All posts by kdtoptometry

10 Tips to rejuvenate your eyes this summer

You might have already started wearing your sunglasses and slathering on sunscreen as summer soon approaches. In spite of taking all these precautions, there are still high chances that you may end up catching an eye allergy because of the rising temperature. Here are some simple yet effective tips that you can try to rejuvenate your eyes…

1. If you get conjunctivitis or red eyes, ensure that you consult your eye doctor and use your eye drops regularly. Maintain hygiene so that it doesn’t spread to people around you. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious so try to wash your hands as much as possible.

2. Do simple eye exercises every morning. This is especially essential for those who spend hours in front of the computer screen everyday. Wash your eyes with a splash of cold water at least twice a day.

3. To relax, place cucumbers on your eyes. This will provide a lot of relief to tired eyes.

4. If you are prone to dust allergy, use an eye compress.

5. Eat a lot of green veggies and protein-rich foods — these are excellent for eye health.

6. Don’t expose your eyes directly to air conditioner. This may cause your eyes to get dry and sensitive.

7. Don’t share your makeup products, especially the ones that are applied on your eyes. This may also result in spreading infection.

8. Give yourself an eye massage. Use your thumb and index finger to give your eyes a soothing massage. Much needed this summer!

9. If you are a swimmer, make sure to wear water goggles.

10. Sleep for at least six to eight hours a day. That in itself is a good way to rejuvenate your eyes. If you suffer from dry eyes, use soothing eye drops to get some relief. Don’t forget to blink your eyes often.

A banana may boost eye health!

It is time we change the old adage, for a banana a day may keep blindness away. Eating a banana daily is likely to boost eye health and prevent vision-related diseases, a study has found.

Researchers have found that bananas have carotenoid — a compound that turn fruits and vegetables red, orange or yellow and are converted into vitamin A, important precursors for eye health — in the liver.

According to previous research, foods containing high levels of carotenoids also protect against chronic disease, including certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The study showed that banana rich in provitamin A carotenoids may offer a potential food source for alleviating vitamin A deficiency — important for sight.

To combat vitamin A deficiency, researchers have been investigating methods to boost carotenoids in bananas. Cara L. Mortimer and other researchers from Queensland University of Technology in Australia studied two banana varieties to find out why they make very different amounts of carotenoids. They found that the pale yellow, low-carotenoid cavendish variety produces more of an enzyme that breaks down carotenoids.

In addition, another variety stashes its carotenoids in microscopic sacs during ripening, shifting the chemical equilibrium in the fruit so it can make even higher levels of these substances. The findings, published in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, can someday help in the development of banana varieties with enhanced health benefits.

Bananas are ideal food for young children and families for many regions of the world, because of their sweetness, texture, portion size, familiarity, availability, convenience, versatility and cost.

Health tips to get more energy for your life

Start today: A 4-week plan for more energy

Get a boost with these bright ideas for being at your energized best
Do you feel like a 25-watt bulb in your 150-watt life? If so, maybe it’s time to shed some light on your personal energy crisis — and create a plan for recharging.

Here are some simple — but powerful — ideas to give you a boost. Try adding one or two strategies a week to your routine to keep your energy building.

Week 1: Food — the juice that runs you
Make sure you’re getting premium fuel. This week, take steps toward eating for more energy — and better health.

Plan ahead. Map out a week of healthy meals and snacks. See “This week’s healthy grocery list” for a handy shopping tool with wholesome foods.

Break for breakfast. Your brain and muscles need morning fuel after hours without food. This three-part combo can provide the energy and nutrients you need: a whole grain plus fruit and a source of lean protein — for example, oatmeal with berries and low-fat or fat-free yogurt.

Week 2: Sleep — your renewable energy source
When you don’t snooze, you lose — energy, that is. So this week, focus on getting the rest you need.

Keep a bedtime. Slip between the sheets at the same time each night. Most adults should aim for seven to eight hours of slumber. Keeping your bedroom dark, quiet and cool can help you drift into dreamland.

Squeeze in a short power nap — if you find it helps. But it’s best to do this in the early afternoon — not too close to bedtime.

Week 3: Exercise — the pep in your step
A brisk walk can be a great go-to energy booster. And over time, getting more fit can mean having more energy. This week, begin to move more.

Put it on your daily calendar — as nonnegotiable appointments. Pressed for time? You don’t have to do it all at once. Start with 10-minute sessions worked into your day — and build from there.

Recruit a buddy. Maybe the two of you could give salsa lessons a whirl or stretch your limits in a yoga class. Or how about reprising a childhood favorite? Maybe you loved to bicycle, swim or play basketball. You’re more apt to keep doing an activity you truly enjoy.

For safety’s sake, talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your level of physical activity.

Week 4: Energy siphons — your vitality drainers
This week, make some positive changes to help keep your zip from getting zapped.

Unwind daily. Take a few minutes each day to de-stress. Whether you journal, do crosswords, putter in the garden or just enjoy a quiet moment, it can be revitalizing.

Say “No more.” Snuff out bad habits that are dragging you down. For example, if you smoke, seek help. Make an appointment with your doctor to talk about the options available to help you quit.

Finally, as you make energy improvements, remember to be patient if you have setbacks. It takes time for new habits to click on for good.

LightbulbWhat to do next
Just breathe. Help melt stress away with this deep-breathing exercise. Practice it now.

Article courtesy of United Healthcare newletter

8 satisfying secrets of happy people

8 satisfying secrets of happy people

Adding these simple habits to your day may help boost happiness
Some people always seem to be cheerful and upbeat. So what’s their secret?

Turns out, it isn’t having loads of money or a perfect body, home or job. Instead, happy people tend to make time for healthy, fulfilling and feel-good activities.

Here are eight simple but powerful ways to follow their lead — and cultivate more happiness in your life:

1. Nurture social ties
Satisfying relationships help us feel fulfilled. But sometimes, time with others takes a backseat to the daily grind. A tip if you struggle with this: Make a point to connect with at least one friend or loved one each day.

Do you rely on texts, social media and email to stay in touch? That can be good. But don’t let technology entirely replace face-to-face time.

2. Give thanks — for joys big and small
Noticing and appreciating what’s good in your life can give you a happiness boost — even in rough times. So take moments to be grateful for a helpful co-worker, a cuddle from your pet or even just a really good hair day.

Even better: Make it a practice. Writing in a gratitude journal gives you a place to record and reminisce about all that’s right with your world.

3. Lend a hand
People who help others tend to feel happier. Consider volunteering regularly for a cause that’s important to you. And look for little ways every day to help out friends, family, colleagues or strangers — even if it’s just a kind word or caring ear.

4. Talk nicer to yourself
Do you tend to get down on yourself? Enjoy more happiness by questioning and countering your own negative thoughts. Research shows that by making positive shifts in thinking, over time, you can actually change your brain.

5. Find joy in moving
Exercise floods your brain with feel-good hormones. It can also help ease stress and anxiety. Find activities you enjoy — that keep you coming back for more.*

And here’s a happy little secret: Give yourself a quick mood booster with mini bursts of activity. Even a 10-minute walk or kitchen dance party can perk you up.

6. Create and play
Pursuing creative and playful activities can make you feel good. Whether it’s playing board games or air guitar, doodling or double Dutch, encouraging your silly side can bring you joy.

7. Get your pillow time
It’s no surprise we’re happier when we’re well-rested. In fact, getting quality sleep may help reduce the risk for anxiety and depression. Aim for a good seven to nine hours of slumber — for better health and happiness.

8. Look on the brighter side
The next time you’re faced with a negative situation, look for the silver lining. Did you manage it OK or learn something new? Nobody’s life is perfect. But focusing on the good instead of the bad can help tough times seem more manageable.

Remember, you have choices. You may find your bliss by choosing those that add more meaning to your life. And that’s certainly something to be happy about.

-Originally published by United Healthcare

Leafy Greens, Every Day, May Keep Glaucoma Away

New research indicates that leafy greens may be even healthier than we thought. While veggies like spinach, kale and collard greens may not be able to cure glaucoma, eating them regularly may help protect you against ever developing the most common form of the disease, known as primary open angle glaucoma (POAG).

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School followed more than 100,000 men and women who were enrolled in two major medical studies for a period of more than 28 years. Everyone in these studies was 40 years or older, and none had glaucoma at the start of the study.

Kale

The patients received eye exams every two years, and throughout the course of the studies, 1,483 people developed POAG. When the researchers looked at the diets of the study participants, they noted a strong similarity among those who did not develop glaucoma — these people ate more leafy greens. In fact, greater intake of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 20 percent to 30 percent lower risk of POAG.

The association was even stronger for POAG with early paracentral visual field loss, a common subtype of POAG. The research revealed that people who ate a lot of leafy greens had a 40 percent to 50 percent lower risk of acquiring this form of the disease.

The reason these super foods offer such great protection is related to the dietary nitrate they contain. It’s thought that glaucoma impairs blood flow to the optic nerve. Nitric oxide helps regulate this flow. Since leafy greens contain high levels of nitrates, the precursor to nitric oxide, consuming them likely keeps things running more smoothly.

A significant amount of other new research is currently aimed at developing therapeutics that treat glaucoma by way of nitric oxide. In fact, the FDA is reviewing at least one new medication that donates nitric oxide. But thanks to this latest report, far fewer people will need it if they load up on leafy greens before any glaucomatous damage is done.

So just how much roughage do you need to eat to protect yourself from glaucoma? In this study, those who consumed the most leafy greens averaged about 1.5 servings per day, which equates to about one and a half cups.

The study was published in JAMA Ophthalmology this month — A.H.

This article was originally published on the All About Vision website.

Eye Care Tips Computer Users Must Know

Eyes are considered as a mirror of the soul that acts as windows to the outside world. Eyes can express not only your beauty, but also your health. Our lifestyle has a great role in determining the health of the eyes. There are many people who have to work with computers and cannot escape from it. Taking good care of eyes is very important in keeping it healthy, especially if you are a person who uses computers for long hours continuously.

Strain is the most common factor that contributes to the discomfort that you feel after a full day’s work in front of the computer. This can occur due to various reasons like being too close to the screen, glare of the screen from the window, blurred letters on the screen, uncomfortable eye level with the screen or constant staring on the screen for a long time.

Since it is not possible to skip being in front of the computer while you work, the next best option is to take care of your eyes. Here are some easy eye care tips while working on computer that will help you to avoid computer eye strain.

1) Take a break: Staring at the screen without blinking your eyes will cause the eyes to dry up. It is one of the recommended eye care tips while working on computer to avoid computer strain.

2) Palming: Rub your palms against each other till you feel it warm. Keep your palm on your eyes for 60 seconds. This will help you relax your tired eyes. Repeat this two or three times till you feel tranquil.

3) Adjust the eye level: Whether it is television or computers, adjusting the screen to eye level is very important in keeping your eyes healthy. It is one of the most important eye care tips while working on the computer.

4) Follow the 20-20-20 rule: This exercise will help you relax while working for long hours in front of computers. Look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes and gaze at any distant object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

5) Keep the contrast: Choose dark letters and light background on the screen while you are working on your computer. This is one among the most practical eye care tips while working on a computer.

6) Avoid glare: It is important to work in an atmosphere where there are proper light settings. If you are wondering how to avoid computer strain, keep the computer where there is no glare from the window or the tube-lights.

7) Reduce brightness: Work on your computer only after reducing the brightness to a comfortable level. Increased brightness will make your eyes strain more. This is another point among the useful list of eye care tips while working on a computer.

8) Go green: Green is considered as the best colour to keep your eyes relaxed. Look outside your window in between your work. If you wonder how to avoid computer strain when your workplace is inside four walls, just set a green wallpaper on your screen.

9) Blink frequently: One of the most effective eye care tips while working on a computer is to blink your eyes every now and then. This will help keep the natural moisture of tears in your eyes and avoid dryness and other associated problems.

10) Consider computer glasses: As the name indicates, computer glasses are made specifically for people who work in front of a computer. If you want to know how to avoid computer eye strain, then this will help you by reducing glare, increasing clarity, and relaxing your eyes.

11) Use artificial tears: This helps re-lubricate our eyes and restores balance to our eyes during heavy computer use.

 

Yoga May Benefit People With Type 2 Diabetes

 

yoga

Everyone benefits from yoga – if they undergo proper training and continue with the practice. Regular practice of yoga benefits the body in the following ways:

It improves digestion, circulation, and immunity
Yoga enhances function of neurological and endocrine organs
It can prevents and provides relief from chronic illnesses
Overall the body feels healthier, more energetic
Diabetes is of two types – Type 1, where there is no production of insulin and Type 2, where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. In many cases, it is also easy to ignore diabetes in its early stage, especially, when you do not experience any symptoms.

The practice of yoga is effective as a preventive measure and also to treat Type 2 diabetes, where the causes are attributed to life style and stress.

Yoga attends to every aspect of an asana from start to finish, as well as the breath-work. So correct training is essential, before individual practice. The following asanas and pranayamas are effective for diabetes. They should be learned with proper guidance, before putting them into practice:

Vajrasana
Mandukasan (the version with fists in stomach region)
Supta Vajrasan
Viprit karni – Sarvangasan – Halasan – Sarvangasan
Lie down and relax for a minute
Chakrasan
Natrajasan (both legs on one side)
Purna Shalabhasan
Triyak Bhujangasan
Dhanurasan
Upward facing dog (Udharmukh swan asan)
Child pose
Udiyan Bandh
Paschimottanasan
Ardhmatsyendrasan
Parvatasan-Yog Mudra
Kapalbhati Nadisodhan pranayam

Sudden Onset Of Floaters, Flashes Requires Prompt Medical Attention

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/8, D7, Brody) reports in “Personal Health” that “when blood flow through the retina is blocked or when the retina pulls away from the wall of the eye, getting the problem properly diagnosed can be an emergency. Modern treatments can do wonders if they are begun before the damage is irreversible. But a delay in getting to a retinal specialist can diminish the ability of even the best therapy to preserve or restore normal vision.” The piece goes on to describe symptoms of, and treatments for, retinal-vein occlusion and retinal detachment.

In a related feature in the New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/8, D7, Subscription Publication), Denise Grady describes her experience with a vitreous hemorrhage. Patients who experience symptoms of a “mini-avalanche of the spots that doctors call floaters” along with “lightning-bolt” flashes are advised to seek medical attention promptly. In some cases, a detached retina may present with “blind spots or…black curtains,” and laser surgery is necessary to save sight. In Grady’s case, however, “the vitreous gel that fills the center of the eyeball had shrunk — a normal part of aging — and had pulled away from the retina. The flashes of light were symptoms of its tugging on the retina.” The problem will resolve itself in a couple of weeks.

Time Spent Outdoors Associated With Reduced Myopia Risk

Booting your children outside to play can not only boost their physical fitness – it can cut the chances of their developing shortsightedness, researchers say.

Shortsightedness, or myopia, has become increasingly common over the last four decades, both in the US and elsewhere – indeed, in parts of Asia, more than 80 percent of the population is nearsighted.

And a new University of Cambridge analysis of recent eye health studies indicates that the reason may be that children are spending too much time indoors, possibly because of a lack of light or too little time spent looking at distant objects.

The data included in the analysis was drawn from eight carefully selected studies on outdoor time and myopia in children and adolescents, representing 10,400 participants in total.

And the team found that for each additional hour spent outdoors per week, the chance of myopia dropped by approximately two percent. Nearsighted children spent on average 3.7 fewer hours per week outdoors than those who either had normal vision or were farsighted.

Though the reasons aren’t yet clear, the protective effect appears to result from simply being outdoors rather than performing a specific activity. Two of the eight studies examined whether children who spent more time outdoors were also those who spent less time performing near work, such as playing computer games or studying, but no such relationship was found.

“Increasing children’s outdoor time could be a simple and cost-effective measure with important benefits for their vision and general health,” says Dr Anthony Khawaja.

“If we want to make clear recommendations, however, we’ll need more precise data. Future, prospective studies will help us understand which factors, such as increased use of distance vision, reduced use of near vision, natural ultra violet light exposure or physical activity, are most important.”

It also appears that boosting outdoor time may stop nearsightedness from getting worse. A separate Chinese study of 80 nearsighted children between the ages of seven and 11 found that those that were given more outdoor time each week for a two-year period were less nearsighted on average than the control group.

Consuming Raw Vegetables, Fruits May Counteract Genes Linked To Heart Disease

On its website, ABC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/12, Carollo) reports, “Eating a healthy amount of greens could have an effect on genes linked to heart disease, according to a new study” published in the journal PLoS Medicine.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/12, Preidt) reports that investigators “examined the link between the 9p21 gene variant and diet in more than 27,000 people of five ethnicities — Arab, European, Chinese, Latin American and South Asian.” The researchers found that “the risk of heart attack in people with the 9p21 gene variant who ate a healthy diet composed mainly of raw vegetables, fruits and berries was similar to that of people without the high-risk gene variant.”

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/12, Doheny) reports, “The study findings suggest that lifestyle does matter, no matter what your genes have dealt you, says Eric Topol, MD, professor of translational genomics at The Scripps Research Institute and director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, Calif.”

New Study On Texting And Driving Released

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/6, Forsyth) reports that Texas A&M’s Texas Transportation Institute released a study yesterday finding that using a cell phone while operating vehicles doubles a driver’s reaction time. The longer reaction time means drivers have less time to focus on the road and react to changing conditions. The study tested 42 drivers between 16 and 54 who sent and received text messages while driving on an 11-mile text rack. When not texting, a driver took one to two seconds to respond to a flashing light. However, a texting driver took three to four seconds, making them 11 times more likely to drive through the flashing light. This is the first study conducted on actual vehicles, not simulators. US DOT statistics show that about 20% of fatal accidents are due to texting and driving.

Home Is the Most Dangerous Place for the Eyes

Home may be where the heart is, but it can also be a dangerous place for the eyes. More than half of the 2.5 million eye injuries that occur every year happen within or around the home.

According to results from the “Seventh Annual Eye Injury Snapshot” by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and the American Society of Ocular Trauma (ASOT), the most common place of injury was the yard or garden. In addition, one in four eye injuries that occurred in the home were due to home repair or use of power tools.

Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, has declared October as Home Eye Safety Awareness Month in an effort to urge the public to take extra care in protecting their eyes in order to avoid painful and potentially blinding eye accidents. Eye injuries include everything from painful corneal abrasions, to chemical splashes or punctures to the eye that can cause permanent vision loss.

“When doing everyday chores around the house or repair work in the garage, we can become complacent about remembering to use the proper eye protection,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “But, we must remember that an eye injury that can occur in a split second can have lifelong impact on vision.”

Prevent Blindness America urges everyone to wear eyewear approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The eyewear should have the “Z-87” logo stamped on the frames.

Prevent Blindness America also recommends the following:

· Provide effective lights and handrails to improve safety on stairs and reduce the risk of falls.

· Never mix cleaning agents. Read and follow all manufacturer instructions and warning labels.

· Wear safety glasses with side protection or dust goggles to protect against flying particles, and chemical goggles to guard against exposure to fertilizers and pesticides.

If you wear prescription glasses, many safety glasses or goggles will fit over your regular glasses. Regular eyeglasses do not always provide enough protection, and may even cause further injury upon impact.

· Inspect and remove debris from lawns before mowing. Make sure others in the yard are wearing eye protection as well, as bystanders can be hit by flying debris.
· Keep paints, pesticides, fertilizers, and similar products properly stored in a secure area. Read and follow all product instructions.
· Keep tools in good condition; damaged tools should be repaired or replaced.

Welding or brazing requires special safety goggles or helmets. Consult your equipment instruction or supplier for the proper protection.

Good Nutrition Important For Eye Health As You Age

Poor vision has many causes and treatments, and as you grow older, you will likely experience some type of vision loss or reduction in visual performance.

For older adults, bright lights, glare while driving at night and even blindness can dramatically affect quality of life, but the treatment isn’t just glasses or a stronger prescription – it’s also nutrition and supplementation.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness for Americans older than 60, according to the American Optometric Association. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 7.3 million people are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD. Other estimates indicate that as our population continues to rapidly age, as many as one in three could be diagnosed with AMD in the next 20 years.

AMD deteriorates central vision, affecting everything from seeing faces clearly to literally having no central vision at all. Key risk factors for AMD are age, family history, smoking (past or present), low macular pigment, light skin and eyes, obesity and Caucasian women are also at slightly higher risk.

Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) is a brief, non-intrusive exam performed by many optometrists throughout the country, which measures macular pigment in the back of the eye.

Think of macular pigment as “internal sunglasses” for the back of your eye – they absorb harmful blue light that can adversely affect eye health. Internal sunglasses protect the photoreceptors in the back of the eye – specifically the cones, which are responsible for central vision, color, sharpness and sensitivity to bright light, among others. Two key carotenoids, Zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan-thin) and Lutein, comprise the internal sunglasses, which can become thin as we age, unable to block or absorb harmful blue light. In order to keep the internal sunglasses thick and dense, it is important to replenish Zeaxanthin, the predominant carotenoid in the area where the concentration of cones is the highest.

Zeaxanthin is very scarce in the average daily diet, and vegetables like kale, corn, collard greens, spinach, and peppers naturally provide nutrients to help maintain macular health, but supplementation is often necessary. For example, one would have to eat approximately 20 ears of corn to get a recommended dosage of 8 to 10 milligrams of natural dietary Zeaxanthin per day.

Supplements like the EyePromise brand of eye vitamins help rebuild macular pigment through unique nutritional formulas that feature the highest levels of all natural Zeaxanthin, derived from paprika. In addition to protection, Zeaxanthin and Lutein can improve visual performance, reduce glare issues and sensitivity to bright light, as well as improve color intensity and contrast sensitivity.

“Too often we concentrate our diets on weight, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure, but ignore one of the most important organs in our bodies – our eyes,” says Dr. Dennis Giehart, founder of Zeavision. “An abundance of science has found low macular pigment puts people at risk for AMD, and increasing Zeaxanthin in the diet can help improve macular pigment for improved visual performance.”

Vision shouldn’t be something you take for granted as you age. Take care of your eyes with proper nutrition and supplementation if necessary, and ask your eye care professional about having your macular pigment measured to maintain your central vision

CDC Urges Americans To Get Flu Vaccine

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/22, Weise) reports, “Parents should put flu shots on their to-do list now, ‘a tuning up for winter,’ says William Schaffner, president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.” Schaffner and other medical experts “on Wednesday urged Americans, especially pregnant women and children, to get vaccinated.” Urging others to follow his example, CDC Director Thomas Frieden “rolled up his sleeve and got his shot during the news conference.”

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/22, Roan) “Booster Shots” blog reports that most “drugstores, clinics, workplaces and doctor’s offices” already have the flu vaccine, according to health officials. “In addition to the traditional shot and nasal spray, an intradermal shot is now available consisting of a tiny needle that injects vaccine under the skin.” And, there is “a fourth type of flu vaccine is available to people ages 65 and older which consists of a much stronger dose of vaccine.” Frieden said, “It’s never been easier to get vaccinated, and now is the right time to get vaccinated.”

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/22, Martin, Subscription Publication) “Health Blog” reports that almost 70% of medical professionals are now urging their patients to get the flu shot. This figure represents a 10% increase compared to 2010. Meanwhile, data show that seniors are the most likely group to get vaccinated.

