0 Comments

Dry Eye Home Remedies That Actually Work

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to the National Eye Institute, an estimated 5 million Americans aged 50 and over suffer from dry eye, and it affects twice as many women as men.

The Dry Eye Home Remedies That Actually Work – Take fish oil supplements or eat fatty fish.

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is caused when the eye does not produce sufficient tears, and not just the kind of tears produced when a person is feeling emotional. Tears are constantly produced to keep the cornea and outer part of the eye moist, nourished and protected from bacteria, dust and foreign objects.

There are many symptoms of dry eye, including:

  • A gritty, sandy feeling in the eye
  • Dry eyes that are hard to open, particularly after sleep
  • Excessive tear production
  • Pain and redness in the eye
  • Temporary moments of blurred vision
  • Tired eyes or heavy eyelids
  • Stinging or burning of the eye
  • Inability to shed tears when emotionally upset
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
  • Eye-strain when reading

Dry eye is most common in older people, but it can be caused by medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, birth control pills, HRT, tranquilizers and anti-depressants. It can develop after LASIK surgery, long-term use of contact lenses or as a result of eye damage, conjunctivitis or disease of the glands or delicate skin around the eye.

Dry eye can also be caused by pregnancy, immune system disorders, or as a side effect of excessive eye strain from computer or video screens. Fortunately there are some natural healthy living tips to help those living with this annoying condition.

Healthy Living Tips for Treating Dry Eye

Left untreated, dry eye can cause scarring or damage to the cornea. If you’re looking for dry eye home remedies that work, try fish oil supplements.

In fact, A study on 60 patients by the Australian University of Melbourne looked at how omega-3 fatty acids could ease the symptoms of dry eye. The participants were given 1450 mg krill oil and DHA or 1500 mg fish oil and DHA or a placebo of olive oil for 90 days. The results showed improved osmotic concentration and better tear stability of those taking omega-3 compared to the placebo. There was a slightly better result from those taking krill oil compared to fish oil. However, there is controversy regarding the environmental impact of krill harvesting.  Another healthy and vegetarian source of omega-3 is evening primrose oil.

Related:  Is Krill Fish Oil Dangerous?

By eating more oily fish such as tuna and salmon in your regular diet and taking omega-3 supplements are important tips for healthy living and can prevent or alleviate the symptoms of dry eye. Studies found that those who took significantly more vegetable-sourced omega 6 than fish-sourced omega-3 were more likely to have dry eye syndrome, showing that not all fatty acids produce the same results, an interesting fact to bear in mind when considered healthy habits in your diet. 

0 Comments

Signs of Stroke in Women: What You Need to Know

by Health News

Women owe it to themselves and their families to know the signs of stroke in women and then act on that information. There are few health goals as important as avoiding strokes. Strokes are debilitating and their health impacts can last for years or even a lifetime. Let’s look at some of the most common signs of stroke in women. Please note that these symptoms can vary from person to person and are therefore not in any specific order of commonality or importance.

Signs of Stroke in Women: What You Need to Know

#1:  Problems with Speech and/or Confusion

Problems with speech or confusion are both common warning signs of a potential stroke. If you or a loved one suddenly experiences problems with speech or confusion please realize that these are serious symptoms, which must be addressed by a medical professional immediately.

#2:  Sudden Loss of Strength or Coordination

If you suddenly and without explanation lose strength or coordination, then there is a real need for concern. Losing strength due to a specific injury such as falling and spraining an ankle is a much different situation from an unexplained loss of strength or coordination. So please take these kinds of symptoms very seriously.

#3:  Problems with Vision

Blurred vision or dimness of vision is another one of the major sings of stroke in women. Blurred vision or dimness of vision can have many explanations and do not in and of themselves indicate you are having a stroke; however, like all the signs of stroke these are serious symptoms regardless of their root cause and must be addressed by a medical professional.

#4:  Dizziness, Fainting or Loss of Consciousness

Like so many of the other symptoms of stroke listed in this article, the root causes of dizziness, fainting or a loss of consciousness are potentially varied. That stated, fainting or the loss of consciousness has to be treated with the utmost seriousness. If you are a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, then immediate evaluation by a medical professional is a must.

RelatedDoes Higher Protein Intake Lower Stroke Risk?

#5:  Numbness or Tingling

Numbness in any part of the body or problems moving body parts is another sign of stroke. Numbness can occur anywhere including the face or extremities.

