Eating Healthy Prevents Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
A new study confirms the importance of eating healthy to help protect our eyes from age-related macular degeneration (AMD.) Researchers found that people whose diets had higher levels of certain nutrients- vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA-and had high levels of low-glycemic index (low GI) foods, were less likely to develop early and advanced AMD. Although the researchers say clinical studies are needed before physicians can begin recommending specific nutrient doses or dietary patterns to AMD patients, there’s no need for people to delay adding healthy food to their shopping carts. Sources of AMD-protective nutrients include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and cold water fish. The GI value is based on how fast a food’s carbohydrates raise the body’s blood sugar levels; low GI foods have less impact on blood sugar fluctuations.
AMD affects the retina, light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Advanced AMD can destroy the central, detailed vision that we need to read, drive, and enjoy daily life. Although the “wet” form of advanced AMD is often treatable, there’s no effective treatment for the much more common “dry” form. Eating well is a practical way to reduce AMD risk while enjoying better health. To learn more about AMD, visit http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/amd.cfm
Top 10 Tips to Save Your Vision
Nebraska Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons Recommends Simple Steps to Reduce Your Chance of Vision Loss
More than 20 million Americans suffer from severe vision loss. While not all eye diseases can be prevented, there are simple steps that everyone can take to help their eyes remain healthy now and reduce their chances of vision loss in the future.
May is Healthy Vision Month and through its EyeSmart campaign, the Nebraska Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons wants to remind consumers how important it is to take protect your vision. “Proper care and caution is very important to prevent serious eye diseases and possible blindness,” says Thomas A. Graul, MD, NAEPS President. “Something as simple as remembering to wear you sunglasses can delay the development of cataracts,” Dr. Graul says.
Here are the top 10 tips from the Academy to safeguard your vision:
Wear sunglasses – UV blocking sunglasses delay the development of cataracts, since direct sunlight hastens their formation. Sunglasses prevent retinal damage; they also protect the delicate eyelid skin to prevent both wrinkles and skin cancer around the eye, and both cancerous and non-cancerous growths on the eye. The US standard states that the lenses should have a UVB (280 to 315nm) transmittance of no more than one per cent and a UVA (315 to 380nm) transmittance of no more than 0.5 times of the visual light transmittance.
Don’t smoke – Tobacco smoking is directly linked to many adverse health effects, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Studies show that current smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to develop AMD than people who have never smoked. Smokers are also at increased risk for developing cataracts.
Eat right – Vitamin deficiency can impair retinal function. The belief that eating carrots improves vision has some truth, but a variety of vegetables, especially leafy green ones, should be an important part of your diet. Researchers have found people on diets with higher levels of vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are less likely to develop early and advanced AMD.
Baseline eye exam -Adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease should get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40-the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. Based on the results of the initial screening, an ophthalmologist will prescribe the necessary intervals for follow-up exams. Anyone with symptoms or a family history of eye disease, diabetes or high blood pressure should see an ophthalmologist to determine how frequently your eyes should be examined.
Eye protection – An estimated 2.5 million eye injuries occur in the U.S. each year, so it is critical to wear proper eye protection to avoid eye injuries during sports such as hockey and baseball and home projects such as home repairs, gardening, and cleaning. For most repair projects and activities around the home, standard ANSI-approved protective eyewear will be sufficient. Sports eye protection should meet the specific requirements of that sport; these requirements are usually established and certified by the sport’s governing body and/or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Know your family history – Many eye diseases cluster in families, so you should know your family’s history of eye disease because you may be at increased risk. Age-related eye diseases, including cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are expected to dramatically increase-from 28 million
today to 43 million by the year 2020.
Early intervention – Most serious eye conditions, such as glaucoma and AMD, are more easily and successfully treated if diagnosed and treated early. Left untreated, these diseases can cause serious vision loss and blindness. Early intervention now will prevent vision loss later.
Know your eye care provider – When you go to get your eyes checked, there are a variety of eye care providers you might see. Ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians all play an important role in providing eye care services to consumers. However, each has a different level of training and expertise. Make sure you are seeing the right provider for your condition or treatment. Ophthalmologists are specially trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to complex and delicate eye surgery.
Contact lens care – Follow your Eye M.D.’s instructions regarding the care and use of contact lenses. Abuse, such as sleeping in contacts that are not approved for overnight wear, using saliva or water as a wetting solution, using expired solutions, and using disposable contact lenses beyond their wear can result in corneal ulcers, severe pain and even vision loss.
Be aware of eye fatigue – If your eyes are tired from working at a computer or doing close work, you can follow the 20-20-20 rule: Look up from your work every 20 minutes at an object 20 feet away for twenty seconds. If eye fatigue persists, it can be a sign of several different conditions, such as dry eye, presbyopia, or spectacles with lenses that are not properly centered. See an Eye M.D. to determine why you are having eye fatigue and to receive proper treatment.
Summer Safety for Children
Spring is upon us and summer is right around the corner, which means children spend more time outdoors – trips to the beach, outside sporting leagues and playing in the yard. Research shows that children’s eyes can be damaged from sun exposure, just like their skin. This damage may put them at increased risk of developing debilitating eye diseases such as cataracts or macular degeneration as adults. It is important to make sure your children are wearing 100 percent UV blocking sunglasses. Whenever you are outside with children, remember to put a hat and/or sunglasses on them just as you would yourself. Children should be taught at a young age to wear sunglasses and hats to protect their eyes from the sun, so they will grow up with healthy sun protection habits. Keep children out of the sun between peak times -10 a.m. and 2 p.m.– when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest.
Huge “Win” for Patient Safety in California
A bill that would have allowed optometrists to perform surgery, SB 1406, has been severely limited by amendments to allow only changes to the process by which optometrists are certified to treat glaucoma, certain non-surgical procedures and testing, and some additions to the limited formulary they are permitted to prescribe, as well as other minor changes.
Thanks to strong work on the part of a coalition of CAEPS, the California Medical Association (CMA), the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), and the California Educators of Ophthalmology for Quality Care (Department Chairs of California university training programs), patient safety has come first in this process. The coalition was a formidable obstacle to organized optometry, forcing them to come to the table and negotiate.
Without our efforts, the bill could have let optometrists:
- Perform ALL EYE SURGERY;
- Perform injections, likely including intravitreal injections;
- Order ANY Diagnostic Test; and
- Treat nearly ALL types of glaucoma after only graduation from optometry school (or very limited undefined additional training).
In addition, the meaningless “oversight” mechanism originally proposed to “comment” on standards for the revised glaucoma certification process has been significantly strengthened to require the Board of Optometry to adopt the committee’s recommendations (subject to amendment by the Office of Examination Resources to meet certain standards), and the nominees of CAEPS and the CMA must occupy the physician and surgeon positions on the committee, which make up half the appointments.
As with any negotiation process, certain other things like additions to the formulary, some diagnostic testing, various modifications of referral requirements, and minor non-surgical procedures were authorized without specific educational standards. CAEPS will, however, work with the Board of Optometry to attempt to establish such standards through the regulatory process.
Because of the changes to the bill, all the involved groups have dropped their opposition to the legislation, which has now passed both the Assembly and the Senate and is awaiting the Governor’s signature.
On Tuesday January 20th 2009 Legislative Bill 417 was introduced in the Nebraska Legislature by Senator Friend. To learn more and read the bill click here
Nebraska Academy of
Eye Physicians and Surgeons
233 S. 13th Street
Lincoln, NE 68502
Phone: (402) 474-4472
Email: Contact Form