Preventing, detecting eye problems key to vision health

It’s one of our most important senses, but people often take it for granted.

For some reason, people tend to put eyesight on the back burner instead of being proactive. Especially for people who don’t wear glasses or contacts, it can be years between visits to the eye doctor.  It’s important to take care of our eyes because they are so valuable to virtually every aspect of life.

Preventative eye care is the solution. Vitamins are an easy way to help maintain good eyesight.

To better protect the eyes between exams, lutein is one of the best things you can take. It helps to protect the macula, which controls central vision.

Lutein is found in many vitamin supplements as well as in green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli.

In addition to lutein, beta-carotene, found in carrots, and omega-3, found in fish oil, are also important for healthy eyes.

Fish oil is extremely valuable, not only for eye health, but for overall health, as well. The omega-3 is found in several different types of fish, but for those who don’t care for fish or want a more concentrated dose, fish oil supplements are the way to go.

Vitamins A, C and E have also been found to promote better eye health.

Vitamins require minimal effort, but they can provide numerous benefits. Taking supplements can prevent dry eyes, macular degeneration and even cataracts.

Vitamin supplements can really be amazing and the benefits can go beyond eye health, but it’s important to consult your own physician or optometrist before starting a vitamin regimen.

Children’s eye care is especially important. Taking care of kids’ eyes is crucial.

It’s so important to address eye care from Day 1. A child’s eyes should be checked at every health exam throughout the toddler years, and then they should be visiting an optometrist in addition to having regular eye screenings at school.

She said catching problems early will lead to a better quality of life and better vision.

A lot of times, a teacher will be the one to notice a child with vision problems, but ideally, we would like to catch any problems even before they get to school. The earlier a problem is detected, the less likely it will become permanent.

Eye rubbing, squinting and poor focusing can be red flags. Vitamins can also benefit kids’ eyes but should be cleared by a doctor or optometrist first.

Just staying on top of regular eye exams can make a world of difference for both children and adults. Most people don’t hesitate to visit a doctor if their back is hurting or even if they are having hearing problems. If we pay the same attention to our eyes, we will all be able to see the world a little better.

Drinking Water May Reduce Chances Of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

The UK’s Daily Mail Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/17, Bates) reported, “Drinking water instead of fizzy drinks could dramatically reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes,” according to a study presented Sept. 16 at the Sustaining the Blue Planet: Global Water Education Conference in Montana. Harvard University researchers presented “new evidence which shows replacing sugar-sweetened drinks with water can lead to weight loss and help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by seven per cent.”

For a Healthy, Happy Return to School, Expert Advice From The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore

Transition from Summer to a Back-to-School Sleep Schedule Typically, during the summer, children go to bed later and wake up at different times, because they do not have to follow a school schedule. Shelby Harris, Psy.D., C.BSM, Director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center, can discuss how a child can adjust his/her sleep schedule to once again become acclimated to getting up earlier for school. Dr. Harris can provide advice on how kids can start school well-rested and establish a consistent sleep schedule which can help optimize learning. Her pointers include:

Maintain a steady sleep-wake schedule 7 days a week. No catching up on the weekends!

Have a regular and relaxing bedtime routine to wind down the hour before bedtime.

Make sure each step of the bedtime routine slowly moves closer and closer to the bed (e.g. bath, brush teeth, then into bedroom for PJs, book and finally bed).

Get back on a good, healthy diet overall. Oftentimes, kids’ diets will change over the summer. Limit sugar, chocolate, soda – especially from lunch afterwards.

Limit electronics and schoolwork within an hour of bedtime (and don’t allow them during the night, either!)

Easing a Child’s Back-to-School AnxietyChildren as well as teens are often anxious about going back to school. Anxiety can be a result of a transition from elementary to middle school, or challenges socially or academically. Mental health professionals at the Montefiore School Health Program observe many of these issues first-hand and are highly qualified to comment on a wide variety of back-to-school psychological issues. The Montefiore School Health Program, the largest of its kind in the U.S., offers a wide range of medical, dental, mental and community-based services to students and their families in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the Bronx. Since its inception more than 25 years ago, this essential program has steadily grown to 18 full-service centers throughout the borough.

Christine Cheng, Ph.D., Psychology Training Coordinator, licensed clinical psychologist, Montefiore School Health Program, and Instructor of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Cheng helps children cope with various difficulties, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, bereavement and loss, impulse control, and adjustment issues, and she enjoys seeing children overcome them and blossom in their natural social milieu.

Bullying: What if Your Child is Being Bullied, or is a Bully?Bullying can impact the wellbeing of children and young people and have serious long-term consequences. It can undermine educational attainment and self-esteem and can destroy a sense of security. The most common forms of bullying reported by children are being verbally bullied, followed by exclusion and physical bullying. Parents and schools also need to be aware that cyber-bullying is affecting younger age groups as more children get mobile phones and have computer access.

Over the past four years, the Montefiore School Health Program mental health division has developed a curriculum called S.T.A.R., Strengthening Tween and Adolescent Relationships. This is an eight-week classroom based program designed to foster healthy relationships between students and reduce teen dating violence. S.T.A.R. was created by Cheryl Hurst, a Senior Social Worker at PS/MS 95 in the Bronx, one of 18 schools that make up the Montefiore School Health program, to teach 12 to 14 year olds how to develop healthy friendships and communicate in nonviolent and supportive ways. Ms. Hurst identified such a huge need, learning about the problems these kids face: cyber-bullying, financial pressures on parents who have lost jobs, poor parental support and more.

The Best School Lunch is Delicious and Energizing Whether packed in a brown bag or served on a cafeteria tray, a nutritious school lunch that’s tasty and satisfying is a welcome midday break for kids and gives them energy to get through the rest of the day. Clinical dietitian Lauren Graf, MS, RD, has tips for parents and kids as they gear up for another school year, from packing a colorful lunch with fresh fruits and vegetables to spotting healthy choices on the cafeteria line. Even for the pickiest of eaters, parents can find the right nutritional balance for their kids and help them adopt good eating habits that can last a lifetime.

Does your Child Need Eyeglasses? Now is the Best Time for Pediatric Eye Exams. The start of a new school season is the best time to have your child’s eyes examined. Some are obvious, such as sitting close to the TV or holding toys close to the eyes. Squinting to see at a distance, covering or closing one eye to see, may also indicate a need for glasses. It is important to remind parents that many eye disorders are inherited, especially a need for glasses. If Mom or Dad wore glasses at an early age, it would not be unusual for their child to need glasses as well.

Eating Apples, Pears May Be Linked To Lower Risk Of Stroke

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16, Parker-Pope) “Well” blog reports, “A large Dutch study has found that eating apples and pears is associated with a lower risk of stroke.”

The Orlando Sentinel Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16, Jameson) reports that the research, published “in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association, spanned 10 years and included more than 20,000 adults ages 20 to 65. None had cardiovascular disease at the start of the study.”

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16, Hendrick) reports, “The researchers say the risk of stroke was 52% lower for people who ate a lot of white-fleshed fruits and vegetables, compared to those who didn’t.”

BBC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16) reports, however, that “no link was found between stroke incidence and green (dark leafy vegetables, cabbages and lettuces) orange/yellow (mostly citrus fruits) or red/purple fruits and vegetables.” Also covering the story were HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16, Gordon) and the UK’s Telegraph Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16, Adams).

Eating for Eye Health

The eyes are most often exposed to the damaging effects of the surrounding environment, and unfortunately they are most frequently unprotected. Diffuse light, cigarette smoke, car exhaust gases or simply the dusted, dry air can affect our sensitive visual system. But apart from avoiding external damaging factors, we must also include in our diet food items that contain substances which are vital for the good health of our eyes.

Those so much talked about, vital substances called “antioxidants” can protect our organism from free radicals. These beneficial substances include vitamins A, E, and C, as well as micro-elements such as selenium and carotenoids. From a nutritional point of view, the American National Eye Institute conducted a research which has demonstrated that there are indeed certain nutrients that can ensure the protection of our eyes. The most significant foods that can prevent ocular degeneration are the ones which are rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zeaxanthin and lutein, zinc and omega-3 fats.

Among these excellent foods we could of course mention carrots. They are full of beta carotene, which is an antioxidant that reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration process. Carrots can be part of salads, soups or they can be part of a side dish for lunch or dinner. They can be added to most anything: hummus, salsa, peanut butter, guacamole and low calorie dressings. Some other foods that are excellent for the good health of our eyes include broccoli, bell peppers and Brussels sprouts. They all provide a good quantity of vitamin C, which is yet another essential antioxidant for the protection of our eyes. These veggies can be steamed, roasted, added to omelets or soups. Also, they may be combined for a delicious “pasta primavera” (spring time pasta), with a little bit of oil and garlic.

Of course, not only fruit and veggies are good for the eyes. Apparently, the meat which is healthiest for the eyes is the ostrich meat. This kind of meat can actually be a substitute for turkey, chicken, pork or lamb meat. It has the quality of absorbing all kinds of seasonings and it contains zinc, iron and a lot of proteins. Zinc is actually one of the most essential ingredients for the maintenance of healthy eyes. Zinc is contained by the retina. This substance is responsible for the good functioning of enzymes which are actually meant to ensure the eyes’ health. Turkey meat also contains a lot of zinc and the B-vitamin niacin which can protect the eyes against cataracts disease. Turkey meat can be used in sandwiches, salads, chili and tacos or burgers.

Another veggie which contains high levels of beta carotene is the sweet potato. As their name suggests, sweet potatoes do indeed have a sweet taste. These vegetables can be included in recipes for dinner side dishes. They can be baked with a small quantity of oil or they can be used for the famous French fries.

Another amazing food that can do wonder to one’s eyes is spinach. This one contains four essential ingredients that can protect one’s eyes. Thus, spinach contains vitamin C, high quantities of zeaxanthin, lutein and beta carotene. All these antioxidants can be found in the macula’s tissue. They have the special capacity of absorbing 40%-90% of the intensity of blue light, and therefore can act like a sort of eyes’ sunscreen. Several research results have attested that if we eat foods which contain a large quantity of zeaxanthin and lutein, our macula’s pigment density can be increased. This means that our retina is better protected, and therefore there is a much lower probability of macular degeneration for our eyes. Spinach is generally eaten as a side dish. However, it can be a delicious salad or omelet ingredient. It is low in calories and rich in vitamins, so there is no reason why to avoid such a beneficial healthy food. The key is to give it a good taste, without overcooking it so as not to lose its nutritive qualities.

There are even foods which can help protect those very small blood vessels that are found deep inside our eyes. Such foods include sardines and wild salmons. Because of that it’s highly recommended to eat at least 2-3 portions every week.

By Claudia Miclaus

Column Connects Benefits Of Food To Body Parts

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/14, Huget) in its “Eat, Drink & Be Healthy” column lists some foods and health benefits according to body parts. Egg yolks and yellow corn aid the eyes because “carotenoids that give fruits and vegetables their color, may help ward off age-related macular degeneration.” The article mentions foods that benefit the brain (salmon, tuna, sardines); bones (milk, fortified soy beverages); heart (baked potato, prune juice); lungs (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy); stomach (ginger); colon (beans and peas); prostate (green tea); ovaries (ice cream) and mentions the relevant study and why the respective foods may have the beneficial effects.

Prevent the Spread of Pink Eye as Children Head Back to School

According to the American Journal of Infection Control, more than 164 million school days are missed annually in U.S. public schools due to the spread of infectious diseases. An astonishing 3 million of those school days are lost as a result of acute conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye.”

In recognition of September’s “Children’s Eye Health Month,” the American Academy of Ophthalmology wants to teach parents and educators how to prevent the spread of pink eye in the classroom.

“Pink eye is all too common amongst children, it is one of the most common conditions I treat,” says Lee Duffner, MD, ophthalmologist and clinical correspondent for the Academy. “The only way to really prevent pink eye from spreading is to practice good hygiene.”

What is conjunctivitis? Conjunctivitis is the term used to describe swelling of the conjunctiva — the thin, filmy membrane that covers the inside of your eyelids and the white part of the eye, known as the sclera. There are three forms of conjunctivitis: viral, bacterial and allergic.

Viral conjunctivitis, the most common form of pink eye, is caused by the same virus that causes the common cold. Just as a cold must run its course, so must this form of pink eye. It is also very contagious.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is a highly contagious form of pink eye, caused by bacterial infections. This type of conjunctivitis usually causes a red eye with a lot of pus.

Allergic conjunctivitis is a form of conjunctivitis that is caused by the body’s reaction to an allergen or irritant. It is not contagious. This type of conjunctivitis is usually associated with redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid.

How do you get pink eye and how do you prevent it? Conjunctivitis, whether bacterial or viral, can be quite contagious. Children are usually most susceptible to getting the condition from bacteria or viruses because they are in close contact with so many others in schools or daycare centers. Some of the most common ways to get the contagious form of pink eye

        --  Reusing handkerchiefs and towels when wiping your face and eyes
        --  Forgetting to wash hands often
        --  Frequently touching eyes
        --  Using old cosmetics, and/or sharing them with other people
        --  Not cleaning contact lenses properly

Prevention:

Practicing good hygiene can help prevent the spread of conjunctivitis. If a child is infected, make sure to do the following to help prevent the spread of the illness:

        --  Encourage children to wash their hands often.
        --  Tell them to avoid touching their eyes.
        --  Discourage the reusing of towels, washcloths, handkerchiefs and
            tissues to wipe their face and eyes.
        --  Change their pillowcase frequently.

Treatment: With viral conjunctivitis, symptoms can last from one to two weeks and then will disappear on their own.

For bacterial conjunctivitis, an eye doctor will typically prescribe antibiotic eye drops to treat the infection.

Allergic conjunctivitis treatment often includes applying cool compresses to the eyes and taking antihistamines.

Home care tips: A compress applied to closed eyelids can relieve some of the discomfort of pink eye. To make a compress, soak in water then wring out a clean, lint-free cloth. If a child has conjunctivitis in one eye only, don’t use the same cloth on both eyes in order to avoid spreading the infection from one eye to the other.

If a child has bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, a warm compress is usually best. If their eyes are irritated by allergic conjunctivitis, try a cool water compress. Over-the-counter lubricating eyedrops — artificial tears — may also provide relief from pink eye symptoms.

If these symptoms persist, be sure take your child to see an eye doctor to receive proper care.

Electronic Device Overuse May Lead To Increased Risk For Injury

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/11, BU8, Korki, Subscription Publication) reported, “As people harness their bodies to use more electronic devices in more places, they may unknowingly be putting themselves at a greater risk of injury.” Too much laptop, smartphone, and tablet computer use in and out of the office may leave people “at greater risk of eye strain, tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome.” What’s more, “repetitive actions that lead to overuse of muscles and tendons can inflame them, causing pain in the hands, shoulders, neck and back.” The article advised readers to take a frequent break from their electronic devices to rest their minds and bodies.

Yoga May Benefit People With Type 2 Diabetes

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/3, Norton) reported that according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter recently published online in the journal Diabetes Care, yoga classes in addition to standard medical care may benefit middle-aged and senior patients with type 2 diabetes. The practice may help with weight and blood glucose control, the study of 123 people found. What’s more, practicing yoga may lead to fewer signs of oxidative stress, which may lead to fewer complications associated with type 2 diabetes, such as damage to the kidneys, heart, and eyes.

Video Games May Help Improve Amblyopia In Adults

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/9, Waknine) reports, “Adults with amblyopia can achieve substantial improvements in visual acuity by playing video games for 40 hours,” according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online Aug. 30 in PLoS Biology. For the National Eye Institute-supported study, “investigators placed an eye patch over the good eye in 20 adults aged 15 to 61 years and randomly assigned them to one of three intervention groups,” two of which played video games and the third which underwent traditional occlusion therapy. “Results showed that 40 hours of video play…yielded a 30% improvement in visual acuity.”

Video Games May Help Children With Lazy Eye

CBS News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/3) reported that video games may be “a possible therapy to lazy eye,” according to a paper Share to FacebookShare to Twitterpublished in the August issue of the journal PLoS Biology. Researchers discovered that “participants in a pilot study playing a minimum 40 hours of video games registered improvements both in their visual acuity and 3-D depth perception.” Lazy eye is “estimated to affect two of three out of every 100 American children, according to the National Eye Institute.”

6 Best Foods for Eye Health

Many people are trying to find was to improve vision naturally. This is certainly a worthy endeavor. But no matter how many eye exercises one does, a person’s vision will not get better without proper nutrition. Like you brain and heart, your eyes respond better to certain foods than others. This guide will show the foods that are in a sense…eye candy!

Food 1: Carrots

We have always heard to eat our carrots in order to have good vision; well guess what? This is true. Carrots are a great source of Vitamin A, and eating enough of them can help prevent eye problems such as night blindness. Carrots also contain other nutrients critical to maintaining retina health, and keeping Macular Degeneration at bay.

Food 2: Spinach

Spinach didn’t do much for Popeye’s right eye, but spinach does more than make people strong to the finish. Spinach is filled with Vitamin A and antioxidants that will help restore your vision. Spinach also has lutein, which is an elixir of sorts for your eyes.

Food 3: Kale

Kale is a cabbage that is purple or green, and it’s headless. Dr. Joel Furhman and other nutritionists sees kale as the most healthy vegetable on the planet. Kale is very high in beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Plus, kale doesn’t lose its nutrients when you steam, micro-wave, or stir fry it (but don’t boil it).

Food 4: Papaya

Vitamin A is the best “alphabet vitamin” for the eyes, and papaya contains 46% Vitamin A. Papaya is a versatile food because it can be eaten raw or cooked, it’s great with both salads and stews, and you can make it into a tea. The leaves can also be steamed and eaten along with spinach for even more nutrition for your eyes.

Food 5: Milk

Milk is a great source of vitamins A, B, and D. Milk also has plenty of protein which is an essential building block for your eyes and the rest of your body as well. Milk helps make oatmeal creamier; this is great because oatmeal is another food that can help improve your sight.

Food 6: Salmon

Salmon as well as white fishes such as tuna contain Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A and D; these help you brain which in turn improves the health of your eyes. In order to benefit from these you should eat it about 2 to 3 times per week.

Nutrition is an important part to any aspect of physical therapy; eye therapy is no exception. You can do your eyes a favor by eating more of these foods above.

By Jon J Nestorovic

Blindsided: Vision problems on the rise

The number of blind individuals is on the rise.

According to the National Federation of the Blind statistics, there are currently 1.3 million blind people, of all ages, in the United States. Within a few years, that number is expected to increase substantially, especially among those over 65.

“There’s are all these little trends we are seeing that are impacting us,” said Greg Trapp, executive director for the New Mexico Commission for the Blind.

As the population is growing older, more people are becoming blind due to diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Also, Trapp notes, there is an increasing number of people losing their vision as a result of firearms wounds and other physical accidents — or having complications related to brain cancer or brain tumors.

Nearly 800,000 seniors, ages 65 and over, are blind — and that number is expected to increase to 1.6 million by 2015 and to 2.4 million in the year 2030, according the the federation.

People these days are living longer than ever and they are living past the health of their eyes, Trapp said.

Diabetes is the No. 1 cause of acquired blindness in the U.S., and there are a number of diseases that can occur as a result of diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy, which is a damaging of the retina, is the most common diabetic eye disease. A person with diabetic retinopathy may have swelled blood vessels deep in the eye that may leak or have new vessels appear on the retina. This disease can be detected during a dilated eye exam in which drops are put into the eyes. Although the dilated eye exam leaves patients blurry-eyed and sensitive to light for a few hours, these should be done yearly, especially for those at risk for diabetes and those who already have it, according to the American Optometric Association.

Cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye, can develop even in younger people with diabetes. Glaucoma is the increasing of fluids and pressure in the eye, and leads to the loss of vision or optic nerve damage. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma, according to the National Eye Institute’s website, nei.nih.gov.

Another trend that will hit the Commission for the Blind harder in the next few years is the increasing number of children born with optic nerve hypoplasia, also known as septo-optic dysplasia or DeMorsier’s syndrome. Optic nerve hypoplasia is the under-development or absence of optic nerves and its cause it unknown. It has increased about 600 percent in the last 30 years, said Trapp, the executive director for the commission. “No one knows the cause of it; it is kind of a mysterious condition,” Trapp said.

Optic nerve hypoplasia is the leading ocular cause of visual impairment and blindness in young children. Children with this condition range from being totally blind with no light perception, to having relatively good vision. It is not curable, but some children may experience increased vision throughout their early childhood years, according to facts from the The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles website.

About 93,600 school-age children are blind, with 10,800 of those being both deaf and blind, according to the Nation Federation of the Blind website (statistics are from 2002).

“The wave of kids with the condition has yet to wash over us. We see it coming like a tsunami.”

The commission provides technology, employment and aid for the blind and visually impaired during three major stages of life: education, employment and senior care. With a large number of kids born with optic nerve hypoplasia, they will see a bigger demand for their services in years to come, Trapp said – not to mention the Baby Boomers growing older and living past the health of their eyes.

And if people can’t afford proper vision care and exams, letting conditions like glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy go, the situation could get worse, said Dr. Edward Hernandez, opthemologist and owner of Eyes of the Southwest.

“It’s all about getting in to see your eye doctor for annual checkups,” Hernandez said.

Even when a patient develops an eye problem, like glaucoma, they can get treatment, like glaucoma drops to lower the pressure in the eyes, and prevent it from getting any worse. That doesn’t mean they should wait until they notice symptoms — glaucoma is a silent blinder and a person will not know they have until their sight becomes hindered. It also doesn’t matter if a person doesn’t have diabetes — eye health is very important for everyone and anyone can contract these conditions, Hernandez said.

When it comes to cataracts, everyone will get it sooner or later — it’s just a matter of how bad it can get, Hernandez said. There are more than 3 million cataract surgeries performed annually, he said.

People with diabetes should keep their blood sugar, blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check and at healthy levels. This will reduce the risk of getting diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or cataracts. Don’t wait until you have any of these conditions and don’t fall back on knowing that there are a couple of laser surgeries that can be performed to treat these conditions.

~ Andi Murphy

LIVING WELL: Don’t lose sight of eye health

Don’t be blinded by common eye myths.

In considering one’s eye health, it’s important to look at all the facts and see through all the myths. So let’s start with the first myth – that there is nothing you can do to prevent vision loss. The real facts are that more than 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented; early detection of vision problems is crucial to preventing vision loss from many eye diseases (e.g. diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma); and regular eye exams can help save one’s sight.

This leads to myth number two – that eye exams are only necessary if you’re having problems. In fact, everyone should have regular eye exams whether there are any noticeable signs of vision problems or not.  Prevent Blindness America recommends that children should be tested at birth, again at 6 months, before entering school and then periodically throughout the school year. Adults should be tested every two years or more often, as directed by one’s physician. People with diabetes or an eye disease should receive a comprehensive eye exam annually.

Some myths have been perpetuated by our well-meaning parents (and perhaps continued by all who then became parents) who cautioned that sitting too close to the television would ruin our eyes; eating carrots would help our eyes; and reading in dim light would damage our eyes. The facts: sitting too close to the TV or spending too much time watching it or the hand-held electronics everyone is attached to now does not damage one’s eyes. In fact, young children have a greater ability to focus on objects closer to their eyes than adults do, so children sitting closer or holding reading material closer makes sense. Typically, the distance increases as one gets older. But again, regular eye exams for children can detect vision problems if ones exist. And while carrots are a great source of vitamin A, which is an essential vitamin for sight, only a small amount of vitamin A is needed for good vision. Not to knock carrots, but a well-balanced diet with or without carrots provides adequate nutrition for vision. As for dim lights, eye strain most probably will result but no permanent damage will occur.

