Wear sunglasses to avoid common eye disease

If your job leads to spending most of the time outdoors, do not forget to wear sunglasses as it can save you from developing a common eye disease.

Wear sunglasses to avoid common eye disease

According to a study, residential geography, time spent in the sun and whether or not sunglasses are worn may help explain why some people develop exfoliation syndrome (XFS), an eye condition that is a leading cause of secondary open-angle glaucoma and can lead to an increased risk of cataract.

“Lifetime outdoor activities may contribute to XFS so a more widespread use of UV-blocking eyewear can help prevent XFS,” said lead study author Louis Pasquale, as associate professor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School (HMS).

Researchers conducted a clinic-based, case-control study in the US and Israel, involving XFS cases and control individuals. They measured weighted lifetime average latitude of residence and average number of hours per week spent outdoors as determined by validated questionnaires.

They found that genetic or environmental factors also contribute to XFS.
Previous studies have shown that residential (geographic) history and extent of solar exposure may be important risk factors for XFS.

The study appeared in the journal Ophthalmology.

Source: yahoo news

Failing Vision Tied to Shorter Lifespans for Seniors

Among seniors, dimming vision may be tied to poorer survival, new research suggests. The study involved more than 2,500 people, aged 65 to 84, who were assessed when they enrolled in the study and again two, six and eight years later.

Failing Vision Tied to Shorter Lifespans for Seniors

Vision loss over time was associated with an increase in the person’s risk of death during the study period, the researchers reported.

Although the study couldn’t prove cause and effect, researchers led by Sharon Christ of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., offered up some theories on the link between fading sight and shorter survival.

They believe the effect may be partly due to a sight-related decline in an individual’s ability to perform basic daily tasks such as shopping, housework or using the telephone.

The risk of death among people who had difficulty with basic daily tasks rose by 3 percent a year over the study period, so that it was 31 percent higher by the end of the eight-year study.

People who had a vision decline of one letter size on an eye chart were expected to have a 16 percent increase in death risk during the study due to their declining ability to do basic daily tasks, the researchers said.

“Our findings have multiple implications. First, these findings reinforce the need for the primary prevention of visual impairment,” the Purdue team concluded. “Moreover, the early detection of disabling eye diseases is suboptimal in the U.S. health care system, leading to otherwise preventable vision impairment”.

“Finally, many Americans live with vision impairment that is correctable through the proper fitting of glasses or contact lenses,” the researchers added.

The Purdue group also believes that the study reinforces the notion that if a senior is burdened by impaired sight, helping them complete everyday tasks may be important to maintaining long life.

The study was published online Aug. 21 in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

Source: webmd


Amoebas Eat Contact Lens Wearer’s Eyeballs

Amoebas Eat Contact Lens Wearer's Eyeballs

Doctors hope a horrifying story out of Taiwan will help drive home the importance of proper hygiene for wearers of contact lenses. A 23-year-old student lost her eyesight after buying contact lenses that were supposed to be worn for one month and leaving them in around the clock for six months, leading to an infection by amoebas that gnawed away the corneas in both her eyes, the China Post reports. The microscopic Acanthamoeba parasite is found in environments including soil, dust, and swimming pools, and doctors believe the woman became infected after using dirty water to clean her face.

The director of ophthalmology at a Taipei hospital explains the situation to the Daily Mail: “A shortage of oxygen can destroy the surface of the epithelial tissue, creating tiny wounds into which the bacteria can easily infect, spreading to the rest of the eye and providing a perfect breeding ground.” As a 2009 study in the Journal of Ophthalmology explained, “Corneal oxygenation is significantly reduced during contact lens overwear, particularly for those who sleep in their lenses overnight.” Further, it found that “the association between [the infection known as] Acanthamoeba keratitis and contact lens wear is firmly established; it may account for up to 95% of the reported cases.” And while such infections are relatively rare, they are hard to detect until the person feels acute pain, by which time it could be too late, Medical Daily notes.

