Most people don’t know that the majority of eye diseases go unnoticed because there are no pain receptors inside of the eyes. Without symptoms, or “warning signs”, often the first sign that something is wrong with your eyes, is when the disease has progressed to the point that you have lost some vision.
This is why it’s extremely important to have annual vision exams. By catching problems in the early stage, we can prevent more serious vision problems from progressing and harming your eyesight. It’s like dental care. Regular cleaning and exams prevents cavities and gum disease.
We use holistic and multi-disciplinary techniques at the Hollywood Vision Center to help our patients age gracefully. We empower our patients with knowledge to help them take care of themselves between visits to our office to stay healthy. Today, we will discuss ways to prevent eye problems like cataracts and blue light damage with homeopathy, nutraceuticals and a balanced diet.
Cataracts and Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Cataracts and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) are two of the leading causes of acquired blindness and visual impairment in the United States. They both affect millions of Americans each year. Eating certain nutrients, sun protection, blue light filters, not smoking, and using homeopathic remedies to “detox” your lens, can help decrease the risk of cataracts and AMD. While studying to be a Clinical Homeopath, I learned several ways to use homeopathic lymphagogues to help decrease the cloudiness in the lens that exists in cataracts. I make individual recommendations based on the findings in each patients’ exam.
What nutrients are good for the eyes? Enhancing your lutein and zeaxanthin intake has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases like AMD and cataracts. Unfortunately, most Western diets tend to be low in lutein and zeaxanthin. Foods high in these antioxidants include leafy green vegetables, like spinach, but also corn, broccoli, and eggs.
How Do Antioxidants Help with Cataracts and Blue Light Damage?
Do you stare at a computer screen for hours on end? How many times do you expose your eyes to high-energy blue wavelengths of light from computers, cell phones, television and tablets each day? Indoor lighting, fluorescent lights and sunlight also causes free radical cell damage, and bombards us with blue wavelengths of light.
Lutein and zeaxanthin from foods and supplements can protect our eyes from blue light! Many studies have shown that these carotenoids filter harmful blue light from damaging the eye, and can help prevent AMD and cataracts.
Protect your eyes by including more lutein and zeaxanthin rich foods in your diet: dark leafy greens, herbs, salad greens, summer squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, green peas, leeks, and green beans. (PICTURES)
The average American does not get enough lutein or zeaxanthin through food alone. This is why I recommend supplements such as Ultra Dry Eye TG which contains essential fatty acids to improve the quality and quantity of oily tears to combat dry eyes, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin.
The crystalline lens of your eye can go through oxidation as well, which is a primary cause of cataracts, and presbyopia, which is the inability to see at near once you are over 40 years old. Antioxidants will help neutralize unstable molecules (also called free radicals) that cause oxidative stress and damage to the retina. You can get antioxidants through a variety of foods including:
- Fruits: Cranberries, blueberries, and blackberries
- Vegetables: Beans, artichokes, and Russet potatoes
- Nuts: Pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts
More Holistic Vision Tips from Dr. Brisco
Your eyes are like muscles. You have to work them out to keep them sharp and in shape. One exercise we recommend is reading 48-point font with one eye covered from 8-10 feet away. Then read 14-point font at an arm’s length away with that same eye covered. Then alternate and repeat. This exercise is a great way to maintain the flexibility of your eyes focusing muscles as long as possible by zooming in and out. If you combine this routine with a healthy diet full of spinach, green beans, peas, broccoli, and maybe with the occasional omelet, your eyes will be in good shape for the long haul.
Sunglasses, and certain contact lenses with ultraviolet protection, namely UV-A, UV-B and UV400 protect the eyes from sun damage including cataracts, pterygiums and pingueculas, AMD and eye lid cancers. Excessive or prolonged cumulative ultraviolet exposure can cause skin damage and accelerate aging, and even more so in the eyes because the eye tissues and retina in the back of the eye are very delicate. I also recommend wearing a hat with a wide brim to protect your eyes from the sun. My mother made me wears hats and sometimes even carry a sun parasol when I was young. As I grow older, I am thankful that she made me do this! Since 80% of sun damage occurs before 18 years old, get your children in the habit of sun protection now.
We hope some of this helps. If you’d like to know more about blue light damage, cataracts, and how homeopathic treatment, nutraceuticals, and a balanced diet can help you enjoy crystal clear vision for years to come, contact us at Hollywood Vision Center today to learn more. We are here to help you keep your eyes and vision as sharp and healthy through graceful aging.
Dr. Brisco joined the practice in 1988 and, among other improvements, has incorporated her areas of special interest in the practice: Children’s Vision, rehabilitation of vision problems after brain injury, Vision Therapy, Sports Vision, treatment of dry eye, Strabismus and Amblyopia.
Dr. Brisco incorporates an Integrative approach to vision care. She evaluates patients from a holistic standpoint looking at how health, lifestyle, stress and diet affect the visual system and vice versa. She is one of a select group of optometrists in the country to be a Certified Clinical Homeopath, having conducted a research study using homeopathy with LASIK to decrease dryness after surgery. Dr. Brisco gives her patients options between pharmaceuticals and natural medicine such as homeopathy whenever appropriate. She also incorporates Chinese Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Osteopathic Medicine, Preventive Cardiology, Acupuncture and other health care disciplines into her recommendations as needed, to help her patients reach their maximum health potential. Dr. Brisco graduated from the University of Southern California with honors, and completed her doctorate with Distinction at the Southern California College of Optometry.
She has earned two post-Doctorate Fellowships from the American Academy of Optometry, and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. She’s been recognized in the International Who’s Who in Medicine, and America’s Top Optometrists. One of her special interests is Children’s Vision. Since there is a strong relationship between vision and learning, the Hollywood Vision Center – Optometry provides vision screenings at over 40 schools in the area. The practice also has a complete Vision Therapy department. Another one of her interests is Rehabilitative Vision which is the treatment of patients who have functional visual impairments after acquired or traumatic brain injury (such as stroke, brain tumor, motor vehicle accident, etc.) that interfere with daily functioning such as reading, driving, eating, and sports. She co-founded the Rehabilitative Vision clinic at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and is a member of the Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation Association. Dr. Brisco’s achievements include being the Team Optometrist for the NHL’s Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, WCHL’s Long Beach Ice Dogs, and the Los Angeles Galaxy. She also worked with athletes from around the world at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia teaching them how they could improve visual motor skills to see and react faster. She has been a Clinical Instructor at the Southern California College of Optometry and was an Adjunct Faculty member of the Western University College of Optometry.