Eye strain also comes from reading fine print for too long but doing so will not damage or “wear out” one’s eyes. Reportedly, this is one of the most widely held myths but there is no evidence to support that reading too much or for too long will cause any damage or wear.

Contact lenses and glasses can correct vision enough to improve eyesight, but will not “cure” vision problems caused by physical injury or heredity (such as nearsightedness or myopia). Even though going without glasses will not damage one’s vision further, it’s important to keep your corrective lenses prescription current for a host of reasons, not the least of which is to be able to see well! Some people, particularly athletes, prefer contact lenses, which provide better peripheral vision than glasses. And contact lenses have come a long way to incorporate the need for correcting both nearsightedness and farsightedness for those who need lenses for distance as well as reading.

The fine print on all of this is to have your eyes examined regularly; report any visual problems immediately; and give your eyes the rest and support they need!

Five Natural Strategies that May Help Protect Your Healthy Vision

There are natural, common-sense strategies you can employ to help protect your healthy vision.

    1. Quit smoking, if you currently do. Smoking ramps up free radical production  throughout your body, and puts you at risk for less-than-optimal health in many ways. If you want healthy vision for your whole life, you cannot afford to risk less-than-optimal eye health with cigarettes.
    1. Care for your cardiovascular system. High blood pressure can cause damage to the miniscule blood vessels on your retina, obstructing free blood flow.
    1. Normalize your blood sugar. Excessive sugar in your blood can pull fluid from the lens of your eye, affecting your ability to focus. And, it can damage the blood vessels in your retina, also obstructing blood flow.
    1. Eat plenty of fresh dark green leafy vegetables, especially kale. Your mother was right – eat your vegetables. Studies have shown that a diet rich in dark leafy greens  helps support eye health. And that those with the highest consumption of carotenoid-rich vegetables, especially ones rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, had increased vision health.
  1. Consume omega-3 rich foods such as fresh caught salmon – or supplement with krill oil. A study published in the August 2001 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology found that consuming omega-3 fatty acids was protective of your healthy vision.

However – especially if you’re a Baby Boomer or older – you may want to hedge your bets on wise supplementation to help protect your eyes’ healthy function

Waiting An Hour After Dinner Before Sleep May Reduce Stroke Risk

 

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/31, Laino) reports, “A new study suggests that waiting at least an hour after dinner before going to sleep reduces your risk of stroke by about two-thirds.” The study, presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting, also found that “for every 20 minutes more that you wait, stroke risk drops another 10%.” American College of Cardiology President David Holmes, MD, said, “When we eat, blood sugar changes, cholesterol levels change, blood flow changes,” all of which “may affect stroke risk.”

Chocolate May Reduce Heart Disease, Stroke Risk

ABC World News (8/29, story 10, 0:30, Sawyer) reported that “chocolate may be a kind of secret weapon against heart disease.”

Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/30, Torsoli) reports that “regular consumption” of chocolate “may slash the risk of developing heart disease by a third, according to research Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the British Medical Journal and presented…at the European Society of Cardiology’s conference in Paris.”

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/30, Stein) “Booster Shots” blog reports that investigators analyzed data from “seven studies looking at the link between eating chocolate and a reduction in heart disease that included 114,009 people.”

The Time Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/30, Melnick) “Healthland” blog reports, “Five of the seven studies showed some benefit to eating chocolate. Overall, people with the highest chocolate consumption levels had 37% lower risk of heart disease and a 29% lower risk of stroke than those who ate the least chocolate.”

The CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/30) “The Chart” blog points out that “the studies, notably, did not differentiate between dark or milk chocolate and included consumption of different types of chocolate (bars, shakes, etc.).”

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/30, Neale) reports that one of the researchers “noted that most commercially available chocolate products are high in fat, sugar, and calories, and that overindulging could counteract any of the potential benefits, a sentiment echoed by Janet Wright, MD, vice president of science and quality for the American College of Cardiology.” In an interview, Dr Wright said, “We tend to take a little bit of advice and think that more is better,” but “in this case, more is probably not better because of the fat content and the calorie content.”

Aerobic Exercise Trumps Resistance Training For Losing Belly Fat

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/26, Preidt) reported, “Aerobic exercise is better than resistance training if you want to lose the belly fat that poses a serious threat to your health,” according to a study published Aug. 25 in the American Journal of Physiology. After comparing the “effectiveness of aerobic exercise (such as jogging), resistance training (such as weight lifting), or a combination of the two activities in 196 overweight, sedentary adults aged 18 to 70” followed for eight months, researchers also found that “aerobic exercise significantly reduced visceral and liver fat and improved risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, such as insulin resistance, liver enzymes and triglyceride levels.”

The 10 best back-to-school foods to give kids a boost

As children head back to school, it is important to arm them not only with the newest backpacks and pencils, but also with a nutritious diet. While the lure of fast food and quick meals can be enticing, fueling kids with healthy foods and a well-rounded diet can be easier than parents think.

“A new school year provides a great opportunity for parents to teach their kids how to make nutritious choices throughout the day,” says Dr. Alan Greene, a pediatrician and author of “Feeding Baby Green.” “Whether starting the day off with organic milk or packing school lunches with lots of fruits and veggies, making a conscious choice to focus on nutrition as kids return to the classroom can start with a few simple choices at the grocery store.”

To help parents get their children off to a nutritious start this school year, Horizon, the leading milk brand in the U.S., has partnered with Dr. Greene to develop the following list of the 10 best back to school foods:

The back-to-school top 10:

1. Organic milk

With some studies indicating that only one in 10 girls and one in four boys meet their calcium needs, it’s important to keep calcium-rich foods front and center in kids’ diets. Organic milk, which is produced without the use of antibiotics, toxic synthetic pesticides or artificial growth hormones, is a great choice for lunchboxes and breakfast time. Horizon makes convenient single serve milk boxes that pack perfectly into lunchboxes and provide a nutrient-rich alternative to juice drinks and other nutrient-poor beverages. In addition, Horizon organic milk with DHA omega-3 is a good choice for breakfast beverages or paired with low-sugar, whole grain cereals. DHA omega-3 has been shown to support brain, heart and eye health

2. Whole grain bread

The new U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that at least half of our grains be whole grains, so choosing whole grains for lunchbox sandwiches and wraps is a smart strategy to boost fiber and other important nutrients. One good choice is Rudi’s Organic Bakery’s 14 Grain bread. With just three slices you get the daily recommended allowance of whole grains.

3. String cheese

Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein. If your child isn’t a meat-eater, cheese is another high-protein option for lunches and snack time. String cheese is a great way to help your kids play with their food by pulling apart the cheese – and they will love munching on it too. Horizon has a variety of cheeses that are great for snacking. Mozzarella String Cheese and Colby Cheese Sticks are both kid-approved favorites.

4. Trail mix fixings

A variety of dried fruits (cherries, cranberries, raisins, dates), nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios) and cereal (look for those high in fiber and low in sugar) can combine into one hearty snack foron-the-go kids. Plus, you can make an activity out of letting your kids create their very own one-of-a-kind mix.

5. Nut butter

Peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter – they’re all great for lunchtime sandwiches or on toast for an after-school snack.

6. Hummus

This protein-packed spread comes in a wide variety of flavors and even in single-serve packs for kids on the go. You can try it as a dip for veggies and whole-grain crackers or as a spread on wraps and sandwiches as a nutritious alternative to mayonnaise or dressing.

7. Granola bars

Granola bars can be a lower-sugar, higher-fiber alternative to cookies and candy bars. They are also great as after-school or after-sports snacks. Look for granola bars made with whole grains and with 10 grams of sugar or less. One bar that fits these criteria is Annie’s Organic Berry Berry Granola Bars. Each bar is packed with 8 grams of whole grain per serving, is certified organic and contains no artificial ingredients, preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup. They’re a perfect snack to replace high sugar treats.

8. Turkey breast

Turkey breast is low in fat and high in protein, and it can be a crowd pleaser in the lunchroom. You can also get creative with turkey as part of after-school snacks – think turkey and cheese roll-ups.

9. Fruit, fruit, fruit

Apples, cherries, bananas, oranges, grapes – fruits are an important part of a well-balanced diet. Try and vary what you offer. Different fruits provide different nutrients. When looking for organic fruit options, check out Earthbound Farm, which offers a number of organic fruit products nationwide, ranging from apple slices to strawberries to grapes, citrus and blueberries.

10. Veggies, veggies, veggies

Veggies like carrot sticks, celery, cucumbers, pea pods and cherry tomatoes are all great for lunchboxes and after-school snacks. Remember, the darker the veggie, the more nutritious it tends to be. To spice veggies up, you can think about serving them with a low fat salad dressing or hummus as a dip. In addition to organic fruit, Earthbound Farm also offers a full range of organic veggie products.

Diet Rich In Nuts, Soy May Help Reduce LDL Cholesterol

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/24, Hellmich) reports that while “nutrition experts have known for years that some foods, such as oatmeal, nuts and soy products, lower cholesterol,” but new research “shows that a diet with several of these foods can decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol significantly.”

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/24, Wang, Subscription Publication) reports that the study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, provides more proof that simply reducing dietary fat may not be the best way to boost one’s heart health.

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/24, Healy) reports that for the “study tested a diet that contained a portfolio of cholesterol-fighting foods such as soy protein, nuts, ‘sticky’ fiber such as that found in oats and barley, and plant sterols.” The 345 participants, all of whom had high cholesterol, “each followed one of three diets: an ‘intensive portfolio’ diet, a ‘routine portfolio’ diet, or a high-fiber, low-saturated-fat diet rich in produce and whole grains.” Of “the 267 subjects who completed the trial, all three groups lost roughly an equal amount of weight,” but participants “on one of the portfolio diets – intensive or routine – saw their LDL cholesterol levels decline between 13.1% and 13.8% after six months,” compared to the 3% decline in LDL levels seen in those on the high-fiber, low-saturated-fat diet.

The Importance of Phytochemicals in Your Diet

Phytochemicals, are naturally found in plants and are responsible for providing color, flavor, and aroma to fruits and vegetables. They are biologically active and function to protect plants against invasion, disease, and infection. Studies have shown that high intakes of fruits and vegetables are correlated with lower risks of chronic disease and obesity, partly because of these phytochemicals, also called phytonutrients. You know those antioxidants you hear about so often? Phytochemicals contain lots of them. Phytochemicals are broken into different classes which include (and are not limited to): flavonoids, carotenoids, chlorophyll, and isothyocynates. What are these you ask? Read on:

Flavonoids are a class of phytochemicals found in plant pigments that has been said to act as an antioxidant, enhance effects of vitamin C and strengthen cell tissues. Today, one of the most talked about flavonoids is quercetin.

Quercetin is found in apples, onions, citrus fruits, berries, red grapes, broccoli, cocoa, and tea. It may not only protect us against heart disease and cancer, but according to recent research, it may increase endurance for people who are beginning exercise regimens. It may not work as effectively in trained athletes.

Carotenoids are class of phytochemicals with more than 600 naturally occurring pigments synthesized by plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. Carotenoids are found in the most richly colored yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables like pumpkin, tomatoes, tangerines, cantaloupe, carrots, squash, and watermelons. Carontenoids are known for their high antioxidant properties and protective effects against certain cancers, like prostate. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxathin are the most common dietary carotenoids. Beta-carotene found in carrots and other fruits and veggies can be converted to retinol which is a pre-cursor to vitamin A which is important for maintaining eyehealth. For some of these foods, cooking and chopping may increase the availability and enhance their beneficial effects.

Chlorophyll is a class of phytochemicals that is responsible for giving plants their green pigment. Studies have found that chlorophyll has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and wound-healing properties. Foods that are high in chlorophyll are easy to spot—you know, the ones kids say “Yuck!” to—spinach, broccoli, green beans, arugla, and endive. I say YUM!

Isothyocynates are a class of phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard, radish, and watercress. These vegetables are rich sources of glucosinolate, the precursor to isothiocynates.. Research indicates that increased intake of isothyoncynates may inhibit cancer cell growth and cause cells to die. To maintain high levels of this phytochemical you really want to reduce cooking time and use minimal amounts of liquid because glucosinolate is leeched into water. The best way to absorb the phytochemicals in these foods is to eat them raw or to use cooking techniques like steaming or microwaving.

By Tanya Zuckerbrot

Eye Health Tips

Issues with our eyesight can have severe inferences on our way of living. We use our eye in every single action of our own lives although reading, writing, watching television, employing pc or mobile phone or going somewhere. We really should look after our eyes. Without vision we are not able to do anything whatsoever properly therefore we can not even envision regarding it.

We are able to maintain our eyes healthy by many techniques. Even once you feel you eye are wholesome and there is certainly no issue with your eye sight but to make it positive you must pay a visit to an eye specialist for complete eye check-up. Some eye illnesses don’t have any forewarning symbols for instance such as glaucoma and diabetic eye disease etc. A complete eye checkup will be the only technique to distinguish these diseases. In the course of checkup an eye specialist puts drops in your eyes to enlarge the pupil to ensure that a lot more light enter into your vision this enables you eye specialist to take a look at the rear of your eye and check symptoms of illness or injury.

Supplements perform a important role in enhancing and supporting eye health. Vitamin A is present in liver, carrots, potatoes etc. Shortage of a vitamin inside your body can trigger lack of sight and corneal ulcers. Eye health is elevated by vitamins due to the fact they contain significant amount of antioxidants and other compounds that stop the harm of healthy tissues.

Antioxidants also make night vision better. Ascorbic Acid is present in broccoli, oranges, strawberries etc and decrease pressure in Glaucoma also as the danger of cataracts. Vitamin E is present in hazelnuts and almonds etc also it can reduce the threat of cataracts and macular degeneration.

For Eye Health, you should eat wholesome diet plan mainly leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens. Fish has an crucial location in diet plan for eye wellness. Mackerel, salmon, tuna, sardines and halibut are great for eyes. Give up smoking for wholesome eyes as it can be associated to the lack of vision. Moreover, diseases brought on by smoking incorporate cataracts, optic nerve harm and age-related macular degeneration.

Keeping away from eye infection is also important this might be completed by washing both hands before and following touching your eye area plus before you devote or remove your contact lenses. Look after your lenses and don’t wear them when your eyes are irritated. Keep your lenses clean and also pay attention to the expiry of remedy.

Sunglasses guard your eyes from ultraviolet rays of sun. Once you purchase shades choose the 1 that will block many ultraviolet radiations simply because they harm your vision. In case you spend plenty of time focusing on the personal computer it really is far better to place it to 1 side and in the event you feel pressure in your eye rest with regard to time and require a modest break right after every single hour. Focal point may be adjusted once again by looking at a distant object. Whilst watching television, there should be a suitable and adequate distance between you and the television. Television ought to be positioned parallel to your eyes and correctly regulated.

Vitamin C may be critical for eye health

New research indicates that Vitamin C may be critical to maintaining good eye health and could be protective for those at risk of glaucoma.

The study done by Oregon Health & Science University indicates that Vitamin C may be needed for correct functioning of retinal cells.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that cells in the central nervous system need to be bathed in Vitamin C and because the retina is part of the central nervous system, there is likely an important role for Vitamin C.

Retinal cells share some characteristics with brain cells, one of which is special receptors called GABA-type receptors that help manage the rapid transfer of information between cells. The research shows that in retinal cells these receptors stop functioning properly if there is insufficient Vitamin C.

This new research used goldfish retinas which the researchers claim have the same overall biological structure as human retinas.

Dr Peter Hadden, Refractive-Cataract Surgery and Retinal Surgery Specialist at Eye Institute says Lutein, beta-carotene and biliberry extracts as well as dietary antioxidants such as Vitamins A and E have been used in eye health supplementation.

“Now recent evidence suggests that Vitamin C is also essential to eye health and may have potential for general maintenance and protection of those at risk of glaucoma.

“While there is still much to learn about the impact of Vitamin C on eye health, anyone that has a genetic predisposition to age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma may wish to consider taking supplements, including Vitamin C, to postpone or prevent the vision-disabling consequences of both these diseases,” says Dr Hadden.

Michelle Palmer, Executive Director of Natural Products New Zealand says that while more research is needed to establish the extent of benefits from using Vitamin C for eye health, early indications would suggest that the antioxidant could provide positive results.

“Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients. It is an extremely versatile mineral that has multiple benefits, from protection against immune system deficiencies, and cardiovascular disease, prenatal health and healthy skin. We know that it is required to help the human eye function properly and this latest research demonstrates that perhaps regular supplementation of Vitamin C could be preventative to eye health issues,” says Mrs Palmer.

Examination May Help Rule Out Eye-Related Links To Behavior, Learning Problems

In the syndicated Parent to Parent column appearing in the Charlotte (NC) Observer Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/16), Betsy Flagler asks, “Is your child headed back to school with an inability to pay attention? Have his eyes, ears and teeth checked by specialists to rule out any health-related links to behavior problems” or difficulties learning in the classroom? While children “generally don’t complain about their eyes…parents need to be aware of symptoms that may indicate a vision problem, experts say.” According to the American Optometric Association, “even though a child may have 20/20 vision, the following habits also can signal less obvious vision problems: loses place while reading, avoids close work,” and “holds reading material closer than normal.”

AOA Survey: Most Teachers Say Vision, Learning Are Interdependent. The News Record Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/15) reported, “A visit to the eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam is an important part of overall health,” and is especially important for youngsters about to return to school. In fact, “according to an American Optometric Association survey of K-12 teachers, 81 percent believe vision and learning are interdependent.”

Watching Too Much Television May Shorten Lifespan

In continuing coverage, NBC Nightly News (8/16, story 8, 0:40, Williams) reported, “Watching a lot of television shortens your lifespan, at least that’s the conclusion of a big, new study out of Australia that says for each hour of TV you watch over the age of 25, it takes 22 minutes off your life at the end of life. Put another way, one researcher said this puts TV in the same category as smoking and obesity. It can speed up a premature death by five years if you’re a dedicated TV viewer, which must be why I never make plans for the weekend.” The study was published study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

VNTV Episode #6 – Importance of Eye Exams for Children

Don’t look now but August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month.   What if a child never had his eye sight checked, how would he know if he had any sight problems?  A child that has problems seeing, or being light sensitive, or experiencing a blurriness of vision would tend believe this type of ‘seeing’ to be normal and not tell anybody about his vision problem.

Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month raises awareness  about children and their vision. One out of every four school age children has some type of vision problem. It is important to know if your child has a vision problem and to protect their eyes from harm.

With the new school year swiftly coming, can little Suzy or Johnny see the blackboard or read their school books?  Is Suzy squinting her eyes at the blackboard from her first row seat?  Is Johnny covering up one eye so the words on the book page don’t become ‘double’?    Does either one seem easily surprised or jumpy when someone walks softly up to them?

Vision problems can include sitting really close to the television, short attention span, excessive blinking or squinting, and poor coordination when throwing or catching. Many pediatricians will perform a simple eye exam around 3 years of age.

According to Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America, “Vision problems affect one in four school-aged children.  We want all children to make sure their child’s eye problems do not go unnoticed this school year.  A child should not have to struggle in school because of an undetected vision problem.”

Having yearly eye check-ups with your doctor or an optometrist is always a good idea, or talking with the school system or local government to find out about free children eye exams.

Though most eye problems in children can be corrected if detected and treated early, it is possible for a child to have a serious vision problem and be unaware of it. To prevent eye injuries in children, it is important for parents and caregivers to understand the most common dangers such as the misuse of toys, accidental falls, mishandling of sharp objects such as pens and forks, contact with harmful household products, and sports injuries.

“Certain eye problems, if left untreated, even for a short time, can lead to permanent vision loss, so it is important to maintain appropriate eye care and attend regular check-ups,” said Anthony Caputo, MD, Medical Director, The Children’s Eye Care Center of New Jersey at CMMC.

According to Prevent Blindness America, immediate medical help should be obtained if a child shows any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Obvious pain or trouble seeing
  • Cuts or tears in the eyelid
  • One eye does not move as well as the other, or one sticks out more than the other
  • Unusual pupil shape or size
  • Blood in the clear part of the eye
  • Something in the eye or under the eyelid that cannot be easily removed

To help avoid potential everyday eye injuries, parents and caregivers of small children should use safety gates on stairs to prevent falls, pad sharp corners on furniture, place locks on drawers and cabinets that contain harmful substances, and keep sharp objects out of reach. Protective goggles and helmets should be worn when playing sports.

In addition, children are at an even higher risk of the sun’s UV rays’ harmful effects, as their eyes do not yet have the same ability as adults do to better protect against UV radiation. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses large enough to shield children’s eyes from most angles are recommended.

Vision Problems Affect Millions Of American Children

In an op-ed in the Worthington (MN) Daily Globe Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/11), Cliff Carmody, executive director of the SW/WC Service Cooperative of Marshall, MN, writes, “Current research shows that vision problems affect millions of American children and thereby impact their ability to learn. … The American Optometric Association notes that when vision problems go undetected, children almost invariably have trouble reading and doing their schoolwork. They often display fatigue, fidgeting, and frustrations in the classroom — traits that can lead to a misdiagnosis of dyslexia or other learning disabilities.” Because August is National Children’s Vision and Learning Month, Carmody urges parents to make sure their children undergo a thorough eye examination before the start of the new school year.

Brain Shrinkage Associated With Four Factors

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Mestel) “Booster Shots” blog reported that smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and “being overweight in middle age” may all cause “the brain to shrink,” according to a study published in the journal Aug. 2 issue of Neurology. After assessing 1,352 middle-aged people for vascular risk factors and following them until they underwent magnetic resonance imaging scanning and cognitive testing between the ages of 61 and 67, researchers found that “brain shrinkage was linked to all four risk factors, although the pattern differed in each case.”

People with hypertension “experienced a more rapid worsening of test scores of planning and decision-making, which corresponded to a faster rate of growth of small areas of vascular brain damage than those with normal blood pressure,”HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Salamon) reported. “Those with diabetes in middle age experienced brain shrinkage in…the hippocampus faster than those without, and smokers lost brain volume overall and in the hippocampus faster than nonsmokers, with a more rapid increase of small areas of vascular brain damage.”

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Hendrick) reported, “Obese people at middle age were more likely to be in the top 25% of those with the faster rate of decline in planning and decision-making skills.” Notably, study participants with a “high waist-to-hip ratio were more likely to be in the top 25% of those with faster decrease in their brain volume.” The CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Henry) “The Chart” blog also covered the story.

Free vision screening at Sam’s Club Aug. 13

Sam’s Club is encouraging customers to protect their eyes by offering free vision screenings at its stores nationwide on Aug. 13.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., both adults and children can receive a vision acuity screening, as well as a quick take-home test called an Amsler Grid, which tests for blurred or missing areas of vision.

The screenings will be offered in Sam’s Club locations that have a pharmacy and/or optical centers. What’s more, the optical department is offering savings on eye health brands through Aug. 28. Additionally, members and guests can receive free samples of Zeiss lens wipes and Zeiss liquid eyeglass cleaner.

