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Year: 2020

Protect Your Children’s Vision By Getting Them To Play Outside This Winter!

child playing snow 640As temperatures drop, some parents may be wondering how to get their kids outside for some healthy outdoor play.

Below, we share tips on fun outdoor activities you can do and explain why playing outside can help your child’s vision.

How Outdoor Play Impacts Myopia

Studies have shown that children who spend at least 11 hours per week outside during daylight hours have a slower rate of myopia progression than children who don’t. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure why, it appears that sunlight and the child’s use of distance vision outdoors may play a role.

So why would parents want to slow down their child’s myopia? The answer may surprise you.

Having myopia in childhood places the child at heightened risk for developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. These include cataracts, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and glaucoma.

3 Outdoor Activities to Do With Your Kids This Winter

Play With Snow

Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, playing with snow is something that everyone can enjoy. Bundle up your child so they stay safe and warm, and send them out to build a snowman, have a snowball fight, build an igloo, or make a snow angel. Older children and teens may enjoy building a snow maze.

If your kids like a bit of competition, you can conduct a snow castle building contest. This activity can be fun for the entire family!

If you don’t have enough snow to build a snowman or castle, you can play tic-tac-snow on the snow-covered ground.

Go Sledding

Sledding and tobogganing are classic winter activities that your child will love. All you need is a sled and a snowy hill — easy, right?

But before you soar down those snowy slopes, here are some guidelines that will ensure a safer sledding experience:

  • Use a sled that can be steered and has a brake
  • Protect your head with a helmet
  • Dress warmly, but leave your scarf at home, as it can get caught under the sled
  • Children under the age of 6 should always sled accompanied by an adult

Create Outdoor Art

This activity is perfect for kids who like to get a little messy. To make a colorful masterpiece on a canvas of snow, give your child a few squirt bottles filled with water and a few drops of food coloring gel. They’ll have heaps of fun squirting the colored liquid on snow or ice.

They can also paint on snow using watercolors and a paintbrush.

If it doesn’t snow where you live, you can always give your child some sidewalk chalk and let them get creative on the pavement. The important thing is to have your child play outdoors.

At StylEyes, our goal is to help slow down your child’s myopia progression and keep their eyes healthy for a lifetime.

To learn more about our myopia management program or to schedule your child’s eye exam, call us today!

StylEyes serves patients from Des Moines, Indianola Hills, Southwestern Hills, Pleasant Hill, and throughout Iowa.

Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 515-416-5505

Sports Vision Training Can Help Prevent Sport-Related Head Injuries

playing hockey 640Each year, between 1.7 million to 3 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the U.S. alone. Of those, roughly 70-80% of the people experience vision problems.

So how can you prevent head injuries? Consider sports vision training. It not only improves performance but can also protect your head from injury.

What is Sports Vision Training?

Sports vision training isn’t about correcting your eyesight.

Rather, it’s a customized program made to improve the communication between your eyes, brain, and body while playing sports. It helps amateur and professional athletes process information and then react faster and more accurately to what they see on the field, court, or rink.

Sports vision training uses a personalized series of techniques and exercises, that teaches the brain and body to respond more accurately and efficiently to the fastball or hockey puck rapidly coming toward you. The training focuses on improving visual skills, such as depth perception, hand-eye coordination, eye tracking, focusing, and peripheral vision.

Sports Vision Training and Sport-Related Head Injuries

Head injuries, especially concussions, are among the most common injuries incurred while playing sports. However, they can be prevented!

If your visual skills are not functioning at their peak, you may misjudge the distance between yourself and the ball or yourself you and other players. Miscalculating the velocity of a ball or the positioning of other athletes due to poor peripheral vision can result in serious injury, head or other.

Just as you train your muscles to be at your peak, so too, you must train your eyes to communicate more efficiently with your brain and body.

Does Sports Vision Training Lead to a Decrease In Sport-Related Injuries?

Studies show that players who undergo sports vision training have significantly fewer concussions than their peers.

One study, conducted by the University of Cincinnati Division of Sports Medicine, found that university football players who underwent sports vision training to improve their peripheral vision had fewer concussions than those who did not undergo the training.

