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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Maintaining Healthy Vision through Diet and Eye Safety

September 3rd, 2011

As a kid, your mom may have told you to eat your veggies because they’re good for you. As it turns out, the vitamins they contain can help prevent eye problems that lead to loss of vision, like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. An article about nutrition and eye health published by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) online states that recent research has shown strong correlations between good nutrition and the prevention of eye disease.

Carotenoids are pigments found in green leafy vegetables that act as antioxidants in the eye. There are 600 carotenoids that exist in nature, but only two are found in high quantities in the retina of the human eye: lutein and zeaxanthin. These pigments filter harmful ultraviolet light, minimizing the retina’s exposure to these damaging wavelengths. Antioxidants also neutralize free radicals that would otherwise add to the wear and tear of the eyes, causing the normally clear lenses to become opaque, forming cataracts. Lutein and zeaxanthin can also help the body fight against the onset of AMD, another condition that adversely affects vision. The human body cannot make its own lutein and zeaxanthin, but these antioxidants can absorbed from the food we eat. Leafy green vegetables such as: kale, mustard greens, collard greens, and spinach are very high in lutein and zeaxanthin. Non-vegetable sources include eggs and oranges, but contain the carotenoids in lower concentrations.

An article by the American Optometric Association states that studies show a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in animals’ diets results in visual impairment and damage to the retina. Dietary deficiency of omega-3 has also been linked to eye diseases such as AMD. Luckily, it’s easy to supplement your diet with these essential nutrients, which are mainly found in fish. The species with the highest concentrations are: salmon, tuna, mackerel, anchovy, trout, and halibut. If you don’t eat meat, don’t despair! Vegetarian sources produced from microalgae are available.

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant thought to protect eye cells from unstable molecules called “free radicals” which break down tissues. Because of its antioxidant properties, this nutrient also helps impair the development of AMD. Aside from supplements, vitamin E is available in nuts and vegetable oils. The highest concentrations available in food are found in: wheat germ, almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, peanuts, and sweet potatoes.

Eye safety is also essential to maintaining healthy vision. It may not be our first thought when doing our everyday activities, but it is important to be aware of our surroundings so we can prevent injury to our eyes whenever possible. According to Prevent Blindness America’s website, an estimated 2.4 million eye injuries occur in the United States every year. Nearly one million Americans have lost eyesight, to varying degrees, due to an eye injury. Luckily, you can maintain good eye health and vision by taking some simple precautions at home:
• Install safety gates at the top and the bottom of each set of stairs.
• Make sure that there are steady handrails for stairs and adequate lighting to prevent falls.
• Pad or cushion sharp corners on tables and other pieces of furniture as well as fixtures and decorations.
• Keep knives, forks, and other sharp utensils in drawers. Provide child-proof locks on these drawers and on cabinets if children are present.

LASIK: A College Student Essential

September 2nd, 2011

It’s hard enough getting up early for that 8am class without having to worry about your daily contact lens routine. Even after you manage to get yourself out of bed and stumble blindly to the bathroom mirror, you still have to fumble for your lenses and solution as you try wearily to blink the sleepiness from your eyes. Pretty soon time ticks away and you have to just go for it, sticking the contacts in—feeling that brief burning sensation before the world finally comes into focus. Wouldn’t it be great to get more beauty sleep and bound out of bed without having to worry about getting your lenses to stay in? Luckily, we live in a time where there are several options for the visually impaired.

The first that may come to mind is a pair of good old traditional eyeglasses. This tried and true method has worked for centuries, liberating the visually challenged from a life of near-blindness. True, their former stigma is gone and glasses have now been used as fashion statements, but let’s be real. You’re not going to buy more than one pair, and who wants to build their wardrobe around one accessory? How about when it’s sunny out and you need that perfect pair of sunglasses? Eyeglasses also don’t enable you to have peripheral vision, which can mean the difference between a perfectly parallel parked car and a fender bender.

There is one more option that has been perfected in recent years, and that is laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis. No, this not a single-celled organism. It’s a vision correcting procedure commonly known by its acronym: LASIK. Basically, a narrowly focused beam of light (laser) is pulsed onto the surface of the eye, or cornea. When the laser hits the cornea, it vaporizes a small amount of tissue. A doctor can control how much of the cornea is removed by adjusting the size, position, and the number of pulses a laser emits. This may sound scary, but it’s actually one of the safest and most common outpatient procedures around, and it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to complete. You don’t even have to be knocked out during the process, a local anesthesia will be used to numb the area, but you’ll be awake throughout the procedure. How cool is that? Just be sure to make an evaluation appointment with Dr. Feinerman to make sure you’re a good candidate for LASIK. Classes have just begun, but be sure to keep LASIK on your wish list to make the most out of your college experience.

Feiner Sight E-Newsletter – Sept/Oct 2011

September 1st, 2011

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