There are many factors that can increase a woman’s risk of strokes. Many of these factors are quite unexpected and range from taking birth control pills to migraine headaches. Being aware of these risks and the symptoms of a stroke can help you avoid the extreme dangers of a stroke.

0 Comments

Who Gets Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

by Cindy Gray

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is a condition of the eye that affects the clear, central vision required for activities like reading and driving.  AMD with associated vision loss currently affects roughly 1.75 million Americans, most over the age of 60.  Knowing who is at risk for age-related macular degeneration helps people determine whether or not they should make an appointment with a professional for an eye exam. 

Age-related macular degeneration is most likely to develop in people 60 years of age or older.

Risk Factors for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Here are common risk factors that increase a person’s chances for developing AMD:

Age – As mentioned, the disease occurs more often in people over the age of 60.

Genetics – People with a family history of AMD have greater risks for developing it.  Scientists have identified nearly 20 different genes that may play a part, with possibly more to come.  Because of the wide variety of genetic influences and risk factors, there are no genetic tests that can accurately predict the development of AMD.

Race – Research shows AMD is more common among Caucasian Americans than those of African-American or Hispanic descent. 

Smoking – Research also shows that smoking raises a person's chances for developing age-related macular degeneration.  A British study found that smokers were twice as likely to develop the disease as non-smokers.  The researchers also discovered long-lasting effects of smoking, with data showing higher risks for the development of AMD for as long as 20 years after quitting.

While the American Academy of Ophthalmology currently recommends against routine genetic testing for AMD, people who have one or more risk factors may want to consult with an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam which often includes the following:

  • Dilation – drops placed in the eyes widen pupils for a better view of the back of the eye, retina, and optic nerve
  • Amsler Grid – an eye test used by eye care professionals to determine if there are changes in central vision
  • Visual Acuity Test – measures the ability to see at a distance
  • Fluorescein Angiogram – injection of fluorescent dye into the arm allows eye care professionals to detect leaking blood vessels as dye passes through the eye
  • Optical Coherence Tomography – light waves produce high-resolution images of eye tissue

Related:  Eyesight Improvement:  Reduce Risk of Macular Degeneration

Diagnosis of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

To diagnose age-related macular degeneration, ophthalmologists look for drusen, which are yellow deposits that lie underneath the retina.  The presence of very small drusen are common with aging, however, larger deposits may indicate the development of AMD.  Eye doctors also look for changes in pigment found underneath the retina as opposed to in the iris (or the colored part of the eye).

Because AMD can cause vision loss and blindness, it is important to have a better understanding of the disease, especially for people who are approaching 60 years of age.  Knowing the risks for AMD helps ensure earlier diagnosis, better treatment, and the best eye health possible.  

Healthy Living Starts Here... Free Resource Guide

 

0 Comments

What Causes Sudden Blurred Vision?

by Health News

People depend on clear, sharp vision in all areas of life, from scanning road signs or working at a computer to enjoying a good book.  When vision blurs, objects become hazy and out of focus.  Sudden blurred vision can be very concerning, but learning more about causes can help dispel fears and ensure optimal eye health.

Sudden blurred vision may affect the entire line of sight or just parts of it.

 

Blurred vision that comes on suddenly can affect all or parts of the visual field.  People may experience clouded or dim vision in one eye or in both eyes.

Causes of Sudden Blurred Vision

The most common causes of blurred vision are refractive errors, which are visual problems that occur when the shape of the eye affects the ability to focus.  Refractive errors include myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia.

Myopia – Also known as nearsightedness, myopia causes objects in the distance to become blurred and can affect one or both eyes.  Treatment for myopia includes eyeglasses, contact lenses, and refractive eye surgery.

Hyperopia – People with hyperopia (or farsightedness) experience blurry vision when viewing objects nearby and clearer vision in looking at objects farther away.  Treatment for hyperopia also includes eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive eye surgery.

Astigmatism – Caused by an irregularly-shaped cornea, astigmatism produces blurred vision at all distances because light rays do not come to a single focal point on the retina. This condition is also corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.

Presbyopia – An eye condition that typically affects people over 40 years of age, presbyopia results from a hardening of the eye's lens.  It blurs vision when people are trying to read small print like that on product labels, books, and newspapers.  People can correct this condition with the help of reading glasses, glasses with multifocal lenses, or surgery.

