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COVID-Induced Brain Injury and Persistent Visual Problems

Dr. S. Moshe Roth, OD, FCOVD

I have seen patients who have “recovered” from COVID but despite that, have persistent visual and visually-induced problems. Their symptoms are similar to individuals who have suffered a Brain Injury. Examples of an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) are stroke and brain tumor. A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can be caused by a fall or a car crash. A concussion is a “mild” Traumatic Brain Injury.

Individuals who have had COVID-19 may suffer vision problems such as blurred vision, double vision, poor depth perception and sensitivity to light. Other common visually-induced symptoms are difficulty paying attention, headaches, brain fog, memory problems, and forgetfulness. Some people complain of vertigo and dizziness. The reason for that is that the visual system is directly linked to the balance system, located in the inner ear. These visual issues are very different from eyeglass problems. Patients may report these symptoms to their doctors but may be frustrated in getting relief. Most of the information available online relates to the eye itself, termed “ocular” (conjunctivitis, retinitis, etc.) rather than visual problems that occur in the brain.

Most people who have had COVID recover completely within a few weeks. Patients expect to feel back to normal but some people continue to experience symptoms. They struggle even weeks and months later, and are often at a loss where to seek help. The virus can damage the lungs, heart and brain, which increases the risk of long-term health problems. COVID deprives the body of oxygen. Ventilators are used to mitigate the effects on the lungs, but the effects of oxygen deprivation on the brain are less publicized. It stands to reason that anoxia (lack of oxygen) is the underlying reason for the brain-based problems and the vision complications.

More general symptoms include: difficulty breathing, difficulty making it through the day without having to take a nap, and difficulty exercising. Patients present with symptoms of lightheadedness and feeling lethargic for months after the illness. They often talk about its impact on their mental health.

The term “Long Haulers” is used to describe individuals who have persistent post-COVID symptoms. The National Institutes of Health refers to long-term COVID-19 symptoms as PASC; Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2. More common terms are: post-COVID syndrome, long COVID-19, or long-term COVID.

Neuro-Optometry and Neuro-Ophthalmology sound similar but are really 2 different subspecialties. Dr. Eric Singman, MD PhD, a Neuro-Ophthalmologist at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute in Baltimore MD, best explained the difference between these two professions when he said: “Neuro-Ophthalmologists can diagnose what HAD happened, but Neuro-Optometrists can change what CAN happen”. Neuro-Optometrists help individuals who have suffered a brain injury, to regain abilities through Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy. People who have suffered COVID-Induced Brain Injury are helped in a similar manner to those individuals who have suffered Acquired Brain Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, and concussion.

Dr. Roth is a Neuro-Optometrist and is a Fellow of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development.

5 Common Keratoconus Questions, Answered

5 Common Keratoconus Questions, Answered 640If you’re reading this, you or someone you care about may have been recently diagnosed with keratoconus. We’ve compiled a few commonly asked questions about keratoconus to help you understand what it is, what causes it, and how your eye doctor can help.

1. What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a progressive, non-inflammatory disease that causes the cornea to thin and bulge, resulting in a cone-shaped cornea. Over time, this bulge leads to myopia and irregular astigmatism, and vision becomes progressively distorted. Ongoing treatment is crucial to prevent significant vision loss.

2. What Are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?

Many patients aren’t aware that they have keratoconus, which typically begins during the teenage years.

Symptoms of keratoconus include:

  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Blurry vision
  • Halos and glare around lights
  • Increased sensitivity to bright light
  • Headaches or eye irritation associated with eye pain
  • Progressively worsening vision that’s not easily corrected

3. What Causes Keratoconus?

While there is no one cause of keratoconus, a paper published in Biomed Research International (2015) identified these risk factors:

  • Genetics. About one in 10 people with keratoconus also has a family member with the condition.
  • Inflammation. Irritation and inflammation from allergies, asthma and other atopic eye diseases can lend to the development of keratoconus.
  • Frequent eye rubbing. Intense and frequent eye rubbing is thought to thin out the cornea and can worsen the condition.
  • Underlying disorders. Keratoconus has been associated with several conditions, including Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Leber congenital amaurosis, Marfan syndrome and Osteogenesis imperfecta.
  • UV light. UV light can cause oxidative stress, which weakens the corneas in predisposed eyes.
  • Weak collagen. In a healthy eye, small protein fibers called collagen help keep the cornea in a dome-like shape and free from bulges. In the case of keratoconus, the collagen fibers become weak and therefore can’t maintain the shape of the eye, which causes the cornea to bulge.

4. How Is Keratoconus Treated?

Scleral lenses are the most common and successful treatment for patients with keratoconus. These are specialized rigid, gas permeable contact lenses that have a very wide [diameter] and vault over the entire corneal surface, making them effective and comfortable for people with keratoconus.

5. Is There a Cure for Keratoconus?

Currently, there is no cure for keratoconus. However, in most cases, it can be successfully managed.

For mild to moderate keratoconus, scleral contact lenses are typically the treatment of choice, as they provide clear, comfortable vision.

A relatively non-invasive procedure called corneal cross-linking (CXL) can stabilize and strengthen a thinning and irregularly shaped cornea.

At Family Eye Care, we can recommend the best treatment options for your keratoconus, to help preserve your vision, and ensure the highest level of comfort and visual acuity. Call to schedule an appointment to start discussing your keratoconus treatment options.

Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, and Edison, all throughout New Jersey.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Moshe Roth

Q: Can You Go Blind If You Have Keratoconus?

  • A: Keratoconus does not typically cause total blindness. However, as keratoconus progresses it can cause visual impairment including blurred distance vision, distortion, glare, astigmatism, extreme light sensitivity and even vision loss that can be classified as “legal blindness.

Q: Does keratoconus affect both eyes?

  • A: Yes, in approximately 90% of keratoconus cases, the disease will manifest in both eyes. However, the rate of progression and the timing of the onset of the disease is different for each eye.



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4 Tips To Avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury

4 Tips To Avoid a Traumatic Brain Injury 640×350A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is an injury to the brain caused by physical trauma, typically a sudden bump or blow to the head.

