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5 Foods for Healthy Eyes

Girl with oranges in her eyes over green background

These five surprising foods will help keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp.

Beyond carrots
You’ve probably heard that carrots and other orange-colored fruits and vegetables promote eye health and protect vision, and it’s true: Beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A that gives these foods their orange hue, helps the retina and other parts of the eye to function smoothly.

But eating your way to good eyesight isn’t only about beta-carotene. Though their connection to vision isn’t as well-known, several other vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy eyes. Make these five foods a staple of your diet to keep your peepers in tip-top shape.

Leafy greens
They’re packed with lutein and zeaxanthin—antioxidants that, studies show, lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.

The yolk is a prime source of lutein and zeaxanthin—plus zinc, which also helps reduce your macular degeneration risk, according to Paul Dougherty, MD, medical director of Dougherty Laser Vision in Los Angeles.

Citrus and berries
These fruits are powerhouses of vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.

They’re filled with vitamin E, which slows macular degeneration,research shows. One handful (an ounce) provides about half of your daily dose of E.

Fatty fish
Tuna, salmon, mackerel, anchovies and trout are rich in DHA, a fatty acid found in your retina—low levels of which have been linked to dry eye syndrome, says Jimmy Lee, MD, director of refractive surgery at Montefiore Medical Center, in New York City.

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Protective Sports Eyewear

Heavy Dumbbell

Not long ago, athletes rarely wore eyewear specifically designed to protect their eyes during sports, and sports-related eye injuries were widespread.
Today, sports eyewear can be spotted on almost anyone who picks up a ball, bat, racquet or stick — whether they play in the major leagues or the Little League.

Fortunately, coaches, parents and players now realize that wearing protective eyewear for sports pays off in several ways. The risk of eye damage is reduced, and the player’s performance is enhanced by the ability to see better. In fact, many athletic and fitness clubs today do not permit their members to participate without wearing proper eye gear.

Initially, there was some resistance by children to “looking funny” when they wore protective eyewear. Today, sports goggles are an accepted part of everyday life, much the way bike helmets have become the norm. In addition, both children and adults like the image that wearing protective eyewear gives them: It shows they mean business on the playing field.

If You’re Not Wearing Protective Eyewear, Consider This…
Prevent Blindness America reports that hospital emergency rooms treat more than 40,000 eye injuries every year that are sports-related. Even non-contact sports such as badminton can present inherent dangers to the eyes.

Any sport in which balls, racquets or flying objects are present pose a potential for eye injury.

Sports such as racquetball, tennis and badminton may seem relatively harmless, but they involve objects moving at 60 miles per hour or faster. During a typical game, a racquetball can travel between 60 and 200 miles per hour.

Another potential danger is that the racquets themselves move at high speed in a confined space and could strike a player.

Flying objects aren’t the only hazard. Many eye injuries come from pokes and jabs by fingers and elbows, particularly in games where players are in close contact with each other. Basketball, for example, has an extremely high rate of eye injury. So does swimming, where no flying objects are involved.

These are great reasons to wear protective eyewear. Enhancing performance is another important aspect of eye protection. It used to be common for people with mild to moderate prescriptions to simply participate in sports without wearing their eyeglasses or contacts. Coaches and players soon recognized that clear, sharp vision is a vital ingredient in sports performance, and participating in sports with less than 20/20 vision is counterproductive.

Features To Look for in Protective Sports Eyewear:

Prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses and even on-the-job industrial safety glasses typically do not provide adequate protection for sports use.

Sports goggles are made in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many are designed for racquet sports and are available for basketball and soccer. Some are even designed to fit in helmets used for football, hockey and baseball. Sports goggles should allow the use of helmets when the sport calls for it.

Lenses in sports eyewear usually are made of polycarbonate. Since polycarbonate is such an impact-resistant lens material, it works well to protect eyes from fast-moving objects. Polycarbonate also has built-in ultraviolet protection — a valuable feature for outdoor sports.
Untreated polycarbonate lenses, however, can easily become scratched. For this reason, virtually all polycarbonate lenses for eyeglasses and sports eyewear include a scratch-resistant coating on both the front and back surface for added durability.

Polycarbonate is the material of choice for sports lenses, but the eyewear frame plays an important role, too. Further, different sports require different types of frames, which has led to development of sport-specific frames.

Most sport frames can accommodate both prescription and nonprescription lenses. Sport frames are constructed of highly impact-resistant plastic or polycarbonate, and most come with rubber padding to cushion the frame where it comes in contact with the head or the nose area.