While refractive errors make the most common causes for sudden blurred vision, it can be a symptom of a number of other conditions or injuries.  These include:

  • Abrasions to or scarring of the cornea
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Infectious retinitis
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Eye injury
  • Migraine headaches
  • Stroke

Related:  Antioxidants and Vision Health:  Three Factors that Could Affect Your Vision

When to Seek Medical Help for Sudden Blurred Vision

People who experience sudden blurred vision should always consult with an eye care or medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and seek immediate treatment if symptoms include eye pain or vision loss.  In addition to blurred vision, a stroke can cause severe headache, speaking difficulty, facial droop, visual problems, and loss of movement on one side of the body.  Sudden blurred vision accompanied by any of these symptoms also requires immediate medical attention.

 

 

0 Comments

What Are Eye Floaters? Should You Be Worried?

by Cindy Gray

Many people take clear vision for granted until they develop eye floaters, little specks or "cobwebs" that float around in eye fluid.  When the eyes stop moving, floaters dart or drift outside of the field of vision.  Because they are generally not considered serious, floaters usually require no treatment, but in certain situations, they can be indicative of a more serious problem.  Learning more about eye floaters helps determine whether their development is a simple nuisance or a cause for concern. 

Eye floaters drift around the eye and appear as specks or cobwebs in the field of vision.

Causes of Eye Floaters

The development of eye floaters is a normal part of the aging process.  As people move through middle age and beyond, the jelly-like material (vitreous) inside the eyes becomes more fluid, and bits can clump together and drift around the eye.  While they may not go away completely, floaters tend to move to the bottom of the eye in time and require no treatment.  Although usually not a cause for concern, there are instances where eye floaters can be a symptom of more serious problems like eye injury, eye hemorrhage, infection, inflammation (uveitis), or retinal detachment.

Related:  Tell-Tale Signs of Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitreous Detachment and Retinal Detachment

Vitreous detachment occurs when a section of the vitreous pulls away from the retina. Although many new eye floaters may develop, this condition does not threaten vision and typically requires no treatment.    

Retinal detachment occurs when a portion of the retina is pulled out of place from the back of the eye. This causes the development of many new floaters, light flashes, and possible peripheral (side) vision loss.  Retinal detachment is a very serious condition that can lead to permanent vision loss or blindness quickly.  People who experience these symptoms should seek immediate help from an eye care professional.

Additional People at Risk for Eye Floaters

In addition to being a common product of aging, floaters develop more often in the eyes of people who are diabetic, very nearsighted, or those who have gone through cataract surgery. 

Surgical Treatment

While rare, eye floaters can sometimes accumulate and cause significant visual impairment.  In a procedure called a vitrectomy, a surgeon removes the vitreous gel from the eye along with debris and replaces it with a salt solution.  Because it comes with serious risks like retinal tears, detachment, or cataracts, this surgery is recommended only for cases where floaters cause significant visual impairment.

Eye floaters can be bothersome, particularly when people engage in activities like reading or working at a computer.  Fortunately, floaters tend to move from the field of vision eventually, and most require no treatment.  Because eye floaters can be a symptom of serious eye conditions or injury, people who develop them should consult with an eye care professional.  

0 Comments

Ocular Migraine: Should You Be Concerned?

by Institute for Vibrant Living

More than 37 million Americans suffer from migraine headaches, and roughly 20 percent of these sufferers experience something known as an auric migraine or an ocular migraine.  Symptoms may consist of flashing or shimmering lights, wavy lines, blind spots within the field of vision, and may or may not include classic migraine pain.  Ocular migraines can affect the ability to read, write, and drive, but they are generally not considered a cause for alarm.  Because the symptoms of an ocular migraine may also be attributed to more serious conditions, becoming better informed helps ensure optimal health.

While they may or may not feel painful, people who develop an ocular migraine often experience flashing or shimmering lights, wavy lines, or blind spots.

Although the cause of an ocular migraine remains a mystery, many experts suspect a variety of classic-migraine influences.  A family history raises risks for developing ocular migraines as do past occurrences. 

The hormone estrogen has been linked to the development of classic and ocular migraines because it controls chemicals in the brain that influence pain sensation. Therefore, products or body cycles that affect the production of estrogen may also affect the development of migraines. 