Concussions — a mild form of brain injury — are very common and represent approximately 80% of all TBI incidents. A concussion is a temporary loss of brain function caused by the brain bouncing around in fast motion within the skull, sometimes producing chemical changes or damaging the functioning of the brain cells.

Moderate to severe TBIs can cause loss of consciousness— from a few minutes to several hours.

Any TBI, whether mild or severe, can affect cognitive abilities and cause visual symptoms such as:

  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Partial or total loss of vision
  • Weakened eye muscles

4 Tips for Avoiding a Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the best ways to protect yourself from a concussion or more serious TBI is to put safety first, whatever your activity.

Wear Protective Sports Gear

Approximately 69 million TBIs occur each year worldwide, of which about 50% are sports-related. Wearing protective eyewear and a helmet when playing baseball, football, basketball, hockey or any other sport, can help prevent serious injuries, especially in children.

Wear Sunglasses

Glare from the sun can temporarily blind you while driving, walking across the street — during any activity, really. Wearing sunglasses is a simple way to reduce glare and prevent glare-related accidents.

Polarized sunglasses filter intense light that reflects off surfaces like water, glass, sand, snow and pavement, preventing glare from entering your eyes. Make sure the sunglasses you choose also offer 100% UV protection. Photochromic lenses are a good choice for people who wear prescription glasses since they darken when outdoors and become clear again indoors.

Pay Attention To Your Surroundings

As basic as it may seem, people often fail to pay attention to their surroundings. When walking, driving, or doing any other activity, try to minimize distractions. Stand still while speaking on your cell phone or texting. When you’re walking outside, keep an eye out for sidewalk cracks as well as overhanging branches and other sharp items or debris that could be hazardous.

Don’t Forget to Wear Your Seatbelt

For years, parents and doctors have been drumming this into our heads, and for good reason! The #1 way to prevent or minimize an injury from a car accident is by wearing a seatbelt.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information National Library of Medicine, one-quarter of all TBIs in North America are caused by road accidents. Those numbers rise to more than 50% in Southeast Asia and Africa.

How a TBI Affects Vision

A traumatic brain injury can impair your vision, causing light sensitivity, double or blurry vision, and persistent eye strain. In many cases, activities like reading a book, driving a car or watching TV can become much more challenging — or impossible — as a result of a TBI.

According to Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 90% of TBI patients suffer from visual dysfunction, making it all the more crucial to take precautionary measures to stay safe.

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Can Help With Brain Injuries

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation is a personalized treatment program for patients with visual deficits due to physical disabilities and TBIs. The goal of neuro-optometric rehab is to minimize visual disability so that a patient can continue to perform daily activities, whether it’s learning in a classroom or being able to function in the workplace.

A neuro-optometric rehabilitation optometrist evaluates many functions of the visual system, such as how the eyes work together. Treatment options may include the use of various filters and prisms, and visual exercises to strengthen the brain-eye connection.

If you or a loved one displays double vision, light sensitivity, dizziness or any other TBI-related visual or balance-related symptoms, contact Family Eye Care immediately. Following evaluation, Dr. Moshe Roth and Dr. Steffani Tiomno may offer a customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation program to help regain any lost visual skills.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Moshe Roth

Q: What Does a Neuro-Optometrist Do?

A: A neuro-optometrist diagnoses general eye health problems and corrects refractive errors to improve visual acuity, as well as assess functional binocularity, spatial vision, and visual processing abilities.

Q: What causes a TBI?

A: Traumatic brain injuries can occur during everyday activities like walking, swimming, hiking, running or playing competitive sports.

The most common causes of TBIs are:

  • Being struck by an object
  • Falls
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Sports injuries


Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, and Edison, all throughout New Jersey.

 

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Call Us 732-993-3420

9 Eye-Healthy Habits for Computer Users

As Covid-19 kept all of us homebound for long periods, the gaming industry grew by leaps and bounds. Then, even when countries began to reopen and jumpstart their economy, nobody abandoned their video games. In fact, sales of video games experienced a 35% jump.

Impact of Gaming on Eye Health

What are some of the effects of this rising role of gaming in our lifestyle? It translates directly into increased screen time, which our optometrist near you points out is linked to a variety of negative effects on eye health. For some of us, the digital era has turned our days into an endless view of screens. As a result, many people suffer the symptoms of computer vision syndrome, such as:

  • Less blinking, leading to dry eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye irritation, burning
  • Eye fatigue and strain
  • Headaches

While it’s unlikely that excessive screen time can cause irreversible damage to your eyes, dry eye syndrome and eye strain can worsen gradually – leading to painful vision and a decreased quality of life.

How to Preserve Healthy Vision with Computer Use

To help keep your vision healthy, despite all the long periods spent at a computer, the eye doctor near you recommends the following habits:

  1. The 20-20-20 Rule Instead of staring for hours on end at a computer screen, take regular breaks to rest your eyes. Follow this rule – every 20 minutes, move your eyes to look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Set Up Good Lighting Glare and other visual disturbances can make it harder to read text, which can lead to eye strain. By angling your monitor away from light sources and windows, you can eliminate glare from the screen.
  3. Adjust Screen Brightness When adjusting the lighting in your office or home is too tricky, change the monitor’s brightness instead. Rule of thumb – make it as bright as the room you are in.
  4. Take Eye Health Vitamins Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids are a great addition to your eye care routine, helping to fortify your eyes against problems.
  5. Block Blue Light You can wear specialized blue light glasses to shield your eyes from harmful blue light emitted by digital devices, or install a blue light filter on your digital screen. Not only will these protective devices help promote quality eye health, but they can also help you sleep better at night.
  6. Eat Nutritiously A healthy, balanced diet will keep your body at its peak and improve vision to boot. Some good food choices include cold-water fish, like salmon, tuna and sardines, nuts, eggs, legumes, whole grains, berries, leafy greens, and citrus fruits.
  7. Increase Font Size A small font size can cause you to squint and hunch over to see the screen clearly. By enlarging the font, you can avoid the discomfort caused by this position.
  8. Sleep Enough Not getting enough sleep can lead to eye fatigue, which interferes with your everyday life and productivity.
  9. Visit Our Eye Clinic Near You for Regular Eye Exams Getting your eyes checked is essential for proper eye health. It’s the only reliable way to detect or rule out an eye disease or condition that requires early treatment.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Old Bridge eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at Family Eye Care eye clinic near you in Old Bridge, New Jersey to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 732-393-8636

Family Eye Care, your Old Bridge eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • Why do I need to have my eyes examined by an Optometrist if the nurse at my last physical exam says I can see 20/20?