Source: newser

New oral medication may help cure blindness: Study

New oral medication may help cure blindness

Scientists have revealed that a new oral medication is showing significant progress in restoring vision to patients with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA).

According to scientists of Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), this is the first time that an oral drug has improved the visual function of blind patients with LCA, which causes visual impairment ranging from reduced vision to complete blindness, has remained untreatable.

Robert Koenekoop, director of McGill Ocular Genetics Laboratory at The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC, said that this treatment is giving hope to many patients who suffer from this devastating retinal degeneration.
The study involved 14 participants from around the world with LCA ranging in age from 6 to 38 years old. Their blindness was caused by either mutations in the genes RPE65 or LRAT, leading to a serious defect in the retinoid cycle.

The retinoid cycle is one of the most important cycles in the human retina because it produces a molecule called 11-cis retinal which has the special capacity to capture light and initiate vision. Patients with RPE65 or LRAT mutations cannot produce this crucial molecule thus the retinal cells cannot create vision, and slowly die.

The study found that 10out of the 14 patients expanded their visual fields; others improved their visual acuity. The research team performed special brain scans of the visual cortex, which showed marked improvements in brain activities in patients who also improved in field size and acuity.

The study was published in the scientific journal The Lancet

source: yahoo news


Five best foods for healthy eyes!


Our eyes dubbed as the light of our body, need special care before they are being damaged. But many of us take this precious gift for granted, though we depend on them more than any other sense.

Remember, when our eyes are healthy, our whole body is full of light. But, when our eyes are unhealthy, our body gets filled with darkness.

Here are five foods that will keep your eyes healthy:Carrots: Carrots are rich in beta carotene (Vitamin A), which is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Spinach: Spinach is packaged with Vitamin C, beta carotene and large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin (two nutrients good for your eyes). Studies have shown that these nutrients can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Oranges: Oranges are also a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin that do wonders for your eyes.

Eggs: The yolk in eggs is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin as well as zinc, which also helps reduce your risk of macular degeneration.

Fish: Eating fishes like salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel will help keep your peepers in tip-top shape. These fishes are rich in 0mega-3 fats, which is good for your visual development, retinal function as well as serve as protection against dry eye.

Source: zee news

Staring at screen all day can damage your eyes

Staring at screen all day can damage your eyes

Working in front of a monitor for more than seven hours per day may lead to symptoms similar to those of dry eye disease, a new study has warned.

The tear fluid that protects and lubricates the eye contains a protein called MUC5AC that is secreted by specialised cells in the upper eyelid.

Researchers have found the levels of MUC5AC in the tears of those who stare for long periods at computer screens were almost as low as in people with dry eye disease, ‘Utah People’s Post’ reported.

People staring at screens also tend to open their eyelids wider as compared to doing other tasks and the extra exposed surface area in addition to infrequent blinking can accelerate tear evaporation and is associated with dry eye disease.

“Office workers who are worried about dry eye can make some simple changes to decrease the risk of disease. The exposed ocular surface area can be decreased by placing the terminal at a lower height, with the screen tilted upward,” Dr Yuichi Uchino, an ophthalmologist at the School of Medicine at Keio University in Tokyo said.

Researchers sampled tears from the eyes of 96 Japanese office workers, roughly two-thirds of which were men. They then measured the concentration of MUC5AC proportional to the total amount of protein in the tears.

The amount of MUC5AC in the tears of workers who looked at screens for more than seven hours per day was, on average, 38.5% lower than the amount in the workers who spent fewer than five hours a day looking at screens.

Among the subjects, 14% were diagnosed with dry eye disease and had 57% less MUC5AC in their tears compared to those without dry eye disease, the report said.

The research was published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.
Source: Times of India

Staring at screens all day linked to changes in eye secretions

Staring at screens

Office workers who spend long hours looking at computer screens have changes in their tear fluid similar to people with the disease known as dry eye, according to a study from Japan.

