In this episode, James interviews Dr. Bryce Appelbaum, a neuro-optometrist. For the first time ever on the podcast, we learn about the field of functional optometry, including how it differs from traditional optometry.

Dr. Appelbaum discusses the importance of vision for overall health and how vision problems can impact learning, behavior and daily life. His framework is shaped by his childhood experience with overcoming visual problems through vision therapy. He is passionate about his mission to raise awareness about functional vision care, even though he faces resistance from conventional optometry.

He also introduces his online vision training program, ScreenFit, which is designed to minimize the negative effects of screens on vision and promote healthy visual habits. Podcast listeners can use the code EVOMED to receive a discount on the ScreenFit program.

Tune into the full conversation to learn more about:

  • How one in 10 children have vision problems that impact their ability to learn
  • The importance of vision for neurological function, especially in childhood
  • Waldorf education and developmentally appropriate educational philosophies
  • How inflammation and cardiometabolic health relate to eye function
  • And much, much more!

Functional Optometry with Dr. Bryce Appelbaum | Episode 327

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: The cavemen didn’t wear glasses, and they still were engaging with near. So, so often now that we’re in a society and a medical system where we’re just looking for a quick fix, whether it’s a pill or a pair of glasses, and there’s work that can be done to at a minimum prolong the need for reading glasses and for many people even reduce the prescription that they’re in because glasses just attempt to treat a symptom. The symptom is blur. But if we can understand the root cause of the blur, whether it’s a eye coordination problem or a focusing flexibility or stamina problem or a depth perception problem, or if we address the problem, then at a minimum the symptom improves. In many cases, it’s eliminated with enough work.

James Maskell: Welcome to the Evolution of Medicine podcast, the place health professionals come to hear from innovators and agitators leading the charge. We cover the latest clinical breakthroughs and health technology, as well as practical tools to help you transform your practice and the health of your community.

This podcast is brought to you by the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center, who provide a range of options to help you deliver successful, effective functional and integrative medicine. To find out more and to get started, go to That’s

Hello and welcome to the podcast. This week we are talking about the evolution of optometry. Can we improve eyesight? Can we improve it at a young age? Can we improve it at an old age? And to what degree is our dysfunction in our eyesight causing other dysfunction in the body? I think this is a really, really impactful half an hour, and I think it’s relevant to every type of practitioner. And really excited to be educated about the eye and the eye muscles and what’s possible. I know there’s a lot more education that’s possible as well.

And check out at the end where there’s an opportunity for you to prescribe vision improvements to your patients with Dr. Applebaum’s program, ScreenFit. Really, really interesting half an hour. Enjoy.

So, a warm welcome to the podcast, Dr. Bryce Applebaum. Welcome, doc.

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: So glad to be here. Appreciate you having me on.

James Maskell: 300 podcasts over almost 10 years, and never an optometrist until today.

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: Well, I’m not like most optometrists, so you’re coming in with a bang here. We’re starting off right.

James Maskell: Well, let’s get into it. I want to talk about the field of functional optometry and some of the work that you’re doing there, but as it happens, when we scheduled this podcast, I ended up speaking to a friend of mine the other day who, as chance would have it, is working with his son, or you’re working with his son. And he was sharing with me yesterday that in just a couple of sessions, his son has gone from basically hitting one out of eight ping pong balls to hitting seven out of eight ping pong balls. And so, let’s just start there. How is that possible?

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: Yeah, so vision’s our first connection with all of space and all of life, and every visual skill that I work on, and I help people improve our skills that, when we’re born, they’re not in place. We don’t have the ability to track, focus, use our eyes together as a team. We don’t have depth perception. It comes through our life experiences, it comes from learning from our world.

Your friend’s son who came in was having a lot of struggles in life with dysregulation and sensory integration dysfunction and really just didn’t feel… Felt kind of lost in space. And when you hear sensory integration dysfunction, vision is our dominant learning sense. It should be what’s guiding and leading, and for so many of us it’s interfering.

