AMD, or age-related macular degeneration, is a common eye disease that can cause vision loss as you age. The macula is the part of your retina responsible for sharp, straight-ahead vision, and when it becomes damaged, AMD can cause your central vision to blur. AMD doesn’t lead to complete blindness, but losing your central vision can make it difficult to see faces, read, drive, or do close-up work. While AMD can’t be cured, there are treatments available that can help slow its progression. You can also take steps to reduce your risk of developing AMD in the first place. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss for older adults in the United States
Types of AMD
There are two types of AMD: dry and wet. The vast majority of people with AMD have the dry form, which is characterized by a thinning of the macula as you age. Dry AMD usually progresses slowly over several years. There is no treatment for late-stage dry AMD. You can find ways to make the most of your remaining vision. If you only have AMD in one eye, there are steps you can take to protect your vision in the other eye.
Wet AMD is a more severe form of the disease that can lead to rapid vision loss if left untreated. Wet AMD is caused by abnormal blood vessels growing under the retina and leaking fluid or blood into the surrounding tissue.
Dry AMD happens in three stages: early, intermediate, and late.
-Early dry AMD doesn’t cause any symptoms.
-In intermediate dry AMD, some people still have no symptoms. Others may notice mild symptoms, like mild blurriness in their central vision or trouble seeing in low lighting.
-In late-stage (wet or dry), many people notice that straight lines start to look wavy or crooked. You may also notice a blurry area near the center of your vision.
There is no cure for AMD but there are treatments available that can help slow its progression. Treatment options include prescription medications, vitamins and supplements, and laser surgery. If you’re worried that you may have AMD, it’s important to see an eye doctor for a diagnosis – early detection and treatment is key in preserving your vision.
How can we diagnose AMD?
We invested in Maculogix’ Adapt DX Pro to test patients for Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). With 20 years of clinical research behind it, this non-invasive device is one of the most accurate tools to detect early signs of AMD. It automatically aligns with the eye to capture an accurate measurement of dark adaptation speed. Dark adaptation is the automatic adjustment of the eye from bright light to low light, involving reflex dilation of the pupil. Dark adaptation speed is a key metric to diagnose early signs of AMD because the healthy eye adapts relatively quickly from bright light to darkness while the process can be very slow in the eyes with AMD.
Routine tests with Maculogix’ Adapt DX take about 5 min (compared to around an hour or more with other devices).
Now is the time to learn more about glaucoma and how it can affect your vision. Although glaucoma is not as well known as other eye diseases, such as cataracts or macular degeneration, it still affects millions of people in the United States and causes irreversible blindness. If you want to know what glaucoma does and how you can protect your eyes from this disease, keep reading!
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve. This can lead to vision loss and blindness, although there are often no symptoms until it’s too late. Once glaucoma damages the optic nerve, it can’t be repaired. This is why regular eye exams are so important! If glaucoma has already damaged part of your optic nerves, you might not notice any changes in vision until a lot of damage has been done.
Glaucoma is called the sneak thief of sight since it damages vision without warning. There are glaucoma risk factors, though. One glaucoma risk factor is family history, especially in people who have had glaucoma previously or glaucoma at an early age. People with diabetes are also at higher risk for developing glaucoma than those who don’t have diabetes.
Glaucoma is more common in African Americans and Latinos than Caucasians. In fact, glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African Americans than Caucasians. If you’re part of one of these populations, it’s important to be especially vigilant about getting screened for glaucoma on a regular basis.
How do you know if you have glaucoma?
In many cases, there aren’t any symptoms to watch out for until a lot of damage has already been done and your eyesight starts getting worse without explanation so regular screening by an eye doctor is important!
Advanced signs of glaucoma can include:
Cloudy, yellow vision. This is because glaucoma damages the optic nerve and causes it to swell up. Sometimes people with glaucoma describe this as a cloud or fog that blocks their vision even though they have perfect eyesight.