    The nurse performed a “sight test”, when you come to see your Optometrist we perform an “Eye Exam”. A “sight test” only measures if you can see 20/20. An “Eye Exam” measures all aspects of visual function: sight (or visual acuity), binocular vision function (the ability of the eyes to work together), visual pathway integrity, and the overall health of your eyes. Seeing 20/20 is an important part of the overall function of your eyes; however, just because you can see 20/20 does not necessarily mean your eyes are 100% healthy. There are many conditions that exist in which someone can still see 20/20. To name just a few examples: Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, and even Retinal tears or detachments (if the macula is unaffected). I recommend having a full eye exam every 1-2 years, even if you are in good health and feel like you don’t need glasses.

  • Does reading my smartphone or tablet in the dark damage my eyes?

    Reading from a tablet or smartphone in the dark is okay for your eyes, as long as this is not for a long period of time. There is good lighting from these devices, with good contrast. There is, however, the blue light emitted from these devices. Blue light is a short wavelength light, with high energy that may cause damage to the structures of the eye if exposed for a long period of time. As well, studies have shown this blue light can disrupt melatonin production which is required for a healthy sleep cycle. Doctors of Optometry recommend limiting screen use during the last hour before bedtime.

  • What is blue light and why is it dangerous?

    Blue light is part of visible light and close to UV on the light spectrum. It is naturally produced by the sun, used in fluorescent light bulbs and emitted by LED screens on computer monitors, tablets, and smartphones. The eyes’ natural filters do not block blue light and chronic exposure can cause age-related macular degeneration. Evidence also shows that blue light exposure can lead to sleep problems.’

  • My eyes are always burning and tired, what is causing this and what can I do about it?

    These are often signs of dry eye syndrome, a very common condition that affects many people over time. Women are generally more prone to developing these symptoms and aging is often a cause as well. Dryness of our eyes is often due to a decrease in the oil production in our eyelid glands which causes the surface of the eye to become irritated. Certain medications and health issues can also contribute to dryness. There is no true cure for dryness but many treatments are available such as the use of artificial tears, nutritional supplements incorporating Omega 3, prescription medications such as Restasis, and eyelid hygiene. No single treatment works for every individual so we customize treatments for each person and their specific condition.

Why is My Dry Eye More Severe in the Mornings?

sleepy mornings 640

Waking up in the morning can be hard enough, but waking up with stinging, burning eyes is even worse! If your eyes feel itchy and scratchy, this miserable morning sensation may be caused by Dry Eye Syndrome. Your tear glands may be clogged or producing insufficient tears and oils to retain moisture.

But why do certain people experience more acute dry eye symptoms in the mornings? Here are some reasons:

What Causes Red, Itchy or Painful Eyes Upon Waking?

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

Nocturnal lagophthalmos is the inability to close one’s eyelids completely during sleep. You may not even realize this is happening. Since the surface of your eye is exposed at night, it becomes dry. Left untreated, this condition can damage your cornea.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition of the eyes caused by bacterial overgrowth. These bacteria are active at night, causing dry eye-related symptoms of redness, soreness and irritation upon waking. The eye is a perfect medium for bacteria to grow at night: it is warm, moist, and dark.

Environment

A gritty sensation in your eyes can also be caused by the environment. For example, sleeping directly in front of or under an air vent, heating units, or ceiling fans can dry out your eyes. In addition, sensitivity to allergens like dust that accumulate in the bedroom can cause your eyes to become dry and irritated.

Medications

Some types of over-the-counter and prescription medication can dehydrate the eyes. These include:

  • Antihistamines and decongestants
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Medications for High Blood Pressure
  • Hormones
  • Drugs for gastrointestinal problems
  • Pain relievers
  • Skin medications
  • Chemotherapy medications
  • Oral Contraceptives

In the majority of cases, medication-related dry eye symptoms will resolve once you discontinue the meds. However, it may take several weeks or months for symptoms to completely disappear. But some medications that need to be taken can’t be discontinued. In those cases we must address the symptoms that are produced by those medications.

Age

Many people develop dry eye symptoms with age, as tear production tends to decrease and becomes less efficient as we grow older. This becomes particularly true before, during, and after menopause.

How to Treat Morning Dry Eye

Depending on the cause, morning dry eye can be treated with sleeping masks, lubricating eye drops and ointment applied right before bed. To ensure that you sleep in a moisture-rich environment, consider using a humidifier. In severe cases of nocturnal lagophthalmos, eyelid surgery may be necessary. At times we need to prescribe oral medications to counteract the side effects of the medications you are taking. Punctal plugs, Amniotic tissue, and Blephex often give positive benefits when the simple solutions fail.

If you are tired of waking up to red, burning eyes, visit our office for long-lasting relief. Contact Family Eye Care to determine the cause of your morning dry eye and receive an effective treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Moshe Roth

Q: What causes dry eye?

  • A: Dry eye can occur if the glands in your eyelids don’t produce enough oil to keep your tears from evaporating, or if you don’t produce enough water for healthy tears. It can occur when the glands are capped and the lubricating oil can’t get out. This can cause those glands to die. No matter the cause, it’s important to have your condition diagnosed and treated to protect your vision and ensure good eye health.

Q: Can dry eye be cured?

  • A: Dry eye is a chronic condition that has many factors; environmental, computer use, side effects of certain medications, age, etc. We have many treatment methods to help you manage this condition for long-term relief. If you have dry eye syndrome, we invite you to contact us to discover the best treatment for your needs.

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Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge and Edison, all throughout New Jersey.

 

Book An Appointment
Call Us 855-884-3937

What’s The Link Between Obesity And Eye Disease?

People who are obese are at higher risk of developing some sight-threatening eye conditions and diseases. Read on to discover why, and how we can help.