In short, sports vision training teaches the the eyes and brain to react better to the changing environment, leading to increased success with fewer injury-causing collisions.

Want to take your game to the next level? Contact StylEyes today.

We serve patients from , Indianola Hills, Southwestern Hills, and Pleasant Hill, throughout Iowa.

 

Request A Sports Vision Appointment
Find Out If Sports Vision Is Right For You 515-416-5505

The Importance of Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

Are you planning on wearing contact lenses for the first time? Do you need a new contact lens prescription? Are your current contacts not as comfortable as you wish they were? Your eye doctor will perform a contact lens eye exam to ensure that your vision with contacts is clear, comfortable, and safe, providing you with the right lenses for you.

What is a contact lens exam?

If you wear or want to wear contact lenses, you’ll need an eye exam for contact lenses, in addition to your regular comprehensive eye exam. Special tests are performed during a contact lens exam to evaluate your eyes and vision with contacts.

Are eyeglass prescriptions the same as contact lens prescriptions?

No, a prescription for glasses cannot be used for contact lenses. An eyeglass prescription is for lenses that are positioned approximately 12 millimeters from your eyes, whereas a contact lens prescription is measured for lenses that sit directly on the surface of your eye.

The prescription for contact lenses also includes the brand, lens diameter and curvature, which are not part of an eyeglass prescription.

Contact lenses fitting: One size does not fit all

One contact lens size doesn’t fit all eyes. If a contact lens is too flat or too steep for your corneal shape, you may experience discomfort or even eye damage. Your eye doctor will take certain measurements to determine the best contact lens design and fit for your eyes.

Corneal curvature

This measures the curvature of your eye’s clear front surface (cornea) so the eye doctor can select the optimal curve and diameter for your contact lenses. If your eye’s surface is somewhat irregular because of astigmatism or other conditions, you may require a special lens.

Pupil and iris size

The size of your pupil and iris (the colored part of your eye) is also important in determining the best contact lens design.

Tear film evaluation

This test evaluates the quality of your tears, to determine whether they will be able to keep contact lenses and your cornea sufficiently hydrated throughout the day. If you have dry eye disease, standard contact lenses may not be right for you.

Trial lenses

Following the eye exam, you will be provided with trial lenses to verify that the chosen contact lenses offer clear and comfortable vision. This will allow the eye doctor to make any fine adjustments to the prescription.

Contact Lens Eye Exam Near You

Wearing the correct contact lenses for your eyes allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of wearing contacts, while keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable.

If you’re already a contact lens wearer, visit your eye doctor at least once a year to make sure the lenses are still providing you with optimum vision and comfort.

Contact StylEyes in West Des Moines to book your contact lens eye exam today!

8 Ways Your Eyes Change With Age

Our eyes and vision change with age. Your eye doctor can monitor these changes — some of which are a natural part of the aging process — and identify any eye conditions or diseases early enough to treat them and prevent vision loss. Read on to learn more about the different types of eye changes one may encounter with age.

Age-Related Eye Conditions and Diseases

Cataracts

If your vision is starting to get blurry, you may be developing cataracts. There are a few types of cataracts, but the one usually caused by aging is known as a “nuclear cataract”. At first, it may lead to increased nearsightedness or even a temporary improvement in your reading vision. But with time, the lens gradually turns more densely yellow and clouds your vision. As the cataract slowly progresses, the lens may even turn brown. Advanced yellowing or browning of the lens can lead to difficulty distinguishing between shades of color, and left untreated, it can eventually lead to blindness. Luckily, cataract surgery, where the cloudy lens is replaced with a clear lens, is an extremely safe and effective treatment option.

Blepharoptosis

Blepharoptosis or ptosis is a drooping of the upper eyelid that may affect one or both eyes. The eyelid may droop only slightly or may droop enough to cover the pupil and block vision. It occurs when there is a weakness of the eye’s levator muscle that lifts the eyelid. This condition is usually caused by aging, eye surgery, or disease affecting the muscle or its nerve. Fortunately, blepharoptosis can be corrected with surgery.

