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Blue Light Series – Part 4 – Supplements, By Benjamin V. Clingan, OD

AMD Before After simulation

Last week we gave you an overview of various lenses and screen filters that block blue light from ever reaching your eyes. This week we will focus on supplements designed to protect your eyes from the inside.

THE SOLUTION – Supplements

As mentioned in an earlier post, when light hits your photoreceptors a biochemical reaction occurs and a waste product is formed (free radicals). Normally, your body can get rid of these free radicals on its own, but in cases like Macular Degeneration (AMD) it struggles to keep up. The waste products build up over time and start to affect your vision. If left untreated, you can go blind.

Scientific evidence has shown that Mild AMD can be prevented from progressing to Moderate or Severe AMD by adding Lutein and Zeaxanthin to your diet in the form of a supplement (AREDS 2 formula). If you are a smoker or have quit recently, you will want to take the beta-carotene free version. This will lower your risk of developing lung cancer as a side effect of the supplement.

As it relates to our blue light discussion, your retina is most sensitive blue light, and an increase in blue light absorption is likely to increase your risk for AMD. While there is currently no study suggesting that adding these to your diet now can prevent any signs or symptoms of AMD, adding these supplements certainly won’t hurt your ocular health. Future studies may show that the supplements do in fact perform the way the manufacturers currently claim. Below is a link two such websites:

http://luteinforeveryage.com/eye-skin-brain-health/intro-to-eye-health/blue-light

http://omniactives.com/press-releases/new-study-on-lutemax-2020-supporting-vision-featured-in-experimental-eye-research-journal

To discuss your risk for developing AMD, schedule your yearly Routine Eye Exam. Also, to learn more about blue blocking technology visit our optical.

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Blue Light Series – Part 3 – The Solution, By Benjamin V. Clingan, OD

Our last post had some disturbing news about negative consequences of blue light. These next three posts will each discuss a specific way to limit your exposure to blue light.

THE SOLUTION – Lenses and Screen filters

Most of you that wear glasses are already aware of anti-reflective (AR) coatings and their benefit. Another coating to be mindful of is a blue-blocker. These can be added to your glasses or can be available as screen filters/protectors to prevent the blue light from ever reaching your eyes. Every lens manufacturer has their own blue-blocking technology and many are included in the AR coatings. Below is a link to one manufacturer:

http://shamirlens.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=16637&Itemid=548

Other companies make glasses specifically for computers and this digital age. They are mostly for nonprescription glasses, but some of their frames are compatible with your prescription. Below is one such company:

https://gunnar.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIr4We8N7u2AIViYePCh3pXg8fEAAYASAAEgIoY_D_BwE

Next are screen filters/protectors, depending on your device this might be an easier option than glasses. If you are someone who has never worn or doesn’t like to wear glasses this could also be more preferable. Of course, you can use both the screens and the glasses for even more comfort. Below are some screens for small and large devices:

https://www.reticare.com/buy/en/

https://retinaguardstore.com/

Additionally, there are settings on your computers and Apps available for all devices to limit the blue light they emit. Below is one tutorial and one list of Apps:

https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/how-to-use-a-blue-light-filter-on-pc-mac/

https://www.lifewire.com/reduce-eye-strain-with-blue-light-filter-apps-4134615

For another compilation of resources follow this link:

https://glarminy.com/2015/07/30/10-blue-light-filters-to-relieve-computer-eye-strain-help-you-sleep-better-etc/

Next time we will discuss supplements that are available to protect your eyes from the inside. Make sure to schedule your Routine Eye Exams and feel free to schedule an appointment or visit our optical to discuss how to protect your eyes from blue light.

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Blue Light Series – Part 2 – The Problem, by Benjamin V. Clingan, OD

In blue light exposure, the two major consequences are the reduction of melatonin and an increase in macular degeneration. Without getting too technical, we will explain these below.

Blue light inhibits the release of melatonin and that can affect your circadian rhythm. When your circadian rhythm is altered, many of the body’s systems can be compromised. The first side effect you may notice would be your sleep patterns. Increased trouble falling asleep and quality of sleep are most noteworthy. Once your sleep is compromised, then a lot of other systems can go off-line. You can become moody or agitated, concentrating becomes difficult, your immune system may be suppressed, cardiovascular functions are diminished, and your metabolic processes won’t function properly.

http://www.thesleepdoctor.com/2017/11/06/latest-blue-light-sleep/

All light is known to increase free radicals as your retina processes light. Every time a photoreceptor (your rods and cones) is struck with a ray of light a biochemical reaction happens. As a result of this reaction, a waste product (the free radical) is made. An increase in free radicals within the retina can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) later in life. Now, your retina is most sensitive to a specific wavelength of light. Of course, this wavelength falls in the blue spectrum of light. So, an increase in blue light will likely lead to an increased risk of developing AMD.

Links for this get pretty technical; search PubMed for “blue light AND retina.” You will find some very interesting articles.

So we gave you some bad news this time, but follow us next time when we discuss solutions to the problems brought on by blue light. Make sure to schedule your Routine Eye Exams and feel free to schedule an appointment or visit our optical to discuss how to protect your eyes from blue light.

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What is Blue Light? By Benjamin V. Clingan, OD

Prism and light

Last post, we discussed Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and how proper ergonomics with proper blinking can improve your screen time with electronic devices. Over the next few posts, we will focus on ways to prevent possible damage from the blue light emitted from your electronic devices and LED lights.