Many people who suffer from migraines report a variety of triggers that can bring them on.  These include:

  • Lights, sounds, or odors
  • Chocolate
  • Foods containing nitrates like processed meats
  • Foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Foods containing tyramine, like aged cheeses or smoked fish
  • Foods or beverages containing artificial sweeteners
  • Red wine and other alcoholic beverages
  • Too much or too little caffeine
  • Stress
  • Weather changes

Keeping a headache diary can help better determine triggers for preventing future ocular and classic migraines.

Related:  Monosodium Glutamate (msg): One Dose Causes Headache in Healthy Subjects

Retinal Migraine

Often confused with an ocular migraine, a retinal migraine is much less common and affects vision in just one eye.  Because vision loss in one eye can be an indicator of a more serious medical problem, people who experience this symptom should immediately consult a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Serious Conditions that Exhibit Similar Symptoms

Occasionally, a headache with aura is indicative of certain serious medical conditions.  These can include:

  • Aneurysm
  • Arterial tear
  • Brain tumor
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Head injury
  • Stroke

While it can be a nuisance, an ocular migraine typically presents little cause for alarm.  However, people who cannot identify a trigger or who have no personal or family history of migraines should consult with a medical professional to rule out more serious possibilities.

0 Comments

How Age-Related Night Vision Problems Affect Driving

by Health News

People in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are more active than ever, which means record numbers of seniors are taking to the roadways.  While maintaining an active lifestyle in later years is definitely a good thing, vision changes that come with aging can impair driving, especially at night.  Statistics show that diminished night vision can be a serious hazard when it comes to traffic accidents, but learning how night vision problems affect driving can help.

Night vision problems begin to develop gradually as people age.

Aging and the Development of Night Vision Problems

As people age, pupils begin to shrink, which means they don't dilate as much in fading light or darkness.  This lowers the amount of light that enters the eye, which can have an effect similar to wearing sunglasses at night. 

Aging also affects the cornea and lens within the eye.  Overall vision becomes less clear and light scatters inside the eye, increasing glare.  Contrast sensitivity, or the ability to detect slight differences in brightness, also deteriorates as people get older.

Research published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science showed that some people develop optical imperfections called higher-order aberrations as they age.  Unfortunately, these imperfections reduce visual acuity, particularly at night, and they cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. 

Related:  Antioxidants and Vision Health: Three Factors that Could Affect Your Vision

The Failure of Eye Testing

Often, the decline in vision for aging individuals is so gradual that they don't notice it.  According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, older people may test well at the DMV or at the eye doctor's office, but still struggle with night vision problems.  Dimming light or darkness reduces vision for traffic signs, cars, and pedestrians. 

Additional Visual Problems that Come with Aging

While all seniors experience certain optical changes, some people develop additional conditions that can contribute to night vision problems.  According to the Vision Council, one third of Americans over the age of 40 suffer from age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or cataracts.  

Management and Prevention of Age-Related Vision Problems

When it comes to staying safe while driving, the following tips can help aging individuals:

  • Reduce speed and limit driving to daytime hours.
  • Use extra caution at intersections, particularly when making a left turn.
  • Scan from side-to-side slightly while driving to compensate for reduced peripheral vision.
  • Avoid eyeglasses and sunglasses with wide frames that can restrict peripheral vision.
  • Participate in a driving course for seniors.

While some optical changes are an inevitable part of aging, people can reduce risks for developing serious eye problems by scheduling regular eye exams and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  A nutritious diet and eye vitamins may help reduce risks for certain eye conditions.

0 Comments

Causes of Sudden Blurred Vision

by Institute for Vibrant Living

The onset of sudden blurred vision can be alarming. There are several reasons you might experience blurry vision that seem to come out of nowhere. Sometimes it is a harmless symptom, but more than likely it is the sign of a more serious medical condition.

Sudden blurred vision, what you need to know

Non-emergency Reasons For Blurred Vision

Conjunctivitis

If you go to bed with eyes that are a little itchy and watery then wake up with blurry vision and crusty mucus in your eyelashes, you most likely have a minor eye infection known as conjunctivitis or pink eye. It’s very common in children because they touch their face and eyes frequently, and they don’t wash their hands thoroughly or regularly.  This can spread easily when kids are in close proximity to one another like at school.

