Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years. Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy but visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure. When it comes to common vision problems, some people don’t realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses. In addition, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages. During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye the same way an open door lets more light into a dark room. This enables your eye care professional to get a good look at the back of the eyes and examine them for any signs of damage or disease. Your eye care professional is the only one who can determine if your eyes are healthy and if you’re seeing your best. Know your family’s eye health history. Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at a higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition. Eat right to protect your sight. We have all heard carrots are good for your eyes. But eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy, too. Research has also shown there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor. Wear protective eyewear. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for a certain activity. Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Avoid smoking. Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness. Be cool and wear your shades. Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Give your eyes a rest. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain. Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly. To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before putting in or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect and replace contact lenses as instructed. Practice workplace eye safety. Employers are required to provide a safe work environment. When protective eyewear is required as a part of your job, always make a habit of wearing the appropriate type and encourage your coworkers to do the same.
(n.d.). Eye Health Tips. Retrieved from https://nei.nih.gov/healthyeyes/eyehealthtips
What types of foods can help my vision?
Macular Pigment (MP), is a yellow layer in the back of the eye made up of three important nutrients called lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin. This yellow layer of nutrients contains blue-absorbing pigment that is thickest in the light responding cells found at the center of the macula (the light sensitive layer of tissue lining the inner surface of the eye). Over-exposure to high energy short-wavelength blue light (both solar as well as light from digital light-emitting devises such as computer monitors and other LED light sources) can cause oxidative damage to your macula.
MP absorbs this harmful light and possesses strong antioxidant properties. While MP is believed to protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the primary advantage of having the thickest density of macular pigment at the center macula likely rests on MP’s ability to optimize and enhance vision. Increased macular pigment may improve central vision and visual performance/comfort. Recent research has shown that individuals with damage from macular degeneration also benefit from improved vision with denser MP.
It is known that damage to the macula occurs slowly over a lifetime, and hence it is common sense that the earlier in life one improves the density of MP in the back of the eye, either through diet or in conjunction with nutritional supplements (containing Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Meso-Zeaxanthin the most important nutrient), the less likely that individual will suffer from macular degeneration later in life.
In addition to improving vision and protecting the macula, scientists have recently discovered that the amount of MP in the eye correlates with the density of these nutrients in the brain. Increased presence of these carotenoid nutrients in the brain leads to improved cognitive performance (clarity of thinking).
In summary, regardless of one’s concern of developing macular degeneration, it is important to monitor and enhance macular pigment through diet and/or nutritional supplements. Listed are foods that help increase the amount of pigment in the macula. However, it is much more reliable to take a balanced nutrient supplement than to rely on just diet alone. FOOD SERVING SIZE (mg)
Spinach, canned 1 cup 20 mg
Turnip Greens, frozen 1 cup 20 mg
Kale, cooked 1 cup 20 mg
Collard greens, cooked 1 cup 20
Mustard greens, cooked 1 cup 20 mg
Watercress, raw 1 cup 6.3
Swiss Chard, raw 1 cup 3.9 mg
Spinach, raw 1 cup 3.7 mg
Peas, canned 1 cup 3.6 mg
Radicchio, raw 1 cup 3.5 mg
Zucchini 1 cup 2.6 mg
Summer squash 1cup 2 mg
Pistachios 1 cup 1.7 mg
Corn, canned 1 cup 1.7 mg
Collard greens, raw 1 cup 1.6 mg
Broccoli, frozen 1 cup 2 mg
Asparagus 1 cup 1.5 mg
Brussel sprouts 1 cup 1.4 mg
Romaine 1 cup 1.3 mg
Leeks, cooked 1 Leek 1.2 mg
Corn, raw 1 cup 0.9 mg
Butter lettuce 1 cup 0.7 mg
Avocado 1 cup 0.6 mg
Okra, frozen 10 oz package 0.5 mg
Broccoli 1 cup 0.5 mg
Green peppers 1 cup 0.5 mg
Carrots 1 cup 0.3 mg
Orange 1 medium 0.2 mg
Kiwi 1 medium 0.2 mg
*Taken from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Agriculture Research Center National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
Can I task supplements to improve my eye health?
