Category Archives: Eye Health News

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.

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.


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.


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.

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

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.

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

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


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.

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,

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

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.”

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.

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.



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 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

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 or

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.”

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.


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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.


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. 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.

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

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.”

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.


Regular eye tests important for whole family

The need for a regular eye test does not only apply to people who require glasses, it is also an important family health check. It is important to educate families on the general health benefits of having their eyes tested on an annual basis.

The main aim of proper patient education is to increase the number of households who incorporate eye check-ups into their family health routine.

An eye test can pick up a number of general health and eye conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and even more serious conditions like brain tumors.

New research suggests that 61 percent of people surveyed did not know that a brain tumour could be detected by an optometrist during an eye examination.

Having an eye test could potentially save your sight or even your life.

High Dietary Antioxidant Intake Associated With Lower Risk For Early AMD

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/14, Barclay) reported, “High dietary intake of antioxidants is associated with a lower risk for early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in genetically predisposed individuals,” according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the June issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology. In a study of 2,167 individuals over the age of 55 who were at risk of AMD, researchers found “a possible biological interaction between the CFH Y402H genotype and intakes of zinc, β-carotene, lutein/zeaxanthin, and eicosapentaenoic/docosahexaenoic acid (EPA/DHA), and between the LOC387715 A69S genotype and zinc and EPA/DHA, based on significant synergy indices (P < .05 for all).” Notably, “participants who were homozygous for CFH Y402H and had dietary zinc intake in the highest tertile had a reduction in HR for early AMD from 2.25 to 1.27.”


Optometrists urging eye exams for children as young as 6 months old

Optometrists say vision development is most dramatic in children between 6 and 12 months old.

Regular eye exams are vital to anyone’s health, particularly children.

Many optometrists believe eye exams should begin even before a child can read the chart on the wall.

Vision has a large impact on a child’s health and learning abilities.

So optometrists are now urging parents to take babies for an eye exam when they are between 6 and 12 months old.

Experts say that’s when vision development is most dramatic.

“The eye and the brain have to work together, and they have to be stimulated,” Dr. Andrea P. Thau, an American Academy of Optometry fellow, said. “They have to actually see targets. That first year of life is when the eyes actually get stimulated and start to work together. In utero, that can’t happen. You need to actually have the external stimulation for that to occur.”

The American Optometric Association is making sure that every infant in the United States gets a free comprehensive eye health and vision assessment through its new program, called InfantSee.

What doctors look for in an eye exam

Q. How often should you get an eye exam?

A. For most people, we recommend once a year. The main reason to do this every year is to check the health of the eyes. We look for signs of problems like glaucoma, diabetes and macular degeneration in older adults. In younger people under the age of 20, the most common problem is the need for constant prescription changes.

Q. Who do you go to for an eye exam?

A. Most people go to an optometrist for an eye exam. Optometrists provide primary eye care, which includes checking eye health and treating vision disorders with eyeglasses and contact lenses. Optometrists are also highly trained in the detection and treatment of eye diseases and ocular emergencies.

Ophthalmologists may also provide primary eye care, but most focus on surgery of the eye and treatment of advanced eye diseases. Many ophthalmologists specialize in areas like cataracts, glaucoma, retina or cornea.

Q. What are some common diseases and problems of the eye?

A. Myopia, or nearsightedness, which is when light entering the eye is focused in front of the retina and distant objects appear blurred.

Hyperopia, or farsightedness, which is when light entering the eye is focused behind the retina and objects close-up are blurred.

Astigmatism is when the cornea has an irregular curvature, causing blurred vision.

* Eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery can correct all three of these.

Amblyopia, or what is commonly referred to as “lazy eye,” is a disorder in which a person has trouble seeing details through one eye. This problem needs to be caught early in order to correct it properly. If it is not detected before the age of 3, it is possible that the eye will stay this way. Prescription glasses can often fully correct this if caught early on.

Strabismus is a disorder that the two eyes do not line up in same direction. The eyes are then not looking at the same object at the same time. This is sometimes commonly referred to as “cross-eyed” or “lazy eye,” as well. A lot of times, this is corrected through eye surgery and/or eyeglasses.

Eye teaming is when the two eyes don’t work perfectly together or don’t stay working together when reading. This is more common in kids and can often lead to poor grades or school performance. This can be treated through eye exercises or glasses.

Focusing problems are common eye problems found in people after the age of 40, in which people cannot see up close. This is usually treated with multi-focal glasses, or its older term, “bifocals.”

Some common eye diseases:

Glaucoma is when the optic nerve is damaged from too much pressure in the eye.

Macular degeneration affects your central vision and usually occurs in people over the age of 70.

Diabetic retinopathy is when there is damage to the eye’s retinal blood vessels and is due to diabetes.

