Category Archives: Macular Degeneration

Vision Council report – Sunglasses are a must – protect your eyes!

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—More than one in four American adults are risking serious eye damage through exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, according to a new report from The Vision Council, “Protection for the Naked Eye: Sunglasses as a Health Necessity.”The report, which is intended to educate consumers about the importance of wearing sunglasses to protect against UV, was released yesterday to 250 consumer reporters and editors. It finds that more than 25 percent of U.S. adults rarely or never wear sunglasses, and nearly two-thirds are unaware of the link between UV exposure and serious eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. An abbreviated overview of the report was also shared with long-lead magazines in March of this year, promoting story ideas and supplements for their summer issues.

“Our goal at The Vision Council is to raise awareness about the risks of exposure to UV rays, and the sunglass options and other UV protective eyewear available, so that more and more Americans are protecting their eyes,” said Mike Daley, the CEO of The Vision Council. “Consumers of all ages need to be aware of these issues, and the steps that they can take to prevent damage to the eyes throughout their lifetime.”

The report also finds that more than one-third of parents report that their children 13 and under rarely or never wear sunglasses, despite the fact that children are at increased risk for UV overexposure.

“Because UV exposure happens over a lifetime and doesn’t always produce immediate symptoms, people of all ages must be aware of the negative impact sunlight can have on our eyes—without adequate protection like sunglasses,” said Justin Bazan, OD, medical adviser to The Vision Council.

The release of the report, which coincides with May as UV Awareness Month, supports The Vision Council’s many UV protection activities including an ongoing partnership with Lifetime Fitness as well as a widespread National Sunglasses Day campaign. The Lifetime Fitness partnership directly reaches 6.25 million consumers each month, promoting the importance of UV protection with indoor posters, digital signage, and multiple 30-second TV spots as well as sunglasses-related activities in 12 Lifetime Fitness locations throughout the country to celebrate National Sunglasses Day, June 27.

To view or download a copy of the report, Protection for the Naked Eye: Sunglasses as a Health Necessity, click here.

Fine Eyewear and Eyecare offers an extensive sunglasses collection that not only look great, but protect your eyes. Our eye doctors also provide advanced vision care to the families of Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Round Rock and surrounding communities.  Visit our main website for a preview a few of our sunglasses : Fine Eyewear Sunglasses Collection

Sunglasses, UV Protection and What You Need to Know to Protect Your Vision

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Vision Council held a briefing on Capitol Hill last week about the impact of UV exposure on vision health. The presentation on “Sunglasses, UV Protection and What You Need to Know to Protect Your Vision” covered both long-term and short-term concerns related to exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Among the vision disorders that can occur from UV exposure that were discussed included cataracts, abnormal eye growths, cancer of the eye, and macular degeneration.Although the summer is almost over, the briefing remains topical because Americans must take appropriate measures to protect their eyes from harmful UV radiation year-round, according to a statement from The Vision Council. Although it can be easier to feel the impact of sun in the summer, UV radiation is always present and can be even more damaging during colder months when adults and children stop wearing UV protection. While the UV index is highest in the spring and summer, it can still reach moderate to very high levels in September and October. In winter months, UV rays can reflect off of snow and into the eyes, especially after a fresh snowfall or during winter sporting activities, when individuals can experience photokeratitis, or “snow blindness,” The Vision Council stated.

The Vision Council further reported: “Despite data about the dangerous effects of UV radiation, Americans are still exposing their eyes and skin to harmful UV exposure, putting them at risk for serious health problems later in life. In fact, 47.6 percent of adults do not protect their eyes simply because they forget to wear sunglasses.”

Fine Eyewear and Eyecare offers an extensive sunglasses collection that not only look great, but protect your eyes. Our eye doctors also provide advanced vision care to the families of Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Round Rock and surrounding communities.  Visit our main website for a preview a few of our sunglasses : Fine Eyewear Sunglasses Collection

New Study Links Daily Aspirin Use to Increased Risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

SAN FRANCISCO—A large European study, published in the January issue of the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, links daily aspirin use to increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The study found that people aged 65 and older who took aspirin daily had double the risk of developing “wet” AMD (an advanced form of the disease that occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow and bleed or leak fluid into the macula), compared with those who took it less frequently. The study also found a somewhat elevated risk of early-stage AMD in daily aspirin users. No higher risk was found for advanced “dry” AMD.

“If future studies support our results, then recommendations on aspirin may need to be modified for patients with age-related macular degeneration,” said Paulus T. V. M. de Jong, MD, PhD, of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and Academic Medicine, who led the research team. “It’s possible that increased AMD risk may outweigh aspirin’s potential protective benefits for some patients, but we need to know more about the impacts of dose, length of use, and other factors before we can say for certain, or make specific recommendations.”