Peripheral vision (the area outside the center of sight) begins to blur over time, making straight lines look wavy – especially when both eyes are affected by glaucoma.
Pain in the eye or in the head
Seeing halos around lights at night or bright colors like blue as grey.
If you are experiencing the above symptoms, contact your optometrist immediately.
What can be done to prevent Glaucoma?
Get regular eye exams to catch glaucoma before it catches you.
Talk to your eye doctor if you are taking steroid medication. Long-term use of steroids is likely to raise eye pressure and can lead to glaucoma.
Research shows that an annual, routine eye exam could prevent 95% of vision loss caused by diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. Eyepic Eye Care is reiterating the importance of eye exams during the month of November, which is observed as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month.
What is the leading cause of blindness in the United States?
Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States among adults aged 20 to 74 and is the fifth most common cause of preventable blindness globally. Among the 30 million Americans with diabetes, about one-third have diabetic retinopathy, the potentially blinding complication of diabetes.
People typically don’t notice changes in their vision in the disease’s early stages. But as it progresses, diabetic retinopathy usually causes vision loss that in many cases cannot be reversed. That’s why it’s so important that everyone with diabetes has yearly exams for early detection. But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consistently reports that less than two-thirds of people with diabetes undergo their recommended annual dilated ophthalmic examination. These rates are even lower among children and adolescents with diabetes, with less than half of youth with type 2 diabetes receiving an examination within six years of diagnosis.
Am I at risk for diabetes?
Many people live with prediabetes and diabetes without knowing it. That is because early symptoms can be easy to miss and is why Eyepic Eyecare is stressing the importance of an annual comprehensive eye exam. An annual comprehensive eye exam is critical for the prevention and early detection of eye complications related to diabetes. Take the risk test, which is a 60-second Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test, provided by the American Diabetes Association.
What are some of the warning signs of diabetic eye disease?
Some diabetic eye diseases have no signs or symptoms until they are too obvious to ignore, which might present as:
Dark spots or “holes”
Flashes of light
Seeing an increased amount of floaters
Poor night vision
How can I learn more about Diabetic Eye Disease and the diabetes community?
The following video features some of the American Diabetes Association’s healthy vision ambassadors, also known as “champions”. Patricia shares her story of diabetic vision loss, Natalie shares her story of living with diabetic retinopathy, and Roger shares his story of living with Type 2 diabetes. In these stories, you can learn more as these people share their experiences and the risk of diabetes-related eye disease directly from the leading voices in the field.
“We all live busy lives. When patients with diabetes are told nothing is wrong during their first eye exams, are asymptomatic, and have difficulty taking time off work, it’s easy to see how coming in for yet another health appointment might be deprioritized if the risks aren’t communicated to the patient,” said Ravi Parikh, MD, MPH, the study’s senior author. “The health care system as it stands today is not equipped to handle missed exams effectively. Maintaining follow-up exams also is a real problem.”
Students face special challenges to the eyes when they are under academic performance pressure. Lack of sleep, prolonged computer use, and long hours of studying make for tired eyes that are dry, scratchy, and achy. Because of this, Eyepic Eye Care has eye health tips from an actual eye doctor.
Prolonged computer use contributes to eye fatigue because you blink less frequently. Less blinking significantly reduces lubrication in the eye making it feel tired, scratchy, and “dry” as a result. Also, eyes are not designed for prolonged focus on a single object, such as the computer. Remedy: place a note on the computer screen as a reminder to blink and look away from the screen and focus on objects in the distance.Looking out a window (20 – 20 – 20 rule:for every 20 minutes of computer work, look away for 20 seconds, and focus on a scene or object at least 20 feet away) is a good break for the eyes. The key is to give your eyes a rest.