Vitreous detachment

This occurs when the gel-like vitreous fluid inside the eye begins to liquefy and pull away from the retina, causing “spots and floaters” and, sometimes, flashes of light. This occurrence is usually harmless, but floaters and flashes of light can also signal the beginning of a detached retina — a serious problem that can cause blindness, and requires immediate treatment. If you experience sudden or worsening flashes and increased floaters, see Dr. Kristina Wittrock immediately to determine the cause.

Other Age-Related Changes

In addition to the above eye conditions and diseases, the structure of our eyes and vision change as we get older.

Presbyopia

Why do people in their 40s and 50s have more difficulty focusing on near objects like books and phone screens? The lens inside the eye begins to lose its ability to change shape and bring near objects into focus, a process is called presbyopia. Over time, presbyopia, also known as age-related farsightedness, will become more pronounced and you will eventually need reading glasses to see clearly. You may need multiple prescriptions – one prescription to enable you to see up close, one for intermediate distance, and one for distance vision. In that case, people often get bifocals, multifocals or PALs, and they can be combined with contact lenses as well.

Reduced pupil size

As we age, our reaction to light and the muscles that control our pupil size lose some strength. This causes the pupil to become smaller and less responsive to changes in ambient lighting. The result? It becomes harder to clearly see objects, such as a menu, in a low-light setting like a restaurant.

Dry eye

Our tear glands produce fewer tears and the tears they produce have less moisturizing oils. Your eye doctor can determine whether your dry eye is age-related or due to another condition, and will recommend the right over-the-counter or prescription eye drops, or other effective and lasting treatments, to alleviate the dryness and restore comfort.

Loss of peripheral vision

Aging causes a 1-3 degree loss of peripheral vision per decade of life. In fact, one may reach a peripheral visual field loss of 20-30 degrees by the time they reach their 70s and 80s. While peripheral vision loss is a normal part of aging, it can also indicate the presence of a serious eye disease, like glaucoma. The best way to ascertain the cause is by getting an eye exam.

Decreased color vision

The cells in the retina responsible for normal color vision tend to decline as we age, causing colors to become less bright and the contrast between different colors to be less noticeable. Though a normal part of aging, faded colors can at times signal a more serious ocular problem.

Beyond the normal changes that come with age, the risk of developing a serious eye disease, such as age related macular degeneration and glaucoma, increases. Routine eye exams are essential to keeping your eyes healthy. Your eye doctor can determine whether your symptoms are caused by an eye problem or are a normal byproduct of aging.

If you or a loved one suffers from impaired vision, we can help. To find out more and to schedule your annual eye doctor’s appointment, contact StylEyes in West Des Moines today.

Athletes With Previous Concussion Have 4 Times the Risk of Another

running on the beachEvery year, about 33 million children worldwide sustain a concussion. Even more worrying, children who have already experienced a concussion are at heightened risk of experiencing a second concussion, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis of seven research studies, the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported.

While protective gear and non-contact rules are reducing the incidence of concussions, many coaches, athletes and parents aren’t aware that sports vision training can lower the risk of sustaining a head injury like a concussion by developing an athlete’s visual skills. Find out what sports vision training is and how it can help prevent a concussion.

What is Sports Vision Training?

The goal of sports vision training is to improve the way the eyes communicate with the brain to achieve maximum efficiency while playing sports.

Sports vision training is a customized program created by your optometrist to hone visual skills, including hand-eye coordination, eye tracking, and peripheral vision. By boosting these skills, the brain is able to quickly and efficiently process the messages sent to it by the eyes, and transmit these signals to the body.

Children and adults who cannot accurately gauge the velocity of a ball rushing toward them, or the distance between them and opposing players, are more prone to accidents on the field, resulting in concussions. Sports vision training mitigates this risk by providing athletes of all ages and abilities with the visual skills needed to react quickly. These same skills improve sports performance.

How Does a Concussion Affect Your Vision?

People who sustain a concussion, which is the most common form of brain injury, often experience dizziness, difficulty focusing, headaches and double vision. Sports vision training can help improve your visual skills by focusing on:

  • Balance
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Depth Perception
  • Dynamic Visual Acuity
  • Eye Tracking
  • Focusing
  • Hand-Eye or Body-Eye Coordination
  • Peripheral Awareness
  • Reaction Time

How Can Vision Training Help Prevent a Concussion?

