Click on the bookmarks/links in the table below to link to your article of interest.

General Health and Your Eyes

Corneal Reshaping and Laser/Refractive Surgery

Contact Lenses


Why Does the Military Insist on PRK over LASIK?
The reason why they frown upon LASIK is mainly because of flap complications.  The flap cut on the cornea can be unintentionally disrupted several years after the initial surgery.  This could occur with a blunt trauma such as a finger poke, fist, pen, or tree branch to the eye.  In the case of pilots, there is a fear that the flap may become disrupted upon ejection from the cockpit of an aircraft at several hundred miles/hour.  With PRK, since there is no flap, there are never any flap complications to worry about.  The Military may also believe that there is a higher chance of aberrations with LASIK than PRK.
(Optcomlist - Oct.15/02)

Proclear Compatibles - Get Comfortable
A Recent Cooper Vision Advertisement:  All day comfort, all month long - Cooper Vision's Proclear Compatibles monthly replacement lenses remain moist and comfortable, even after 12 hours of wear.  Unlike ordinary lenses, Proclear Compatibles attract and bind water, forming a shield of water around the lens to provide relief to the 50% of wearers experiencing discomfort and dryness.
("Contact Lens Today" email list - Jul.7/02)

Find Out If Your Diet is Keeping Your Eyes Healthy
'Eye on Nutrition' is a new online dietary  assessment tool, developed by the AOA and the Vitamin Nutrition Information Service.  It features a quiz that reveals your behavior patterns, eye-health history and dietary habits.  The program evaluates the responses and it provides personalized tips on how you can improve your behavior and diet to protect your eyes from developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. 
The American Optometric Association website ( has the 'Eye On Nutrition' quiz, and some great articles on nutrition and eye health.  Once you click on the link to their website, mouse-over the 'Eye Conditions and Concerns' along the top menu bar and then pull down to, and click on, the 'Vision and Nutrition' option.  There is the link to the quiz, and links to find out more about 'Antioxidants - Age-Related Eye Disease', 'Lutein and Zeaxanthin Eye-Friendly Nutrients', 'Nutrition and Age-Related Macular Degeneration', and 'Nutrition and Cataracts'.
("Contact Lens Today" email list - Jul.7/02)

Hair Care Before Eye Care?
Last year, Americans spent more than $4.5 billion on hair care and $3.3 billion on oral hygiene, compared to only $900 million on eye care, according to AC Nielsen. And, a recent national survey, conducted by RoperASW, found that:

By 2030, Ranks Of Blind to Double - As Americans live longer, the incidence of eye disease will vastly increase.
The following article reveals the increasing occurrence of various eye diseases as the population ages.
(Review of Optometry - Apr.15/02)

Glaucoma is No. 1 Cause of Blindness Among U.S. Hispanics
The first comprehensive study of vision loss among U.S. Hispanics, to be published in the April issue of Ophthalmology, found that open-angle glaucoma was the leading cause of blindness. Researchers studied a random sample of 4,774 Hispanic residents of southern Arizona, of Mexican descent, age 40 and over. The same study also found a significant rate of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy among this population.
("Contact Lens Today" email list - Apr.7/02)

U.S. Army Gives Thumbs Up to Laser Eye Surgery
Walter Reed Army Medical Center is launching its Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program as part of a nationwide push to allow soldiers to have laser eye surgery, according to an April 1 article in The Washington Post. Previously, anyone who'd undergone this surgery could have been disqualified from active duty. However, a Department of Defense medical panel recently concluded that laser eye surgery doesn't adversely affect the structure of the eye. In fact, says the panel, the laser eye surgery could improve a soldier's performance by eliminating the hazards associated with eyeglasses and contact lenses in combat situations.
("Contact Lens Today" email list - Apr.7/02)

Antioxidants and Zinc Can Help Reduce Damage from Macular Degeneration
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) Research Group reported in October's Archives of Ophthalmology, on pages 1417 to 1436, that people over age 55 should have a dilated eye examination to assess the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration. Patients who have at least one large drusen, extensive intermediate drusen, noncentral geographic atrophy in one or both eyes, and no contraindications like smoking, should consider using antioxidant supplements and zinc. The results were not highly significant for vision, but I'm taking my vitamins just in case.
("Contact Lens Today" email list - Nov.11/01)