YES! Meso-zeaxanthin is RARELY FOUND IN DIET and is believed to be converted from lutein by metabolic transformation at the macula. This enzyme-driven process can be compromised in many individuals who are predisposed to degenerative changes in the retina. Meaning the only way for some patients to get the suggested amount of Meso-Zeaxanthin is with a nutrient supplement. Supplements that have the biggest impact on MPOD contain 3 carotenoids in the following amounts:
A supplement currently on the market, called Macuhealth, is the preferred supplement because it contains all three nutrients and it is the specific supplement that was used in the studies to validate the impact of macular pigment on eyesight. You can purchase this supplement in either of our locations. To celebrate Healthy Aging Month, when you purchase 3 bottles you will get a 4th bottle for free- giving you an entire years supply.
Another Supplement that is good for your eye health is Omega-3’s. Several studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids may help protect adult eyes from macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. Essential fatty acids also may help proper drainage of intraocular fluid intraocular pressure (IOP) Eye pressure, as determined by the amount of aqueous humor filling it. High IOP (ocular hypertension) can be a sign of glaucoma. In a large European study published in 2008, participants who ate oily fish (an excellent source of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids) at least once per week had half the risk of developing neovascular ("wet") macular degeneration, compared with those who ate fish less than once per week. Also, a 2009 National Eye Institute (NEI) study that used data obtained from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found participants who reported the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet were 30 percent less likely than their peers to develop macular degeneration during a 12-year period. Omega-3 fatty acids also have been found to reduce the risk of dry eyes. In a study of more than 32,000 women between the ages of 45 and 84, those with the highest ratio of (potentially harmful) omega-6 fatty acids to beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in their diet (15-to-1) had a significantly greater risk of dry eye syndrome, compared with the women with the lowest ratio (less than 4-to-1). The study also found that the women who ate at least two servings of tuna per week had significantly less risk of dry eye than women who ate one or fewer servings per week. Another great supplement to look into for healthy vision is Omega 7’s. Omega-7 fatty acid is an unsaturated fatty acid that is found in some fish, including anchovy, and salmon, as well as olive oil, macadamia oil and sea buckthorn oil. Palmitoleic acid is one of the most common forms of Omega-7s. Omega-7s have gotten a lot of attention for their health benefits. One of the critical benefits of this supplement is its positive effect on mucous membranes. With oral supplementation of Omega-7, many chronic dryness issues can be improved, such as dry eye and mouth dryness. If you have long suffered the irritation of dry eye syndrome, supplementing with Omega-7 could be the answer. Dry eye syndrome affects approximately 5 million people in America over the age of 50. The correct balance of fatty acids is necessary for optimum eye health. One of the major reasons we get dry eye as we age is that the moisture level of the eyes change as we age. But lifestyle will affect dry eye as well. If you sit at the computer all day, work outside or have allergies, you can also suffer from dry eye. Fortunately, studies indicate that Omega-7 can help to relieve dry eye syndrome. A double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study that had 100 men and women from 20 to 75 that had dry eye symptoms. For three months, 50% of the participants were supplemented with Omega-7 supplements. The burning and redness of dry eye was lower with the group that received supplements than the control group. Experts believe Omega-7 is helpful for dry eye syndrome because it can reduce inflammation, and also can increase tear secretion at the same time. Fatty acids also may help to build the quality of the tear film that is produced by the meibomian glands. The lipids in that film prevents water and moisture loss from your eyes.
Heiting, G. (2017, March). Eye Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Retrieved from https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/fatty_acid_1.htm
How do I improve my tears for a healthy ocular surface?
There are multiple different techniques to try when suffering from dry eye. If you think you might have dry eye you can try the blinking exercises below. If you notice this doesn’t help, you can schedule an appointment with your eye doctor who will discuss eyelid hygiene, warm compresses, oral supplements, and/or eyelid therapy. Below are a few options that we offer to our patients. Remember, this is a chronic condition and regular continued treatment is required to treat it most effectively.
Partial blinking is very common in people with dry eyes. This blinking sequence can be very beneficial in those suffering from dry eye symptoms.
Blinking exercises require frequency. They must be done every 10–12 minutes for 30 days to be effective. Use an audible signal such as an egg timer or timer on a cell phone or computer to remind you, especially during tasks requiring sustained focus.
