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Gailey Eye Clinic would like to hear from you! We now offer patient satisfaction surveys. You may notice an email from feedback@gaileyeyeclinic.com following your next appointment… that’s us! By telling us about your experience, you help us improve and better serve our patients. We greatly appreciate your feedback!

Exercise, Then Drink This!

smoothieThis refreshing treat is packed with lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin C.

In addition to feeding your eyes, the coconut water will replenish your body with much-needed electrolytes after a summer run or workout.

Tropical Post-Run Smoothie

Serves 4

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend and enjoy!

Article ©2015, Access Media Group LLC. Source: Recipes for Healthy Eyes by AllAboutVision.com.

Using Flaxseed Oil and Fish Oil to Relieve Dry Eye

By Gary Heiting, OD

Flaxseed oil and fish oil contain important dietary fatty acids that have multiple health benefits, including prevention or treatment of dry eyes. Other benefits include a lower risk of heart disease and a reduction of chronic inflammation that can lead to a variety of serious diseases, including cancer and stroke. Chronic inflammation also has been indicated as an underlying cause of osteoarthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Daily supplements of flaxseed oil or fish oil, when used alone or in tandem with lubricating eye drops, appear to reduce dry eye symptoms, including burning, stinging, redness and intermittent visual disturbances. For this reason, many eye doctors now are recommending flaxseed oil and fish oil supplements for their patients who suffer from dry eyes. Research also suggests these same fatty acids may reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

So which is better — flaxseed oil or fish oil?

Flaxseed Oil for Dry Eyes

The nutritional value of flaxseed oil (and fish oil) comes from its omega-3 fatty acids that are needed for optimum health. Flaxseed oil contains high levels of an omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). During digestion, ALA is converted into two different omega-3 fatty acids — called EPA and DHA — that are used throughout the body to protect cell membranes.

flaxseedFlaxseed oil supplements are available both in capsule and liquid forms. Although flaxseed oil capsules are more convenient, you may need to take a large number of capsules to achieve the daily dose your eye doctor recommends to treat dry eyes.

The nutritional value of flaxseed oil is easily destroyed by light, heat and oxygen. When purchasing liquid flaxseed oil, look for a cold-pressed variety and keep it refrigerated.

As an alternative to flaxseed oil, you can get the same omega-3s by grinding whole flax seeds in a coffee grinder and sprinkling the ground seeds over a salad, adding them to a smoothie or mixing them in fruit juice. If you choose this option, be sure to use the seeds immediately after grinding them to get the full omega-3 benefits. Popular eye vitamins that contain flaxseed oil include: TheraTears Nutrition (Advanced Vision Research), Dry Eye Formula (EyeScience) and Tears Again Hydrate (Ocusoft).

Comparison of Fish Oil With Flaxseed Oil

Fish oils and fatty fish — such as salmon, tuna and sardines — are excellent food sources of omega-3 fats essential to brain and eye health. Fish fat contains the “long chain” omega-3s (EPA and DHA), which are the omega-3 fats the body needs for vital functions, including eyesight.

salmonIn contrast, the “short chain” ALA omega-3 fat found in plant foods such as flaxseeds must be converted to EPA and DHA in the body for beneficial eye effects. When you eat plant foods, your body converts only about 5 percent of dietary ALA into essential EPA and DHA.

Also, most Americans’ diets are too high in omega-6 fatty acids — an imbalance that further reduces the amount of ALA from plant foods that gets converted to EPA and DHA. This imbalance also blunts the benefits of EPA and DHA omega-3s obtained directly from fish and fish oil.

Omega-6 fats are found in vegetable oils (corn, soy, cottonseed, safflower and sunflower) used in most snacks and prepared foods — whether packaged, frozen, restaurant or take-out. Researchers agree that most people need to reduce their consumption of these otherwise healthful omega-6 fats, which block omega-3 absorption and promote inflammation when eaten in excess.