The protein MUC5AC, secreted by cells in the upper eyelid, makes up part of the normally occurring mucus layer, or “tear film,” that keeps the eye moist. But study participants with the most screen time had MUC5AC levels nearing those of people with diagnosed dry eye.

“To understand patients’ eye strain, which is one of major symptoms of dry eye disease, it is important that ophthalmologist pay attention to MUC5AC concentration in tears,” said Dr. Yuichi Uchino, an author of the new study.

Uchino is an ophthalmologist at the School of Medicine at Keio University in Tokyo.

“When we stare at computers, our blinking times decreased compared to reading a book at the table,” he told Reuters Health by email.

People staring at screens also tend to open their eyelids wider than while doing other tasks, and the extra exposed surface area in addition to infrequent blinking can accelerate tear evaporation and is associated with dry eye disease, he said.

Dry eye may be chronic for some but can be managed with over the counter or prescription eye drops.

Past research suggests that up to 5 million men and women over age 50 in the United States suffer from dry eye disease, the researchers write in their report. In Japan, tens of millions of people report some dry eye symptoms, often associated with computer work, they add.

The study team tested the tears from both eyes of 96 Japanese office workers, about two-thirds of them men, and measured how much of the total protein content of the tears was MUC5AC.

Workers employed in jobs involving computer screens filled out questionnaires about their working hours and symptoms of any eye problems.

Seven percent of men and 14 percent of women were diagnosed with ‘dry eye disease,’ meaning they reported symptoms of eye problems like irritation, burning or blurred vision and had poor quality or quantity of tear film, according to the tests.

Overall, participants looked at screens for work for just over eight hours a day and had an average of about 6.8 nanograms of MUC5AC per milligram of protein in each eye.

However, people who worked with computer screens for more than seven hours per day had an average of 5.9 ng/mg of MUC5AC, compared to 9.6 ng/mg for people who spent fewer than five hours daily with screens.

Similarly, people with definite dry eye disease had an average of 3.5 ng/mg of MUC5AC compared to 8.2 ng/mg for people without the disease.

“Mucin is one of the most important components of the tear film,” said Dr. Yuichi Hori, who was not a part of the new study. “Mucins (like MUC5AC) function to hold water on the ocular surface of the epithelia that synthesize them, hence, they are major players in maintenance of the tear film on the ocular surface,” Hori told Reuters Health by email.

He is chair of the department of Ophthalmology at Toho University Omori Medical Center in Tokyo.

Concentration of the protein was also lower for people with symptoms of eye strain than for people without symptoms, according to the results published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

People with dry eyes at work tend to be less productive and are more likely to be depressed, according to previous studies, Uchino said.

Office workers who are worried about dry eye can make some simple changes to decrease their risk, Uchino said.

“The exposed ocular surface area can be decreased by placing the terminal at a lower height, with the screen tilted upward,” Uchino said.

Doctors also recommend using a humidifier at the office and avoiding being in the direct path of the wind from an air conditioner, he said.

“We advise the office workers suffering from ocular fatigue and dry eye symptoms that they should blink more frequently in an intended manner during (screen use), and that they should use artificial tears,” Hori said.

“And they should ask an eye care doctor if their symptoms still remain.”

Source: fox news

Cure for dry eye closer to reality


A tiny silicone plug, planted quickly and pain-lessly in a tear duct of the eye, could be the cure for a condition suffered by more than four million people in Britain.

The plug, less than 2mm in diameter, slows down the loss of tears that results in dry eye syndrome, a painful, debilitating condition suffered by one in five people aged over 50. Researchers at Glasgow University have discovered that once in place, the plug ensures that enough tears are kept in the eyes to lubricate them and reduce the risk of damage.

If left untreated, dry eye syndrome can damage the outer protective tissue of the cornea – the surface of the eye – leading to infection with a risk of permanent scarring and even some damage to sight. Although tears, or lacrimal fluid, are mostly associated with crying and laughter, they are produced by the eye around the clock.

