Jun 29

Eating & Lifestyle for Healthy Eyes - Ocular Injections are not Enough

Lifestyle, AMD, occlusion, ocular injections

by Elisabeth Parisi

The following article written by Dr. Paula Ko appears in The Women's Journal (New Castle County),Third Quarter 2018 edition.  You can also find it by following this link ~ http://thewomensjournal.com/?p=28536


As a retina specialist, we see many patients with eye problems that are a direct consequence of a systemic disease.  In addition, there are
some retinal diseases that can be modified by controlling an associated systemic disease.  As a result, retina specialists commonly evaluate the patient as a whole, not just an eye. 

Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are all systemic diseases that can directly cause significant vision loss.  While surgical intervention can be very effective, we are also mindful of the root of the problem;  systemic disease which is commonly not well controlled.  When a patient has vision loss, it is imperative that we coordinate systemic disease care with a patient’s PCP.  Educating patients about the causes of vision loss from systemic disease can not only help treat, but may prevent vision loss from happening in the first place.  

Injections into the vitreous cavity of the eye is a large part of how retinal specialists treat retinal diseases today.  Preventing and modifying systemic disease is equally important.  The following are some diet suggestions which along with exercise, are the basic building blocks of health!  

Diabetic Retinopathy Blindness from diabetes is more prevalent with poor diabetic control.  In order to decrease the risk of blindness, the American Diabetic
Association recommends that a patient keep their HBA1C less than 7.  The best way to keep blood sugars low is to decrease carbohydrate consumption.
Below are examples of food substitutions that have low glycemic index’s which will help keep the HBA1C low.  

• Cauliflower rice instead of white rice
• Sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes
• Spaghetti squash instead of pasta
• Mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes
• Roasted sweet potato fries instead of french fries
• Club soda (sparkling water) instead of regular or diet soda

Retinal Vein and Artery Occlusion
Retinal vein and artery occlusions typically occur in people who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Injections can help improve vision which is typically done on a monthly bases.  Making sure that diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are well controlled will help with the overall visual outcome.  Controlling systemic disease can also help decrease the amount of injections patients will need.

• Try bison instead of beef
• Bake, broil, steam food instead of fry
• High-fiber, whole-grain foods like low sugar cereals and vegetables
• Avocados instead of mayonnaise
• Fatty fish - e.g., salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna
• Chicken - white meat is less fatty than dark meat
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Do not salt your food
• Avoid fast food
• Avoid processed food
• Minimize excess alcohol consumption

Age-related Macular Degeneration
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can exacerbate the complications of this very common eye disease.  While there is no cure for the dry form of  AMD, monthly injections are very successful in stabilizing and improving vision in wet AMD. In addition smoking can make AMD worse.  The following diet is helpful for patients with AMD.  

• Fish - e.g., salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines 2-3x/week
• Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collards every day
• Colorful fruits and vegetables like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and peppers every day

Lifestyle
Brisk walking is great exercise. Doing this at least 30 minutes a day helps decrease the HBA1C, aids in weight loss and promotes circulation. Walking also
decreases cholesterol and blood pressure. Exercising with a friend, spouse, or pet will statistically increase your chances of keeping up this routine.  Make sure you wear your sunglasses when you are out for your brisk walk!

Quitting smoking is difficult, and in order to be successful it usually needs to be replaced with another habit.  If you are a smoker, why not replace it with
walking! 

If you would like to keep up with healthy ideas and recipes for the eyes, as well as learn about the newest treatments available for eye disease, you
can follow us on facebook, instagram, and our website at eyephysicians.com.

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