Monthly Archives: July 2016
As we age, so too do our eyes. A new study, published this year in the JAMA Ophthalmology journal, estimates that with Baby Boomers entering their golden years, the number of Americans who struggle with vision problems will double by 2050, effectively bringing the number to nearly 25 million. In this post, Dr. Eric Donnenfeld discusses the impact as well as potential solutions. Continue reading
Your eyes need specific nutrients to stay healthy and function well. Good nutrition is important for your overall health and wellbeing, but many don’t realize the importance it has for the eyes where specific nutrients can help prevent or delay the onset of certain conditions as well as protect an investment in vision correction procedures such as LASIK. The good news is that today it is easier than ever to make good, healthful diet choices that help you make sure you get all the nutrients your eyes and vision need.
Not surprisingly, it starts with lots of fruits and vegetables. We often talk about “eating a rainbow” every day, because the compounds that give fruits and vegetables their colors are chalk full of powerful nutrition for your overall health and vitality, including your eyes.
But the eye diet doesn’t end there. Certain foods contain nutrients that are important for helping to reduce your risk of age-related eye diseases and conditions including cataracts and macular degeneration, which are leading causes of blindness and visual impairment in the world.
So what should you be adding to your grocery shopping list to ensure you have a healthful eye diet? Below you will find a list of the nutrients that offer the most eye health benefits and the foods that are rich sources:
Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E help protect cells against damage from exposure to harmful elements such as UV rays, cigarette smoke and air pollution. Dark leafy green vegetables like chard, broccoli, spinach and collard greens and citrus fruits and berries such as oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries and apples (with the peel). Almonds, egg yolks, sunflower seeds and wheat germ oil are other good sources.
Carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, are a class of nutrients that make up the bright red, yellow and orange hues in many fruits and vegetables. Remember the rainbow we spoke of eating earlier? Lutein and zeaxanthin may help protect against cataracts. There is some evidence that people with high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin in their diet have a reduced need for cataract surgery. Beta carotene has been shown to help the retina and other parts of the eye to function properly. Foods rich in carotenoids include carrots, leeks, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, Brussel sprouts, kale, egg yolk, and orange peppers.
Minerals like copper, zinc and selenium are vital for eye health. Selenium, found in Brazil nuts, tuna, eggs and cottage cheese, can help prevent cataracts. Zinc and copper need to be taken together for proper absorption and a recent study into age-related eye diseases found that taking them in combination with high doses of antioxidants or carotenoids can slow the progression of the wear and tear of retinal cells, known as age-related macular degeneration.
Liver, shellfish, wholegrain cereals, nuts and legumes are all excellent sources of copper. You can find zinc in red meat, shellfish, dairy products and eggs.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been a popular topic of study, particularly for their benefits in supporting the healthy development of eyes and vision in infants. Omega-3 fatty acids may help protect adult eyes from macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome, which has been linked to low levels of DHA, a fatty acid found in the retina. For diabetics, omega-3 fatty acids are important for preventing retinopathy, a prevalent complication of diabetes that leads to vision impairment. To bolster the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, choose fatty fish such as salmon, which are rich in DHA, dark green leafy vegetables, walnuts, soybean oil and avocadoes.
Polyphenols are powerful plant-based micronutrients that can help defend against the damage to your eyes caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation – primarily from sunlight.
Polyphenols can be found in some of your favorite foods and beverages including dark chocolate, tea, coffee and red wine. You can also find polyphenols in whole grain cereals and beans.
Vitamin B complex levels must be replenished every day, because the body doesn’t have the ability to store it. Protein from as eggs, dairy products, meats and poultry are important sources of vitamin B that help prevent and treat cataracts as well as reduce the risk of AMD. Vitamin B nutrients help support a strong cornea, the surface of the eye, which can delay the onset and progress of eye disorders such as keratoconus.
Ideally, all of your nutritional needs come from a healthy diet, but some people may benefit from taking vision supplements. As part of your annual eye exam, you should discuss your diet with us to determine if you should consider adding a supplement to benefit your eye health.
During the exam, it will be important to discuss any changes to your vision so we can evaluate and make recommendations for vision correction, if needed, as today there are surgical options for nearly every type of prescription.
For those of us who live here, Long Island is a paradise full of quaint seaside villages, historic homes, white sandy beaches, museums, parks, wineries…the list goes on. It’s a place where having good vision can enhance your experiences, both indoors and out. And having LASIK means your vision will let you do and see all the things you want to without relying on contact lenses or prescription eyeglasses.
