Tag Archives: Macular degeneration

Truths about protecting our eyes

 

Fact: Eye exercises will not improve or preserve vision or reduce the need for glasses. Your vision depends on many factors, including the shape of your eyeball and the health of the eye tissues, neither of which can be significantly altered with eye exercises.
As the eyes age, problems with vision become more common. Learn how to recognize the risk factors and symptoms of specific eye diseases cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy — and what steps one can take to prevent or treat them before your vision deteriorates.

Myth: Reading in dim light will worsen our vision.

Fact: Dim lighting will not damage our eyesight. However, it will tire our eyes out more quickly. The best way to position a reading light is to have it shine directly onto the page, not over the shoulder. A desk lamp with an opaque shade pointing directly at the reading material is ideal.

Myth: Carrots are the best food for the eyes.

Fact: Carrots, which contain vitamin A, are indeed good for the eyes. But fresh fruits and dark green leafy vegetables, which contain more antioxidant vitamins such as C and E, are even better. Antioxidants may even help protect the eyes against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Just don’t expect them to prevent or correct basic vision problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Myth: It’s best not to wear glasses or contact lenses all the time. Taking a break from them allows our eyes to rest.

Fact: If we need glasses or contacts for distance vision or reading, we should use them. Not wearing glasses will strain our eyes and tire them out instead of resting them. However, it will not worsen our vision or lead to eye disease.

Myth: Staring at a computer screen all day is bad for the eyes.

Fact: Using a computer does not damage our eyes. However, staring at a computer screen all day can contribute to eyestrain or tired eyes. People who stare at a computer screen for long periods tend not to blink as often as usual, which can cause the eyes to feel dry and uncomfortable. To help prevent eyestrain, we should adjust the lighting so it doesn’t create a glare or harsh reflection on the screen, it is advised to rest the eyes briefly every 20 minutes, and make a conscious effort to blink regularly so that our eyes stay well lubricated.

It can be a frightening moment. When the doctor diagnoses an eye disease such as glaucoma, cataract, or AMD, we immediately worry about losing our sight or becoming seriously vision-impaired.

It’s important to know what to do not only when disease strikes, but what to do before and after. We should know the warning signs and how a diagnosis is made. And the best treatment options for that.

The good news is, with the proper treatment decisions, those eye diseases can be addressed and controlled and their potential to compromise our sight can be halted.

Our eyes do change as we get older. That’s a truth we can do little about. It’s the consequences we can change.
We we should learn all the facts about treating adult eye diseases.

Resources:
Harvard Health Publication
Harvard Medical School

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Ocular Histoplasmosis

Definition:
Ocular histoplasmosis is  an eye disease that is a leading cause of vision loss, due to the spread of spores of the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum (histo) from the lungs to the eye where they lodge in the choroid (a layer of blood vessels that provides blood and nutrients to the retina).

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There the spores cause fragile, abnormal blood vessels to grow underneath the retina. These abnormal blood vessels form a lesion known as choroidal neovascularization (CNV). If left untreated, the CNV can turn into scar tissue and replace the normal retinal tissue in the macula (the central part of the retina that provides sharp central vision. If these abnormal blood vessels grow toward the center of the macula, they may affect a tiny depression called the fovea (the region of the retina with the highest concentration of special retinal nerve cells, called cones, that produce sharp, daytime vision). Damage to the fovea and the cones can severely impair, and even destroy, straight-ahead vision. Since the syndrome rarely affects side, or peripheral vision, the disease does not cause total blindness.

It’s a common problem in the USA, particularly in a region now known as the ‘Histo belt’, which includes Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee and West Virginia, where as many as 90 per cent of the population have had the infection.

Symptoms:
Many patients with histo spots in their eyes have no symptoms. Others may experience the following:

 

*Distorted vision…....CLICK & SEE
*Blind spots
*Scars in the retina, ranging in severity

Causes:
Histoplasmosis is caused by a fungus commonly found in the dust and soil of the Mississippi-Ohio River Valley region.  Approximately 62% of the adult population living in this region are carriers. It affects men and women equally.