Hypertensive retinopathy is when there is damage to the eye’s retina due to high blood pressure.

Cataracts is the clouding of the lens inside the eye and is typically a problem for people above the age of 65.

Q. Where to go for more information?

A.Check out the American Optometric Association —

~ Dr. Darrin Vits, OD, is an optometrist at The Eye Institute at Springfield Clinic in Illinois.

One In Three Adults Unaware Of Eye Health Risks Of Too Much Sun Exposure

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/9, Healy) reports that wearing a hat and protecting eyes “from harmful UV rays” is as much a part of sun protection as slathering on sunscreen. “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.” Excessive UV exposure may result in pterygium, macular degeneration, or cataracts. 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.

EyeCare America Reveals the “ABCs” Of Eye Health

As Schools Give Final Exams in June, Older Americans Can Learn About a Program that Provides Eye Exams at No Out-of-Pocket Cost

Can you imagine opening a textbook, only to see large black spots where words should be? Or just a large, hazy blur instead of sentences? This is what someone suffering from eye disease might see.

EyeCare America reminds everyone that education is lifelong. It’s never too late to learn how to take better care of your eyes, starting with these “ABCs”:

ACTIVATE your lifestyle. Get regular exercise and eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, avoiding fats and sweets. What’s good for your whole body is also good for your eyes.

BOOK an appointment today with an optometrist or ophthalmologist for a full eye exam. EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, provides eye exams at no out-of-pocket cost to people age 65 and older and offers free educational materials. The eye exams are provided by a corps of nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Those interested in the program can visit to see if they are eligible. The organization’s online referral center also enables friends and family members to find out instantly if their loved ones are eligible to be matched with an EyeCare America volunteer ophthalmologist.

CONTINUE to see your doctor regularly and to care for your eyes, so they can take care of you.

EyeCare America is designed for people who:

  • Are U.S. citizens or legal residents
  • Are age 65 and older
  • Have not seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years
  • Do not belong to an HMO or receive eye care benefits through the VA.

To see immediately if you, a loved one or a friend, 65 or older, is eligible to receive a referral for an eye exam and care,

EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, Inc., with additional support provided by Alcon. The program is endorsed by state and subspecialty ophthalmological societies.

About EyeCare America

Established in 1985, EyeCare America, the public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is committed to the preservation of sight, accomplishing its mission through public service and education. EyeCare America provides year round eye care services to medically underserved seniors and those at increased risk for eye disease through its corps of nearly 7,000 volunteer ophthalmologists dedicated to serving their communities. More than 90 percent of the care made available is provided at no out-of-pocket cost to the patients. Since its inception, EyeCare America has helped more than 1.5 million people. EyeCare America is a non-profit program whose success is made possible through charitable contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. More information can be found

SOURCE EyeCare America


AOA: Optometrists Seeing Increase In Flood-Related Eye Infections

The Sioux City Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/5, Fox) reported, “According to the American Optometric Association, doctors of optometry have seen an increase in flood-related eye infections, particularly in areas throughout Iowa, and believe that these cases will continue to rise in the coming weeks.” That is because “flooding causes an increase in the incidence of water-borne pathogens — including amoeba, parasites, bacteria and viruses. These can be dangerous to the eye and may lead to infections, other complications and even loss of sight,” particularly if someone wears contact lenses and uses tap water instead of sterile eye care products to clean them.

Why a regular eye test is so important

SIGHT is the sense most of us fear losing, but many of us don’t know the best way to look after our eyes.

National eye health week, which starts a week today, aims to raise awareness of eye health and the importance of regular eye checks.

The RNIB recommends an annual sight test for children up to the age of 16 and then at least every two years until the age of 59. Those over 60 should have an annual test.

Many of us will experience temporary eye problems from time to time. These are usually short-lived and will probably go away on their own with no complications.

But sudden eye problems and those that last for more than a couple of days should be checked by an ophthalmologist.

More than 100,000 people in Wales are living with sight loss, which has a huge impact on individuals, their families and society.

More than 1,000 people in Wales lose their sight unnecessarily annually despite new treatments for eye disease – this is three people every day.

Half of all cases of sight loss are avoidable.

It is vitally important to note that if we do not engage in eye testing the end result could be the development of an eye condition with irreparable damage that can lead to blindness.

Waiting times for referrals for treatment in secondary eye care have increased massively in Wales over the past 12 months.

The hospital eye service is now struggling to meet demand.

Although work is continuing to ensure more patients can be monitored in the community, the service faces significant challenges as the prevalence of eye problems and sight loss in older people increases.

Between March 2010 and 2011 the number of people waiting for referrals to treatment in Wales increased from 27,113 to 29,432.