So, I was fortunate enough to meet this young man. Came in, and he had some pretty substantial visual developmental delays, meaning he hadn’t learned how to use his eyes together as a team as efficiently as he could or should. That actually allowed for some really fragile coordination with near. And he volunteered to me for the first time and anybody that he was seeing double when he was doing desk work and reading and writing because he had difficulty using the inside and outside muscles of his eyes together as a team.

So, we dug deep. We did a real thorough analysis of where everything was, and I put him in a vision-first bootcamp. So, essentially I got to work with him for a week. We did about 10 hours of office-based neuro-optometric vision therapy, and I’m sure we’ll talk about what that is. And we also did about five hours of sensory integration-based occupational therapy. And it’s pretty powerful with what that one-two punch can do for somebody in a short period of time.

And by the end of the week, he was tying his shoes for the first time. He was maintaining eye contact. He was able to understand personal space in a way where, when I talked to him initially, he’d come right up to me, an inch from my face, and by the end of the week he was maintaining eye contact. He was able to go through the airport apparently without having to touch everything. He’d get tactile feedback from his other senses, and then ping pong. I mean, that’s one of the hardest things visually is not only knowing where the ball is but anticipating where it will be. I didn’t know that that improvement happened. That’s awesome to hear. And if it becomes a professional ping pong player, then we know what the reason is for all that.

James Maskell: You could take 10% of his checks.

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: Oh, I love that.

James Maskell: Yeah. So, earlier in my career I worked with a lot of practitioners, working with kids on the spectrum, and sensory integration was one of the therapies that I was really familiar with because a good friend of mine was doing it and getting incredible results with kids in that way. How often would you say that this is a key issue and that it’s just being missed because no one knows that you could do anything about it?

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: I would say it’s in a ridiculously overwhelming number of cases. The estimations from NIH say that 20% of kids have something called convergence insufficiency, which is fragile eye coordination at near. But from a learning perspective, over 80% of what we learn in the classroom comes from the visual processing of information. And now that kids are being introduced to screens so early in life and often being asked to read at such early ages before they’re visually ready, this emerges as a hidden functional problem that when you know what to look for, it’s no longer hidden.

But the percentages, I mean, a child who’s squirmy with desk work, who has trouble maintaining focus with reading but can do great focus when you’re reading to him and he’s relying on his ears, not his eyes, or a child who is smart in everything but school and is showing frustration and tears with homework. Those are clear warning signs that at a minimum, vision is not where it needs to be to support the demands of their life.

James Maskell: Interesting. Just on a personal note, I’ve been very involved in Waldorf education for the last few years here. Now involved in this education project that my daughter goes to, and actually both my daughters now, one of the things that they talk about there is developmentally appropriate education, and what that ends up sometimes looking like is not learning to read as early as possible.

And this is the first time, as I’m just processing with you now in real time, that I’ve ever, most parents really can’t get their head around the fact that learning to read later, that might actually be better. But this is now I’m putting these two things together and saying, hey, if you have a kid who’s physical alignment of his eyes has not come together and you are trying to get them to read and they can’t read, what sort of confidence shifts does that create in the kid and how does that affect long-term? And I’m just wondering if I’m putting those two things together or if I’m off base with that.

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: I mean, you’re right on the money here. One in 10 kids has a vision problem significant enough to impact learning. And when you think about what’s required for reading, careful tracking of the eyes, careful focusing of the eyes, convergence of the eyes, and then the processing of that information.

So, we’re not talking about eyesight here, the ability to see. We’re talking about vision, which is what the brain does with information the eye sends it. We take for granted how challenging learning to read is, especially when so many kids are reading at such early ages now before they have the foundation in place.

I’ve got three kids under 10, and pushing off reading and pushing off-screen engagement is something that they know I’m all about, and it probably annoys them. But we want to be able to do these tasks and start trying to engage with these tasks when we have the support system in place so that, like you said, we don’t go down this path of developing a negative association with reading and learning and then starting to avoid school and avoid reading, and then all of a sudden we’re not able to come close to living up to our true potential because we’re figuring out what we’re more successful at and what’s easier, and we gravitate towards those tasks.