Fish oils, like flaxseed oil, are available in capsule and liquid forms. Some contain lemon flavoring or are processed in other ways to reduce any “fishy” taste. Cod liver oil is another good source of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. A more enjoyable way to obtain fish oil benefits is by eating grilled cold-water fish at least three times a week. Good sources of EPA and DHA omega-3s are salmon, sablefish, tuna and halibut.

Popular eye supplements that contain fish oil or cod liver oil include: TheraTears Nutrition (Advanced Vision Research), BioTears (Biosyntryx) and HydroEye (ScienceBased Health).

So Which is Better: Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oil?

Because fish oil contains natural EPA and DHA omega-3s (that don’t have to be converted from ALA), many nutrition experts recommend fish oil over flaxseed oil.

But other factors are worth considering:

Concerns about mercury poisoning from fish oils generally are unfounded. When present in waterways, methylmercury accumulates in fish meat more than in fish oil, and testing of fish oil supplements show they generally contain little or no mercury. Still, if this is a concern, using flaxseed oil as an alternative eliminates this issue.

Precautions

As with any nutritional supplement, it’s a good idea to consult with your family physician or eye doctor before taking significant quantities of flaxseed oil or fish oil for dry eyes. This is particularly true if you take any prescription or non-prescription medicines, as adverse drug interactions can occur.

Be especially careful if you take blood thinners (even aspirin), as both flaxseed oil and fish oil can increase the risk of bleeding and reduce blood clotting when used along with these medications.

Long-term use of fish oil may cause a vitamin E deficiency in some individuals. Therefore, it’s a good idea to look for fish oil supplements that also contain vitamin E, or take a multiple vitamin that contains this vitamin if you take fish oil supplements for dry eyes.

Article ©2015, Access Media Group LLC. Source: Using Flaxseed Oil and Fish Oil to Relieve Dry Eye by AllAboutVision.com.

Computer Eye Strain: 10 Steps for Relief

By Gary Heiting, OD, and Larry K. Wan, OD

With so many of us using computers at work, computer eye strain has become a major job-related complaint. Studies show that eye strain and other bothersome visual symptoms occur in 50 to 90 percent of computer workers. These problems can range from physical fatigue, decreased productivity and increased numbers of work errors, to minor annoyances like eye twitching and red eyes.

Gailey Eye Clinic offers several different anti-fatigue lenses. We even offer anti-fatigue glasses for those who don’t need corrective eyewear, but want to protect their eyes from eye strain that occurs from prolonged computer use. Visit our Optical Department and talk to one of our certified Opticians to find out which lens will best suit your eyes.

Here are 10 easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of computer eye strain and other common symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS):

1. Get a comprehensive eye exam

Having a routine comprehensive eye exam is the most important thing you can do to prevent or treat computer vision problems. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), computer users should have an eye exam before they start working on a computer and once a year thereafter.

During your exam, be sure to tell your eye doctor how often you use a computer at work and at home. Measure how far your eyes are from your screen when you sit at your computer, and bring this measurement to your exam so your eye doctor can test your eyes at that specific working distance.

2. Use proper lighting

Eye strain often is caused by excessively bright light either from outdoor sunlight coming in through a window or from harsh interior lighting. When you use a computer, your ambient lighting should be about half as bright as that typically found in most offices.

Eliminate exterior light by closing drapes, shades or blinds. Reduce interior lighting by using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, or use lower intensity bulbs and tubes. If possible, position your computer monitor or screen so windows are to the side, instead of in front or behind it.

Many computer users find their eyes feel better if they can avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights. If possible, turn off the overhead fluorescent lights in your office and use floor lamps that provide indirect incandescent or halogen lighting instead.

Sometimes switching to “full spectrum” fluorescent lighting that more closely approximates the light spectrum emitted by sunlight can be more comforting for computer work than regular fluorescent tubes. But even full spectrum lighting can cause discomfort if it’s too bright. Try reducing the number of fluorescent tubes installed above your computer workspace if you are bothered by overhead lighting.