Nurses carry out several roles in sight and eye healthcare for patients, including in accident and emergency settings; in hospital eye services; ophthalmology specialised care; diabetes services and in primary care services.

Ophthalmology specialist nurses have undergone specialist training and may have additional training in ophthalmic nursing. School nurses, practice nurses and health visitors are involved in monitoring eye health at primary care level.

Anyone over the age of 60 or on certain state benefits or with certain medical conditions can have an NHS sight test free of charge.

The Welsh eye care initiative funds eye health examinations for patients who may be at greater risk of eye disease, including if you have sight in one eye only; if you have a hearing impairment and are profoundly deaf – these patients need sight to lip read.

Eye examinations are also funded if you suffer from retinitis pigmentosa; if one of your parents has an eye disease which is known to be inherited; if your family origins are Black African, Black Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi; or if you are at risk of eye disease by other race or family reasons.

If people are unable to leave home unaccompanied, an optometrist will come to their home and provide the NHS sight test there.

All of us have heard the old saying that a stitch in time saves nine.

In the same way, early detection of eye diseases and their timely management can prevent significant vision loss.

~ Tina Donnelly is director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales

Independent Optometrists Continue To Thrive

The Naperville (IL) Sun Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/1, Sharos) reports, “Despite corporate stores that claim to offer fast service and extra product, the independent optometrist continues to thrive — especially those who are well past their medical school years.” Optometrist Dennis DeLee, OD, “who works in Chicago in a practice he bought 11 years ago,” pointed out “advantages that include personalized service, state-of-the-art technology, and medically related services that often characterize the independent service provider — services that he says don’t necessarily have to cost more than patients can afford.”

One In 16 Australian Preschoolers May Suffer From Visual Impairment In One Eye

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/28, Pittman) reported that, according to a study of more than 1,000 Australian children published in the journal Ophthalmology, about one in 16 children under the age of six may suffer from some sort of impaired vision in one eye. What’s more, nearly three percent of the children studied experienced impairment in both eyes. Researchers found that astigmatism was the common issue, but amblyopia and farsightedness were also fairly common. Notably, the United States Preventive Services Task Force suggests that children be screened between the ages of three and five for these very vision problems.

Special Contact Lenses Block UV Rays

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/31, D2, Johannes, Subscription Publication) reports in “Aches & Claims” that some manufacturers of contact lenses are currently marketing products claiming to block out up to 99% of ultraviolet rays, important for preventing pterigia and cataracts . Unlike UV-ray blocking sunglasses, the UV-blocking lenses offer protection to all of the eye’s internal structures. To date, only a few brands of these special lenses meet FDA standards required for “Class 1” protection, which means that the lenses block at least 90% of UV-A rays and 99% of UV-B rays. The Journal points out that the American Optometric Association has awarded a “seal of acceptance” for six products, all of which belong to the Acuvue line of lenses manufactured by Vistakon, a unit of Johnson & Johnson.

Zeaxanthin, Lutein May Help Protect Eyes Against UV Light Damage

The Calgary Herald Share to FacebookShare to Twitter /Monterey County Herald (5/26, Quinn) reported that, according to the National Eye Institute, eyesight is “all about light” entering the eye and hitting the retina. That body “contains ‘photoreceptors’ that convert light to electrical signals that travel to the brain and figure out what we ‘see.'” Unfortunately, ultraviolet (UV) light may damage eyes, much like it does skin. Fortunately, “specific nutrients and other substances in foods can help to absorb dangerous light and act as a shield.” The article went on to explain that vegetables and fruits containing zeaxanthin and lutein may help protect the eye against damage caused by ultraviolet light.

Precision-Tinted Glasses May Help Prevent Migraines In Certain People

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/26, Gardner) reported, “Precision-tinted glasses seem to help prevent migraines in people whose pain is triggered by certain visual patterns,” according to a study published May 26 in the journal Cephalalgia. To reach that conclusion, researchers “assessed 11 people with migraines and 11 without the headaches using a functional MRI machine” while participants looked at high-contrast striped patterns through each of three separate pairs of eyeglasses. Interestingly, the study authors “noted a normalization of brain activity in migraineurs wearing the tinted glasses while they were looking at the different patterns.”

National Eye Institute Estimates Approximately 15,000 Infants Born With ROP Each Year

On its website, WTVQ-TV Lexington, KY (5/23, Runyon), an ABC affiliate, reported, “The National Eye Institute estimates about 14,000 to 16,000 infants are born with” retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) each year. “In severe cases, retinal detachment can cause significant vision impairment or blindness.” Sadly, “each year, up to 1,500 infants require medical treatment for ROP and 600 become legally blind from the condition.”

