How Eating Healthy Affects Your Eyes

The foods and vitamins you consume affect your body’s overall health, including your eyes. With a healthy diet and lifestyle, the likelihood of developing some eye diseases and health disorders dramatically decreases. With a few simple steps, your body will thank you later!

Eating Healthy Foods

One of the best things you can do is choose foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins. An easy trick to remember is dark green or brightly colored fruits and vegetables are the go-to foods. Not only will they impact your overall health, but they will help to reduce the chances of developing eye diseases such as dry eyes and cataracts.

Another trick is to look for different versions of your favorite snacks. Instead of foods that are high in sugar or made from white flour, look for sugar-free foods and whole-grain alternatives. Healthy fats such as salmon and nuts are high in omega-3, which helps with your eye health.

Hydration

Water is one of the best drinks that you can choose, so drink plenty of it! Stay away from sugary drinks because proper hydration helps to reduce dry eye symptoms.

Nutrients

Nutrients are essential to your overall health. If you find yourself not getting the amounts needed daily, look into taking supplements to ensure you receive the proper amount. The following nutrients can help reduce your risk for many eye related issues!

  • Vitamin A: night blindness and dry eyes
  • Omega-3: macular degeneration and dry eyes
  • Vitamin C: cataracts and macular degeneration
  • Vitamin D: macular degeneration
  • Zinc: night blindness
  • Vitamin E: advanced macular degeneration

Aging Eyes

Your eyes will change as you age, so it’s essential to take all factors into consideration on how to keep your eyes healthy. One of the most important things is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. By wearing sunglasses with built-in UV protection, you can help prevent your eyes from developing cataracts and macular degeneration.

Eating lean beef in moderation can also boost your eye health. Beef contains zinc, which helps your body absorb vitamins and may play a role in reducing the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration.

Another habit you should start is leaving the cigarettes behind. Not only is smoking harmful to your overall health, but it increases the chances of developing eye diseases.

Finally, one of the easiest things you can do is schedule an annual eye exam to detect any eye diseases as early as possible. Many eye conditions start without symptoms, so it’s crucial to have a professional take a look. Call us today to learn more!

Dry Eye: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

What Is Dry Eye?

A continued lack of lubrication and moisture within the eye causes symptoms categorized as dry eye syndrome. The lack of tears and moisture to keep the surface of the eye lubricated, as well as wash away debris and dust, can cause eye discomfort and affect your vision.

Symptoms

  • Burning
  • Itchy
  • Aching
  • Heavy
  • Fatigued
  • Sore
  • Dryness
  • Red eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision

Causes

Symptoms like dry, itchy eyes occur when there is an issue with a component of your tears. The three components that make up your tears are oil, water, and mucin. Issues with these components like tear instability, tear film evaporation, or insufficient tear production, can be the cause of your symptoms. To help detect the cause of your dry eyes, schedule an exam today!

There are certain factors that can increase your risk for symptoms. These factors include:

  • Screen use: Humans blink less often when working on screens like computers or phones, causing a higher level of tear evaporation.
  • Smoking: Smoking can cause your eyes to dry over time and puts you at a higher risk for other eye-related diseases.
  • Aging: The natural aging of your eye can cause your eyes to become dryer and is common in individuals over 50.
  • Health conditions & Medications: Certain diseases and medicines can lead to the development of dry eyes.

Dry Eye Treatment

The only way to fully diagnose chronic dry eye syndrome and determine its cause is through a comprehensive eye exam. If you are showing symptoms, schedule an appointment with our office! During your appointment, we will review your symptoms and discuss treatment options for relief!

Treatment options may include:

  • Adding of tears through lubricating eye drops.
  • Increasing the time your tears stay in your eye by blocking your tear ducts.
  • Determining and removing the reason for your symptoms if caused by a medication or environmental reason.
  • Introduction of practices to reduce symptoms and prevent further symptoms like remembering to blink during long screen use.

