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All About Diabetic Retinopathy

Even many individuals with the disease are not informed that diabetes increases the chances vision threatening eye damage. Diabetes is the main cause of total vision loss in individuals between 20 and 74 according to recent studies by the National Institute of Health. One of the risks of diabetes is retinal damage caused by an increase in pressure in the blood vessels of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most serious complications of the disease and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.

Diabetic retinopathy can be unnoticed until considerable damage is done. When the pressure in the retinal blood vessels increases they begin to leak causing permanent damage to the retina. This damage will result in vision loss and when not treated, blindness.

Warning signs of diabetic retinopathy include any kind of vision problems such as fluctuations, spots, shadows, double or blurred vision or pain. Diabetics are also at increased risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma due to the strain it causes on the eyes.

With early diagnosis and treatment, we can reduce loss of vision. In addition to making sure to schedule a regular eye exam once a year if you are diabetic, controlling your glucose levels is crucial to your eye health.

If you or a loved one is diabetic, be sure you are informed about the risks of diabetic eye disease and speak to your optometrist to discuss questions or concerns. It could mean the difference between a life of sight and one of darkness.

A Recipe for Eye Health

Did you know that your dietary choices have an impact on your eye health and vision? Opting for appetizing food that at the same time provides you with all the nutrients that are essential for preserving your vision, is taking a major step towards minimizing the risk of eye disease and age-related vision changes.

To consume an eye healthy diet, choose foods rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C and E, zinc and copper, Lutein, zeaxanthin and Omega 3 fatty acids. This includes leafy green vegetables, orange peppers, eggs and fish.

Vitamin A is found in colorful fruits and vegetables such as apricots, papaya, carrots, and tomatoes as well as in fortified milk, beef, chicken, cod liver oil and eggs. This vitamin is vital for night vision and helps prevent dry eye syndrome, eye infections, cataracts and macular degeneration.

Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits such as grapefruits, oranges and strawberries as well as in red and green bell peppers, broccoli and kale. This vitamin helps support blood vessels in the eye and reduces the risk of cataracts.

Vitamin E is found in nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and peanut butter as well as spinach avocados, olive oil and whole grains and is thought to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. It is also a powerful anti-oxidant and protects your eyes from free- radical damage.

It is also worthwhile incorporating foods containing lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that may help protect against retinal damage and the onset of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration to your menu. Lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard, turnip greens and broccoli.

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for eye health as well as general health. It is an essential fatty acid which means that your body cannot manufacture them without dietary intake. They provide anti-inflammatory protection to the delicate blood vessels of your eyes, and can help with age-related macular degeneration as well as dry eyes.

This is best obtained through 2 servings/week of deep ocean cold water oily fish e.g. salmon, mackerel, sardines, char fish.

If you have trouble keeping up with fish intake or are concerned about mercury or PCBs, a good solution is to take an omega 3 supplement with DHA and EPA.

Research also suggests that obtaining a combination of eye health nutrients from a variety of food sources provides the best results for slowing the progression of eye diseases. So do your eyes a favor and ensure that your diet includes a rich assortment of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and healthy oils.

Here is a recipe courtesy of Dr. Laurie Capogna and Dr. Barbara Pelletier, optometrists who specialize in nutrition and eye health. As you can see this recipe is filled with important nutrients that help save your sight.

Chicken Almond Wraps

These tasty wraps can be enjoyed as a nutritious lunch or a light snack. They are filled with nutrients that help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts, including lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C and zinc.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and pulled into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 large orange, peeled with a knife, quartered and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Leaf lettuce leaves, Romaine lettuce leaves or kale leaves, washed and dried completely
  • Optional zeaxanthin boost: garnish with goji berries.

Dipping Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons natural almond butter (or natural peanut butter)
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • Dash hot sauce
  • Hot water

Directions

  1. Mix poultry, peas, pepper, green onion, orange, almonds and cilantro in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine almond butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and hot sauce.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons hot water and stir well. If sauce is too thick, add another tablespoon hot water. Continue until the sauce has the consistency of a thick salad dressing.
  4. Use 2 tablespoons of the sauce as dressing for the poultry mix. Toss gently to combine.
  5. Separate remaining dipping sauce into an individual bowl or ramekin for each person.
  6. Spoon chicken mixture into a lettuce or kale leaf and fold.
  7. Enjoy with the dipping sauce.