More than 50% of people with concussions (or post-concussion syndrome) experience visual problems like double vision and delayed eye tracking — the same visual skills an athlete needs to play safely and well. It’s not surprising, then, that concussed athletes are at greater risk of experiencing additional head injuries.

Sports vision training involves a personalized regimen of in-office and at-home visual exercises and scenarios to train the eyes, brain and body to work more efficiently, regardless of the sport. Athletes experience improved reaction times, speed and accuracy as a result.

Rather than simply hoping to avoid serious accidents on the field, take action and start a sports vision training program.

To learn more about how sports vision training can help prevent a concussion, or future ones, contact us at StylEyes to schedule an appointment with one of our sports vision experts.

StylEyes serves patients from , Indianola Hills, Southwestern Hills, and Pleasant Hill, throughout Iowa.

SCRIPT

Studies show that young athletes who previously sustained a concussion have 4 times the risk of suffering another concussion

Sports vision training can reduce the risk of concussion by boosting your visual skills

Vision training can improve an athlete’s hand-eye coordination, eye tracking, reaction times, and peripheral vision.

Let sports vision training retrain your brain to prevent concussions and improve your game.

To learn more about sports vision training contact us at StylEyes today!

Request A Sports Vision Appointment
Find Out If Sports Vision Is Right For You 515-416-5505

Protect Your Eyes From Vision Loss: Diabetes Awareness Month

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is one of the most prevalent eye diseases affecting the working age population. It is thought to be caused by high blood sugar levels which, over time, damage the tiny blood vessels of the retina at the back of the eye, making them swell and leak. Left untreated, DR can lead to vision loss and eventually blindness.

Since diabetic eye disease is typically painless and shows no symptoms until its advanced stages, it’s critical to get your annual eye evaluation, as an optometrist can detect the developing signs early enough to prevent vision loss.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetics may not realize they have diabetic retinopathy, because it develops silently. As the condition worsens, it may cause:

  • Blurred vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Colors to appear faded or washed out
  • An increased presence of floaters
  • Vision loss
  • Blank or dark areas in your field of vision

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms usually affect both eyes.

Risk Factors

If you are diabetic, caring for your eyes by undergoing routine eye exams and taking care of your body by controlling blood sugar levels are critical to preventing vision loss. There are several risk factors associated with diabetic eye complications, including:

  • Poor blood sugar control
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Excess weight/obesity

Are There Any Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy?

Today’s treatment options may improve your vision, even if you feel your eyesight has begun to deteriorate. Medications can be injected to reduce swelling, and laser surgery can be used to shrink and seal off swollen and leaking blood vessels — preserving and, in many cases, even improving vision.

While certain treatments may work, frequent monitoring of your eyes coupled with managing your blood sugar levels can go a long way toward preventing or reducing diabetic retinopathy complications.

If You Have Diabetes, Make Sure to:

  • Control blood sugar and blood pressure to prevent long-term damage to the fine blood vessels within the retina.
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle routine, especially during stressful times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. (Plus, while diabetics are in the high-risk category, your chances of developing serious COVID-19 related complications is lower if your diabetes is under control.)
  • Maintain a steady diet and exercise regimen to help the body and mind feel better.
  • Quit smoking, if applicable; you can reach out to a medical professional for guidance.
  • Get yearly diabetic eye exams.

Preventing and managing diabetic retinopathy require a multi-disciplinary approach involving your eye doctor and other medical professionals. Your eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether you have diabetic retinopathy, assess its severity, and discuss preventative strategies as well as the latest treatment options.

Contact StylEyes at 515-225-6447 to schedule your diabetic eye exam today, and to learn more about what you can do to protect your vision and general health.

Good & Bad Gift Choices For Children With Myopia

mario luigi yoschi figures 640Gift-giving season is just around the corner! If your child has myopia (nearsightedness), you may want to consider giving a gift that supports eye health and slows myopia progression.

Why Does Myopia Progression Matter?

Many parents assume that having myopia is only a matter of blurred distance vision, but that’s not the whole story.