Histoplasmosis is contracted by inhaling dust that carries the fungal spores. Its effect on the body can vary widely in severity from one person to another.  Many carriers have no symptoms at all, but those with mild exposure may experience flu-like symptoms and mild respiratory infections. Histoplasmosis is more likely to become a serious problem in people who already have a weakened immune system.

The fungus may affect the eye by causing small areas of inflammation and scarring of the retina. These are called “histo spots” and may be found in both eyes. Their affect on vision depends on the location of the scars.  Scarring in the peripheral area of the retina may have little or no impact on vision, while a central scar affecting the macula may cause a prominent blind spot.

Most people with histo spots in the retina are totally unaware of their presence unless the central vision is affected. Studies indicate that only about 5% of those with histo spots are at risk of losing vision. Scientists have been unable find a link between the patients with minor histo spots and those who develop a severe loss of their central vision.

The syndrome is thought to be linked to hypersensitivity to Histoplasma capsulatum, rather than a direct exposure of the eyes to the micro-organism, but some experts have found DNA or genetic material from the fungus in a layer of the eyeball known as the choroid, and suspect fungal spores may lodge here and cause problems.

Risk Factors:
Some people go on to develop symptoms – usually of lung disease, although the fungus may spread to other organs – known as disseminated histoplasmosis and this can be fatal.

Very rarely the organism can spread to the eye to cause acute ocular histoplasmosis, which needs urgent treatment with antifungal medicine.

Ocular histoplasmosis can cause blindness, although it mostly affects central vision and rarely involves peripheral vision so total blindness is rare. Anyone who has lived in an area where they may have been exposed to histoplasmosis and develops eye problems must be checked for the condition.The loss of vision in POHS is caused by choroidal neovascularization.

Diagnosis:
Ocular histoplasmosis is detected with a dilated examination of the retina using ophthalmoscopy. It is usually diagnosed based on its distinctive appearance and characteristics. Fluorescein angiography is required for diagnosis and follow-up of patients with POHS.

Treatment:
Treatment requires careful consideration of FA findings and few cases may respond to corticosteroids and laser photocoagulation. A vitreo-retinal specialist should be consulted for proper management of the case.

Presumed ocular histoplasmosis syndrome and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have been successfully treated by the drug Bevacizumab (trade name Avastin, Genentech/Roche). Ophthalmologists are using Avastin “off-label” to treat AMD and similar conditions since research indicates that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is one of the causes for the growth of the abnormal vessels that cause these conditions. Some patients treated with Avastin had less fluid and more normal-appearing maculas, and their vision improved. Avastin injections into the affected eye have been used by retina specialists since early 2005. Thus there is no long term 10 to 15 year follow up data for possible late complications. Early treatment is critical to maintaining vision.

Other treatments include Ranibizumab (trade name Lucentis) which is approved by the FDA for intraocular use. Lucentis uses a smaller molecule compared to Avastin and according to GenenTech, the smaller molecule helps lower the systemic toxicity of the drug, thereby lowering the overall risks compared to Avastin. However, Lucentis costs approximately $1,600 per injection compared to less than $100 per injection for Avastin. Research has shown  that Avastin and Lucentis to be equally effective in the treatment of POHS and AMD.

To get the best effect, the whole area affected by ocular histoplasmosis has to be treated.

Once a person has ocular histoplasmosis, they have it for life.

Regular eye exams and routine use of an Amsler Grid to monitor central vision is recommended for anyone with histo spots.

Click to learn more

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presumed_ocular_histoplasmosis_syndrome
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=24114
http://www.stlukeseye.com/Conditions/histoplasmosis.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/ocularhistoplasmosis.shtml

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The Amazing Nutrient that Lowers Your Blood Pressure

Research has recently found that vitamin D has a protective effect against arterial stiffness and impaired blood vessel relaxation.

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Study participants with reduced levels of vitamin D had increased arterial stiffness and vascular function impairment. However, among those whose vitamin D levels were normalized over a six month period, vascular health improved and blood pressure measurements declined.