Retinopathy of prematurity

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Retinopathy of prematurity
(ROP), previously known as retrolental fibroplasia (RLF), is an eye disease that affects prematurely born babies. It is thought to be caused by disorganized growth of retinal blood vesselswhich may result in scarring and retinal detachment. ROP can be mild and may resolve spontaneously, but may lead to blindness in serious cases. As such, all preterm babies are at risk for ROP, and very low birth weight is an additional risk factor. Both oxygen toxicity and relative hypoxia can contribute to the development of ROP.


Normally, maturation of the retina proceeds in-utero, and at term the mature infant has fully vascularized retina. However, in preterm infants, the retina is often not fully vascularized. ROP occurs when the development of the retinal vasculature is arrested and then proceeds abnormally. The key disease element is fibrovascular proliferation. This is growth of abnormal new vessels that may regress, but frequently progresses. Associated with the growth of these new vessels is fibrous tissue (scar tissue) that may contract to cause retinal detachment. Multiple factors can determine whether the disease progresses, including overall health, birth weight, the stage of ROP at initial diagnosis, and the presence or absence of “plus disease”. Supplemental oxygen exposure, while a risk factor, is not the main risk factor for development of this disease. Restricting supplemental oxygen use does not necessarily reduce the rate of ROP, and may raise the risk of other hypoxia-related systemic complications.

Patients with ROP are at greater risk for strabismus, glaucoma, cataracts and myopia later in life, and should be examined yearly to help prevent and treat these conditions.


Following pupillary dilation using eye drops, the retina is examined using a special lighted instrument (an indirect ophthalmoscope). The peripheral portions of the retina are sometimes pushed into view using scleral depression. Examination of the retina of a premature infant is performed to determine how far the retinal blood vessels have grown (the zone), and whether or not the vessels are growing flat along the wall of the eye (the stage). Once the vessels have grown into Zone 3 (see below) it is usually safe to discharge the child from further screening for ROP. The stage of ROP refers to the character of the leading edge of growing retinal blood vessels (at the vascular-avascular border). The stages of ROP disease have been defined by the International Classification of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ICROP).

Retinal examination with scleral depression is generally recommended for patients born before 30–32 weeks gestation, with birthweight 1500 grams or less, or at the discretion of the treating neonatologist. The initial examination is usually performed at 4–6 weeks of life, and then repeated every 1–3 weeks until vascularization is complete (or until disease progression mandates treatment).

In older patients the appearance of the disease is less well described but includes the residua of the ICROP stages as well as secondary retinal responses.

Differential diagnosis

The most difficult aspect of the differential diagnosis may arise from the similarity of two other diseases:

  • exudative vitreoretinopathy which is a genetic disorder that also disrupts the retinal vascularization in full-term infants.
  • Persistent Fetal Vascular Syndrome also known as Persistent Hyperplastic Primary Vitreous that can cause a traction retinal detachment difficult to differentiate but typically unilateral.

International classification of retinopathy of prematurity (ICROP)

The system used for describing the findings of active ROP is entitled The International Classification of Retinopathy of Prematurity (ICROP).[1] ICROP uses a number of parameters to describe the disease. They are location of the disease into zones (1, 2, and 3), the circumferential extent of the disease based on the clock hours (1-12), the severity of the disease (stage 1-5) and the presence or absence of “Plus Disease”. Each aspect of the classification has a technical definition. This classification was used for the major clinical trials. It has been revised in 2005[2]


Zones of the retina in ROP

The zones are centered on the optic nerve. Zone 1 is the posterior zone of the retina, defined as the circle with a radius extending from the optic nerve to double the distance to the macula. Zone 2 is an annulus with the inner border defined by zone 1 and the outer border defined by the radius defined as the distance from the optic nerve to the nasal ora serrata. Zone 3 is the residual temporal crescent of the retina.

The circumferential extent of the disease is described in segments as if the top of the eye were 12 on the face of a clock. For example one might report that there is stage 1 disease for 3 clock hours from 4 to 7 o’clock. (The extent is a bit less important since the treatment indications from the Early Treatment for ROP[3])

The Stages describe the ophthalmoscopic findings at the junction between the vascularized and avascular retina.

  • Stage 1 is a faint demarcation line.
  • Stage 2 is an elevated ridge.
  • Stage 3 is extraretinal fibrovascular tissue.
  • Stage 4 is sub-total retinal detachment.
  • Stage 5 is total retinal detachment.

In addition, Plus disease may be present at any stage. It describes a significant level of vascular dilation and tortuosity observed at the posterior retinal vessels. This reflects the increase of blood flow through the retina. [1]


Stages 1 and 2 do not lead to blindness. However, they can progress to the more severe stages. Threshold disease is defined as disease that has a 50% likelihood of progressing to retinal detachment. Threshold disease is considered to be present when stage 3 ROP is present in either zone I or zone II, with at least 5 continuous or 8 total clock hours of disease, and the presence of plus disease.[4] Progression to stage 4 (partial retinal detachment), or to stage 5 (total retinal detachment), will result in substantial or total loss of vision for the infant.