It is well documented that obesity impacts health in numerous ways, from a higher incidence of diabetes to cardiovascular disease. What many people don’t know is obesity’s negative effect on vision and eye health. Speak with our Eye care professionals at Family Eye Care about any concerns you may have about your eye health or vision.

There is increasing evidence that obese individuals have a greater risk of developing serious, sight-threatening eye diseases.

Researchers at the Goldschleger Eye Institute at the Sheba Medical Center found a consistent link between obesity and the development of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

The researchers noted that the public is largely unaware of this link, despite the evidence. If more people knew about the risk, they said, it might motivate them to try to shed some extra weight.

How Does Obesity Impact The Eyes?

A body mass index (BMI) of 25-30 is considered overweight and any BMI over 30 is considered obese. Recent studies indicate that a handful of ocular diseases can now be added to the list of medical conditions associated with an elevated BMI.

Diabetic retinopathy, floppy eyelid syndrome, retinal vein occlusions, stroke-related vision loss, and age-related macular degeneration are all risk factors of obesity.

While the cause is not yet certain, researchers believe this may be due to the peripheral artery disease prevalent among people who are obese. When the tiny blood vessels around the eyes are compromised, they may have trouble delivering oxygen and other nutrients to the eye area.

Obesity is also a risk factor for developing cataracts (the clouding of the eye’s natural lens). Poor nutrition or high blood sugar levels, which are commonly found in people with obesity, may contribute to the cloudiness.

Although obesity may contribute to cataract formation, losing weight may not significantly reduce the risk of developing them, partly because cataracts are also a common consequence of aging, whatever one’s weight.

Additionally, morbid obesity is associated with higher inner eye pressure, which may increase one’s risk of glaucoma and glaucomatous optic neuropathy — leading causes of vision loss and blindness. Morbid obesity is defined as having a BMI of 40 or above, or 35 and above with health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.

Stay Active, Healthy, and Have Regular Eye Exams

An active lifestyle and a nutritious diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve overall physical and eye health. Try to include several key nutrients into your diets, such as vitamins C and E, zeaxanthin, omega-3, zinc, and lutein, as they may help delay or prevent certain eye diseases.

While a balanced diet and regular exercise significantly increase your chance of living a healthy life, it’s also crucial to have regular eye exams. A comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Moshe Roth can help detect the onset of ocular disease and ensure the earliest and most effective treatment to preserve your gift of sight.

Don’t hesitate to call Family Eye Care in Old Bridge with any questions or concerns regarding your vision or eye health — we’re here for you.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Old Bridge eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at Family Eye Care eye clinic near you in Old Bridge, New Jersey to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 732-393-8636

Family Eye Care, your Old Bridge eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • Is it possible to prevent Macular Degeneration?

    Doctors aren’t sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses could be very beneficial.

  • My doctor says I have a cataract, but he wants to wait a while before removing it. Why?’

    A cataract usually starts very small and practically unnoticeable but grows gradually larger and cloudier. Your doctor is probably waiting until the cataract interferes significantly with your vision and your lifestyle. You need to continue to visit your eye doctor regularly so the cataract’s progress is monitored. Some cataracts never really reach the stage where they should be removed. If your cataract is interfering with your vision to the point where it is unsafe to drive, or doing everyday tasks is difficult, then it’s time to discuss surgery with your doctor.

  • What exactly is glaucoma?

    Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it’s not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.

  • What is diabetic retinopathy?’

    Doctors aren’t sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses could be very beneficial.

Computer learning and vision problems

Unfortunately because of COVID-19, we’re seeing a lot of our kids spend an enormous amount of time in front of a computer.

This has bad consequences not just for adults that have eye fatigue and strain, but especially in younger children who are still developing their vision. Our visual system needs to be actively involved in using all our space. Not just our close distances like reading and computers, but also moving outside in an infinite space setting like a playground.

Our visual system uses being outdoors to kind of recalibrate, and have good functional focusing ability. Studies show that children who are indoors a lot like in China tend to have higher degrees of myopia or nearsightedness.

The ability to be outside, to play, and have sports is very important for the visual system.

Here are a couple of things we can recommend for your child or young adult that might be spending a lot of time in front of the screen.

First of all, I would suggest the 20-20-20 rule.

Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen, hopefully, 20 feet or more.

Looking outside a window is ideal. Relax your eyes for about 20 seconds. This will be a visual break. If your teacher doesn’t like it, tell them your eye doctor is recommending this. You can still listen to what your teacher is saying, however, you should relax your focus periodically.

Also, make sure that when you are reading or writing that you are no closer than the Harmon distance. The Harmon distance is between knuckle and elbow. If you see your child getting closer and closer to their work, check their Harmon distance and move them back. This is very effective when dealing with younger children. I did this with my daughter when she was 4, and she would check her Harmon distance by putting her elbow on the desk and backing her head up to her knuckles. If you see the children are still doing this a lot, have them checked by a developmental optometrist because, very often, a low plus lens can help the child relax their focus.

You can also make sure that if your child is experiencing eye pain, strain, discomfort, double vision or blur, that you get them in to see their developmental optometrist. We can prescribe glasses for their best comfort at near. We want to preserve our vision & our children’s vision & keep our nation strong despite this pandemic.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Old Bridge eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at Family Eye Care eye clinic near you in Old Bridge, New Jersey to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 732-393-8636

Family Eye Care, your Old Bridge eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • My child had a vision exam at my Paediatrician, why do I need to come to the eye doctor?

    Vision screening programs are intended to help identify children or adults who may have undetected vision problems and refer them for further evaluation. However, they can’t be relied on to provide the same results as a comprehensive eye and vision examination. Vision screening programs are intended to help identify children or adults who may have undetected vision problems and refer them for further evaluation. Screenings can take many forms. Often schools provide periodic vision screenings for their students. A pediatrician or other primary care physician may do a vision screening as part of a school physical. When applying for a driver’s license, chances are your vision will be screened. Many times vision screenings are part of local health fairs put on by hospitals, social service agencies or fraternal groups like the Lions and Elks Clubs. While vision screenings can uncover some individuals with vision problems, they can miss more than they find. This is a major concern about vision screening programs. Current vision screening methods cannot be relied upon to effectively identify individuals in need of vision care. In some cases, vision screening may actually serve as an unnecessary barrier to an early diagnosis of vision problems. They can create a false sense of security for those individuals who “pass” the screening, but who actually have a vision problem, thereby delaying further examination and treatment. Undetected and untreated vision problems can interfere with a child’s ability to learn in school and participation in sports or with an adult’s ability to do their job or to drive safely. The earlier a vision problem is diagnosed and treated, the less it will impact an individual’s quality of life.

