Eye Health Topics

Blue Light....

Blue Light: It's Both Bad And 
Good For You

On this page: What is blue light? • Seven key points about blue light • Blue light filters and protective eyewear

Visible light is much more complex than you might think.

Stepping outdoors into sunlight; flipping on a wall switch indoors; turning on your computer, phone or other digital device — all of these things result in your eyes being exposed to a variety of visible (and sometimes invisible) light rays that can have a range of effects.

Most people are aware that sunlight contains visible light rays and also invisible ultraviolet rays that can tan or burn the skin. But what many don't know is that the visible light emitted by the sun comprises a range of different-colored light rays that contain different amounts of energy.

What Is Blue Light?

Sunlight contains red, orange, yellow, green and blue light rays and many shades of each of these colors, depending on the energy and wavelength of the individual rays (also called electromagnetic radiation). Combined, this spectrum of colored light rays creates what we call "white light" or sunlight.
 

Without getting into complicated physics, there is an inverse relationship between the wavelength of light rays and the amount of energy they contain. Light rays that have relatively long wavelengths contain less energy, and those with short wavelengths have more energy.

Rays on the red end of the visible light spectrum have longer wavelengths and, therefore, less energy. Rays on the blue end of the spectrum have shorter wavelengths and more energy.

The electromagnetic rays just beyond the red end of the visible light spectrum are called infrared — they are warming, but invisible. (The "warming lamps" you see keeping food warm at your local eatery emit infrared radiation. But these lamps also emit visible red light so people know they are on! The same is true for other types of heat lamps.)

On the other end of the visible light spectrum, blue light rays with the shortest wavelengths (and highest energy) are sometimes called blue-violet or violet light. This is why the invisible electromagnetic rays just beyond the visible light spectrum are called ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

The Perils And Benefits Of UV

UV rays have higher energy than visible light rays, which makes them capable of producing changes in the skin that create a suntan. In fact, the bulbs in tanning booths emit a controlled amount of UV radiation specifically for this reason.

But too much exposure to UV causes a painful sunburn — and even worse, can lead to skin cancer. These rays also can cause sunburned eyes — a condition called photokeratitis or snow blindness.

But ultraviolet radiation, in moderation, also has beneficial effects, such as helping the body manufacture adequate amounts of vitamin D.

Blue light contributes to digital eye strain; computer glasses that block blue light may increase comfort.

Generally, scientists say the visible light spectrum comprises electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from 380 nanometers (nm) on the blue end of the spectrum to about 700 nm on the red end. (By the way, a nanometer is one billionth of a meter — that's 0.000000001 meter!)

Blue light generally is defined as visible light ranging from 380 to 500 nm. Blue light sometimes is further broken down into blue-violet light (roughly 380 to 450 nm) and blue-turquoise light (roughly 450 to 500 nm).

So approximately one-third of all visible light is considered high-energy visible (HEV) or "blue" light.

Key Points About Blue Light

Like ultraviolet radiation, visible blue light — the portion of the visible light spectrum with the shortest wavelengths and highest energy — has both benefits and dangers. Here are important things you should know about blue light:

1. Blue light is everywhere.

Sunlight is the main source of blue light, and being outdoors during daylight is where most of us get most of our exposure to it. But there are also many man-made, indoor sources of blue light, including fluorescent and LED lighting and flat-screen televisions.

Most notably, the display screens of computers, electronic notebooks, smartphones and other digital devices emit significant amounts of blue light. The amount of HEV light these devices emit is only a fraction of that emitted by the sun. But the amount of time people spend using these devices and the proximity of these screens to the user's face have many eye doctors and other health care professionals concerned about possible long-term effects of blue light on eye health.

BLUE LIGHT NEWS

Apple Released Blue Light Filter In iOS Update For iPhones And iPads

Worried that blue light emitted from your smartphone or other digital device is ruining your sleep?

 

2. HEV light rays make the sky look blue.

The short-wavelength, high-energy light rays on the blue end of the visible light spectrum scatter more easily than other visible light rays when they strike air and water molecules in the atmosphere. The higher degree of scattering of these rays is what makes a cloudless sky look blue.