James Maskell: Interesting. Yeah. Well, that’s really cool. Well, look, I guess I want to get into a little bit of how you ended up here because this isn’t the typical path of the optometrist, and obviously you found yourself in functional medicine circles one way or another, and that’s how we met. And I’m just wondering. This is an audience of practitioners you’re speaking to who is interested in root cause approaches, functional integrative medicine, lifestyle medicine. So, how did you realize that you were aligned with these people? And how did you discover that there’s this root cause approach available in optometry that everyone else seemed to be missing?

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: Yeah, I mean, I look at myself as a functional medicine practitioner for vision. And so many doctors are solely focused on the pursuit of 20-20 eyesight and seeing the tiny letters and eye health, which absolutely is important. That’s all being reactive. And what we do is we focus on development and function, which is being proactive and recognizing that almost every vision problem that’s functional is a brain problem manifesting through the eyes.

So, really I got into this, I’ve got a pretty unique story, and it really started when I was in first grade or so. And there was this kind of fall afternoon that I can remember as clear as if it was yesterday where I was playing soccer at Carter Rock Springs Elementary School. We were playing the Purple People Eaters. And there was this moment that was so clear where I was the lone defender.

There’s these three attackers, kind of on a breakaway coming at me, and it’s just them, me, the goal behind me. I completely freeze like my legs are stuck in quicksand, and they just blow past me and easily score. And I remember at the time feeling really afraid and helpless, and I let my teammates down, essentially giving away the goal to the other team.

Now, at the time, personally, I had these visual delays in terms of development. And I had trouble, I had poor depth perception. My eyes didn’t work together well as a team, and I had an inability to focus my eyes, really causing me to freeze in moments when I should have sprung into action. And so, that night at the dinner table, I had a complete breakdown where all the tears came out. I shared how I didn’t know what to do on the field or where to be, and in the classroom how I couldn’t see what the teacher was writing on the board, often having to ask my friends, “What does that say?” Or even walk up front and pretend I was sharpening my pencil with those old school pencil sharpeners to get a sneak peek.

And I worked hard in school, but I was a reluctant reader. And I often found myself flying through other subjects like math to kind of make up for all these deficiencies I had with reading. And so, because of my vision, I had this negative confidence and so often felt like this kind of turtle just stuck in my shell.

And so, fortunately I was born to the perfect parents. My father was a developmental optometrist, my mother, an occupational therapist, and it really wasn’t until this kind of breakdown that they put the pieces together and put this plan of attack in place to really facilitate the necessary vision development for me to help me soar in life. So, I did, over the next several years, consistent office-based vision therapy, sensory integration-based occupational therapy every week.

And because of this consistent treatment that I received, it really all kind of came together for me and jelled in about the fourth grade when my eyes, my brain, my body finally started working together as a team. And this confidence that was hiding within me really emerged. And I became a strong athlete. I started to enjoy reading. I developed the ability to kind of have interpersonal communication skills that weren’t there, and I really turned this disability into a strength where I could rely on vision to gain an advantage in the world.

And so, continued obviously with these therapies over time have transitioned from patient to clinician where now for decades I’ve been studying and evolving vision therapy in terms of innovations, technological applications, practices, protocols, really to get it to where it is today. But what’s so cool is I’m happy to share what we can accomplish now in a matter of months or even with your friend’s son in a matter of weeks or days what was done for me in years.

And even for those who’ve been misdiagnosed with ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or other learning differences, or people with lazy eyes or eye turns to avoid the need for surgery to develop depth perception for the first time, and even those with concussions and brain injury where we can significantly help the return back to learn, return back to work, and ultimately kind of the return back to life after that dysfunction. And even more so now, screens are the new pandemic, and all of us who have our heads buried in these devices and experiencing all these symptoms like headaches, eye strain, blurry vision, even environmentally induced nearsightedness, there’s so much that can be done to eliminate these problems even or these maladaptations even as options.

So, if you can’t tell, I’m kind of on a mission here. I’m here so that others don’t have to struggle the way I did, and now my focus is really getting vision therapy and neuro-optometric rehabilitation to become more accessible, to continue to allow it to innovate and being on the leading edge of technologies and therapies and practices so that this field can be more efficient and sustainable long-term.

