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What Are the Best Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes?

Around the world, more than 30 million people suffer from blindness. Conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and eye trauma make up the bulk of these cases. Unfortunately, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, additional factors – such as excessive screen time – have led to a further decline in global eye health. It’s never been a better time to focus on the necessity of quality eye care!

The most significant action you can take to optimize your eye health is to visit an eye doctor near you for regular eye exams. When you consider the fact that about 80% of all vision impairment could have been prevented by early detection and treatment, it’s a glaring alert that too many people are unaware of the need to schedule regular visits to an eye clinic near you.

In addition to eye exams, follow these simple and effective tips for promoting good eye health:

Match your glasses to their function

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, be sure to wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection to protect your eyes from the dangerous effects of UV rays. Too much sun exposure has been associated with cataract formation and other serious eye diseases.

If you spend a lot of time on a computer or any digital device, you can help prevent computer vision syndrome by blocking hazardous blue light emitted from the screen. Ask an optometrist near you about computer glasses with a blue light filter.

Eat Right for Your Eyes

    • Leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and kale, are rich with lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which can help limit the development of AMD and cataracts. Lutein also boosts the pigments that prevent hazardous UV rays from damaging your eyes.
    • Vitamins C and E and zinc have been linked to a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration.
    • Antioxidants, found in abundance in yellow peppers, egg yolk, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots and blueberries, can help protect your peepers against sun damage.

    Moisturize Your Eyes

    Dry eye syndrome is a common condition, and it is occurring more frequently worldwide as pollution worsens. Long periods spent in front of the computer have also contributed to the growing incidences of dry eye. If you suffer the irritating symptoms of this condition, visit an eye doctor near you for an evaluation and treatment. You can also help yourself by resting your eyes and blinking often enough, which lubricates the eye surface. If necessary, use preservative-free artificial tears eye drops to soothe dry, irritated eyes.

    Dry Eye Center of Alabama, your Birmingham eye doctorfor eye exams and eye care

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          • What is diabetic eye disease?

            Diabetic eye disease is a condition which can occur at any stage or type of diabetes. In fact, many times diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected they may have diabetes. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina. Over time, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye. If the condition progresses, new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which places the retina at risk of additional and sometimes sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.

          • My doctor says I have a cataract, but he wants to wait a while before removing it. Why?

            A cataract usually starts very small and practically unnoticeable but grows gradually larger and cloudier. Your doctor is probably waiting until the cataract interferes significantly with your vision and your lifestyle. You need to continue to visit your eye doctor regularly so the cataract’s progress is monitored. Some cataracts never really reach the stage where they should be removed. If your cataract is interfering with your vision to the point where it is unsafe to drive, or doing everyday tasks is difficult, then it’s time to discuss surgery with your doctor.

          • What exactly is glaucoma?

            Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it’s not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.

          • Do eye vitamins help stop macular degeneration?

            While there is no definitive cure for macular generation, only treatments to halt or slow the progression, eye vitamins are shown in some studies to help strengthen the macula and aid in keeping this central area of the retina stable. Vitamins for this condition need to be rich in Lutein, Zeaxanthine, and Omega 3’s such as fish oil. Most vitamins for the eye can be found over the counter without a prescription.’

    Why You Need to Make Eye Care a Part of Your Health Care Plan!

    Regular physical exams and screenings for disease have become an integral part of routine health care for many people. Yet, what about eye care? Do you remember to visit your eye doctor yearly for eye care services, or do you only go if you have a problem with your vision?

    Many people neglect to include eye care in their regular health care plan. This is a mistake! Regular eye exams can provide your eye doctor with a chance to help you correct vision changes, as well as identify any signs of ocular disease at a very early stage.

    Vision correction

    When you wear glasses or contact lenses, yearly eye exams are important for detecting any changes in your vision that could lead to disturbing symptoms, such as headaches, eye strain, and double vision. Why wait until you experience painful symptoms?

    Your eye doctor will assess your visual acuity and visual skills thoroughly to ensure your prescription is up to date. Vision changes as you age, and conditions such as presbyopia are normal. A pair of reading glasses, bifocals or multifocal progressives can resolve this problem easily.

    Also, a variety of new surgical procedures and treatments are available to correct vision. If you’re interested in seeing clearly without prescription eyewear, ask your eye doctor about the latest eye care services on offer!

    Keep an eye on eye health

    As you reach your 60s and older, it’s important to be informed about different warning signs of age-related ocular health diseases and conditions that can lead to vision loss. Many eye diseases present no early warning signs, so an eye exam by a qualified eye doctor is the only dependable way to diagnose or rule out these problems!

