Linda Chous, O.D.
Reasons to quit smoking for your eye health
Posted by Linda Chous, O.D. Dec. 20, 2012
It's a new year, and time to think about ways to contribute to a life of health and wellness. If you or a loved one is deciding on New Year's resolutions, consider this: cigarette smoking not only increases the risk of heart and lung disease, it has also been shown to contribute to these eye problems:
- Age related macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy (for those with diabetes)
- Dry eyes
- Problems with contact lens wear
If you have already quit smoking, congratulations! If not, this is one more reason to quit. In any case, a yearly comprehensive eye exam will find eye conditions early and promote good eye health and vision!
Back to top
The effects of 3D technology on your eyes and visual learning
Posted by Linda Chous, O.D. Oct. 3, 2012
The kids are settled at school now. Do they have all the tools they need to be efficient learners? That should include a healthy visual system The only way to be sure that you child is prepared is with a comprehensive eye exam. At least 80% of what is learned in the classroom is through vision, and there is a new visual demand at school: 3D technology. Many computer and education programs, along with televisions, movies and video games, use 3D systems that require the eyes to process information in a new way. This creates a new definition of the "3 Ds":
- Discomfort Eye strain created when the eyes have trouble working together as a team over long periods of time
- Dizziness similar to the queasiness of car sickness, caused by poor eye alignment
- Depth "disability" the inability to appreciate 3D vision
Problems appreciating 3D can be caused by a variety of eye conditions, such as an out-of-date eyeglass prescription, lazy eye, focusing problems, and even a past head injury or concussion. Your eye doctor can determine where the problem lies though a comprehensive eye exam and recommend necessary treatment. Here are some questions to ask yourself or your child:
Questions to ask yourself when watching 3D technology, like 3D movies or video games:
- Do you get headaches or eye strain?
- Do you feel nauseous or dizzy?
- Do your eyes have trouble adjusting afterwards?
- Is your experience less vivid than what other people seem to have?
3D is becoming more popular. Treat the whole family to a comprehensive eye exam to be sure everyone can benefit from the 3D experience.
Back to top
Does having 20/20 vision mean healthy eyes?
Posted by Linda Chous, O.D. July 27, 2012
I'm asked all the time why a person needs an eye exam. They say "I see fine" or "I passed the driver's license eye test. Isn't that enough?" Many adults feel if they pass a vision screening, their eyes are healthy. They also believe their children's eyes are fine if they pass a vision screening at the pediatrician's office or at school. If you share the same beliefs, I would like to clear up some common misconceptions.
A recent survey by the eye care company Bausch + Lomb, shows there are a lot of misconceptions regarding vision and eye health. They key findings show:
- 44% respondents believe they don't need an eye test unless there is a problem while 42% said they believe that as long as they can see, their eyes must be healthy.
- Almost four in 10 believe t he only reason to go to an eye doctor is for vision corrections.
- 30% said "If it doesn't hurt, it's not serious."1
The need for annual eye exams
Eye exams detect much more than how far down you can see on the eye chart. A comprehensive eye exam involves testing for glaucoma and other eye diseases. Having 20/20 vision or reading the bottom line on the eye chart does not mean you have healthy eyes. For example, you can have 20/20 vision even in the late stages of glaucoma.
Eye exams are also important to your child's learning. More than 70% of everything a child learns is visual, so it is important for kids to get comprehensive eye exams that check the entire visual system. A simple eye screening does not measure the eye's focusing ability, eye teaming, and eye muscle function. A full eye exam will make sure that the child has all the tools needed for a positive learning experience.
Blurry vision may also be a sign of underlying medical conditions. Jack Osborne, son of music celebrity Ozzy'Osborne, recently experienced painless blurry vision. He eventually was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. So regular eye exams can help maintain wellness in your eyes, and your life.
Back to top
Good Nutrition Can Help Your Eyes
Posted by Linda Chous, O.D. June 12, 2012
When Mom told you to eat your broccoli, she may not have realized that she was encouraging good vision health habits as well! Recent studies have shown that certain nutrients can have a positive effect on the wellness of the visual system.
A 2012 report from the Ocular Nutrition Society listed three nutrients that are key to healthy eyes and vision:1
- Omega-3 fatty acids Found in fish oils (especially sardines and wild-caught salmon) and flaxseed.
- Lutein Found in dark green leafy vegetables (like spinach and kale), corn and egg yolks. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend 4-8 milligrams of Lutein daily; half cup of cooked spinach provides 6 milligrams
- Zeaxanthin Also found in dark green leafy vegetables and corn as well as orange peppers. The USDA has not established recommendations for the daily intake of Zeaxanthin.
Both Lutein and Zeaxanthin are a form of Vitamin A and, along with Omega-3, may support a healthy macula, the area of the retina that is responsible for our most accurate vision. They may also reduce the risk of cataracts. Omega-3 can also help in the treatment of dry eyes.
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), important research done by the National Eye Institute, found that certain antioxidants can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration by about 25 percent:2
- Vitamin C citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, papaya
- Vitamin E nuts, fortified cereals, sweet potatoes
- Vitamin A (beta-carotene) green leafy vegetables as well as orange and red vegetables
- Zinc oysters, red meat, poultry, seafood
The levels of vitamins and minerals used in the AREDS studies are high and often difficult to obtain from the average diet. Nutritional supplements for eye health are available. You should discuss with your eye care provider which are best for you. In any case, a healthy, balanced diet not only contributes to overall wellness, but keeps your eyes healthy too.
Back to top
- Ocular Nutrition Society Consumer Information, April 2012
- NEI Age-Related Eye Disease Study, Archives of Ophthalmology, October 2001