Science Newsline Reports:

“The results add to evidence that lack of vitamin D can lead to impaired vascular health, contributing to high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

In related news, researchers have also found that high level of vitamin D could be protective against the development of early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in adults.

In women younger than 75, those who had 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations lower than 38 nanomoles per liter were more likely to have age-related macular degeneration than women with concentrations greater than 38 nanomoles per liter.

Resources:
*Science Newsline April 4, 2011
*Archives of Ophthalmology April 2011; 129(4): 481-489
*MSNBC April 27, 2011
*Science Daily March 21, 2011
*Journal of General Internal Medicine April 21, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]
*Diabetes Care May 2011;34(5):1133-8
*Journal of General Internal Medicine March 15, 2011 [Epub ahead of print]

Posted By Dr. Mercola | April 30 2011

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Sow thistle

Botanical Name :Sonchus oleraceus Linn.
Family:Asteraceae/ Compositae
Tribe: Cichorieae
Genus: Sonchus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales
Synonyms :Hare’s Thistle. Hare’s Lettuce.
Scientific names :  Sonchus oleraceus Linn.,Hieracium oleracerum Linn. ,Lactuca oleracerea Linn.
Common names :Gagatang (Ig.),Common sowthistle (Engl.),Milkweed (Engl.) ,Milk thistle (Engl.) ,Smooth sow thistle (Engl.) ,Swinles (Engl.) ,Sow thistle (Engl.)

Habitat :Found in the Benguet subprovinces, Rizal and Laguna provinces in Luzon. In waster places, along trails, old gardens, on talus slopes at altitudes of 1,200 to 2,000 meters

Description:
Sow thistle is an herb, erect, annual, milky, hairy or slightly glandular, growing 40 to 80 cm high. Leaves are oblong to lanceolate, 10 to 20 cm long, coarsely and lyrately lobed; the lobes somewhat reflexed and toothed, the terminal ones large, the lateral pointing downwards, and those of the stem clasping at the base. Heads are peduncled, about 1 cm long. Bracts are smooth, thin and green. Flowers are numerous and yellow. Achenes are nearly 3 mm long, compressed, ribbed and rough.

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It has hollow thick, branched stems full of milky juice, and thin, oblong leaves, more or less cut into (pinnatifid) with irregular, prickly teeth on the margins. The upper leaves are much simpler in form than the lower ones, clasping the stem at their bases.

CLICK & SEE

The flowers are a pale yellow, and when withered, the involucres close over them in a conical form. The seed vessels are crowned with a tuft of hairs, or pappus, like most of this large family of Compositae.

Edible Uses:
The young leaves are still in some parts of the Continent employed as an ingredient in salads It used in former times to be mingled with other pot herbs, and was occasionally employed in soups; the smoothest variety is said to be excellent boiled like spinach.

Constituents:
* Contains fixed oil with stearic and palmitic acids, ceryl-alcohol, invert sugar, choline, tartaric acid.
* Milky juice contains oxydase, coautchoue, mannite, l-inosite, etc.
* Phytochemicals of aqueous extracts yielded sugar reducers, phenolic compounds, tannins, flavonoids and coumarins.
* Study yielded four sesquiterpene glycosides – sonchusides A, B, C and D together with five known glycosides – glucozaluzanin C, macrocliniside A, crepidiaside A and picrisides A and C.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts used: Stem, leaves, gum, juice.

Folkloric:-
* Brownish gum formed by the evaporation of the common sow thistle, when taken internally in a dose of two to four grains, acts as a “powerful hydragogue cathartic” with strong effects on the liver, duodenum and colon. Its effects resemble elaterium, producing large and watery discharges, thus an effective agent in ascites and hydrothorax. However, it may cause griping like senna and produce tenemus like aloes. To counteract that effect, the gum is administered with manna, aniseed, and carbonate of magnesia, or with stimulants and aromatics

* Infusion of leaves and roots used by the natives of Bengal as tonic and febrifuge.

*In Indochina, stems used as sedative and tonic.

*In Italy, used as a laxative and diuretic.

*Juice of the plant used for cleaning and healing ulcers.

*In Brazilian folk medicine, used as a general tonic.

