Archive for the ‘Eye healthy news’ category

What to Eat for Good Eye Health From a Loyola Ophthalmologist

May 7th, 2015

You may remember your mother telling you to eat your carrots; they are good for your eyes. Well, she was right.

“Carrots are actually just one of the many foods, and supplements that contribute to good eye health,” says James McDonnell, MD, pediatric ophthalmologist, Loyola University Health System. “In some cases, eyesight can actually be improved depending on what you eat.”

Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is of particular importance. “Make a colorful plate, especially with greens, blues and reds,” says Dr. McDonnell, who has practiced ophthalmology for more than 20 years. “Certain foods have distinct benefits for the eyes in addition to overall health including many of the trendy superfoods such as kale, broccoli and sweet potatoes.”

Dr. McDonnell recommends the following foods and supplements for healthy vision.

• Astaxanthin. “This supernutrient protects eyes from developing cataracts, macular degeneration and blindness. Seaweed and wild, rather than farmed, salmon are excellent choices high in astaxanthin. It also aids in so many aspects of wellness that astaxanthin is my top recommendation for incorporation into your diet,” says Dr. McDonnell.

• Omega–3 “Prevention against age-related macular degeneration is the top benefit. Studies show that individuals who ate oily fish such as tuna, sardines, herring and salmon at least once a week were 50 percent less likely to develop neovascular “wet” macular degeneration than those who ate fish less than once per week. Omega–3, a fatty acid found in chia and flax seeds, also helps prevent dry eye. Infants fed Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-supplemented formula had significantly better visual acuity at two and four months of age compared with similar infants who did not have supplemented formula. DHA is just one of the many Omega-3-acids,” he said.

• Anthocyanins. “Blueberries, bilberries and especially black currants contain high amounts of anthocyanins and help to maintain the health of the cornea and blood vessels in every part of the eye. They also help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration as well as decrease inflammatory eye disease and diabetic retinopathy,” says Dr. McDonnell. “Bilberries also were used to improve the night vision of American pilots during World War II and provide 50 times the antioxidant power of vitamin E and ten times that of vitamin C.”

• Vitamin D. “Safe sun exposure, fish oils, fatty fish and to a lesser extent beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and certain mushrooms contain this master hormone which acts on more than 4000 genes. Vitamin D3 supplementation has been shown to help prevent age-related macular degeneration, reduce retinal inflammation and actually improve vision,” he said.

• Zeaxanthin. “Help decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration by eating dark, green leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli, collards, raw spinach and romaine lettuce,” says Dr. McDonnell. “Lightly cooking these vegetables increases your body’s ability to absorb these nutrients.”

• Bioflavonoids. “Studies show that cataracts and macular degeneration may be prevented through the consumption of tea, red wine, citrus fruits and cherries,” says Dr. McDonnell.

• Beta-carotene. “Beta-carotene protects against night blindness and dry eyes,” says Dr. McDonnell. “Good food sources are carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and butternut squash.”

• Lutein. “The best source is from organic eggs laid by pastured organic hens,” he says. “You can also take supplements made from marigold flowers.”

Dr. McDonnell is a professor and Director of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Ocular Realignment at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He treats children and adults at the Loyola Maywood and Oakbrook Terrace campuses.

The Department of Ophthalmology offers a complete range of comprehensive and subspecialty eye care. All Loyola ophthalmology physicians are board certified with subspecialty fellowship training. Together with Loyola optometrists, the ophthalmologists offer comprehensive diagnostic services and personalized treatment for adults and children. As a tertiary care facility, the ophthalmology department uses the most current, state-of-the-art equipment and procedures. Loyola’s ophthalmology team also has a long history of international service, providing free eye care to some of the world’s most underserved communities.

Why does the cornea need Oxygen?

May 7th, 2015

The cornea is unusual in that it is transparent – it has to be otherwise light could not enter the eye! The tissues that make up the cornea are able to maintain their transparency partly by not having blood vessels flowing through them. Without blood vessels the cornea must get it’s Oxygen directly from the air. The Oxygen first dissolves in the tears and then diffuses throughout the cornea to keep it healthy. Equally important, the waste product of a healthy cornea is Carbon Dioxide which must be disposed of. This diffuses out of the cornea and into the atmosphere in the reverse process. Putting any contact lens into the eye will slow down or possibly stop this process. Without enough Oxygen the cornea will warp, become less transparent, less able to detect pain and can develop scars. Additionally, new blood vessels from the sclera (the white part of the eye) can grow into the cornea and cause further damage and scarring.