Some sports styles are contoured, wrapping slightly around the face. This type of goggle works well for biking, hang-gliding and sailing. Contact lens wearers especially benefit from the wraparound style, as it helps keep out wind and dust.

Important Fitting Considerations for Children:

Sport goggles must be properly fit to the individual wearer. This is particularly important with children, because the normal temptation is to purchase a larger goggle than is needed today so the youngster has “room to grow.”

Some growing room is acceptable, and sports goggles are made to be somewhat flexible in their width adjustment. But if the frames are too large and don’t fit properly, the amount of protection they provide will be compromised, increasing the risk of eye injury. It’s a risk not worth taking.

By the same token, permitting a youngster to continue wearing goggles that he or she has outgrown can be just as dangerous.

First, the frames will be uncomfortable, tempting the child to leave them off. Secondly, the frames can obstruct peripheral vision, leading to poor performance and a greater risk of being hit by a ball or other unseen object from one side or the other.

Review the fit of your child’s sport goggles each year to ensure that they are still providing proper protection. Make sure the padding inside the sides of the goggle rests flush with the face and the eyes are centered both horizontally and vertically in the lens area.

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Digital Eye Strain: A Growing Problem

Woman touching tablet screen walking in the street at night

Most Americans could hardly imagine — or get through — their day without screen time. But even as devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones have improved our productivity and quality of life, they are also the leading cause of a serious and growing health problem.

According to the Vision Council, a company that represents manufacturers and suppliers in the optical industry, as much as 95 percent of Americans spend two or more hours each day using a personal digital device. Nearly one-third of adults — 30 percent — spend nine or more hours using a digital device. This habit puts millions of us at risk for digital eye strain.

The study found 61 percent of Americans say they experience eye problems that include dryness, irritation and blurred vision.

The report, released at the CES 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, finds Americans look at their mobile phones an average of 100 times each day. We’re addicted and either don’t know or care how much damage phone time may be doing to our eyes, not to mention our relationships and psyche. Digital addiction, or “nomophobia” — the fear of being without your mobile device — is even contributing to physical health problems like chronic back pain.

It also turns out that risk for eye strain is generational: the younger a person is, the more likely they are to rely on technology and spend greater amounts of time staring at a phone, tablet or computer screen.

According to the report, 1 in 4 children use digital devices for more than three hours each day, but only 30 percent of parents express concern over the impact extensive use might have on a child.

A large majority, nearly 70 percent, of Millennials report symptoms of digital eye strain. That’s more than Baby Boomers (57 percent) and Gen Xers (63 percent).

Digital eye strain is the result of sitting too close to screen, which causes eyes to become inflamed. It’s not just the amount of time you spend in front of the screen, but also the size of the font, your posture, computer set-up, the amount of blue light emitted from the screen. Preexisting eye conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts, may also cause digital eye strain to become even more severe.

There are a number of ways to protect your peepers from the damage caused by excessive screen time. The authors of the report recommend building a work space that is conducive for keeping good posture and minimizing eye strain. This includes centering your computer monitor directly in front of you, sitting arms-length away from the screen, positioning the monitor so the top of the screen is level with the eyes and making adjustments to the work area to avoid computer glare.

Some eye doctors recommend investing in computer eyewear with an anti-reflective lens that can also be combined with a specially formulated coating that blocks and selectively absorbs blue light.

While it would be ideal to cut down the amount of time you spend in front of a screen each day, it’s not always realistic. One way to alleviate eye discomfort is to follow the 20/20/20 rule, which is to take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and look at something at least 20 feet away.

Information from CBS News

First Aid: What to do if there’s something in your eye

sore eyeMost of the time when you get something in your eye you can carefully remove it. In some cases, an object in your eye can scratch your cornea. A scratched cornea takes a couple of days to heal and may require treatment from your health care provider. If you get a chemical in your eye or something is embedded in your eye, you need immediate medical treatment. Follow these recommendations below for what to do if there is something in your eye.

How do I remove a particle in my eye?

If something is embedded in your eye (such as a glass fragment), do not try to remove it. Cover both eyes with a wet washcloth and have someone take you to an eye doctor or emergency room.

To remove a loose eyelash, dirt particle, or other object in your eye:

Wash your hands before touching your eyes.
Look in a mirror and try to find the object in your eye.

