Health, Myths, Fraud and the Crisis

Posts tagged ‘Eye Diseases’

The most powerful weapon against the leading cause of blindness… sun glasses

… but one must make sure the glasses block 99% of ultraviolet rays – both UV-A and UV-B rays

by Jenny Thompson
Director, Health Sciences Institute

Photokeratitis – that’s Excellent Reason Number One to wear sunglasses with proper UV protection.

Here’s Excellent Reason Number Two: Cataracts. More than 60% of blind South Africans went blind due to cataracts and I know you don’t want to join their ranks. The risk of cataracts increases with a family history of the condition, diabetes, smoking and long-term steroid use. But UV exposure ranks as one of the most serious risk factors.

Excellent Reason Number Three: Pterygium. When the cornea is damaged by sun exposure, scar tissue and blood vessels create an abnormal growth that can extend to the pupil and block vision. Severest pterygium cases require surgery.

Excellent Reason Number Four: Skin cancer. Sun exposure is the cause of basal cell carcinoma, one of the two most common cancers. The other is squamous cell. Both are treatable with minor surgery. But they’re unsightly and annoying, especially when they develop on eyelids.

Excellent Reason Number Five: Macular degeneration. As I’ve mentioned before, this is the most common cause of blindness in people 55 and over. If you live in a region that’s sunny year-round and don’t wear proper sunglasses, UV damage can reach the retina at the back of the eyeball. When damage occurs in the macula, at the centre of the retina, deterioration begins at the centre of the field of vision and slowly expands.

A Florida ophthalmologist told a local newspaper: “I’ve seen very expensive sunglasses that are not good ultraviolet absorbers and I’ve seen cheap sunglasses that were great ultraviolet absorbers.”

In addition to shopping for lenses that are reliable UV-absorbers, a wraparound frame does a much better job of filtering out UV than glasses with smaller frames and lenses.

Supplements could help protect your sight

Age-related macular degeneration or ARMD is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness for those 65 and older. Now a recent study is providing some hope, along with a protocol that may halt or slow ARMD’s progression. The study, which appears in the Archives of Ophthalmology, shows a regular supplement programme including antioxidants and zinc (500mg vitamin C, 400IU of vitamin E, 15mg beta carotene, 80mg of zinc oxide and 2mg of cupric oxide); could reduce the progression of AMD by as much as 25%. The study specifically monitored people who already showed signs of ARMD and found evidence that this combination of supplements could stop or slow the path of this disease.

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