“Dry eye” is a common feeling from not giving your eyes enough rest while some people just naturally do not produce enough tears to keep their eyes healthy and comfortable. Some common symptoms of dry eye are stinging and burning to the eyes, scratchiness, excessive eye irritation from smoke or wind, and excessive tearing. Remedy: If you have occasional symptoms of dry eye, you should try eye drops called artificial tears. These are similar to your own tears and help lubricate the eyes and maintain moisture. For persistent “dry eye,” see your eye doctor.
Contact Lenses and Sleep Deprivation
When a contact-lens wearer stays awake studying for 18-20 hours or more with their contacts in, it’s almost the equivalent of sleeping with contacts in, something that your eye doctor warns against. Prolonged wearing of your contact lenses is a problem for people who wear regular hydrogen lenses since traditional hydrogels are relatively less permeable to oxygen than newer alternatives like silicone hydrogels. The eye needs oxygen to keep it healthy. Without regular exposure to oxygen, the eye’s cornea can become inflamed and the vision blurry. Prolonged contact lens use can even lead to infections or corneal ulcers that in the worst case can permanently damage vision.
Sometimes students fall asleep without knowing it (with their contacts in) while studying. Remedy: Alternate wearing contact lenses with the use of eyeglasses during long study periods. Also, students with irregular sleep patterns can wear contact lenses made of silicon hydrogen, a new material with improved oxygen permeability, which may reduce the risk of infection and discomfort.
The research found that the average office worker spends 1,700 hours per year in front of a computer screen. And that doesn’t include our addiction to phones and other digital devices. All this screen time has led to an increase in complaints of eye strain, dry eye, headaches, and insomnia. Eyepic Eye Care and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are offering tips to desk workers everywhere whose eyes may need relief from too much screen time and to protect their eyes from digital eye strain.
What is digital eye strain?
Eye strain can mean different things to different people. “Eye strain is more of a symptom than an actual condition,” explains Laurie Barber, MD, a comprehensive ophthalmologist in Little Rock, Ark. “People use the term differently. One person may mean their eyes are tired or watery, while another may have blurred vision. Some people may have headaches they attribute to eye strain, and others may have facial muscle fatigue from squinting for long periods because they are not wearing the correct glasses.”
Digital eye strain includes a collection of eye problems that can happen after staring at a screen for too long. Symptoms can include blurry vision, headaches, and tired, dry eyes.
Why does computer use strain the eyes more than reading print material?
Mainly because people tend to blink less while using computers. Focusing the eyes on computer screens or other digital displays has been shown to reduce a person’s blink rate by a third to a half, which tends to dry out the eyes. We also tend to view digital devices at less than ideal distances or angles. As children are spending more time in front of devices, it is important to know if you are protecting your children’s eyes from digital eye strain as well. For more on children’s digital eye strain, click here.
What can I do to get relief from digital eye strain?
You don’t need to buy expensive computer glasses to get relief. In fact, a recent study concluded that blue light filters are no more effective at reducing the symptoms of digital eye strain than a neutral filter. Instead, try altering your environment with these simple tips:
Keep your distance: The eyes actually have to work harder to see close up than far away. Try keeping the monitor or screen at arm’s length, about 25 inches away. Position the screen so your eye gaze is slightly downward.
Reduce glare: Glass screens can produce glare that can aggravate the eye. Try using a matte screen filter.
Adjust lighting: If a screen is much brighter than the surrounding light, your eyes have to work harder to see. Adjust your room lighting and try increasing the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain.
Give your eyes a break: Remember to blink and follow the 20-20-20 rule. Take a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Looking into the distance allows your eyes to relax.
Keep eyes moist: Keep artificial tears at hand to help lubricate your eyes when they feel dry. Consider using a desktop humidifier. Office buildings have humidity-controlled environments that suck moisture out of the air. In winter, heaters on high can further dry your eyes.
Stop using devices before bed: There is evidence that blue light may affect the body’s circadian rhythm, our natural wake and sleep cycle. During the day, blue light wakes us up and stimulates us. So, too much blue light exposure late at night from your phone or other devices may make it harder to get to sleep. Limit screen time one to two hours before bedtime. Use nighttime settings on devices and computers that minimize blue light exposure.