  • I have heard about blue light being a concern as well. Can you talk a little bit about this and what it means for protecting your eyes?

    Recently, the optical community has found that blue light can also cause long-term damage to the eye. It has been found that overexposure to blue light over time can lead to macular degeneration. To help protect our eyes from these rays, a new coating has been found to block out this blue light. Anti-reflective or anti-glare coating could be a term that is familiar to you. Labs have found a way for these features to block the blue rays coming from our handheld devices, computers, and fluorescent bulbs. This coating has several benefits and protecting our eyes from these harmful rays is one of them.

  • What causes myopia?

    Myopia is caused by a combination of heredity and environmental factors. Studies show that if we can move the focal point in front of the mid-peripheral retina we can slow the progression of myopia. The increased use of cell phones and computers, as well as less time outdoors, is probably a contributing factor.

  • Do I need an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?

    Both are eye doctors that diagnose and treat many of the same eye conditions. The American Optometric Association defines Doctors of Optometry as: primary health care professionals who examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. They prescribe glasses, contact lenses, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy and medications as well as perform certain surgical procedures. The main difference between the two, is that ophthalmologists perform surgery, where an optometrist would not, preferring to specialize in eye examinations, as well as eyeglass and contact lens-related services. Optometrists would be involved in all of the pre-and post-operative care of these surgical patients; collecting accurate data, educating the patient, and insuring proper healing after the procedure. An ophthalmologist is more of a medical-related specialist, who would need only to be involved if some kind of surgery were being considered. An optometrist can treat most any eye conditions, including the use of topical or oral medications if needed. This might include the treatment of glaucoma, eye infections, allergic eye conditions, dry eyes and others, to name just a few. A third “O” that often is overlooked is the optician. An optician is not a doctor, and they cannot examine your eye under their own license. However, a highly trained optician plays an indispensable role in the most successful eye doctor’s offices. An optician most often handles the optical, contact lens, and glasses side of things. Based on their vast knowledge of lenses, lens technology and frames, they manufacture eyeglasses, as well as assist in the selection of eyewear based on the requirements of each individual patient.’

3 Ways Neuro-Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors

3 Ways Neuro Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors 640Approximately 15 million people around the world suffer from a stroke each year. Visual Dysfunction occurs in 2 out of every 3 stroke survivors. These problems can range from irritating to debilitating and can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and ability to function. Fortunately, there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from stroke-related vision problems.

In our office, Family Eye Care, we are dedicated to helping patients who have suffered a stroke and help patients regain visual skills so they can enjoy a better quality of life.

Below, we’ll explore how a stroke can impact vision and what a neuro-optometrist can do to help.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when oxygen does not reach the brain, either due to leaking or bursting blood vessels, or a blockage within the blood vessel. Patients who have had COVID and have “recovered” have similar symptoms, even if their COVID symptoms were relatively mild. Serious brain damage can occur within minutes of a stroke, making early intervention crucial.

Signs of a stroke include:

  • Paralysis
  • Numb or weak limbs
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness or loss of coordination

A large portion of the brain is involved with vision, therefore, a stroke frequently affect the visual processing.

How a Stroke Can Affect Vision

If a stroke occurs in the areas of the brain that control the eye, it can cause:

  • Blurred vision
  • Visual field loss
  • Double vision
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nystagmus — rapid, uncontrolled eye movements

When a stroke affects the areas of the brain responsible for visual processing, it can cause:

  • Unilateral Visual Inattention. Many people still use the older term: Visual Neglect. This means that an individual ignores what they see on one side. This is a bit different than a Visual Field loss. Some people still use the term Visual Field Cut.
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Poor depth and movement perception
  • Difficulty recognizing objects or people

3 Ways a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help Stroke Survivors

1. Identify and Diagnose Any Visual Dysfunction

A Neuro-Optometrist has special training and expertise required to correctly identify, diagnose and treat even slight visual dysfunction that may be causing symptoms. A Neuro-Optometrist renders a Functional Visual Evaluation to assess neurological vision-related complications and identify the type of vision loss caused by the stroke.

2. Rehabilitate the Visual System

Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy provides visual procedures to retrain the brain to use the visual system more effectively. This means using the eyes to work together and then to make better sense of what someone is seeing. A stroke may break certain neural connections. Neuroplasticity is the process of regaining those damaged connections. The benefits are long-lasting and the goal is to return to as many skills as possible.

3. Prescribe the Correct Lenses or Prisms, As Needed

Neuro-Optometrists prescribe specialize lenses or prisms to aid in the therapeutic process. Prism lenses shift images into the functioning part of a patient’s visual field, or, in the case of double vision or visual inattention (neglect), bring the images from each eye together to see one whole picture. Often prism alone can bring significant relief and improve symptoms like disorientation or double vision. Syntonic Phototherapy (see elsewhere on our website) can bring on remarkable changes.

Some patients only visit an occupational therapist or physical therapist after a stroke, especially if they are in a hospital or rehabilitation center. These are often helpful, but may not fully address the entirety of the visual problem.

How We Can Help

We offer patients who had suffered a stroke the ability to regain and restore visual skills through Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation. We have programs specifically for individuals who have suffered a stroke to restore independence and return to the person you once were. Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy enables individuals who suffer from Dizziness and Vertigo by rebuilding the connection between the visual and the vestibular (balance system) that is in the inner ear. This then reduces depression and increasing confidence levels.

If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, we can help. To schedule your functional visual evaluation, contact Family Eye Care today.

Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, and Edison, all throughout New Jersey.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Moshe Roth

Q: #1: Other than stroke patients, who can benefit from neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help any person suffering from visual dysfunction after a head injury, traumatic brain injury or stroke, or anyone with neurological conditions that impact their vision. If you experience any symptoms associated with visual dysfunction like dizziness, disorientation, headaches, nausea or difficulty concentrating— it may be time to visit your neuro-optometrist.

Q: #2: Can neuro-optometry help if the stroke occurred months or years ago?

  • A: The best time to start treatment is as soon as possible following a stroke or head injury, but treatment can also be effective years later. The basis of neuro-optometry is neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change and build new neural connections. As long as a person is alive, there is potential to heal their visual system.

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Book An Appointment
Call Us 732-993-3420

4 Causes of Lazy Eye in Children

3 Causes of Lazy Eye in Children 640

Amblyopia, commonly known as ‘lazy eye,’ is a neuro-developmental vision condition that begins in early childhood.

One kind of lazy eye develops when one eye is unable to achieve normal visual acuity, causing the affected eye not to see clearly, even when wearing glasses. When this is left untreated, amblyopia leads to permanent vision loss in one eye.

It’s important to understand that a lazy eye isn’t actually lazy. Usually it occurs because there is a large difference in prescription between the two eyes, so the brain ignores the visual signals from that side and doesn’t process that information. The communication on that side then deteriorates further, and this usually leads to permanently reduced vision in that eye. Fortunately, Vision Therapy can improve the condition by training the brain to work with both eyes equally.

What Causes Lazy Eye?

When the neural connections between the eyes and the brain are healthy, each eye sends a visual signal to the brain. The brain combines these two signals into one clear image, enabling us to see what we are looking at.

When someone has amblyopia, the brain doesn’t recognize the weaker eye’s signals. Instead, it relies only on the visual input from just the other eye. The child assumes this is normal and is not aware of this, so they don’t complain.

The two most common reasons for Amblyopia are: Strabismus (when an eye turns in or out), and Anisometropia (when there is a large difference between the two eyes).

Strabismus

Strabismus means that the eyes don’t line up with one another. One might point in or out relative to the other. This can occur some of the time or all of the time. We use the terms “constant” or “intermittent”. The child may alternate; meaning that at some time, the child uses one to fixate and then the other eyes to fixate.

When the eyes don’t line up, and they point in different directions, then the brain receives two images and it can’t combine the two into one single, clear image. So when the two eyes don’t line up properly, the brain cannot process the two images, so it ‘turns off’ one of the images. That side gets ignored and the wiring between the eye and the brain does not develop. The eye is healthy, but the information from the eye to the brain gets shut off. This protects the child from getting 2 confusing pictures which would cause double vision.

As the brain ‘turns off’ the weaker eye, this eye will eventually become ‘lazy’—unless we treat the problem.

Anisometropia – one form of Refractive Amblyopia

Anisometropia is when the refractive powers (visual acuity) of the two eyes are very different from one another. This causes a conflict for the brain. It causes the visual signal from one eye to be much clearer than the other. The brain then can’t make the two images work together. The brain uses only the visual signal from the eye that is sending the clearer image and begins to ignore the information from the eye with the blurrier image. This further weakens the eye-brain connection from that side. If not treated, this results in permanent poor vision in that eye.

Bilateral Amblyopia – another form of Refractive Amblyopia

Bilateral Amblyopia is when the refractive power of BOTH eyes are very high, usually when someone is very FARsighted in BOTH eyes, but it can occur in people that are highly NEARsighted in both eyes. In this case, BOTH eyes do not develop a good connection to the brain.

Deprivation

If something doesn’t allow light to reach the back part of the eye, the retina, then the wiring between the eye and the brain doesn’t develop. We actually don’t see in the eye; rather, we see in the brain. Can you “picture” yourself at home? Can you “see” yourself at the beach or on your vacation? Those are examples of how we Visualize, and actually see in the brain, not in the eye.

Deprivation Amblyopia means that light was blocked from reaching the retina the back of the eye. That can be caused by a cataract, a cloudy cornea, or a tumor of the eyelid. Each of these can affect a child’s vision, resulting in amblyopia. Sometimes these are hard to notice and that is why a child should have a full examination and not just a screening at school or at the pediatrician’s office. When identified, we can treat the problem swiftly.

How To Treat Amblyopia

The goal of most amblyopia treatments is to 1st strengthen the signal to the eye that has been neglected, and then 2ndl, to learn how to use the two together as a team. Once we do that, amblyopia is cured. Patching does not cure this long term, although many doctors practice this “old thinking”. You see, amblyopia is more of a brain issue than an eye issue.

Common ways we treat amblypia are:

  • Special Eyeglasses
  • Vision Therapy
  • Special Contact Lenses
  • Special Foils or Prisms placed on eyeglasses
  • Special Eye Drop Therapy
  • Patching- often recommended by some eye doctors, but this does not treat or cure amblyopia long term

Vision Therapy

Vision Therapy is the most effective treatment for amblyopia. It is often used along with other treatments.

A Vision Therapy program is customized to the specific needs of the patient. It may include the use of lenses, prisms, filters, occluders, and other specialized equipment designed to actively make the lazy eye work to develop stronger communication between the eye and the brain. Ultimately, the goal is not only for the eye to see better, but for the patient to be able to use their two eyes together as a team. Once the patient achieves that, the problem is cured and does not return. Some eye doctors still recommend patching alone, but this often does not resolve the problem and the problem then returns.

Vision Therapy is extremely effective and successful to achieve the ability to use the two eyes together as a team. That is called binocular vision. This improves visual acuity, visual processing abilities, depth perception and reading fluency.

Vision Therapy programs for amblyopia include procedures that improve the following visual skills:

  • Accommodation (focusing)
  • Binocular vision (the eyes working together)
  • Fixation (visual gaze)
  • Pursuits (eye-tracking)
  • Saccades (eye jumps)
  • Spatial skills (eye-hand coordination)
  • Stereopsis (3-D vision)

Call our office and schedule an appointment. Discover how Vision Therapy can help improve your child’s vision. Our doctors will ask about your child’s vision history, conduct a thorough evaluation, and take your child on the path to effective and lasting treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Moshe Roth

Q: How do I know if my child has lazy eye?