3. The eye is not very good at blocking blue light.

Anterior structures of the adult human eye (the cornea and lens) are very effective at blocking UV rays from reaching the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eyeball. In fact, less than one percent of UV radiation from the sun reaches the retina, even if you aren't wearing sunglasses.

(Keep in mind, though, that sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV are essential to protect these and other parts of the eye from damage that could lead to cataracts, snow blindness, a pingueculaand/or pterygium, and even cancer.)

On the other hand, virtually all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina.

4. Blue light exposure may increase the risk of macular degeneration.

The fact that blue light penetrates all the way to the retina (the inner lining of the back of the eye) is important, because laboratory studies have shown that too much exposure to blue light can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina. This causes changes that resemble those of macular degeneration, which can lead to permanent vision loss.

Although more research is needed to determine how much natural and man-made blue light is "too much blue light" for the retina, many eye care providers are concerned that the added blue light exposure from computer screens, smartphones and other digital devices might increase a person's risk of macular degeneration later in life.

5. Blue light contributes to digital eye strain.

Because short-wavelength, high energy blue light scatters more easily than other visible light, it is not as easily focused. When you're looking at computer screens and other digital devices that emit significant amounts of blue light, this unfocused visual "noise" reduces contrast and can contribute to digital eye strain.

Research has shown that lenses that block blue light with wavelengths less than 450 nm (blue-violet light) increase contrast significantly. Therefore, computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses may increase comfort when you're viewing digital devices for extended periods of time.

6. Blue light protection may be even more important after cataract surgery.

The lens in the adult human eye blocks nearly 100 percent of the sun's UV rays. As part of the normal aging process, the eye's natural lens eventually blocks some short-wavelength blue light as well — the type of blue light most likely to cause damage to the retina and lead to macular degeneration and vision loss.

If you have cataracts and are about to have cataract surgery, ask your surgeon what type of intraocular lens (IOL) will be used to replace your cloudy natural lens, and how much blue light protection the IOL provides. After cataract surgery you might benefit from eyeglasses that have lenses with a special blue light filter — especially if you spend long hours in front of a computer screen or using other digital devices.

7. Not all blue light is bad.

So, is all blue light bad for you? Why not block all blue light, all the time?

Your eye doctor can recommend lenses and filters that protect your eyes from blue light.

Bad idea. It's well documented that some blue light exposure is essential for good health. Research has shown that high-energy visible light boosts alertness, helps memory and cognitive function and elevates mood.

In fact, something called light therapy is used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons, with symptoms usually beginning in the fall and continuing through winter. The light sources for this therapy emit bright white light that contains a significant amount of HEV blue light rays.

Also, blue light is very important in regulating circadian rhythm — the body's natural wakefulness and sleep cycle. Exposure to blue light during daytime hours helps maintain a healthful circadian rhythm. But too much blue light late at night (reading a novel on a tablet computer or e-reader at bedtime, for example) can disrupt this cycle, potentially causing sleepless nights and daytime fatigue.

Blue Light Filters And Protective Eyewear

If you are using your phone constantly — especially if you use it primarily for texting, e-mailing and web browsing — a convenient way to reduce your blue light exposure is to use a blue light filter.


Digital electronic devices emit blue light that can cause eye strain and may lead to eye problems over time.

These filters are available for smartphones, tablets, and computer screens and prevent significant amounts of blue light emitted from these devices from reaching your eyes without affecting the visibility of the display. Some are made with thin tempered glass that also protects your device's screen from scratches.

Examples of blue light filters for digital devices include: Blue-V 

As mentioned above, computer glasses also can be helpful to reduce blue light exposure from computers and other digital devices. These special-purpose glasses are available without an eyeglass prescription if you have no need for vision correction or if you routinely wear contact lenses to correct your eyesight. Or they can be specially prescribed to optimize your vision specifically for the distance from which you view your devices.

If you have presbyopia and routinely wear bifocals or progressive lenses, prescription computer glasses give you the additional benefit of a much larger field of view for seeing your entire computer screen clearly. (Keep in mind, though, that this type of computer eyewear is exclusively for seeing objects within arm's length and cannot be worn for driving or other distance vision needs.)