Is digital eye strain from computer usage serious?
“Eyestrain can be frustrating. But it usually isn’t serious and goes away once you rest your eyes or take other steps to reduce your eye discomfort,” said Dianna L. Seldomridge, M.D. “If these tips don’t work for you, you may have an underlying eye problem, such as eye muscle imbalance or uncorrected vision, which can cause or worsen computer eyestrain.”
Those experiencing consistently dry red eyes or eye pain should visit an ophthalmologist, a physician specializing in medical and surgical eye care. Schedule an appointment today.
October is here, which means costume planning has begun! Whether you are dressing up for an office costume contest, trick-or-treating, or festive parties, you must be vigilant when it comes to eye safety, for yourself, family, and friends, which is why we are celebrating Halloween Eye Safety Month with the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Spooky contact lenses, extravagant eyelashes, and eye makeup/cosmetics can complete your Halloween costume but beware of the dangers that can befall your eyes, such as infections and in some cases vision loss.
How can I know if contact lenses are illegal?
Here’s an easy way to tell if your costume contact lenses are counterfeit: Can you purchase them without a prescription? If the answer is yes, those creepy lenses are a danger to your vision. Eyepic Eyecare urges people to buy decorative contact lenses only from retailers who require a prescription and sell FDA-approved products.
It’s easy to forget that decorative lenses are medical devices, not costume jewelry. They must be prescribed and fitted by an eye care professional, just like regular contact lenses. That’s because a poorly fitted contact lens can easily scrape the cornea, the outer layer of the eye, making the eye more vulnerable to infection-causing bacteria and viruses. Research shows that people who purchase contacts without a prescription face a 16-fold increased risk of developing an infection.
Halloween eye safety tips: contact lenses
To help ensure you won’t be haunted by a ghoulish and painful contact lens-related eye infection, here are some Halloween costume and eye safety tips from our friends at the American Academy of Ophthalmology:
See an eye care professional to get a prescription for costume contact lenses. Packaging that claims “one size fits all” or “no need to see an eye doctor” is false. Get properly fitted by an ophthalmologist (physicians and surgeons who specialize in medical and surgical eye care) or optometrist (healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care).
Buy only FDA-approved products. Buy contacts only from eye care professionals or retailers that require a prescription and sell FDA-approved lenses.
Never share contacts. Sharing contacts can spread germs and bacteria, potentially causing blinding corneal infections and even pink eye. Again, contact lenses not fitted for your eye can cause vision-threatening damage.
Limit wear of colored contact lenses to four or five hours. The dye and less expensive materials used in costume lenses can restrict oxygen flow to the cornea. Less “breathable” lenses are less healthy for the eye. Never sleep in contact lenses, even if you have a prescription.
Spread the word to others about the dangers of costume contacts. Don’t let friends make the mistake of wearing costume contacts without a prescription. It can cost them their vision.
“It’s easy to buy these inexpensive contact lenses on impulse, forgetting that they are medical devices, not costume jewelry,” Thomas L. Steinemann, MD said. “We don’t want to ruin your Halloween, just get a prescription first and only buy FDA-approved lenses.”
WHAT’S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN IF I WEAR COUNTERFEIT COLORED CONTACTS?
Julian Hamlin is a prime example of what can happen when using counterfeit colored contact lenses. He lost vision in his left eye after an infection from decorative colored contact lenses. He’s had multiple cornea transplants, secondary glaucoma, and cataract. Watch the video below for more information on what happened to Julian and the consequences of wearing illegal costume contact lenses. Though the federal government works to keep illegal and harmful versions of decorative or color contact lenses off the shelves, they can still be purchased at costume shops, gas stations, corner shops, and online retailers, including Amazon.
