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Latest Vision News

May is Healthy Vision Month

May is Healthy Vision Month

What does that mean for you? It means that now is the time to schedule a comprehensive eye  exam. 

While these are one of the exams we may often let fall by the wayside, they are extremely important to maintain our eye health. Comprehensive eye exams serve several purposes. During these exams, pupils, the circular black area in the center of the eye where light enters, are widened with eye drops or viewed without dilation through a special camera. This allows your Eye Doctor to check for vision problems and eye diseases, verify what stage of diseases your eyes may be in, and helps determine if you need glasses, contacts or other treatments. 

Comprehensive eye exams are crucial for all ages, here’s why: 

Pediatric exams test for visual acuity, lazy eye, color vision, ocular health, and more. These are extremely important to test for the school years ahead. 

For older children and teenagers, myopia (nearsightedness) is one of the biggest concerns that comprehensive eye exams detect. Myopia affects the eye’s ability to see distant images clearly. It is important to identify and treat early with glasses or contacts as children and teens begin to learn in larger spaces, play sports, and drive. 

Adult exams are recommended at least every two years, or as recommended by your eye care specialist. Exams for adults are necessary to catch eye conditions that can cause vision loss and even lead to blindness. Some of these conditions are cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. 

There are several other conditions that comprehensive eye exams can expose that may not be found without a visit to your optometrist. 

Outside of eye exams, here are 5 ways you can help protect your vision: 

  1. Healthy eating. You know this! Healthy eating helps every part of your body. For your eyes, make sure to add dark, leafy greens and seafood that is high in omega-3 fatty acids to your plate. A great excuse to treat yourself to sushi! We’re adding a spicy sake maki roll to our cart… for delivery.
  2. Protective eyewear. Whether you’re chopping wood for the bonfire pit, mowing the lawn, painting your bedroom walls, or riding your motorcycle around town, protective eyewear is key. Blue-light protection glasses should also be considered to protect your eyes from all the time spent in front of computer screens.
  3. Sunglasses. Much like protective eyewear, sunglasses help protect your eyes from ultraviolet radiation delivered by sun. Not all sunglasses provide the same level of protection. Let us help you pick the best pair!
  4. Clean hands. Wash your hands before putting your contacts in and before taking your contacts out, simply to avoid infection.
  5. Stop smoking. Smoking is known to cause several diseases, but it can also lead to vision loss. It can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and more. Mark your calendar for your comprehensive eye exam and mark it as the day to stop smoking. 

Happy healthy vision month! Get your appointment in the books with us today. 

 

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With the legalization of medical marijuana in 29 states as of April 2017, the question of whether marijuana is a good treatment for glaucoma has resurfaced.

Glaucoma is a common eye disease that affects the optic nerve and results in loss of peripheral vision. The treatment for glaucoma is to lower the pressure - intraocular pressure - inside the eye. This can be accomplished by laser, eye drops, or surgery.

The idea that marijuana can be used to treat glaucoma dates back to the 1970s. Smoking marijuana does lower intraocular pressure but the effect lasts only 3-4 hours. In order for marijuana to be an effective treatment, a person would have to smoke marijuana every 3 hours. Since marijuana also has psychoactive effects, consistently smoking it could prevent a person from performing at maximum mental capacity, and frequent use can cause problems with short-term memory.

Marijuana not only lowers intraocular pressure but also blood pressure and blood flow throughout the body. There is, however, evidence that decreased blood flow to the optic nerve may cause further damage. Therefore, it is possible that the lower intraocular pressure is negated by the decreased blood pressure to the eye.

Other ways of administering the active ingredient of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), include oral and topical administration. These forms avoid the potentially harmful compounds that could damage the lungs from marijuana smoke. However, the oral form would not avoid the systemic effects of marijuana.

There has been a research program that enrolled nine patients to take either oral THC or inhaled marijuana. None of the patients could sustain treatment for more than 9 months due to side effects such as distortion of perception, confusion, anxiety, depression, and severe dizziness. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12545695)

Alternatively, though eye drops may potentially avoid systemic effects, there is no formulation currently available to introduce a sufficient amount of the active ingredient into the eye.

The position by the American Glaucoma Society and American Academy of Ophthalmology is that marijuana is not recommended in any form for treatment of glaucoma at the present time.

 

Article contributed by Dr. Jane Pan

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

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