    Vision disorders to watch out for include:

    • Age-related macular degeneration – this condition affects the macula, leading to a loss of central vision.
    • Cataracts – when the normally clear lens of your eye becomes cloudy, which can weaken your sensitivity to contrast, dim colors, and increase sensitivity to glare.
    • Diabetic retinopathy – this can occur in people with any type of diabetes; it’s caused by damage to the small blood vessels that supply oxygen to the retina and can lead to retinal inflammation, blurry vision, and blindness.
    • Dry eye syndrome – this condition is characterized by an inadequate quantity of tears or a poor tear composition, so the eye is lubricated well.
    • Glaucoma – this refers to a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve, leading to permanent vision loss.
    • Retinal Detachment – a tearing or separation of the retina from underlying eye tissue.

    Remember, the earlier these diseases are detected – the more effectively they can be treated, before you suffer permanent damage to your vision.

    Primary eye care is vital for your health. To protect your lasting vision, take advantage of all the preventive, rehabilitative, and curative eye care services your eye doctor has to offer!

    Book an eye exam at Dry Eye Center of Alabama eye clinic near you in Birmingham, Alabama to learn more about your personalized eye care.

    Call 205 498 4244

    FOLLOW US

    • Is it possible to prevent Macular Degeneration?

      Doctors aren’t sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses could be very beneficial.

    • What are cataracts and how can they be treated?

      Cataracts are a clouding of the lens inside the eye. They are common with age, certain medications and medical conditions. Patients usually feel like they are looking through a dirty window, cannot see colours the way they used to or have increased difficulty with glare. Currently, the treatment is surgery to remove the cloudy lens. Stay tuned for medical advances in cataract treatment in the future!

    • What is diabetic retinopathy?

      Diabetic retinopathy is a condition which can occur at any stage or type of diabetes. In fact, many times diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected they may have diabetes. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina. Over time, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye. If the condition progresses, new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which places the retina at risk of additional and sometimes sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.

    • Are there some every day activities that can cause Dry Eye?

      Generally those that suffer with allergies, or have systemic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and sjogrens’, or those who use the computer or digital devices often and even contact lens wearers tend to be more susceptible to dry eye symptoms.

    6 Ways To Maintain Eye Health If You’re Over 50

    Aging and certain lifestyle choices can affect your vision, especially if you’re in your 50’s and up. While it’s normal for your eyes and vision to change, there are certain actions you can take to protect your sight. 

    6 Tips for 50+ Eye Health

    1. Eat Well

      A well-balanced diet helps maintain a healthy body including healthy eyes, and reduces your odds of developing some very serious eye diseases. Nutrients and nutritious foods, which help prevent vision loss include:

      • Vitamin A: Carrots, spinach, kale, egg yolks, dairy products
      • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, potatoes, green peppers
      • Vitamin E: Whole grains, eggs, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils
      • Fatty Acids: Coldwater fish, such as mackerel, rainbow trout and salmon; corn oil, sunflower oil
      • Lutein: Kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, corn
      • Zinc: Poultry, meat, fish, dairy products, whole grains
    1. Quit Smoking

    Smoking can significantly increase the chances of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as diabetic retinopathy in diabetics. So if you’re a smoker, the sooner you quit, the better. 

    1. Exercise

    Exercising for at least 20 minutes a day is great for your whole body, including your eyes, by increasing blood flow to the optic nerve and retina! It isn’t necessary to engage in strenuous exercise—in fact, a brisk walk will suffice. 

    1. Protect Your Eyes

    Sunglasses

    Protecting your eyes from ultraviolet rays with UV-blocking sunglasses can slow down the development of cataracts, prevent sun damage to your retina, and lower the risk of skin cancer near your eyes.

    Protective eyewear

    Another way to protect your eyes is to wear protective eyewear. If you play sports or work with materials such as wood, glass or metal, protective eyewear can shield your eyes from splinters and shards, as well as fast-moving objects like balls and hockey pucks.

    1. Give Your Eyes a Rest

    If you spend a lot of time reading, driving or looking at digital devices, you may develop eye strain and eye fatigue. By implementing the 20-20-20 rule, especially during prolonged computer or smartphone use, you can give your eyes some much-needed rest. All you need to do is this: every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. 

    1. Have Regular Eye Exams

    And finally, a comprehensive eye exam is crucial, as it can detect eye conditions that don’t display any symptoms until vision loss has already occurred.

    These conditions include:

      • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
      • Cataracts
      • Glaucoma
      • Diabetic Retinopathy

    When detected early, treatment can often prevent permanent vision loss or even blindness. Less serious and more common, presbyopia or age-related farsightedness, develops with age, and simply updating your prescription for glasses or contact lenses at your routine eye checkup can keep you enjoying the arm’s-length activities you love.