If you get pink eye, gently clear away the mucous and crust over your eyes with a warm damp washcloth. This will help clear your vision. Then call your doctor for a prescription of antibiotic eye drops.  After a few drops your eyes should begin to clear. Be sure to administer the entire dose of drops to both eyes (even if only one is infected) for as long as directed by your doctor.  Make sure to not touch the applicator to your eye, as this could easily spread it from the infected eye to the non-infected eye.

Related:  Early Detection: How to Avoid Glaucoma

Tunnel-Vision

This usually happens when you quickly rise from a prone or sitting position, and it seems like a black haze is settling over your eyes.  This is most likely caused by a temporary drop in blood pressure called Orthostatic Hypotension. It causes vision to blur or blacken to a narrow point of vision or a momentary complete loss of vision.  It’s also called a head rush and can be accompanied by dizziness.  The best thing to do when it occurs is to gently sit down or to hold on to something stable until the feeling passes.  If it happens frequently, have your blood pressure checked.

Ocular Migraines or Migraine Headaches

Ocular migraines are a temporary visual disturbance that can cause sudden blurred vision, then temporary loss of vision completely in both eyes.  They are most common among people who suffer migraine headaches.  They can be alarming, but do not result in any damage to the eye or cause permanent vision loss.

Medical Emergency Blurred Vision

Retina Detachment

Sudden, blurry vision and excessive eye floaters that appear with flashes of light are symptoms of a detached retina.  This is a serious condition and you should seek medical attention immediately to avoid permanent damage to the eye and permanent vision loss.

Head Injury

Any blow to the head that causes blurred vision is serious and you should seek medical attention immediately.  A concussion is a serious brain injury and often causes blurred vision.

Stoke or Brain Hemorrhage

If you have sudden blurred vision along with other stroke symptoms like loss of sensation in one or both limbs, the inability to speak or slurred speech, dizziness or nausea, call 911 and get to the hospital immediately. These symptoms could also be the result of a brain hemorrhage and require emergency medical care.

Corneal Abrasion

Damage to the eye from a blow or foreign object can scratch the cornea and caused sudden blurred vision. You should seek treatment right away to prevent infection and causing permanent vision loss. 

 

0 Comments

What Are Eye Floaters? Should You Be Worried?

by Health News

The development of eye floaters is a natural part of aging. Those odd little squiggly lines, dots or clumps are the most noticeable when you gaze at a blank sheet of paper, a blank wall, or gaze at a cloudless blue sky.  They usually begin to appear when you reach your 40’s and 50’s.   While they can be annoying, in most cases, eye floaters are not cause for concern.

Learning about eye floaters

What Are Eye Floaters?

The interior of the eye is filled with a substance called vitreous. Millions of fine fibers are intertwined within the vitreous and are attached to the retina.  As the eyes age, the vitreous shrinks and small strands or globs of it break off and appear to be floating in your field of vision. 

Eye floaters are very rare in children and young adults, but usually by age 70 almost everyone has a few eye floaters. In fact, they are the number one reason people visit an ophthalmologist.  Unless the floaters are seriously interfering with your vision, your doctor will most likely not prescribe any kind of treatment.

Risk Factors for Eye Floaters

Some groups of people are more likely to develop more eye floaters and to develop them earlier in life compared to other people, such as: 

  • People with diabetes
  • People who have had a severe eye injury
  • People who are severely nearsighted
  • People who have had cataract surgery (or laser surgery after cataract surgery)
  • Those who have had tuberculosis, syphilis, sarcoidosis (disease that cause inflammation of body tissue) or toxoplasmosis (a disease caused by a parasite usually transmitted via cat feces)

Related:  The Eyes are Mirrors of your Health

Do Eye Floaters Ever Go Away?

The floaters will never entirely go away. However, they may shift position in the eye causing less of a shadowy effect; and they may shrink with time. Generally the brain adapts to them, basically ignoring them, so that you notice them less and less.

What Is The Treatment For Eye Floaters?

Unless the eye floaters are interfering with your vision or accompanied by flashes of light there is no proven safe treatment for those that occur naturally with age.  The best thing to do is be patient until your brain adapts to their presence and accept them as a normal part of aging.

When Should You Be Worried About Eye Floaters?

The sudden onset of many eye floaters accompanied by loss of peripheral vision and light flashes is an emergency! These are symptoms of a retinal tear or retinal detachment, which can cause internal bleeding in the eye and vision loss, so seek medical attention right away.