Eye Exams: What to Expect

Yearly comprehensive eye exams are crucial to detecting changes in your vision and risk of eye-related diseases. We recommend adults have a comprehensive eye exam every year, and children should have an eye exam as early as six months before they start school, and then every 1-2 years. We often get questions about what to expect from your eye exam, so we’ve created an overview of the parts of a typical eye exam.

Eye Exams: What to Expect

Eye exams are quick and painless! 

Who gives an eye exam? An optometrist will perform your eye exam. Optometrists are eye doctors who prescribe glasses, contacts, vision therapy, and medication to treat eye diseases.

Choosing eyewear? Following your exam, one of our staff opticians will help you select a pair of eyewear. An optician will ask you about your lifestyle to determine which eyewear is best for you as well as fit, adjust, and repair your eyeglasses.

What to expect during your appointment?

Your eye exam may take an hour or more based on the tests your eye doctor determines are needed to evaluate your eye health. Your eye exam may consist of the following tests.

Pre-Exam Tests

Before your exam, a technician will often perform a few basic tests, including:

  • During a color sensitivity test, we will ask you to look at colored circles or shape and simply read the letter or number you see within it.
  • For a peripheral vision test, we will place an object in your peripheral vision and ask that without moving your eyes if you can see the item displayed.
  • The glaucoma (or “air puff” test) is commonly the most uncomfortable testing during your exam. For this test, the technician will puff a small bit of air into your eye to measure your eye pressure. There is no direct contact between the technician or machine and your eye and should only result in some watery eyes following.

Your Eye Exam

To prepare for your exam, bring your most recent pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Remember also to bring a list of questions or concerns you may have about your eyesight to discuss with your eye doctor.

Pupillary Reaction

Using a light, the doctor checks your pupils’ responsiveness. Your pupils’ response to light is a natural function of the eye and is critical to your vision. While using the light, the doctor will also look at the surface of your eye for signs of dry eye, corneal scratches and bacterial debris.

Slit Lamp Test

A slit light test is when your doctor shines a vertical bar of light into your eye to magnify its surface and inspect for abnormalities. This test allows the doctor to check your cornea, iris, and lens. During this test, you may be asked to blink or look in a specific director to allow your doctor to view your eye’s surface.

Visual Acuity and Refraction

The most well-known part of the eye exam is the visual acuity test. Your doctor will ask you to read an eye chart filled with numbers and letters with one or both eyes. Your ability to clearly read and identify the numbers and letters helps the doctor further determine your vision prescription needs. To hone in on your exact prescription, your doctor will place a large lens refractor in front of you and ask you a series of questions about which lenses make your vision better or worse.

Pupil Dilation

We recommend getting a dilated eye exam every year! By dilating your eyes, your doctor can more clearly examine your retina and optic nerve. To dilate your eyes, your doctor will place a few eye drops in your eyes to cause your pupils to enlarge. After a dilated exam, your eyes may be sensitive to light for up to an hour after the test. If you need a pair of temporary sunglasses, ask us, and we may be able to provide you one for comfort while driving home.

What to do after the exam?

Shop our selection of eyewear to find the perfect pair for your lifestyle. An optician for our team will be available to walk you through this process. Finally, schedule your follow-up appointment for the next year!

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye syndrome is caused by a chronic lack of moisture and lubrication of the eyes. Your eye’s tears keep the surface of the eye moist and lubricated, as well as washing away dust, debris, and other microorganisms.

What causes dry eye?

Typically dry eye occurs when there is a problem with your tears. Tears are made up of an oily, watery, and mucin component. Any issue with those components could cause dry eye. It could be tear instability, tear film evaporation, or insufficient tear production. The only way to detect the cause of your dry eye is an eye exam.

Symptoms

  • Burning sensation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Aching sensations
  • Heavy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Dryness sensation
  • Red eyes
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Blurred vision

Who gets dry eye?

