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Understanding Vitamins for AMD

Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS)

In 2001, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) researchers reported that a vitamin supplement called the AREDS formulation could reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

In 2006, the same research group, based at National Institute of Health’s National Eye Institute, began a second study called AREDS2. They wanted to determine if they could improve the AREDS formulation. They tested the following: adding antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids, removing beta-carotene, and lowering the dose of zinc.

AREDS 1

What is the original AREDS vitamin formulation?
-500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
-400 international units of vitamin E
-80 mg zinc as zinc oxide
-15 mg beta-carotene
-2 mg copper as cupric oxide

AREDS2

What modifications were tested in AREDS2 vitamins?
-10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin
-1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA)
-25 mg zinc
No beta-carotene

Why did they change the AREDS2 formulation? Why add lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids? Previous studies had found that dietary intake of lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a lower risk of developing advanced AMD.

Why eliminate beta-carotene? During the AREDS trial, two large trials funded by the National Cancer Institute found that beta-carotene may increase lung cancer risk among people who smoke. Lutein and zeaxanthin are in the same family of nutrients as beta-carotene and are believed to have important functions in the retina. Therefore, the researchers theorized that lutein/zeaxanthin might be a safer and possibly more effective alternative than beta-carotene.

Why reduce the vitamin zinc? Although zinc was found to be an essential component of the AREDS formulation in the original trial, some nutritional experts recommended a lower dose.

You can buy AREDS2 formula eye vitamins at all of The Optical Gallery locations at The Eye Associates.

Are electronics affecting your kids’ eyes?

Phones, tablets and other electronic devices

How does electronics affect kids’ eyes?

Electronic devices. Our kids were raised with them. They can’t imagine life without them. And neither can we. But how are they affecting our kids’ eyes? We know first hand the strain that we feel after a long period at the computer. But what about our kids? According to the American Optometric Association, 83 % of our kids between 10 and 17 are using electronic devices 3 hours or more a day. Most parents are surprised to hear that. While we accept that we are using smart phones and computers for hours at work, it’s hard to imagine that our kids are spending so much time on them as well.

Another study published in Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus found that smartphones and tablets could be contributing to increased dry eye problems in kids’ eyes. Dry Eye symptoms such as burning, tearing, eye fatigue are common complaints that we hear everyday at The Eye Associates, and increasingly so in kids. Gaming glasses, computer glasses and digital eyeglasses are being prescribed more and more in order to offer symptom relief as well as protection against harmful bluelight emitted by electronics. The American Macular Degeneration Associations has suggested a link between bluelight and macular degeneration. Let’s start protecting our kids’ eyes early from macular degeneration.

The difference between kids and adults is the self awareness of symptoms. Adults feeling eye strain will take a break and give their eyes a rest. We find that children, especially when playing a game, will continue using the electronic device. That is why it is important for the parent to step in and institute rules about electronic use. We recommend taking a break every 20 minutes. Also remind your kids to blink. So often computer users forget to blink.

Adults are also susceptible to digital strain. Some common symptoms are tired eyes, stiff neck and headache.

http://www.zeiss.com/vision-care/en_de/better-vision/better-vision-with-zeiss/your-individualized-zeiss-lens/digital-lenses-spectacles-for-users-of-mobile-devices.html

5 REASONS TO HAVE AN EYE EXAM

Call 1-866-865-2020.

Eye exams save sight.

1) Even if You Don’t Wear Eyeglasses, You Still Need an Eye Exam.

Some sight-threatening eye diseases do not have early warning signs, and many can only be detected during a dilated eye exam. Some cataracts affect vision in such a gradual way that you do not notice the decreased vision. Half of all people with glaucoma are unaware that they even have the disease. Also, diabetics with diabetic retinopathy often do not experience symptoms when the disease is at its most treatable stage. Remember, the key to keeping good vision for a lifetime starts with early detection during an eye exam and early treatment.

2) Eye Exams Detect Other Health Problems Too

Most people don’t know that many general health problems are often first detected during a routine comprehensive eye exam. The reason is that the eye is the only place where blood vessels can be viewed in their natural state without a surgical procedure. Changes in the blood vessels of the eye or fluctuations in vision sometimes lead to the first diagnosis of common diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthrosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and high cholesterol. Graves’ disease is often first noticed as protruding eyes and double vision. Neurologic diseases such as MS may be first suspected when an eye doctor finds changes in the eye and the optic nerve. Even cancer and brain tumors, although rare, are sometimes detected during an eye exam. Our board certified physicians are always looking out for your overall health and well-being; not just your vision.

