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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Eye on ocular health in the computer era

UPDATE: 6/28/11


Health and Homeopathy - Information about dry eyes

UPDATE: 1/28/10
Fact is that eye diseases among the aging population are on the rise, and your chances of becoming a statistic continue to grow each year. But the news isn’t all bad—in fact, many causes of vision impairment are preventable, if you know the right steps to take.

Take cataracts, for example: While partially attributable to aging, this clouding of the eye lens is also strongly linked to diabetes—and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) play no small role in this connection. Research shows that AGEs and oxidative stress markers are elevated in both diabetic and non-diabetic elderly patients with cataracts, while remaining significantly lower in young control subjects.

Luckily, several nutrients are known to neutralize these dangerous AGEs and reduce the free radical damage that can produce cataracts over time. The naturally occurring dipeptide L-carnosine is one of these AGE-blocking substances—along with botanicals like guava and Yerba Mate.

The antioxidant vitamins C and E, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, and procyanidin-rich grape seed extract (all found in Extension Vision) have been shown to inhibit the progression of cataract development in animal studies—while the flavonoid quercetin has emerged as a valuable supplement for individuals with diabetic cataracts.

Some of these same substances—namely lutein and zeaxanthin—are also critical for the prevention of another common vision-robbing condition: Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Clinical studies indicate that high intake of these two carotenoids can decrease your risk of ARMD by as much as 57 percent, while increasing macular pigment density (a crucial factor in visual acuity) by as much as 43 percent

Vitamins A, C, and E protect your lens and retina from oxidative damage and support proper moisture levels—and the iron-binding protein lactoferrin can help to fight bacteria in the eye, a common concern of contact lens wearers.13-14 Meanwhile, herbs like turmeric provide anti-inflammatory protection in the eye’s aqueous layer, and omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of GLA and fish oil) offer vital lubrication.
Ginkgo biloba, another clinically proven ally in the fight against ARMD—not to mention other common causes of blindness. Controlled trials have shown that extracts of this herb can significantly improve visual acuity in ARMD patients within six months of use.10 And both animal and human studies have revealed that Ginkgo extract can help to prevent retinal detachment, while increasing antioxidant activity in patients’ blood, tears and plasma. 
Thanks to CP for this informative information.

UPDATE 12/21
Eat fruits and vegetables for better vision
ScienceDaily (2009-12-19) -- Carotenoids, found in green leafy vegetables and colored fruits, have been found to increase visual performance and may prevent age-related eye diseases, according to a new study. ... > read full article
UPDATE: 12/12

No, eating carrots won't give you eagle eyes. But a sound nutritional program can help protect your eyes over time. Here's a winning list of nutrients based on our research, and where to find them:
Vitamin A: cod liver oil, liver, carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash
Lutein and zeaxanthin: spinach, kale, collard greens
Vitamin C: sweet peppers (red or green), kale, strawberries, broccoli, oranges, cantaloupe
Bioflavonoids: citrus fruits, cherries, grapes, plums
Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts
Selenium: brazil nuts, yeast, seafood
Zinc: oysters, hamburgers, wheat, nuts
Fatty acids: cold-water fish (salmon, mackerel, trout)-

UPDATE: 2 August - From the web site of one of my former students, Wasilla Chiropractor, Dr. Stacey Lowe.
Do You Suffer From Computer Vision Syndrome?
Believe it or not, there really is a condition known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Surprised? Well you shouldn’t be given the fact that it is likely to affect those who spend more than two hours a day in front of a computer screen. We all know at least a few people who fit that category!

How many hours each day do you stare at a computer screen? If you use the computer and wear glasses, invest in some glasses designed for computer use.

The symptoms of CVS include:
Blurred or double vision
Dry eyes
Neck and/or shoulder pain
Difficulty focusing
Sharp or dull pain
Light sensitivity

Why does CVS occur? It seems that your eyes react much differently to computer-generated images than they do to images in printed materials. Computer–generated images are made up of small dots called pixels, and your eyes find it difficult to adjust to focusing on them.

Computer users who wear bifocals have a particularly difficult time. Bifocals force the wearer to tilt their head backward so they can view the computer monitor through the lower portion of the lens. Prolonged head tilt can lead to neck, shoulder pain and back pain and headaches.