3. Minimize glare

Glare on walls and finished surfaces, as well as reflections on your computer screen also can cause computer eye strain. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor and, if possible, paint bright white walls a darker color with a matte finish. Again, cover the windows. When outside light cannot be reduced, consider using a computer hood.

If you wear glasses, purchase lenses with anti-reflective (AR) coating. AR coating reduces glare by minimizing the amount of light reflecting off the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses.

display4. Upgrade your display

If you have not already done so, replace your old tube-style monitor (called a cathode ray tube or CRT) with a flat-panel liquid crystal display (LCD), like those on laptop computers.

LCD screens are easier on the eyes and usually have an anti-reflective surface. Old-fashioned CRT screens can cause a noticeable “flicker” of images, which is a major cause of computer eye strain. Even if this flicker is imperceptible, it still can contribute to eye strain and fatigue during computer work.

Complications due to flicker are even more likely if the refresh rate of the monitor is less than 75 hertz (Hz). If you must use a CRT at work, adjust the display settings to the highest possible refresh rate.

When choosing a new flat panel display, select a screen with the highest resolution possible. Resolution is related to the “dot pitch” of the display. Generally, displays with a lower dot pitch have sharper images. Choose a display with a dot pitch of .28 mm or smaller.

Flicker is not an issue with LCD screens, since the brightness of pixels on the display are controlled by a “backlight” that typically operates at 200 Hz.

If you see a lower refresh rate (e.g. 60 Hz) noted on an LCD screen, don’t worry — this refers to how often a new image is received from the video card, not how often the pixel brightness of the display is updated, and this function typically is not associated with eye strain.

Finally, choose a relatively large display. For a desktop computer, select a display that has a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches.

5. Adjust your computer display settings

Adjusting the display settings of your computer can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Generally, these adjustments are beneficial:

For computers running on a Microsoft Windows operating system, display settings can be adjusted in Control Panel. For an Apple computer, display settings are found in Systems Preferences (in the Applications folder in Finder).
In some cases, the color temperature of a desktop computer monitor is adjusted on the display itself.

6. Blink more often

Blinking is very important when working at a computer; blinking moistens your eyes to prevent dryness and irritation. When working at a computer, people blink less frequently — about one-third as often as they normally do — and many blinks performed during computer work are only partial lid closures, according to studies.

Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking phases and this can cause dry eyes. Also, the air in many office environments is dry, which can increase how quickly your tears evaporate, placing you at greater risk for dry eye problems. If you experience dry eye symptoms, ask your eye doctor about artificial tears for use during the day.

By the way, don’t confuse lubricating eye drops with the drops formulated to “get the red out.” The latter can indeed make your eyes look better — they contain ingredients that reduce the size of blood vessels on the surface of your eyes to “whiten” them. But they are not necessarily formulated to reduce dryness and irritation.

To reduce your risk of dry eyes during computer use, try this exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing your eyes as if falling asleep (very slowly). This will help rewet your eyes.

exercise7. Exercise your eyes

Another cause of computer eye strain is focusing fatigue. To reduce your risk of tiring your eyes by constantly focusing on your screen, look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. Some eye doctors call this the “20-20-20 rule.” Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue.

Another exercise is to look far away at an object for 10-15 seconds, then gaze at something up close for 10-15 seconds. Then look back at the distant object. Do this 10 times.

This exercise reduces the risk of your eyes’ focusing ability to “lock up” (a condition called accommodative spasm) after prolonged computer work. Both of these exercises will reduce your risk of computer eye strain. Also, remember to blink frequently during the exercises to reduce your risk of computer-related dry eye.

8. Take frequent breaks

To reduce your risk for computer vision syndrome and neck, back and shoulder pain, take frequent breaks during your computer work day. Many workers take only two 15-minute breaks from their computer throughout their work day. According to a recent NIOSH study, discomfort and eye strain were significantly reduced when computer workers took four additional five-minute “mini-breaks” throughout their work day.

And these supplementary breaks did not reduce the workers’ productivity. Data entry speed was significantly faster as a result of the extra breaks, so work output was maintained even though the workers had 20 extra minutes of break time each day. During your computer breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to reduce tension and muscle fatigue.