Tiny glands surrounding the eye continually create new tears that then are spread over the surface by blinking. The fluid is mostly a salt solution, but also contains compounds that fight bacteria and help make the eye immune to infection.

With every blink, a film of tears spreads over the eye, making the surface smooth and enabling good vision. Once the fluid has passed over the surface, the used tears drain out through two small holes in the corner of the eyelids nearest the nose, and from there into the nose and throat. That is why your nose runs when you cry. So efficient is the process that most people are only aware it exists when something goes wrong. Unfortunately, that is an increasing number of people.

In dry eye syndrome, either the tear glands make insufficient tears, or the fluid drains away too quickly. As a result, it is spread too thinly over the eye to lubricate it properly. In some cases the problem is the result of being born with inadequate tear ducts. Dry eyes can also be a side effect of other diseases, or the use of some types of medication. People with large eyes are more vulnerable to the condition, too. But the biggest cause is the natural ageing process. By the age of 60, the volume of lubricating tears is less than half the level at 18.

For those who suffer with dry eyes, the symptoms can be severe and include a chronic stinging, gritty, burning, and itching feeling. Some people describe the pain as like the sensation of having hot grit under the eyelid.

Sometimes the eye can appear red, but often there is no outward sign of pain and discomfort.

‘People with dry eye may have a sensation that the eye is dry, but they may also experience irritation, burning, and sore eyes, and a sensation of having a foreign body in the eye,’ says David Crystal, an Edinburgh-based optometrist and one of several optometrists throughout the country who is starting to use the plugs.

The incidence of dry eye has nearly doubled over the last seven years and lifestyle changes implicated include air conditioning, dehumidifiers, hairdryers, car wind-screen demisting, air pollution, and contact lenses.
Activities that reduce the rate of blinking, such as driving, and TV and computer screen watching, may also have played a part in the increase.

The specially designed plugs for the tear ducts are designed to make the best use of what tears there are. Each eye has two ducts, but the one on the lower lid is responsible for draining away 70 per cent of the fluid, and it is into this duct that the plug is fitted, one in each eye. The plug, which can be put into place with the help of a drop of local anaesthetic applied on a cotton-wool bud, reduces the amount of tears that drains away.

‘It is like heightening the dam and raising the reservoir levels. In effect, you create a reservoir of tears and, as a result, your eyes are bathed with your own natural tears without the bother of constantly supplementing the tear film with artificial tears,’ says David Crystal.

‘The insert can easily be removed if the dry eye condition improves at a later date. These inserts, which are so tiny they cannot be seen once they are in place, are also ideal in cases of dry eye caused by contact lenses.’ The procedure, which costs around £220, can result in improvements within days.

William Erskine, aged 59, of Duddingston, Edinburgh, had suffered for years with dry eye and had tried almost every alternative, including a number of over-the-counter oils and ointments.

‘I know exactly when it started. It was 35 years ago in Edinburgh Castle on a windy night. My eyes became dry, red hot and prickly and then just stayed like that,’ he says.

‘I tried all kinds of things but nothing worked. It was very painful, especially when I was working in an emergency highways team in bad weather in 12-hour shifts.

‘After so long, you begin to wonder whether you will ever get any relief. Earlier this year I had these silicone plugs put in and the results have been amazing. For the first time in 35 years year I have got peace – no more dry eyes.’

Source: daily mail

Scientists visualize new treatments for retinal blindness

A new report published in The FASEB Journal may lead the way toward new treatments or a cure for a common cause of blindness (proliferative retinopathies). Specifically, scientists have discovered that the body’s innate immune system does more than help ward off external pathogens. It also helps remove sight-robbing abnormal blood vessels, while leaving healthy cells and tissue intact. This discovery is significant as the retina is part of the central nervous system and its cells cannot be replaced once lost. Identifying ways to leverage the innate immune system to “clean out” abnormal blood vessels in the retina may lead to treatments that could prevent or delay blindness, or restore sight.