3) Good Vision Increases Safety

Poor vision can have an adverse effect on many life issues, such as depression, increased car accidents, and drug-related errors, but none of these are more concerning to life than a fall. Falls are among the leading cause of death of people age 65+, and people with low vision are at even greater risk. Reduced contrast sensitivity, decreased depth perception, and a reduction in the field of vision can inhibit balance and one’s ability to detect environmental hazards. Increased safety is one of the most compelling reasons to have an annual eye exam.

4) Vision Affects a Child’s Success in Life

Did you know that 80% of all learning is through the visual system, and decreased vision can significantly affect educational success, athletic ability and even social interaction? Countless children are receiving poor grades simply because they cannot see the blackboard; causing them to lose a desire to learn, and even stunting their social skills. While most parents recognize the value of routine dental care, they often underestimate the importance of testing a child’s vision.

5) Changing Eyecare Technology

We are living in a time when sight-saving technology is changing at an astonishing rate. Conditions once considered untreatable are now able to be corrected with cutting-edge technology. Just a few years ago, someone with wet macular degeneration would have lost most, if not all of their vision, but now we can help them with sight-saving medications. A cataract surgery patient who has worn glasses their entire life now has a choice of a high tech lens implant so they never have to wear glasses again. These are just a couple of examples of what we are able to offer patients today. So even if you’ve been told in the past that your condition was untreatable, technology may have changed all that. Only with a comprehensive eye exam can you know for sure.

You Only Have 2 Eyes! Sight does more than let you see what is in front of you. It allows you to safely live your life to the fullest with the ones you love. Schedule your yearly eye exam today!

Call 1-866-865-2020 for an appointment today!

The Truth about Glasses and Sunglasses

Eye Glasses Sunglasses The Eye Associates

Many people think that eyeglass lenses are all the same, but are your eyes the same as everyone else’s? Here at The Eye Associates, we take your eyes, your eyeglasses, your sunglasses and the way you see out of them, very seriously. We know that you come to us expecting that we will give you the best vision possible…… and we do that with Zeiss eyeglass and sunglass lenses.

I bet you have already heard the ‘Zeiss’ name, as they have been a leader in the precision lens industry for over 160 years. They won technical Academy Awards for Lord of the Rings and Jurassic Park movies, and they were even part of the NASA space program for man’s first steps on the moon! Now you can have that same level of high technology and advanced engineering with Zeiss eyeglass and sunglass lenses. How amazing is that

We are proud to say that Zeiss chose The Eye Associates to be a Zeiss Certified Practice in our Bradenton, Sarasota, Ellenton and Sun City Center locations. What does that mean to you, the patient? Zeiss brought in their top trainers to teach our board certified optical technicians and Florida licensed opticians about Zeiss precision optics and how to fit such an advanced product. They even took The Eye Associates’ staff to visit their lab to see how high quality eyeglass lenses are made using a precision computer and a pinpoint accurate diamond cutting process.

Why you should chose Zeiss lenses? Because you will simply see better ! A great deal of science, technology, and craftsmanship goes into every pair of Zeiss eyeglass and sunglass lenses. In fact, scientists at Carl Zeiss Vision are constantly developing new mathematical algorithms to improve the optical performance of their lenses. Just as you may have seen a poor quality window with distortions or a mirror that isn’t clear, poor quality eyeglass lenses can have distortions too. For example, poorly made progressive no-line bifocal lenses, known as progressive multifocals, can cause you to stumble, require you to move your head from side to side, and can actually cause blurry vision. The advanced technology of Zeiss progressive eyeglass lenses gives patients a thinner, lighter lens with a wider field of vision and perfect optics with no distortions. They will look great in your favorite frame. Standard progressive lenses are mass produced with a single, fixed lens design but Zeiss offers a completely custom lens, called the Individual 2, that is designed precisely for your prescription and your eyeglass frame choice. This manufacturing process is up to 6 times more accurate and gives you up to a 50% larger field of vision than ordinary progressive lenses. Our goal at The Eye Associates is to give our patients HD vision! And as Zeiss says: Better vision = Better quality of life.

Are You at Increased Risk for Glaucoma?


<img alt="mom with glaucoma and daughter hugging"

If your mom has glaucoma, there could be a good chance you will get glaucoma.

Do you have a family member with Glaucoma?

