Can you name all the parts of your eye? Even if you can’t name every part, you have probably heard of the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. It is very important to your vision. This means that any type of damage to or disease of your retina can have severe consequences. Here at Berks Eye, we treat a number of eye conditions that affect your retina.(more…)
Nutrition and Your Eyes
Consuming healthy foods and taking certain supplements decreases the likelihood of developing several common eye conditions. This includes age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in those 60 and up. The eye care specialists at Berk’s Eye Physicians and Surgeons Ltd. of Reading, PA explain the benefits of good nutrition for eye health.
Eye Healthy Diet
The American Optometric Association recommends adding particular dietary nutrients to preserve vision and protect against certain eye diseases. For overall health, Americans are urged to eat at least five fruits and vegetables daily. Along with regular exercise, a healthy diet may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure and other cardiac-related ailments may prove harmful to eye health. Taking good care of yourself requires a holistic approach.
Fruits and vegetables that may boost eye health include:
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
Omega-3 fatty acids are another essential element for eye health. These fatty acids aid retinal function and assist visual development. They can help prevent dry eye and lessen the odds of AMD development. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Leafy greens
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Obtaining nutrients through foods is the best route for eye health, but taking the right vitamins and supplements also plays a role. Vitamins and minerals critical for eye health include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
Most of these vitamins are antioxidants. Antioxidants battle the free radicals that break down healthy tissue, including eye tissue. Antioxidants may help in cataract prevention. Vitamin C intake is especially valuable in cataract reduction, as are lutein and zeaxanthin.
In addition to supplements designed specifically for eye health, you may want to take fish or flaxseed oil capsules for the omega-3 fatty acids. That is probably the most effective way to ensure you are receiving an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids if you do not like to eat fish.
The National Eye Institute sponsored the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). This major clinical study involved 3,640 people between the ages of 55 and 80. The results showed that taking a vitamin or mineral supplement reduced the progression of AMD by roughly 25 percent. Some of the subjects reduced their visual acuity loss by 19 percent.
Follow-up studies indicate that those with a high dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of geographic atrophy, the advanced form of AMD.
If you would like more information about the role nutrition plays in eye health, contact the eye care specialists at Berks Eye in Reading, PA to schedule a consultation. We can advise you on the best eye care vitamin and mineral supplements for your individual needs.
The Importance of Protecting Your Eyes From Sun Damage
Most of us already know how important it is to protect our skin from the power of the sun. The effects of damage from ultraviolet solar rays are obvious: dry, wrinkled skin, sun spots, and in too many cases, skin cancer. The trusted vision care team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons reminds you that your eyes are much more sensitive than your skin, and need a level of protection at least as strong as the sunscreen you use daily.
Costs of Neglect
The consequences of subjecting your eyes to years of unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays can be severe — for your eyes and for the delicate skin surrounding your eyes. In fact, up to 10 percent of all skin cancers occur on the fragile skin near your eyes. The eyelids are a common location for this type of malignancy.
For the eye itself, long-term exposure to the sun can cause cataracts; macular degeneration, which often leads to total loss of vision; pterygia, which are growths on the eye; and photokeratitis, which is essentially a sunburn on the eye.
Framing the Issue
Given these facts, it’s clear that sunglasses should be an indispensable daytime fashion accessory for everyone. And it’s also clear that when it comes to the health of your eyes and the sharpness of your vision, frugality is not a virtue.
Those cheap sunglasses you see on the rack at the drugstore can be quite costly in the long run. Most of these inexpensive varieties block only part of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Meanwhile, they trick you — and your eyes — into thinking that you are wearing adequate protection. The darker lenses of the sunglasses reduce visible light, and in response your pupils dilate. In doing so, they are allowing a higher intensity of ultraviolet light to enter and begin damaging the retina.
For optimal protection from all these risks, look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVB and UVA ultraviolet rays. If the label includes a UV 400 notation, that is a sign that the product offers complete blockage of ultraviolet light.
Because much of the ultraviolet light reaching your eyes is reflected off the inner surface of the lenses or penetrates through the side, wraparound or large, snug-fitting sunglasses are ideal. Wraparound sunglasses have the added benefit of protecting more of the delicate skin near your eyes. Some types of sunglasses feature anti-reflective coatings for the inner lenses. Polarized lenses are also a prudent investment, as these lenses almost always provide exemplary protection from damaging ultraviolet rays.
