Day: November 15, 2018

The Link Between Diabetes and Your Eyes

The Hargrave Eye Center’s latest post:

Diabetes can affect many different aspects of your life – even your eyes! Some common ailments can happen to your eyes due to diabetes. Without the steady of production of insulin that is characteristic of diabetes, there is not enough to break down the sugar in your blood. This results in hyperglycemia which is what can commonly affect many parts of your body as well as your eyes. Here are some common eye conditions that can come from diabetes.

Cataracts

One of the common eye conditions that can develop due to diabetes is cataracts. In fact, those who have diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts. Cataracts main symptom is cloudy vision, and this is due to the clear lens becoming obstructed and not allowing light to pass through it properly. This obstruction causes your eyesight to become blurry and even distorted. Cataracts are a result of additional glucose in the fluid in the front of the eye. The extra glucose causes the sorbitol levels to rise and leads to cloudy vision.

Glaucoma

Those with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma. Neovascular glaucoma is one of the most likely conditions to emerge as a result of diabetes. Abnormal blood vessels in the retina characterize glaucoma, and they are a result of damaged central blood vessels. Common symptoms of glaucoma are vision loss or decreased vision, redness or pain.

Diabetic Macular Edema

Stemming from diabetic retinopathy, which is caused by damaged blood vessels in the retina, diabetic macular edema or DME is another common condition of the eyes resulting from diabetes. DME is also caused by damaged blood vessels but also by an accumulation of fluid in the macula. Almost 30% of those with diabetes will develop diabetic macular edema.

Eye conditions are likely to develop for those with diabetes, but there are steps that you can take to combat them. Proactively having yearly eye exams and dilated eye exams is very important to stay on top of possible symptoms. Following a proper diet and keeping your blood sugar and glucose levels under control and at the appropriate levels is crucial. A final step is ensuring that you maintain a healthy lifestyle and your doctor’s recommended diet. Be sure to watch out for any symptoms and talk to your doctor immediately if anything unusual develops.

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Tech That is Helping Restore Sight

The Hargrave Eye Center’s latest post:

Many technologies are exploring the possibility of reversing blindness or slowing down vision loss. These technologies take a variety of different forms; the ongoing research consists of cell-based solutions, devices, surgical solutions, and tech-based nonsurgical solutions. There is also an emerging number of artificial intelligence and other technologies that are being used and refined to help those with vision impairment.

Cell-Based Solutions

One of the most breakthrough cell-based technologies is the concept of gene therapy as a method of correcting vision loss for those who have childhood-onset blindness.  Gene therapy is the process of replacing any missing or defective genes within cells with healthy, functioning ones. Retinal cell implants are another cell-based technology that specifically targets those with age-related macular degeneration. These cells come from human embryonic stem cells. These cell-based solutions are still in the early stages of implementation but are very promising for the future of sight restoration.

Device-Based Solutions

There are quite a few device-based technologies that are working, not only to provide solutions to reverse vision loss but to help those navigate life with impaired vision. Some of these solutions to reverse blindness or vision loss consist of 3D printed eyes, corneal inlays, and possibly bionic eye-brain implants. There are also apps that provide aid to those with blindness, such as Be My Eyes and Seeing AI. IrisVision has even integrated vision assistance with virtual reality, to help with everyday tasks.

Surgical Solutions

Surgical solutions to vision impairment are some of the more common technologies that are available. The most common is Lasik surgery, in which a surgeon reshapes a patient’s cornea with a tiny laser. Other types of surgery are RLE or a clear lens extraction and RK where the cornea is flattened.

Tech-Based Nonsurgical Solutions

One of the most interesting nonsurgical solutions is a Gentle Vision retainer shaping systems. These are lenses that someone would wear while sleeping, similar in style to contact lenses, that slowly and gently reshape the cornea. Eye drops are also being developed to help reverse cataracts.

Technology can take many different forms, and there are developments in all of the facets of it in the quest for vision repair. There is still far to go in this area of development, but exciting things are on the horizon for our eyes!