“Vision screenings are important preventative health measures for all ages to maintain eye health and preserve sight for years to come,” Sam’s Club health-and-wellness SVP Jill Turner-Mitchael said. “Vision problems can start at any age and early detection is the key to good vision. With many adults and children preparing to focus on chalkboards and computer screens this fall, Sam’s Club is proud to offer free eye health screenings to benefit the communities we serve.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 61 million adults are at high risk for serious vision loss, but only half have visited their eye doctor in the past six months.

Sam’s Club will provide free vision-acuity screening as well as a take-home test to look for blurred or missing areas of vision. In addition, the warehouse will distribute free samples of lens wipes and eyeglass cleaner. Contact lens solution and other products promoting eye health will also be on sale.

In addition to the vision screenings, the company also will offer free glucose tests. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes can cause blindness and more new cases of blindness are diagnosed among diabetes patients ages 20 to 74 years.

USDA Recalls 36M Pounds Of Ground Turkey After Salmonella Outbreak

 

 

 

ABC World News (8/3, story 7, 0:25, Sawyer) reported on “the latest nationwide salmonella outbreak,” which caused the USDA to recall “36 million pounds — 36 million — of Cargill ground turkey.”

        NBC Nightly News (8/3, story 8, 0:20, Williams) reported, “And we had early warning of this last night. Now it is an official government recall in this country. Thirty-six million pounds of Cargill ground turkey, some of it contaminated with salmonella, believed responsible for at least 76 illnesses nationwide and one death in the state of California.”

        The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/4, B3, Neuman, Subscription Publication) reports, “Cargill, a major United States meat processor, said Wednesday that it was recalling” the ground turkey produced since February in Springdale, Arkansas, where it was also suspending operations. The decision “appeared to be one of the largest meat recalls ever.” The CDC warned that the Salmonella Heidelberg strain of bacteria involved “is resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics.”

        The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/4) reports that “so far, California, Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania have been among the states hardest hit,” and victims typically experience “diarrhea and abdominal pain.” For children, the illness can be fatal. The Times notes, however, that the government says “even contaminated ground turkey is safe to eat if it is handled properly and cooked to 165 degrees.”

        The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/4, Jalonick) reports that Cargill said the recall would involve both fresh and frozen ground turkey sold under various names but with the common code of “Est. P-963” on labels. The company “said it was initiating the recall after its own internal investigation, an Agriculture Department investigation and information about the illnesses released by the CDC this week.” The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/3, Khan) “Booster Shots” blog also covered the story.

August is Children’s Eye Health Month

Don’t look now but August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month.   What if a child never had his eye sight checked, how would he know if he had any sight problems?  A child that has problems seeing, or being light sensitive, or experiencing a blurriness of vision would tend believe this type of ‘seeing’ to be normal and not tell anybody about his vision problem.

Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month raises awareness  about children and their vision. One out of every four school age children has some type of vision problem. It is important to know if your child has a vision problem and to protect their eyes from harm.

With the new school year swiftly coming, can little Suzy or Johnny see the blackboard or read their school books?  Is Suzy squinting her eyes at the blackboard from her first row seat?  Is Johnny covering up one eye so the words on the book page don’t become ‘double’?    Does either one seem easily surprised or jumpy when someone walks softly up to them?

Vision problems can include sitting really close to the television, short attention span, excessive blinking or squinting, and poor coordination when throwing or catching. Many pediatricians will perform a simple eye exam around 3 years of age.

According to Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America, “Vision problems affect one in four school-aged children.  We want all children to make sure their child’s eye problems do not go unnoticed this school year.  A child should not have to struggle in school because of an undetected vision problem.”

Having yearly eye check-ups with your doctor or an optometrist is always a good idea, or talking with the school system or local government to find out about free children eye exams.

Though most eye problems in children can be corrected if detected and treated early, it is possible for a child to have a serious vision problem and be unaware of it. To prevent eye injuries in children, it is important for parents and caregivers to understand the most common dangers such as the misuse of toys, accidental falls, mishandling of sharp objects such as pens and forks, contact with harmful household products, and sports injuries.

“Certain eye problems, if left untreated, even for a short time, can lead to permanent vision loss, so it is important to maintain appropriate eye care and attend regular check-ups,” said Anthony Caputo, MD, Medical Director, The Children’s Eye Care Center of New Jersey at CMMC.

According to Prevent Blindness America, immediate medical help should be obtained if a child shows any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Obvious pain or trouble seeing
  • Cuts or tears in the eyelid
  • One eye does not move as well as the other, or one sticks out more than the other
  • Unusual pupil shape or size
  • Blood in the clear part of the eye
  • Something in the eye or under the eyelid that cannot be easily removed

To help avoid potential everyday eye injuries, parents and caregivers of small children should use safety gates on stairs to prevent falls, pad sharp corners on furniture, place locks on drawers and cabinets that contain harmful substances, and keep sharp objects out of reach. Protective goggles and helmets should be worn when playing sports.

In addition, children are at an even higher risk of the sun’s UV rays’ harmful effects, as their eyes do not yet have the same ability as adults do to better protect against UV radiation. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses large enough to shield children’s eyes from most angles are recommended.

 

 

Even Small Amounts Of Aerobic Exercise May Lower Coronary Heart Disease Risk

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/2, Lloyd) reports, “More research shows that even small amounts of aerobic exercise help lower coronary heart disease risk, according to a review Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published Monday in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.” This “mega-study is part of a growing body of research showing that some physical activity provides health benefits.”

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/2) “Booster Shots” blog reported that investigators analyzed data from 33 different studies. “The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which recommend a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise for health benefits, were used as a measure.” The researchers found that individuals “who met those basic guidelines had a 14% lower risk of heart disease compared with people who did no leisure time physical activity.” However, “people who did less than the recommended 150 minutes per week also had lowered risk of heart disease compared with their sedentary counterparts.”

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Goodwin) reported that “those who did more — about 300 minutes a week, or five hours — reduced their risk of heart disease, including heart attacks, angina and bypass surgeries, by 20 percent compared to people who did no exercise, the study found.”

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Hendrick) reported that the “researchers noticed a significant gender difference in results, which showed that exercise had a greater effect in reducing heart disease risk in women than in men.” The UK’s Telegraph Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/2, Beckford) and MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1, Bankhead) also covered the story.

 

 

 

 

Americans Cutting Back On Added Sugar

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/30, Hernandez) “Booster Shots” blog reported that, according to research Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online July 13 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “Americans are cutting back on the amount of added sugar they’re eating…– from about 3.5 ounces a day in 2000 (25 teaspoons, or 375 calories) to 2.7 ounces a day in 2008 (19 teaspoons, or 285 calories).” After tracking “more than 42,000 Americans over the age of two who were part of the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey, a program sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” researchers found that “the calories Americans got from added sugars each day went down from an average of 18% of daily calories in 2000 to about 15% in 2008.”

Researchers Say US Sugar Consumption Guidelines Should Be Reconsidered. Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/29, Fox, Hart) reported that, according to a study to appear in the Oct. issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, “adults who consumed 25% of their daily calories as fructose or high-fructose corn syrup beverages (a percentage within current government guidelines) for two weeks experienced increases in serum levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.” After having “48 overweight and normal-weight adults (age, 18-40 years; body mass index, 18-35 kg/m2) consume beverages that contained fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, or glucose at the 25% upper limit for calorie intake for two weeks,” researchers suggested that the government “reconsider its recommendations that include a maximal upper limit of 25% of total energy requirements from added sugar.”

LATimes Criticizes Administration, Food Industry Over Sugar Guidelines. The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/1) editorializes, “When the government proposes guidelines for children’s foods that would consider unsweetened 2% fat yogurt unhealthful but not a bowl of cereal with eight grams of added sugar, it’s micromanaging diets in unhelpful ways.” Similarly, “when the food manufacturers’ response is a proposal that would allow Lucky Charms cereal to receive the government’s blessing with its existing 10 grams of sugar per serving, it’s evidence that the industry isn’t all that concerned about children’s health.” Government experts are “in the process of finalizing voluntary guidelines for the advertising and marketing of foods to children.” While the initial guidelines they proposed were “overly prescriptive,” the food industry’s “response inspires little confidence.” The Times says that eliminating “subsidies for the ingredients most commonly found in cheap junk food — especially corn, which is used to make the cheap sweetener high-fructose corn syrup,” would be a “more effective” tactic.

The 7 WORST Gym Exercises to NEVER Do

These 7 exercises are popular with most workout enthusiasts, but they could actually be HARMING your body!

Exercise is meant to help you, right?

Unfortunately, there are certain “exercises” in the gym that cause more harm than good. I’d like to take a strong look at the 7 most prevalent injury-causing exercises in most gyms. The worst part is that these exercises are pretty much useless when it comes to building strength or losing fat. There really isn’t much of a point in doing them, whatsoever, and yet they can destroy our results.

It’s time to put an end to the worst exercises on Earth. I’m here to help you understand how your body moves, why it responds to exercise the way it does, and how to minimize your risk while you maximize the effect from every exercise you do.

As a side note, I think it’s important to mention that the last thing I want is for you to feel discouraged; rather, it’s important that you feel inspired to know you have eliminated the negative from your exercise program. Now, you’ll be able to safely rely on the fact that “you’re doing it right” when you exercise. Plus, I think you’ll be shocked to realize how much you’ve learned about your body’s ideal positioning and muscle recruitment strategies with exercise.

The main reasons that an exercise would qualify in the following list is one or more of the following:

  1. Creates muscle imbalances
  2. Has zero functional benefit
  3. Winds up joint into unsafe position

If an exercise creates muscle imbalances, this can lead to joint deterioration all over your body and even blunt fat loss. You see, once your joints are out of position, your body has sub-sensory pain signals taking place all over the body. These pain signals tell your brain to shut down the muscles in the area in order to avoid “pulling on the injury” and causing more damage. The end result: no muscle contraction and weaker muscles.

We exercise to be stronger in our daily lives and live a longer/higher quality of life. If an exercise has no true benefit in either or both of these categories, then what’s the point?

Just because someone tries an exercise in a gym isn’t a reason to make this part of your routine. The gym is full of mostly amateurs, including several of the personal trainers at big name gyms. After all, that’s where many of us started out at one point or another…

“Winding up your joint” into an unsafe position involves increased pressure on the labrum or capsule of a joint while performing an exercise. Simultaneously, it’ll be likely that a muscle is being overstretched while being recruited to contract. This is a recipe for disaster. Instead, let’s find a position of rest for the joint and then exercise it. This will assist the natural delivery of nutrients to the joint and joint capsule.

Also important to mention, we should consider these two terms in understanding the benefits/consequences of an exercise:

  1. Active Insufficiency – this is when a muscle is over-shortened and you try to use it. An example is if you “make a muscle” with your biceps and then see how strong you are. The muscle is already short, so you’re not as strong as you are in the middle of the movement.
  2. Passive Insufficiency – this is when a muscle is over-lengthened and you try to use it. An example is if you tip your wrist back all the way and then try to curl your fingers. Because your wrist flexors are over-stretched, your muscles are having a hard time contracting. Again, you’d be much stronger if your wrist were in neutral, or halfway in between.

Lastly, I’d like to discuss the difference between open and closed chain exercises, and how this will affect the functional carryover in a particular exercise:

  • Open-chained exercise: Fixed proximal segment, moving distal. Proximal means closer to your heart and distal means closer to your fingers and toes. So, in this case, it would be our hand moving towards our elbow (biceps curl), foot moving towards our buttocks (leg curl), etc.
    • It’s important to note that open-chained exercises are very effective for sculpting muscles in the final stages of bodybuilding, or isolation training for rehabilitative purposes; although, they do create much more torsion into the joint and generally only exercise one muscle at a time. Due to these being isolation type movements, the metabolic effect of open-chain exercises is generally much lower than closed-chain movements.
  • Closed-chain exercises: Fixed distal segment, moving proximal. This is just the opposite, so your foot would be fixed as your body moves closer to it (squat/deadlift), or your hands would be fixed as your body moves closer to them (push up, pull up.)
    • Likewise, it’s noteworthy that closed-chain exercises are very effective at building balanced joints, spiking metabolism, and increasing functional gains in daily life while reducing or eliminating risk of injury. Closed-chain exercises have a higher metabolic effect because more muscle groups and joints are being used.

Ok, you’ve already got a great background for judging exercises and their quality, or lack thereof. Now, let’s dive in and take a look at the 7 worst exercises:

 

1) Leg Presses

These are awful. Here’s why: Creates muscle imbalances, zero functional benefit, winds up joint to unsafe position

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Quads are generally stronger than hamstrings; this reinforces the problem.
    When your quadriceps overpower your hamstrings in deep knee flexion, there is increased torsion placed into the meniscus, increasing the likelihood of knee injury.
  • Quads and glutes should be used as a pair. In this case, they are not being used effectively.
    When your glutes do not fire while using your quads with a great level of force, there is increased risk of low back injury.

An imbalance between your quadriceps and hamstrings can quickly result in a number of knee issues, including patellofemoral (kneecap) and meniscus damage. Even worse, when your quads overpower your hamstrings, it’s not uncommon to develop restrictions in these muscles as your body attempts to even things out. These restrictions lead to increased pull on the top of your pelvis, tipping it forward, and placing pressure in your low spine.

This all sounds complicated, but let’s make it easy. Just stand up and lean backwards. If your hip flexors are tight, you’ll feel a stretch in the front of your thighs. It’s a good bet that we should get you training in more functional abs positions. You may already be spending too much of your day in this pre-shortened position, causing ‘active insufficiency’ to take place.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • In most cases, people aren’t coming down to a full 90 degrees of knee flexion, which is needed for getting in/out of a chair.
  • Even in these cases your abs are so pre-contracted (active insufficiency) and low back extensors so overstretched (passive insufficiency) that it’s tough to use your quads with any abdominal or low back support.
  • Since your abs and low back are out of the picture, this exercise loses a lot of its functionality.

Metabolic Effect:

The metabolic effect of this exercise is less because the number of muscles used is less than similar weight-bearing (closed-chain) exercises. Ultimately, the number of muscles and joints you use in a given exercise determines the metabolic effect of that exercise.

 

2) Leg Extensions

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Quads are generally stronger than hamstrings; this reinforces the problem.
  • Quads and glutes should be used as a pair. In this case, they are not being used effectively.
  • Interestingly, if you are having a hard time contracting your vastus medialis oblique (VMO) in your knee, the last 15 degrees of this movement can be helpful, but careful with the torque into your knee joint.
  • Again, only for the last 15 degrees until your knee is totally straight, and this can often cause more damage than good.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • It can also be argued that this exercise may help if you are a soccer player, but power lifting has been demonstrated to improve sprinting and kicking ability much more than any variety of leg extensions.
  • When you walk, you use your quads and hamstrings; here, it’s just quads.

This comes down to torque. Think about a long screwdriver and a short screwdriver. It’s easier to use the long one, meaning you don’t have to turn it as hard. This is a result of the force of you turning the screwdriver x the distance to the end of the screwdriver. That’s how torque is calculated.

In this example, we are exercising above our knee, but the weight goes on our ankle. Think about that distance… that’s a lot of torque into our knees with a lot of weight!

Metabolic Effect:

Low. This is a single joint exercise that is isolation-based. By definition, there will be a low metabolic effect. Instead, choose more compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, or lunges for an increased metabolic effect with this muscle group.

 

3) Machine Leg Curls

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Majority of force placed through distal hamstring, rather than proximal. This results in increased pressure behind the knee.
  • Requires change of position to recruit medial hamstrings and glutes on this exercise, which should be used as a muscle pair.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • I can’t think of a moment in time where I need to perform this movement in daily life.
  • However, if I ran hurdles, this may help, but again deadlifts and power lifts seem to improve sprint capacity at the same time and provide greater benefit.

This is a question of torque into the knee again. Also, in this case, the hamstrings tend to cramp a lot, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, or necessary at all.

If you have a Baker’s Cyst behind your knee, that’s a lot of pressure. For others, it’s really pulling the posterior horn of your meniscus, while missing your proximal (closer to your butt) hamstring altogether.

Metabolic Effect:

Low effect, as this is a single joint exercise.

 

4) Biceps Preacher Curls

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Forward shoulder position leads to increased stretch (passive insufficiency) on the rotator cuff and biceps tendon.
    • An imbalance between your pecs and lats/shoulderblade stabilizers results in a forward shoulder position. This leads to rotator cuff tendonitis, biceps tendonitis, and increase risk of tears. Also, this limits the amount of growth of both your pecs and lats, due to the sub-sensory pain stimulus, as well as the actively insufficient pecs and passively insufficient lats (see above for definitions.)
    • This is true for your shoulders and neck. In this forward position, you are at risk for injury. Also, like many people who perform this exercise, you may be placing excessive weight into your armpit, which is where your brachial plexus is. This is the bundle of nerves that controls your arms.
    • This all sounds complicated, but let’s make it easy. Just stand up tall and place your hands straight up into the air. Now, bend your elbow out to the side until your shoulder and elbow are both at right angles. If you already feel a stretch, your pecs are super tight. You may already be spending too much of your day in this pre-shortened position, causing ‘active insufficiency’ to take place. This will limit your strength and fat loss gains, while also increasing your risk of injury.
  • Position also leads to increased pressure on the anterior and posterior capsules of the shoulder. Any pain signal or pressure will reduce the recruitment of your delts and shoulder stabilizers.
  • Biceps are being shortened in an over-shortened position for your pecs, reinforcing a common imbalance.
  • The elbow is only safe when balanced. You need to train your brachioradialis (hammer curls), biceps (curls), and brachialis (reverse curls) in order to hit all elbow flexors.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • This is an artificial movement, in an abnormal position. It’s only purpose is to build biceps, and there are better ways. For example:
  • The biceps is an elbow flexor, but it’s also a supinator (meaning it turns your palm up). Preacher curls only work on elbow flexion, which means you’re missing 50% of the muscle’s action. Whoops!

Evening out all of your elbow flexors has more carryover effect.

Metabolic Effect:

Low effect, as this is a single joint exercise. In fact, it may be detrimental due to the likelihood of the sub-sensory pain stimuli going off in the shoulder girdle, preventing some of the neurological signal from reaching the muscle.

 

5) Smith Machine Squats

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Your hamstrings are basically off in this exercise, meaning that it is totally quad dominant.
  • Simultaneously, it’s very hard to properly recruit your glutes when the weight is not directly loading your spine. Without glute support, you are weakening your core, ultimately increasing risk of injury and slowing fat loss.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • Since your hamstrings and glutes don’t really have to work here, you’re not squatting like you would in real life.
    Actually, here, it’s unsafe for the opposite reason, interestingly enough. Check this out…
  • When you squat with your arms overhead, you tend to lean forward, or your knees come forward, or both. Controlling for this is the controlling inter-related segments so they can get stronger and more mobile together. These segments need to work together to prevent injury, so squats that are not on the smith machine tend to limit you to the correct weight selection, while these squats do not.

Metabolic Effect:

Low to medium. Since you are using your ankle, knee, and hip joints, the metabolic potential goes up slightly. However, it’s important to remember that muscle imbalances lead to all sorts of situations that lend themselves to a metabolic crash.

 
6) Overhead Tricep Extensions With Dumbbells

Muscle Balance Perspective:

  • Overstretched proximal triceps in this position, causing increased tension on the triceps tendon by the elbow.
  • Internal rotation, targeting the medial triceps head, can lead to shoulder impingement and more serious issues.

Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • This is another movement that never happens in daily life. When are we overhead forcefully extending our elbow like this. It’s kind of silly, if you think about it.
  • You may be arching your back while doing this, which could cause a lot of strain and take your abs out of the picture, altogether. Bad idea!

Metabolic Effect:

Low to none. Since we are only really working our elbow joint and a small muscle group, we aren’t gaining much of a metabolic effect whatsoever. Also noteworthy, this is an open-chained exercise that produces a lot of torque into the shoulder and elbow.

7) External Rotation with a Dumbbell, Standing
Functional Benefit Assessment:

  • Since this exercise actually is working brachioradialis against gravity (the dumbbell is weighing me down, against gravity, not side to the side), it’s only adding to the muscle imbalances I may already be experiencing.
  • Holding a dumbbell in my hands and moving it side to side is not placing tension on the external rotators of my shoulder, just my elbow flexors. This issue is not being resolved.
  • The only weight being placed into the shoulder is the torque from your hand, which is holding the dumbbell, through your elbow, and up to your shoulder.

So, all in all, it’s causing a very small amount of damage with no benefit.

Functional, Muscle Balancing, and Metabolic Effect Summary:

As you can see, not all exercises were created equally. I strongly recommend that you analyze an exercise before just going for it. I realize that you’re working hard to get great results, improve your health, and create a higher quality of life for yourself.

by Dr. Kareem Samhouri – CSCS, HFS
Neuro Metabolic Fitness & Rehab Expert

Building Muscle May Decrease Diabetes Risk

 

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/29, Marcus) reports, “More muscle may reduce the odds of developing diabetes,” according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. After analyzing “data from 13,644 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III,” then controlling for confounding factors, researchers found that for “each 10% increase in the skeletal muscle index…there was a corresponding 11% reduction in insulin resistance and a 12% decrease in pre-diabetes.”

“There was also a 12 percent reduction in pre-diabetes, a condition characterized by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, said the researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles,” HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/28, Preidt) reported.

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/28, Mann) reported that “resistance exercise may also have a role in helping people with type 2 diabetes better use the insulin that they do produce,” explained study author Arun S. Karlamangla, PhD, MD.

 

5 Powerful Foods that Lower Your Blood Pressure

Are you eating enough of these 5 amazing foods that help reduce high blood pressure?


Did you know that stroke and coronary heart disease still remain to be on the list of the top three main causes of death in the USA?  It’s time to take your health seriously so you don’t fall victim to these!

What is High Blood Pressure and how does this come into play?

According to the National Institute for Health, blood pressure levels of 140/90 mmHg or more can be classified ashypertension.

The worst part about having high blood pressure is that the condition can sometimes be present without any symptoms and before we know it, the damage is already extensive. Serious problems that have been associated with high blood pressure include kidney failure, heart attack, heart failure and stroke.

What are the Risk Factors Associated with High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure can be influenced by a lot of factors – age, race, family history, tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, diet, binge drinking, and stress levels. Chronic conditions such as sleep apnea, diabetes and high cholesterol levels can also precipitate the development of hypertension.

What can You Do to Lower Blood Pressure?

You don’t need potentially dangerous drugs to control and reduce your blood pressure. Controlling blood pressure levels could be as simple as doing lifestyle modifications and eating healthier.

If you are a smoker, quit. If you drink heavily, try to practice self-control. At work, take the stairs instead of the elevator. And if you have been obsessed with sweet, sugary foods as well as processed fast-food meals, then modify your eating habits as well. Learn to eat the right kinds of food before it’s too late.

Below are 5 of my top picks for powerful foods that could help you lower your blood pressure levels:

artichokes help lower blood pressure1. Artichokes

The use of artichokes has been implicated in the lowering of cholesterol levels in the blood. Since hypercholesterolemia is one of the risk factors for high blood pressure, this information is actually good news.  Three clinical trials conducted separately by Dr. Barbara Wider supports this fact. In Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews’ October 2009 issue, where the result of the study was published, it was shown that patients who were diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia and given Artichoke leaf extract exhibited a decrease in their blood cholesterol levels.