Dr. de Jong’s research was part of the European Eye Study that examined and surveyed more than 4,600 Europeans between 2000 and 2003. The study’s main goals were to estimate AMD prevalence and to investigate the impacts of sun exposure and antioxidant vitamin use on disease development. The researchers said they think medical professionals should stick with their current advice on aspirin for older, cardiovascular disease patients, until other studies confirm the link between daily aspirin use and wet AMD risk.

For more information, visit www.aao.org.

Dermatologist Recommends Sun Protection For All

In “Medicine Matters,” Medscape (7/21, Fryhofer) posted a video and transcript of Dr. Sandra Fryhofer discusses “six tanning and sunscreen myths.” Fryhofer recommended that everyone wear sunscreen as much as possible, along with UV-protective sunglasses and a hat. She also pointed out that even inside cars, people need to wear sunscreen, since “a study in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology found that people who spend a lot of time in the car are more likely to get skin cancers on the side exposed to sunlight during driving.”

One In Three Adults Unaware Of Eye Health Risks Of Too Much Sun Exposure

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/9, Healy) reports that wearing a hat and protecting eyes “from harmful UV rays” is as much a part of sun protection as slathering on sunscreen. “A 2009 survey by the American Optometric Association found that one in three adults are unaware of the eye health risks of spending too much time in the sun without proper protection.” Excessive UV exposure may result in pterygium, macular degeneration, or cataracts. And, “even a few hours of intense, unprotected exposure can have consequences, says optometrist Sarah Hinkley of the American Optometric Association,” possibly leading to painful photokeratitis.

Don’t wait until it is too late and never go outside without your sunglasses on, even on a cloudy day. UV rays go right thru clouds like they’re not ever there!  F.E.

Fine Eyewear & Eyecare offers a full line of fashion and sport sunglasses with 100% UV protection. We are a Maui-Jim Gold store!  We’re located in the Heb Whitestone shopping center at Parmer and 1431, located at the three corners of Cedar Park, Austin and Round Rock, TX and a short drive from Georgetown, TX . Some of the local neighborhoods served by Fine Eyewear include Forest Oaks, Silver Oaks,  Teravista,  Avery Ranch, Stone Canyon, Mayfield Ranch,  The Ranch at Brushy Creek, Vista Oaks and Wood Glen – we have an eye doctor close by for you!  Come and See us!

Sunglasses not optional !! – UV Rays May Cause Significant Damage To Unprotected Eyes

HealthDay (8/20, Thompson) reported that “ultraviolet, or UV, rays can cause significant damage to unprotected eyes, resulting in a number of illnesses and disorders that can rob people of their sight.” Over the long term, UV exposure can play a role in the development of cataracts, macular degeneration, and even cancer. “The eye tends to develop melanoma, while the eyelids usually are inflicted with basal cell carcinoma.” Eye experts recommend that people wear sunglasses “rated to absorb 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.” And, because the majority of sun exposure happens early in life, parents should make sure their children wear sunglasses, too.

Sunglasses should be worn all year round. Sun rays are at work every day, even on cloudy days.  Did you know a properly designed pair of sunglasses lenses can actually help you see better when driving in lower light, rainy conditions?

Look for sunglasses that have quality 100% UV protection that won’t rub off over time as you clean the sunglasses. Sunglasses with anti-reflective treatment helps minimize light rays that come from behind from bouncing off the inside of your glasses back into your eye. Good polarization prevents scattered light and reflections from causing blinding conditions.  And don’t forget to look for sunglasses that have good eyeball and eye socket coverage. And last, but not least, look for a pair of sunglasses that compliment your facial structure, wardrobe and life style!

Fine Eyewear & Eyecare is a full service eye care facility specializing in quality polarized sunglasses. We offer both sport sunglasses  and fashion sunglasses. Our eye care facility is staffed by eye doctors who care about your sun vision requirements.  We’re located in the Heb shopping center at Parmer and 1431, located at the three corners of Cedar Park, Austin and Round Rock, TX and a short drive from Georgetown, TX , Teravista and Avery Ranch.

You can find more information at www.FineEyewear.Net

Eye-Related Problems Linked To Diet, Sun, And Smoking

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (7/26, Black) reports “a diet rich in all the things that are known to be good for your health also can protect against vision-stealing cataracts,” according to a study in the Archives of Ophthalmology. A University of Wisconsin-Madison “survey of more than 1,800 women,” found that “those whose diets were poor in fruits, vegetables and whole grains had a high risk of developing cataracts.” Separately, a preliminary study in the same journal found “a correlation between high levels of sun exposure combined with the taking of certain medicines,” including antibiotics and anti-depressants, “with cataract formation.” Another study in the same journal “shows a link between smoking and the development of one of the leading causes of blindness, age-related macular degeneration.”