Studies
• Antidepressant: Study of S oleraceus extracts in mice showed evidence of an antidepressant-like effect comparable to that of amitriptyline (10mg/K p.o.).

• Antinociceptive: Extracts of SO markedly demonstrated antinociceptive action in mice, supporting previous claims of traditional use. At 300 mg/kg, it had a stronger antinociceptive effect than indomethacin (5 mg/kg) and morphine (10 mg/kg).

• Anxiolytic: Study of extract of aerial parts showed anxiolytic effects in mice similar to clonazepam (0.5 mg/kg).

• Phytochemicals / Low Toxicity: Study of aqueous extracts showed phenolic compounds, tannins, flavonoids and coumarins. Toxicity test on Artemia salina indicated low toxicity.

• Antioxidant / Cytotoxicity: Study of SO extracts showed concentration-dependent antioxidant activity. The methanol extracts yielded the greatest the most phenolic and flavonoid contents. Cytotoxicity activity showed the ethanol extract had the best activity against the growth of stomach cancer cell.

• Anti-Quorum Sensing / Antimicrobial: A study of 14 ethanolic extracts of different parts of 8 plants for antimicrobial and antiquorum sensing activity showed Sonchus oleraceus and Laurus nobilis to have superior activity against Chromobacterium violaceum. Quorum sensing is involved in microbial pathogenesis, and its inhibition may be a way of controlling bacterial infections with the advantage of reducing risks of resistance development.

Other Uses:
Its chief use nowadays is as food for rabbits. There is no green food they devour more eagerly, and all keepers of rabbits in hutches should provide them with a plentiful supply. Pigs are also particularly fond of the succulent leaves and stems of the Sow-Thistle.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sowthi71.html
http://www.stuartxchange.com/Gagatang.html
http://www.plantsystematics.org/imgs/kcn2/r/Asteraceae_Sonchus_oleraceus_33896.html

Healthy Eating Provides Macular Degeneration Protective Effect

While 20/20 vision is a symbol of visual acuity, between now and the year 2020, more and more people will experience some extent of vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration and other sight-robbing diseases.
……

Macular degeneration is a disease of the retina that affects the macula in the back of the eye. The macula is important for clear central vision, allowing an individual to see fine details. There are two types of macular degeneration, dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration is more common and is characterized by the thinning of the retina and drusen, small yellowish-white deposits that form within the retina. The dry form of macular degeneration is usually mild. Wet macular degeneration can happen more quickly and be more serious. It occurs when vessels under the retinal layer hemorrhage and cause the retinal cells to die creating blind spots or distorted vision in the central vision. The disease becomes increasingly common amongst people in each succeeding decade over 50.

Now, scientists at are finding that healthy eating can reduce not only health care costs, but also the decline of quality of life due to these diseases.

One study indicated that regularly consuming a combination of protective nutrients and a low-glycemic-index, or “slow carb,” diet provided an age-related macular degeneration protective effect. A food’s glycemic index is an indicator of how fast the carbohydrate it contains will spike blood sugar levels. The macula is a 3-millimeter-wide yellow spot near the center of the retina responsible for the central field of vision.

For the study, the researchers analyzed dietary intake and other data from more than 4,000 men and women, aged 55 to 80, who had participated in the long-term Age-Related Eye Disease Study, or AREDS. Led by Chung-Jung Chiu, the researchers ranked intake of each of several nutrients consumed during the AREDS study, then calculated a compound score to gauge their combined dietary effect on the risk of age-related macular degeneration. The scoring system allowed them to evaluate associations between individual—and combined—dietary nutrients.

The nutrients that were found to be most protective in combination with the low-glycemic-index diet were vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and the omega-3 fatty acids known as DHA and EPA. The 2009 study was published in Ophthalmology.

You may click to see:-
*Vitamin Therapy is Effective Method of Delaying Macular Degeneration
*Alternative Procedure for Myopia Could Be Safer Than Laser Eye Surgery
*Cells of the Retina Imaged for the First Time
*Antioxidant Supplement Could Help Slow Macular Degeneration

Source : Elements4Health

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