Also, a number of lens manufacturers have introduced special glare-reducing anti-reflective coatings that also block blue light from both natural sunlight and digital devices.

 

 

 

Dry Eyes....

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic and typically progressive condition. Depending on its cause and severity, it may not be completely curable. But in most cases, dry eyes can be managed successfully, usually resulting in noticeably greater eye comfort, fewer dry eye symptoms, and sometimes sharper vision as well.

Because dry eye disease can have a number of causes, a variety of treatment approaches are used.

The following is a list of dry eye treatments that are commonly used by eye doctors to reduce the signs and symptoms of dry eyes. Your eye doctor may recommend only one of these dry eye treatments or a combination of treatments, depending on the cause(s) and severity of your condition.

Also, some eye doctors will have you complete a questionnaire about your symptoms prior to initiating dry eye treatment. Your answers to this survey are then used as a baseline, and the questionnaire may be administered again after several weeks of treatment to evaluate the effectiveness of the chosen treatment approach. If you haven't established an eye doctor, click here to find one near you.

Successful treatment of dry eyes requires that you are willing to follow your doctor's recommendations and that you use the products he or she recommends consistently and as frequently as directed.

1. Artificial Tears

For mild cases of dry eyes caused by computer use, reading, schoolwork and other situational causes, the best dry eye treatment may simply be frequent use of artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops.


Artificial tears usually are the first step in dry eye treatment.

There are many brands of artificial tears that are available without a prescription. The challenge with using artificial tears is not lack of product availability — it's the confusing number of brands and formulations available to choose from.

Artificial tears and other over-the-counter (OTC) lubricating eye drops are available in a wide variety of ingredients and viscosity ("thickness").

Artificial tears with low viscosity are "light" and watery. They often provide quick relief with little or no blurring of your vision when you apply them. But often their soothing effect is very short-lived, and sometimes you must use these drops very frequently to get adequate dry eye relief.

On the other hand, artificial tears that have a high viscosity are more gel-like and can provide longer-lasting lubrication. But typically these drops cause significant blurring of your vision for several minutes immediately after you apply them. For this reason, these drops often are not a good choice for use during your work day or when you need immediate clear vision for tasks such as driving. Instead, high-viscosity artificial tears are recommended only for bedtime use.

Also, the ingredients in certain brands of artificial tears may determine which type of dry eye condition they are better suited for. For example, one brand might work better for aqueous-deficiency dry eyes, while another brand may be more effective for an evaporative dry eye condition.

If your eye doctor recommends that you use one or more brands or formulations of artificial tears, be sure to follow the directions he or she gives you concerning when and how often you use the drops. Also, do not substitute different brands from those your eye doctor recommends. Using a different brand or multiple brands of artificial tears will make it difficult to assess the success of the dry eye treatment your doctor recommended.

 

2. Restasis

Instead of OTC artificial tears (or in addition to them), your eye doctor might recommend daily use of a prescription eye drop called Restasis (Allergan) for your dry eye treatment.

Restasis does more than simply lubricate the surface of your eye. It includes an agent that reduces inflammation associated with dry eye syndrome and helps your body produce more natural tears to keep your eyes moist, comfortable and healthy.

It's important to know, however, that the therapeutic effect of Restasis is not immediate. You must use the drops daily for a minimum of 90 days to experience the full benefits of this dry eye treatment.

A significant percentage of people who try Restasis will experience burning eyes early during the first few weeks of treatment.

DRY EYE NEWS


If you work in an operating room, you're at a higher-than-normal risk for dry eyes.

Study Reveals That Operating Rooms Are A Breeding Ground For Dry Eye

September 2016 — Dry eye affects about 10 to 20 percent of the population, and most of those who have the disease are over age 50.

But if you work in a "clean room" environment, such as an operating room, you're at even greater risk — as high as 56 percent according to new research that evaluated dry eye prevalence in surgical residents with a mean age of only 27.8 years.

Clinicians have long known that activities that decrease blink rate can increase the prevalence of dry eye syndrome. For example, long hours spent at a computer is a well-established risk factor for dry eye.