    Age-related vision changes can be challenging, both emotionally and physically. However, some of these can be mitigated by implementing the tips above. Schedule an eye exam with Dry Eye Center of Alabama in Birmingham to check your eye health today! 

     

    Q&A

    How does aging affect your eyes?

    Aging causes changes in every part of your body, including your eyes. As you age, the lens inside your eye begins to harden, which leads to presbyopia (age-related farsightedness). This makes it more difficult for your eyes to focus on near objects and tasks like reading. Other common age-related eye problems include:

    • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
    • Cataracts
    • Glaucoma
    • Diabetic Retinopathy
    • Dry Eyes
    • Floaters
    • Changes to Peripheral Vision

    Can I do anything about my chances of vision loss?

    It is estimated that half of all visual impairment and blindness can be prevented through early diagnosis and treatment. So make sure you get regular eye exams to ensure that all is in check. 

     

    What’s The Link Between Obesity And Eye Disease?

    People who are obese are at higher risk of developing some sight-threatening eye conditions and diseases. Read on to discover why, and how we can help.

    It is well documented that obesity impacts health in numerous ways, from a higher incidence of diabetes to cardiovascular disease. What many people don’t know is obesity’s negative effect on vision and eye health. Speak with our Eye care professionals at Dry Eye Center of Alabama about any concerns you may have about your eye health or vision.

    There is increasing evidence that obese individuals have a greater risk of developing serious, sight-threatening eye diseases.

    Researchers at the Goldschleger Eye Institute at the Sheba Medical Center found a consistent link between obesity and the development of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

    The researchers noted that the public is largely unaware of this link, despite the evidence. If more people knew about the risk, they said, it might motivate them to try to shed some extra weight.

    How Does Obesity Impact The Eyes?

    A body mass index (BMI) of 25-30 is considered overweight and any BMI over 30 is considered obese. Recent studies indicate that a handful of ocular diseases can now be added to the list of medical conditions associated with an elevated BMI.

    Diabetic retinopathy, floppy eyelid syndrome, retinal vein occlusions, stroke-related vision loss, and age-related macular degeneration are all risk factors of obesity.

    While the cause is not yet certain, researchers believe this may be due to the peripheral artery disease prevalent among people who are obese. When the tiny blood vessels around the eyes are compromised, they may have trouble delivering oxygen and other nutrients to the eye area.

    Obesity is also a risk factor for developing cataracts (the clouding of the eye’s natural lens). Poor nutrition or high blood sugar levels, which are commonly found in people with obesity, may contribute to the cloudiness.

    Although obesity may contribute to cataract formation, losing weight may not significantly reduce the risk of developing them, partly because cataracts are also a common consequence of aging, whatever one’s weight.

    Additionally, morbid obesity is associated with higher inner eye pressure, which may increase one’s risk of glaucoma and glaucomatous optic neuropathy — leading causes of vision loss and blindness. Morbid obesity is defined as having a BMI of 40 or above, or 35 and above with health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.

    Stay Active, Healthy, and Have Regular Eye Exams

    An active lifestyle and a nutritious diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve overall physical and eye health. Try to include several key nutrients into your diets, such as vitamins C and E, zeaxanthin, omega-3, zinc, and lutein, as they may help delay or prevent certain eye diseases.

    While a balanced diet and regular exercise significantly increase your chance of living a healthy life, it’s also crucial to have regular eye exams. A comprehensive eye exam with Dr. C. Derrick Franklin can help detect the onset of ocular disease and ensure the earliest and most effective treatment to preserve your gift of sight.

    Don’t hesitate to call Dry Eye Center of Alabama in Birmingham with any questions or concerns regarding your vision or eye health — we’re here for you.

    Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Birmingham eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

    Book an eye exam at Dry Eye Center of Alabama eye clinic near you in Birmingham, Alabama to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 205 498 4244

    Dry Eye Center of Alabama, your Birmingham eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

    Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

    FOLLOW US

    • Is it possible to prevent Macular Degeneration?

      Doctors aren’t sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses could be very beneficial.

    • My doctor says I have a cataract, but he wants to wait a while before removing it. Why?

      A cataract usually starts very small and practically unnoticeable but grows gradually larger and cloudier. Your doctor is probably waiting until the cataract interferes significantly with your vision and your lifestyle. You need to continue to visit your eye doctor regularly so the cataract’s progress is monitored. Some cataracts never really reach the stage where they should be removed. If your cataract is interfering with your vision to the point where it is unsafe to drive, or doing everyday tasks is difficult, then it’s time to discuss surgery with your doctor.

    • What exactly is glaucoma?

      Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it’s not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.

    • What is diabetic retinopathy?

      Doctors aren’t sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses could be very beneficial.