Dry eye can happen to anyone at any age. Each case of dry eye varies in severity and individual tolerance. However, there are certain factors which can increase your risk for dry eyes. These factors include:

  • Computer use: Humans blink less frequently when working at computers, allowing for increased tear evaporation.
  • Smoking: Causes eyes to dry over time and is the root of various other eye problems.
  • Aging: Dry eye syndrome is more common after the age of 50.
  • Menopause: Women who have completed menopause are at a higher risk for dry eye than men of the same age.
  • Health conditions: Certain diseases have a higher risk of contributing to dry eyes- such as diabetes or thyroid diseases.
  • Medications: Prescription and nonprescription medicines can have dry eye as a side effect.

Visiting The Doctor

Getting an eye exam by an eye doctor is the only way to know for sure you have chronic dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye can vary significantly from person to person and may even be symptoms of other eye problems. Personal perception of dry eye severity does not indicate whether or not an individual has chronic dry eye syndrome. Some individuals with mild dry eye may feel their eyes are very bothersome, while some individuals with severe dry eye may not consider their symptoms significant.

If you are showing symptoms of dry eye, schedule an appointment with our office as soon as possible. The only way to know the medical severity of your dry eye is through an eye exam.

 

Nutrition and Your Eyes

The foods you eat and the dietary supplements you take affect your overall health and the health of your eyes. Nutrition and your eyes are linked together and can help prevent certain eye diseases along with other health problems.

Healthy Foods

Choosing healthy foods improves your overall health as well as your eye health. Dark green or brightly colored fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet. These fruits and vegetables may also help to reduce the risks of developing eye diseases. Sugars and white flours may increase your risk of age-related eye disease, instead, opt for whole grains which do not have the same risks. Healthy fats containing omega-3 essential fatty acids are critical to your diet. These healthy fats can help prevent dry eyes and cataracts.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential to the health of your eyes. Drink plenty of water every day! We also recommend choosing healthy beverages and avoiding high sugar beverages. Proper hydration is linked to the reduction of dry eye symptoms.

Nutrients

Nutrients are an essential part of a healthy diet. These nutrients can be found in foods but can also be taken in supplements to ensure you are receiving the proper amount in your diet. Consult with your primary care provider before taking any dietary supplements. Here are a few nutrients that may have a link to eye health:

  • Vitamin A: may protect against night blindness and dry eyes
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: may prevent macular degeneration and dry eyes
  • Vitamin C: may reduce risks of cataracts and macular degeneration
  • Vitamin D: may reduce risks of macular degeneration
  • Zinc: may reduce risks of night blindness
  • Vitamin E: may reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration

Aging Eyes

As you age, it is essential to consider all factors that could affect the overall health of your eyes. Not only should you adopt a healthy diet, but you can also do several other things to protect your eyes. One way to protect your eyes is to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet rays, which includes wearing sunglasses outdoors and staying away from tanning beds. Now is the time to quit smoking, not only is smoking harmful to your overall health it also increased your risks for many eye diseases. Finally, ensure that you are getting annual eye exams to detect any eye diseases before they cause permanent vision loss.

Nutrition and your eyes are highly connected, continue to find ways to feed your body the food and nutrients it needs to live a healthy life with healthy eyes.

Eye Allergies in Every Season

Eye allergies are caused by the same substances that give you a runny nose and sneezing. Individuals with seasonal allergies typically experience various reactions to their allergens such as sneezing, itchy eyes, or a headache. Symptoms of eye allergies include itching, redness, burning, and clear watery discharge. Additionally, you may notice dark circles under the eyes and puffy eyelids. It is essential to manage your allergies to prevent these allergy symptoms and other eye infections related to seasonal allergies.

Winter Allergies

Indoor allergens are the most common cause of eye allergies during the winter months. Spending more time inside with the house closed up tends to worsen these allergens. We recommend using mite-proof bedding to limit exposure to dust mites. Frequently wash bedding, blankets, and furniture to decrease allergy symptoms from both dust mites and pet dander. Additionally, using a dehumidifier is the best way to control mold in your home mainly focused on basements and bathrooms.

