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NUTRITION AND YOUR EYES

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Nutrition and Your Eyes

Nutrition and eyesight
What Is Macular Degeneration? 
Macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the United States. It is caused by deterioration of a portion of the retina, the back of the eye that records the images we see and communicates them via the optic nerve to the brain. Macular degeneration affects the central portion of the eye, along with our ability to read, recognize faces or drive a car. Early stages of macular degeneration may not be entirely recognizable, as vision impairment at this stage may be mild. Therefore, regular eye examinations are highly recommended to help diagnose eye conditions, including macular degeneration. Risk for this diseases increases with age; although, there is not yet a fully determined cause of macular degeneration or a known cure. Diet is one of the most important factors in treating macular degeneration, along with exercise and protecting your eye health overall.

If you are experiencing vision loss, or have any questions about macular degeneration or nutrition for your eyesight, please contact us for more information.

Nutrition and Your Eyes 

As you’ve probably heard, carrots are good for your eyes. Technically, they can’t give you superhero-quality eyesight like you may have been told when you were young, but they do contain ingredients that are instrumental in protecting your vision and overall health. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene (which the body converts into vitamin A) and antioxidants known to reduce the risk of some cancers, such as leukemia and lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The vitamins and nutrients in carrots also help protect the delicate surface of your eyes.

Nonetheless, carrots are not the only foods known to be beneficial for your eyes. In fact, brightly colored fruits and vegetables in general — including pumpkin, red peppers, watermelon and broccoli — have been found to help protect your vision health.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Spinach. A super food, spinach is one of the best leafy green options you can eat to protect your eyesight. Spinach is rich in both lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants that filter out light from the eye that can cause damage. Moreover, consuming an adequate amount of lutein has been shown to be an important line of defense against macular degeneration, a disease that leads to vision loss. Given its abilities to help protect eye health, improve blood glucose levels, lower blood pressure and lower the risk of certain cancers, spinach is an excellent ingredient for salads.
  • Fish. Omega-3 fatty acids are another incredible nutrient that your eyes need to thrive. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and herring are some of your best options when it comes to getting omega-3 fatty acids. However, if you aren’t a fan of fish, try eating flaxseeds, walnuts and peanut butter, which are also packed full of omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Sweet Potatoes. There’s something about the color orange in natural foods. … Similarly to carrots, sweet potatoes (and yams) contain beta-carotene, which, again, helps protect the surface of the eye as well as mucous membranes and the skin around your eyes. As an added benefit, sweet potatoes also contain high levels of potassium and fiber.
  • Eggs. When it comes to your eyesight, the egg yolks are the most beneficial part of the whole egg. Eating eggs is an easy way to ingest lutein, which helps fight macular degeneration. Although it’s best to eat many of the foods listed here in their raw form to help your body get the maximum health benefits, eating slightly cooked egg yolks can still provide eye health benefits.
  • Beans. Beans are good for your eyesight in a variety of ways. Specifically, they contain zinc, which helps transport vitamin A through the body to your retinas, which benefit from the vitamin. Moreover, zinc helps convert vitamin A into rhodopsin, which allows you to see at night. Other foods that contain high levels of zinc include oysters, beef, seafood, poultry and pumpkin seeds.

It’s best to eat a balanced diet instead of focusing on one single nutrient, because, as with zinc and vitamin A, many of these nutrients work together for your vision health. Moreover, your overall health will thank you too.


HOW DOES AGING AFFECT YOUR EYES?

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How Does Aging Affect Your Eyes?

eyes aging
3 Tips to Preserve Your Eyesight
Maintaining good vision is important as you age. Protect your eyesight by following these tips:

See Your Eye Doctor Every Year

Your optometrist will examine your eyes and look for any conditions that could affect your eyesight. During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will dilate your eyes, in addition to updating your eyeglass or contact lens prescription. Dilation allows him or her to look for changes in your retina, macula and optic nerve.

Visit Your Family Doctor Also

Several health conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure, can damage the eyes if untreated. These conditions are often detected during a visit to your doctor. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes, prompt treatment can help you avoid damage to your eyes.

Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses do more than shield your eyes from glare. They also protect you from the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. UV light exposure can contribute to the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration. Make sure your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays.

Aging causes changes in every part of your body, including your eyes. Although adjusting to some of these changes is no more difficult than tweaking your eyeglass prescription, others can affect your eye health. These age-related eye problems are particularly common.