Artichokes taste amazing steamed (generally steam for about 1 hour) and then dip each piece into a mixture of olive oil, grass-fed butter, and garlic.  Delicious!

bananas cut high blood pressure2.  Bananas

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine says that incorporating bananas in your day-to-day meals can actually cut stroke-related deaths by as much as 40 percent. A 1997 study at Johns Hopkins University recommended eating at least five bananas daily to achieve the desired effect, and that is to lower elevated blood pressure levels. However, a study conducted by Indian researchers at the Kasturba medical college revealed that people who eat two bananas a day, for one whole week, can lower their blood pressure levels by 10 percent.

Bananas are rich in potassium, which is responsible for the proper functioning of the heart.  It works with sodium to maintain balance of the body’s fluids, which is an important factor in the regulation of blood pressure.
compounds in beets beat blood pressure3.  Beets

A research study conducted by scientists from Barts and The London School Medicine revealed that simply drinking one 500 ml glass of beetroot juice each day can produce astounding health benefits, especially to the heart.

Beetroot juice has been found to lower high blood pressure levels. Professors Amrita Ahluwalia and Ben Benjamin, from the William Harvey Research Institute and Peninsula Medical Center, respectively, led the research efforts, which revealed that the consumption of dietary nitrate that is found in beetroot has BP-lowering effects in as fast as 1 hour after ingestion, with the effect lasting for up to 24 hours. The result of the study was published in the March 2008 issue of Hypertension.

You can try beetroot juice, or also try baked beets sliced on salads or as a side dish to dinner.
cocoa helps lower blood pressure4.  Cocoa

A study conducted by researchers from Germany’s University Hospital of Cologne revealed that cocoa can significantly lower high blood pressure levels. Study results were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The beneficial heart effects of cocoa are attributed to its flavonoid content, specifically procyanids.

Because cocoa is most commonly found in chocolate, people falsely assume that eating a lot of chocolate could be good for the health. Keep in mind that cocoa in chocolates have undergone a lot of processing, and it has been mixed with loads of sugar, so this is not totally healthy. The best way to take advantage of the health benefits offered by cocoa is to choose raw cacao – it is good for the heart, the brain and the liver.  Raw cacao nibs go great in smoothies!  Also use organic cocoa powder in smoothies or homemade hot cocoa sweetened with stevia instead of sugar.
garlic fights hypertension5.  Garlic

Researchers from South Australia’s University of Adelaide have conducted studies, which provide solid proof that the consumption of garlic can indeed help lower elevated blood pressure levels. Garlic supplements in powder form were given and results revealed that it produced a reduction in systolic blood pressure. Garlic has been known all over the world as a very important herb, especially with its heart-protecting capabilities. It helps lower blood cholesterol levels and prevents blood from forming clots (which could lead to heart attack and stroke).

Furthermore, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal has published the results of a laboratory test showing how garlic juice can lead to a decrease in blood pressure levels. Eating the equivalent of 2 cloves of garlic each day can significantly contribute to the health of the heart.

~ Frank Mangano

Eating Fish May Help Men Reduce Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

MedWire Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/25, Albert) reported that, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online July 20 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, “eating fish can help men reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes.” After analyzing data on 22,921 men and 29,759 women without a history of diabetes who ranged in age from 45 to 75 and who were followed for about five years, researchers “found that when compared with men in the lowest quartile for overall fish consumption, those in the highest quartile for consumption had a significant 27% reduced risk for developing type 2 diabetes.”

Notably, “fish consumption in women was not significantly related to a risk for type 2 diabetes,” Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/25, Barclay) reported.

Parents risking their child’s health by failing to get eyes tested

Almost 40% of parents of primary school pupils have never taken their child for an eye test, according to new poll.

Two in five kids are set to head back to school with undiagnosed eyesight issues, according to new research

UK parents are overlooking their children’s eyesight, with almost 40% of parents of primary school-aged kids admitting they’ve never taken their child for an eye test.

Nearly 70% of parents believe their child’s eyesight is ‘fine’, yet over a third admit they don’t know the danger signs of poor eye health, according to the ICM poll commissioned by Vision Express.

Worryingly, 88% of parents are unaware of the nationally recommended screening age of 5 years. Children under 16 are entitled to free NHS-funded eye tests, so speak to your child’s school or your local optician.

“An eye test can not only reveal a problem with a child’s sight but could also flag up more serious eye conditions, including retinoblastoma, a rare form of childhood eye cancer,” said Joy Felgate, chief executive of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.

“Parents are not only risking their child’s health in later life by failing to have their eyes tested from a young age, but also how effectively they are learning in the classroom on a daily basis,” said Sally Polak, from Vision Express.

~ Lara Brunt

The Importance of Children’s Eye Health

For many, the first day of school is quickly approaching. And, parents know there is so much to be done before the first day of school to make sure that their child has all of the tools to succeed this school year. A key part of this success starts with healthy eyesight in the classroom.

A child’s ability to see the blackboard and the words on a page clearly is critical to their learning experience. Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, has declared August as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness month in an effort to encourage parents to learn about ways they can help protect their child’s vision.

Often children do not realize they have problems with their vision because they think how they see is how everyone else sees. They learn to compensate with their vision problems without fixing them, which can lead to more problems in school and later in life. Unfortunately, some students are misdiagnosed as having a learning disability or behavioral problems when they may simply have vision impairment. This confusion can be eliminated taking a child for a certified vision screening or an eye exam.

“Vision problems affect one in four school-aged children. We want all children to make sure their child’s eye problems do not go unnoticed this school year,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness America. “A child should not have to struggle in school because of an undetected vision problem.”

Eye problems can range from common refractive errors such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, to serious eye conditions including:

Amblyopia or “lazy eye” – the most common cause of visual impairment in children. As the brain develops and receives diminished images from the affected eye, it begins to suppress those images and favor the unaffected eye. If this condition persists, the weaker eye may become useless. Amblyopia becomes more difficult to treat effectively as the child becomes older.

Strabismus or “crossed eyes” – a condition where eyes are misaligned, or do not line up with each other. This problem is caused when the muscles do not work together. Strabismus may eventually lead to amblyopia. Approximately one in 50 children has strabismus.

Parents should hit the books as well to learn more about how to keep their children’s eyes healthy. Prevent Blindness America has created “Star Pupils,” a free program specifically designed to educate parents on what they can do to ensure healthy eyesight for their kids. Parents may visit Starpupils.org and receive free information on everything from common eye conditions in children to tips on how to protect eyes from injury while playing sports.

For more information on children’s eye health and safety, please call Prevent Blindness America at (800) 331-2020 or visit starpupils.org.

About Prevent Blindness America

Founded in 1908, Prevent Blindness America is the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization dedicated to fighting blindness and saving sight. Focused on promoting a continuum of vision care, Prevent Blindness America touches the lives of millions of people each year through public and professional education, advocacy, certified vision screening and training, community and patient service programs and research. These services are made possible through the generous support of the American public. Together with a network of affiliates, divisions and chapters, Prevent Blindness America is committed to eliminating preventable blindness in America. For more information, or to make a contribution to the sight-saving fund, call 1-800-331-2020. Or, visit us on the Web at preventblindness.org or facebook.com/preventblindness.

Survey: 38 Million US Adults Turning To Alternative Therapies

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/22, Hendrick) reported, “Most Americans believe that prescription medications are the most effective treatments for many common illnesses, but a Consumer Reports survey of more than 45,000 people finds that three-fourths of us are turning to alternative therapies like yoga and acupuncture.” Specifically, “38 million adults make more than 300 million visits per year to acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other practitioners of alternative and complementary techniques,” the report found. The report appears in the September issue of Consumer Reports Health, an online publication.

Americans Not Taking Proper Care of Their Eyes According to New Study

Research carried out by independent researchers funded by Transitions Optical shows that most Americans are not taking steps to protect their eyes, and few fully understand the effects of UV exposure on their eyes. Many ethnic groups, such as Asian Americans and Hispanics, showed lower awareness of eye health risks and the steps to take to prevent them. These groups are also at higher risk for other serious health problems that can affect long-term vision.

Of the surveyed adults, less than 40% reported seeing an eye doctor and receiving an eye exam in the past year. Eye exams catch the warning signs of serious problems like glaucoma and cataracts early when treatment is possible. Children also need yearly eye exams to ensure their eyes are developing properly and that their vision doesn’t need correction. Children often struggle in school when they need glasses but are unaware that they have eyesight problems.

Hispanics and Asian Americans showed the lowest rates of scheduling eye exams for children. Hispanics and African Americans are also at higher risk for eye-affecting diseases like hypertension and diabetes. These diseases often display early warning signs through the eyes and an annual eye check-up can catch chronic conditions early as well. Hispanics show a higher rate of glaucoma, macular degeneration and pterygia. These increased risks indicate that they need annual eye exams even more than other ethnic groups.

2 of 3 survey respondents weren’t aware that their ethnic background affected their chances for developing a serious vision problem. Hispanics and African Americans were less likely to purchase eyewear with UV protection, and had lower rates of understanding about the damage UV rays do to the eyes. UV damage occurs year round and lowers contrast and light sensitivity.

Eye Experts Say Reading On Smartphones May Strain Eyes

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/21, Gardner) reports that, according to a study published in Optometry and Vision Science, “people reading text messages or browsing the Internet on their smartphones tend to hold the devices closer than they would a book or newspaper.” This, combined with the often small font sizes, “could put added strain on people who already wear glasses or contact lenses.” Eye surgeon Dr. Scott MacRae suggests increasing font size on smartphones, e-readers, and using “Verdana 12-point font, the only font designed specifically for computers.”

Diet Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Be Associated With Lower Dementia Risk

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/20, Laino) reported, “A diet rich in certain omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of developing dementia,” according to research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. “In a study of more than 2,000 older women and men followed for nearly five years, the more omega-3-rich oily fish they ate, the lower their risk of developing dementia.” In particular, the study authors looked at the “omega-3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eiosapentaenoic acid), found in salmon, sardines, tuna, halibut, and mackerel.”

Whey Protein May Be Helpful for Weight Loss

All protein may not be created equal when it comes to weight loss.

Whey, or milk, protein may offer people who want to slim down a slight edge over soy, a new study shows.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center randomly assigned 90 overweight and obese middle-aged adults to one of three groups. The first group was asked to add protein drinks made with whey to their normal diets, the second group drank protein drinks made with soy protein, and the third group drank carbohydrate drinks.

Study participants weren’t told which group they had been assigned to. All the drinks, which were drunk twice daily, at breakfast and dinner, had the same number of calories: 200. They also all had had 52 grams per packet, for a daily total of 104 grams of added protein or carbs.

Researchers tracked participants’ physical activity levels, weights, waist sizes, lean and fat body mass, and blood levels of hormones related to hunger and metabolism.

They also had people keep records of the other foods they were eating. The researchers made sure participants were drinking the shakes during random urine tests for levels of a chemical tracer they had added to the powders.

Seventy-three people completed the study, which is published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Whey Protein vs. Soy Protein

When the study started, there were no significant differences between groups, researchers report.

Men weighed an average of 218 pounds, while women weighed an average of about 190 pounds.

Throughout the study, all the groups ate roughly the same number of average daily calories, about 2,200.

After six months, people drinking the carbohydrate shakes had gained a little bit of weight, about 2 pounds, which appeared to be mainly added fat, compared to where they started.

People drinking the soy shakes had stayed about the same weight as where they started.

But people drinking the whey protein had lost a little bit of weight and body fat, about 2 pounds. Additionally, while the other groups saw little change in the size of their waists, the whey protein group lost about an inch around the middle.

The study was partially funded by the dairy industry.

How Whey Protein May Affect Weight

Researchers say a couple of things may help to explain the weight and fat loss seen with whey protein.

People in the whey protein group had significantly lower blood levels of the hormone ghrelin than people eating the soy protein or carbohydrate.

“It’s a hormone that helps regulate food intake,” says David J. Baer, PhD, research physiologist at the USDA’s agriculture research service in Beltsville, Md. “So the higher concentration, the more hungry somebody feels. The lower concentration, the fuller somebody feels.”

And though researchers really can’t explain why this happened or what it means, they found that people drinking the whey protein had cut back on their carbohydrate intake by the end of the study, even though they weren’t eating fewer total calories and didn’t know what kind of supplement they were getting.

Though people drinking soy protein saw little change in their weight or body composition during the study, they had higher levels of thyroid hormones compared to those drinking whey. Thyroid hormones control metabolism and higher levels may indicate a metabolic boost, though more research is needed to fully explain what that may mean for weight loss.

For people who are hoping to replicate the results at home, researchers advise picking a whey product that is also low in calories and fat.

“A lot of the whey products on the market also have a lot of calories in them,” Baer says, “Consumers just need to read those labels.

Cell Phone Use Affects Brain Glucose Metabolism

Use of a cell phone for as little as 50 minutes at a time appears to affect brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the phone’s antenna, a new study shows.

Investigators used positron emission tomography (PET) during cell phone use in the on and then off positions and found that although whole-brain metabolism was not affected, metabolism was increased in the orbitofrontal cortex and the temporal pole areas of the brain while the cell phone was on, areas that are close to where phone’s antenna meets the head.

Dr. Nora Volkow

“We do not know what the clinical significance of this finding is, both with respect to potential therapeutic effect of this type of technology but also potential negative consequences from cell phone exposure,” said lead study author Nora D. Volkow, MD, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland, during a teleconference.

In the interim though, she recommends using hands-free devices or speaker-phone mode to avoid direct contact of the telephone with the head. Previous work suggests that if the phone is a foot or more away it is very unlikely to have any effects, she said. “So there are some very easy solutions that don’t cost anything for those who want to play it safe.”

Caution may be particularly necessary for children and adolescents whose neural tissue is still developing, Dr. Volkow noted. This is also a population who started their lives with cell phones and can expect to be exposed for years to come, she added.

Their report appears in the February 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Effect of Imaging Tools?

The proliferation of cell phone use has raised the question of the effects of radiofrequency-modulated electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs), particularly carcinogenic effects. Epidemiologic studies looking at the relationship between cell phones and brain tumors have been inconsistent with some, but not all, studies finding increased risk, “and the issue remains unresolved,” the study authors write.

Dr. Volkow is well known for her work in the area of addictions, not generally adverse effects of cell phone use, but this new study nevertheless stemmed from that research, she said. They have been studying whether imaging technologies, including PET and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), that are used to study the brain can directly affect brain function. “For the past 15 years, we’ve done a series of studies to try to actually assess whether magnetic fields affect brain glucose metabolism,” Dr. Volkow explained.

They found, for example, that the static magnetic field of a 4-T MRI does not affect brain metabolism, she said. However, when the magnetic fields were changed rapidly, which produces electrical currents, there was a significant increase in glucose metabolism in the brain. They wondered whether the RF-EMFs produced by cell phones might do the same thing.

The current study was a randomized, crossover study that enrolled 47 healthy, community-dwelling subjects. All underwent PET with (18F)fluorodeoxyglucose injection twice for 50 minutes at a time, once with a cell phone at each ear but only the right phone on, although it was muted, and once with both cell phones off.

They found that whole brain metabolism was not significantly different with the phone on vs off. However, metabolism in the regions closest to the antenna, the orbitofrontal cortex and temporal pole, was significantly higher when the cell phone was on.

Table. Brain Metabolism in Area Closest to Antenna With Cell Phone On vs Off

Endpoint On Mode Off Mode Mean Difference (95% CI) P
Metabolism in area closest to antenna, μmol/100 g per minute 35.7 33.3 2.4 (0.67 – 4.2) .004

CI = confidence interval

The difference between off and on modes was about a 7% increase in glucose metabolism, within the range of physiologic activation during speaking, for example, she said.

The increases in activation also correlated significantly with the estimated electromagnetic field amplitudes for both absolute metabolism (R = 0.95) and for normalized metabolism (R = 0.89, P < .001 for both).

It’s possible that the activation would be even higher in subjects who are actually talking on the phone, but in this study they did not want the subjects to talk during imaging, which might have activated other brain areas and confounded the cell phone’s effects, she said.

Unfortunately, Dr. Volkow noted, these findings don’t shed any light on the controversy of whether cell phone exposure produces or does not produce cancer. “What it does say to us is that the human brain is sensitive to this electromagnetic radiation,” she said. Whether this has any negative consequences needs to be evaluated.

They powered the study to detect even small effects, Dr. Volkow added. If they had not seen any effect after 50 minutes of exposure, “it would have been much easier to dismiss any concern about potential negatives of cell phones,” she said. “But the fact that we are observing changes really highlights the need to do the studies to be properly able to answer the question of whether cell phone exposure can have harmful effects or not.”

It’s also possible that if there may be beneficial effects, she speculated. “Could one use, for example, this type of technology to activate areas of the brain that may not be properly activated and explore potential therapeutic applications of this type of technology? But that would require that one show there are no untoward effects.”

Add to the Concern

In an editorial accompanying the publication, Henry Lai, PhD, from the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, Seattle, and Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD, from the Department of Oncology at University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden, point out that this is the first investigation in humans of glucose metabolism in the brain after cell phone use.

“The results by Volkow et al add to the concern about possible acute and long-term health effects of radiofrequency emissions from wireless phones, including both mobile and cordless desktop phones,” they write.

“Although the biological significance, if any, of increased glucose metabolism from acute cell phone exposure is unknown, the results warrant further investigation.”

The effects are unlikely to be mediated by the substantial increase in temperature seen with cell phones given the activation was “quite distant” from where the cell phone made contact, they speculate. Further, since the subjects were only listening rather than talking on the phone, “the effect observed could thus potentially be more pronounced in normal-use situations.”

The study was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health and by infrastructure support from the US Department of Energy. The researchers and editorialists have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

JAMA. 2011;305:808-814, 828-829.

Anti-aging and eye health benefits of resveratrol for age-related macular degeneration

Resveratrol a natural polyphenolic phytochemical with a variety of health benefits in age-related diseases, and aging process.

Resveratrol is found in at least 72 plant species and exists in two structural isomeric forms, cis and trans, with the trans form being more common and possessing greater biological activity. Polygonum cuspidatum, which is a plant used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, is one of the richest sources of resveratrol. The primary dietary sources for human consumption are peanuts, red grapes and red wine.

Resveratrol has a diverse range of biological properties including antioxidant, cardioprotection, anticancer activity, anti-inflammatory effects, estrogenic/anti-estrogenic properties, many of them mediated by modulation of cellular signal transduction pathways.

The polyphenolic structure of resveratrol confers its antioxidant activity. Polyphenols are known for protecting against oxidative stress, degenerative diseases, and aging process. The antioxidant and ‘anti-aging’ properties of resveratrol are believed to be through the activation of SIRT1 gene and by mimicking calorie-restriction conditions.1,2,3,4

Current literature search suggest that resveratrol supplementation could offer the potential for modulating the risks in development and progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

In one recent study resveratrol has shown strong protective effects against oxysterol-induced cell death and VEGF secretion and prevented neovascularization (development of new blood vessels), which is a major complication of AMD. The authors suggest a new “therapeutic perspective” for treatment of AMD using resveratrol.5

Abnormal angiogenesis (new blood vessels growing) is central to the pathophysiology of visually debilitating eye diseases such as AMD, and can lead to blindness.

Resveratrol in in vitro and in vivo experiments (in mouse retinas) inhibited pathological angiogenesis, induced by laser injury, and resulted in inhibition of proliferation and migration of vascular endothelial cells.

According to Dr. Rajendrar S. Apte the senior investigator of one of these studies, “resveratrol could potentially be a preventive therapy in high-risk patients, and because it works on existing abnormal blood vessels, it may be a therapy that can be started after angiogenesis has already started to cause its damage.6

This suggested a broad beneficial effect by resveratrol against retinal diseases associated with damage and loss of retinal cells

More studies are being conducted on potential of resveratrol for ameliorating age-related retinal cell degeneration. In one particular study synergistic effects were seen by combining zeaxanthin with resveratrol for alleviating the oxidative damage in the acute acrolein toxicity models.7

Resveratrol also has shown protective effects against ultraviolet A-mediated damage to human retinal cells. We know that light damage to the retina accelerates its degeneration and can lead to macular degeneration and vision loss.8

In one study, although it included only one 80-year old man who had complaints of unremitting night driving difficulty and parafoveal deposition of retinal lipofuscin, resveratrol showed clinically measurable and subjective improvements in vision, including self-reported night vision, and dramatic improvement in contrast sensitivity function and mental function.9

The antioxidative, gene modifying and anti-angiogenic properties of resveratrol suggest a strong rationale for using this compound as a nutritional supplement ingredient in early AMD.

 

Soy, Milk Protein Supplements May Be Associated With Lower Blood Pressure

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Stein) “Booster Shots” blog reported that, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online in Circulation, Journal of the American Heart Association, “soy and milk protein supplements may be associated with lower blood pressure more than refined carbohydrate supplements.”

For a two-month period, researchers randomized 352 “people with mild hypertension or higher-than-normal blood pressure on three separate regimens of daily supplements containing soy protein, milk protein, and complex carbohydrates,” CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter/Health.com (7/18, Harding) explained. “The carbohydrate supplement — which contained largely refined carbohydrates — had no measurable effect on blood pressure, but when the participants took the soy and milk protein supplements, their systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) dropped by about two points, on average.”

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Neale) reported, “During the study, there were no differences based on the supplement taken in intake of total energy, fat, saturated fat, sodium, potassium, and calcium.” Interestingly, “HDL cholesterol level was significantly higher with soy protein than with the other two supplements (P=0.03), but body weight, fasting plasma glucose, and other lipid parameters were consistent between the three supplements.”

According to HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Doheny), “While the reduction in blood pressure was small, study leader Dr. Jiang He, chairman of epidemiology at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, said the benefits could translate to reduced numbers of strokes and other cardiovascular problems in the population as a whole.” The study authors suggested that “replacing some refined carbohydrates — such as white bread and white rice — in your diet with soy or milk protein ‘might be an important component of nutrition intervention strategies for the prevention and treatment of hypertension.'” WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Boyles) and HeartWire Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Nainggolan) also covered the story.

Eye Experts Say Protective Eyewear Would Prevent Most Sports-Related Eye Injuries

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/18, Kelly) reports, “More than 600,000 Americans will suffer an eye injury while playing a sport this year,” according to the National Eye Institute (NEI). “Of these, about 42,000 will be serious enough to require treatment in a hospital emergency room.” But, “more than 90 percent of these injuries could be prevented if the athletes were wearing protective eyewear, say the NEI and the national associations of ophthalmologists and optometrists.” Regular eyeglasses are no substitute for impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses. Ideally, the glasses should completely cover the eye socket, particularly for those who play basketball.

Vitamin C more important than known for eye, brain health

Vitamin C has an important role for eye and possibly brain health, finds a new investigation. Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University (OSHU) recently discovered the cells in the eye are bathed in the vitamin. In their research, scientists found high doses of vitamin C are necessary to keep the retina of the eye, and probably the brain, functioning properly.

Because nerve cells in the eye also communicate with the brain, the scientists speculate much more needs to be learned about the role of vitamin C for brain health.

Vitamin C might have a role for treating eye disease

In studies the scientists found removing vitamin C from cells in the retina of the eye caused them to stop functioning properly.

