Recent research, including a study published in the Journal of Glaucoma, is exploring the connection between dental hygiene and glaucoma. Evidence suggests that excess bacteria in the mouth could be a catalyst for the development of open-angle glaucoma and that maintaining good oral health could reduce the risk.
In addition to glaucoma, cataracts have also been linked with oral health. Toxic elements in mercury fillings have been found to cause the formation of cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa, iritis, color-vision issues, and other eye conditions.
The body is a system and scientists are still working out how various microbiomes in that system can affect the body as a whole. So while you may not want to start passing out toothbrushes to patients at every visit like the dentist, information about how oral hygiene might affect their eye health could prove valuable.
Glaucoma affects nearly 60 million people worldwide, and while there isnâ€™t a cure, recent studies suggest that adopting a few some lifestyle changes may have a positive effect on eye pressure, which is a major risk factor for the disease.
Regular exercise. A recent study showed that people who engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity have a 73 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. Blood flow and pressure inside the eye may change with exercise, which may affect glaucoma risk.
Eat More Leafy Greens. Another study showed that people who ate more leafy vegetables have a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. Nitrates in green vegetables can be converted to nitric oxide, which can improve blood flow and help regulate pressure inside the eye.
Enjoy a Cup of Tea. Consuming tea and supplementing with magnesium have also been linked with benefits for glaucoma.
Brush and FlossDonâ€™t Smoke. If not just to lower the risk of glaucoma, then for the myriad of other health concerns linked to smoking.
Maintain a Healthy Weight. Being overweight can be a direct route to diabetes and other health issues including diabetes-related eye maladies.
Reduce Stress. Good for your eyes as well as your ticker.
If a child is having trouble reading, itâ€™s only logical for parents to bring them in for a vision check. And if the child shows 20/20 vision, itâ€™s logical to conclude the problem might originate somewhere besides the eyes. But that may not be the case, according to a recent study of Canadian children published in the Journal of Optometry.
Dr. Lisa Christian from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues performed a retrospective review of these children who had all had complete eye exams. These children also had Individual Education Plans (IEP) specifically directed at improving their reading abilities.
The authors found that while most of the children had good eyesight, a substantial proportion had binocular vision that was below the normal limits on testing, so the children may have experienced blurred images, poor depth perception, or double vision among other problems when they read.
Such problems can result from a variety of conditions, such as misaligned eyes, or poor functioning of the oculomotor muscles. A person with such problems will typically have difficulty reading â€” they may lose their place easily and develop eyestrain.
So when there is an issue with a child’s learning to read, it could be important to determine whether eye problems other than myopia are the cause.
Blue light, also known as high-energy visible (HEV) light, is a type of light with short wavelengths emitting a higher energy. The sun is the biggest source of blue light, but we also get exposure from TVs, computers, smartphones and tablets. And a large majority of children and adults are staring at those screens for more than 2 hours every day.
Blue light penetrates deep into the eye, and studies suggest a connection between exposure to blue light and retinal damage, macular degeneration and cataracts. Blue light can also suppress the natural release of melatonin, disrupting sleep.
Fighting back against blue light
In addition to blue light exposure, those screens are causing a few other pains for the digitally bedazzled. An increase in eyestrain, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision and neck and shoulder pain have all been attributed to our screen addiction.
Eyewear is available with lenses featuring blue light-filtering capabilities that reduce the negative effects of blue light as well as anti-reflective or anti-glare properties. This technology can help minimize the negative effects blue light has on the bodyâ€™s circadian rhythm, which can hinder a good nightâ€™s sleep as well as reduce the symptoms of digital eyestrain.
Regular breaks from the screen and limiting the amount of time spent eyeballing a smartphone can help, too. And itâ€™s probably a good idea to put the screens away at least an hour before bedtime, to help ensure a good nightâ€™s sleep.
Spring is in the air and that means pollen is, too. So begins the season of red and itchy eyes for many sufferers of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC). Typical symptoms of SAC include, burning, itching, redness, and/or watery discharge. Chronic dark circles under the eyes, known as allergic shiners, may show up. Eyelids may be puffy, and bright lights bothersome.
SAC symptoms often accompany the runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion associated with hay fever and other seasonal allergies. The itching may be so bothersome that patients rub their eyes frequently, making symptoms worse and potentially causing infection. The first approach in managing seasonal eye allergies is avoiding the allergens that trigger symptoms. When pollen counts are high, avoid the outdoors. Avoid window fans that can draw allergens into the home. Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the amount of pollen getting into your eyes and consider goggles when mowing the lawn or performing other yard work.
Usually, SAC can be treated with over the counter medication and eye drops, but in same cases prescription medication may be called for.
After a cruel winter, most of us are looking forward to spending warm spring days soaking up the sun. Just try to avoid soaking up the allergens as well.
Could a simple eye exam replace the brain scan needed to detect Alzheimerâ€™s disease? Currently, doctors must perform a PET scan of patients’ brains for a definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Itâ€™s expensive and requires the injection of radioactive tracers. But soon, a simple eye scan may be all that’s needed. And it could catch the disease sooner.
Plaques made up of a protein known as beta-amyloid form in Alzheimerâ€™s victims’ brains, where they damage and destroy brain cells. The PET scans can identify these plaques. But a team from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center discovered that these same protein deposits also occur on the retina. And the amount of plaque found on the retina correlates with the amount of plaque in specific areas of the brain.
In a clinical trial, 16 Alzheimer’s disease patients underwent a non-invasive eye exam after first drinking a solution containing curcumin. The curcumin caused the amyloid plaque in their retinas to light up, so it could be detected. When their scans were compared to those of a healthy control group, the connection between plaques in the retina and the brain was established.
The hope is that eye scans will be able to detect the condition years before patients experience any actual symptoms.
A paper on the research was recently published in the journal JCI Insight.