Check your local bookstore or consult your fitness club for suggestions on developing a quick sequence of exercises you can perform during your breaks and after work to reduce tension in your arms, neck, shoulders and back.

9. Modify your workstation

If you need to look back and forth between a printed page and your computer screen, this can cause eye strain. Place written pages on a copy stand adjacent to the monitor. Light the copy stand properly. You may want to use a desk lamp, but make sure it doesn’t shine into your eyes or onto your computer screen.

Improper posture during computer work also contributes to computer vision syndrome. Adjust your workstation and chair to the correct height. Purchase ergonomic furniture to enable you to position your computer screen 20 to 24 inches from your eyes. The center of your screen should be about 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes for comfortable positioning of your head and neck.

10. Consider anti-fatigue eyewear

For the greatest comfort at your computer, you might benefit from having your eye care professional modify your eyeglasses prescription to create customized computer glasses. This is especially true if you normally wear contact lenses, which may become dry and uncomfortable during sustained computer work.

Computer glasses also are a good choice if you wear bifocals or progressive lenses, because these lenses generally are not optimal for the distance to your computer screen.

Article ©2015, Access Media Group LLC. Source: Computer Eye Strain: 10 Steps for Relief by AllAboutVision.com.

Don’t Forget About Your Sunglasses This Winter!

iStock_000026999527_XXXLargeBy Gary Heiting, OD

The UV Index developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Weather Service (NWS) has made many Americans more aware of the risks of sunburn and skin cancer from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

But did you know UV and other radiation from the sun also can harm your eyes?

Extended exposure to the sun’s UV rays has been linked to eye damage including cataractsmacular degenerationpingueculaepterygia and photokeratitis that can cause temporary vision loss.  New research suggests the sun’s high-energy visible (HEV) radiation — also called “blue light” — may increase your long-term risk of macular degeneration. People with low blood plasma levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants especially appear at risk of retinal damage from HEV radiation.

Dangers of Ultraviolet Radiation to Your Eyes

To protect your eyes from harmful solar radiation, sunglasses should block 100 percent of UV rays and also absorb most HEV rays, or blue light.

Frames with a close-fitting wraparound style provide the best protection because they limit how much stray sunlight reaches your eyes from above and beyond the periphery of your sunglass lenses.

The three categories of invisible high-energy UV rays are:

But this also means depletion of the ozone layer potentially could allow high-energy UVC rays to reach the earth’s surface and cause serious UV-related health problems. UVC rays have wavelengths of 100-280 nanometer (nm).

UVA rays. These are closer to visible light rays and have lower energy than UVB and UVC rays. But UVA rays can pass through thecornea and reach the lens and retina inside the eye.
Overexposure to UVA radiation has been linked to the development of certain types of cataracts, and research suggests UVA rays may play a role in development of macular degeneration.  Various eye problems have been associated with overexposure to UV radiation. As an example, UVB rays are thought to help cause pingueculae and pterygia. These growths on the eye’s surface can become unsightly and cause corneal problems as well as distorted vision.  In high short-term doses, UVB rays also can cause photokeratitis, a painful inflammation of the cornea.

“Snow blindness” is the common term for severe photokeratitis, which causes temporary vision loss usually lasting 24-48 hours. The risk for snow blindness is greatest at high altitudes, but it can occur anywhere there is snow if you don’t protect your eyes with UV-blocking sunglasses.  Because the cornea appears to absorb 100 percent of UVB rays, this type of UV radiation is unlikely to cause cataracts and macular degeneration, which instead are linked to UVA exposure.

Outdoor Risk Factors

Anyone who spends time outdoors is at risk for eye problems from UV radiation. Risks of eye damage from UV and HEV exposure change from day to day and depend on a number of factors, including:

Surprisingly, cloud cover doesn’t affect UV levels significantly. Your risk of UV exposure can be quite high even on hazy or overcast days. This is because UV is invisible radiation, not visible light, and can penetrate clouds.