Women Taking Hormone Replacements May Be Susceptible To Dry Eye

Women who use hormone replacement therapy after menopause may be at risk for dry eye syndrome, according to study published in a recent issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The JAMA report notes that the findings are preliminary and further research exploring the effects of estrogen is necessary.
("Contact Lens Today" email list - Nov.11/01)

Understanding Ultraviolet Light
The summer sun may be fun, but its ultraviolet (UV) waves can damage your eyes.  This damage can accumulate over time and cause some serious eye problems.  The following is a brief summary of the hazards of UV exposure, and how you can avoid them.
The Dangers:
1. increased risk of developing cataracts (a clouding or opacification of the lens inside your eye)
2. increased risk of developing macular degeneration (a retinal disease that is a leading cause of blindness)
3. risk of photokeratitis or "snow blindness";  you can also develop it from intense reflection off of water, sand and pavement
4. risk of skin cancer around the eyes, eyelids, and the rest of your body
5. risk of pinguecula (a degenerative growth of tissue on the white part of your eye - the conjunctiva)
6. risk of pterygia (a "callous-like" overgrowth of blood vessels and fibrous tissue that starts as a pinguecula, growing on the conjunctiva, but then continues to grow onto the cornea - this condition can damage vision, cause discomfort, and may require surgery to remove)

How you can protect yourself:
- anytime you are outside, even if it is cloudy, wear sunglasses that have a 100% UV Protection coating
- wear contact lenses with UV-blocking polymers, as well as sunglasses over top, to protect those areas of the eyes not covered by the contact lenses
- wear a brimmed hat
- be especially careful when outside between the hours of 10:00am and 2:00pm, the time interval when UV radiation is at its most intense
(Optometric Management, July 2001)

Study Finds High Rate of Diabetes-Related Eye Disease in Mexican-Americans
A research study published in the July 2001 issue of Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association, found that in the Mexican-American population over 40 years old, the rate of diabetes is 20% - almost twice the rate for non-Hispanic whites.  And 15% of those with diabetes did not know that they had diabetes before taking part in the study.  Of the 15% of newly diagnosed people, 23% had early to moderate diabetic retinopathy (related eye disease) and another 9% had advanced diabetic retinopathy and were in danger of losing vision.
Some diabetes facts:
- Diabetes increases the risk of blindness 25 times over the general population
- the longer a person has diabetes, the more likely complications will occur
- the earlier diabetes is detected and treated, the less likely complications will occur
- the start of diabetes in newly diagnosed patients was most likely 4-7 years earlier
- 16 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, the most common cause of blindness, kidney failure, and amputations in adults
- about 1/3 of people with diabetes do not know they have it
- Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90% of diabetes in the U.S. occurs most often in people who are overweight, inactive, over the age of 40, and have a family history of diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes results when muscle, fat, and liver cells do not use insulin properly
- Type 1 diabetes (formerly known as juvenile onset diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes) accounts for approximately 10% of diabetics, and usually occurs in children, or adults under the age of 30.  Type 1 develops when the body's immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas
- diabetes is more common in minorities; African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Native Americans and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are especially at risk.

The take home message from this article is: if you haven't had a physical exam within the past year and/or you are over the age of 40, go get yourself examined.
(AOA News, 8/13/01)

Nearsightedness Is More Common Among Highly Educated
Nearsightedness is more common among highly educated people and those considered on an academic fast track, according to researchers at the National University of Singapore, as reported by Reuters. The researchers said this may be because educational level and academic achievement could be closely related to reading and other activities performed at a close distance.
("Contact Lens Today" email list - July 29/01)

USA Today Article Slams LASIK
Check out this article on LASIK.  It gives a very real account of complications from corrective laser eye surgery.  It reveals all those things that the laser centers don't tell you.