0 Comments

Who Gets Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

by IVL Products

Loss of visual acuity is normal as we age. The most common cause of vision loss is in this country is due to age-related macular degeneration or AMD and there is no known cure. Knowing who is at the highest risk for developing age-related macular degeneration can help you determine your risk factors and take steps to delay or possibly avoid it.

Who Gets Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

High Risk Factors for AMD

While AMD can affect anyone at any time, it is most common in adults over the age of 60.

Others at risk are:

  • Anyone with a family history of the disease
  • Smokers
  • People with high blood pressure
  • People with high cholesterol
  • Those who are obese
  • Being a light skinned female with a light eye color 

What Is AMD: Symptoms

Age-related macular degeneration is when the central portion of the retina, which is at the back of the eye, begins to deteriorate and a small blurry spot develops in your vision.  The macula is in the central part of the retina and responsible for focusing central vision in the eye. In some people AMD progresses slowly, in others, much more quickly. There are two kinds of AMD:

  1. Dry – this form of AMD is the most common and the cause is not entirely known. Small white or yellowish spots form on the retina and cause it to deteriorate over time
  2. Wet—while less common, many who start with dry AMD progress to wet or neovascular AMD.  Wet macular degeneration is caused by abnormal blood vessels under the retina that break, bleed and leak fluid, damaging the macula and causing it to lift away from its base. This type of AMD usually results in rapid and almost total loss of central vision.

The most common symptom of AMD is the formation of a dark, blurry spot over the center of the eye and a diminished capacity to perceive colors. If you think you might be developing AMD see your eye doctor right away for a definite diagnosis.

Related:  Natural Ways to Strengthen Your Eyesight

How to Reduce Your Risk of AMD

If you are at risk for developing age-related macular degeneration there are several things you can be doing now that could help delay the onset and severity of symptoms.

  • Stop smoking - for so many other reasons as well
  • Lose weight – obesity is a common risk factor for AMD
  • Get high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels under control; this goes hand in hand with losing weight and these two conditions put you at risk for many other fatal diseases.
  • Clean up your diet – recent studies have shown the positive affect eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids (fish, walnuts, olive oil) and dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, arugula) can have on slowing AMD from developing.  Foods rich in vitamins C, E, zinc, copper lutein and zeaxanthin are the best for preventing AMD.
  • Supplements – researchers at the National Eye Institute found that of supplements with higher than average doses of vitamin C, E, zinc oxide, copper, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin reduced the risk of developing late AMD, like after age 60.

It should be noted that beta-carotene has been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer so if you are a smoker or ex-smoker you should not take it.  Consult your doctor about the safe amount of these supplements and seek out foods rich in these nutrients to help you avoid or delay age related macular degeneration.

0 Comments

Should You Be Concerned about Ocular Migraines?

by Health News

If you have ever experienced a small but growing blind spot with what looks like bright flickering or flashing lights, then you may have had an ocular migraine.  While upsetting, these episodes generally last about 30 minutes and may include temporary diminished vision, or loss of vision in one eye, but they are not damaging to your eye.  These are also sometimes called an auric migraine.

What is an ocular migraine?

There is no exact known cause of ocular migraines and they are rare, affecting only about one in 200 people.  They are usually experienced by people who are afflicted with migraine headaches and those with a family history of both.

If You Have an Ocular Migraine

If you experience flashing lights in your vision or blindness in one eye you should go to your doctor as soon as possible for a complete eye examination.  Sometimes those who experience an ocular migraine have a bad headache, feel nauseated or vomit and become unusually sensitive to light or sound. Be sure to report to your doctor all the symptoms that preceded or followed the ocular migraine.

If while driving, you begin to feel one or ‘see’ one coming on, get off the road immediately.  

Who Is at Risk for Ocular Migraines?

Those who have migraine headaches are at the highest risk for experiencing an ocular migraine.  Migraine headaches are intensely painful headaches that can sometimes last for days, and cause auras to appear around objects, dizziness, nausea and blurred vision.  They can be genetic.

Related:  Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): One Dose Causes Headache in Healthy Subjects

Hormones have also been linked to migraines and ocular migraines in women. Estrogen affects chemicals in the brain that can increase pain sensations. Fluctuating hormones before and during menstruation and menopause can make women a high-risk group for ocular migraines.