Children who have myopia are significantly more likely to develop sight-threatening eye diseases later in life, like glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration. Rapidly progressing myopia further increases the risk of eye disease later in life.

Myopia occurs when the eye elongates, and light focuses in front of the retina instead of on the retina. The exact cause of myopia is unknown, but genetics play an important role. Certain environmental factors may also have an impact.

That’s why it’s important for parents to consider how holiday gifts can affect their children’s eyes and vision.

Gifts That Won’t Help Your Child’s Myopia

The first category of items to consider eliminating from your holiday shopping list includes toys or devices with digital screens. Although the association has not been clinically proven, most optometrists agree that increased screen time has a negative impact on myopia progression.

While spending time on screens is almost inevitable during the pandemic, it’s wise to be realistic about its potential ramifications for children. Even prior to COVID-19, the number of myopic children was steadily increasing, and projected to affect 50% of the world’s population by 2050.

Another gift to rethink: eyeglasses. Tempting though it may be to purchase new glasses for your child this holiday season, it’s important to remember that new specs can only correct blurred vision; they don’t treat the underlying cause of myopia.

Better Gifts For Myopic Children

Try encouraging your myopic child to spend more time outdoors by giving them new outdoor gear. It is well documented that children who spend more time outdoors in the sunshine have a slower rate of myopia progression, so why not add a new bike, basketball, or rollerblades to your gift list?

However, the best gift you can give your child with myopia is a personalized myopia management program.

Why Myopia Management?

Myopia management is the only effective way to slow down the rate of your child’s myopia progression.

The myopia management program at StylEyes offers three effective and safe treatments for myopia, including Ortho-K lenses, atropine eye drops, and multifocal contact lenses.

A comprehensive eye exam with our optometric team will determine the best treatment option for your child’s eyes and lifestyle.

Consider myopia management — a gift that will help preserve your child’s precious gift of sight. Call StylEyes to schedule an eye exam today.

StylEyes serves patients from Des Moines, Indianola Hills, Southwestern Hills, Pleasant Hill, and throughout Iowa.

Request a Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 515-416-5505

New To Contact Lenses? Here Are Our Top 5 Tips!

For an estimated 56 million North Americans, contact lenses are the preferred form of vision correction. So if you’ve just started wearing contact lenses — you’re in good company.

Advice About Contact Lenses from West Des Moines Eye Doctor: Dr. Kristina Wittrock

Here are 5 tips to quickly help you adjust to wearing and caring for your new lenses so you can enjoy the many benefits they offer.

  1. Learn How to Tell if Your Contact Lens Is Inside Out

This is a common mistake many beginners make when inserting soft contacts. Place the lens on your index fingertip and look carefully at its shape. The edge of the lens should be pointing upwards, like the rim of a teacup. If the edge is flared outward like a blooming flower, the lens is inside out.

Some contact lenses have tiny laser markings of numbers or letters. If the numbers/letters read correctly when you hold the lens on your fingertip, they are properly oriented and the lens is ready to be inserted.

  1. Never Use a Substitute for Contact Lens Solution

Your eye doctor will recommend the appropriate contact lens solution to suit your eyes and lenses. Some people have sensitivities and not all lens solutions are the same.

Even if you run out of contact lens solution, don’t be tempted to rinse your lenses with water, and never use saliva to moisten or clean them.

Using substances other than the recommended contact lens solution to rinse or rewet your contacts can introduce harmful microbes to the eye and cause a serious infection. That’s why it’s best to remove your contacts before showering, swimming, or any other time they might get wet.

  1. If Your Contact Lenses Feel Uncomfortable, Take Them Out!

Some newcomers mistakenly think that if their contacts feel uncomfortable or gritty, they simply need to “get used to them.” Contact lenses are supposed to be comfortable, so if you are experiencing discomfort there may be something wrong.

With clean fingers, remove your contacts and rinse them, inside and out, with the solution or rewetting drops as recommended by your eye doctor. Dust or dirt could have gotten stuck between the lens and your eye, causing irritation. Flushing the lenses with contact lens solution will help remove the irritant.

If your eyes still feel irritated, don’t place the contact lenses back in your eyes. Instead, wait until they are no longer red or irritated, and try inserting them again. If the problem persists, contact your eye doctor.