For their research, the scientists used goldfish retinas because of biological similarities with human eyes.

The finding means vitamin C might be protective for individuals at risk for glaucoma.

According to Henrique von Gersdorff, Ph.D., a senior scientist at OHSU’s Vollum Institute and a co-author of the study.

“Because the retina is part of the central nervous system, this suggests there’s likely an important role for vitamin C throughout our brains, to a degree we had not realized before.”

Removing vitamin C from cells in the eye caused gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, which are present throughout the brain, to stop functioning properly. The researchers note vitamin C stays in the brain longer than anywhere else in the body.

“Perhaps the brain is the last place you want to lose vitamin C,” von Gersdorff said. Lack of vitamin C that causes scurvy is also linked to depression. Von Gersdorff speculated it may be lack of vitamin C that causes depression associated with the disease.

Vitamin C is important for a variety of bodily functions, but until now researchers were unaware of the potential neuroprotective properties for eye function and possibly the brain.

Von Gersdorff said, “This is speculative and there is much to learn. But this research provides some important insights and will lead to the generation of new hypotheses and potential treatment strategies.”

GABA receptors in the eye and brain inhibit rapid firing of neurons. In the retina of the eye, GABA receptors send signals to other cells.

The OSHU researchers found vitamin C ‘bathes’ cells in the retina and is necessary for proper eye function. Because the retina is part of the central nervous system, vitamin C may be more important for brain health that previously known.

Two Patients Treated For Eye Diseases With Embryonic Stem Cells

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/14, Hernandez) “Booster Shots” blog reported, “After more than 20 years of research, doctors at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute have begun treating the first patients in clinical trials for two progressive eye diseases that cause blindness: dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Stargardt’s macular dystrophy.” On Tuesday, two “patients were given an injection of specialized eye cells that were derived from embryonic stem cells.” Both “patients are said to be recovering without complications.”

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/14, Stein) “The Checkup” blog reported that the study was sponsored by Advanced Cell Technology. “The Food and Drug Administration in November approved the company’s plans to test cells created from human embryonic stem cells on 12 patients suffering from each condition. Each patient will undergo a procedure in which between 50,000 to 200,000 retinal pigmented epithelial cells created from human embryonic stem cells will be injected into their eyes.” Investigators “hope the cells will replace those ravaged by the diseases.” Previous research in rat models indicated that some vision was restored.

Even if you think you see perfectly, get your eyes checked

One day last year, a 43-year-old man came into my office. He had always seen perfectly and had never had an eye exam. “Never needed one,” he said.

Though his vision was still clear, something seemed a little “off” so he came in to have it checked.

His vision was, indeed, perfect without glasses. But doing the eye health examination and looking inside his eyes, I discovered a huge tumor that took up about a third of the inside of one eye.

He had to have his eye removed about three weeks later. The surgeons were worried that his aggressive tumor would kill him if the eye was not removed.

Unfortunately, I see patients all the time who do not get their eyes examined yearly. Just because you can see clearly does not mean your eyes are healthy. There are many eye diseases such as cancer, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease that can be blinding or deadly, and they do not affect your vision until the end stages.

Many eye disorders will not show any vision changes until significant damage has been done.

Many people see the eye doctor only when their vision is blurry, but eye doctors have the technology to detect serious eye diseases before they cause vision damage. Yearly eye exams might have easily saved my patient’s eyes.

Yearly eye exams can also help detect overall health problems that you may be unaware of, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and strokes, which can all show their earliest signs in the eyes.

Eye cancer is more prevalent among people who are exposed to a lot of UV radiation, such as those who work outside and on the water. Eye cancer can be found on the eyelid, on the eye itself or inside the eye. Six percent of all skin cancers begin on the eyelid.

The best protection from UV radiation is a pair of high quality, polarized sunglasses. They will block your eyes and eyelids from UV radiation. Polarized sunglasses also reduce glare from the sun, which is important when out on the water.

But beware that all sunglasses that are labeled “polarized” are not the same. There are weak federal regulations in the United States on the amount of UV radiation that sunglasses must block.

Thus, some of the cheaper drugstore sunglasses may do more harm than good. Any dark lens will cause your eyes to dilate and allow more light and UV radiation in. If your sunglasses are not of high quality, this simply allows more damaging UV radiation into your eyes and may actually increase the risk of eye cancer.

Another way UV radiation can enter your eyes is from reflecting from the backside surface of your sunglasses. I recommend an anti-reflective coating on the back of high quality polarized sunglasses to minimize radiation bouncing into your eye.

Always check with your eye doctor to see if the sunglasses you wear have high quality polarized lenses in them and anti-reflective coating on the backside to minimize exposure to UV radiation.

Glaucoma is another silent eye disease that can be devastating because it can cause blindness if not detected early. It, too, has no symptoms or vision changes until the latest stages when the damage is permanent and irreversible.

People who are at more risk for glaucoma usually have the following risk factors: over the age of 40, any family history of glaucoma, any blunt trauma to the eye (even when you were a child) and any previous or current steroid use. The only way to detect glaucoma is to see your eye doctor.

, a 43-year-old man came into my office. He had always seen perfectly and had never had an eye exam. “Never needed one,” he said.

Though his vision was still clear, something seemed a little “off” so he came in to have it checked.

His vision was, indeed, perfect without glasses. But doing the eye health examination and looking inside his eyes, I discovered a huge tumor that took up about a third of the inside of one eye.

He had to have his eye removed about three weeks later. The surgeons were worried that his aggressive tumor would kill him if the eye was not removed.

Unfortunately, I see patients all the time who do not get their eyes examined yearly. Just because you can see clearly does not mean your eyes are healthy. There are many eye diseases such as cancer, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease that can be blinding or deadly, and they do not affect your vision until the end stages.

Many eye disorders will not show any vision changes until significant damage has been done.

Many people see the eye doctor only when their vision is blurry, but eye doctors have the technology to detect serious eye diseases before they cause vision damage. Yearly eye exams might have easily saved my patient’s eyes.

Yearly eye exams can also help detect overall health problems that you may be unaware of, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and strokes, which can all show their earliest signs in the eyes.

Eye cancer is more prevalent among people who are exposed to a lot of UV radiation, such as those who work outside and on the water. Eye cancer can be found on the eyelid, on the eye itself or inside the eye. Six percent of all skin cancers begin on the eyelid.

The best protection from UV radiation is a pair of high quality, polarized sunglasses. They will block your eyes and eyelids from UV radiation. Polarized sunglasses also reduce glare from the sun, which is important when out on the water.

But beware that all sunglasses that are labeled “polarized” are not the same. There are weak federal regulations in the United States on the amount of UV radiation that sunglasses must block.

Thus, some of the cheaper drugstore sunglasses may do more harm than good. Any dark lens will cause your eyes to dilate and allow more light and UV radiation in. If your sunglasses are not of high quality, this simply allows more damaging UV radiation into your eyes and may actually increase the risk of eye cancer.

Another way UV radiation can enter your eyes is from reflecting from the backside surface of your sunglasses. I recommend an anti-reflective coating on the back of high quality polarized sunglasses to minimize radiation bouncing into your eye.

Always check with your eye doctor to see if the sunglasses you wear have high quality polarized lenses in them and anti-reflective coating on the backside to minimize exposure to UV radiation.

Glaucoma is another silent eye disease that can be devastating because it can cause blindness if not detected early. It, too, has no symptoms or vision changes until the latest stages when the damage is permanent and irreversible.

People who are at more risk for glaucoma usually have the following risk factors: over the age of 40, any family history of glaucoma, any blunt trauma to the eye (even when you were a child) and any previous or current steroid use. The only way to detect glaucoma is to see your eye doctor.

~Dr. Dawn Bearden

Study Reveals Majority of Americans are not Taking Proper Steps to Care for the Health of Their Eyes

Research Shows Ethnic Minorities are Less Concerned about Eye Health – Placing Them at Even More of an Increased Risk of Certain Vision Conditions

 The results of recent, comprehensive research supported by Transitions Optical revealed that the majority of Americans are not taking the proper steps to care for the health of their eyes, and that awareness of both short- and long-term effects of UV exposure on vision is remarkably low. The results also indicated that overall awareness about eye health is even lower among certain ethnic groups, including Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans, who are already at an increased risk for a number of health-related issues – many that can impact vision.

Surprisingly, less than four out of 10 Americans reported visiting their eye doctor within the past 12 months. And Americans are not just neglecting to schedule eye exams for themselves – only four out of 10 parents have taken their children to an eye doctor within the past year. What’s more, Hispanics and Asian Americans are more likely than the general population to have never scheduled an appointment for their children. Because 80 percent of learning is through vision, it is especially important that children can see their best to perform well both in and out of the classroom.

While low concern and awareness of eye health is surprising among the general population, it is even more alarming among ethnic minorities such as Hispanics, African Americans and Asian Americans, who are more likely to develop serious eye and overall health issues that can take a toll on their vision. More specifically, both Hispanics and African Americans are often affected by overall health issues such as diabetes and hypertension, which have vision implications and can be detected through the eye, making regular, comprehensive eye exams even more important. Hispanics are also at higher risk for many eye health issues, including pterygia and glaucoma, as well as macular degeneration and cataracts, which have both been linked to UV exposure. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness among all African Americans, and they are also at higher risk for developing cataracts at a younger age. Asian Americans are more likely to develop angle-closure glaucoma and near-sightedness (myopia), as well as Type 2 diabetes, which can make them more susceptible to heightened damage from UV exposure, reduced contrast sensitivity and increased light sensitivity.

However despite this, the research revealed that two out of three respondents don’t know that their ethnicity could be putting them at higher risk for certain vision conditions.

Survey results also suggest that ethnic minority groups may not be taking adequate steps to protect their vision. For example, although Hispanics responded the most in-line with the general population, they were still more likely to believe that UV protection is only important in the spring and summer months, and were less likely to say that “eye health protection” is an important consideration when selecting eyewear.

While African Americans were the most likely to say they would schedule an eye exam if experiencing symptoms of vision problems such as near-sightedness or presbyopia (loss of ability to focus and see things up close), they were also the most likely to do nothing to protect their eyes from UV rays despite their increased risk of developing cataracts.

Despite research confirming that Asian Americans are at higher risk for developing near-sightedness, they were the least likely (six out of 10) to say they would make an eye appointment if having trouble seeing far away. They were not only the most likely demographic group to believe that UV protection is only important in the spring and summer months, but were also the most likely to believe that wearing eyeglasses can make their vision get worse.

“One of our constant goals at Transitions is to educate all consumers, regardless of ethnicity, about the importance of maintaining eye health,” said Dan McLean, marketing manager, communications, Transitions Optical. “This research shows that there is an even greater need to educate all populations and at-risk ethnic groups in particular, about how to take care of their eyes by getting regular, comprehensive eye exams and wearing proper UV-blocking eyewear all year-round.”

Because eye damage is cumulative, it is never too early or too late to start getting regular, comprehensive eye exams.

We carry Transitions Zeiss lens at wholesale costs here at KDT Optometry.

Computers are a blight for sore eyes

FACEBOOK and Twitter may be doing wonders for your online social life, but the amount of time spent keeping your eyes glued to the computer screen or your smartphone could have an adverse effect on your eyes, according to experts.

The increasing use of computers and cellphones may be good for technological advancement, it was having a negative impact on people’s eye health.

Dr. Truong has been seeing more people with strain-related eye problems such as blurred vision, eye fatigue, neck pains and headaches than ever before.

And young people were the most vulnerable.

Dr. Khoa Truong, an optometrist who owns KDT Optometry in San Diego, said he was seeing more patients with computer vision syndrome (CVS), a condition that was usually caused by extended and uninterrupted periods of focusing on a computer screen or television.

The temporary condition is characterised by dry, irritated and sometimes watery eyes, double or blurred vision, sore eyes, fatigue, light sensitivity and bloodshot eyes.

Medical experts estimate that the condition affects between 80 and 90 percent of people who spend three hours or more a day at a computer.

While the high-risk group used to be office workers, this trend is changing, with more young people reporting the syndrome symptoms.

And it looks like the easy access of internet and social networks on cellphones could be the cause of the upsurge.

“Alarmingly, I am finding these same problems in younger patients, more than likely due to the popularity of social sites like Facebook, Twitter and others, and the excessive time spent staring at computer monitors, smartphones and the like,” he said.

He pointed out that poor workplace conditions could contribute to the syndrome.

“When focusing on a fixed object, the normal blink reflex is not stimulated, and dry, uncomfortable red eyes are the result.

“Glare from artificial light reflecting off the computer monitor causes severe eye strain and the constant focusing of eyes without rest will cause fatigue and headaches,” he said.

After experiencing burning and sore eyes, short-sightedness and double vision, some patients go to an optometrist for a check-up.

Some comments Dr. Truong has heard include:

“Initially I thought that the short-sightedness was just ageing.

“It never really crossed my mind that computer use might have anything to do with the tiredness and irritability.

“When I was diagnosed with the syndrome I looked at the doctor, and I was like, what are you talking about… I didn’t know what the condition was all about,” he said.

While the syndrome was preventable and could be minimised by spending less time in front of a computer screen, treatment of this condition was available in a form of chemical lubricants such as natural tears or decongestants.

There was also homeopathic products that helped to relieve strained eye muscles.

The syndrome can also be minimised through minimal steps such as blinking more often, avoiding excessive bright light, adjusting or moving your monitor or tilting it, using computer reading glasses, and by taking frequent breaks away from your computer or cellphone.

Men May Be More Likely Than Women To Die From Most Cancers

The Seattle Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/13, Daza) reports that “men are at higher risk than women of developing cancer within their lifetime, and astudy Share to FacebookShare to Twitter ” published in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention “shows they are also more likely to die from it.” Michael Cook, lead investigator and researcher at the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues “examined 36 types of cancer by gender, using almost 30 years of data, from 1977 and 2006.”

The CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter /Health.com (7/13, McMillen) reports, “Leukemia and cancers of the colon and rectum, pancreas, and liver killed about one and a half to two times as many men as women in the US over” the “30-year period.” The researchers also found that “lung cancer killed nearly two and a half times as many men during that time.”

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/13) reports that the major explanation for the disparity is that females face a lower risk of developing cancer, compared to males, Cook contends.

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Walsh) reported that the investigators “found that there had been some changes over time, such as decreases in the male-to-female ratios in lung, laryngeal, and pancreatic cancers but increases in esophageal, skin, and hepatic cancers.” The researchers “also found changes in mortality by age.” For instance, “for skin cancer, the male-to-female mortality ratio has increased in patients 50 and older, because mortality has increased in men but remained stable in women.”

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Hendrick) reported that “the highest male-to-female death rate ratios were 5.51 men for every woman for lip cancer, 5.37 to 1 for cancer of the larynx, and 4.47 to 1 for cancer of the hypopharynx.” Meanwhile, “three cancers had a higher death rate in women than men: gallbladder cancer, anal cancer, and cancer of the peritoneum, omentum, and mesentery.” HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Reinberg) also covered the story.

Cancer Researchers Advocate Updating Family Histories Often. The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Roan) “Booster Shots” blog reported that when it comes to determining a person’s risk of cancer and need for screening, “family history needs to updated every five or 10 years,” according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers “looked at thousands of adults with a personal or family history of cancer and found that many changes in one’s family history of breast, colorectal and prostate cancer occur between age 30 and 50,” and important changes could be missed if the patient’s family history is not updated accordingly. The blog entry also pointed out that “the frequency of cancer screening tests has become a topic of debate in recent years as medical experts try to balance the benefits of screening against the potential risks and costs.”

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Mann) quoted Massachusetts General Hospital researcher Dianne M. Finkelstein, who recommended that “if anyone in your family gets cancer, you should know the age when they were diagnosed and the original site of the cancer,” since “this information changes the doctor’s strategy…and they may find any cancer earlier, which may change the outcome.”

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Smith) provided some details illustrating the changing family histories and risks as patients age. For instance, “At age 30, 2.1% of participants met the criteria for high-risk screening for colorectal cancer, compared with 7.1% at age 50. For breast cancer, the rates were 7.2% at age 30 and 11.4% at age 50. And for prostate cancer, the rates were 0.9% at 30 and 2% at age 50.” The study was supported by the National Cancer Institute.

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Boyle) reported that Finkelstein said that “after the age of 50 family history becomes less important because screening is recommended for everyone.”

VNTV Episode #5 – Nutrition and the Eyes Part Two with Dr. Hoang Ho, OD

Filmed on July 8th, 2011, we finished our discussion on the proper supplementation to insure great eye health and overall physical health. Our emphasis was on strong anti-oxidants that help the body rid of free radicals which can cause cancer and other degenerative diseases. We also went into detail about diabetic retinopathy caused by diabetes, macular degeneration, and glaucoma, discussing why OPC-3 and omega 3 fish oils are considered extremely potent agents. There is a huge variance in quality when it comes to these products especially the fish oils so we will recommend the very best.

What Makes nutraMetrix Isotonix OPC-3® Unique?

nutraMetrix Isotonix OPC-3® is an isotonic-capable food supplement that is made from a combination of bilberry, grape seed, red wine and pine bark extracts, and citrus extract bioflavonoids, all found to be powerful antioxidants. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) are bioflavonoids (complex organic plant compounds) found in fruits, vegetables and certain tree barks that provide exceptional nutritional benefits to the human body. Studies have shown OPCs to be up to 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals. nutraMetrix Isotonix OPC-3 contains the only isotonic form of Pycnogenol® in the world. Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree and the most clinically researched and potent bioflavonoid.*

Isotonic, which means “same pressure,” bears the same chemical resemblance of the body’s blood, plasma and tears. All fluids in the body have a certain concentration, referred to as osmotic pressure. The body’s common osmotic pressure, which is isotonic, allows a consistent maintenance of body tissues. In order for a substance to be absorbed and used in the body’s metabolism, it must be transported in an isotonic state.

Isotonix® dietary supplements are delivered in an isotonic solution. This means that the body has less work to do to in obtaining maximum absorption. The isotonic state of the suspension allows nutrients to pass directly into the small intestine and be rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. With Isotonix products, little nutritive value is lost, making the absorption of nutrients highly efficient while delivering maximum results.

What Makes Heart Health™ Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E Unique?

Heart Health Essential Omega III with Vitamin E is a superior product due to a number of factors. The best fish are used to produce a clean and safe product that is rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It also contains 3000mg of fish oil where most other commercial products contain a third of the total fish oil contained in Heart Health Essential Omega III. Heart Health Essential Omega III comes from small fish where other competitive products use large fish which are more likely to accumulate toxins. Heart Health Essential Omega III provides a high quality, high purity product with significant percentages of the health promoting EPA and DHA.

The fish oil in Heart Health Essential Omega III with Vitamin E comes from sardines and anchovies harvested off the coast of Peru. Not only do anchovies and sardines have a high omega III content, they also have high percentages of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Anchovies and sardines have a short lifecycle making them an ideal source of fish oil because they are less prone to accumulating environmental toxins that can be found in larger, longer-lived fish. Contaminants are generally low in sardines and anchovies even before they go through an intense purification process. Every batch of fish oil is hand selected and tested prior to processing by our manufacturer and must pass more than 200 quality checks during the production process.

Recent research has shown that that fish oil may be beneficial in supporting cognitive function by helping the body manage stress and enhance mood. It may also promote a healthy complexion. In an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the effects of Omega-3 Fish oil supplementation was shown to be beneficial for healthy cognitive and cardiac functioning. The study shows that supplementing with fish oil daily can rapidly raise the levels of EPA and DHA in cardiac tissue. This is important because both EPA and DHA have been proven to help maintain normal plasma triglycerides. In addition, DHA has been shown to help maintain blood pressure and blood viscosity. This study also showed an inverse relationship between EPA/DHA and arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid. As EPA and DHA increased in atrial (heart tissue) phospholipids, AA decreased.1

Heart Health™ Essential Omega III Fish Oil with Vitamin E provides the three grams of omega III that studies reveal is the most effective amount to promote overall cardiovascular health. Fish oils have been clinically demonstrated to provide a host of benefits that successfully promote cardiovascular health. Essential Omega III Fish Oil helps maintain normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, promotes healthy blood pressure levels, helps maintain healthy levels of C-reactive protein, helps maintain normal blood flow and helps enhance mood. The fish oil used in Essential Omega III is tested twice, once by the manufacturer and then by an independent testing company for mercury, lead, PCB, and other heavy metals. Both tests confirm that Heart Health Essential Omega III Fish Oil is free of mercury, lead, PCPs, and other heavy metals. We only use fish oil that meets or exceeds standards set by Canada (CFIA), the European Union (EU) and the United States (CRN).*

Poor cardiovascular health is one of the leading causes of death and illness in the United States, accounting for one out of every two deaths in both men and women. Poor cardiovascular health is becoming a worldwide epidemic. An unhealthy diet of processed, high-calorie, high-fat foods, pollution, smoking and sedentary lifestyles all contribute to poor heart health. Not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, exercising regularly and taking the right supplements can all contribute to promoting good cardiovascular health. Clinical trials have shown that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil) may help to maintain normal levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, support healthy blood pressure and promote normal platelet activity.*

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Younger Children May Respond Better To Amblyopia Treatment

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/11, Walsh) reported, “Younger children with amblyopia respond better to treatment than do their older peers,” according to a meta-analysis Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online July 11 in the Archives of Ophthalmology. After examining data on some 996 children, researchers found that youngsters “younger than seven had significantly greater improvements for both moderate (P<0.04) and severe (P<0.001) amblyopia than did those seven to 13.” And, “among the younger children, there were no significant differences in response between those ages three to five and those in the five and seven group for either moderate (P=0.67) or severe (P=0.09) amblyopia.” Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/11, Barclay) also covered the story.

Genetics, Lifestyle May Contribute To AMD Progression

The Boston Globe  (7/8, Satija) reported that a study  published in the July issue of Ophthalmology detailed the influence of genetics and environment on the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Researchers “looked at over 200 male pairs of identical twins” in which some twins both had the disease but at different stages, or only one twin did. The study found that heavy smoking was correlated with more advanced AMD, whereas eating foods high in betaine and methionine correlates with slower development of disease. “A previous study of identical and fraternal twins…found that genetics explained between 46 and 71 percent of the severity of the disease, while environmental factors explained between 19 and 37 percent.”

Experts Warn Deep Tan Will Give Way To Permanent Skin Damage

HealthDay  (7/8, Thompson) reported that physicians stress that a deep tan from a tanning salon “will eventually give way to permanent skin damage caused by the ultraviolet rays emitted by a tanning bed — damage up to and including potentially deadly skin cancer.” And, even though “most people spend more time in the sun during the summer months, exposure to ultraviolet light has become increasingly a year-round danger,” particularly for people who use tanning beds. Dermatologist James Spencer, MD explained, “The bottom line is excessive UV exposure increases your risk of skin cancer, whether you are indoors or outdoors.”

Giant Hogweed May Cause Burns, Blindness

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/7) reported, “Experts are urging residents of several states to beware of the ‘giant hogweed,’ a tall plant native to Central Asia with umbrella-size flowers containing toxic sap that can cause burns, blisters and, in some cases, even blindness.” The plant, whose botanical name is Heracleum Mantegazzianum, “is already a concern in the Northeast and spreading fast.” The plant’s “sap contains a photosensitizing chemical that accelerates sun damage and can result in a serious sunburn,” a reaction that can be made worse by perspiration.