Ocular Migraine Triggers

There are many things in your environment and diet that can be a trigger for ocular migraines. They include:

  • Bright lights
  • Loud sounds
  • Strong odors
  • Changes in the weather
  • Stress and anxiety (especially after prolong periods of either or both)
  • Alcohol
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Preservative laded foods, especially those with nitrates (hot dogs, deli meats) or monosodium glutamate (aka MSG)
  • Foods with tyramine like aged cheeses, hard sausages and soy products
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Low blood sugar levels due to not eating for a lengthy period of time

How Concerned Should You Be?

While disturbing, the loss of vision in one eye and visual disturbances are generally thought to be harmless. They may interfere with daily activities temporarily but are not considered a serious condition. However, ocular migraines are sometime confused for a much more serious retinal migraine which causes vision loss in both eyes, and is linked to some much more serious medical problems. For that reason, if you ever have temporary loss of vision, see flashing lights, and are not sure if it is in one or both eyes, you are at risk for migraines, or already have them, you should see your doctor right away.

0 Comments

Night Vision and Driving

by IVL Products

Just how safe are drivers who suffer with night vision problems? Let’s take a closer look. 

Some people can experience night vision problems.

Vision and Reaction Times

There are many variables involved.  What complicates the topic of older drivers and safety is that, not too surprisingly, older drivers are not the same. Health and reflex time varies considerably between drivers within any age group. So there are some factors that can make older drivers more of a concern.

While it is true that older drivers usually have more experience behind the wheel, it is also true that older drivers are more likely to have vision issues and problems. Of particular concern with older drivers is the issue of night vision problems.

Of course, it is important to remember that we are dealing averages when it comes to older drivers in general. For example, many older drivers will realize that their reflexes or eyesight may not be what it once was. They will stay off the road in less than optimal conditions such as storms or nighttime driving.

Night Vision Problems-Cataracts, Macular Degeneration and Glare Issues

Night vision acuity can decrease with age, and that is only the beginning of potential concerns. Cataracts can serve to dim vision in general, and this is also true for macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the result of deposits building up on the macula. The macula is the center part of the eye and this buildup results in, to varying degrees, the loss of vision in the center of the eye. Older eyes may also become more sensitive to light glare, which can lead to difficulty driving at night.

Related:  Cataract Surgery Reduces Fracture Risks

Don’t Be Afraid to Discuss Nighttime Driving Issues with the Elderly

If you know an elderly driver, it is important to encourage him or her to take an annual driving test. Additionally, if you know an older driver and feel that their eyesight or reaction time has been compromised, be sure to discuss it with them.  After all, their safety as well as the safety of others could be at risk.

Safe Driving Depends on Proper Reaction Time and Good Vision

Ultimately, competent and safe driving is in part about reaction time. Proper reaction time, of course, depends on being able to see and then react. If vision is impaired at any age, then reaction time is greatly diminished. The correlation between vision and reaction time is well established.

Safe Driving Benefits Everyone

Before you or someone you know gets behind the wheel, it is necessary to establish healthy vision and reaction times. Night vision problems are serious and should be treated accordingly. Don’t be shy about approaching someone, regardless of age, who may be having reaction time problems behind the wheel. Safe nighttime driving benefits all of society.

0 Comments

5 Signs and Symptoms You May be Vitamin E Deficient

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Vitamin E is a group of eight essential fat-soluble molecules that support a strong immune system. These antioxidants are used by cells in the body to carry out essential functions. Like many essential nutrients, a vitamin E deficiency can quickly lead to serious health problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, the body cannot produce vitamin E and must be consumed in your daily diet. Any deficiency means the body is unable to absorb healthy fats which can lead to nerve degeneration, muscle weakness, anemia and other serious issues.

Age spots may be a symptom of Vitamin E deficiency

See if you have any of the following five symptoms, which could mean you may need to increase your vitamin E intake.

Vitamin E Deficiency and Age Spots

Age spots are, as their name suggests, a natural part of aging. However, these dark freckle-like spots can be reduced by taking a 400 IU vitamin E supplement daily, and rubbing vitamin E oil on the spots before bed. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant known to aid tissue repair and slow the aging process, including the development of age spots.

Cataracts

Vitamin E deficiency can be responsible for poor vision, cataracts and retinal degeneration. If you have blurred vision or have difficulty seeing at night, a supplement will ensure that you are getting enough daily vitamin E to support and preserve your all-important eye health.