In order to allow timely intervention, a system of monitoring is undertaken for infants at risk of developing ROP. These monitoring protocols differ geographically because the definition of high-risk is not uniform or perfectly defined. In the USA the consensus statement of experts is informed by data derived by clinical trials and published in Pediatrics 2006. They included infants with birthweights under 1500 grams or under 30 weeks gestation in most cases.


Diagram of an eye, in cross-section. 

The retina (red) is detached at the top of the eye.

Diagram of an eye with a scleral buckle, in cross-section. 

The silicone band (scleral buckle, blue) is placed around the eye. This brings the wall of the eye into contact with the detached retina, allowing the retina to re-attach.

  • Peripheral retinal ablation is the mainstay of ROP treatment. The destruction of the avascular retina is performed with a solid state laser photocoagulation device, as these are easily portable to the operating room orneonatal ICU. Cryotherapy, an earlier technique in which regional retinal destruction was done using a probe to freeze the desired areas, has also been evaluated in multi-center clinical trials as an effective modality for prevention and treatment of ROP. However, when laser treatment is available, cryotherapy is no longer preferred for routine avascular retinal ablation in premature babies, due to the side effects of inflammation and lid swelling.
  • Scleral buckling and/or vitrectomy surgery may be considered for severe ROP (stage 4 and 5) for eyes that progress to retinal detachment. Few centers in the world specialize in this surgery, because of its attendant surgical risks and generally poor outcomes.
  • Intravitreal injection of bevacizumab (Avastin) has been reported as a supportive measure in aggressive posterior retinopathy of prematurity.[5]

In a recent clinical trial comparing bevacizumab with conventional laser therapy, intravitreal bevacizumab monotherapy showed a significant benefit for zone I but not zone II disease when used to treat infants with stage 3+ retinopathy of prematurity. (New England Journal of Medicine 2011 364(7):603-615)


A significant time in the history of the disease was between 1941–1953, when a worldwide epidemic of ROP was seen. Over 12,000 babies worldwide were not only born with the disease but blinded by it. Soul musician Stevie Wonder, actor Tom Sullivan as well as jazz singer Diane Schuur are a few famous people who have the disease.

The first case of the epidemic was seen on St. Valentine’s Day in 1941, when a premature baby in Boston was diagnosed. Cases were then seen all over the world and the cause was, at that point, unknown. By 1951 a clear link between incidence and affluence became clear: many cases were seen in developed countries with organized and well-funded health care. Two British scientists suggested that it was oxygen toxicity that caused the disease. Babies born prematurely in such affluent areas were treated in incubators which had artificially high levels of oxygen. Studies on rats made this cause seem more likely, but the link was eventually confirmed by a controversial study undertaken by American pediatricians. The study involved two groups of babies. Some were given the usual oxygen concentrations in their incubators, while the other group had “curtailed” oxygen levels. The latter group was shown to have a lower incidence of the disease. As a result, oxygen levels in incubators were lowered and consequently the epidemic was halted.[6]


Does Pycnogenol® Improve Vision in Patients With Early Diabetic Retinopathy?

Does Pycnogenol® Improve Vision in Patients With Early Diabetic Retinopathy?

Gregory A. Nichols, PhD

Pycnogenol Improves Microcirculation, Retinal Edema, and Visual Acuity in Early Diabetic Retinopathy

Steigerwalt R, Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, et al
J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2009;25:537-540

Study Summary

This double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was designed to test the protective effects of Pycnogenol®, an extract of French maritime pine bark that stimulates endothelial nitric oxide to facilitate vasodilatation. Pycnogenol® was evaluated for its effects in early stages of retinopathy characterized by mild to moderate retinal edema in the absence of hemorrhage or hard exudates in the macula center. Inclusion criteria included diabetes diagnosed at least 4 years previously; good glycemic control (hemoglobin A1c < 7%); and a moderate degree of retinopathy characterized by macular edema, retinal swelling, and the presence of minor exudates and hemorrhage. Persons with proliferative retinopathy, previous laser treatment, or hypertension requiring medical treatment were excluded.

Eligible patients were randomly assigned to 150 mg Pycnogenol® (n = 24) in the morning after breakfast or placebo (n = 22) for 2 months. There were no significant differences between the treatment and control groups at baseline in terms of age, sex, glycemic control, or duration of diabetes. More important, there was no difference in baseline visual acuity, retinal blood flow, or retinal thickness. The following variables were investigated:

  • Visual acuity using the standard Snellen Chart;
  • Diabetic retinopathy by ophthalmoscopy following pupil dilation;
  • Retinal blood flow (quantitatively and noninvasively) by color duplex scanning;
  • Retinal thickness using resolution ultrasonography at 14 MHz; and
  • Ultrasonography evaluation twice by 2 experienced physicians.