  1. Wear Contact Lens-Friendly Makeup

Wearing makeup around the eyes can be a source of irritation and infection whether you wear contact lenses or not. Here’s what we recommend when it comes to eye makeup and contact lenses:

  • Choose hypoallergenic makeup.
  • If using a cream-based product around your eyes, choose a water-based formula instead of an oil-based one.
  • Keep your eye closed during application to avoid makeup particles entering your eye.
  • Don’t apply eyeliner or eyeshadow to the inner rims of your eyelids.
  • Replace eye makeup at least once every 3 months to minimize the growth and spread of bacteria.
  • Never share eye makeup with friends or family.
  • Remove your contact lenses before removing your makeup.
  1. Stick to the Hygiene Guidelines

We can’t emphasize this enough — always thoroughly wash and dry your hands before handling your contact lenses.

Try to avoid washing your hands with oily or heavily scented hand soaps, as they tend to cling to the surface of the lens and could irritate the eye. Additionally, if you touch moisturizers or lotions before handling your contact lenses you run the risk of some residual product adhering to the lens and clouding your vision.

After washing your hands, dry them using a lint-free towel. It’s harder to grasp contact lenses with wet hands, and — as mentioned above — lenses shouldn’t come into contact with tap water.

Bonus Tip: Get an Eye Exam

While all this advice can be very helpful, it doesn’t replace an in-person exam with your eye doctor. Your eye doctor will advise you when to return for your next contact lens consultation. Following this schedule is the best way to ensure you can enjoy the freedom of contact lens wear.

If you are new to contact lenses (or not!) and have any questions or concerns about your eyes or vision, call 515-225-6447. StylEyes will be happy to schedule you for a contact lens exam and fitting.

With the help of Dr. Kristina Wittrock, you’ll be an expert in contact lens wear and care in no time!

5 Reasons To Wear Sunglasses In The Fall

When we think of fall accessories, the first things that come to mind are warm sweaters, plush scarves, or a snug pair of boots. Here’s another essential item to add to your list: a good quality pair of UV-blocking sunglasses.

But why is it so important to protect your eyes when the sun seems to be hiding behind clouds on most days? While it may not make much sense, you’ll get a better understanding by the time you finish reading this article. So let’s dive in and explore the 5 reasons you should protect your eyes from the sun in the fall.

Sunglasses: Summer Vs. Fall

The Sun’s Position

While we may squint more in the summer, the sunlight’s path to the eyes is more direct in the fall as the sun sits closer to the horizon. This places our eyes at greater risk of overexposure to UV rays.

Changing Temperatures

Irritating symptoms like dry, red, or watery eyes are often due to the season’s cool and harsh winds. The colder the air, the stiffer and thicker the eyes’ tear oils (meibum) become. Because thicker meibum doesn’t spread as evenly over the surface of the eyes, the tears can’t offer sufficient protection and moisture.

Minimize irritation by shielding the eyes from cool winds with wraparound sunglasses.

UV Rays

Exposing your eyes to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is problematic year-round, as it can result in serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. That’s why it’s important to wear 100% UV-blocking sunglasses anytime you’re outdoors, no matter the season.

Make sure to sport your sunnies even on cloudy days, as up to 90% of UV rays pass through clouds. Furthermore, outdoor objects like concrete and snow reflect a significant amount of UV rays into the eyes.

Fall’s Dangerous Sun Glare

Because the sun is positioned at a lower angle in the fall, it can produce a brutal glare that poses a danger for driving. Rays of light that reflect off of smooth surfaces like the metal of nearby cars can be so bright to the point of blinding the driver.

You can combat this dangerous glare by wearing polarized sunglasses. These lenses reduce the glare’s harmful effects by filtering out horizontal light waves, such as the ones reflected by a shiny car bumper.

Protection From the Elements

Aside from its drying effects, winds can carry dust, debris, and pollutants that can irritate the delicate areas in and around the eyes. Wear sunglasses to shield and block out irritants and certain allergens that drift in the autumn air.

Looking for Sunglasses Near You?

