Simple Tips for Healthy Eyes

Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes and other systemic conditions, which can lead to vision loss, such as diabetic eye disease or glaucoma. If you are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor.

Protective eye wear

Wear protective eyewear.

Wear protective eyewear when playing sports or doing activities around the home. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for a certain activity. Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Many eye care providers sell protective eyewear, as do some sporting goods stores.

Make Vision a Health Priority

With today’s medical advances, more and more people are living longer and celebrating good health: They are eating healthy foods, they are staying active, they are controlling their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and they are not smoking.

Woman getting an eye examPractice good eye health … Make vision a health priority by seeing your eye care professional

Feeling good and living life to its fullest also means taking good care of your eyes. Even if you enjoy relatively good vision now, visiting your eye care professional once a year is the best thing you can do to care for your eyes. Getting an eye exam is more important now than ever before, because as you get older, you are at higher risk of developing several age-related eye diseases and conditions, including—

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cataract
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Glaucoma

In their early stages, these diseases often have no warning signs or symptoms. In fact, the only way to detect them before they become serious and cause vision loss is through a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Fortunately, if your eye care professional catches and treats these conditions early, he or she can protect your eyesight.

What is a dilated eye exam?

A comprehensive dilated eye exam is important to maintain and protect healthy vision. During this exam, drops are placed in the eyes to dilate or widen the pupils (the round opening in the center of the eye). The eye care professional uses a special magnifying lens to examine the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye) and optic nerve (the bundle of fibers that send signals from the retina to the brain) for signs of damage and other eye problems.

Take charge of your vision

In addition to seeing your eye care professional routinely, you can do the following things to protect your vision:

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fish
  • Exercise
  • Maintain normal blood pressure
  • Wear sunglasses and a brimmed hat anytime you are outside in bright sunshine
  • Wear safety eyewear when working around your house or playing sports

Information and resources

The National Eye Institute (NEI) is part of the National Institutes of Health and the federal government’s lead agency for vision research that leads to sight-saving treatments, and it plays a key role in reducing visual impairment and blindness. For more information, visit the NEI Website at www.nei.nih.gov

Simple Tips for Healthy Eyes

Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years.

Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam. You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure. When it comes to common vision problems, some people don’t realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses. In addition, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.

During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your eye care professional places drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye the same way an open door lets more light into a dark room. This dilation enables your eye care professional to get a good look at the back of the eyes and examine them for any signs of damage or disease. Your eye care professional is the only one who can determine if your eyes are healthy and if you are seeing your best.

Simple Tips for Healthy Eyes

Early Detection and Treatment is Key in Protecting Vision from the Effects of Glaucoma

Glaucoma affects 2.7 million people in the United States and is the second leading cause of blindness, yet understanding and awareness of the disease is low. In fact, 72 percent of Americans don’t know that glaucoma typically has no early warning signs or symptoms, according to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2014 American Eye-Q® consumer survey.

Often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight,” glaucoma is a group of eye disorders that can damage the optic nerve and impair peripheral vision. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to complete loss of sight. While the disease does not have a cure and is not preventable, it is treatable and can be detected in a comprehensive eye exam provided by your optometrist.

“A common misconception is that glaucoma only affects older adults when, in reality, it can happen at any age. In fact, it’s most commonly detected in people in their 40s,” said Dr. Inouchi. “The key is to identify and diagnose the disease early in order to promptly treat and slow the progression of vision loss.”

Americans are also largely unaware of the factors that put them at greater risk for developing glaucoma – only 13 percent of Americans know that a person’s race increases their chances for developing the disease. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, glaucoma is six to eight times more common in African Americans than Caucasians. Additional factors that put someone at greater risk for glaucoma include those who have a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, hypothyroidism, are over age 60 or individuals who have had severe eye trauma.

Treatment for glaucoma includes prescription eye drops and medication to lower pressure in the eyes. In some cases, laser treatment or surgery may be effective in reducing pressure.

In addition to yearly, comprehensive eye exams, Dr. Daniel Yamamoto & Dr. Tracie Inouchi suggests the following tips to help maintain overall eye health and clear, comfortable vision:

  • Eat green, leafy vegetables and foods rich in nutrients like beta carotene, vitamin C and zinc to protect eyes from disease.
  • Cut down on those bad habits such as smoking and consuming alcohol or excessive caffeine, which can all be harmful to the eyes.
  • If you work in front of a computer, practice the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away to help avoid digital eye strain.
  • Wear sunglasses with UV-A and UV-B protection year-round.

Contact Dr. Daniel Yamamoto & Dr. Tracie Inouchi today at (808) 949-2662 to make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam and to learn more about ways to help prevent vision loss from glaucoma.

Technology Advancements Enhance Early Detection of Eye Diseases Associated with Diabetes

The American Optometric Association reminds patients that yearly, comprehensive eye exams remain a critical pathway to eye and vision health

Early symptoms of diabetic eye and vision disorders are often subtle or unnoticed, but new technology, coupled with yearly, comprehensive eye exams, are improving patient outcomes and leading to earlier detection of eye diseases, including those associated with diabetes, which now affects 29 million Americans. If left untreated, these diseases can potentially lead to vision loss or even blindness.

Recently, optometric researchers have deployed a new tool that utilizes advanced optics to detect early warning signs of vision loss that can occur due to diabetes. The instrument uses small mirrors with tiny moveable segments to reflect light into the eye and was successful in finding widespread damage across the retina of patients who were previously not thought to have advanced disease.

“Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in adults, and eye doctors are continuously working to find new ways to diagnose eye and vision disorders related to this disease,” said Trennda Rittenbach, O.D., spokesperson for the American Optometric Association. “These advancements are critical in offering earlier, better care for patients with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy and other retinal vascular diseases, before an eye problem reaches an advanced stage.”

Individuals with diabetes are at a significantly higher risk for developing eye and vision disorders, including:

Diabetic retinopathy:

One of the most serious sight-threatening complications of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy causes progressive damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy may lead to blindness.

Glaucoma:

Those with diabetes are 40 percent more likely to suffer from glaucoma than people without diabetes. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve resulting in gradual peripheral vision loss.

Cataracts:

With cataracts, the eye’s clear lens clouds, which can block light and interfere with normal vision, and individuals with diabetes are 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts.

Other new advancements are currently in development to further enhance diabetic care, including research on smart contact lenses, which could be used to help monitor blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes and possibly provide a new way to dispense medication slowly over time.

“Though these advancements in technology can assist in the detection and management of eye diseases, they are not replacements for yearly, comprehensive eye exams,” said Dr. Rittenbach. “When the eyes are dilated, an eye doctor is able to examine the optic nerve, the retina and the retinal blood vessels to assess eye health and even a person’s overall health.”

If patients, especially those with diabetes, experience any of the following symptoms, the AOA recommends contacting a doctor of optometry as soon as possible.

  • Sudden blurred or double vision
  • Trouble reading or focusing on near-work
  • Eye pain or pressure
  • A noticeable aura or dark ring around lights or illuminated objects
  • Visible dark spots in vision or images of flashing lights

The AOA also recommends individuals with diabetes take prescribed medication as directed, keep glycohemoglobin test results (“A1c” or average blood sugar level) consistently under seven percent, stick to a healthy diet that includes Omega 3s, fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, control high blood pressure and avoid alcohol and smoking.

Eye Health: An Increasing Concern for Aging Adults

It’s a fact of life that vision can change over time, resulting in a number of noticeable differences in how well aging adults see the world around them. In fact, according to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2014 American Eye-Q® consumer survey, 78 percent of adults age 55 or older report experiencing some vision loss.

“The number of blind and visually impaired people is expected to double over the next 16 years,” said Dr. Inouchi, O.D.. “This staggering statistic has implications for millions of aging Americans, but these changes don’t have to compromise a person’s lifestyle. Maintaining good health and seeing an eye doctor on a regular basis are important steps to help preserve vision.”

Common age-related vision problems include difficulty seeing things up close or far away, problems seeing in low light or at night, and sensitivity to light and glare. Some symptoms that may seem like minor vision problems may actually be signs of serious eye diseases that could lead to permanent vision loss, including:

  •  Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): An eye disease affecting the macula, the center of the light sensitive retina at the back of the eye. AMD can cause loss of central vision.
  •  Cataracts: A clouding of the lens of the eye that usually develops slowly over time and can interfere with vision. Cataracts can cause a decrease in visual contrast between objects and their background, a dulling of colors and an increased sensitivity to glare.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: A condition occurring in people with diabetes, which causes progressive damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they are to develop the condition, which can lead to blindness.
  • Glaucoma: An eye disease leading to progressive damage to the optic nerve due to rising internal fluid pressure in the eye. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness.

Dry eye is another common and often chronic condition that Americans can experience later in life. Dry eye occurs when there are insufficient tears to nourish the eye. Tears are important for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for clear, quality vision. Studies show that women are more likely to develop dry eye, especially during menopause.

Aging Americans will represent 19 percent of the population by 2030, up from 12 percent in 2000. Coping with age-related eye diseases and disorders and the resulting changes in health and lifestyles is top-of-mind for this growing group of consumers. The AOA’s American Eye-Q® survey revealed that 40 percent of consumers age 55 or older are worried about losing their ability to live independently as a result of developing a serious vision problem. Many eye diseases have no early symptoms and may develop painlessly; therefore, adults may not notice changes in vision until the condition is quite advanced. Healthy lifestyle choices can help ward off eye diseases and maintain existing eyesight.

“Eating a low-fat diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish, not smoking, monitoring blood pressure levels, exercising regularly and wearing proper sunglasses to protect eyes from UV rays can all play a role in preserving eyesight and eye health, said Dr. Inouchi. “Early diagnosis and treatment of serious eye diseases and disorders is critical and can often prevent a total loss of vision, improve adults’ independence and quality of life.”

For those suffering from age-related eye conditions, Dr. Inouchi recommends following a few simple tips:

  • Control glare: Purchase translucent lamp shades, install light-filtering window blinds or shades, use matte or flat finishes for walls and counter-tops and relocate the television to where it does not reflect glare.
  • Use contrasting colors: Decorate with throw rugs, light switches and telephones that are different colors so they can be spotted quickly and easily.
  • Give the eyes a boost: Install clocks, thermometers and timers with large block letters. Magnifying glasses can also be used for reading when larger print is not available.
  • Change the settings on mobile devices: Increase the text size on the screen of smartphones and tablets and adjust the screen’s brightness or background color.
  • Stay safe while driving: Wear quality sunglasses for daytime driving and use anti-reflective lenses to reduce headlight glare. Limit driving at dusk, dawn or at night if seeing under low light is difficult.

Maintaining yearly eye exams, or more frequently if recommended by an eye doctor, provides the best protection for preventing the onset of eye diseases and allows adults to continue leading active and productive lifestyles as they age.