Massage Therapy May Relieve Chronic Back Pain

Massage therapy may effectively reduce or relieve chronic back pain for 6 months or more, according to the results of a parallel-group, randomized controlled trial reported in the July 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Recent reviews have found limited evidence that massage is an effective treatment for chronic back pain, and no studies have compared relaxation massage with structural massage, which focuses on correcting soft-tissue abnormalities,” write Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD, from the Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, and colleagues. “We therefore conducted a trial to determine whether relaxation massage reduces pain and improves function in patients with chronic low back pain and compared relaxation and structural massage for treating this condition.”

Computer-generated randomization and centralized allocation concealment were used, with blinding of participants to massage type, but not to assignment to massage vs usual care. Although the massage therapists could not be blinded, the study personnel who evaluated outcomes were blinded to treatment allocation.

At an integrated healthcare delivery system in Seattle, 401 participants were randomly assigned to receive structural massage (n = 132), relaxation massage (n = 136), or usual care (n = 133). Participants had nonspecific chronic low back pain and were aged 20 to 65 years. The main study endpoint was Roland Disability Questionnaire (RDQ) and symptom bothersomeness scores at 10 weeks, and secondary endpoints were these scores at 26 and 52 weeks. Clinically meaningful differences were defined as mean group differences of 2 or more points on the RDQ and 1.5 or more points on the symptom bothersomeness scale.

At 10 weeks, functional outcomes were similar in both massage groups. Compared with the usual care group, the relaxation group had an adjusted mean RDQ score that was 2.9 points lower (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8 – 4.0 points), and the structural massage group had an adjusted mean RDQ score that was 2.5 points lower (95% CI, 1.4 – 3.5 points). Adjusted mean symptom bothersomeness scores were 1.7 points lower with relaxation massage (95% CI, 1.2 – 2.2 points ) and 1.4 points lower with structural massage (95% CI, 0.8 – 1.9 points).

At 52 weeks, there were persistent but small benefits of relaxation massage for function, but not for symptom reduction.

“We found that patients receiving massage were twice as likely as those receiving usual care to report significant improvements in both their pain and function,” Dr. Cherkin said in a news release. “After 10 weeks, about two-thirds of those receiving massage improved substantially, versus only about one-third in the usual care group.”

A study limitation was the lack of blinding of massage therapists and the only partial blinding of participants to treatment assignment. In addition, the exercises recommended in the 2 massage groups differed slightly, and the massage therapists were atypical, in that they had practiced for at least 5 years and had learned structural massage techniques. Generalizability of the findings is limited because the trial included mostly women with nonspecific chronic low back pain who were enrolled in a single healthcare system that serves a mostly white and employed population.

“Massage therapy may be effective for treatment of chronic back pain, with benefits lasting at least 6 months,” the study authors conclude. “No clinically meaningful difference between relaxation and structural massage was observed in terms of relieving disability or symptoms.”

~Laurie Barclay, MD

Study: Medicaid Recipients Better Off Than Uninsured

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/7, A14, Kolata, Subscription Publication) reports, “When poor people are given medical insurance, they not only find regular doctors and see doctors more often, but they also feel better, are less depressed and are better able to maintain financial stability, according to a new, large-scale study that provides the first rigorously controlled assessment of the impact of Medicaid.” Even though these “findings may seem obvious, health economists and policy makers have long questioned whether it would make any difference to provide health insurance to poor people.” In fact, this “has become part of the debate on Medicaid, at a time when states are cutting back on this insurance program for the poor.” Richard M. Suzman, of the National Institute on Aging, which funded the study, “said it was ‘one of the most important studies that our division has funded since I’ve been at the NIA.'”

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/7, Alonso-Zaldivar) reports, “The study looked at 10,000 Oregonians who won a state-sponsored lottery for Medicaid in 2008, and compared them to those who applied but weren’t picked and remained uninsured.” Researchers “found that people with Medicaid were 70 percent more likely to have a regular medical office or clinic for their basic care, and 55 percent more likely to have a personal doctor. Medicaid enrollees were also more likely to get preventive care, such as mammograms and cholesterol screening.” Notably, they found “no real difference between the two groups in emergency room use,” although “people with Medicaid were significantly more likely to use inpatient and outpatient services, as well as prescription drugs.”

Ezra Klein writes in a Bloomberg News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/7) column that the study’s findings underscore “a point that is frequently obscured in a debate that’s often concerned more with cost curves than with treating heart disease. Part of health-care reform is about making care cheaper. But the more important part is about making Americans healthier.”

The Oregonian Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/7, Rojas-Burke) reports that these results “are bound to play a role in the political controversy over federal health reform, which calls for expanding Medicaid coverage to 16 million uninsured Americans in 2014.” Notably, the extent to which “Medicaid coverage improves health has remained an open question, in part because of the difficulty of performing controlled experiments. Researchers consider it unethical, for example, to force subjects to go without health insurance just to test the result.” The decision by Oregon officials “to use a random lottery presented a happenstance opportunity.”

Sitting For Long Time May Double Women’s Risk Of Pulmonary Embolism

The CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/5, Hudson) “The Chart” blog reported, “Extensive sitting increases women’s risk of pulmonary embolism, finds a new study in the current issue of the British Medical Journal.”

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/5, Preidt) reported, “The researchers said their study is the first to prove that an inactive lifestyle increases the risk of developing a pulmonary embolism, which occurs when part or all of a blood clot that forms in the deep veins of the legs travels through the bloodstream to the lungs.” The “study included 69,950 female nurses who were followed for 18 years and every two years provided details about their lifestyle habits.”

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/5, Barclay) reported, “There were 268 episodes of incident idiopathic pulmonary embolism during the 18-year study period. Time spent sitting each day was directly associated with risk for idiopathic pulmonary embolism (in combined data, 41/104,720 for the most inactive women compared with 16/14,565 for the least inactive women; P < .001 for trend).” The researchers found that “compared with women who spent the least time sitting, women who spent the most time sitting had more than double the risk for pulmonary embolism (multivariable hazard ratio, 2.34; 95% confidence interval, 1.30 – 4.20). Physical activity was not associated with pulmonary embolism (P = .53 for trend).” WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/5, Goodman) also covered the story.

Eye on Health: Colored Contact Danger

The desire to look like celebrities might be fueling the craze for colored contact lenses. For Erica Barnes, her decision to change her look nearly cost her vision.

“I couldn’t open my eyes and every time I tried it started hurting more,” says Barnes.

The 14 year old had only worn them for a day but that was enough to damage her cornea. Her doctor says even after her infection is cured, she will have a scar, and will likely need a corneal transplant.

Federal law says any contacts, even those for cosmetic purposes, can only be purchased with a valid prescription, but Erica says she picked hers up at beauty store for twenty bucks.

Doctors say they’ve had other teenage patients with the same issue as Erica.

“The population that is targeted here is a very vulnerable population of young teenage girls who will do a lot for cosmetic purposes, and it’s absolutely illegal,” says Dr. Anne Steiner.

“Anything to make 20 dollars! My child’s sight is worth more than 20 dollars,” says Barnes’ mother, Trina Swain.

Barnes’ parents have had to stop working to be at Barnes’ bedside. They want to share her story to protect other teenagers from the same fate.

“Keep in mind it doesn’t come with cleaning instructions, no solutions, you just buy it like you’re buying toothpaste, that’s just ridiculous,” says Swain.

Sunglasses Necessary To Prevent Eyes From UV Damage

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/4, Butler) reported that wearing sunglasses is necessary to protect the eyes from damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Optometrist Michael Rosenblatt, OD, pointed out that “certain people run an elevated risk for UV damage,” particularly people “with light-colored irises.” He explained, “If you easily burn in the sun, you should think of yourself as a person who suffers greater damage from UV light in all areas, including your eyes.” For that reason, he recommended sunglasses that “extend from the eyebrow to the cheek and wrap around the contour of face, along with lenses that have 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.”

Herbs That Promote Eye Health

For at least 2000 years, various herbs have been utilized throughout the world to promote eye health–consumed regularly to prevent failing eyesight, and prepared as topical infusions to treat everything from common eye strain to glaucoma.

While there is little modern evidence to support many of the documented and anecdotal claims concerning some of these traditional herbal remedies, others have gained considerable supported from the medical community in recent years, scientifically recognized as containing healthful substances that can indeed prevent or treat eye ailments, and support overall eye health.

Here are ten currently enjoying wide-spread popularity among the ever-growing natural curative community as promoting eye health, as well as the subjects of ongoing scientific research.

> Asphalatus (asphalatus linearis):

Although little is currently known in the western world about this medicinal plant, asphalatus is said to have been used for thousands of years by the San Bushmen of South Africa to boost the immune system and maintain their exceptional eye sight. Known asrooibos to the people of the Cedarburg Mountains, asphalatus has been shown to contain especially high concentrations of iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants essential to eye health and keen vision.

> Basil:

While most people may not think of basil as an herb to be brewed and consumed as a tea, science has shown that it’s actually one of the best ways for the body to absorb the numerous eye-supporting vitamins and minerals this plant possesses. An excellent source of vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and iron, basil also contains high concentrations of carotenoids such as beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A–a scientifically-proven nutrient for maintaining strong eyesight.

> Bilberry:

Widely used in past centuries to promote general eye health, the active ingredients in bilberry, called anthocyanosides, are antioxidants that help improve the flow of blood through the capillaries of the eyes. When eaten regularly, these smaller cousins of the blueberry help eyes adjust more quickly to changes in light and improve sharpness of vision. Bilberries have also been shown to be effective in stopping the progression of cataracts when combined with sources of vitamin E, as well as in helping treat damage to the retina. (There are also numerous claims that bilberries improve night vision.)

> Cayenne:

A teaspoon of cayenne powder provides more than 8X the daily recommended dose of vitamin A, one of the vitamins responsible for protecting the surface of the eye (cornea)–and essential for good vision. Taken in combination with other antioxidant vitamins, cayenne may also be beneficial in decreasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Additionally, taken with a primary source of lutein (such as spinach), cayenne may prolong vision in people suffering from retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

> Cornflower:

Grown primarily today as an ornamental garden plant, cornflower was for several centuries used in the UK and US to treat conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the eye caused by bacteria, viruses, allergy, or other invasive environmental factors. Simple to prepare, a handful of cornflower blossoms placed in a cup of boiling water (after the boiling has ceased), then steeped thirty minutes, can be used liberally as an eye wash. Many herbals attest to its effectiveness in treating the highly contagious condition “pink eye.”

> Eyebright (euphrasia):

From the Greek euphrasia, meaning “to gladden,” eyebright has been used since ancient times to treat various eye ailments, especially eye strain and mild infections. The flowering stems contain flavonoids, the glycoside aucubin, tannins, and essential oils which when prepared as an infusion can be applied as an eyebath or in compresses to treat inflammation of the outer and inner surfaces of eyelids, sties, and soothe tired/over-worked eyes.

> Ginkgo biloba:

The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that a study of people suffering from glaucoma found that taking ginkgo biloba orally every day for eight weeks produced marked signs of improved vision. Other studies indicate that this popular herb, best known for promoting general circulation, might also benefit those who have eye damage from diabetes or macular degeneration.

> Grape seed:

One of the primary curatives of antiquity, the ancient Greeks advocated grape seed extract to prevent or slow down the growth of cataracts. Now understood to contain high levels of antioxidant properties called oligomeric proanthocyanidin, studies conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center confirm that while grape seed may not reverse cataracts you already have, it may prevent them or slow down the process. Other studies suggest that grape seed is good for peripheral circulation and strengthening of the capillaries.

> Spinach:

Spinach is especially high in lutein, a carotenoid found in the macular region (a small spot in the middle portion of the retina responsible for central vision) of the eye, retina, and lens which protects the macula tissue by absorbing damaging UV radiation. Lutein, however, cannot be manufactured by the body and must be taken in orally. Eating at least two ounces (58 grams) of fresh cooked spinach each day can help nourish the eye while fending off age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of irreversible blindness in individuals over the age of 65 in the US and other industrialized countries.

> Turmeric/curcumin:

A study of 32 people with uveitis (inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye which contains many eye-nourishing blood vessels) suggests that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, may prove to be as effective as corticosteroids, the type of medication generally prescribed for this eye disorder. While more studies are needed to conclude decisively, researchers say turmeric may be effective in treating this disorder as well other eye inflammation.

 

One in three adults unaware sun exposure causes eye health risks

Wearing a hat and protecting eyes from harmful UV rays is as much a part of sun protection as slathering on sunscreen.

USA Today reports that a “2009 survey by the American Optometric Association found that one in three adults are unaware of the eye health risks of spending too much time in the sun without proper protection.”

report by Prevent Blindness America, a leading eye health and safety organization, says the cumulative exposure to UV light over time can contribute to “significant and lasting damage to the eye and vision,” including:

  • Cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens that can blur vision. It afflicts one in every six Americans over 40 and more than half over 80, about 20 million people. An estimated 20% of cases are caused by extended UV exposure.
  • Macular degeneration, resulting from damage to the retina that destroys sharp, central vision. It is the leading cause of blindness in the USA.
  • Pterygium, a tissue growth over the white part of the surface of the eye that can alter the curve of the eyeball, causing astigmatism. If the pterygium starts to grow over the cornea, it can blur or obstruct vision and may need to be removed.

And, “even a few hours of intense, unprotected exposure can have consequences, says optometrist Sarah Hinkley of the American Optometric Association,” possibly leading to painful photokeratitis – or sunburn of the eye.

Wearing sunglasses or other eyewear that offer UV protection is the best way to shield the eyes from the sun. Consumers should consider the following tips in thereport by Prevent Blindness America when choosing a pair of shades:

  • Buy from a reputable retailer: Their products will meet frame and lens quality criteria set by the American National Standards Institute.
  • Look for UV protection: Sunglasses should filter UVA and UVB light.
  • Try the sunglasses on: Fit and feel make a difference because sunglasses that are uncomfortable are less likely to be worn.
  • Use multiple pairs: Different lenses and frames may be suited to various types of activities.
  • Understand lens color: The darkness of a lens has nothing to do with UV protection, although various lens colors can offer other benefits. For instance, yellow- and brown-tinted lenses are best when used for water sports; gray, brown and amber are great for field sports; and mirror coatings work well for downhill skiing and snowboarding.
  • Focus on design: For extra protection, wraparound glasses or glasses with larger temple pieces help block the sun from side angles.

 

Myopia Associated With Open-Angle Glaucoma

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/30, McCook) reports that, according to a review Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online June 20 in the journal Ophthalmology, people with myopia are have a 90% increased risk for developing open-angle glaucoma, with those have severe myopia have an even greater risk. For that reason, experts suggest that people with severe nearsightedness undergo frequent eye exams. Eye experts already suggest that adults over 40 be screened for glaucoma regularly, with blacks being screened earlier and more often due to their higher risk for the sight-robbing condition. The US Preventive Services Task Force, however, points out that there is insufficient evidence to recommend such screening.

Taking Care of Your Eye Health is Important

Taking care of your eyes is perhaps one of the most important things that you can do for your health. However, sometimes no matter what steps you take to ensure you stay healthy, you can still get sick. Glaucoma is a disease of the eyes, yet it is actually the name for a group of diseases that affect the optic nerves. it is caused by a few different things but the end result is the same.

Anyone who is serious about eye health issues and about keeping their eyes healthy will make sure that they get regular eye exams. as we get older, parts of our body breakdown and the eyes are especially vulnerable. a glaucoma test is done once a year and is basically a puff of air blown into each eye. while this is not the most comfortable test, it is a very important test because it works slowly and can sometimes do a lot of damage before it is detected.

If detected early, then there is a better chance of successful treatment. once the damage has occurred, it is irreversible and that is why it is important to take your doctor visits seriously. This is also why it is important to have regular screenings for this disease and it usually starts with the peripheral vision. without regular screenings for glaucoma it is possible for a large part of the nerves to be destroyed before anyone realizes what has happened.

Glaucoma can destroy through increased pressure inside the eye or by causing poor blood supply to the optic nerve fibers. there are a few ways that glaucoma can attack and destroy and each person is different and will have different experiences. Glaucoma usually happens as a person ages; however, it can happen at any time or at any age.

There does seem to be some correlation with glaucoma and family health history. therefore, if anyone in your family has ever had glaucoma, then it is extremely important that you have your eyes checked regularly. once glaucoma takes hold, the damage is done and it is irreversible. your eyes will never recover. The best the doctors would be able to do is to salvage as much of your vision as is left after the ravages of this disease.

Regular eye examinations are especially important to have as we age. Aging causes the body to break down; an unfortunate fact of life. Eyesight is one of the highest rated of the five senses and you want to make sure that yours stays as functional as possible, for as long as possible. Make sure you take the health of your eyes seriously. see your doctor if you have any concerns, as this is the central key to making sure that your optical system stays in top shape.

 

Sights on summer, thoughts on safety

Summer has officially arrived. And with the warmer weather comes invitations to backyard swim parties and family barbeques, and opportunities to partake in sporty outings and fireworks displays.

But before heading outdoors, make sure you’re armed with the essentials for spending time in the sun, cooling off and celebrating America’s birth.

For starters, the right pair of sunglasses, a hat and a good sunscreen can go a long way. And don’t forget to stay informed when it comes to both fireworks and pool safety.

It’s the season to have fun, but there’s always time to implement the proper safety practices.

Soak up the SPF 30

According to Dr. Carol Cola, who works in the department of surgery at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, about 90 percent of skin cancers occur on the head, neck, ears, lips or hands — areas most often exposed to the sun.

In an article Cola recently wrote about sun safety that was released by the medical center, she pointed out that “a sun burn can happen anywhere, not just at the park or the pool. You are exposed to sun while driving, through a glass window in your home, or reflected off another surface such as concrete, sand or snow.

“The good news: It’s never too late to begin protecting your skin. Recent studies by the Skin Cancer Foundation state that the average individual has received only 23 percent of your lifetime sun exposure by age 18 — not 80 percent as formerly thought — so there’s always a health benefit to be gained by beginning new habits, at any time in life.”

Cola wrote that using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 is recommended. “The number refers to the product’s ability to protect the skin, i.e., the amount of time it takes to burn unprotected skin versus sunscreen-protected skin. Be sure to choose a sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection, also called a ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen.

“Protect your skin all day,” Cola wrote, “but especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the prime time for sun burns. Remember that it’s still possible to get a sun burn on cloudy days, too. Apply plenty of sunscreen (about an ounce, which is the equivalent of a shot glass of lotion), 20 to 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply frequently (about every two hours) particularly after exercise or water activities.”

Cola wrote that keeping an eye on freckles, moles and other spots on your skin, and showing any changes to your doctor or dermatologist, is a good idea. “Warning signs to look for include a mole, birthmark or brown spot that over time changes color or texture, increases in size or thickness, has irregular outlines, or is bigger than 6 millimeters or a quarter-inch (the size of a pencil eraser). Also, any spot or sore that itches, hurts, crusts, scabs or bleeds, or an open sore that does not heal, should be brought to the attention of your doctor.”

Concerned about a suspicious spot on your skin? Visit the American Academy of Dermatology (www.aad.org) and National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov) websites to compare the various types of melanomas and their visual characteristics, and then contact your doctor for a skin cancer screening. If found and treated early, melanoma has a high cure rate, about 99 percent, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Shade your eyes

According to a 2011 national survey conducted by N3L Optics to better understand behaviors and beliefs of sunglass purchasers, only 66 percent of adults wear sunglasses consistently when they are outdoors, and only half of those between ages 18 to 24 do so.

Kendra Reichenau, senior vice president of N3L Optics, a sunglass store for the athlete and outdoor enthusiast, was quoted in a press released as saying, “Your eyes are a critical component of your well-being and need to be protected with the same level of vigilance as your skin.”

Eighty percent of the 623 respondents, ages 18 to 54, reported worrying about their eye health, but nearly one in four did not know that sun exposure can cause eye damage, according to the press release.

The sun’s harmful UV radiation can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and some cancers, nearly all of which are preventable with proper use of sunglasses. According to the American Optometric Association, UV radiation is a risk, even on overcast days.

“Many people who are active choose to not wear sunglasses because they think it inhibits their ability to perform at their highest level,” Reichenau said. “That isn’t true if you have the right sunglasses for your sport.”

Helpful sunglass tips from N3L:

Polarized lenses are helpful for activities that require glare reduction, like fishing, sailing, kayaking and sand volleyball.

While no lens is shatterproof or unbreakable, glasses or goggles with polycarbonate lenses are impact resistant, shatter resistant and filter out 100 percent of UV light.

Different lens colors work best for different sports, for example, golfers can benefit from lenses with amber, brown or rose tint, which enhance depth perception and help with following the ball in low or medium light conditions.

Consider the safety features you need for your activity, as many sports sunglasses are designed to address specific safety concerns like protecting during impact, shielding from flying debris and improving visibility.

If sunglasses do not fit properly, they can’t protect properly. Many sunglasses have special features that allow them to stay in place during activities such as running, cycling and climbing.

Wrap around lenses sometimes work best because they block light coming in from the sides. In addition, larger lenses may be more effective, because they cover more of the eye.

Leave fireworks to professionals

According to The Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology (PAO), each Fourth of July, thousands of people are injured from using consumer fireworks.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that more than 9,000 fireworks-related injuries happen each year. Of these, nearly half are head-related injuries and nearly 30 percent are injuries to the eyes. One-fourth of fireworks eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

“Too many Fourth of July celebrations are ruined because a child has to be rushed to the emergency room after a fireworks accident,” said Dr. Kenneth Cheng, pediatric ophthalmologist and president of the Harrisburg-based PAO, in a press release. “Potentially blinding injuries can be avoided if families attend a professional public fireworks display instead of putting on a home fireworks show.”

According to the PAO, children are the most common victims of firework accidents, with those 15 years old or younger accounting for half of all fireworks eye injuries in the United States. For children under the age of five, seemingly innocent sparklers account for one-third of all fireworks injuries. Sparklers can burn at nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (hot enough to cause a third-degree burn), and the ashes fly in all directions increasing the chances of injury.

“Among the most serious injuries are direct trauma to the eye from bottle rockets,” according to Dr. Cheng. “The rockets fly erratically, often injuring bystanders. Injuries from bottle rockets can include eye lid lacerations, corneal abrasions, hyphema or bleeding into the eye, traumatic cataract, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, and rupture of the eyeball. These injuries frequently require surgery and may lead to complete blindness.”

For a safe and healthy Independence Day celebration, the PAO urges observance of the following tips:

Never let children play with fireworks of any type.

View fireworks from a safe distance, at least 500 feet away, or up to a quarter of a mile for best viewing.

Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.

Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.

Follow directives given by event ushers or public safety personnel.

If you find unexploded fireworks remains, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police departments.

If you get an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical help immediately.

Consumers can submit questions about eye health to an ophthalmologist at http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/ask/ . Find an eye doctor in your area by visiting www.paeyemds.org .

Stay afloat

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website, so far in June there have been 37 drownings and 38 near-drowning incidents reported by the media across America.