  • A: It’s difficult to identify lazy eye (Amblyopia) on your own. Even patient that have strabismus is not obvious to parents. Children generally learn how to ignore the side that is not working as well and that side does not develop the connection between the eye and the brain. Some symptoms of lazy eye include:
  • Closing one eye or squinting
  • Difficulty with fine eye movements
  • Poor depth perception
  • Poor eye-hand coordination
  • Reduced reading speed and comprehension
  • Rubbing eyes often

Q: How is lazy eye diagnosed?

  • A: Our doctors will conduct specific tests during your child’s eye examination to assess the visual acuity, depth perception and visual skills of each eye.

 

 

Amblyopia, commonly known as ‘lazy eye,’ is a neuro-developmental vision condition that begins in early childhood, usually before the age of 8.

One form of lazy eye develops when one eye is unable to achieve normal visual acuity, causing blurry vision in the affected eye, even when wearing glasses. Left untreated, amblyopia leads to permanent vision loss in one eye.

It’s important to understand that a lazy eye isn’t actually lazy. Usually it is because there is a large difference in prescription between the two eyes, so the brain ignores the visual signals from that side and doesn’t process that information. Eventually, the communication on that side deteriorates further, and this usually leads to permanently reduced vision in that eye. Fortunately, Vision Therapy can improve the condition by training the brain to work with both eyes equally.

What Causes Lazy Eye?

When the neural connections between the eyes and the brain are healthy, each eye sends a visual signal to the brain. The brain combines these two signals into one clear image, enabling us to see what we are looking at.

In the case of amblyopia, the brain doesn’t recognize the weaker eye’s signals. Instead, it relies only on the visual input from the stronger eye.

Amblyopia can be caused by strabismus, anisometropia and deprivation.

Strabismus

Strabismus occurs when the eyes are misaligned and point in different directions. The most common cause of amblyopia is eye misalignment, which causes the brain to receive two images that cannot be combined into one single, clear image.

A child’s developing brain cannot process images when both eyes are not aligned in the same direction, so it ‘turns off’ the images sent by the weaker eye. This is the brain’s defense mechanism against confusion and double vision.

As the brain ‘turns off’ the weaker eye, this eye will eventually become ‘lazy’—unless treatment is provided.

Anisometropia – one form of Refractive Amblyopia

Anisometropia is when the refractive powers (visual acuity) of your eyes differ markedly, causing your eyes to focus unevenly – rendering the visual signal from one eye to be much clearer than the other. The brain is unable to reconcile the different images each eye sends and chooses to process the visual signal from the eye sending the clearer image. The brain begins to overlook the eye sending the blurrier image, further weakening the eye-brain connection of the weaker eye. If not treated, this results in permanent poor vision in that eye.

Bilateral Amblyopia – another form of Refractive Amblyopia

Bilateral Amblyopia is when the refractive power of BOTH eyes are very high, usually when someone is very FARsighted, but it can occur in people that are highly NEARsighted in both eyes. In this case, BOTH eyes do not develop a good connection to the brain.

Deprivation

Deprivation refers to a blockage or cloudiness of the eye. When an eye becomes cloudy, it directly impacts the eyes’ ability to send a clear image to the retina, harming the child’s ability to see images clearly from that eye. When clear images can’t reach the retina, it causes poor vision in that eye, resulting in amblyopia. Deprivation is by far the most serious kind of amblyopia, but it is also incredibly rare.

There are several types of deprivation: cataracts, cloudy corneas, cloudy lenses and eyelid tumors. Each of these can affect a child’s vision, resulting in amblyopia. Because these are also difficult to notice from a child’s behavior, it’s crucial to have your child tested for eye-related problems so that treatment can begin right away.

How To Treat Amblyopia

The goal of most amblyopia treatments is to naturally strengthen the weaker eye so that your child’s eyes can work and team with the brain more effectively. Amblyopia treatment will be determined by the cause and severity of their condition.

Common types of treatment include:

  • Special Eyeglasses
  • Vision Therapy
  • Special Contact Lenses
  • Special Filters and Prisms
  • Special Eye Drop Therapy
  • Patching- often recommended by some eye doctors, but does not treat or cure amblyopia long term

Vision Therapy

Vision Therapy is the most effective treatment for amblyopia, and is often combined with other treatments.

A Vision Therapy program is customized to the specific needs of the patient. It may include the use of lenses, prisms, filters, occluders, and other specialized equipment designed to actively make the lazy eye work to develop stronger communication between the eye and the brain.

Vision Therapy is highly successful for the improvement of binocular vision, visual acuity, visual processing abilities, depth perception and reading fluency.

Vision therapy programs for amblyopia may include eye exercises to improve these visual skills:

  • Accommodation (focusing)
  • Binocular vision (the eyes working together)
  • Fixation (visual gaze)
  • Pursuits (eye-tracking)
  • Saccades (eye jumps)
  • Spatial skills (eye-hand coordination)
  • Stereopsis (3-D vision)

Contact Family Eye Care to make an appointment and discover how vision therapy can help improve your child’s vision. Our eye doctor will ask about your child’s vision history, conduct a thorough evaluation, and take your child on the path to effective and lasting treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Moshe Roth

Q: How do I know if my child has lazy eye?

  • A: It’s difficult to recognize lazy eye because the condition usually develops in one eye, and may not present with a noticeable eye turn. As such, children generally learn how to ignore the lazy eye and compensate by mainly relying on the sight from the ‘good’ eye. Some symptoms of lazy eye include:
  • – Closing one eye or squinting
    – Difficulty with fine eye movements
    – Poor depth perception
    – Poor eye-hand coordination
    – Reduced reading speed and comprehension
    – Rubbing eyes often

Q: How is lazy eye diagnosed?

  • A: Your child’s eye doctor will conduct specific tests during their eye exam, to assess the visual acuity, depth perception and visual skills of each eye.

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Poor eye-hand coordination
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Family Eye Care serves patients from Old Bridge, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, and Edison, all throughout New Jersey.

Book An Appointment
Call Us 732-993-3420

Could a Low-Carb Diet Reduce Your Risk of Glaucoma?

