerative Eye Diseases

Can fluoride be bad for your eyes? Fluoride is good for your teeth; it helps prevent cavities. That’s what we’ve been told for decades. Fluoride was first administered as topical applications in the dentists’ chair. Then in the toothpaste after some time, placed in the drinking water in many countries around the world. But research has demonstrated that topical application directly to teeth, is what decreases tooth decay, not ingesting it by eating or drinking foods or beverages that contain fluoride.1 So, everyone in the population with fluoridated water was getting more systemic fluoride. This has led to an increase in medical complications due to excess fluoride intake.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally rocks, in tea, Teflon, tobacco and in some medications. It has no core role in human development. When added to water supplies it gets into the soil and into the food supply.

Excess fluoride exposure

Studies conducted by DT Waugh and published in March 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, looked at an array of conditions and their geographic disbursement in countries with fluoridated water. They looked at the key biological mechanisms underlying how fluoride exposure may contribute to the increase in degenerative eye diseases including cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. Excess fluoride exposure can cause oxidative stress and interfere with antioxidant activity. Some of the studies suggest there may be an association between fluoride and other inflammatory conditions.

Risk factors for degenerative eye diseases

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in people over age 50. Risk factors typically associated with degenerative eye diseases are cardiovascular disease, obesity, diet, hypertension, and diabetes. Vision loss is detrimental for the individuals as it can interfere with their ability to work, live independently and enjoy a normal quality of life. It is also costly to society; billions of dollars are spent to treat these medical conditions.

Fluoride and eye disease

Fluoride concentrations can collect in the eye causing retinal toxicity. Waugh identified key biological pathways and mechanisms by which fluoride contributes to degenerative eye diseases. He suggests as has The New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. (NYSCOF) that minimizing exposure to fluoride can reduce the development or severity of degenerative eye diseases.2

Waugh suggests that no prior studies examined the impact of fluoride intake through the process of water fluoridation and the development of degenerative eye diseases. He describes the molecular mechanisms that may contribute to the development of AMD, cataracts or glaucoma.

The research

The purpose of Waugh’s investigation was to gain insight into molecular mechanisms of excess fluoride on health, identify any causative association in the development and progression of degenerative eye diseases and to review modifiable risk factors. Waugh noted prior research that the prevalence of degenerative eye diseases is highest among individuals with Down syndrome, schizophrenia, and diabetes. This association was first reported in the 1950s.

Fluoride has the ability to alter gene expression and protein activity, it can accumulate in the cataract lenses of the eye and is considered a causative factor in the incidence of senile cataract.

Impact of findings

Modifying or reducing fluoride intake may result in an overall reduction in modifiable risk factors associated with degenerative eye diseases. Because there are significant differences in prevalence rates between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities, Waugh says science can demonstrate why diabetics, schizophrenics and people with Down syndrome are more susceptible to the toxicities of fluoride.2

NYSCOF says you cannot avoid consuming fluoride when it's added to public water supplies. They have been reporting that fluoride has the potential for harm including to the eyes.2 NYSCOF and Waugh agree that minimizing fluoride exposure could reduce the occurrence or severity of AMD, cataracts, and glaucoma. They have been reporting results they have been documented for decades.

Other research

Other research studies have reported on the safety and benefits of fluoride for over 70 years. Fluoride in the water has led to better dental health.3 It is considered by The American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control to be one of the great advances of the 20th Century.

The risks associated with excess fluoride consumption – over fluoridation- may also lead to the development of pulmonary and neurodegenerative diseases, neurodevelopmental disorders and cancer. It can exacerbate musculoskeletal disorders that cause chronic pain.2 According to Waugh, we must look beyond teeth when examining how fluoride impacts human health to consider the modification of biological pathways.


The evidence reported by Waugh shows that fluoride increases the susceptibility to degenerative eye diseases across multiple pathways and biological interactions, and chronic exposure has a causative association in the development and progression of degenerative eye disease.2

There is a growing body of evidence that adding fluoride to drinking water may have unintended medical consequences, and according to Waugh should be eliminated.2

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