The ‘eye’s’ have it. As I have gone through life, I am so happy to be able to see this wonderful world God created for us. I am thankful for my eyes, as I am sitting here eating a carrot. Maybe you will remember being told as a child, as I was, “be sure to eat your carrots, they are good for your eyes.”
As the years have passed, I learned it takes more than carrots to keep your vision in tact. I could go into a long dissertation, but this blog is to explain to you all about the diseases of the eye.
The most common form ETIOL is the result of the aging process; other forms may be congenital or caused by infection or injury. This cataract form is the one most of us are familiar with when the doctor tells you that you have ‘cataracts’. The treatment is usually surgical removal of the lens, except in presence of associated inflammation, and replacement of an artificial lens. Today, you have a choice of the kind of lens you want as a replacement. Normal (one type of lens for both eyes), or a lens or distance, in one eye and a lens for closeness in the other eye. The normal lens means you will need corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses, to see normally. The other choice, means no corrective glasses needed, as the eyes take care of the distance and closeness which gives usually gives you 20/20 vision. In my case I chose the distant/nearness lens option. I am glad I made the choice.
But what of the other disease which are not so easy to fix. The first is AMD known to us all as Age-related Macular Degeneration which is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Americans over 60 years of age. With AMD, the macula which is the central part of the retina of the eye, is damaged. Whenever you look directly at something, you are using the macula – which when damaged affects the central fine vision needed for ‘straight ahead’ viewing, such as reading or driving.
There are two types of macular degeneration – Dry and wet. The most common form is Dry macular degeneration. This is characterized by small yellow deposits (called ‘drusen’) , and alterations in the pigment of the macula that can result in loss of central vision. Dry can lead to wet macular degeneration which is responsible for most macular degeneration-related loss – where abnormal blood vessels develop under the retina causing hemorrhaging, swelling, and scarring that damages the macula, resulting in central vision loss.
My Opthamologist explained all of this to me when I had my last check up. I asked “how do you recognize the signs and symptoms of this disease?” The explanation was that the eyes goes through the dry stage first, and you may or may not experience symptoms, so it is necessary for an exam where the doctor can detect the first indicator of this disease which is the ‘drusen’ under the macula. This is why the doctor dilates the eyes. If it is not detected at an early stage, symptoms can become more severe. and patients may experience loss of central vision, difficulty reading, difficulty performing tasks that require the ability to see details, or distorted vision that makes a straight line appear to be wavy. It can appear as a black or blurry spot in the middle of the eye, or shadows in the peripheral vision. Wet macular degeneration is usually treated with repeated ocular injections using special medications that inhibit the abnormal blood vessels. They may help, but they are not a cure for AMD.
The latest news is that scientists are not sure about what triggers the changes in the eye that cause macular degeneration. However, it is believed to be linked to the factor of age, genetics, smoking, sunlight exposure, and nutrition. The National Eye Institute (NEI), after years of study concluded that developing advanced stages of AMD can be lowered with the use of antioxidants plus zinc, and other supplements that affect the eyes to include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin, are new to most people. These are considered to be carotenoids, which are found to be highly concentrated in the macula. When the macula is compromised, these carotenoids decrease, so they need to be replaced/increased.
These carotenoids can be found in foods such as egg yolks and dark, leafy green vegetables (spinach – isn’t that a POPEYE food – and broccoli) as well as many other foods. They cannot be made by the body, therefore, they must be obtained from food or dietary supplements. I have been aware of this information for years and have been taking these supplements in tablet form for a long time. I definitely can tell the difference in my eyes when I don’t take them and when I do. When I take them my eyes don’t get so red, they don’t feel dry and scratchy or tired…my eyes look and feel normal, like when I was younger.
Last on the list of eye diseases that you may be familiar with is GLAUCOMA. What is ‘glaucoma’? It is a condition where the eye’s optic nerve is damaged due to increased pressure in eye. It is very common (More than 3 million cases per year in US). Treatments can help manage the condition, but presently there is no known cure. It requires a lab test or imaging, and can last several years or be lifelong. It can also be a genetic disease.
I am not going into Glaucoma more than what I said in the above paragraph.
I am not ignoring eye issues caused by nature, or accident, etc. I taught dance to a gentleman who was 65 years of age. He had artificial eyes in his sockets because he had lost both of his eyes fighting for our country during the Korean War. In spite of his affirmity, he had a wonderful outlook on life (no pun intended). He had a boat and went fishing all the time with the help of his grandkids. He played the ‘mouth organ’ (harmonica) in a group of other harmonica players. They performed out in public all the time. And, he wanted to clog dance. That is where I came into the picture. It was challenging, but fun to teach this wonderful man. He danced in our end of the year dance recital and on programs out in the public. If he did not dance with me, he danced with his granddaughter. No one in the audience ever knew he was blind. The last contact I had with him was when he came to my studio to give me a Video of him ‘SKY DIVING’. I still have the video and cherish it. Kudos to Jim.
For any disease related to the eyes, if you have any questions pertaining to your eyes, you need to see an eye doctor -specifically an Opthamologist (Eye Surgeon). He can tell you what eyedrops you may need for your eye issues and what supplements to buy in addition to using eye drops.
YOUR EYES ARE A PRECIOUS COMMODITY. Think what you would be missing without your eyesight.
PS – this add on is the latest regarding the eyes and the COVID-19 virus. Take time to watch.