 

3. Xiidra

In July 2016, Shire announced it received FDA approval to market its new Xiidra (ZYE-druh) prescription eye drops for the treatment of dry eye in the United States.

Xiidra, like Restasis, is aimed at reducing inflammation that is associated with the signs and symptoms of dry eyes.

The safety and efficacy of Xiidra was studied in four placebo-controlled, 12-week clinical trials that included 1,181 people with dry eyes. Participants were evaluated for dry eye signs and symptoms just prior to starting use of the drops, then after two weeks, six weeks and 12 weeks of Xiidra use.

In two of the four studies, participants noticed a significant reduction in dry eye symptoms after using Xiidra for two weeks. In all four studies, participants noticed a larger reduction in dryness symptoms after six weeks and 12 weeks of Xiidra use.

Also, at 12 weeks, a statistically significant reduction in signs of dry eyes was found among Xiidra users compared with participants given a placebo in two of the four studies.

The most common side effects of Xiidra reported in the studies were eye irritation, altered taste sensation and reduced visual acuity, which occurred in 5 to 25 percent of participants.

The recommended dosage for Xiidra, like Restasis, is two applications in each eye per day, approximately 12 hours apart.

4. Steroid Eye Drops

Over the past several years, doctors have discovered the importance of inflammation as a cause of dry eyes. Inflammation frequently causes the redness and burning associated with dry eye disease; but in many cases, it may be present without any visible signs or symptoms at all.

Artificial tears usually do not adequately address these inflammatory changes, and your doctor may recommend steroid eye drops to better manage the underlying inflammation associated with dry eyes.

Often there's no "quick fix" for dry eyes. Follow your eye doctor's instructions and be patient for results from dry eye treatment.

Steroid eye drops are generally used short-term to quickly manage symptoms. They are often used in conjunction with artificial tears and Restasis, as a complement to these more long-term treatment strategies.

While a small amount of the steroid may get absorbed systemically, in the right candidate, the effects of steroid eye drops are generally not noticed beyond the eye. Still, it's important to discuss your medical history with your eye doctor before starting steroid eye drops.

Many different types of steroid drops are available and differ in their potency. Most doctors prefer to start with mild steroids that are quickly degraded inside the eye. In some cases, however, more potent drops are required to address more severe symptoms.

Steroid eye drops can increase the risk of developing high eye pressure or even cataracts if used for extended periods of time. But these risks are low when the drops are used only on a short-term basis for dry eye treatment.

 

5. Lacrisert

Lacrisert (Bausch + Lomb) is a sterile, slow-release lubricant that is placed under the lower eye where the conjunctiva of the inside of the eyelid meets the conjunctiva of the eyeball (this location is called the inferior cul-de-sac of the eye).

Lacrisert is a solid insert composed of a preservative-free lubricating agent (hydroxypropyl cellulose) that slowly liquefies over time, providing an all-day moistening effect.

For most people with dry eyes, a single Lacrisert is applied once a day. The device has been proven to relieve dryness, burning, watery eyes, foreign body sensation, itching, light sensitivity and blurred vision, according to the company.

Lacrisert typically is recommended for patients with moderate to severe dry eye symptoms, especially if dry eye treatment with artificial tears alone proves unsuccessful.

If improperly placed in the inferior cul-de-sac of the eye, it's possible Lacrisert could cause a corneal abrasion. Also, Lacrisert may cause transient blurred vision, eye discomfort or irritation, matting or stickiness of eyelashes, red eyes and sensitivity to light.

6. Punctal Plugs

Punctal plugs are sometimes used in dry eye treatment to help tears remain on the surface of the eye longer.


This drawing shows the lacrimal glands and tear ducts. A lacrimal plug (or punctal plug) has been inserted into the lower tear duct to keep the eye's moisture from draining away too quickly. 

A punctal plug is a small, sterile device that is inserted into one of the small openings (puncta) of tear drainage ducts that are located in the inner corner of the upper and lower eyelids.

After these openings have been plugged, tears can no longer drain away from the eye through these ducts. In this way the tear film stays intact longer on the surface of the eye, relieving dry eye symptoms.