Most eyeglasses and contacts are designed for print reading and not for computer work. However, many optometrists are beginning to recommend eyeglasses and contacts that are specifically designed for reading at computer monitor distance. They may very well be worth the investment, especially if they reduce the impact of CVS-related eye problems.

UPDATE: 22 JUNE - Another report on how effective supplements are for health:
Supplements slow blindness in elderly
BELFAST, Northern Ireland, June 20 (UPI) -- An eye care expert in Northern Ireland suggests vitamin supplements may slow sight loss in the elderly.

Usha Chakravarthy of Queen's University Center of Vision and Vacular Science in Belfast says an anti-oxidant supplement may help prevent early age-related macular degeneration in elderly patients from progressing to late age-related macular.

Patients with late age-related macular degeneration lose their central vision and are unable to read, watch television or recognize people's faces.

Chakravarthy headed a five-year trial involving 400 people in Ireland of the supplement CARMA -- Caroteneoids and Co-antioxidants in Age-related Maculopathy -- which contained the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin as well as zinc and vitamins C and E.

The study found participants taking high levels of both carotenoids preserved the macular pigments, while macular pigments of those in a placebo group declined steadily.

"These findings are important because this is the first randomized controlled clinical trial to document a beneficial effect through improved function and maintained macular pigments," Chakravarthy said in a statement.

UPDATE: 10 March -
Lutein May Stop Damage Resulting From a Common Modern-Day Problem

The carotenoid lutein, long studied for its possible role in protecting against age-related macular degeneration, may have another role to play in eye health, researchers have found.

In modern society people often spend many hours in front of a computer, a practice that strains the eyes. Lutein is a nutrient known to support eye health. Therefore, scientists examined the effect of different doses of lutein supplementation on visual function in subjects with long-term computer display light exposure. Thirty-seven healthy subjects who ranged in age from 22 to 30 years and who were regular computer users were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group received 6 mg of lutein per day, another group received 12 mg lutein per day and a third group received a placebo.

At the study’s start and on week 12, the scientists measured levels of serum lutein and visual performance indices such as visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and glare sensitivity in the subjects.

After 12 weeks of lutein supplementation, there was an increase in serum lutein concentrations in the groups given 6 mg per day and 12 mg per day. In the group taking 12 mg lutein per day there was a trend toward increase in visual acuity. Both lutein groups experienced improvements in regards to sensitivity to contrast on a computer screen, said the researchers, with the improvements reaching statistical significance in the high-dose group.

According to the researchers, "Visual function in healthy subjects who received the lutein supplement improved, especially in contrast sensitivity, suggesting that a higher intake of lutein may have beneficial effects on visual performance."

Maa L, Lina X-M, Zoua Z-Y, Xua X-R, Lia Y, Xua R. A 12-week lutein supplementation improves visual function in Chinese people with long-term computer display light exposure. British Journal of Nutrition. 2009 February 19. Published Online Ahead of Print.
UPDATE: 17 February, 2009 - While we know cell phone use is connected to cataract and other eye health concerns, here is some additional inforamtion on this subject from the UK. And don't overlook eye exercises and using pinhole glasses.
From The Times
February 14, 2009
Doctor, Doctor: Sore eyes
With so many of us spending our working day in front of computers, there is an epidemic of dry, sore eyes, says the ophthalmic optician Charles Babumba

People come to my clinic with a range of problems, but when I examine them I find that about 80 per cent have dry-eye syndrome. Their eyes feel uncomfortable and gritty because they are not producing enough tears or their tears are drying up too rapidly. On examination you can see that their eyes are red and inflamed.

These days almost everything we do is screen-based, which has an effect on the eyes. There is no evidence that working at a screen damages your sight, but it certainly causes eye dryness. This is because when we're looking at the screen we blink less and provide less lubrication to our eyeball. The problem particularly affects people who wear contact lens,and it is especially bad at this time of year, when office heating can make us dehydrated.

If you get dry, sore or itchy eyes, do not rub them. This may provide temporary relief, but the friction and heat caused has been linked to a condition called keratoconus, when the cornea becomes misshapen. In severe cases keratoconus can cause vision loss. Much better, if you have uncomfortable eyes, is to use lubricating eye drops, such as Systane (available from opticians).

Even better, make a conscious effort to blink while you're looking at the computer screen, and try to look away from the screen for a few seconds every five minutes. Drink lots of water - not just tea or coffee - throughout the day to prevent deyhydration.