Visual acuity in the group receiving Pycnogenol® significantly increased from a baseline average of 14/20 to 17/20 after 2 months. Because no significant change was found in the control group, the difference at the end of the study was statistically significant between the 2 groups.

Pycnogenol® significantly improved both systolic and diastolic retinal blood flow, expressed as flow velocity at the central retinal artery. Among the subset with moderate (as opposed to mild) retinal edema, retinal thickness decreased significantly in the Pycnogenol® group but not in the control group.


There is no shortage of herbal or plant extract supplements available for just about anything that ails a patient. Many manufacturers make unsubstantiated claims, and in the rare case that those claims are evaluated scientifically, they typically fail to hold up. Pycnogenol® claims beneficial effects in cardiovascular health, skin care, cognitive function, diabetes health, inflammation, sports nutrition, asthma and allergy relief, and menstrual disorders, among others.[1]

Some of the manufacturer’s supporting documentation is less than convincing, but studies in relatively obscure journals do seem to provide evidence that Pycnogenol® improves retinopathy[2] and reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease[3]; blood glucose might also be improved.[4]

In the current study, the authors conducted a randomized trial that also demonstrated an ophthalmologic benefit. However, patients underwent a diet and exercise program, so the benefits of Pycnogenol® could not be isolated. In addition, the study was limited by the extremely selective sample: Participants had a mean age of about 52 years and had had a diabetes diagnosis for a mean of about 6.5 years, making them quite young at diagnosis. More important, patients with hypertension were excluded. It is actually somewhat surprising that they found 46 patients with diabetes for at least 4 years who were not hypertensive! Thus, it is not clear whether the results would apply to the more general diabetes patient.

The results suggest that further research into the potential benefits of Pycnogenol® is indeed warranted.

Survey Finds Many Americans Not Visiting Eye Doctors Due To Cost, Lack Of Insurance

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/19, Hendrick) reported, “A large number of people who have problems with their eyesight don’t visit eye doctors because of the cost or because they don’t have health insurance that covers eye care,” according to the May 20 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. “In a study involving 11,503 adults aged 40 and over who were considered to have moderate-to-severe visual impairment, 39.8% said they had skipped seeking care in the past year because of costs or lack of insurance.” What’s more, nearly “35% said they didn’t seek eyesight care because they felt they didn’t need it, while 4.5% said they could not get an appointment.”

Selenium May Slow Progression Of Eye Problems In Patients With Graves’ Disease

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/18, Gordon) reported, “The trace mineral selenium improves quality of life and slows the progression of eye problems in people with the autoimmune disorder known as Graves’ disease,” according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the May 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. For the study, researchers “recruited 159 people with mild Graves’ orbitopathy, and randomly assigned them to receive two daily doses of either 100 micrograms of selenium, 600 milligrams of pentoxifylline, or a placebo.” Six months later, the study authors “found that selenium treatment, but not pentoxifylline or the placebo, was associated with an improved quality of life.” What’s more, the mineral also slowed the progression of the orbitopathy, compared to pentoxifylline and placebo.


Heavy Precipitation Prompted This Year’s Particularly Robust Allergy Season

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/16) reports, “Warnings about the difficult season have come from allergy specialists from New York to Atlanta, Chicago to California.” Heavy snow and rain in “some parts of the country have nourished a profusion of tree pollen, while a sudden shift to warm, sunny weather has made its release more robust.” The deluges and some flooding have also boosted the “volume on mold.”

Individuals Who Have Received Inpatient Allergy Treatment Allergy May Have Increased Risk For Suicide.MedWire Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/16, Cowen) reports that, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the May issue of Allergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, “individuals who have received inpatient allergy treatment are at increased risk for suicide.” After analyzing “data on 27,096 individuals who committed suicide between 1981 and 2006, and 467,571 controls from the general population who were matched for date of birth-, gender-, and time of suicide (20 controls per case),” researchers discovered that “overall, a history of inpatient treatment for allergy predicted suicide completion, with and incidence rate ratio (IRR) of 1.46.”

Implantable Retinal Prosthesis Allows 30 Legally Blind People To See Light As Phosphenes

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/9, Osterweil) reported that “an implantable retinal prosthesis (Argus II, Second Sight Medical, Sylmar, California) has allowed 30 legally blind patients to see light as phosphenes, and has helped some improve their orientation and mobility in daily tasks, investigators reported” at a vision research meeting. Medscape explained, “The Argus II retinal prosthesis system couples a 60-electrode grid implanted in the retina with a spectacle-worn video camera and a visual processing unit that users can wear around the neck or waist. The visual information is sent wirelessly from the camera to the processing unit, which converts the information into pattern stimulation.”