So where do the tears go? Usually they will simply evaporate from the eye surface without symptoms. But if insertion of punctal plugs causes the eyes to "water," one or more of the plugs can be removed.

7. Meibomian Gland Expression

A very significant percentage of dry eye cases are caused by inadequate oil (meibum) being secreted from meibomian glands located along the margin of the eyelids.

The openings of these glands are near the base of the eyelashes, and if these openings get clogged, the oil that is critical to keeping the tear film from evaporating too quickly cannot do its job. This is called meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), which leads to a condition called evaporative dry eye.

To treat MGD and evaporative dry eye, your eye doctor may perform an in-office procedure called meibomian gland expression. In this procedure, warm compresses may or may not first be applied to your eyelids; then a forceps-type device is used to squeeze the clogged contents (hardened meibum and possibly other substances) from the meibomian glands.

To fully express the contents of the meibomian glands and get them functioning properly, significant pressure must be applied to the eyelids, which can be uncomfortable. But the results usually are worth putting up with the short-term discomfort of the procedure.

8. Warm Compresses

An alternative (and potentially more comfortable) way to help open clogged meibomian glands to treat dry eyes is to simply apply warm compresses to the closed eyelids to soften the hardened meibum.

Unfortunately, for warm compresses to work well, some researchers say you have to use a compress that can maintain a temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 10 minutes, and the compresses have to be applied for this length of time at least twice a day.

Most people are unable or unwilling to perform this type of dry eye treatment correctly, and shorter and less frequent use of variable-temperature warm compresses typically is ineffective.

9. LipiFlow

The LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation System (TearScience) is an automated, in-office dry eye treatment that combines the best features of warm compress therapy and meibomian gland expression.


Click on the image to watch a video about how LipiFlow works.

The patented device fits onto the eye and also over the eyelids and applies precisely controlled heat to the lids to soften hardened meibum. At the same time, the LipiFlow system applies pulsed pressure to the eyelids to open and express clogged meibomian glands, thereby restoring the correct balance of oils in the tear film to relieve dry eye syndrome.

Lipiflow treatment takes approximately 12 minutes per eye. In a clinical study of the effectiveness of the procedure, most patients (76 percent) reported improvement of their dry eye symptoms within two weeks, and patients also showed improvement in the quality and quantity of meibomian gland secretions and the duration of time their tear film remained on the eye before evaporating. In some cases, however, it can take a few months for improvements to become apparent.

Typically, the beneficial effects of the LipiFlow procedure last one to three years or longer.

Potential side effects from LipiFlow dry eye treatment include corneal abrasion, eye pain, swollen eyelids, eyelid irritation or inflammation, chalazion, transient blurred vision, itching, and red eyes.

 

10. Intense Pulsed Light

For well over a decade, the FDA has approved the use of intense pulsed light (IPL) to treat rosacea on the skin. Rosacea on the skin and eyelid often occur together. Ocular rosacea presents with dilated small blood vessels coursing along the eyelash margin in patients suffering from blepharitis and may contribute to dry eye symptoms.

In IPL treatment, a hand-held device flashes bright light onto the skin. The light is filtered to allow only wavelengths that can be absorbed by the dilated blood vessels. The effect of this treatment may be the resolution of the dilated vessels and associated inflammation.

Many patients experience relief from their dry eye symptoms and become less dependent on artificial tears and other eye drops to control dry eye symptoms after IPL therapy. For this reason, IPL treatment may be well-suited for dry eye patients who don't want to be troubled by the inconvenience of frequent eye drop use.

Patients usually require four to six intense pulsed light treatments, with about one month between each treatment. Typically, the treatments are well-tolerated and are not associated with any down-time. However, prior to the treatment it's important to discuss with your doctor how much time you spend in the sun.

IPL treatment generally is not covered by health insurance or vision insurance and it may not be appropriate for patients with certain skin pigmentations.

11. Nutritional Supplements

Doctors sometimes recommend nutritional supplements as part of a holistic dry eye treatment plan. Studies have found that supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids can decrease dry eye symptoms.