Presbyopia

Reading glasses become a necessity for most people at some point during their 40s. The problem occurs due to a condition called presbyopia. As you age, the lens inside your eye begins to harden, which makes it more difficult for your eyes to focus.

Dry Eyes

Changes related to aging can also cause your eyes to become drier, particularly if you are a woman who has gone through menopause. Dry eyes burn and itch. You may notice that you develop eyestrain when you use the computer or read because of your dry eyes. Lubricating eye drops can help relieve your symptoms.

Floaters

Have you ever noticed tiny pieces of string floating across your field of vision? These tiny specks are called “floaters” and occur when the vitreous, the gel-like substance inside your eye, starts to shrink slightly. When this happens, the vitreous sheds small strands, which then float back and forth across your visual field. Floaters are generally harmless; however, if you suddenly see a large number of floaters or notice that floaters are accompanied by flashing lights, see your optometrist as soon as possible. These symptoms can occur if you experience a vitreous or retinal detachment.

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the lens at the center of your eye becomes cloudy. If your cataract becomes large enough and interferes with your vision, your optometrist will probably recommend surgery to remove it. During cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is replaced with an artificial lens.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration causes changes to the macula, the area of your retina that controls central vision. If you have this condition, you may notice that your central vision is blurry, or there are blank spots in your central vision. When you have age-related macular degeneration, it can be hard to read, drive or recognize faces. There are two forms of macular degeneration: dry and wet. Anti-oxidant supplements may be recommended if you have the dry form. Preventing blood vessels in the macula from leaking is the goal of treatment for the wet form. Laser treatments to seal vessels and injections that prevent new blood vessels from forming can help.

Diabetic Retinopathy

If you have diabetes, it’s important to be aware of the signs of diabetic retinopathy, which include blurred vision, trouble with night vision and dark spots in your center vision. The condition occurs when small vessels in your retina leak blood or fluids, clouding your vision.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when the pressure in your eye is too high and can lead to permanent vision loss. In many cases, people do not have any symptoms initially. Glaucoma can be detected with a simple test at your optometrist’s office. If you are diagnosed with the condition, prescription medications, eye drops or surgery can help preserve your vision.

Changes to Peripheral Vision

As you age, your peripheral, or side, vision decreases by as much as 20 to 30 degrees by your 70s or 80s. Loss of peripheral vision can make it more difficult to do many things, including driving. Although there is nothing you can do about peripheral vision loss, it’s important to be aware of your new limitations.

Are you concerned about vision changes related to aging? Call us and schedule an appointment for a comprehensive vision exam, including glaucoma testing.


5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOUR EYE HEALTH

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5 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Eye Health

protect your eyes
Exercise Your Eyes
Use these simple exercises to relieve tension throughout your eye area.

  1. An Exercise in Focus

Hold a pen at arm’s length, focus your eyes on it and slowly bring the pen closer to your face until it is about 6 inches from you. Slowly move the pen back to an arm’s length away while maintaining your focus on it, and repeat this action 10 times.

  1. Massage Your Temples

Relieve some of the pressure behind your eyes by using your thumbs to massage your temples. Massage this area, using small circles, and then repeat the same action below the eyes, on both sides of your nose, and in between your eyebrows, at the forehead.

  1. Roll Your Eyes

Start by looking up and then slowly circle your eyes in one direction. Repeat this 10 times and then reverse the action, moving your eyes 10 times in the opposite direction.

Note: Although these eye exercises are great for relieving tension, they are not an alternative to proper vision treatment. If you are suffering from chronic eye strain or another vision problem, contact us today to schedule an appointment, so we can examine your eye health and suggest appropriate treatment options.

Protecting your eyesight is an important part of maintaining your quality of life. Here are five simple things you can do to help preserve your vision.

1. Stop Smoking

It is no secret that smoking is strongly linked to many health problems; however, did you know that it can also damage your eyes and vision health? Smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma. In addition, smoking increases your risk for diabetes and its many complications, including new blood vessel growth, diabetic retinopathy and permanent vision loss. Cigarette smoke can also irritate your eyes and cause dry eyes. This can cause general discomfort and make wearing contacts uncomfortable.