Glaucoma occurs twice as much among people who have a blood relative with the disease. Ask your family members if they have glaucoma, as it may not be a general topic of conversation. The only way to know for sure that you do not have this sight threatening disease is to have a comprehensive medical eye examination. So if you have a family member with this eye disease, you should consider glaucoma treatment at our ophthalmology clinic located in Sarasota.

Risk Factors

Glaucoma is an eye disease that slowly and painlessly steals away your sight. It does this by destroying the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the all-important connection between your eye and the brain. It carries visual data to be translated into the images you see. Damage to the optic nerve is permanent. The cause of this condition is unknown, but several factors increase the risk. These include being over age 60, being of African-American or Hispanic descent, having a family history of glaucoma, having certain medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, and being nearsighted. Anyone with one or more of these risk factors should get yearly eye exams.

A dilated eye exam is the only way that this eye disease can be diagnosed. If a glaucoma diagnosis is given, there are several kinds of treatment available to lower IOP and stop nerve damage. These include prescription eye drops, laser therapy, and surgery. A treatment plan must be followed for the rest of a patient’s life in order to keep the progression at bay.  Some eye drop medications are expensive, may have side effects, and it’s easy to forget to take them on a daily basis. Therefore, in some patients, laser therapy or a surgical procedure is recommended instead. Although there is no cure for this disease, combining medical treatment with regularly scheduled eye exams can reduce the risk of vision loss. Schedule your comprehensive dilated eye exam today.

Power Blink! Help for your Dry Eyes.


<img alt="man with eyes wide open for start of the power blink"

This is the starting point of a POWER BLINK.

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I put a lot of weight into good quality blinks. Want your eyes to feel better? Start by practicing the POWER BLINK on a regular basis! When you are reading, driving, and especially when you are on the computer, you actually blink less. It is estimated that during those activities, your blink rate is reduced by 70%. Yes, I said 70%. And remember that not blinking is to your eyes like not breathing is to your lungs.

What is a POWER BLINK?

A strong, full blink wipes away the old tear film and distributes a nice fresh tear lake full of nutrients and relief.

More Information about the Power of Blinking and Dry Eye Disease

We know from previous studies that people with dry eyes do not blink well, but a recent study revealed two interesting facts about blinking. Many do not close their eyes completely nor do they blink as often as those without dry eyes. The length of their blinks were also measured, and not surprisingly, when they do blink, they hold their eyes closed 2.5 times longer. So, is it the chicken or the egg? Do you develop dry eyes because you do not blink as often, or do you not blink as often because you have dry eyes? Do dry eye patients avoid blinking because when they do blink, they have to hold their eyes closed longer which is disconcerting when you are reading, on the computer, driving or even trying to carry on a conversation with someone?

So start practicing your POWER BLINK right now. Give your eyes a full, strong, eyes-completely-closed BLINK.

Richard Hector, MD

Fellowship Trained Corneal & Dry Eye Specialist

 

 

 

Safety of your Parent – Important reason for eye exams

<img alt; "safety of mom important to family"

Happy Mom with daughter and granddaughter.

Safety as we age is the most important thing. We all worry about the safety of our parents. Poor vision can have many adverse effects, such as depression, car accidents, and medication errors, but none of these are more concerning than a fall. Falls are among the leading cause of death for people age 65+, and people with low vision are at even greater risk. Reduced contrast, decreased depth perception, and a reduced field of vision can inhibit balance and the ability to detect obstacles. Increased safety is one of the most compelling reasons to have an annual eye exam.

Visual Factors That Impact Falls

Reduced field of vision – Objects that cannot be seen are a common cause of falls. Eye diseases such as Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy can rob one’s vision. Glaucoma affects ones peripheral vision, while Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy can cause blind spots in the central vision.
Reduced depth perception – People with vision in just one eye may have problems judging distances, making it more dangerous to negotiate obstacles.
Reduced contrast sensitivity – Reduced vision also causes reduced contrast making obstacles and clutter hard to see. Curbs become nearly invisible and many objects can fade into the background.

Eye Exams Save Sight and Increase Safety

Increased safety is one of the most compelling reasons to have an annual eye exam. Did you know that some eye diseases do not have warning signs, and many can only be detected with a dilated eye exam. Cataracts can affect sight so gradually that you don’t notice the decreased vision. And half of all people with glaucoma are unaware that they even have the disease. Also, diabetics with diabetic retinopathy often do not experience symptoms when the disease is at its most treatable stage. The key to keeping good vision starts with the early detection and treatment .