STUDY: Canned Tuna Reduces Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health shows a link between canned tuna consumption and reduced AMD.  In a study of more than 70,000 men and women, those who ate canned tuna more than once a week had a 40% lower risk of AMD than those who ate it less than once a month, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  While not conclusive, this study adds to the long list of health benefits scientists believe are provided by the omega-3s found in canned tuna.
(Review of Optometry Online - May, 2001)

Leading Causes of Blindness Worldwide
The World Health Organization website ( reports that the leading causes of preventable blindness and visual disability worldwide are:
1. Cataracts
2. Trachoma
3. Glaucoma
All 3 of the above account for approximately 70% of world blindness.  In developed countries, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of preventable blindness, followed by injury, degeneration (age related macular degeneration) and congenital/hereditary disorders.

Soft Contact Lens for Patients with Astigmatism
CIBA's survey of practitioners indicates 67 percent believe toric soft contact lens demand is increasing with 35 percent having fitting success 91 to 100 percent of the time and 42 percent having success 81 to 90 percent of the time. All too often our patients think they cannot wear contact lenses if they have astigmatism, or they have tried and failed before new, better lenses were available.
("Contact Lens Today" email list - 06/03/01)

Parents To Blame For Poor Eyesight
Parents who need corrective lenses are likely to have children who also will need corrective lenses, according to a study of 500 pairs of twins at St. Thomas hospital in London. The study reported that 85 percent of nearsightedness and 50 percent of astigmatism are caused by heredity.
("Contact Lens Today" email list - 05/27/01)

Aerobic Exercise May Fend Off Glaucoma
The Glaucoma Foundation has come with an important new reason to head for the gym for aerobic exercise:  it can help lower your eye pressure, a significant risk factor associated with glaucoma, the devastating eye disease that is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the United States.
(Review of Optometry On-Line - 04/09/01)

Smoking Is Risk For Macular Degeneration
Tobacco smoking is the principal known preventable risk factor associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a study in the April 2001 issue of Ophthalmology. Ex-smokers and current smokers were both found to be more susceptible than non-smokers, with current smokers being more likely to have wet AMD than dry AMD.
("Contact Lens Today" email list - 04/16/01)

Losing Abdominal Fat May Reduce Cataract Risk In Men
Men who lose weight and, particularly, lose abdominal fat may reduce their risk of developing cataracts, according to a Harvard University study reported in London's Daily Mail. The study results link body mass and waist-to-hip ratio to the incidence of cataracts in men, the report says. The report also said the taller men in the study were more likely than the shorter men to develop cataracts as they aged.

Wesley-Jessen Approves UV Contact Lenses
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently given pre-market approval to Wesley-Jessen Corporation for a process to add UV protection to their Gentle Touch Contact Lenses for Extended Wear.  The FDA has also approved a change in the indications for the lenses, including utilizing the sentence, "Gentle Touch UV (netrafilcon A) Soft (hydrophilic) Contact Lenses help to protect against the transmission of harmful UV radiation to the cornea and into the eye".
(AOA News - 11/06/00)

CIBA Vision Launches Freshlook® ColorBlends® Toric lenses
This month, CIBA released its newest lens, Freshlook® ColorBlends® Toric disposable lenses.  With the success of the spherical ColorBlends® lenses, they expect many patients with small astigmatism currently wearing contact lenses, or even glasses, to switch to this new option for full-time or occasional use.
(AOA News - 01/22/01)

Tennis Star Tells Reporter She's Going To Try CLs
After losing to her compatriot for the first time, tennis professional Mary Pierce said she had been having difficulty seeing the ball under the floodlights, according to a recent Reuters article. She also said she planned to visit her eye doctor to see if she could "get some contact lenses."

Vitamin Use Is Shown to Prevent Cataracts
According to a study published in the current issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, long-term use of vitamins E and C can help prevent cataracts.  The study was conducted on 3,089 patients ranging in age from 43 to 86 at the University of Wisconsin.  Researchers found that people who take supplements containing these two vitamins for more than 10 years had a 60% lower risk of cataracts than non-users of the vitamins."
("Contact Lens Today" email list)