Researchers Pinpoint Factors Key To Glaucoma Progression

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/9, Preidt) reported, “Researchers say they’ve pinpointed a number of factors that may be key to the progression of the eye disease glaucoma,” according to a paper published in the May issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology. After analyzing data on 587 patients, investigators “concluded that key risk factors for glaucoma progression included a thinning of the cornea, loss of the visual field and an” intraocular pressure “of 18 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) or higher.”

Diabetic Retinopathy May Predict All-Cause Mortality, Cardiovascular Disease In Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes

MedWire Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/6, Albert) reported that, according to a meta-analysis Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published April 27 in the journal Diabetes Care, “diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a predictor for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.” The meta-analysis, which encompassed 20 studies including 19,234 participants, found that, “compared with patients with type 2 diabetes and no DR, those with any degree of DR had a significant 2.34-fold increased risk for the combined endpoint of all-cause mortality and/or CVD (myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, coronary artery bypass graft, ischemic changes on electrocardiography, stroke, or lower leg amputation).”

VEGF Inhibitor Shows Promise For Treating Neovascular AMD

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/6, Osterweil) reported that, according to a study presented at a vision research meeting, “An experimental fusion protein was safe and was associated with statistically significant improvements in visual acuity and other parameters, compared with sham injections, in patients with macular edema secondary to central retinal vein occlusion, and also showed efficacy in neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD).” Specifically, “six-month follow-up results from the phase 3 COPERNICUS (Controlled Phase 3 Evaluation of Repeated Intravitreal Administration of VEGF Trap-Eye In Central Retinal Vein Occlusion: Utility and Safety) trial showed that 56.1% of patients who received the protein gained at least three lines of visual acuity (15 or more letters), compared with 12.3% of control subjects who received sham injections (P < .0001).”

Contact Lens Care

Whether you already wear contact lenses or are considering them, this section serves as a primer. Facts and statistics about contact lens wearers, pointers for safe and successful use of contact lenses, and contact lenses and cosmetics are just a few of the topics covered here.

Getting started right with your contact lenses involves going to a doctor who provides full-service care. This includes a thorough eye examination, an evaluation of your suitability for contact lens wear, the lenses, necessary lens care kits, individual instructions for wear and care and unlimited follow-up visits over a specified time.

Recommendations for Contact Lens Wearers from the American Optometric Association

  1. Always wash your hands before handling contact lenses.
  2. Carefully and regularly clean contact lenses, as directed by your optometrist. Rub the contact lenses with fingers and rinse thoroughly before soaking lenses overnight in sufficient multi-purpose solution to completely cover the lens.
  3. Store lenses in the proper lens storage case and replace the case at a minimum of every three months. Clean the case after each use, and keep it open and dry between cleanings.
  4. Use only products recommended by your optometrist to clean and disinfect your lenses. Saline solution and rewetting drops are not designed to disinfect lenses.
  5. Only fresh solution should be used to clean and store contact lenses. Never re-use old solution. Contact lens solution must be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, even if the lenses are not used daily.
  6. Always follow the recommended contact lens replacement schedule prescribed by your optometrist.
  7. Remove contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub.
  8. See your optometrist for your regularly scheduled contact lens and eye examination.


Acupuncture Plus Glasses May Help Improve Children’s Amblyopia

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/29, Boerner) reported that in addition to wearing glasses, acupuncture may help children with amblyopia to improve their vision scores, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter in the journal Ophthalmology. The researchers gave half of a group of age 3- to 7-years old with amblyopia corrective glasses, who alternated between wearing glasses and receiving acupuncture treatments five times per week at 15-week intervals and compared the results to children who only wore glasses. All children had about 20/63 vision initially. However, at the end of the study the acupuncture-plus-glasses group had an average 20/32 vision in their lazy eye compared to an average 20/40 vision in children who received only glasses.

Implanted Electrodes, Video Camera Allows Blind Person To Spot Some Objects

AFP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/19) reports that Elias Konstantopoulos of Maryland started losing his sight at age 43. Konstantopoulos, 73, lost his eye sight five years ago. In 2009, he took part in trial of a technology that a researcher thought might help him regain some visual perception. “An electrode array was surgically implanted in his eye, and he was given a pair of glasses equipped with a” small video camera. “Konstantopolous says he can distinguish light-colored objects against dark backgrounds, perceive an automobile passing and orient himself in a room where there is a window or door letting sunlight in from outside.”