  • Dust Mites
  • Mold
  • Pet Dander

Spring Allergies

Spring can be a dreaded season for seasonal allergy sufferers. Pollen is the primary cause of reaction during the spring months. With the trees, flowers, and plants coming into bloom their pollen can severely irritate your eyes. Wearing glasses or sunglasses outdoors can help to prevent pollen from entering your eyes.

  • Tree Pollen
  • Flower Pollen

Summer Allergies

During the summer months, grass pollen and mold spores are the most common allergens. On high pollen count days, we recommend staying indoors as much as possible. To limit your exposure to allergens we recommend keeping your windows closed and using air conditioning in your car and home. Avoid using fans, as they can draw pollen and mold into the house.

  • Grass Pollen
  • Molds Spores

Fall Allergies

As fall comes around, seasonal allergies come back on the horizon. Check the pollen count and avoid spending time outside during peak pollen times. Mold spores begin to grow on damp leaves in the fall. While it can be challenging to prevent seasonal allergens completely, we recommend limiting your exposure as much as possible. Additionally, replacing the carpet in your home with hardwood, tile, or linoleum helps to keep pet dander and pollen from settling in your home.

  • Ragweed
  • Mold Spores
  • Pet Dander

Don’t let eye allergies stop you from living your life. We can help you manage your eye allergies and control your symptoms. Give our office a call or request an appointment to discuss your allergies with your eye doctor!

Who Gets Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula, the small central area of the eye that controls visual acuity. Typically developing macular degeneration is a slow, painless vision loss.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Macular degeneration is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration because it most frequently occurs in older generations. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among older Americans and will grow significantly in the years to come due to the aging of the US population.

Populations Affected

The prevalence of macular degeneration increases significantly in individuals over the age of 80. In particular, the white American population is affected the most, with 14% of white Americans age 80 and older affected by AMD.*  Women also have a higher occurrence of AMD as compared to men due to their longer life expectancy. In 2010, 65% of AMD cases occurred in women as compared to only 35% in men.*

Risk factors

  • Obesity: Overweight patients with macular degeneration double their risk of developing advanced forms of macular degeneration.
  • Inactivity: Those who perform vigorous activity three times weekly reduce their risk for developing AMD compared to inactive patients.
  • Heredity: Family history and specific genes can link to a high risk of developing AMD.
  • High blood pressure: Some studies show a link between high blood pressure and macular degeneration.
  • Smoking: Living with a smoker doubles your risk for developing AMD. Smoking is a factor in about 25% of AMD cases with severe vision loss.

Currently, the best way to protect your eyes from developing macular degeneration is to eat healthy, exercise, and wear sunglasses. Annual eye exams can detect the early onset of macular degeneration and help to preserve your vision. Schedule an appointment with our office today!

*National Eye Institute, 2010

Prevent Glaucoma: Regular Eye Exams

Did you know, half of Americans with glaucoma don’t know they have it? Glaucoma is often called a silent thief of sight because the early stages often have no symptoms. In the US glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease damaging the optic nerve in the eye; the optic nerve connects the retina to the brain to produce sight. The most common type of glaucoma is called primary open-angle glaucoma. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, over 3 million Americans have glaucoma.

Eye pressure is a significant risk factor for optic nerve damage. We recommend annual eye exams to measure eye pressure and detect glaucoma before you lose vision.

Populations at a Higher Risk Include:

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
  • People with a family history of glaucoma

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Typically glaucoma has no signs or symptoms, by the time you notice your loss of vision the disease has progressed to irreversible vision loss. Regular eye exams are the best way to detect and prevent glaucoma because several tests are performed to look for signs of glaucoma.

Potential Signs/Symptoms Include:

  • High Intraocular Pressure
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Vision Loss
  • Blurry Vision
  • Distorted Vision
  • Eye Pain

Can you reduce your risk for glaucoma?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential to reduce your risk of developing glaucoma. A few ways to reduce your risk include not smoking and eating a varied healthy diet. Healthy weight and blood pressure are also essential to lowering your chance of getting glaucoma.

