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What is the number one cause of blindness in the USA?

Diabetes - Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the USA. The sugar in the blood can act likes sand rubbing on tissue paper. The walls of very small blood vessel weaken and break when the sugar in the blood is consistently high. The cells that the blood vessels feed will starve and subsequently send out a signal for new blood vessel to grow. These new blood vessels grow wild like weeds and destroy the structure of internal organs. The eyes are directly affected by increased blood sugar. People with diabetes must see an eye doctor every year or six months depending on the severity of their diabetes.

What other common conditions cause vision loss?

Hypertension - High blood pressure can affect the eyes. The blood vessels can be negatively affected by unstable blood pressure. High Blood Pressure causes the walls of the blood vessels to weaken and break. This causes damage to the cells which rely on these blood vessels for food. Complications in the eye from uncontrolled blood pressure can eventually cause blindness. Persons with hypertension must see an eye doctor yearly or every six months depending on the severity of the condition.

High Cholesterol - High cholesterol can lead to a stroke. Cholesterol deposits can gather in large blood vessels like snow banks. Particles can break off these deposits and become lodged in very small blood vessels downstream. If a blood vessel in the brain is clogged a stroke may occur. It is advised that patients with high cholesterol see an eye doctor every year. Microscopic cholesterol pieces may be seen in the eye. This is an early warning of an impending stroke. Your primary care doctor and eye doctor can help you stay healthy.

How can you take care of your eyes?

Anti-oxidants - Antioxidants are molecules that slow or prevent the oxidation of other chemicals. Think of this as a molecule that prevents your good molecules from being burned up by bad molecules. Bad molecules would be things like oxidants which are believed to cause the body to age. The more anti-oxidants a body has the less damage these the oxidants can do. Eating foods rich in antioxidants helps us look and feel younger. See our doctor for recommendations for a healthy diet.

Cataract - This is a darkening of the lens inside your eye. It is a natural aging process. There is strong evidence demonstrating that antioxidants can retard or stop the progression of cataracts. A good diet and UV protection with sunglasses may help prevent cataracts. Speak to our doctor for more information.

Macular Degeneration -This is the breakdown of the cells in your eye that allow you to see 20/20. There is strong evidence that antioxidants can prevent the onset of macular degeneration by keeping these cells young and strong. A good diet and UV protection with sunglasses may prevent cataract.

Omega 3 and Fish Oil - The omega-3 family of oils is essential for health, particularly for normal brain development and heart function. If you eat a lot of processed, packaged, fast foods, or cook at home with corn or safflower oil, odds are you don't get enough omega 3s. That's because these foods contain large amounts of omega-6s, a competing family of dietary oils. Omega -3 supplements derived from fish oil are particularly good for the eyes. Many of our patients benefit from an Omega-3 supplement treatment of Dry Eye and Macular degeneration. Ask your eye doctor for more information.