What contribution can an ophthalmologist make toward my general health and wellbeing?
An eye examination may reveal an abnormality in the early stage of development before a person experiences the first problematic symptom. Regular eye exams are especially important for anyone with a family history of glaucoma, diabetes or cancer.
Optimal vision depends upon image clarity. An eyeball and its components can become misshapen, lenses clouded and muscles irregular. The networks of vessels that nourish the eye are very small and fragile. They can be adversely affected by conditions elsewhere in the body like strokes, elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and stress.
Beyond identifying and treating eye conditions, your ophthalmologist can offer advice about prevention of problems affecting the eyes.
An eye examination by an experienced ophthalmologist will go a long way towards ensuring good health for you and your family.
What advice can you offer to prevent cataracts?
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in the eye. Proteins in the lens tissue decompose over time. Because cataract development is usually age related, there are no eye drops, medicines or dietary supplements that can prevent cataracts. However, the age of onset and the severity of one’s cataracts does vary so I advise limited exposure to ultraviolet light and always protect your eyes when outside.
How can I prevent dry eyes?
Dry eye is a condition that occurs when the eyes are not adequately tearing to maintain the required levels of moisture around your eyes.
Be mindful of the indoor and outdoor environmental factors: sun, wind, cold, dry air, high altitudes, smoke, heating, air conditioning and computer screens. Be aware that medicines can cause dry eye: diuretics, decongestants, anti-histamines, anti-depressants, tranquilizers, birth control and blood pressure medications.
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Can macular degeneration be prevented?
The finest details of visual images occur in the macula – the center of the retina. If macula cells degenerate, images become blurred and distorted. Small, dark areas may also appear. This condition may advance until substantial vision loss occurs.
Avoid cigarette smoke – first and second hand. Exercise. Consume a low fat diet that emphasizes fish and vegetables, especially those rich in carotenoids and lutein like carrots, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, dark lettuce, collard greens and kale. Oranges are good as well.
Can eye diseases be prevented?
Many eye diseases are genetic. Family history is a primary predictor.
Glaucoma is a sight-threatening disease affecting the optic nerve. If untreated, blindness eventually occurs. Your ophthalmologist can detect elevated eye pressure and optic nerve damage only if you’re sitting in his or her examination chair. Early identification means immediate treatment.
Due to the genetic connection, there are few things one can do unlike preventing eye injuries where there are many preventative behaviors.
What are the preventative behaviors related to eye injury?
Wear glasses when doing any activity where an object could fly into your eye. For example, a young man was cleaning his grill with a brush. One of the bristles broke off and flew into his eye. If he had been wearing sunglasses or even his reading glasses, that tiny metallic spear would have ricocheted off a plastic lens instead of piercing the natural one in his eye.
If you’re a motorcyclist, wear a masked helmet. When in a car, always wear a seat belt and do not apply make-up while moving. Cosmetic applicators are double edged swords.
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Why are cosmetic applicators a problem?
Applicators are weapons in a car and infection carriers elsewhere. Pink eye or conjunctivitis is the inflamed condition of the conjunctiva - a thin, clear membrane that covers the surface of your eye. There are two types of pink eye, seasonal inflammation and contagious infection.
How can seasonal conjunctivitis be prevented?
Avoid pollen rich environments. If you are unable to avoid pollen, mold and dander, take an antihistamine as a preventative. Keep your home closed. Clean or replace your air conditioner filter often. Keep your hands away from your eyes and frequently wash your hands. If you should need to touch your face around your eyes, always use a tissue.
How can contagious conjunctivitis be prevented?
Avoid people with pink eyes. Keep your hands away from your eyes and wash your hands frequently. If you should need to touch your face around your eyes, always use a tissue. I also recommend replacing eye and cheek cosmetics. People who wear contact lenses should clean them very carefully. If symptoms of conjunctivitis should occur, stop wearing the lenses until the condition clears.
What if I can’t avoid contact with someone who has pink eye?
Make sure they are practicing good hygiene, especially frequent hand washing.
Another essential behavior is not leaving things they’ve touched in places where others might use them. Be aware of items typically touched by someone with this condition: towels, wash cloths, bedroom linens, telephones, light switches, computer keyboards, remote controls, door handles, multi-serving beverage and condiment containers.
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