Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vitamin C lowers cataract risk

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens that commonly causes vision problems in older people. A new study published in the journal Ophthalmology shows that vitamin C can lower the risk of developing cataracts.

In contrast to previous studies, the new study focused on individuals in India rather than on people in Western countries. India is a particularly appropriate setting for a study on the effects of vitamin C because people there tend to have lower levels of vitamin C and high rates of cataracts. The study's authors evaluated more than 5,600 Indian adults of age 60 and up for cataracts, interviewed them about their diets and lifestyle habits, and measured their blood levels of vitamin C.

The study found that nearly 73 per cent of the study participants had cataracts. However, the risk of cataracts dropped as vitamin C levels in the blood and vitamin C intake rose.

In the people with highest levels of vitamin C, the risk of cataract was 39 per cent lower than in people with the lowest levels of vitamin C.

This is the latest in a long line of recent research showing the beneficial effects of a healthy diet on the eyes. Other studies have shown that a vegetarian diet also reduces the risk of developing cataracts and that antioxidants protect agaist the development of macular degeneration (which is the leading cause of blindness in people age 50 and over). In short, diet matters. And it is so easy to eat a beneficial diet - all you need to do is eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Green leafy vegetables and brightly coloured ones are the best.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'll be on the radio today - RJ 1200 at 2:00 p.m.

Tune in to RJ 1200 (1200 on the AM dial) today at 2:00 p.m. to hear me talk about the things that people do to put their eyes at risk.

You can also call in with questions.  If you want to listen live on the internet click here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Girl loses her eye after buying contacts at a beauty store

Fox news reports that a New York girl needs a cornea transplant after she illegally purchased a pair of colored contacts at a local beauty store. But this could happen in Vancouver. There were reports last year of kids buying coloured contacts at various night markets around Vancouver and being told that they could clean the contacts with tap water (which is wrong and very dangerous advice).

According to Fox News, Erica Barnes bought $20 contacts at a store in Queens. She wore the lenses for one day and fell asleep with them in her eyes. An infection developed and destroyed her cornea. Unless she can get a corneal transplant she will be blind for life in the affected eyes.

According to the girl's step mother, “For $20, she lost her eye. Every parent should know their girls are in danger. They are dangerous eye candy that our children can buy anywhere.”

Legally, you need a prescription from a doctor to purchase contact lenses – and they should be purchased from a licensed health care provider, who can teach you how to use them and take care of them. Shockingly, Erica was told she could clean her contacts with with tap water – not saline solution.

The following comes from the Fox News report:

Dr. Jules Winokur, a corneal specialist in New York City, said contact lenses purchased from beauty stores often don’t fit properly and the salespeople who sell them don’t give proper advice on how to take care of them or how to use them. He said he sees several people come to his office with infections because they use such lenses, and he advises it’s not a good idea.

This is an example of the dangers of buying contacts from people who are are not eye care professionals - places like beauty stores, the Internet or Vancouver night markets. It is dangerous and parents should ensure that their children are being properly fitted with their contacts and are instructed on lens use and lens care by an eye doctor.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/06/30/new-york-girl-loses-sight-after-buying-illegal-contacts/#ixzz1RMT2PPE7

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Problem readers may have convergence insufficiency

Image: freedigitalphotos.net/photostock
Convergence insufficiency (CI) is one of the most common childhood ocular motor disorders. It can make reading very difficult and consequently cause a child to fall behind in school.
In my office many parents of kids with convergence insufficiency report that their child is a slow reader, intensely dislikes school and is generally performing very poorly. Often, the paradox of an intelligent child who performs poorly in school is explained by a treatable ocular-motor disorder like CI.

Studies estimate that 5-15% of children are affected by convergence insufficiency.

It is vital for parents and teachers to know that a even if a child has 20/20 vision, she still may have CI. The standard eye chart only tests for visual acuity and not for ocular motor function, which is just as important for the performance of visual work such as reading and playing sports. Generally, CI can only be found in an eye examination.

The good news is that convergence insufficiency is very treatable. A recent study funded by the National Eye Institute found that optometric vision therapy is the best treatment for convergence insufficiency, with a 75% success rate.

According to the press release issued by the National Eye Institute:

“There are no visible signs of this condition; it can only be detected and
diagnosed during an eye examination,” said principal investigator Mitchell Scheiman, O.D., of Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University near Philadelphia, Pa. “However, as this study shows, once diagnosed, CI can be successfully treated with office-based vision therapy by a trained therapist along with at-home reinforcement. This is very encouraging news for parents, educators, and anyone who may know a child diagnosed with CI.”

Common symptoms of CI are:

  • headaches

  • blurred vision

  • double vision

  • inability to concentrate

  • short attention span

  • frequent loss of place

  • squinting, rubbing

  • closing or covering an eye

  • sleepiness during the activity

  • trouble remembering what was read

  • words appear to move, jump, swim or float

  • problems with motion sickness and/or vertigo

    • Parents should ensure that they take their children to the eye doctor every year and that the doctor is testing for ocular motor disorders like CI. Don't be afraid to ask the right questions to ensure that nothing is being missed.