What is BLUE LIGHT?

Back to high school physics, light is composed of photons, and those photons travel in waves. White light when separated by a prism or a refractive surface (your eye) can be isolated into different colors (think of the Pink Floyd album cover for The Dark Side of the Moon). Each color has its own specific wavelength.

As we have switched from traditional incandescent light bulbs and old generation TVs to LED lights and LED screens for cell phones, tablets, PCs, etc., the wavelengths of the light emitted has changed from longer wavelengths (reds/yellows) to shorter wavelengths (blues). This change is different from natural light sources (the Sun, fire), and scientists are discovering that there are physiologic consequences.

Follow us next time as we discuss the potential problems blue light has on our bodies and specifically our eyes. Make sure to schedule your Routine Eye Exams and feel free to schedule an appointment or visit our optical to discuss how to protect your eyes from blue light.

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Countdown to the Great American Eclipse

Sunshine
Countdown to the total eclipse has begun, with nine days to go until the August 21st event. Remember that if you don’t view safely, ocular complications can arise with direct exposure to the damaging sun’s rays. People who view eclipses directly without proper protection have experienced pain, tearing and even permanent eye damage. Sun injury to the eyes may not be immediately evident, and if you experience difficulties following the event, please call our office right away. Nasa has a safe viewing website with detailed information that you can visit here: eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety.
 
If you’re staying in Flagstaff on the 21st, Lowell Observatory may be a great choice for viewing. They will offer special hours and activities including telescope viewing and a direct link to a live stream of the total eclipse from Madras at 10:19am. The maximum eclipse viewing from Flagstaff will happen at 10:34am. lowell.edu/event/great-american-eclipse/
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June is Cataract Awareness Month!

Robert Mahanti, MD

If you find yourself in a fog and avoiding driving at night, you might have cataracts. Dr. Mahanti talks about cataract surgery in this video. www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdqzRhV5ARU

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Kale Reduces Risks of Developing Glaucoma

Green Flowering Kale

New research suggests a relationship between eating kale and a reduced risk of developing open-angle glaucoma. A study published by JAMA Ophthalmology found that people who ate around 240mg of nitrates from leafy greens every day were less likely to suffer from open-angle glaucoma by as much as 30%.

 
Image credit: Green Flowering Kale, by Bobbi Jones
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Avoiding driving at night? June is Cataract Awareness month

If you’re finding that you avoid night driving, or if glare is getting particularly annoying, you may be experiencing the development of cataracts. Your natural lenses within the eye become harder and less transparent with age, which is perfectly normal. A simple surgical procedure can be done to remove the aging lens and a replacement, called an intraocular lens or IOL, is implanted in its place.

See your eye care provider for a comprehensive eye exam regularly, which will reveal many different health issues, including cataracts.

Dr. Mahanti has an article that explains your surgical cataract removal options at Angie’s List. You can read the entire article here:

www.angieslist.com/articles/cataract-surgery-understanding-your-options.htm

Image credit: I See You, by George Hodan

Avoid snow blindness

Overexposure to the sun’s damaging ultra-violet (UV) rays can result in blindness caused by temporary damage to the cornea, which is similar to a sunburn. This condition, also known as photokeratitis, can be caused in regular sunny conditions, not only where it’s snowy. Snow can reflect up to 80% of the damaging light, but other sunny conditions can also damage your corneas. Other light exposure that can cause symptoms include arc welding and tanning booths.

Symptoms include a gritty feeling, tearing, pain and redness, and in some cases a loss of vision. By the time you notice symptoms of this disorder, the damage has already been done.

It’s recommended that you protect yourself in sunny conditions, particularly on the slopes, on the lake, or anywhere you’re exposed to intense light. In high altitudes where the air is thin there is more UV light, so be very cautious to protect sensitive eye tissues by wearing ski goggles, or protective sunglasses.

Children are also at risk, so by all means get those little bambinos some eye protection.

Click here to read more about photokeratitis.

Image credit: Boy Making Snow Angel, by Petr Kratochvil

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Danger danger, ultra violet is everywhere!

You already know that ultra-violet light (UV) is responsible for damage to skin and hair, but did you know that excessive UV exposure is also harmful to your eyes?

If you work or play outside for extended periods of time, or live in a high altitude or very sunny climate, you are a prime candidate for serious ultra-violet exposure.

Unlike Hemophagia in the movie, long term UV exposure can contribute to the development of certain types of cataracts, pterygiums, and also retina damage. It can also cause permanent damage to the sensitive tissues around the eye.

So how to avoid this? It’s important to shield your peepers from these harmful rays by using quality lenses. There are UV-absorbing materials and coatings for your regular eyeglass lenses, as well as special sun lenses that will filter out both visible and invisible sunlight.

Stop in or call us to discuss the best solution for your particular eyecare needs.

Read more about this topic on the American Optometric Association’s website.

Image background credit: Ultraviolet Wallpaper from Wall-pix.net

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Possibly Spooky consequences for Halloween Contacts

The Food & Drug Administration wants to educate you on decorative contact lenses. The bottom line is don’t buy from anyone except your trusted eye care provider. So unless your beauty or tobacco shop has a qualified contact lens fitter on premises, back off, because lenses sold in this manner are not legal or safe. Your eyes will thank you.