Good sources of omega-3s include cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and cod. For a vegetarian source of omega-3s, some eye doctors recommend flaxseed oil to relieve dry eye.

Drinking more water can help, too. Mild dehydration often makes dry eye problems worse. This is especially true during hot, dry and windy weather. Simply drinking more water sometimes reduces the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

12. Home Remedies for Dry Eyes

If you have mild dry eye symptoms, there are several things you can try to get relief before going to the eye doctor:

Blink more frequently. When using a computer, smartphone or other digital device, we tend to blink our eyes less frequently than normal, which can cause or worsen dry eye symptoms. Make a conscious effort to be aware of this, and blink more often when using these devices. Also, perform full blinks, gently squeezing your eyelids together to wash your eyes fully with a fresh layer of tears.


Wraparound-style sunglasses and eyewear with side shields can protect your eyes from moisture-robbing wind and irritating debris. Shown here are Churada sunglasses with removable foam eyecups and Nereus eyewear with removable silicone eyecups. Both can accept prescription lenses and are manufactured by 7eye by Panoptx.

Take frequent breaks during computer use. A good rule of thumb here is to look away from your screen at least every 20 minutes and look at something that is at least 20 feet from your eyes for at least 20 seconds. Some eye care practitioners call this the "20-20-20 rule," and abiding by it can help relieve both dry eyes and computer eye strain.

Remove eye makeup thoroughly. Eyeliner and other eye makeup can clog the openings of the meibomian glands at the base of the eyelashes, leading to meibomian gland dysfunction and evaporative dry eye. At the end of the day, be diligent about remove all traces of makeup from your lids and lashes.

Clean your eyelids. When washing your face before bedtime, gently wash your eyelids to remove bacteria that can cause blepharitis and meibomian gland problems that lead to dry eye symptoms. Apply a warm, moist washcloth to your closed lids for a minute or two. Then gently scrub your lids and lashes with a mild cleanser, such as diluted baby shampoo or premoistened eyelid wipes sold in drugstores.

Wear quality sunglasses. When outdoors during the day, always wear sunglasses that block 100 percent of the sun's UV rays. It's best if they feature a wrap-style frame to protect your eyes from wind, dust and other irritants that can cause or worsen dry eye symptoms.

 

 

Cataracts....

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil.

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and is the principal cause of blindness in the world. In fact, there are more cases of cataracts worldwide than there are of glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy combined.

Types of cataracts include:

A subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens. People with diabetes or those taking high doses of steroid medications have a greater risk of developing a subcapsular cataract.

A nuclear cataract forms deep in the central zone (nucleus) of the lens. Nuclear cataracts usually are associated with aging.

A cortical cataract is characterized by white, wedge-like opacities that start in the periphery of the lens and work their way to the center in a spoke-like fashion. This type of cataract occurs in the lens cortex, which is the part of the lens that surrounds the central nucleus.

Cataract Symptoms and Signs

A cataract starts out small and at first has little effect on your vision. You may notice that your vision is blurred a little, like looking through a cloudy piece of glass or viewing an impressionist painting.

Hazy, blurred vision may mean you have a cataract.

A cataract may make light from the sun or a lamp seem too bright or glaring. Or you may notice when you drive at night that the oncoming headlights cause more glare than before. Colors may not appear as bright as they once did.

The type of cataract you have will affect exactly which symptoms you experience and how soon they will occur. When a nuclear cataract first develops, it can bring about a temporary improvement in your near vision, called "second sight."

Unfortunately, the improved vision is short-lived and will disappear as the cataract worsens. On the other hand, a subcapsular cataract may not produce any symptoms until it's well-developed.

If you think you have a cataract, see an eye doctor for an exam to find out for sure.

What Causes Cataracts?

The lens inside the eye works much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina for clear vision. It also adjusts the eye's focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away.

The lens is mostly made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it.

But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract, and over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.