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Supplements for Eye Health

The Hargrave Eye Center’s latest post:

There are many different vitamins and minerals that your eyes need, and that can truly benefit them. Proactively ensuring that you are getting all the vitamins that your eyes need is a way to lower your risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, and severe vision loss due to other age-related eye diseases. A proper diet should be the primary source of your necessary vitamins and minerals, but supplements can be a great way to get additional vitamins into your system.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Taking lutein and zeaxanthin supplements helps increase the density of carotenoids in your retina. They can also help to absorb ultra-violet lights that try to damage your eyes. It is possible that a proper amount of these vitamins could help to prevent cataracts and other AMDs. Lutein and Zeaxanthin can be found in foods such as cooked kale and spinach, and even in eggs. If making sure your diet contains enough of these minerals is not possible, taking small doses in supplements can be an option.

Zinc

Zinc, like lutein and zeaxanthin, is found in your eyes naturally but it is a powerful vitamin that protects your eyes against cell damage. Foods such as poultry, seafood, and red meat as well as nuts and beans contain zinc and are essential aspects of a diet to ensure proper amounts of zinc. Increasing your zinc intake can be important for those who have a high risk of developing AMD. Taking a zinc supplement can be the best way to get the additional amounts of the vitamin, and it is recommended that copper is taken in tandem with zinc, as high levels of zinc can heighten copper absorption.

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 is essential to the health of your eyes. Proper amounts of this vitamin can be helpful in preventing cataracts, glaucoma and other vision diseases. Vitamin B1 is commonly found in yeast, cauliflower, eggs, and pork. Generally, the Western diet accounts for about half of the recommended amount of the vitamin. It can be helpful to take a supplement for it if you are unable to get the correct amount from your diet.

Supplements are not the end-all for any ailment that comes along, including those of your eyes, but they can be beneficial in supporting your daily diet. Lutein and zeaxanthin can help the absorption of UV rays, zinc can protect against cell damage in your eyes, and vitamin B1 is essential to the overall health of your eyes.

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What is Dry Eye Disease?

The Hargrave Eye Center’s latest post:

Dry eye disease is a common ailment that affects millions of Americans. The basics of dry eye disease is a lack of tear production or a lack of quality tears. Tears are needed to lubricate the cornea of your eyes, prevent infection and removing foreign matters for your eyes. Typically, excess tears drain into the back of the nose, but with dry eye disease, there is an inconsistent balance of production and drainage.

There can be many different reasons for the lack of tear production. Tear production can lessen as you grow older, as well as external environmental conditions such as dry air or extreme cold. Tears are made up of three different layers, and dry eye disease can result if there is a vacancy in those layers. For example, meibum is the oil layer of the tear, and one cause of dry eye could be clogging of the meibomian glands.

Certain medications can cause dry eye as well as certain medical conditions such as diabetes and arthritis. Wearing contact lenses for an extended period of time can also cause dry eye disease to develop.

One of the most common symptoms of dry eye disease is a scratchy sensation in the eye. There can also be burning or stinging sensations. An excessive amount of tears or other discharge can be a symptom of dry eye disease. Other symptoms are redness in your eyes and even possibly blurred vision.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it could be time to talk with your eye doctor about treatment for dry eye disease. There are many treatment options for dry eye; some being at-home type remedies, and some being more surgical options.

Constant use of eye drops, either over the counter or prescription, could be a way to keep the eye lubricated. Lubricants can be placed under the lower eyelid which will also help keep the eyes moist. Warm compresses could be used to soften hardened meibum that is clogging the glands. Nutritional supplements can also help to prevent dry eye symptoms. A more surgical option includes plugs that are placed in the eyes to stop the flow of tears which in turn can keep the tear film intact longer. Other remedies include combinations of the above.

Dry eye disease is not uncommon but it is very treatable. Talk with your eye doctor today if you suspect you are struggling with it.

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