James Maskell: What percentage of kids or people generally do you think it doesn’t happen naturally for at whatever timeframe it’s meant to happen? Obviously, there’s going to be probably a normal distribution of when it happens, right? So, some people, it happens early, there’s a medium section when it happens, and then some people it happens late or not at all. Is this common? And I guess for the practitioners who are listening to this who are working with complex patients and they’re now maybe having some light bulbs going off, going, “Oh, I wonder about that patient if this was a vision thing all along,” or, “When I did the history they said they had a hard time with this or that?” I’m just wondering, how often is this happening?

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: Yeah, so I mean, in my research clinically, about 45% of kids have a vision problem that is interfering with ability to read, learn, or do their best with academics. I would say overall in life, it’s probably a slightly lower percentage, but if you can think about the fact that vision is our dominant sensory system, and there’s more areas of our brain dedicated to processing vision than all of the other senses combined, it’s kind of hard to have any type of acquired injury, concussion, stroke, any type of brain injury and not have vision be impacted.

It’s just a matter of at what level. But then what we’re seeing now post-pandemic is the amount of vision problems that have emerged based off of so much of life being stuck on these two-dimensional devices and digital devices that have all this brightness and contrast and glare that’s blasting to our brains, and we don’t have as humans the foundation to support that.

I mean, I would imagine the vision problems now are probably close to 65% to 70% of the population from a functional standpoint. And my goal is I just want to empower as many people as possible to know that they don’t have to live this way, and all of these symptoms and behaviors, we really need to be putting our vision first and recognizing this could be a big piece of the puzzle, rather than just something that an eye doctor or a normal doctor just kind of pushes to the side because they don’t know what to even look for in terms of these functional problems.

James Maskell: Okay, so on the front end, learning these newly, there’s issues, but obviously the thing that most people understand with vision is, well, the vision just goes down over time, and that’s when you’re 50, you need glasses, and that’s just the way things are, right? And I would imagine, I’m just guessing that you don’t agree with that.

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: So, every muscle in our body, if we stop using them, we lose voluntary control, but for some reason all of medicine will say vision’s different, and eye muscles are different, and we’re just stuck with that. And you have to go get over the counter readers when you blow out the candles on your, a lot of people say your 40th birthday.

The cavemen didn’t wear glasses, and they still were engaging with near. So, so often now that we’re in a society and a medical system where we’re just looking for a quick fix, whether it’s a pill or a pair of glasses, and there’s work that can be done to at a minimum prolong the need for reading glasses and for many people even reduce the prescription that they’re in because glasses just attempt to treat a symptom. The symptom is blur. But if we can understand the root cause of the blur, whether it’s a eye coordination problem or a focusing flexibility or stamina problem or a depth perception problem, or if we address the problem, then at a minimum the symptom improves.

In many cases, it’s eliminated with enough work. What’s crazy to think about is there’s exercises and brain training and vision training that can be done to make it so we don’t need glasses. I have a patient right now, 92-years-old, and then many in their 70s and 80s who come to the eye gym and they put the work in so that they don’t have to be dependent on glasses down the road.

Now, anatomically our focusing muscles and our lens become more rigid and less flexible. But again, if we can develop a rapport with those systems and develop better stamina and flexibility, we don’t have to jump into the deep end right away like so many people tell us that we need to.

James Maskell: Interesting. Am I right in thinking that there’s some connection of some symptoms to metabolic function in the eye as well?

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: Oh, yeah. Inflammation is the root cause of so much disease. And I know I’m speaking to the choir here. I mean, you know this better than anybody. So many even medical problems with the eye, like macular degeneration and cataracts and retinopathy from diabetes or hypertension, has a strong inflammatory component that if we address that component, we can sometimes reverse these diseases, but definitely prevent even them from emerging.

Our tear film, for instance, so many people are experiencing these terrible dry eye symptoms and computer vision syndrome symptoms where the average person blinks 15 times in a minute. And when we look at a screen like we’re doing right now, it goes down to three to five times a minute, which means your own tears are not being dispersed over the front surface in the same way that they should. You’re blinking less, and your tear film then starts to get produced at a different consistency than what’s considered normal.