Foods containing omega 3 fatty acids, fish oils may help prevent AMD

 The UK’s Daily Mail (7/24, Hope) reports that, according to a study “to appear in the American Journal of Pathology next month,” foods “containing omega 3 and fish oils may help prevent” age-related macular degeneration (AMD), “the most common cause of blindness in old age.” For the study, researchers at the National Eye Institute “fed mice with high levels of omega 3,” and “found those eating more fish oils had lower levels of AMD.” In fact, “the condition improved in 57 percent of mice fed the highest levels for at least 12 weeks, compared with just four percent on lower levels of omega 3.” While it remains unclear “how omega 3 works,” the investigators theorize that “the mechanism may be anti-inflammatory.”

        The UK’s Telegraph (7/23, Smith) reported that prior research conducted by a team from Tufts University “found that a diet rich in omega three, found in mackerel and salmon, can reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration by a third in humans.” In the Tufts study, researchers found that “progression of advanced disease was 25 percent less likely in those eating two portions of oily fish a week.”

Scientist explore how brain adjusts to macular degeneration.

HealthDay (3/3, McKeever) reported that, according to a study published in the March 4 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, “when macular degeneration causes one to start losing…sight, the affected neurons simply start seeking visual input from other, non-affected parts of the eye.” Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology “found when the cells in the fovea, the part of the retina responsible for the central field of vision, were damaged by macular degeneration (MD) — the neuron attached to them” began “responding to stimuli in an undamaged section — a type of internal reorganization of the eye’s visual map as opposed to the cortex’s work being shifting to other neurons.” HealthDay also noted that MD patients “often compensate for lack of central vision by rolling their eyes upward so they can utilize the preferred retinal locus,” which is “an undamaged area under and adjacent to the affected part of the retina.”

Study indicates B vitamins may lower risk of AMD in women.

USA Today (2/24, Marcus) reports that, according to a study published Feb. 23 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “taking B vitamins could lower the risk for” age-related macular degeneration (AMD), “a leading cause of blindness in older Americans.” For the study, William Christen, Sc.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and colleagues “collected data from a cardiovascular disease trial involving more than 5,200 women over 40 who reported they did not have” AMD at the start of the study. The “women had been randomly assigned to take either a daily combination of folic acid, B-6, and B-12 supplements, or a placebo.” Over seven years, “55 cases of” AMD “were confirmed in the vitamin group,” compared to 82 cases “confirmed in the placebo group.” In other words, women “who took the supplements had a 41 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with” AMD.

AMD “is the leading cause of blindness in people 65 and older, with nearly two million Americans in the advanced stage of the condition,” the Wall Street Journal/AP (2/24, D3, Johnson) points out. AMD “causes a layer of the eye to deteriorate, blurring the center of the field of vision and making it difficult to recognize faces, read, and drive. There’s no cure, but treatment…can slow it down.” Despite the study’s finding, however, Christen explained that there “were too few cases of the most advanced AMD to make claims about vitamins’ potential benefits.” He emphasized that “it’s too soon to recommend B vitamins to people who want to prevent age-related vision loss.” Instead, he “recommended food sources of B vitamins and folic acid, such as meat, poultry, fortified cereals, beans, nuts, leafy vegetables, spinach, and peas.”

Bloomberg News (2/24, Ostrow) explains that AMD “is caused by damage to the arteries that carry blood to the retina. Folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 may lower the risk for the disease, Christen said, because they reduce blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries.” Study participants “who received the supplements had about an 18 percent lower level of homocysteine than those given the placebo, Christen said.”

The UK’s Telegraph (2/24, Smith) quotes Christen as saying, “From a public health perspective, this [finding] is particularly important, because persons with early AMD are at increased risk of developing advanced AMD, the leading cause of severe, irreversible vision loss.” Currently, “the only way to reduce the risk of AMD…is not to smoke.” The study authors theorized that “supplements reduce levels of…homocysteine which can damage the lining of blood vessels and make blood more likely to clot.” In addition, “the vitamins may also have an antioxidant effect to improve the blood vessel functioning in the eye.”

Writing in the Boston Globe (2/23) White Coat Notes blog, Elizabeth Cooney observed, “The study’s results stand in contrast to other findings from [a] cardiovascular study, which was designed to test whether the folic acid-vitamin B6 and B12 combination could prevent heart attacks or stroke in women who had a history of cardiovascular events or risk factors.” The study “showed no benefit for women taking folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 in reducing their risk for cardiovascular events.”

MedPage Today (2/23, Smith) noted that the study authors “concluded that their findings could be due to chance and need confirmation, but ‘it may be worthwhile to consider whether the discordant findings for AMD and” cardiovascular disease “reflect important differences between the choroidal and systemic vasculature with respect to responsiveness to the lowering of homocysteine levels.”

CBC News (2/24), Canada’s CTV (2/23), and WebMD (2/23, Warner) also covered the story. HealthDay (2/23, Edelson) also mentioned the study.