Halloween eye safety tips: eyelash extensions
Eyelash extensions are part of everyday life for some people; however, those venturing to extend their lashes for Halloween for the first time should be aware of the facts and safety precautions to promote eye safety and avoid the risks, namely: trauma or infection of the eyelid or cornea, allergic reaction to the glue, and permanent or temporary loss of eyelashes. There are three primary types of eyelash extensions, including synthetic, silk, and mink, which are typically applied by a beauty technician using tweezers and a specially formulated semi-permanent glue. “To keep the eyes safe, lashes should be applied by an experienced aesthetician in a sanitary setting, with chemicals that are safe for your skin,” Nashville ophthalmologist Rebecca J. Taylor, MD said. “Remember that a sharp object is being used very close to your eye.”
HOW TO DO EYELASH EXTENSIONS THE RIGHT WAY
Last minute eyelash extensions are something that you want to avoid. To keep your eyes protected this spooky season or every other day, you should take the time and find a reputable, safe shop or salon and an experienced aesthetician. Once you locate those two, you should also complete your due diligence by researching the ingredients of the products that will be used on your eyelashes to ensure there are no allergens. Here are some questions to consider before getting eyelash extensions:
Does the salon have a good reputation? How long have they been in business, and do they practice good hygiene? Read reviews and look at before-and-after photos from other customers.
What training, certification, and experience does the aesthetician have in lash extensions?
Ask for the glue’s ingredient list and check it for allergens. Confirm the expiration date has not passed. Request a spot test on the inside of your wrist before the glue is applied to your eyes.
If you do have an allergic reaction to your extensions, do not remove them yourself, and do not try to treat the reaction on your own. You can damage your eyes and doing something incorrectly can make your symptoms last longer. Contact an ophthalmologist immediately.
Halloween eye safety tips: eye makeup/cosmetics
What is a Halloween costume without makeup? We know that almost all good costumes require makeup of some sort and that you want to win the costume party this year, so here are some tips to keep your eyes safe for your Halloween extravaganzas (and for every day):
Skip on painting your eyes and only use makeup/cosmetics designed for use around the eyes.
Avoid products that contain untested or harsh chemicals.
Introduce only one new eye makeup or care product at a time, especially if you tend to have allergic reactions easily. Don’t add another new product until you know you’re not reacting to the first one. This might mean planning out your costume way ahead of time, but it’s worth it to avoid allergic reactions which could keep you from your Halloween party altogether.
If you develop an eye infection, like pink eye, immediately toss all of your eye makeup and don’t use eye makeup until the infection is gone.
If you notice an allergic reaction to makeup:
Find out what the ingredients are so you can watch out for them in other products.
Let your doctor know. Your doctor may know about products that are prone to causing reactions, and about gentler alternatives.
Clean your face and eyelids well before applying makeup.
Sharing is not caring when it comes to eye makeup/cosmetics. Never share eye makeup, even with family or close friends.
Always apply makeup outside the lash line, away from the eye, to avoid blocking the oil glands of the upper or lower eyelid. These glands secrete oil that protects the eye’s surface.
Even if you are running late, never apply makeup while in a moving vehicle.
If your lashes are clumped together by mascara or another product, do not use anything sharp to separate the lashes. You can easily poke or scratch your eye this way.
Remove makeup from around the eyes carefully, which can be done effectively with vaseline or baby shampoo.
EYE MAKEUP AND COSMETIC PRODUCT WARNINGS: POWDERS, GLITTERS, AND SHADOWS
The AAO warns people to be careful with metallic, glitter, and sparkle eye makeup and cosmetic powders, shadows or other product, as flakes can fall into your eyes which can make their way into your tear film and irritate your eyes. In fact, glitter eye makeup is a common cause of corneal irritation or infection, especially for those who also wear contact lenses. In some cases, larger glitter flakes have been known to scratch the eye, which is comparable to getting sand or dirt stuck in your eye.
