Healthy Tips - June 2017
HEALTH TIPS – JUNE 2017
Topics This Issue:
- Cataracts Prevention and Treatment
- 6 Tips to Keep You Lookin‘ Good
- Smart Nutrition Choices for Eye Health
- Open-Faced Baked-Egg Croque
- On-Site Nutrition Counseling from Living Well Alliance
Cataracts Prevention and Treatment
Almost everyone knows an older family member or friend who has had cataracts. But what are cataracts? Can you avoid them? How do you detect a cataract?
What is a cataract? What are the symptoms? A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that impairs vision. It can occur in one eye or both. A person with a cataract may notice that their vision has become blurred or duller. They may have trouble reading or identifying colors, in particular blues and purples. Their night vision may become compromised and light-sensitive; headlights or lamps may seem too bright or to have a halo or streaks radiating from them.
What is the role of the eye’s lens? The lens in the eye is critical to seeing well. It focuses light that enters the eye onto the retina at the back of the eye, creating an image that is sent to the brain. It also focuses the eye so you can see things far away or close up. Just like a camera with a smudged lens, if the eye’s lens is cloudy, the image quality will be poor.
The lens is made of proteins and water. The proteins are precisely arranged to let light pass through. With a cataract, some of the proteins bunch together and cloud part of the lens. The cloudy area increases over time, making it more difficult to see.
Who gets cataracts? How do I reduce my risk? Although most cataracts occur in older people, others can also experience this. Some children are born with small cataracts. Cataracts also can be caused by surgery, steroid use, exposure to radiation or an eye injury. Finally, some diseases such as diabetes can contribute to your chance of cataracts developing earlier.
You may be able to reduce your risk of a cataract. Avoid UV exposure by wearing sunglasses or regular clear glasses with a UV coating. Outdoors, wear a brimmed hat. Also, get good nutrition—in particular, green, leafy vegetables, fruit and other foods with antioxidants.
It’s also very important to receive regular, preventive eye care from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. A typical eye exam is painless and measures several factors. Your eye doctor will track your vision health over time, record changes and answer your questions.
How are cataracts treated? Nonsurgical treatments aim to improve vision as much as possible. These include maximizing glasses prescription and possibly adding a tint to reduce glare; choosing reading materials with a larger font;ensuring good lighting; and wearing a hat to cut glare.
Surgery may be recommended once the symptoms have progressed to a point that it interferes with your daily activities. The cloudy lens is replaced with a clear artificial lens called an intraocular lens.
The PacMed Optometry team can assess your eye health, and our Ophthalmology department offers cataract surgery. To see which of our providers currently do cataract surgery, please visit our Cataract Surgery page.
6 Tips to Keep You Lookin‘ Good
The signs and symptoms of many eye issues are so mild that you may not notice them. The best solution? Get routine eye exams. Plus, these six tips are good for eye health.
1. Take a “20-20-20” break. Do you get eye strain from computer work or doing close work? Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Look up every 20 minutes and focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
2. Choose good sunglasses. UV-blocking sunglasses delay the development of cataracts, help prevent eye damage and help prevent wrinkles and cancer. Choose sunglasses that block 100% of UV-A and UV-B rays.
3. Get to know your family tree. Know your family’s history of eye disease. You may be at increased risk for those diseases and may need close monitoring.
4. Ouch! Use protective eyewear. The US has 2.5 million eye injuries each year. But many could be prevented! For home projects, choose ANSI-approved eyewear. Wear protective eyewear designed specifically for your sport.
5. Stub out that cigarette. Smokers are at increased risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration and disorders of the blood vessels of the eyes.
6. Don’t abuse contact lenses. Follow the instructions about the care and use of contact lenses. Misusing them can result in serious eye conditions that can cause severe pain and vision loss.
The first step to good eye care? Make an appointment. We invite you to learn about our Optometry department.
Smart Nutrition Choices for Eye Health
How does diet play into vision health?
Studies have shown that some nutrients may help prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a common eye condition and the leading cause of vision loss in people over 50 years old. While specific vitamins and supplements are promoted as beneficial, experts agree that the best method is simply to consume a varied diet that’s rich in antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Recommended sources of these specific nutrients include:
- Dark green vegetables, especially kale, spinach and Swiss chard
- Most vegetables, especially corn, squash, tomatoes and sweet potatoes
- Most fruits, especially nectarines, oranges and papaya
- Egg yolks
In addition to diet, certain lifestyle factors can also affect eye health. Be sure to exercise regularly, avoid smoking and maintain normal blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Check in with your eye care professional on a regular basis as well to receive prompt treatment for any macular issues.
Want to learn more about nutrition? Learn more about our team of dietitians.
Open-Faced Baked-Egg Croque
Love egg sandwiches but hate the mess? Try baking the egg on top of a thick slice of bread in the oven! Egg yolks provide healthy nutrients like zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin—which protect the eyes—plus choline, which protects the brain.
Serves 2. Prep time 5 minutes; cook time 20 minutes.
Bread, preferably whole grain, cut into 2 long, thick slices
1 tablespoon grated cheese such as parmesan, gorgonzola or cheddar
1 scallion, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley, cilantro or basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Cover a pan with aluminum foil.
2. Tear a small hole in the center of each bread slice to accommodate two eggs. Crack two eggs into each slice of bread.
3. Top eggs with cheese and scallion.
4. Bake on a middle rack for 20 minutes (or enough to toast bread and set eggs).
5. Sprinkle fresh herb on top and season with salt and pepper.
Nutrition Information per Serving (1 serving = 1 slice bread with 2 eggs)
Calories: 246, Total Fat 13g, Saturated Fat 4g, Cholesterol 374mg, Sodium: 426mg, Total Carbohydrate: 16g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 16g
Original recipe by Christy Goff, MS, RDN, CD
Original recipe by Christy Goff, MS, RDN, CD
More recipes online! Go to www.PacMed.org/recipes.
On-Site Nutrition Counseling from Living Well Alliance
Employees, it is time to take charge of your health! When you feel fit and well, morale improves and illnesses decreases.
Many chronic illnesses can be prevented or improved with a change in lifestyle supported by good nutrition. This is why Living Well Alliance (LWA) is introducing on-site, individualized nutrition counseling. This program is typically offered after a LWA class or screening event at the employer’s offices—so it’s easy for employees to participate. The counseling can support healthy meal planning and weight loss, ease of digestive issues, chronic disease management and other health and fitness goals.
For $200, the Nutrition Counseling program includes three visits:
- Initial 30-minute, confidential consultation with a registered dietitian
- Two 15- to 20-minute, individual follow-up visits with each employee, scheduled 2-4 weeks apart.
Additional sessions can be scheduled, or outside referrals can be made. Prior to meeting with the dietitian, participants will fill out a confidential form to gather personal goals and health and food history. The Living Well Alliance team will encourage the goals that employees want to focus on.