And the brain sends the signal to release more tears, but it releases more of the watery tears and less of the mucin layer, the outer layer of the tears, and then it allows your tear film to even drain the front surface faster than it should. And so, again, normal medical care is, “Let’s prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication,” or, “Let’s just rely on drops,” or whatever to help treat that. But so often if we can address an inflammatory component within our body systemically, then again, our tear film and the supplements and lifestyle modifications and nutrition that we can always provide can have a ridiculous improvement in terms of quality of life and reducing symptoms.

James Maskell: Interesting. And are this consistent with what you might do for whole body inflammation or autoimmune disease or whatever else that you were treating?

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: At some level, yes. Omega-3s, let’s say for instance, are phenomenal at allowing your own tear film to be produced in a more viscous fashion, so that the outer layer becomes more of a protective barrier, and that alone can help dramatically with dry eye symptoms. But even if we go back to the fact that the majority of functional vision problems are brain problems just manifesting through the eyes, if we’re treating based off of a brain basis, if we’re addressing the neuro-inflammation that’s occurring, then the brain fog and the mental clarity and the concentration and the decreased focus and all of the symptoms that so many practitioners that are listening to this have to deal with and treat each day, if we’re not addressing vision, there is a piece to the healing journey that is just being left on the table. And vice versa, if doctors in my specialty, in my space, are not addressing systemically what’s occurring, especially for a head injury, again, you’re only helping so much.

James Maskell: So, do you get invites to the Optometry Society to speak and be the keynote because you are pushing the boundaries in this space? Or is there resistance to these ideas in your profession?

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: Oh, man, is there resistance. I’ve got targets all over my back because what I’m doing is going against the grain. And my profession with functional vision, whether it’s developmental optometry, behavioral optometry, it’s been around for over 100 years, yet it’s been stuck in the Stone Age because nobody’s pushing new innovations and bringing this to other areas of medicine.

And so, I get asked all the time now from functional medicine practitioners and organizations to enlighten the audience and really share what almost nobody even knows about, yet in the optometry world, it’s more the complete opposite. It’s resistance, “This goes against what we were all taught in school.” We’re all taught that even neuroplasticity from vision doesn’t exist past age eight, and then all of a sudden, you can’t train the brain from vision, and whatever happens before age eight, you’re screwed with beyond that. It’s completely not true.

And the studies and the research from decades ago that allow us to think that that’s possible, really more focus on vision lost, not vision gained. If you or I were to cover up one of our eyes right now for six months with an eye patch, we’d take off the eye patch, and it’d be bright and a little annoying, but we wouldn’t have any issues.

But if my five-year-old were to go six months with an eye patch on, we’d take off the eye patch, and literally there’d be deterioration of vision because there’s so much malleability and brain activity that’s important at that time. So, then a pediatric ophthalmologist or somebody who’s again trained exclusively on the intervention of eye disease and on surgical intervention would say, “Oh, well, if there’s an eye turning in or out or up or down, or if there’s a lazy eye, you have to do something before age two or age five or age eight.”

These arbitrary dates because they instill fear based off of just what they know in terms of that’s the only, “If we don’t do this now, the future is…” Not as bright as it could be. We have patients developing depth perception at any age, with the right motivation and right compliance, but you got to do the work, and you have to know that we can rewire the software of our brain to change how we’re using vision, and we can teach our eyes how to retrain our brain to unlock so much potential in life based off of vision.

James Maskell: Awesome. Well, then I guess the next obvious question is if the other professionals won’t get it, and you are out sort of beating this drum and trying to bring people along, but it’s slow, I mean, it reminds me a lot of the early functional medicine days where people were like, “Hey, I’ve reversed some autoimmune disease, and people don’t like it.”

I mean, you look at any of the pioneers, someone like Terry Wahls, right? Not allowed to speak at MS conventions because giving people false hope and then proving that her thing wasn’t a one-off, and then now being more accepted. I guess, what do you think? What’s the plan? What have you thought about as far as how can we deal with this problem at the level that it exists and improve it in a way while the rest of the profession twiddles their thumbs?

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: Yeah. I am grateful for COVID, and I’m grateful for technology and screens now being catapulted into all of our lives because this is creating such a devastating problem for all of mankind and womankind, and the eye doctors and the medical practitioners who are so structural don’t know what to do with these patients who are experiencing all of these symptoms and nearsightedness that’s improving at an alarming rate or increasing at an alarming rate.