If you would like to learn more about ways to protect your eyes from UV rays, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation in our Reading office with one of the skilled ophthalmologists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons today.
If you are suffering from MGD, your symptoms will appear almost identical to those of dry eye syndrome. In fact, MGD is a prime cause of dry eye. Because these two conditions are so closely allied, only a trained professional like the experienced doctors of Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons can accurately diagnose and treat the root cause of your eye pain or blurred vision.
Oil and Water
The fine layer of moisture on the surface of your eye protects sensitive tissues, lubricates eye movement and promotes clarity in your vision. This layer is actually comprised of water, oil and mucus, and a deficiency in any of these three can lead to irritation and dryness.
When the cause of your discomfort is dry eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis sicca), the problem is a decrease in the amount of tears protecting the eye’s surface. When the condition is MGD (meibomian gland dysfunction), the 20 to 30 glands in the lower eyelid that secrete oils or lipids are not working properly. The purpose of these oils is to keep tears from evaporating quickly. When gland function is interrupted, the watery surface of the eye is constantly dissipating, resulting in evaporative dry eye.
Symptoms for both dry eye and MGD may include pain or a burning sensation in the eyes, itchiness, redness, light sensitivity and blurred vision. Patients may have a feeling that there is a small particle in the eye.
MGD is common in the general population. Risk increases with age, with those over 40 having the highest likelihood of developing MGD. There also seems to be a correlation of MGD with heavy use of eye makeup. Over time, cosmetics can clog the meibomian glands and suppress oil production.
In recent years many exciting new treatment therapies have been developed. The LipiFlow thermal pulsation system uses targeted heat to melt away waxy gland obstructions in as few as eight minutes.
If you would like to learn more about MGD, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation in our Reading office with Dr. Domenic C. Izzo, Jr. at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons today.
Tips to Avoid Digital Eye Strain
With more of our work, communication and leisure time taking place digitally, the team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons has seen an uptick in patients experiencing symptoms of computer vision syndrome — also referred to as digital eye strain.
Common symptoms of digital eye strain include eye fatigue, eye dryness or irritation, headaches, blurry vision and neck and shoulder pain. The more time spent using a computer, the worse the symptoms can be.
Luckily, there are ways to reduce symptoms of digital eye strain without giving up your job or social media use. Read on as our team shares some simple steps to minimize digital eye strain when working on computers.(more…)
Why We Dilate Your Eyes During an Eye Exam
The team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons greatly values your ocular health, and we want to help you enjoy clear vision as long as possible. One of the most important ways to ensure the long-term health of your eyes is to have regular comprehensive eye exams.
Often our doctors use dilating drops prior to eye exams. Dilating your eyes allows more light into your eyes, giving our doctors a clear look all the way into the back of your eyes. Think of dilation as a way of opening a door to see inside a room, instead of trying to look through a peephole.
Not only can we spot problems like a torn retina or an eye tumor during dilated eye exams, we can also catch signs of systemic diseases early — sometimes before a primary care doctor or specialist has a chance to diagnose these conditions.(more…)
Surprising Health Problems an Eye Exam Can Reveal
Regular eye exams are critical, even if you have not noticed any changes in your vision. Exams can detect eye diseases that don’t cause any noticeable symptoms in the early stages.(more…)
20 Foods That Are Great for Eye Health
What you eat can have a big impact on your eye and vision health. Fortunately, many foods that are good for your eyes also taste great and have other health benefits. In this post, the team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons discusses 20 foods that are great for your eye health.(more…)
Tips for Communicating Effectively with Your Eye Doctor
Learning you have an eye condition or vision problem can be a challenging experience. Your eye doctor will be giving you a lot of information about your condition and treatment options, and it’s important that you understand what you need to do to keep your eyes healthy.
In this post, the team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons gives their tips for communicating effectively with your eye doctor.(more…)
What Causes Pterygium?
Pterygium or “surfer’s eye” is an elevated, wedge-shaped growth on the eyeball that begins on the white of the eye (sclera) and can extend to the cornea. Although benign, pterygium can become quite bothersome if left untreated.
The eye doctors at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons have years of experience treating patients with pterygium. Here, we explain what causes the eye condition. (more…)