Related:  Antioxidants and Vision Health: Three Factors that Could Affect Your Vision

Lack of Sex Drive

Vitamin E is responsible for maintaining reproductive health and any deficiency can lead to miscarriages, infertility, impotence and other fertility problems. This vitamin also boosts circulatory flow to the genitalia and is important in the production of sex hormones, giving your libido a positive boost.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Any digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease or celiac problems can lead to a vitamin E deficiency as insufficient amounts are absorbed during the digestive process. If you suffer from any gastrointestinal problem, it is particularly important that you take a vitamin E supplement to boost intake. 

Dry or Thinning Hair

Vitamin E ensures good circulation which is essential for a healthy head of hair. Vitamin E deficiency may cause dry brittle hair or significant hair loss. Boost your intake by eating more beans (garbanzo beans make delicious hummus), nuts, seeds and olives in order to feed the scalp, nourish the hair follicles and boost blood circulation.

Even if you do not suffer from any of the above symptoms of vitamin E deficiency, you will benefit from a diet rich in vitamin E. It helps slow the aging process, reduces cardiovascular disease and maintains youthful-looking skin. That’s three good reasons to eat a healthy diet including eggs, broccoli, breakfast cereals, vegetable oils, fruit and vegetables. Alternatively, take a daily supplement that provides 100% of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin E.

0 Comments

Dizziness: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

by IVL Products

From time to time everyone experiences bouts of dizziness.  Symptoms include an unsteady or spacey feeling, lightheadedness, and/or loss of balance.  While dizziness sometimes comes from something as simple as standing up too quickly, it can also result from a number of health problems, ranging from minor to serious.  Knowing what causes dizziness helps people access proper treatment and put an end to uncomfortable episodes.

A number of underlying health conditions cause dizziness, but are usually not serious.

Dehydration

Not getting enough fluids throughout the day can cause dizziness.  Dehydration can result from a strenuous workout, extra-warm weather, or just forgetting to replenish fluids.  The solution is as simple as rehydrating by drinking an adequate amount of water and a little rest.  If the feeling hasn't subsided within 15 minutes, people should contact a medical professional.    

Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia occurs when low levels of glucose in the blood affect normal function.  Episodes produce a range of symptoms like intense hunger, anxiety, sweaty or clammy skin, and dizziness. 

Hypoglycemia is a common occurrence among people with diabetes.  According to a review study published in the Public Library of Science, people with type 2 diabetes experience an average of 19 mild episodes and one severe bout of hypoglycemia each year.  Drinking a glass of juice or eating complex carbohydrates like toast and jam help restore blood sugar levels quickly, making feelings of dizziness and other symptoms subside. 

Related:  Natural Health Solutions: Blood Sugar Levels

Benign Positional Vertigo

When people get out of bed and the room spins, they are most likely experiencing benign positional vertigo, or BPV.  Due to changes in the inner ear, this condition becomes more common with age.  In fact, according to the Vestibular Disorders Association, BPV is responsible for roughly 50% of the episodes of dizziness in people over the age of 50.  To realign calcium carbonate crystals in the ears, doctors may suggest repositioning techniques for the head.  Anti-nausea medication may also provide relief.

Stroke or Heart Attack

In addition to dizziness, people who have a stroke or mini-stroke may experience weakness on one side of the body; loss of movement, vision, hearing, or speech; blackout or memory loss; and/or severe headache.  Individual experiencing a heart attack may feel chest pain or have profuse sweating; discomfort in the neck, jaw, or arm; and/or nausea.

People who experience any of these symptoms in combination with dizziness should get immediate medical help.  Treatment for stroke or mini-stroke includes anticoagulants to break up clots and medications to lower blood pressure.  Serious stroke may require surgery and/or additional treatment.  Depending on the seriousness of a heart attack, treatment may include lifestyle changes, rehabilitation, medication, stents, or surgery. 

Additional conditions that may cause dizziness include:

  • Anemia
  • Anxiety
  • Certain medications
  • Ear Infection
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Meniere’s Disease

Not a disease in itself, dizziness is a symptom of an underlying health problem.  Occasional dizzy feelings are common and causes are usually not serious.  However, people should seek medical help immediately if they experience any symptoms of stroke or heart attack, or if they experience recurring episodes of dizziness with no known cause.