Close both eyes normally, pause 2 seconds and open. Then, close the eyes normally in, pause 2 seconds and then aggressively squeeze the lids together (as if you are trying to crack a walnut with your lids) for two seconds. Open both eyes. Repeat every 10–12 minutes.
3. Hold your fingers at the corners of your eyes and blink. When you are blinking correctly, you should feel no movement under your fingers. If you feel anything, you are using your defense muscles that run along the side of your head. Your blinking muscles are above your eyelids.
4. Blinking is very task-dependent and the blink rate decreases with sustained visual activity. For example, if you spend a lot of time on the computer, you are probably blinking much less frequently and might want to post a copy of the blinking exercises nearby as a reminder.
5. Lastly, if you are having difficulty incorporating the blinking exercises into your schedule (i.e. 5X/hour), chose an activity you do routinely such as answering phones or looking at email or text messages. Do the blinking exercises every time you perform this activity to help make complete blinking a habit.
Eyelid Hygiene OCuSOFT Lid Scrubs Plus -Daily at home pre-moistened cleansing wipes -Extra strength leave on-formula -Cleans and removes excessive oil, debris, and desquamated skin
HypoChlor -Daily at home cleansing spray solution -0.02% concentration of hypochlorous acid -Reduces inflammation and kills bacteria
NuLids -At home deep cleaning device -Safely cleans and exfoliates eyelids and eyelashes -Gently simulates and rejuvenates the Meibomian Glands
Warm Compress Bruder Eye Compress -At home moist heat eye compress -Heat helps to improve oil gland function -Soothing treatment can be done as often as desired
Oral Supplements OmegaWonders -Tearhealth -Daily oral supplement to improve overall tear quality -Helps to increase tear production and reduces tear evaporation -Omega 7: Safe, effective, and 100% natural -Each bottle contains 60 soft gels, a two-month supply
How can I protect myself from Macular Degeneration? You can minimize the amount of blue light that enters your eyes by wearing glasses that filter some of these harmful rays. Morris Eye Group offers a high quality blue light lens that eliminates a portion of the short wavelength blue light.
Children’s eyes are particularly vulnerable to the effects of blue light as virtually all of the blue light they are exposed to passes through their cornea and lens, and reaches the retina. Coupled with a high amount of screen time, this puts them at risk for over-exposure to blue light that may prove to have long-term consequences. Recommended below are some safe technology habits for you and the entire family: Say goodnight to technology two hours before bedtime. Limit children’s screen time to one to two hours per day for children over two years of age and restricting it completely for children under two years old. Turn down the brightness on your devices. Change digital device background colors from bright white to warmer colors to reduce eye strain. When staring at a digital screen, blink more often Take frequent breaks from staring at electronic devices Clean your screen, as a smudge-free, dust-free screen helps reduce glare Our bodies do not make lutein and zeaxanthin, so it is important to obtain these pigments through diet or supplements for eye protection. These supplements are plant nutrients that absorb in the retina of the eye. This is helpful as creates a yellow film that covers the macula to helps filter out blue light. Not surprising, kale and spinach are the top food choices for blue light protection, as these Eye foods are some of the best food sources of lutein. Watercress, pea shoots, and Chinese broccoli are other often overlooked, good leafy greens choices. Consuming orange peppers — both raw and cooked — and eggs four times per week will also help to increase the concentration of lutein and zeaxanthin in the body and macula.
What is included in a routine eye exam and why is it important? Regardless of your age or physical health, an annual comprehensive eye exam will help to detect any eye problems at their early stages when they're most treatable. During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will not only determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses, but will also check your eyes for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health. Eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone. Adults should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of eye disease. For children, eye exams can play an important role in normal development and learning. Vision is closely linked to the learning process. Children who have trouble seeing or interpreting what they see will often have trouble with their schoolwork. Many times, children will not complain of vision problems simply because they don't know what "normal" vision looks like. If your child performs poorly at school or exhibits a reading or learning problem, be sure to schedule an eye examination to rule out an underlying visual cause.
(2018). eye-exams-and-health - Why Are Eye Exams Important? Retrieved from https://thinkaboutyoureyes.com/articles/eye-exams-and-health/why-are-eye-exams-important