More Tips About Sunglasses and UV Exposure

Many misconceptions exist about the right sun protection for your eyes. Keep these tips in mind:

Article ©2015, Access Media Group LLC. Source: Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation and Your Eyes by AllAboutVision.com.

Toys and Eye Safety

45387078_mlBy Gretchyn Bailey

Choosing the right toys for eye safety is a concern for every parent.

Children are born with an underdeveloped visual system that grows with them. As part of normal infant vision development, newborns can see objects only up close, and toddlers and preschoolers commonly are farsighted. Also, some school-age children need eyeglasses.

Throughout their growing years, children are visually stimulated. Nothing stimulates a child’s vision more easily than a toy.

Keep in mind that most childhood accidents occur at home, many with toys. Children spend a great deal of time playing with their toys, so you need to make sure those toys are safe for overall health as well as eye safety.

How to Size Up Toys

Hand-in-hand with age appropriateness is making sure the toy is developmentally appropriate. Smaller pieces can be found in toys labeled for children age 3 and up. If your 4-year-old stills likes to put things in her mouth, these toys are not developmentally appropriate for her.

Toy size also is important. If a toy is large enough not to fit into a child’s mouth but can be manipulated into a smaller size, put the toy away until your child is older.

Make sure your child’s toys are sturdily constructed so they won’t break or fall apart with reasonable play, and double-check that any paints or finishes are non-toxic and not likely to peel or flake off.

Stuffed, plush toys should be machine washable, and, for younger children, made without tiny pieces to pull off, such as buttons or ribbons.

Avoid toys with sharp or rough edges or pieces. Make sure long-handled toys — such as a pony stick, broom or vacuum — have rounded handles, and closely supervise toddlers with such toys.

More on What Toys to Avoid

Avoid toys that shoot objects in the air — such as slingshots, dart guns or arrows — for children under 6, and closely supervise any child playing with such toys. If your older child plays with a chemistry set or woodworking tools, provide him or her with safety goggles.

When shopping for the holidays, birthdays or other special occasions, pay special attention to the age or developmental recommendations on toys. Such recommendations are there for a reason. Many parents, grandparents or well-meaning friends think a toy is “neat” or “looks fun to play with,” when for safety reasons such toys should not be offered to a child of a certain age.

Toy Suggestions

Following are some suggestions for age-appropriate toys for children to stimulate their visual development, develop hand-eye coordination and understand spatial relationships.

Birth to 12 months. Brightly colored mobiles (make sure the colors and detail on the mobile pieces face down to the child, not up to the parent), rattles, balls, stuffed animals, activity gyms, blocks, stacking/nesting toys, pouring toys (such as measuring cups).

1-year-olds. Finger paints, modeling clay, board books, balls, stuffed animals, blocks, stacking/nesting toys, pouring toys (such as measuring cups), riding toys, puzzles, shape sorters, musical toys.

2-year-olds. Finger paints, modeling clay, chalkboard and chalk, felt board and felt pieces, board books as well as standard books, balls, stuffed animals, stacking/nesting toys, pouring toys (such as measuring cups), riding toys, puzzles, shape sorters, musical toys, swings, dress-up clothes, child-sized household toys and items (broom, vacuum, rake, lawn mower), toy typewriter or cash register, child-sized kitchen area (refrigerator, stove, microwave, sink, cupboard, table and chairs), sandbox, kiddie pool, toddler tape player, stringing beads, sewing toys, magnetic letters, climbing toys (such as backyard gyms or playscapes).

3- to 6-year-olds. Large crayons, large markers, finger paints, modeling clay, chalkboard and chalk, felt board and felt pieces, doctor/nurse kit, books, balls, stuffed animals, tricycle or bicycle, puzzles, musical toys, swings, dress-up clothes, child-sized household toys and items (broom, vacuum, rake, lawn mower), toy typewriter or cash register, child-sized kitchen area (refrigerator, stove, microwave, sink, cupboard, table and chairs), sandbox, kiddie pool, child CD player, stringing beads, magnetic letters, climbing toys (such as backyard gyms or playscapes), toy computer or computer games, toy camera with film, basketball set, board games, roller skates.

