Keeping your eyes healthy while wearing contacts

contactsAre you starting not t see well in your contacts?  Make sure to follow these simple steps and keep your eyes healthy!

  • Always wash your hands before handling contact lenses.
  • Carefully and regularly clean contact lenses, as directed by your optometrist. Rub the contact lenses with fingers and rinse thoroughly before soaking lenses overnight in sufficient multi-purpose solution to completely cover the lens.
  • Store lenses in the proper lens storage case and replace the case at a minimum of every three months. Clean the case after each use, and keep it open and dry between cleanings.
  • Use only products recommended by your optometrist to clean and disinfect your lenses. Saline solution and rewetting drops are not designed to disinfect lenses.
  • Only fresh solution should be used to clean and store contact lenses. Never re-use old solution. Contact lens solution must be changed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, even if the lenses are not used daily.
  • Always follow the recommended contact lens replacement schedule prescribed by your optometrist.
  • Remove contact lenses before swimming or entering a hot tub.
  • See your optometrist for your regularly scheduled contact lens and eye examination.
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Computer Vision Syndrome

20202055% of adults spend up to five hours a day using a computer or handheld device. Make sure to use the 20-20-20 rule and take a break every 20 minutes!


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Lifestyle choices matter for vision loss

Excerpted from the January/February 2015 edition of AOA Focus
When it comes to the risk of vision impairment, a patient has no control over genetics. However, a patient can control lifestyle choices.

The findings highlight an opportunity for optometrists to play an increasing role on a health care team.

Quantifying the role of those choices has been a major goal of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, a longitudinal, population-based cohort study that has been ongoing since 1987.
“Our impetus was to determine the relationship of modifiable risk factors to age-related eye disease and vision impairment—and how common they are,” says Ronald Klein, M.D., M.P.H., a retinal specialist and epidemiological researcher from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health who has worked on Beaver Dam since its inception.
Following a cohort of 4,926 people, ages 43 to 86 at the study’s launch, the study has collected data on age-related cataract, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, among other conditions. Based on an initial assessment and follow-up every five years, the team examined lifestyle factors in relation to changes in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) over time.
Findings include the following:

  • Being a current or past smoker was related to a bigger change in the number of acuity letters lost over time. Specifically, current smokers lost 0.44 more letters over each five-year interval than people who never smoked.
  • Study participants who indicated they engaged in regular physical activity at least three times per week were less likely than sedentary participants to develop visual impairment over time. Around 2 percent of the active group developed visual impairment, compared with 6.7 percent of the sedentary group.

“It’s important to note that even when incorporating factors such as age, income and conditions such as AMD and cataract, lifestyle factors were still associated with these outcomes,” Dr. Klein notes. “Our data suggests these modifiable risk factors affect more than just eye conditions.”
The study also included results related to alcohol consumption. Occasional drinkers—those who reported consuming alcohol in the past year—experienced a lower rate of visual impairment than nondrinkers. But Dr. Klein cautions against interpreting that result as a reason to encourage drinking.
Findings bolster messages The findings may come as no surprise to ODs who commonly speak with patients about lifestyle choices.
“However, seeing such changes over time, in such a large group, helps put credence to our recommendations,” says Janis Winters, O.D., an associate professor at the Illinois College of Optometry who practices in Chicago. She does caution that though the study population is large, it is also largely Caucasian; performing such research on varied populations is a future opportunity.
Still, Dr. Winters sees the study as reinforcing the messages ODs share with patients. She says the findings highlight an opportunity for optometrists to play an increasing role on a health care team, flagging risks and communicating with other professionals about how patients can reduce them.
“For example,” she says, “smoking is a big risk factor not only for ocular conditions but also for systemic conditions. This study gives us yet another reason to communicate the message about nonsmoking to patients—and also to better coordinate a quitting strategy as a team.”

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New research about cataract formation could help delay onset

New research about cataract development could lead to progress in pharmaceuticals and dietary approaches designed to delay cataract onset.

A team of scientists at Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA HNRCA) at Tufts University found that a communication breakdown might be responsible for causing cataracts.
Cataracts develop with an accumulation of abnormal proteins, which are normally removed by the ubiquitin and lysosomal pathways. However, researchers noticed that when the ubiquitin pathway falters, calcium flows into the cells of the lens, activating a third pathway. This third pathway, the calpain pathway, is what causes cataract-related damage.
This new knowledge could affect both therapeutic and dietary approaches to delaying cataract onset.
Kimberly Reed, O.D., associate professor at the Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, notes that the link between a proper diet and later onset of cataracts is nothing new.
“We have plenty of observational evidence that a proper diet rich in antioxidants, either through diet or supplements, is associated with a later onset of cataract, particularly nuclear sclerosis,” Dr. Reed says. “This research may help to bridge the gap in our understanding about why that seems to be the case.”
Optometrists play a role in cataract prevention Most cataracts are related to aging. The National Eye Institute states, “By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery.” Cataracts also can be treated with a relatively simple surgical procedure.
This new information—and any new dietary guidelines or new drugs that result from it—could potentially reduce the need for surgery in some cases, which would have a significant impact on patient lives and public health.
“Even though cataracts aren’t considered to be as serious as other incurable aging eye diseases, like some types of macular degeneration or glaucoma, they are still a significant source of visual dysfunction in the elderly population,” says Dr. Reed.
“Many people don’t have immediate access to eye care, and others may delay having their cataracts removed due to a lack of a support system during and after the surgery, or for cultural or other reasons. So, delaying the onset of cataracts could have a significant public health impact,” she adds.
Dr. Reed believes optometrists can play a role in prevention—particularly before patients age—as more research is conducted about how cataracts form.
“It’s not too early to talk about the link between lifestyle, nutrition, and health status to patients in their early teen years, because very rarely is an aging disease the result of something that began in the patient’s later years,” Dr. Reed says. “Rather, it is a lifetime accumulation of habits, foods and other influences that shape our health status as we get older.”