Here’s the bottom line: you need to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses in the fall and year-round, no matter the season or climate. Investing in a stylish pair of durable, UV-protective sunglasses is — simply-put — a worthwhile investment in your eye health.

So if you’re looking for advice about a new pair of high-quality sunglasses for the fall, with or without prescription lenses, visit StylEyes. If standard sunglass lenses are too dark for you at this time of year, ask us about green or brown tinted lenses; they transmit more light and contrast to the eyes than standard grey tints.

We’ll be happy to help you find that perfect pair to protect your eyes, suit your lifestyle needs and enhance your personal style. To learn more, call 515-225-6447 to contact our West Des Moines eye doctor today.

The Best Foods for Your Eyes

We all know that eating nutrient-rich foods, drinking plenty of water, and exercising can boost our health. So it’s no surprise that these same activities also support eye health. Research has shown that regularly consuming certain vitamins and nutrients can actually prevent or delay sight-threatening eye conditions and diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Here’s a list of the best vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can help keep your eyes healthy for a lifetime.

We invite you to consult with our eye doctor, Dr. Kristina Wittrock, to discuss which nutrients are most suited to your specific eye health and needs.

Vitamins and Nutrients That Support Eye Health

*Always best to speak with your primary care doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements, and to ensure you consume the correct dosage for your body.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiency can cause a host of eye health issues, including dry eyes and night blindness. In fact, vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Vitamins A and A1, which are essential for supporting the eye’s photoreceptors (the light-sensing cells) in the retina, can be found in foods like carrots, leafy greens, egg yolks, liver, and fish.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Eating Omega-3 rich foods like fatty fish can support eye health in a few ways. DHA and EPA, 2 different types of Omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to improve retinal function and visual development.

Omega-3 supplements can also ease dry eye symptoms. A randomized controlled study found that people who consumed Omega-3 supplements experienced improved tear quality, which resulted in reduced tear evaporation and increased eye comfort.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that accumulate in the lens and retina and help filter out damaging UV rays and blue light. One study showed that individuals who had the highest levels of these nutrients in their diets had a 43% lower chance of developing macular degeneration than those who had consumed the least amount.

Spinach, egg yolks, sweet corn, and red grapes are some of the foods that contain high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Vitamin C

High amounts of vitamin C can be found in the aqueous humor of the eye, the liquid that fills the eye’s anterior chamber and supports corneal integrity. This has prompted scientists to consider this vitamin’s role in protecting eye health.

Research suggests that regularly taking vitamin C (along with other essential vitamins and minerals) can lower the risk of developing cataracts, and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and visual acuity loss.

While vitamin C appears to support eye health in a variety of ways, it’s still unclear whether taking this supplement benefits those who aren’t deficient. Vitamin C can be found in various fruits and vegetables, like bell peppers, tomatoes, citrus fruits, broccoli, and kale.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect fatty acids from becoming oxidized. Because the retina has a high concentration of fatty acids, sufficient vitamin E intake is crucial for optimal ocular health.

Vitamin E can be found in almonds, flaxseed oil, and sunflower seeds.

Zinc

Healthy eyes naturally contain high levels of zinc. A zinc deficiency can cause night blindness, and thus increasing zinc intake can improve night vision. Zinc also helps absorb Vitamin A, an essential antioxidant.

Make sure to avoid taking high doses of zinc (beyond 100 mg daily) without first consulting your eye doctor. Higher doses of zinc have been associated with side effects such as reduced immune function. You can increase your zinc intake naturally by consuming more oysters, meat, and peanuts.

Phytochemical Antioxidants

Phytochemical antioxidants are chemicals produced by plants that contain several health benefits. Some studies show that these plant-based chemicals may enhance vision and eye health as well as prevent age-related eye diseases and complications by alleviating ocular oxidative stress. Oxidative stress within the eyes contributes to several eye conditions, including dry eye syndrome. Consuming more produce with these antioxidants can help balance the anti-oxidant and pro-oxidant system, resulting in healthier eyes.

Personalized Eye Nutrition

If you or someone you know is looking for ways to boost or maintain eye health, speak with an optometrist near you about what supplements and vitamins are best for you. For an eye doctor in West Des Moines, give us a call at 515-225-6447.