No one knows for sure why the eye's lens changes as we age, forming cataracts. But researchers worldwide have identified factors that may cause cataracts or are associated with cataract development. Besides advancing age, cataract risk factors include:

Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources

Diabetes

Hypertension

Obesity

Smoking

Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications

Statin medicines used to reduce cholesterol

Previous eye injury or inflammation

Previous eye surgery

Hormone replacement therapy

Significant alcohol consumption

High myopia

Family history

One theory of cataract formation that's gaining favor is that many cataracts are caused by oxidative changes in the human lens. This is supported by nutrition studies that show fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants may help prevent certain types of cataract.

Cataract Prevention

Though there is significant controversy about whether cataracts can be prevented, a number of studies suggest certain nutrients and nutritional supplements may reduce your risk of cataracts.

One large, 10-year study of female health professionals found that higher dietary intakes of vitamin E and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin from food and supplements were associated with significantly decreased risks of cataract.

Good food sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds and spinach. Good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include spinach, kale and other green, leafy vegetables.

Other studies have shown antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids may reduce cataract risk.

Visit our Nutrition & Eyes section to read more about eye vitamins and how a healthful diet and good nutrition may help prevent cataracts.

Another step you can take to reduce your risk of cataracts is to wear protective sunglasses that block 100 percent of the sun's UV rays when you are outdoors.

CATARACTS AND YOUR DIET

Does Eating Less Meat Reduce Your Risk for Cataracts?

This interesting question has received a lot of public comment since researchers at the University of Oxford published a study in March 2011 that compared cataract incidence with dietary intake.


Could eating more greens and less meat help you delay the onset of cataracts?

The study, as reported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined the dietary surveys filled out by 27,670 self-reported nondiabetic people aged 40 or over and monitored their medical records to see if and when cataracts developed. Strong correlations showed up between cataract risk and diet type.

 

Cataract Treatment

When symptoms begin to appear, you may be able to improve your vision for a while using new glasses, strong bifocals, magnification, appropriate lighting or other visual aids.

Think about surgery when your cataracts have progressed enough to seriously impair your vision and affect your daily life.

Many people consider poor vision an inevitable fact of aging, but cataract surgery is a simple, relatively painless procedure to regain vision.

Cataract surgery is very successful in restoring vision. In fact, it is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States, with more than 3 million Americans undergoing cataract surgery each year, according to PBA.

Nine out of 10 people who have cataract surgery regain very good vision, somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40.

During surgery, the surgeon will remove your clouded lens and in most cases replace it with a clear, plastic intraocular lens (IOL).

New IOLs are being developed all the time to make the surgery less complicated for surgeons and the lenses more helpful to patients. Presbyopia-correcting IOLs potentially help you see at all distances, not just one. Another new type of IOL blocks both ultraviolet and blue light rays, which research indicates may damage the retina.

Read more on this website about what to expect if you have cataract surgery and how to deal with rare cataract surgery complications.

 

'New glaucoma test 'means treatment can start before sight loss symptoms begin' 

A pioneering eye test could save the sight of millions by helping doctors tackle the biggest global cause of permanent blindness.

The test allows early detection of glaucoma so that treatment can start before vision begins to deteriorate.

It also has potential for diagnosing degenerative neurological conditions including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis.

Glaucoma, caused by the death of retinal cells at the back of the eye, affects 60 million people around the world, a tenth of whom are completely blind.

The new technique, called Darc (detection of apoptosing retinal cells) uses a special fluorescent marker which attaches to cell proteins when injected into patients.

Unhealthy cells appear as white fluorescent spots during an eye examination that employs equipment routinely kept at hospitals.

Professor Francesca Cordeiro, from University College London's Institute of Ophthalmology, who led the research, said: "Detecting glaucoma early is vital as symptoms are not always obvious.

"Although detection has been improving, most patients have lost a third of vision by the time they are diagnosed.

"Now, for the first time, we have been able to show individual cell death and detect the earliest signs of glaucoma.

"While we cannot cure the disease, our test means treatment can start before symptoms begin.

"In the future, the test could also be used to diagnose other neurodegenerative diseases."

Our developments mean we could diagnose patients 10 years earlier than was previously possible.Chief investigator Professor Philip Bloom

Results of an early clinical trial of the test appear in the latest issue of the journal Brain.