Tip: The chicken mixture can be refrigerated for up to two days. Serve cold or warm.

Serves 4

The Right Way to Clean Your Eyeglasses

We all know how frustrating it can be trying to see clearly through a smudged pair of glasses; clean lenses can really make a world of difference. While it may not be something that you pay much attention to, the way you clean your lenses can also make a difference, not only for your vision, but for your eyewear as well.

Unfortunately, most eyeglasses owners are guilty of the number one crime when it comes to caring for their eyewear: breathing onto the lens and then wiping the resulting vapor away using the corner of a shirt or garment. Not only is this an inefficient way to remove dirt, it actually can damage your lenses as clothes carry dust, which when wiped onto the surface of your lenses, can result in scratches. Sometimes hard fabrics can also damage lenses.

The easiest way to get rid of dirt and residue on your glasses is simpler than you’d think. Start by running the front and back of the lens under warm water. Next wash the lenses carefully with a mild soap such as dish soap together with warm water. Once that is done, wipe the soap off in a circular motion as you once again rinse the glasses under warm water. Repeat if necessary and then dry your glasses using a soft cotton towel. There are also cleaning solutions that can be purchased to protect the anti-glare and anti-scratch coatings on glasses.

Although tissue, paper towels and napkins are often convenient to use for a quick cleaning, they are not a wise option as they are made up of rough fibers that more often than not leave debris behind. Another common cleaning substance – saliva – is not only unhygienic but also ineffective in properly removing dirt and smudges. Additionally, it is crucial to avoid using ammonia, bleach, vinegar and window cleaner to clean your specs as these substances contain chemicals which can damage the coating on your lenses.

Of course the next time you visit your eye doctor feel free to ask us for one of the microfiber cloths made especially for cleaning eyeglasses, which are helpful for a dry touch up of your glasses during the course of the day. Try to keep the cloth in a contained place away from dirt such as inside your eyeglasses case.

Another cause of dirty glasses is poor alignment – when the skin or eyelashes touch the lens, smudging is a never-ending problem. You can return to the eye doctor and ask the optician if it is possible to adjust the glasses for optimal alignment of the glasses. Be careful when you first purchase eyewear that the frame fits well so you can avoid this problem.

Get the most out of your eyewear. Keep your lenses clean and clear so you can see your best.

Dry Eye Syndrome: When Dry Eyes are Chronic

Dry eyes are a common problem for many individuals particularly during the winter months when exposure to dry air and whipping wind is increased. However, if you are suffering from dry eyes that just won’t go away, you may have what is known as Dry Eye Syndrome – a condition in which the tears that lubricate and nourish the eye are not being produced sufficiently.

Tears serve to keep the surface of the eye moist, smooth and clear, to reduce the risk of infection and to remove foreign substances. Tear ducts in the corner of the eyelid drain the excess tears. Dry eyes syndrome is a chronic condition characterized by inadequate tear production or poor quality of the tears produced. A number of factors contribute to the condition including advanced age, female gender, environmental conditions, medication or particular medical conditions. Extended periods reading or working on a computer without blinking, prolonged use of contacts or refractive eye surgeries can also contribute to decreased moisture and tear production.

An optometrist will be able to determine whether you have chronic dry eye syndrome by examining your eye and your blinking pattern, measuring the amount and quality of your tears and assessing your medical and environmental history.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome include:

  • Persistent dry eyes
  • Scratchiness or gritty sensation
  • Burning sensation
  • Feeling like there is something is in your eye
  • Excessively watery eyes
  • Blurred vision

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your optometrist. If you have dry eye syndrome, there are treatments available to relieve your discomfort.

Computer Glasses: A Growing Necessity in Our Digital World

The need for computer glasses is growing as the digital age means many of us are spending hours in front of a computer or mobile screen each day, often resulting in eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, or neck and shoulder pain. These symptoms and others are often categorized as Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS. Computer eyeglasses are designed to be worn while working on your computer or another small screen to increase physical comfort and reduce eye strain to eliminate these uncomfortable effects of CVS.

What are Computer Glasses?

Computer glasses contain lenses made specifically for viewing a computer screen. Digital screens present a visual field, distance, font and glare that the eyes must accommodate to and therefore individuals that spend more than two hours a day on the computer are susceptible to symptoms of CVS, such as blurred vision and headaches. To avoid eye strain, people tend to compensate by leaning over to get closer to the screen which contributes to neck, back and shoulder pain.