Recent studies have also found that physical exercise may also lower your intraocular pressure. Glaucoma development may be due to high intraocular pressure. Therefore, physical exercise and an active lifestyle are great ways to prevent glaucoma along with other serious health problems.

Types of Diabetic Eye Disease

More than 28% of diabetics age 40 or older have a diabetic eye disease. These numbers are only expected to grow in the upcoming years due to the decrease in physical activity and healthy eating.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1

A chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. About 1.25 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes was previously known as juvenile diabetes. However, anyone at any age can get type 1 diabetes.

Type 2

90% of Americans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This occurs when your body is not using insulin correctly, called insulin resistance. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, an unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.

Complications of Diabetes

Not managing or treating your diabetes can cause serious health complications including hypoglycemia, skin infections, neuropathy, kidney disease, foot complications, and eye complications. Additionally, people with diabetes are at a higher risk for blindness and eye problems. The good news is with the correct treatment and lifestyle changes many people can prevent the onset of these complications. Therefore, we recommend regular eye exams to avoid eye problems and vision loss.

Diabetic Eye Disease

  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Damages the blood vessels in the retina in the back of the eye. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is more likely to result in diabetic retinopathy. Consequently between 12,000 and 24,000 new cases of blindness due to diabetic retinopathy occur each year in the U.S. according to the CDC.
  • Clinically significant macular edema: Swelling of the macula in the back of the eye. Macular edema is most common in those with type 2 diabetes.
  • Cataract: Clouding in the lens of your eyes. Cataracts are two-five times more likely in people with diabetes.
  • Glaucoma: Optic nerve damage to the fibers that connect the eye to the brain. Diabetes doubles the risk of glaucoma.

Those with diabetes should get a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year to ensure their eyes are healthy. Call our office today to schedule your comprehensive eye exam!

Computer Vision Syndrome: Eye Strain

According to The Vision Council, 65% of adults experience some form of computer vision syndrome. Often individuals associate eye strain as a “normal” part of computer work. However, the eye strain you are experiencing is a symptom of computer vision syndrome and can be reduced or avoided!

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome is caused by the eyes and brain reacting to the characters on a computer screen. On-screen characters have less contrast than characters in print and are more challenging for our eyes to focus on. The difficulty of having to focus on the characters on computer screens is what causes eye fatigue and strain.

Symptoms of CVS

Depending on the individual they may experience one, several, or all symptoms of computer vision syndrome. These symptoms can cause discomfort for the individual and make it difficult to complete work effectively.

  • Headaches
  • Loss of focus
  • Burning eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Double vision
  • Eye twitching
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Ways to Combat CVS

Many computer users find their eyes feel strained working under fluorescent lights. Users feel more eye comfort when using floor lamps instead of harsh overhead lights. Minimize the reflection of glare off your computer screen by installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor. Consider closing the blinds to prevent the sun from reflecting off your computer screen as well.

The type of screen and settings of your screen can also impact your eye strain. We recommend making sure you have an LCD screen because it has an anti-reflective surface and is more comfortable for the eyes.

Additionally, you can adjust the settings of your screen for optimal viewing. A few settings to adjust are the brightness, text, and color temperature. The brightness should be the same as your surrounding workstation, the text size and contrast can be changed to your comfort level, and reducing the color temperature lowers the amount of blue light emitted by your screen.

Computer Eyewear

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of computer vision syndrome is to visit our office. Your eye doctor can perform a few tests to detect vision problems which could be contributing to your computer vision syndrome and help decide if computer eyewear is the solution for you. Many individuals discover computer eyewear helps reduce their symptoms and improves their productivity.

Schedule an appointment with our office to discuss the impact computer work is having on your eyes and the best ways to reduce your eye strain and fatigue.