“Our findings begin to identify a new role of the innate immune system by which endogenous mediators selectively target the pathologic retinal vasculature for removal,” said Kip M Connor, a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Ophthalmology at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Angiogenesis Laboratory. “It is our hope that future studies will allow us to develop specific therapeutics that harnesses this knowledge resulting in a greater visual outcome and quality of life for patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy or retinopathy of prematurity.”

To make this discovery, Connor and colleagues compared two groups of mice, a genetically modified group which lacked activity in the innate immune complement system, and a normal group with a fully functional innate immune system. Researchers placed both groups in an environment that induced irregular blood vessel growth in the eye, mimicking what happens in many human ocular diseases. The mice that were lacking a functional innate immune system developed significantly more irregular blood vessels than the normal mice, indicating that the complement system is a major regulator of abnormal blood vessel growth within the eye. Importantly, in the normal mice, scientists were able to visualize the immune system targeting and killing only the irregular blood vessels while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

“Knowing how the complement system works to keep our retinas clean is an important first-step toward new treatments that could mimic this activity,” said Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “It’s a new understanding of how proliferative retinopathies rob us of sight, and promises to let us see the path ahead clearly.”

Source: India medical Times

Is Blinking keeps your Eyes Clean and Clear

Blinking is a crucial part of keeping the right amount of moisture in the eye surface, especially during cold, dry weather. It coats the eye with a fresh layer of tears while also cleaning the surface and moisturizing it. It is an almost subconscious action that means a lot to a dry eye patient.

Whether you work at a computer for +8hrs, watch a movie, or live in a dry environment, a slow blinking rate will increase your dry eye symptoms. Under normal circumstances, your blinking rate is an average 4 seconds, about 15 times a minute. When using the computer or staring at any other bright screen our blinking rate decreases by up to a whopping 70%!

Blink break! Before you continue reading… blink a couple of times.
Will blinking alone help my dry eyes during the day?
There are various blinking exercises that can help you further improve the condition of your eyes. These are designed to work your eye muscles and maintain your eyesight during the day.

Look at a distant object
This exercise benefits people who are glued to a monitor all day (iPads, tablets and smartphones included). In this day and age, people are dependent on technology for a larger number of daily tasks. We stare at bright screens a short distance from our eyes and this is causing eye strain, since our eyes are at rest when we look at distant objects.

So the first exercise goes like this: find a window, any window; now focus on a distant tree or car for 10 to 15 seconds. Slowly refocus your eyes on an object closer to you without moving your head. Focus on this new object for another 10 to 15 seconds. Do this 4 to 5 times, going back and forth between the distant object and the closer one.

Shut, squeeze, rinse and repeat This one’s a fairly quick one. Shut your eyes quickly, squeeze them and feel your facial muscles moving. Keep this for 3-5 seconds. Open your eyes slowly and relax the muscles, keep them open for another 3-5 seconds. Repeat this process 6 or 7 times.

Clockwise… counter-clockwise Roll your eyes clockwise one full round, then counter-clockwise another full round. Next, move your eyes up and down, then left and right. Finish up this exercise but looking at your nose tip.

Palming  works to relax your eyes and your mind. It is inspired by Yoga Eye Exercises and you can do this anywhere. To get started sit comfortably and rub your palms against each other until you feel them warm up (Mr. Miyagi-style!). Turn your palms facing upwards and place them over your eyes, making sure you are not covering your nose and that no light filters through them. Once your palms are positioned correctly, feel the warmth coming from your palms and close your eyes.

Concentrate on the complete darkness and relax your mind for a minute. Benefits of blinking exercises for dry eye patients These exercises will help you relax your eyesight, clear tear ducts and prevent further vision deterioration. It is recommended that you exercise your eyes for 5 minutes for every 30 to 40 minutes of near vision work.

Source: All about dry eye