And if you get sore or dry eyes regularly, visit an optician to check that there isn't some underlying cause. Remember that if you use computers at work, you are entitled to free eye tests at regular intervals, paid for by your employer.

Some time ago I was asked to write a brief story on health health and Edgar Cayce treatments for A.R.E.

I hit the Senior Section this year and still don't wear glasses. I do however believe that my flat panel computer monitor is the cause of my eyestrain issues.

I started up my juicer for some carrot juice a few time each week and take a daily Day and Night Eyes supplement that helps with computer eyestrain.

I am also sure that s fellow I know in his twentys, not willing to try my pin hole glasses or other natural treatment, went to spectacles because of his almost day long use of his computer. Laptops seem to be worse.

I'm for carrots, vitamin C, bilberry, eyebright, vitamin A, Day and Night Eyes, pinhole glasses and exercising eyes. Palming the eyes is a useful yoda technique that rests and strengthens the eyes.

I'm not always for sunglasses because of the health benefits of sunlight through the eyes.

In the interim I rely on the magnifying readers a friend bought for me at the Dollar Store.
Computers cause sight problems
TAKE A BREAK: An ophthalmologist said that presbyopia could be delayed by resting for three out of every 30 minutes when using computers, and by eating more carrots
By Shelley Huang
Saturday, Nov 08, 2008
The increased use of computers in recent years has caused presbyopia — a common vision condition that normally affects people over 40 years old — to be diagnosed at a younger age, an ophthalmologist said yesterday.

Presbyopia is a condition where the eye gradually loses its ability to focus on close objects.

“I now have patients in their 30s coming to me with symptoms of presbyopia,” said James Liau (廖士傑), chief of the Shu-Tien Ophthalmology Clinic.

Common symptoms include difficulty reading under low lighting, experiencing pain in the eyebrow area after reading for long periods of time and momentarily blurred vision when switching between looking at far and near objects, Liau said.

“[People with severe presbyopia] say their arms have become too short, because they must hold whatever they are reading at farther and farther distances,” he said.

While people with myopia, or nearsightedness, may not develop presbyopia until they are as old as 50, it will eventually develop as one gets older, similar to graying hair.

Various factors and habits could cause presbyopia to develop at a younger age than normal, such as hyperopia, or farsightedness, poor reading habits and using the computer for long periods of time without resting, Liau said.

The most common way of dealing with presbyopia is corrective lenses, available as eyeglasses or contact lenses.

As the condition becomes more advanced, the prescription needs to be changed in order to “catch up” with the worsening abilities of the eye, Liau said.

When presbyopia becomes severe, a method called monovision can be used, he said.

Monovision involves the patient using contact lenses to correct one eye for near vision and the other for far vision.

“The brain will automatically filter and choose the correct image perceived by both eyes,” Liau said.

However, some patients using the monovision method say they have difficulty adjusting because the method affects depth perception, making it harder to judge whether something is near or far, he said.

The US Food and Drug Administration is researching techniques to cure presbyopia through surgical techniques.

If surgical reversal of presbyopia were approved, patients would not need to wear corrective lenses, Liau said.

Even though presbyopia cannot be prevented, it can be delayed by habits such as improving reading conditions, letting the eyes rest for three minutes every 30 minutes when using computers, massaging the temples, consuming dark-colored vegetables — such as tomatoes and carrots — and wearing sunglasses to avoid ultraviolet exposure, Liau said.


Shady Grove Eye Vision Care said...

University of Maryland researchers suggest that carotenoids, particularly lycopene may protect the eye against oxidative damage and play a critical role in visual function. The identification of lycopene and a diverse range of dietary carotenoids in ocular tissues suggest that these carotenoids, as well as other nutrients found in tomato-based foods, may work in concert with lutein and zeaxanthin to provide protection against age related macular degeneration and other visual disorders.

herbalYODA said...

August is Cataract Awareness Month, here's an article for more information -

Anonymous said...

An Arizona optometrist says that "persistent dryness, scratching and burning in your eyes are signs of dry eye syndrome. These symptoms alone may prompt your eye doctor to diagnose dry eye syndrome." But sometimes your eye doctor may want to measure the amount of tears in your eyes. A thin strip of filter paper placed under the lower eyelid, called a Schirmer test, is one way to measure tear production.