We’re finally getting to a point where this type of work, functional vision and vision therapy, is earning more attention because we have the solution to the screen time pandemic. We can develop the visual skills and abilities necessary to support extended screen use and to help support reading at earlier ages. But in so many cases, this has to be trained almost artificially in a setting where we haven’t learned how to develop this all on our own.

And I think because of now so many problems with related to screens and too much device use, we’re now getting direct referrals from Johns Hopkins and all the big hospitals by us that in the past said, “Well, if we don’t offer this, this treatment can’t possibly be worthwhile,” now it’s the complete opposite. And I’m only a referral-based practice. I’ve got an office with two locations in Maryland, one in Bethesda, one in Annapolis. We are growing at a rate that’s not really even sustainable.

And so, I’m going to be training lots more doctors in what we do, but on top of that, I want to put in significant time and effort to continue to stand on a rooftop and raise awareness about what we’re doing because there needs to be more people who are offering this type of care, because without that, we’re really doomed as a society.

And we finally now have doctors listening and at least questioning, “Well, what is this work that we’re all taught in school doesn’t exist or doesn’t work well because there wasn’t research or literature to support the efficacy of it?” Well, there is now, but all the groundbreaking researches from the last seven to nine years. And I heard recently that the average piece of research doesn’t get put into clinical practice until 17 years after it’s been published. I help dictate what research is done in my field with my colleagues in our vision help group, but even beyond that, we’re getting ahead of all this because it’s so needed.

James Maskell: Yeah, absolutely. Well, then I guess let’s talk a little bit about some of the options because obviously you can come to the clinic. It sounds like there’s some intensive programs, but I know that you also have been working on something that the average practitioner listening who’s in any state or any place in the world could prescribe something to their patients.

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: Yeah. So, I think without question, office-based vision therapy with a doctor board certified in this space, who knows what they’re doing and can identify that there is in fact a problem and it can be treated, and, “Here’s the path,” that’s the gold standard. That’s the best case scenario, and that will never change.

But we also recognize that there’s so few of us who have this specialty, and this isn’t accessible for the world like it needs to be, at least yet. And so, over the pandemic, it was really clear that all of a sudden life was taking place in a different way than it used to. And screens became the new normal and catapulted in the classroom for kids. All of us now working from home, even shopping, conversing with our neighbors, doing online medium. And at least from a human standpoint, we know that’s impacting social development, cognitive development, even vision development.

So, for me as a concerned parent, I remember in early 2020 where there was this, I was looking across the room on a Sunday afternoon, and I saw my two-year-old who was on a class play date staring at our laptop. And what that meant was playing with her friends, but the entire time she’s looking around, and, “What are all these lights flashing on the screen?” And, “I see my friend here, but they’re not behind the screen.” This is her first time looking at a computer.

And my twins, who were five at the time, were on opposite ends of our basement with their heads buried in their laptops. One, my son with a blanket over his head, and my daughter completely in the dark. And I remember my stomach dropping. And with my background as a functional eye doctor, we clearly were not a house that supported screen use at young ages, but on top of that, I don’t even know how they found these iPads, but here they were compulsively engaging with screens for playtime and for homework and even for boredom.

And to me, that’s when the light bulb went off in my head, for my kids and the entire world, screens aren’t going anywhere, and this is going to continue to become a bigger and bigger problem unless we do something to counter or even slow down the negative influence that these devices are having on our eyes and on our brains. And so, I realized we were on the verge of a whole new pandemic unfolding right before our eyes. And so, for me, that’s when the birth of ScreenFit occurred.

So, ScreenFit is a program when office-based treatment is not available that is a revolutionary online vision training program to help minimize the damage of screens to vision. And it’s essentially a vision wellness program designed to help reduce the symptoms but also promote healthy visual habits during extended screen time. But even more importantly, it trains the essential visual skills so you have the necessary visual foundation to thrive in the digital world.