How to protect our eyes from damage as we watch the eclipse?

April 23rd, 2015

Never try to look directly at the sun unless using a store bought filter specifically designed for that. Stores that sell telescopes should also carry them. The best way is to look at a projection of the sun. Get a shoebox and poke a hole in one end. The hole should not be too big. Bigger than a pin hole but still pretty small. Place a piece of paper at the other end of the box. Point the end with the hole at the sun and watch the projection on the paper. Never look directly at the sun, even during an eclipse.

Would salt in my diet increase my eye pressure?

April 23rd, 2015

Glaucoma or the increased eye pressure associated with it, you could be noticeably reduced with proper water and salt intakes, a friend of mine, who has not developed full blown glaucoma yet, and has not yet resorted to prescription eye drop treatment, has successfully lowered his eye pressure levels,just by increasing his daily water intake, and adding little unrefined salt to his daily diet even his eye doctor was pleasantly surprised.and so was my friend, with a lowered eye pressure reading, you also can reduce your eye pressure by improve your diet properly.

How to protect your eyes from wind in windy spring season?

April 13th, 2015

As we enter into the windy season of spring, it’s important to protect your eyes. Not only can debris blow into your eye, but the air moving across the surface can cause dry eyes. Doctors say try not to rub your eyes if they are dry and irritated because it can scratch the cornea. Instead, use over-the-counter artificial tears, a gel drop or a lubricating ointment. Moreover, you also can wear a pair of sunglasses which can also protect your eyes from wind.

How to protect our eyes from damage as we watch the eclipse?

April 13th, 2015

Do not stare directly at the sun at any time as this could cause permanent damage to your eyes, in particular the retina. Remember the only way to safely view the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun, is to project or filter the sun’s rays. Even when filtering the sun’s rays, wear a pair of sunglasses too for additional protection and make sure they offer 100% UV protection. For a quick and easy way to filter the sun’s rays, you can make your own pinhole projector, which can also double as a fun activity for those with children.

How to deal with dry eyes caused by swimming?

April 13th, 2015

As we all know that swimmers frequently complain of new onset or worsening of dry eye syndrome symptoms. Pool chemicals can interfere with the normal stability of the tear film, causing faster evaporation of tears from the eye and loss of the aqueous, or watery, layer of the tear film, causing the remaining tears to be thicker and poor lubrication for the eye. Goggles can help minimize exposure to these chemicals and improve tear film stability. Patients suffering from dry eye syndrome can use artificial teardrops prior to putting on their goggles as a prophylactic measure, giving their eyes an extra layer of protection. Staying well hydrated prior to a swim is also essential, as this helps maintain the aqueous layer of the tear film. Swimmers with severe dry eye syndrome should see an ophthalmologist as prescription drops are also available to alleviate symptoms.

What are some home remedies for red eyes?

March 18th, 2015

You can apply cold compress to relieve your red eyes. You just need to wet a washcloth in cold water, and then ring it out thoroughly. It will help to shrink swollen blood vessels by placing the cold compress over your closed red eyes. And you need to remember that you can’t give your red eye a good rubbing for this will make your red eyes worse.

How to Prevent Macular Degeneration Naturally?

March 18th, 2015

You can take vitamin pills and fish oil to prevent macular degeneration for both of them is good for our eyes. I also heard that the person who has a family history of macular degeneration is at higher risk to get this kind eye disease. But you can change your habits to nurture a good healthy habit and then prevent eye disease from happening. If you are a heavy smoker, you can give up smoking. Every time when you went out, you can wear a pair of sunglasses.

What can you do to protect your eyes from a solar eclipse?

March 18th, 2015

We know that UV radiation can cause damages to our skin. It can burn our skins. When a solar eclipse happens, the intense infrared and UV radiation will damage the retinas of our eyes. And this will be quicker than sunburn in our skin. If our eyes were exposed to a solar eclipse for a few seconds, they will suffer from permanent damage. That’s why we need to wear a pair of protective eyewear to observe a solar eclipse safely.