“Oftentimes, pool safety is in the back of most people’s minds, but it should really be in the forefront of their thoughts when they use pools, especially their own,” American Leak Detection CEO and President Bill Palmer said in a press release from the company. “Something as simple as knowing where the pool water pump is so that you can quickly turn it off in the event of an emergency can make a world of a difference.”

Palmer said homeowners should take the following precautionary steps before opening their pools for members of their households and guests:

Check and replace necessary pool parts

Replace old flat drain covers and never use a pool or spa with a missing or broken drain cover. Install anti-vortex drain covers to minimize the risk of body and hair entrapment in the suction inlets, and consider installing a Safety Vacuum Release System that will automatically shut off a pump if a blockage is detected.

Make sure it’s clean, not green. If your pool water is green that likely means the water could contain molds, fungus, larvae and other contaminants that could cause those who use the pool to become sick.

Be cognizant of recalls and equipment reviews.

Check sites such as CPSC and Consumer Reports regularly for articles on recalls and reviews to ensure that your pool’s parts are all in tip top shape.

Call in the professionals. Have a professional specialist regularly inspect your pool or spa. Ask where the electrical cut-off switch is for the pool or spa pump. This area should be marked clearly so that, in an emergency, the water pump can be turned off immediately. In addition, loose or falling tiles and pool deck cracks — signs that the surrounding ground is being compromised by water and that there is a leak in the pool system — can cause those using the pool to slip and fall.

“Residents should make good judgments before opening their pool … (like) putting up a wall or fence at least four feet high around the pool; not allowing unsupervised children in the pool; being sure that at least one person in the household knows CPR; not using air-filled swimming aids as a substitute for approved life vests; and keeping … flotation devices and a telephone by the pool in the event of an emergency,” Palmer said.

~The Times Herald

 

Many People Continue Unhealthy Habits After Disease Diagnosis

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/27, Gormly) reported, “Even when faced with a health scare like a heart attack or stroke, or a life-changing diagnosis like diabetes or cancer, many people continue unhealthy habits with eating, smoking, exercising and the like.” However, these changes can be important. One study “found that smoking after a heart attack significantly decreased life expectancy.” The research, “published in 2010 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that people who quit smoking after their first heart attack were 37 percent less likely to die of another heart attack, compared with those still smoking.”

Get Your Eyes Checked Regularly for Healthy Vision

When was the last time you had an eye exam? For the majority of us, it’s not often enough. Among those who have had an eye exam recently, less than half (44%) have them annually.* The health of our eyes so often takes a back seat to finding the perfect mascara or covering up dark circles. 85% of Americans know that UV rays can damage our eyes, yet only 65% of us wear sunglasses for protection instead of just a fashion statement, and only 39% of us make our kids wear sunglasses.**

Just seeing well doesn’t always translate to good eye health. Supported by ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses, a new radio program called Healthy Vision with Dr. Val Jones shares healthy eye tips just in time for the beach, picnics, summer sports and barbecues on the deck. Hosted by leading national health expert Val Jones, M.D., CEO of Better Health, LLC, a network of popular health bloggers, she is joined by leading experts from around the country to take a closer look at three vital areas to maintaining eye healthy: importance of eye exams, contact lens compliance, and protecting eyes from UV rays. “More than one in three parents has never taken their children for a vision assessment,” says Dr. Jones. “Many of us share the misguided belief that if we are seeing well, our eyes are healthy. No matter what age you are, it’s so important to see an eye doctor on an annual basis.”

Children should be checked to ensure that their vision is developing properly. Optometrist Robert Rosenthal, O.D., chimes in noting that “a child should be seen [by an eye care professional] between the age of six months to a year. If there is an [eye health] issue with a child, we want to catch it very early.” An eye exam should be treated as an extension of your annual physical to monitor your overall health and wellbeing. For contact lens wearers, it is also important to comply with the proper wear and care. Optometrist Susan Resnick, O.D., warns that misusing contact lenses can put you at risk for a variety of issues, some of which are potentially serious. “New contact lens wearers are very keen on following directions, and are motivated to do everything right,” says Resnick. She recommends that long-time contact lens users should follow their lead and maintain the correct replacement schedule. ACUMINDER.com is a free online reminder service to remind you when you are due for an eye exam and when to replace your contact lenses.

Much of the ultraviolet radiation that we are exposed to in our lifetime occurs before we reach adulthood. Children’s pupils are larger than adult pupils so more light can get into their eyes. Stephen Cohen, O.D. stresses the importance of eye protection particularly in the summer months; “UVB rays are a contributing factor to the development of cataracts,” says Dr. Cohen who recommends wearing UV blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat when in the sun, and UV blocking contact lenses. “I am an advocate of contact lenses that block ultraviolet radiation,” he explains. The average pair of contact lenses blocks only 10-20 percent of ultraviolet radiation. ACUVUE® OASYS® lenses have the highest level of UV-blocking of any contact lens on the market, blocking 90 percent of UVA rays and 99 percent of UVB. UV radiation can sneak in through the tops and sides of your sunglasses and even the widest-brimmed hat cannot protect against UV rays that are reflected up off of surfaces like water, sand, grass and pavement.

Diet May Be Key First Line Therapy In New-Onset Type 2 Diabetes

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/25, Preidt) reported, “Dietary changes alone can yield the same benefits as changes in both diet and exercise in the first year after a person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes,” according to research Share to FacebookShare to Twitter presented at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting and simultaneously published online June 25 in The Lancet. Investigators “found that patients who were encouraged to lose weight by modifying their diet with the help of a dietician had the same improvements in blood sugar (glycemic) control, weight loss, cholesterol and triglyceride levels as those who changed both their diet and physical activity levels (30 minutes of brisk walking five times a week).”

The study’s lead author “said the findings may also suggest a change in treatment algorithm in type 2 diabetes, with diet as the first line therapy, then a combination of diet and exercise, and finally diet plus activity and metformin if the two prior approaches fail,” MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/25, Fiore) reported. But, “in an accompanying comment Share to FacebookShare to Twitter, Frank Hu, MD, of Harvard School of Public Health, wrote that the results do not necessarily mean that an increase in physical activity is ineffective for diabetes management.” Hu wrote, “It is possible that modification of two complex behaviors at the same time is no more effective than a change in one.” Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/26, Canavan) also covered the story.

Curbing Calories Key Ingredient For Weight Loss In Type 2 Diabetes. HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/26, Mozes) reported, “Curbing calories is the key ingredient for diabetics seeking to lose weight, and low-fat diets that are either high in protein or high in carbs are equally effective,” according to research presented yesterday at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting. After following about nearly 300 overweight, middle-aged or senior “men and women with type 2 diabetes who were on a new, two-year nutritional program” and randomizing them with to a low-fat/high-carbohydrate group or to a low-fat/high-protein group, researchers found that in the end, “both groups lost a similar amount of weight and reduced their waist size in similar measure.”

 

Eat THIS before your workouts

[ There is a clutter of bogus weight loss and fitness information out there. That’s why reading Jon Benson’s articles makes sense… and his newest article (which I have his to you) really rocked my world. Check it out… ]

*** Short-cut Link:
*** My Favorite Foods Dietplan <== click here

One of the most common questions I get asked is:

“What should I eat before my workouts if I want to get rid of bodyfat?”

The answer?

NOTHING.

I’ve been saying this for almost a decade now… and research is catching up with the idea.

It’s nice to be right. : )

Several studies now confirm that exercising while your body is low on food may be a good way to trim excess fat.

European researchers found that cyclists who trained without eating burned significantly more fat than their counterparts who ate. Now, this is important: Cycling requires a LOT of energy. Far more energy than you need to get rid of bodyfat.

Working out with weights and doing moderate to intense (but short) cardio will take care of 99% of your needs when it comes to fatburning.

But with weights, and espeically with the cyclists that were tested, performance may be an issue.

In fact the members of the group of cyclists that didn’t eat performed worse on the intensive training. Still, they burned a higher proportion of fat to carbohydrates than the group that ate. (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.)

Why? Simple. Your body’s blood sugar is lowest in the morning prior to eating. When you train, moderately or with intensity, most of your fuel comes from your bodyfat and NOT ingested carbs. Isn’t that cool?

Which would you rather burn… bodyfat or carbs?

Yeah, me too. : )

About performance: I have found that my performance only suffers slightly when fasting and training for the first few weeks. After that my performance increases. The body starts to burn its own bodfyat far more efficiently so I find I have PLENTY of energy.

This was not a lone study on fasting and training. In a 2008 study, Hespel and colleagues tested the effects on men who did endurance training without eating versus those who ate. In the athletes who hadn’t eaten, the researchers found a spike in the amount of proteins needed to process fat, meaning their bodies had been primed through fasting to get rid of more bodyfat.

So, now you know the answer to the old question: “What should I eat before training?”

Nothing… or as little as possible.

In my next email I’ll tell you what to eat AFTER your workouts to REALLY jack your fatburning through the roof…

… and no, it’s not “nothing”. It’s something special. ; )

P.S. If you want the best diet possible to turn your body into a fat-burning machine along with my personal workout plan for fasting cardio… and a plan that works in your favorite foods too … then look no further than this:

My Favorite Foods Dietplan <== click here

[ Another article by Jon Benson… and there’s more: hop over to the pages in this post now and grab a lot more tips on weight loss, fitness and motivation. Enjoy! ]

Skipping Eye Exam Shows a Lack of Vision

If you ask physicians about the most serious health problems faced by older patients, they will usually list significant medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes or cancer. But ask the patients, and they will complain more about sensory deprivation — the loss of vision and hearing.

This information makes a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention particularly alarming. A survey of 11,503 adults over the age of 40, who were known to have mild to moderate visual impairment, found that 39.8 percent did not have an eye examination in the previous year due to no insurance or the cost.

Thirty-five percent did not seek eye care because they felt that they did not need it, and 4.5 percent said they could not get an appointment.

Those over the age of 65 and on Medicare obviously used lack of insurance as a reason much less frequently (23.3 percent). Remarkably, 43.8 percent of Medicare recipients felt they did not need to see an eye doctor, compared to 32.9 percent for those under age 65. Men were less interested in eye exams (41.7 percent) compared to women (28.7 percent).

People seeking eye care varied by state. In Massachusetts, 21.6 percent of those under the age of 65 did not feel the need for eye care; in Tennessee, it was 60.4 percent. For Medicare recipients, 61 percent did not seek care in Massachusetts, compared to 25.4 percent in Florida.

This information should be an urgent wake-up call for public health officials, health care providers and the population at large. Vision is perhaps the most precious of all our sensory functions. Often occurring insidiously over time, loss of eyesight is a cause of functional dependency and poor quality of life. Most importantly, for many conditions, appropriate medical management can prevent blindness. For younger people, a visit to the ophthalmologist or optometrist primarily evaluates visual acuity and the need for glasses, but it always includes screening to identify the common causes of eye disease — cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal disease. Although some primary care physicians can evaluate eyesight and measure eye pressure, the level of skill required for an accurate evaluation is exclusively the domain of the ophthalmologist or the optometrist, who is trained in all aspects of assessing vision and screening for eye diseases.

The most common cause of significant visual loss is a cataract, a painless clouding of the lens of the eye that interferes with the transmission of light to the back of the eye or retina. Common symptoms include blurred vision, seeing rings around lamps and trouble driving at night. Surgery is needed if vision is impaired sufficiently and interferes with daily functions. Testing for glaucoma is critically important, as vision loss progresses so slowly that a serious problem may not be identified until virtual blindness is present. Glaucoma is caused by increased eye pressure that damages the optic nerve, impairing the ability to transmit visual images to the brain. Untreated, there is a gradual loss of peripheral vision, which eventually leads to total blindness. The disease is easily diagnosed by measuring eye pressure and treated with drops to lower pressure.

Sometimes surgery is needed. Macular degeneration results in damage to the retina. In direct contrast to glaucoma, central vision is lost, but peripheral vision remains intact. Learning to look at objects out of the side of the eye can be achieved by low vision rehabilitation.

While the cause is unclear and there’s no cure for macular degeneration, treatment with vitamins, laser therapy and visual aids can be helpful. Most patients have a benign, gradually progressive disease, but some kinds can progress very rapidly (wet macular degeneration).

Many patients with diabetes develop blindness due to blockages of tiny vessels in the retina (at the back of the eye). This leads to scarring and overgrowth of fragile new vessels that are prone to bleeding and retinal detachment. Regular eye examinations are critical.

No matter your age, remember that eye examinations are essential. Not only will serious medical conditions be identified early, but just as importantly, you will also learn what you need to do to assure optimal eye health.

Written by DR. DAVID LIPSCHITZ, Creative Syndicate

Eating Fish, Shellfish May Reduce Risk For Diabetes

MedWire Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/21, Ford) reported, “Analysis of data from over 100,000 individuals in China has shown that eating fish and shellfish significantly reduces the risk for developing diabetes,” according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online June 15 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. After evaluating “data collected from 51,963 men aged 40-74 years and 64,193 women aged 40-70 years,” all of whom were free of cardiovascular disease, cancer, or type 2 diabetes at study start and who were followed for about nine years, researchers found that “increased intake of fish, shellfish, and long-chain n-3 fatty acids was associated with a significantly decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women. In men, only shellfish intake predicted a significantly decreased risk for diabetes.”

Op-Ed Attributes Rapid Increase In Nearsightedness To Spending Time Indoors

In an op-ed in the New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/21, A27, Subscription Publication), Sandra Aamodt, a former editor in chief of Nature Neuroscience, and Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton University, wrote that “the rapid increase in nearsightedness appears to be due to a characteristic of modern life: more and more time spent indoors under artificial lights.” Scientists now “suspect that bright outdoor light helps children’s developing eyes maintain the correct distance between the lens and the retina — which keeps vision in focus. Dim indoor lighting doesn’t seem to provide the same kind of feedback.” Therefore, “when children spend too many hours inside, their eyes fail to grow correctly and the distance between the lens and retina becomes too long, causing far-away objects to look blurry.”

The Best 16-Minute Workout EVER

[ Weight loss and body transformation is never easy, but Jon Benson is an expert at making it EASIER. This is now killer article on how to get it done… faster and easier… enjoy! ]

When I wrote “7 Minute Muscle” and “7 Minute Body” (the in-home version; both books come in the same package) I thought I was doing the muscle-mass crowd a huge favor.

I was right… and I was wrong.

I was right because the 7MM-style training has put serious muscle shape, tone, and size on people from all ages.

I was WRONG because it did more than just add lean muscle:

THIS makes people THINNER…

7 Minute Body workouts <– fastest bodyshaping workout EVER

The short version of the science behind why this happens and a sample workout routine is included in today’s newsletter.

Yep: the workout I intended people to use for building muscle turned into one of the fastest ways to melt body fat.

Weird.

I say “weird”… it’s not that weird to me. I know why it works so well. But it was kinda weird for my readers.

The secret is density training.

Density is basically getting the most amount of work done in the least amount of time. More work in less time = more energy.

More energy spent = greater fatloss.

Fatloss (and muscle-shaping) is not an issue of length of time as much as it is an issue of work divided by time.

The body was made to perform in bursts, not in long bouts. This is why our immediate fuel sources (which come mostly from carbohydrates) are WAY too efficient… so much so that we store incredible amounts of fat from consuming too many of the “fast-fuel” foods.

The best way to combat this fat-storing problem is to use your body the way it was designed to be used: In bursts of fat-burning power that are intense, short, and highly focused.

That’s the basics behind density training.

More here:

7 Minute Body workouts <– fastest bodyshaping workout EVER

Want a practical example? Great… let’s look at a 7 Minute Muscle chest workout followed by a 7 Minute Muscle “GXP” Cardio workout.

Your total workout time: A whopping 16 minutes.

That’s “TOTAL” workout and cardio time, minus a short warm-up.

After your warm-up, you would start with the first of two “Phases”:

The first 5 minutes is called The Power Phase.

This is followed by The Mass Phase (Mass is for adding lean muscle) which last only 2 minutes.

During the Power Phase, your weight you select for any movement (from a bench press to a push-up) stays the same. This makes it very easy to shorten your rest intervals between sets.

Your repetitions will be a maximum of 5 for your Power Phase using a weight that’s about 60% of your normal 5-rep max. You will rest as little as possible between sets.

The first few sets will feel light, but as time progresses this “light” weight will become more and more challenging. In fact you will drop your repetitions down quite low in order to complete the 5-minute Phase… and that’s GOOD.

That’s what we want: As many repetitions as you can get during 5 minutes, but never exceeding FIVE repetitions, during your Power Phase.

Your rest intervals are up to YOU… you can rest a short or as long as you need.

This is a very creative and personal workout!

Your goal is simple: Get more TOTAL reps (called “Aggregate Repetitions”, or “AR”) than your previous workout.

This is what makes 7 Minute Muscle so unique: The progression is built-in.

Most people fail to progress in the gym because they simply do not track their workouts carefully enough.

With 7 Minute Muscle you don’t have to track an entire workout: Only ONE number. The total number of repetitions, or your “AR”.

Simple!

Your Power Phase for a chest workout may look like this:

EXERCISE:
Incline Machine Press (upper chest)

5 reps (rest 20 seconds)
5 reps (rest 15 seconds)
4 reps (rest 20 seconds)
3 reps (rest 30 seconds)
3 reps (rest 30 seconds)
1 rep (rest 20 seconds)
1 rep (end)

]Total AR: 22 reps
Total Time: 5 minutes

Your goal next time is to get 23 repetitions using the same weight. Once you can get 5 repetitions every set it’s time to increase the weight for this movement.

You would then move to your Mass Phase (2 minutes) which would be a different chest exercise for TEN repetitions.

Same goal, same principles apply… beat your previous AR.

The end result is a 7-minute workout that shapes your chest AND burns a lot of fat due to the principles of time/energy expenditure and the fact that muscle burns calories.

You end your 7 minute workout with “GXP” Cardio. This is 9 minutes long… that’s it! But your body is primed to melt off a lot of fat after your 7 minutes of intense weight training… and you will drop the fat if you do this workout right.

You start with 3 minutes on the exercise device of your choice (I prefer the treadmill.)

You work your way up to 85-90% of your maximum heart rate, or a perceived exertion rate on a scale of 1-10 of 7 to 8. No more is needed to get the desired results.

You stay at this level for just 3 minutes.

Then you cool down for 3 minutes.

That’s IT.

That’s your entire cardio workout and weight-training workout… all in 16 minutes (about 20 with a warm-up.)

And you will progress faster, burn a lot more fat, and save SO much time you may have to take up a new hobby!

Get more info here:

7 Minute Body workouts <– fastest bodyshaping workout EVER

[ I cannot speak highly enough about Jon and his unorthodox but effective tips on fitness and weight loss. Believe me, they WORK. I hope you enjoyed this post and want to see more. Here’s my tip: visit the pages in this article today. Your body will thank you! ]

Elderly told to have regular eye tests to stop falls

Elderly people are being encouraged to have regular eye tests as a way of preventing falls. Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in the over-75s

Age UK and the College of Optometrists say too few request the free check-ups offered to those aged above 60.

An Age UK poll of 1,700 suggests one in seven over-60s, nearly two million, has not been tested for at least two years.

Nearly four million are estimated to have fallen in the past two years, and the poll indicated one in 14 of these falls was linked to vision problems.

Falls are the leading cause of death through injury in the elderly.

Helena Herlots, of Age UK, said: “It’s worrying that such a high number of older people have not had a sight test recently.

“Going for regular sight tests and wearing the right glasses will not only improve balance, co-ordination and mobility, but will help to maintain general eye health.”

Dr Anna Kwartz, of the College of Optometrists, said: “Many of the visual problems that affect older people and lead to falls can be treated.

“Regular sight tests can help aid early detection and treatment.”

 

Lutein may protect eyes from effects of strong light: Study

The eye health benefits of lutein supplements may extend to protection against the damaging effects of strong light, suggest new findings from a Japanese study with mice.

Most lutein for supplements is extracted from marigolds

According to new findings published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry lutein may protect the DNA of photoreceptive cells in the retina from the harmful effects of strong light.

Japanese researchers also report that visual impairment produced by strong light exposure was attenuated in mice fed supplements of lutein.

Lutein and its market

Lutein, a nutrient found in various foods including green leafy vegetables and egg yolk, has a ten-year history in the dietary supplement market as a nutrient to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in the over 50s.

The US is by far the most developed market for eyehealth products, partly due to a greater acceptance of dietary supplements, and partly due to higher levels of awareness, according to data from Frost & Sullivan.

Frost & Sullivan placed the US eye health ingredients market at $138m in 2008, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3 per cent from 2008 to 2015. The European market was valued at $43.4m in 2007 with a CAGR of 10.5 per cent from 2007 to 2014.

New data

For the new study the researchers divided mice into two groups: One group was fed normal chow and the second group had their chow supplemented with 0.1 percent lutein (provided by Wakasa Seikatsu Co., Ltd., Japan). Animals were fed the diets for 10 days before being exposed to light.

Results showed that lutein supplementation was associated with a reduction in a range of detrimental effects associated with light exposure, including visual impairment, and a thinning of the layer of photoreceptor cells.

In addition, the researchers note that a marker of DNA damage was up-regulated in the normal chow-fed animals, but this was suppressed in the lutein fed animals.

“Therefore, lutein induced […] DNA repair, which could suppress DNA damage and photoreceptor cell apoptosis.

“Lutein reduced light-induced oxidative stress in the retina, which might contribute to promote DNA repair. The lutein-supplemented diet attenuated light-induced visual impairment by protecting the photoreceptor cells’ DNA,” they said.

Looking beyond the eyes

“Although lutein has been applied as a dietary supplement for chronic diseases, such as AMD, it may have a chance to be involved as a preventive medicine for acute diseases in the future,” wrote the authors.

“Moreover, elucidating the molecular mechanism of lutein’s effect on light-induced photoreceptor cell apoptosis might also be helpful for analyzing lutein’s effect on the photodamage in other organs.

“In the skin, lutein is believed to protect against edema and hyperplasia after UV exposure. The present study will help understand its molecular mechanism,” the concluded.

Source: Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry

 

Research: Employees suffering from eyestrain

Recent research has found that a substantial number of workers are struggling with eye issues at work.

Conducted by the Eyecare Trust and SimplyHealth, the study found that 90 per cent of people admit to suffering from symptoms of screen fatigue, including headaches, eyestrain and problems with vision.

Despite this, just one in five employees are taking regular breaks from their computer, as advised by eye health professionals and the Health and Safety Executive.

Furthermore, around 40 per cent of workers are unaware that they can claim a free eyesight test if they regularly use a computer monitor at work.

Daska Barnett, optometrist and founder of Specs of Kensington, commented on the researcher: “People just don’t appreciate the symptoms that they have and that the cost of an eye examination will be picked up by their employer.”

She added that the majority of employees are simply unaware of the health benefits of having an eye examination and do not realise that it is something their employer would probably have to pay for.

3 Ways to Improve Your Eyesight

1. Eat Right

Vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like copper and zinc are essential to eyesight. Antioxidants protect your macula from sun damage, and foods rich in sulfur, cysteine, and lecithin help protect the lens of your eye from cataract formation. The omega-3 fat DHA provides structural support to cell membranes that boost eye health.

2. Limit Environmental Toxins

External factors that contribute to eye damage include fluorescent lights, computer screens, environmental allergens, and chlorine in swimming pools.

3. Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for eye health. Sleep time allows your eyes to fully rest, repair, and recover.