A total of eight patients with evidence of retinal neurodegeneration and eight healthy individuals took part in the study.

The Darc test enabled labelled cells to be identified up to six hours after injection.

A positive test result was significantly correlated with a diagnosis of glaucoma and later loss of vision.

The fluorescent marker, known as ANX776, was found to be safe and well-tolerated with no adverse side effects.

Chief investigator Professor Philip Bloom, from Western Eye Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: "Treatment is much more successful when it is begun in early stages of the disease, when sight loss is minimal.

"Our developments mean we could diagnose patients 10 years earlier than was previously possible."

The scientists believe the test may have wider applications because the nerves that help us see are essentially an extension of the brain.

Programmed cell death, or apoptosis, at the back of the eye could therefore provide an early indication of neurodegenerative disease.

The research is funded by the Wellcome Trust charity.

Bethan Hughes, from Wellcome's Innovation team, said: "This innovation has the potential to transform lives for those who suffer loss of sight through glaucoma, and offers hope of a breakthrough in early diagnosis of other neurodegenerative diseases.

"Loss of sight as you age is an incredibly difficult disability, impacting quality of life and independence."

Link:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/27/new-glaucoma-test-means-treatment-can-start-sight-loss-symptoms/

 

How To Get Rid Of A Stye

 

Although most styes are harmless and will heal on their own in about a week, if you've ever had one, you know what a nuisance these red eyelid lumps can be.

Fortunately, there are a few home remedies that may help you get rid of a stye a little faster — or at least reduce some of the discomfort and swelling that often accompany them.

 

Stye Treatment #1: Keep Your Eyelids Clean

 

The first thing you should do if you develop a stye is cleanse your eyelids. You can use diluted tear-free baby shampoo on a cotton ball, washcloth, or makeup remover pad. Then rinse your eyelids with warm water and gently pat them dry.

Also, be sure to wash your hands before and after touching the stye, and don't share your towels or washcloths with others.

Pre-moistened eyelid cleansing pads are another option. You can find these non-prescription items in most drugstores.

It's wise to stop wearing eye makeup temporarily when you have a stye, because covering up a stye can delay the healing process. Also, discard old makeup or applicators that could be contaminated.

And if you need vision correction, wear glasses rather than contact lenses until your stye heals.

 

Stye Treatment #2: Apply Warm, Moist Compresses


A stye is a red, swollen lump at the eyelid margin caused by an infection of glands that open near the base of the eyelashes.

You can encourage a stye to heal faster by applying warm compresses for 10 to 15 minutes, three or four times a day.

Some people use teabags for this purpose, but a basic clean washcloth dipped in warm (not hot) water will do the trick and is easy to prepare. Wring the cloth so it's not dripping, then place it over your closed eyes.

The goal of this therapy is to bring the stye to a head, like you see on a pimple. But whatever you do, don't get anxious and try to pop a stye! The warmth from the compress often will allow the stye to open, drain and heal on its own without causing trauma to the eyelid or possibly spreading an infection by squeezing it.

 

Ease The Discomfort

Over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen probably won't do much to speed healing, but these medications may ease discomfort if a stye is particularly bothersome.

Your eye doctor can also address pain associated with styes. Sometimes, your eye doctor may choose to surgically open a large stye to relieve discomfort and prevent a serious infection.

What is more important than your vision? Find local eye doctor to get an eye exam

 

Seek Professional Help

Although these tips will help most styes clear up fairly quickly, don't hesitate to contact your eye doctor for additional advice. Your doctor might prescribe a stye ointment or other stye treatment to help the condition resolve more quickly.

If your stye worsens, affects your vision or doesn't go away within a week or so, contact your eye doctor for an in-office evaluation and treatment. In some cases, stubborn styes may require surgical treatment by your doctor, followed by application of a prescription medicine.

 

Preventing Future Styes

Proper eyelid hygiene can significantly reduce the risk of styes. Clean your eyelids thoroughly before bedtime, especially if you wear eye makeup.

Also, if you sometimes have problems with blepharitis, taking steps to quickly treat this eyelid problem also will help prevent the occurrence of styes.