We’re betting you’ll be surprised by your response to your new vision in everyday experiences and adventures such as these:
Head to the Great Outdoors
If you love spending time outdoors at places like Heckscher State Park, which is great for deer spotting and bird-watching, after LASIK you’ll have a new appreciation of Mother Nature. You’ll be able to see the breathtaking scenery, animals and birds all around you, with clear vision unfettered by glasses or contacts.
Invite Friends and Neighbors to a Barbecue
What a great way to celebrate your new eyesight: Invite all your neighbors and friends over for a barbecue. With you vision corrected with LASIK, not only will you not have to deal with babies knocking off your glasses, you can spend time at the grill or pool without worrying about your corrective lenses getting wet or steamed up.
Walk Along the Beach and Watch Wild Seals
After you have LASIK, you’ll be able to go to the beach – our favorites ones are Jones Beach, Fire Island and of course Cupsogue Beach, with its adorable wild seals – and not have to deal with your usual worries. Forget about getting sand in your contacts when you lie down to sunbathe, your glasses falling off while wading in the water, or stumbling along the shore with blurry vision because you decided not to wear corrective lenses. You’ll be able to see everything around you, including the beautiful colors of the ocean and sand, in perfect clarity wearing fun, stylish sunglasses (rather than your pricey prescription pair).
Camp and Watch the Sunrise and Sunset
Sunrises and sunsets are two of the most beautiful sights in nature. If you go camping at Wildwood State Park or ocean-front Hither Hills State Park, or one of Long Island’s many other campgrounds, after LASIK, you won’t have to bother with fumbling for glasses or putting in contacts. Instead, you’ll be able to immediately see the world in a new light full of the eye-catching yellow, orange, red and purple colors that spread across the sky at dawn and dusk. There’s plenty do – and enjoy with your improved eyesight – during the day as well, including swimming in the Sound, picnicking, fishing, hiking and cross-country skiing.
See Clearly from the Moment You Wake Up
Do you wish you could open your eyes first thing in the morning and immediately see the faces of your loved ones clearly, with no blurry vision? After LASIK, you’ll be able to see from the moment you wake up, without having to reach for eyeglasses or contacts. It’s an excellent way to start the day.
Play Sports Or Get In Shape Without Distractions
It’s true: glasses and contacts just don’t mix with sporting and athletic activities. They definitely don’t with contact sports like football, or recreational sports such as tennis and golf. The same goes for running or even just working out in an exercise class. It’s too easy for your contacts to get dislodged and hard to keep eye glasses in place. LASIK frees you from these distractions and your new clear vision will let you focus on what’s really important: enjoying yourself. And if you want to relax afterwards, we recommend heading to the North Fork wine trail to sample some vintage and new varieties.
LASIK vision correction offers a permanent solution to common vision problems including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It’s a quick, and safe procedure that improves your vision so you don’t have to rely on contacts or glasses to see well. Interested in learning more? Give us a call and let’s talk about your vision correction options.
Contact lenses are a very popular vision correction option, but did you know they may not be the ideal vision correction for your summer plans? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration strongly advises against using them while swimming in pools, lakes, rivers hot tubs, or oceans to avoid the risk of contamination or severe vision threatening infection.
Many of our patients at Long Island LASIK are shocked to learn about the very real hazards related to wearing contact lenses while enjoying typical summer activities. People use contact lenses because glasses get in the way of outdoor fun, so it is natural to be disappointed in their limitations. The downside of contact lenses is one of the many reasons vision correction procedures like LASIK are so popular
The chief concern about wearing contact lenses in or around the water stems from the risk of contamination from bacteria and other microorganisms. These are present in all types of water including chlorinated pool water and tap water and pose a significant threat to eye health and vision. A few facts about the risk of contact lens use in water:
- A study by Indiana University showed that 100% of soft contact lenses used in pool swimming were contaminated when cultured.
- According to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology (October, 2006), contact lens wearers have a one in 2,000 chance of contracting a sight-threatening eye infection.
- Lenses can absorb water as they adjust to the surrounding water content, which causes the lens to stick to the cornea.
- It can take up to 30 minutes after swimming for lenses and the tear film to return to normal and removal of the lenses before they equilibrate can damage the cornea, creating a passage for bacteria and potential infection.
Eyeglasses may not be a useful alternative to contacts. While sunglasses are summer mainstay, most people recognize that glasses aren’t really an option in the water. Even if you can put up with water spots on your lenses, the risk of losing your glasses as well as hurting yourself is significant. Even high-performance goggles with prescription lenses don’t stand up well to surfing, waterskiing and kayaking.
So if you love the water, being limited by contact lenses and glasses does not have to put a damper on the fun. Come in and let’s talk about your options and find out if you are one of the millions who can benefit from vision correction with LASIK.