2. Eat Well

In order to function optimally, our eyes require a wide assortment of nutrients. Certain vitamins, including vitamins A, C and E, are instrumental in protecting your eyesight and can be found in brightly colored vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins. Your eyes also need antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, to protect against sun damage. Dark leafy greens, egg yolks and yellow peppers are dense with these antioxidants.

3. Exercise

Physical exercise is an essential part of maintaining your overall physical health. Regular exercise can help lower blood pressure, release tension and reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. It can also be highly beneficial for your eyes. Research has shown that regular exercise lowers your likelihood of developing some serious eye conditions, including reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration by nearly 70 percent. In addition, physical exercise can reduce pressure and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve. This may help slow general vision loss from diseases such as glaucoma.

4. Go to Sleep

Getting quality sleep is important for your eyesight. It helps prevent your eyes from drying out and being overly strained. Sleep allows your body to recover and heal from the previous day. This is especially important if you spend the majority of your day sitting at a computer or looking at electronic screens. Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to counteract some of the strain you put on your eyes throughout the day.

5. Turn off the Computer

In today’s online world, most people spend many hours staring at a computer screen or alternative electronic device. However, technology can cause permanent damage to your eyes. Spending too much time staring at electronic screens can cause discomfort, including dry eyes and eye strain. For many people, it can even cause persistent tension headaches. Although in this day and age, it is difficult to turn away from screens entirely, you can protect your eyes from excessive strain by looking away from your screen for a few minutes every hour to give your eye muscles a break.


TIPS TO ALLEVIATE DRY EYES

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Category : Newsletter

Tips to Alleviate Dry Eyes

dry eye relief
How to Wash Your Eyelids 
An important part of controlling your blepharitis begins with treatment at home.

One of the most common forms of dry eye syndrome self-care is washing your eyelids with baby shampoo and warm water. Washing your eyelids can help clear them of oil buildup around the lashes or debris and can decrease bacteria around the eyelids. Help keep your eyelids clean and functioning properly with the following steps:

1.       Wash your hands.

2.       Dilute a small amount of non-irritating baby shampoo with warm water; use a commercially prepared lid scrub solution recommended by your optometrist.

3.       Using a clean wash cloth, run the solution across the eyelashes and the edge of your closed eyelid. Again, make sure to use a clean cloth for each eye to prevent further irritation.

4.       Rinse your eyes with clear water.

5.       Repeat process with the other eye.

Studies show that dry eyes are one of the most common eye problems throughout the United States. Dry eyes are caused by a lack of quality tear production, and are most common in both men and women over the age of 50. Tear production can be limited by a variety of causes; one of the most common is a specific eye inflammation known as blepharitis. Here, we discuss ways to alleviate dry eye caused by blepharitis.

What Is Blepharitis?

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid that is often associated with an infection.

Dry eye is one of the most common symptoms of blepharitis. However, other symptoms may include red or swollen eyelids, sensitivity to light, blurry vision and crusting of the eyelashes.

Blepharitis is classified in two different types:

  • Anterior blepharitis. The two most common causes of anterior blepharitis are bacteria and a skin disorder that causes itchy, flaky skin called seborrheic dermatitis. Anterior blepharitis usually occurs near the eyelashes and affects the front of the eyelids.
  • Posterior blepharitis. This condition is usually caused by problems with the oil glands in the lid margin, and is often associated with acne rosacea and dandruff on the scalp. It affects the inner surface and the edge of the eyelid that comes into contact with the eye.

How Is It Treated?

Treatment for blepharitis varies depending on the specific type. Keeping your eyelids clean and free of crusts is typically the key to treating blepharitis. In addition, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following.

  • Wash your eyelids with a mixture of diluted baby shampoo and warm water.
  • In some cases, artificial tear solutions may be prescribed.
  • The eyelids may need to be massaged to wash out oil accumulated in the eyelid glands if the glands in the eyelids are blocked.
  • Using an anti-dandruff shampoo on the scalp can also help.
  • Using eye makeup will make lid hygiene more difficult, and limiting or stopping its use is recommended.
  • In some cases, artificial tear solutions may be prescribed.

If you wear contact lenses, you may have to temporarily discontinue wearing them during treatment.

Want to Know More?

If you suffer from red or irritated eyes, discuss the problem with your eye doctor right away. He or she can provide self-care tips as well as share additional ways to prevent future eye infections and protect your eyes.