Try the following methods to remove the object:

  • Try to blink to allow your tears to wash it out. Do not rub your eye.
  • If the particle is behind your upper eyelid, pull the upper lid out and over the lower lid and roll your eye upward. This can help get the particle come off the upper lid and flush out of the eye.
  • If the object is in the corner of your eye or under your lower eyelid, remove it with a wet cotton swab or the corner of a clean cloth while holding the lower lid open.
  • Fill an eyecup or small juice glass with lukewarm water. Put your eye over the cup of water and open your eye to rinse your eye and flush the object out.
  • You can pour lukewarm water into your eye or hold your eye under a faucet to flush out your eye.

What should I do if I get a chemical in my eye?

Chemical burns to the eyes are a medical emergency. Follow these steps if you get a chemical in your eyes.

  • Immediately flush the eye with water by holding your head under the faucet or by pouring water into your eye from a clean container. Keep your eye open while flushing with water.
  • Continue flushing out your eye for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • After you flush your eye out, call your health care provider or have someone take you to the emergency department or urgent care center.
  • If possible, take the container the chemical was in with you to the health care provider.

When should I call my health care provider?

Call if:

  • You have severe or deep eye pain.
  • You still have eye pain or irritation 30 minutes after you have removed an object.
  • You have glass or a chemical in your eye.
  • You have questions or concerns.

Information from Kirk Eye Center 

The Hidden Dangers of Eyelash Extensions

By Scott Nyerges

Do a quick web search for the term “eyelash extensions” or “fake eyelashes,” and you’ll come up with a slew of ads for local salons and breathless articles about the fashion trend. Even the Kardashians are selling their own brand of fake eyelashes. What you probably won’t find—unless you go digging—is information on eyelash extension safety.

“The risks of eyelash extensions are not only an allergic reaction to the glue [used to attach the extensions], but erosion of the inner surface of the eyelid,” says Dr. Orly Avitzur, M.D., one of our medical advisors. “And that can cause permanent damage to your eyelashes.”

Whether you go for regular old glue-on versions or fancy extensions that can cost hundreds of dollars at a salon, the risks are the same. Here are five you need to know:

  1. Irritation and redness.
  2. Inflammation and swelling. Check out this clip of actress Kristin Chenoweth on CNN.
  3. Infection. Extensions can trap dirt and bacteria, leading to serious infections, including pink eye.
  4. Allergic reaction. The glues in some lash adhesives contain formaldehyde, which can cause a severe allergic reaction over time that can result in oozing and crusting. Formaldehyde is also a known carcinogen.
  5. Loss of eyelashes. Yes, you can end up with bald eyes! The glue can pull out your lashes or you could end up pulling them out yourself. Irritation can lead to a condition called madarosis, which causes you to tug on them. Britain’s College of Optometrists also cautions that you could end up with traction alopecia, “where the hair falls out due to excessive tension placed on the hair shaft. As a result this can damage the hair follicle which can slow down and even cease production of hair.”

What about eyelash dyes, eyelash adornments, and growth formulas?

Eyelash dyes are a big beauty don’t. Currently, there are no color additives approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration for dyeing or tinting eyelashes, and the FDA cautions against doing so. The dyes can cause blindness.

Eyelash adornments, such as gluing tiny glass beads or crystals to the eyelash, or more extreme, attaching tiny charms to wires that are affixed to the eyelids, pose the same risks as eyelash extensions, not to mention an added hazard.

“It doesn’t take an expert to see trouble coming with sharp objects placed close to the eye,” Avitzur says.

And Latisse, which is an FDA-approved treatment for thin lashes, has potential side effects as well, including:

  • Permanent changes in eye color—turning blue, green, or hazel eyes brown
  • Permanently darkened eyelids
  • Hair growth elsewhere on your face if you’re not careful
  • Itching, redness
  • Lower eye pressure, which could potentially mask glaucoma or other eye problems

How to avoid eyelash extension complications

The easiest way to prevent the risk of infection or eye irritation is to simply avoid getting eyelash extensions. If you want thicker, fuller lashes, our experts say, use mascara instead. But if you decide to use eyelash extensions, make it an occasional beauty treat. And follow these tips from the American College of Ophthalmology:

  • Make sure the aesthetician who is doing your eyelash extensions has valid certification.
  • Ask to see the ingredient list on the adhesive being used and check for potential allergens like formaldehyde.
  • Make sure your aesthetician is practicing good hygiene, including washing his or her hands thoroughly and wearing gloves.
  • Lastly, if you do notice signs of infection, see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

More information on eye cosmetic safety

The FDA has an extensive list of safety tips for beauty treatments, including eyelash extensions, mascara, eye shadow and other cosmetics.

Information from


Moreland EyeCare
100 Peach Ridge Road
Anna, IL  62906
Phone: (618) 833-9208

Emergency Contact
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