From: American Optometric Associationcataract1

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Peanut Consumption May Be Linked To Lower Risk Of Death From Heart Disease

Reuters reports that research published online in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that peanut consumption may be linked to a lower risk of death from heart disease.

TIME reports that investigators “examined three large groups involving more than 70,000 black and white men and women living in the U.S. and more than 130,000 men and women living in Shanghai, China.” The researchers “found that those who ate peanuts across all three groups had improved total mortality and less cardiovascular disease.”

According to MedPage Today, “Lifestyle guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology specifically includes nuts as part of a recommended dietary pattern associated with reduced atherosclerotic risk.”

HealthDay points out that the research was “funded by the US National Cancer Institute.” Medical Daily and the Daily Mail (UK) also cover the story.

From AOA First Lopeanutsok

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Telescopic Contact Lenses In Development For People With AMD.

conactNewsweek (2/14, Wolfson) reported that Swiss researchers “are working on telescopic contact lenses designed for daily use” for people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The lenses contain “minuscule mirrors arranged to more or less mimic a traditional Galilean telescope, magnifying the image and, essentially, acting like built-in binoculars.” There are some downsides to the lenses, which may be difficult for seniors to insert, may cause eye irritation, and pose problems with oxygenation. That is because the experimental “lenses are 1.55 millimeters thick, much thicker than your standard soft lens, which are at most .35 mm thick.” The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has provided funding for the study.

Also covering the story are The Telegraph (UK) (2/14, Knapton) and the Daily Mail (UK) (2/14, Macrae).

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Frieden Warns Measles Outbreak May Get Worse.

The measles outbreak continues to generate a significant amount of coverage and was mentioned by all three network newscasts Wednesday night. As public health officials urge parents to vaccinate their children against the virus, the outbreak has sparked debate among lawmakers and politicians over whether such vaccinations should be mandated.

Hallie Jackson reported on NBC Nightly News that the outbreak “has the head of the CDC warning today it could get worse.” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden was shown saying, “We’re concerned measles could gain a foothold in this country if we don’t stop it.” Frieden’s warning comes as 102 cases were reported in January alone, more “than in most of 2000 when the virus was declared wiped out.” According to experts, “the virus can spread fast when vaccination rates dip below 90 percent,” which is why “health officials are trying to send a message – the shot is safe and necessary to stop the spread of a virus almost ten times more contagious than Ebola.”

In an op-ed he wrote for TIME Frieden outlines four “simple steps” to “prevent another outbreak from occurring.” He recommends, for example, that physicians make sure all their patients “are up-to-date on their MMR shots” and that doctors consider a measles diagnosis in anyone showing relevant symptoms. Finally, he argues that unless vaccination rates are increased, measles “will be a disease of the future,” rather than a disease of the past. NBC News and NPR also have coverage.

David Muir reported on ABC World News that according to a new report, 17 states “have vaccination levels below 90 percent.” Dr. Richard Besser said, “There’s some schools in those states where 30 to 40 percent of kids in the classroom are not vaccinated against measles and that puts every single child at risk. You need to know what’s going on in your community and your school.”

USA Today  reports that according to Gregory Wallace of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “although most of those infected with measles this year aren’t fully vaccinated, the disease is so contagious that it could wind up infecting many people who have had all of their recommended shots.”

Bloomberg News and USA Today also cover the recent measles outbreak, focusing on vaccines and the low vaccination rate.



from AOA

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Delayed Hypertension Treatment May Be Linked To Increased Risk Of Heart Attack, Stroke.

Bloomberg News  reports that research Published in the British Medical blood pressureJournal suggests that individuals with hypertension “need extra treatment within about six weeks to prevent heart attacks, strokes and death.”

HealthDay  reports that investigators found “that delaying the intensification of treatment by more than 1.4 months after a blood pressure rise past 150 mm Hg increased a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke or early death.” The researchers also “found that when patients received a reassessment of blood pressure levels more than 2.7 months after doctors stepped up treatment, their risk of early death also increased.”

Medscape reports that “the findings, say researchers, support the ‘timely achievement of blood-pressure targets,’ noting that regular follow-up is an ‘important factor for minimizing the risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes.’”

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Nine ways you can help protect your vision

  1. Get regular comprehensive dilated eye exams. chart
  2. Know your family’s eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with an eye disease or condition, since some are hereditary.
  3. Eat right to protect your sight: In particular, eat plenty of dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens, and fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, albacore tuna, trout, and halibut.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight.
  5. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home, such as painting, yard work, and home repairs.
  6. Quit smoking or never start.
  7. Wear sunglasses that block 99 percent-100 percent of ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
  8. Wash your hands before taking out your contacts and cleanse your contact lenses properly to avoid infection.
  9. Practice workplace eye safety.
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FDA Approves The First Glucose-Monitoring App System

diabeteswordsBloomberg News (1/24, Edney) reported that the Food and Drug Administration gave DexCom Inc. clearance “for the first system of glucose-monitoring apps that can be used with mobile devices such as the iPhone to remotely track the health of a diabetic.” According to the FDA statement, the Dexcom Share system “transmits data from a small, wire-like sensor inserted just under the skin.” Bloomberg News pointed out that “Other similar systems exist, but none has been cleared for sale by the agency since the FDA began regulating mobile medical applications as devices in 2013.”

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