Follow these basic eye safety tips when working with eye makeup and cosmetics this spooky season and you should be in good shape. Want to know more about eye makeup tips for people with sensitive eyes? We’ve got you covered, click here to keep learning.
EYE MAKEUP AND COSMETIC PRODUCT WARNINGS: HEATED EYELASH CURLERS
While the mechanical curler can get the job done, some want that extra “oomph”, which is why heated eyelash curlers are sought out. People should keep in mind that too much heat around the eye, curlers typically ranging from 100 to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, can cause damage to the skin around the eye, cause lashes to fall out, or even damage the eye itself permanently.
“Human skin can sustain first-degree burns at 118 degrees Fahrenheit and second-degree burns at 131 degrees. Since the skin of the eyelids is especially thin, it will damage easier and at lower temperatures,” Natasha Herz, MD said. “Even more concerning is if the hand of the user isn’t so steady or accidentally bumps against something, causing the curling iron to touch the conjunctiva or cornea. This would cause a thermal injury that, at best, will take a week to heal. If it causes a burn in the center of the cornea, over the pupil, and in the line of sight, it can cause a scar that will cause permanent loss of vision.”
Have any questions about how to better protect your eyes this Halloween? Get in touch with our team of eye care professionals and we would be more than happy to help.
More than 2 million Americans are living with the most advanced forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a number that is expected to reach 4.4 million by 2050. It is the leading cause of blindness among white Americans over 40, and it’s a leading cause of irreversible vision loss throughout the world.
What is age-related macular degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration happens when part of the retina, called the macula, is damaged. It’s the part of the eye that delivers sharp, central vision needed to see objects straight ahead. Over time, the loss of central vision can interfere with everyday activities, such as the ability to drive, read, and see faces clearly. Because AMD often has no early warning signs, getting regular comprehensive eye exams from an ophthalmologist is critical. There are two types of AMD.
What are the two types of age-related macular degeneration?
Dry age-related macular degeneration is the more common form of AMD. Close to 80 percent (eight out of ten) of people who have AMD develop the dry type. Dry AMD is when parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein called drusen grow, causing people to slowly lose their central vision. There is no treatment for dry AMD; however, there are some vitamins and minerals that can slow dry AMD if taken on. daily basis (see below).
Wet age-related macular degeneration is the least common type of AMD, but is the far more serious type. Wet AMD develops when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina, sometimes leaking blood or other fluids, which can cause scarring of the macula. Vision loss is quicker with wet AMD than it is with dry AMD.
Who is at risk for age-related macular degeneration?
You are more likely to develop AMD if you:
Are 60 years old or older, but AMD can occur earlier
Eat a diet high in saturated fat, such as meat, butter, and cheese
Smoke, smokers have double the risk of developing AMD
Have hypertension (high blood pressure)
Have heart disease
Have high cholesterol
Are Caucasian, AMD is more common in Caucasians
Have AMD in the family, because there are more than 20 genes linked to AMD
This is how AMD can appear, simulation provided by AAO.
What are age-related macular degeneration symptoms?
Age-related macular degeneration symptoms can include:
Blurred or “fuzzy” vision
Straight lines, such as sentences on a page, appearing wavy or distorted
Blurry areas on a printed page
Difficulty reading or seeing details in low light levels
Extra sensitivity to glare
Should I get an age-related macular degeneration screening?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology guidelines state that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40 — the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. From age 40 to 54, get your eyes examined every 2 to 4 years; from 55 to 64, every 1 to 3 years. By age 65, get an exam every one to two years, even in the absence of symptoms or eye problems. If you have risk factors for eye disease, you will need to be examined more frequently.
Ophthalmologists are physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care. These eye doctors have more tools than ever before to diagnose AMD earlier, and to treat it better. But these advances cannot help patients whose disease is undiagnosed, or patients who are unaware of the seriousness of their disease.
