Most of us don’t realize the importance of our vision until our eyesight seems to fade. It’s not uncommon for presbyopia to overtake our nearsighted vision in our forties and beyond, but more important that diminished eyesight, there are several conditions that can lead to blindness if not caught early on. These include macular degeneration and glaucoma.
How can we protect our vision?
The most important thing is to get regular eye examinations. Eye exams are not just about your vision strength, but during the exam, the ophthalmologist checks for many different eye health issues and disorders.
The retina is a layer of neural tissue in the back of the eye. Its three layers of cells contain synaptic interconnections between neurons, and it’s responsible for brain communication, projecting photoreceptors, circadian rhythm regulation, light detection and neural plasticity.
The importance of the retina to a medical professional and researchers is that it’s the only part of the central nervous system that can be visualized and studied directly. This is done via an ophthalmoscope. The information collected during the examination of the retinal pathway is important for helping to identify irregularities and brain function.
Sunglasses don’t have to cost a lot of money to provide adequate eye protection. As long as they are marked as “100 percent UV-blocking,” these can be just as effective as more expensive options. Labels can sometimes be confusing. Some indicate sunglasses offer 100 percent protection from UVA/UVB radiation, others offer 100 percent UV 400 protection. Both block 100 percent of the sun’s harmful radiation.1
Smoking leads to macular degeneration and can also contribute to cataracts. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs or find a way to quit. It’s bad for your eyes, lungs, heart and offers no benefit to anyone.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Poor dietary habits can lead to retinal diseases and impairments. Our eyes need specific vitamins and nutrients just like the rest of our organs. These include, fruits and vegetables, leafy greens and cold-water fish. Researchers have found people on diets with higher levels of vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are less likely to develop early and advanced AMD.2
The National Eye Institutes AREDS & AREDS2 studies
Researchers with the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) reported in 2001 that a nutritional supplement called the AREDS formulation can reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The original AREDS formulation contains vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper.3
In 2006, the same research group, which is based at NIH’s National Eye Institute, began a second study called AREDS2 to determine if they could improve the AREDS formulation. They tried adding omega-3 fatty acids, as well as the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are in the same family of nutrients as beta-carotene. The researchers also tried substituting lutein and zeaxanthin for beta-carotene, which prior studies had associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers. The study found that while omega-3 fatty acids had no effect on the formulation, lutein and zeaxanthin together appeared to be a safe and effective alternative to beta-carotene.3
Protect your eyes from the sun and dangerous conditions or injury, eat healthy, consider supplementation, take breaks from screen time and most importantly, get your eye exams. It can save your save your vision!
Quigley Eye Specialists
Founded in 1988, Quigley Eye Specialists consists of more than 100 medical professionals, including surgeons, optometrists, retina specialists, and technicians. Offices are conveniently located throughout Southwest and Southeast Florida in Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Coral Gables, Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres, Naples, North Port, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda and Venice.
For more information, call (855) 734-2020 or visit QuigleyEye.com.
675 Piper Blvd., Naples, FL 34110
About Quigley Eye Specialists
Technology leaders in eye care, Quigley Eye Specialists is one of the nation’s leading multispecialty ophthalmology practices specializing in cataracts, laser cataract surgery, glaucoma, iLASIK, dry eye, eyelid surgery, retinal issues, corneal conditions, routine eye care and facial plastic surgery. As the number one choice for cataract treatment in Southwest Florida, Quigley Eye Specialists is committed to providing the highest level of quality eye care and service to the community. For more information or a full list of locations, visit www.QuigleyEye.com.
1. AAO, American Academy of Ophthalmology, Seven Myths About Sunglasses That Could Damage Your Vision
July 24, 2020, https://www.aao.org/newsroom/news-releases/detail/seven-myths-about-sunglasses-could-damage-vision
2. AAO, American Academy of Ophthalmology10 tips to save your vision, September 2015, https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/top-10-tips-to-save-your-vision-2
3. AAO, “Healthy Eyes,” Vitamins, American Academy of Ophthalmology aao.org, 2019 https://www.nei.nih.gov/areds2