7- to 10-year-olds. Crayons, markers, finger paints, modeling clay, arts and crafts kits, sewing toys, books, balls, stuffed animals, bicycle, puzzles, musical toys or musical instruments, swings, dress-up clothes, sandbox, kiddie pool, tape player, toy computer or computer games, camera with film, board games, science items (such as microscope, telescope and chemistry sets), roller skates, skateboard, jump rope, sports equipment, electric train set.

Article ©2013, Access Media Group LLC. Source: Toys and Eye Safety by AllAboutVision.com.

Pumpkin for Your Peepers

5700806_mlThis fall, trade your traditional pumpkin pie for this lighter dessert.  Filled with beta-carotene, it will nourish your eyes and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Pumpkin Mousse (serves 4)

How to make:

  1. Put medium bowl in freezer.
  2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin and yogurt, using a whisk.
  3. Sprinkle gelatin on orange juice and let sit for about three minutes, just enough time to get maple syrup ready.
  4. Bring maple syrup to a boil on medium-high heat in a small sauce pan, stirring constantly.
  5. Pour boiling maple syrup over orange juice and stir until gelatin has melted.
  6. Pour maple syrup mix into pumpkin preparation and mix well, using a whisk.
  7. Add orange zest and spices; stir to combine.
  8. In chilled bowl, whip cream to firm peaks, using a hand mixer.
  9. Use your mixer to whip pumpkin mix for about one minute.
  10. Fold whipped cream gently into pumpkin mix, using a spatula.
  11. Ladle into serving cups and chill in the refrigerator for two to three hours, until set.

Article ©2015, Access Media Group LLC. Source: Recipes for Healthy Eyes by AllAboutVision.com.

NEW! iDesign Wavescan System at Gailey Eye Clinic

47435100_mlGailey Eye Clinic is now 1 of only a handful of clinics in the United States with the iDesign Wavescan system! The same blade-free technology that NASA and the U.S. Military have approved for Laser Vision Correction on pilots and astronauts, professions highly dependent on excellent visual acuity, is now available to Gailey Eye Clinic patients in central Illinois. No two eyes are alike, not even one person’s two eyes. The iDesign allows us to capture the detailed map of each eye and translates this information into specific treatment instructions for each patient. Through the use of the iDesign, we may provide a broader range of vision correction. Also, its ability to map the surface of irregular corneas, greatly expands the number of patients that may qualify for Laser Vision Correction.

From pre-operative testing to post-operative care, our experienced team of surgeons and technicians provide personalized care like no other LASIK team in central Illinois. We are here to make you feel comfortable, relaxed, and answer any questions you have.

Laser Vision Correction FAQs:

What is iLASIK? It is a blade-less, outpatient surgical procedure that uses a laser beam to create a corneal flap and reshape the surface of the cornea to improve vision for patients with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

How much does it cost? That depends on several factors, including the type of procedure and the insurance coverage that you have.  It is best to set up a complimentary consultation with Gailey Eye Clinic’s Laser Vision Correction coordinator to get those answers.

Is there a discount for VSP or EyeMed? Yes, 15% discount for either plan.

Is LVC covered by insurance? Very few policies cover Laser Vision Correction, but our LVC counselor would be very happy to look into that for you and even discuss payment plan financing options.

How long does LASIK take? Your entire procedure will last less than 30 minutes!

Currently, Gailey Eye Clinic is extending our promotional price for Laser Vision Correction through the end of 2015! With this discounted price, patients may receive Laser Vision Correction for nearly $1,000 off regular pricing. Schedule your LVC screening with Ray today, to take advantage of this great offer and budget Laser Vision Correction into your 2016 Flex spending.

 

Ray Rybarczyk, Laser Vision Correction Coordinator

1008 North Main Street, Bloomington IL 61701

Ph: 309-557-8612     Cell: 309-684-8729     Email: rarybarczyk@gaileyeyeclinic.com

 

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