“People’s lack of understanding about AMD is a real danger to public health,” said Rahul N. Khurana, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “As the number of people with AMD is expected to explode in the coming years, it’s more important than ever that we prioritize eye health and have our eyes examined regularly.”
Can vitamins and minerals help with age-related macular degeneration?
Vitamins and minerals can help some people with dry AMD keep their vision longer. While their is no treatment for dry AMD, these vitamins and supplements can help slow dry AMD, if taken on a daily basis:
Vitamin C (500 mg)
Vitamin E (400 IU)
Lutein (10 mg)
Zeaxanthin (2 mg)
Zinc (80 mg)
Copper (2 mg)
If you have questions about dry AMD or about taking these vitamins and minerals to help with dry AMD, please contact our ophthalmologist. They will be able to tell you if vitamins and minerals are recommended for your dry AMD. Not all forms will benefit from supplements. Beta carotene should not be used by smokers as it raised the risk of lung cancer.
How you can reduce your risk of AMD
There are several things people can do to reduce their risk of AMD, including:
Eating eye-healthy foods such as dark leafy greens, yellow fruits and vegetables, fish, and a balanced, nutrient-rich diet (these have also been shown beneficial for people with AMD)
Get regular eye exams
If you believe you have AMD or have questions about this eye disease, schedule an appointment with one of our eye care specialists today. It is never too early or too late to prioritize healthy vision. Start today and let Eyepic Eyecare help with your vision journey.
By age 65, one in three Americans will have a vision-impairing eye disease. Many sight-robbing conditions can be effectively treated if detected early enough, in many cases limiting or eliminating the damage to eyesight. Today, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is sharing valuable information about how to take care of your vision.
Four eye diseases — age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts — account for most cases of adult blindness and low vision among people in developed countries. Because these eye diseases cause no pain and often have no early symptoms, they do not automatically prompt people to seek medical care. But a thorough checkup by an ophthalmologist — a physician who specializes in medical and surgical eye care — can detect them in their earliest stages. Early treatment is vital because it can slow or halt disease progression or, in the case of cataracts, restore normal vision.
A thorough eye exam can also detect other health conditions, such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, sexually transmitted diseases and some cancers. It’s not uncommon for a trip to the ophthalmologist to actually save a life.
The Academy’s global community of 33,000 physicians urges you to follow these five simple steps to take control of your eye health today: Get a comprehensive medical eye exam at age 40. Early signs of disease or changes in vision may begin at this age. An exam by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist is an opportunity to carefully examine the eye for diseases and conditions that may have no symptoms in the early stages.
Know your family history. Certain eye diseases can be inherited. If you have a close relative with macular degeneration, you have a 50 percent chance of developing this condition. A family history of glaucoma increases your glaucoma risk by four to nine times. Talk to family members about their eye conditions. It can help you and your ophthalmologist evaluate your risk.
Eat healthy foods. A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, benefits the entire body, including the eyes. Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and cold water fish.
Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk for eye diseases such as cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Smoking also raises the risk for cardiovascular diseases which can indirectly influence your eye health. Tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke, also worsens dry eye.
Wear sunglasses. Exposure to ultraviolet UV light raises the risk of eye diseases, including cataract, fleshy growths on the eye and cancer. Always wear a hat and sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection while outdoors.
“An eye exam doesn’t just check how well you can see, it evaluates the overall health of your eyes,” said Rebecca J. Taylor, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “The Academy encourages everyone, particularly if you’re over age 40, to get regular eye care. By making vision a priority, we can help protect our sight as we age.”
The number of older Americans with low vision is expected to double in the coming years, as more people live longer. Low vision describes poor vision that can’t be fixed or improved with glasses, contacts, or surgery. People with low vision have blind spots that can make it difficult or impossible to drive, read or see faces. But the tragedy isn’t that people have lost vision, it’s that most believe nothing can be done to improve their quality of life. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and Eyepic Eye Care are taking the opportunity of September’s Healthy Aging Month to let people know they can retain their independence and stay safe, despite declining vision.
Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of low vision. Other common contributors include diabetic eye disease, glaucoma and inherited retinal diseases. Whatever the cause, vision rehabilitation helps people make the most of the vision they have left so they can live as independently as possible.
The field of vision rehabilitation has advanced significantly over the years, offering more effective technologies and strategies. Today, ophthalmologists can offer solutions that range from a simple, portable video magnifier that can enlarge text and objects to high-tech glasses with cameras that allow people to read a text and see faces.
But there are many simple changes people can make on their own to help them live better:
Improve contrast. Put dark place mats under white place settings, buy rugs that are a contrasting color with the floor, and kitchen towels and cutting boards that contrast with the countertop. Use contrasting colored tape along the edges of rugs, stairsteps and lamp shades.
Improve lighting. Every year, about 3 million older Americans are treated for injuries from falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of these falls are caused by low vision. Add lighting to staircases and dark hallways. Remove rugs from hallways to prevent tripping. Task lighting in the kitchen can also make food preparation safer and easier.
Reduce clutter and organize. A cluttered house is more difficult to navigate and can contribute to falls and frustration. When each item has a specific place and is identified with a high-contrast label, it’s easier to locate items needed for everyday living.
Embrace technology. Books on tape and personal voice-activated assistants, like Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa, can be enormously helpful for people who can no longer see well enough to read, dial a phone or set a thermostat.
Most importantly, see an ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist can determine the full extent of vision loss and exact location of blind spots. Either the ophthalmologist or a low vision specialist can then determine the best techniques and devices that can help patients get around their individual challenges.
Unfortunately, many patients are referred outside of Eyepic Eye Care for vision rehabilitation as a last resort, once their disease has advanced to a late stage. But it’s most effective when introduced early in a patient’s visual loss, so they can involve themselves in the process as they learn how to move around in their new world.
“The prospect of being unable to drive, read or see loved one’s faces is frightening and can lead some people to withdraw from life,” said John D. Shepherd, M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “While there isn’t one strategy or tool that works for every person, vision rehabilitation offers hope. It can help people stay in their homes and keep doing the things they love to do.”
Summer soirées are back and better than ever this year in New York City. To ensure to you are practicing proper makeup eye safety, we’ve put together a few tips for you to have the summer Megan intended you to have. Here are a few makeup tips for people with sensitive eyes:
Prevent makeup from coming into direct contact with your eye
This can be a challenge with eyeshadow particles flying around and flaky mascaras, but preventing direct contact can save you from eye irritation and dryness down the road. The issues can increase in severity if you wear contact lenses, as the particles can get trapped beneath the contact lens and your eye. Pro tip: don’t apply mascara to the roots of your lashes and don’t apply eyeliner on the inside of your lid. Frosting looks better on the outside of the cake, right?
Remove makeup with products that are sensitive-eye friendly
If you have sensitive eyes or are just looking for eye makeup remover, don’t over complicate things. Grab a cotton pad and some baby shampoo. This is a combination recommended by Ashley Brissette, a New York City-based assistant professor of ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medicine. Pro tip: keep baby shampoo on hand for gently swiping away your eye makeup and for cleaning your brushes. Clean eyes and clean brushes? Double win.
Fight bacteria by regularly cleaning your brushes and applicators
Keep bacteria out of your makeup routine by regularly cleaning your brushes and applicators. This simple practice can reduce sensitivity and prevent unnecessary eye infections. Pro tip: clean brushes and applicators with warm water and baby shampoo once a week.
Remember that makeup has an expiration date
All good things come to an end and your makeup products are no exception. If you’re not good with keeping track of product expirations, a good rule of thumb is to replace your products every three months. Pro tip (because we know makeup is not cheap): when you purchase a new product make an alarm in your phone to remind you of the expiration date so you will know when it’s time to buy a new mascara, eyeliner, etc. or write it on the packaging.