A recent eye care study points to a possible connection between carbs and preventing glaucoma.

Recently, an eye doctor at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE) conducted a unique research study exploring the potential link between long-term dietary changes and preventing primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). The study’s results indicated that if people at a high risk of developing glaucoma eat a diet that’s low in carbohydrates and high in fat and vegetable protein, they may lower their risk of this sight-threatening ocular disease by 20 percent. These results were published in Eye-Nature (July 22 issue).

Why are these results so significant?

Currently, glaucoma is the #1 cause of blindness in the United States, and primary open angle glaucoma is the most common type of this dangerous eye disease. Due mainly to elevated pressure levels inside the eye, POAG leads to optic nerve degeneration – causing vision loss.

Usually, patients experience no symptoms of POAG until the disease progresses, and visual problems motivate them to visit a nearby eye clinic for an eye exam. Regular eye exams by a qualified optometrist can detect the early signs of POAG way before vision loss occurs, but unfortunately, many people don’t visit an eye care provider until they notice a problem. In addition to routine eye exams, following a low carb diet may fortify people with another way to help prevent devastating vision loss.

How does the low carb diet affect eye health?

Eating foods that are low in carbohydrates and higher in fats and proteins causes the production of metabolites that are favorable for the optic nerve head, which is the specific site of damage in primary open angle glaucoma. Previous scientific studies have already linked this type of diet with positive effects on epilepsy, along with some promising results for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

While the low-carb diet cannot stop glaucoma progression in a patient who already has the disease, it may be a helpful way to prevent glaucoma in high-risk groups, such as people with a family history. Subsequently, the rate of vision loss due to glaucoma would be reduced.

Does a low-carb diet have the same effects as a ketogenic diet?

In the past, studies have demonstrated the protective effects that a ketogenic diet can have against neurologic disorders. (Ketogenic diets = extremely low-carb and higher-fat.). That’s because ketone bodies (energy compounds made by the body as it metabolizes fats) are used by the brain as a major energy source instead of glucose, and using more of these may enhance neurologic function and slow down neuronal degeneration. However, additional studies have shown that following a low-carb diet, not specifically ketogenic, may have similar properties for protecting against neurologic problems. And because a moderately low-carb diet is easier for most people to follow and doesn’t cause the same possible side effects of a ketogenic diet (e.g. headaches, abdominal issues, weakness, and irritability), it has been lauded as a more practical alternative.

How was the study on low-carb diets conducted?

The goal of the research study was to determine if following a low-carbohydrate diet for the long-term could have a positive impact on the optic nerve.

Your optic nerve transfers visual information from the retina to your brain, and it is located at the back of the eye. There is a large concentration of mitochondria (the major source of a cell’s energy supply) in the optic nerve. Because glaucoma is associated with dysfunctional mitochondria, researchers aimed to discover if substituting fat and proteins for carbohydrates would improve mitochondrial activity, preserve the function of the optic nerve, and prevent optic nerve degeneration in POAG (specifically, in a subtype of POAG with paracentral vision loss).

A large-scale study was formulated, involving 185,000 adults – female nurses and male health professionals between the ages of 40 – 75, between 1976 – 2017. Every two to four years, participants filled out questionnaires about what they ate and drank, as well as supplied information about their health condition. If they said they had glaucoma, the researchers followed up with their eye doctors to determine if they had POAG.

Data about the study’s participants was classified into three groups, based on how they achieved a low-carb diet:

  • Group 1 – Substituting animal-based fats and proteins instead of carbs
  • Group 2 – Substituting plant-based fats and proteins instead of carbs
  • Group 3 – Replacing carbs with high fats and proteins, regardless of the source

In the end, the results showed that people in Group 2 (increased plant-based fat and protein) were linked to a 20% lower risk of developing POAG compared to people who followed a high-carb diet. These findings suggest that vegetable sources may be beneficial than animal sources for a low-carb diet, with respect to lowering the risk of this subtype of open-angle glaucoma with paracentral vision loss.

What’s the take-home from this study?

First of all, eye doctors caution to remember that this was an observational study and not a clinical trial – so additional studies are needed to investigate the connection between dietary patterns and preventing POAG. Other issues, such as genetics, may also play a significant role. While it’s too early for optometrists to hang signs banning carbohydrates in their eye clinics, early findings do point to the eye care benefits of following a low-carb, plant-based diet. It’s time to stock up on legumes, avocados, nuts and tofu!

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Do I need Blue light lenses? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Old Bridge eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at Family Eye Care eye clinic near you in Old Bridge, New Jersey to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 732-393-8636

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  • What exactly is glaucoma?

    Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it’s not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.

  • How do I tell that I am developing glaucoma?

    The real tragedy behind vision-stealing glaucoma is that most people afflicted with this eye disease do not even realize they have it. As a result, the condition goes undiagnosed and untreated, which too often leads to unnecessary blindness. Of the 2.7 million people in the United States with glaucoma, half are undiagnosed. Most are lulled into a false sense of confidence because glaucoma often displays no symptoms in its early stages. By the time it begins to affect vision, any lost sight is impossible to regain. The risk of developing glaucoma begins to increase dramatically at midlife, which is why everyone should have a baseline exam by age 40. The most important concern is protecting your sight. Doctors look at many factors before making decisions about your treatment. If your condition is particularly difficult to diagnose or treat, you may be referred to a glaucoma specialist. While glaucoma is most common in middle-aged individuals, the disease can strike at any age, with those having a family history of the disease is especially vulnerable.

  • If one of my parents has glaucoma, does that mean I will develop it as well at some point?

    Having a parent with glaucoma does not mean that the child will automatically develop the condition too. However, those people with an immediate family history (parents, siblings) of glaucoma are at more risk to develop this disease. Patients should have a comprehensive eye examination each year to evaluate the health of the eyes and to look for signs of glaucoma. Some of these signs can be an increase in the pressure of the eyes as well as changes to the appearance of the optic nerve. Many times there are no symptoms noticed by the patient. If there is suspicion of glaucoma, more frequent visits to the eye doctor along with additional nerve testing are often required.

  • How often should I have my glasses prescription checked?

    Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it’s not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.