Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Birdshot Uveitis Society
of North America
by Josette Abruzzini
Whether we enjoy excellent eye health or we're dealing with some type of eye condition, there are precautions we can take and habits we can adopt that help us maintain our best possible vision.
Control screen glare.
When using a computer or cell phone screen, “the blink rate goes from 15 times a minute to five or seven times per minute," explains Dr. Matthew Gardiner, an ophthalmologist with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. This can lead to dry eyes, an aggravating factor in many eye conditions.
Staring into a bright screen for too long can also lead to the discomfort of eyestrain. To lessen the effects, adjust the settings on your device.
Also, you can use eye drops. If you know you're prone to dry eyes and spend your days online, apply preservative-free drops ahead of your session instead of just after feeling discomfort.
There are several different active ingredients in over-the-counter eye drops. You may want to ask your ophthalmologist which eye drops are most suitable for your needs. If you have an eye condition, your specialist may caution you against certain kinds of eye drops.
And one final consideration for those who spend more time on a computer screen...
Visit your ophthalmologist each year,
and share new eye symptoms promptly.
According to an article the September 2020 issues of AARP Magazine , millions of Americans have undiagnosed glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic eye disease. Dilated eye exams can reveal an issue. The earlier a treatment begins, the more effective it can be.
Floaters can be benign, or they can be the first symptom of a serious eye disease. According to the Mayo Health Clinic, “If you notice a sudden increase in eye floaters, contact an eye specialist immediately — especially if you also see light flashes or lose your peripheral vision. These can be symptoms of an emergency that requires prompt attention.”
Your ophthalmologist may not be able to see the cause of your floaters, so sometimes a visit to an eye disease specialist or retina specialist is warranted. A serious eye condition such as Birdshot Uveitis can flare out of control during the two years that it can take to get a proper diagnosis.
Use appropriate eye glasses, based on your needs.
According to Dr. Gardiner at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, computer use without the correct prescription can lead to eye strain.
Drugstore readers DO NOT take into account any astigmatism that may affect your vision. Also, you may have different prescription requirements for each of your eyes and thus, would be best served by readers or glasses made to your needs. Your best bet is a professional eye exam from an ophthalmologist.
When outside, wear sunglasses and a lidded hat.
Sun glare can be distracting, discomforting, disabling or even blinding. Reflecting lens coatings and polarized sunglasses can help protect your eyes from UV rays and also help reduce distortions.
Read this post from Versant Health to read more about how glare can affect your eyesight.
Drink green tea.
Green tea is rich in disease-fighting anti-oxidants such as catechins. According to researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, catechins can be absorbed into eye tissue, including the retina. Further studies are needed to confirm protective capabilities.
Even though the benefits of green tea for overall health have been touted by many, you should still consult your physician as to potential interactions with any medications you may be taking.
Consume nutritious food.
You are what you eat!
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, foods containing high amounts of Vitamins A, C & E are particularly helpful for the eyes. These include carrots, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, avocados, almonds, sunflower seeds, berries and peaches. Leafy green vegetables are also a good choice.
Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids
In their New York Times bestseller, Genius Foods, Max Lugavere & Paul Grewel, M.D., write that “Fat can be used as a source of energy for the photoreceptors of the eye.” They cite research published in Nature Magazine that "demonstrated how starving these cells of fatty acids could drive age-related macular degeneration."
A nightly moisturizer or a essential oil such as castor oil applied topically to the skin around your eye can contribute much-needed anti-oxidants for eye health.
Some integrated doctors recommend consuming oils rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Be aware that some essential oils are dangerous if taken internally, so it is important to learn about specific oils from a reliable source.
Another area of research shared by Lugavere & Grewel concerns the role of insulin in suppressing fatty acid release.
A diet with too many carbohydrates, (including sugar and alcohol), can lead to insulin resistance in some people. This can bring on diabetes issues.
Studies show that reducing carbohydrate intake could be a meaningful lifestyle modification, especially for those who are at risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Minimize exposure to air pollution.
The eye is a sensitive organ and is susceptible to airborne pollutants. Out door air quality, as well as that inside your home or workplace, can affect your e
Consider using an air cleaner with a HEPA filter inside your home, especially if you have dry eye, eye sensitivity, or some other eye condition.
Practice Mindful Meditation.
Chronic stress is known to have an effect on intraocular pressure (IOP), which can affect various eye conditions.
In a 2018 blind study at the Dr. Rajenda Prasad Centre for Ophpthalmic Sciences in New Delhi, India, glaucoma patients who took part in a meditation and breathing program were able to lower their eye pressure (IOP). According to the study's lead investigator, Tanuj Dada, MD, they were also able to lower stress hormones like cortisol and thus experienced an improved quality of life.
According to a co-author of the study, Muneeb Faiq, Ph.D, "chronic stress can lead to elevation of blood pressure (systemic hypertension), but seldom <do people> think about its known effect on the eye by provoking high intraocular pressure (IOP). "
“Techniques to reduce stress and increase mindfulness meditation would be welcome additions to an ophthalmologist’s tool kit,” commented Ravi D. Goel, MD,
an ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Cherry Hill, NJ. in an article about the study that was published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Keep in mind that this study was performed on glaucoma patients. That said, mindful meditation is known to have a positive effect on overall health.
Whatever your eye concerns are, BUSNA wishes you a lifetime of optimal vision and good health!
Josette Abruzzini is a writer and former educator living
in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. She was
diagnosed with Birdshot Uveitis in March of 2019,
and serves on the board of the BUSNA.
Birdshot Uveitis Society of North America (BUSNA) is a volunteer organization comprised of persons diagnosed with Birdshot Uveitis. It provides information and support for patients and raises funds for Birdshot Uveitis research.
bird's eye views is a blog that supports BUSNA's mission...aiming for clearer vision