So, this is, you can find it on It’s a phenomenal program that can not only, it provides practical applications of various vision lessons for anyone to help change their vision, not just their eyesight so that they can have the support system in place. So, if there’s two courses, each course has 30 lessons. Each lesson should take 10 minutes to complete, and it’s set up so that as young as five has gone through this successfully and as old as 89.

Every time I say this, I want to knock on wood. 100% of people who’ve gone through this have seen a reduction in symptoms.

James Maskell: Wow.

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: And we have had a crazy amount of people go through this. We have Marriott now offering it to its employees. We’re in talks with lots of very large companies and even potential government contract because this is something that we are all facing, and it impacts literally every single one of us. So, anyone listening, if you go to and type in EVOMED, E-V-O-M-E-D, you’ll get a discount thanks to James Maskell being the man. And it’s a program now, we have two courses on the backend, we’re creating a bunch of other courses as well, because if we can help somebody, even a percentage, to me it’s worth it.

James Maskell: Absolutely. Well, there’s a few things I want to say about that. One is, look, I know what it takes to go out and build something that can actually help people at scale, and I know definitely people in the functional medicine world have been thinking in those terms, to be able to make it impact. Obviously not the same as going in and working with a practitioner, but the practitioner are few and far between. So, I just respect and honor that.

It actually fits into a theme that I’m seeing for this year of connection and into next year as well. It’s just there is an appetite for solutions that solve key problems in health that have been missed by medicine in our space. And this is a great example of it, Marriott buying it, employers buying it, governments buying it, organizations buying it because they want to solve these problems. And there are real solutions coming from our community.

And one of the things that I’m really excited about and committed to in the future is connecting that demand and supply for some of the great work that’s being done in our community, either in individual clinics or otherwise. So, yeah, I’m grateful for you for leading the way in this particular topic. If you are working with people, and you are doing your long intake, and you are listening to them and they are telling you that there are things going on with their eyesight and their vision, consider this your permission slip to take your functional root cause approach and adopt it to the eyes. And if you are the person that connect someone to solving this problem, and they solve it through something like ScreenFit or going see a practitioner, I mean, what a gift.

Improving the function of someone’s senses, one of their senses, is, I couldn’t imagine a greater gift than that, having seen just how the reduction in the function of a certain sense will dramatically affect your life, right? And so, here’s one area. I don’t know if the other senses are as functional, as plastic. So, this is an obvious one, and I think vision is a critical one.

So, yeah, check out ScreenFit. Use the code EVOMED to get in there. Doc, thanks so much for leading the charge in this space, and I’m pretty excited to support you. And I would also say for those people listening who attend functional forum meetups, invite your local optometrists. Get them connected to your community because ultimately this is a community of people that see the possibility in the self-healing mechanisms of the body, understand the capacity of the body to heal if given the right tools and exercised in the right way.

And yeah, really grateful for you sharing that message. So, thank you.

Dr. Bryce Appelbaum: My pleasure. And I love what you’re doing, uniting so many communities of practitioners and people and really everyone with the common goal of just ending unnecessary struggling and to get healthier. And from a vision standpoint, there’s so much out there, advice that doctors give that we shouldn’t even necessarily take. We just shouldn’t settle for glasses that don’t seem right when we first get them. We should seek out 20-happy, not just seeing 20-20. We don’t need to jump in the deep end with all these over the counter readers the first chance we get.

And there’s just so much more division than eyesight, and we all deserve to have this opportunity to have our vision guiding and leading like it’s intended to so that we can get the most out of life. So, I appreciate the opportunity just to raise awareness because anyone listening to this clearly wants to know better so they can do better for their patients and for their families.

James Maskell: Beautiful. Awesome. Well, we’ve been here with Dr. Bryce Applebaum. This is the Evolution of Medicine podcast. We can call this episode the evolution of optometry. Really grateful for your work, and this has been the Evolution of Medicine Podcast. I’m your host, James Maskell, and we’ll see you next time.

Thanks for listening to the Evolution of Medicine podcast. Please share this with colleagues who need to hear it. Thanks so much to our sponsors, the Lifestyle Matrix Resource Center. This podcast is really possible because of them. Please visit to find out more about their clinical tools, like the Group Visit Toolkit. That’s Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you next time.


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