Poor Coordination May Be Common In Children With Amblyopia

Medscape (4/11, MacReady) reported that “poor coordination might be added to the list of woes experienced by children with deficient stereopsis or amblyopia, according to findings presented…at the American Society of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus 37th Annual Meeting.” After comparing “the speed and accuracy of reaching and grasping under binocular and monocular conditions in 21 children with amblyopia and deficient stereopsis and 15 normal children,” researchers found that “the children with amblyopia had significantly slower movement times in all three conditions tested (with binocular vision and with monocular vision with both the dominant and nondominant eye).”


Vitamin D May Help Protect Women Against Age-Related Macular Degeneration

ABC World News (4/11, story 8, 1:55, Stephanopoulos) reported that vitamin D may help protect women against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a new study .

MedPage Today (4/11, Neale) reported that “looked at data from the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS), which was conducted under the umbrella of the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. In CAREDS, age-related macular degeneration status was assessed an average of six years after serum samples were analyzed for 25(OH)D status.” The new analysis, published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, “included 1,313 women ages 50 to 79.”

WebMD (4/11, Hendrick) reported that “in the study, researchers say women under 75 who got the most vitamin D had a 59% decreased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, compared to women with the lowest vitamin D intake.” The “researchers also found that the women who had a blood vitamin D level higher than 38 nmol/L had a 48% decreased risk of early” AMD. “A blood level of 50 nmol/L is considered sufficient, according to the Institute of Medicine.”

The UK’s Daily Mail (4/12) reports that “these results did not apply to vitamin D absorbed via sunlight — the association was only seen with women who consumed the vitamin in foods and supplements.” The “researchers found that time spent in the sun did not affect risk levels, even though the most important source of vitamin D is it generation in the skin as a reaction to sunlight.” The UK’s Telegraph (4/12, Beckford) also covers the story.


Vegetable-Rich Diet Associated With Decreased Risk For Cataracts

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/9, Boerner) reported that, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online March 23 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who are vegans or vegetarians appear to have a 30% to 40% reduced risk for cataracts. In a study involving some 27,600 people over the age of 40, some of which were followed for about 15 years, researchers also found that people who ate more than 3.5 ounces or more of meat each day had the highest risk for developing cataracts.

Some Vegetarians May Face Increased Risk Of Heart Problems From Nutritional Deficiencies. WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter(4/8, Doheny) reported that research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that “some vegetarians may be increasing their risk of heart problems from nutritional deficiencies in their diets.” In a “review of published articles from medical journals,” researchers “found that vegetarian diets are often lacking in some key nutrients. These include vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids.”


Article Details Options Available For Treating Presbyopia

In “Patient Money,” the New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/2, B5, Andrews) discusses presbyopia, a condition that occurs when the “lens of the eye becomes harder and less elastic,” resulting in “a gradual worsening of the ability to focus on objects up close” for those over 40. Having presbyopia is “‘like having a camera with no multifocal option,’ said Dr. Rachel J. Bishop, chief of the consult services section of the National Eye Institute.” The article explains various options for correcting the condition, including reading glasses, bifocal or multi-focal contact lenses, and progressive bifocals. The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/1, Parker-Pope) “Well” blog also covered the story.

Regular Fish Consumption May Help Prevent AMD

In continuing coverage, the Washington Post (3/29, Searing) reports that omega-3 fatty acid fish oils may help prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a study published online March 14 in the Archives of Ophthalmology. For the study, researchers analyzed “data on 38,022 women, who averaged 55 years old and had no AMD at the start of the study.” Over the course of ten years, researchers found that women “who regularly consumed at least one serving of fish a week — especially canned tuna or dark-meat fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, bluefish or swordfish — were 42 percent less likely to have developed AMD than were women who ate less than one serving of fish a month.”

US Eye Specialists Welcome Nintendo 3DS Game Device

In continuing coverage, the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette (3/27, Svenson) reported, “US eye specialists are welcoming the Nintendo 3DS game device,” saying that it may help detect vision disorders. “These problems are much easier to fix if caught before age 6, when the visual system in our brains is more or less done developing.” Unfortunately, “only 15 percent of preschool children get a comprehensive eye exam that could catch these subtle problems, according to the American Optometric Association.”

Recent Antidepressant Use May Be Associated With Development Of Glaucoma In Seniors

Medscape (3/21, Brauser) reported that, according to research presented at a geriatric psychiatry meeting, “recent use of antidepressants may be linked to the development of acute angle closure glaucoma (AACG) in adults over age 66.” In their study involving 5,000 patients with AACG, researchers “found a significantly increased risk for ‘any antidepressant exposure’ in the time period immediately preceding the condition.” What’s more, they “found a more than two-fold increased risk for AACG in patients in the mixed serotonergic/noradrenergic treatment subgroup.”