Computer glasses are designed to assist in viewing the screen optimally from a proper position in relation to the computer. As opposed to reading glasses, computer glasses are focused on the intermediate visual zone which is in between distance vision (such as that needed for driving or watching a movie) and near vision (needed when reading). Computer glasses come in single vision, prescription or multifocal lenses depending on the needs of the individual.

It is also important for computer eyeglasses to have an anti-reflective (AR) or anti-glare coating or tint. Such treatments will reduce reflections of light of the computer screen or on the surface of your lenses which can induce eye strain. Some eye doctors also recommend a contrast-enhancing tint for computer glasses to help reduce glare caused by harsh overhead lighting often found in office environments.

Computer vision syndrome can be worsened by underlying vision problems such as accommodating deficiencies – trouble refocusing from the keyboard (near vision) to the screen (intermediate vision) or presbyopia (progressive near vision difficulty that comes with advancing age). Before purchasing computer glasses, you should have a comprehensive eye exam to rule out these or other eye and vision issues which may require an alternative solution.

Where Do I Get Computer Eyeglasses?

Since individual eye and vision needs such as a prescription should be taken into consideration for effective computer glasses, you should schedule an eye exam with a trusted eye care professional. It is also a good idea to measure the distance you generally sit from your computer screen to help your eye doctor determine the optimal power needed for your lens strength. This information will assist your eye doctor in recommending the best lens combination to suit your needs. Remember, these glasses are specifically for computer use only and should not be worn when driving or performing other tasks that require vision enhancement.

Once you are equipped with a proper prescription and lens type, you can select almost any style of frame for your computer glasses, so even sitting at your computer in the office you can look fashionable, see great and feel better at the same time.

Don’t wait for the symptoms of CVS to appear. Particularly if you work at a computer, consult with your optometrist today to find out whether computer glasses are right for you.

Can People With Astigmatism Also Wear Lenses?

Did you know that there are contact lenses especially for people with astigmatism? Generally, the cornea is spherical, but the cornea of someone with astigmatism is more oval-shaped, almost like a football. This changes the way light hits the retina, and results in blurred vision.

The lenses prescribed to correct astigmatism are called toric contact lenses. Toric lenses have a design that is different from that of regular lenses. Normal lenses have one power, but toric lenses have two: one for distance vision and one for astigmatism. They have curvatures at various angles. In contrast to regular lenses, which can easily shift and have no effect on your vision, toric lenses need to stay in place. Contact lenses for astigmatism are actually weighted on the bottom, and this helps them stay in place on your eye.

Toric lenses are available as soft disposable contact lenses, daily disposable lenses, and frequent replacement lenses. And folks with astigmatism need not worry about options; toric lenses also come in color, or as multifocals. Hard contact lenses, also called rigid gas permeable lenses, have a firmer shape which helps them stay in place, but they aren’t always as comfortable as soft lenses. .

When it’s time for your toric lens fitting, it’s going to take some time, due to the complexity of the product. But it’s worth it. With constant improvements in eyewear technology, those with astigmatism can take advantage of the benefits of contact lenses, with many options to choose from.

Eyeglasses – Plenty of Great Choices

Eyeglasses Are Back!

Picking out new eyeglasses can be a daunting task, whether you're getting your very first pair or you've worn them nearly all your life. The sheer volume of eyeglass choices can be torture to work your way through if you don't have any idea what you're looking for.

Not only are there many different shapes and colors in eyeglass frames, but advances in technology have also brought us a variety of new materials, for both the frames and the lenses, which makes eyeglasses more durable, lightweight and user-friendly. Eyeglass frames are now created from high-tech materials such as titanium and "memory metal" for the ultimate in strength and style, while the lenses are now thinner and lighter than ever before, even in high prescriptions.

Lens options, such as anti-reflective coating, light-changing tints, progressive lenses and new high-tech, light weight materials such as Trivex(TM) and polycarbonate, let you choose a pair of eyeglasses that enhances your vision, no matter what you like to do.

Online Patient Registration Forms

You can now request your next appointment online. 

Visit the Contact Us section of our web site and complete the Patient Registration Form.  The form is secure and our office will be notified once the form is complete.  When you walk in for your next appointment, we'll already  have the information entered into our computers.  We're always looking for ways to serve our patients better.