glaucoma Archives - Heritage Eye, Skin & Laser Center

Relationship Between Glaucoma and Poor Sleep

By | Eye Care, Eye Facts, Health and Nutrition, Latest Heritage News

Eye-Opening Study: Relationship Between Glaucoma and Poor Sleep

Written By: Kierstan Boyd
Reviewed By: Michael V Boland MD PhD
Apr. 10, 2019

A study of more than 6,700 people in the United States over age 40 who answered a survey about their sleep revealed possible connections between glaucoma and sleep problems.

Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. Damage to this nerve—which is responsible for sending signals from the eye to the brain so you can see—often goes unnoticed until an eye exam reveals the nerve damage and related vision loss caused by glaucoma.

The study examined data from the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The study participants were glaucoma patients with evidence of optic nerve damage and vision loss in some portions of their visual field. Participants were examined using fundus photography to see the optic nerve and automated visual field testing to check for areas of vision loss.

Respondents to the sleep questions of the survey reported their experiences with the following:

  • Amount of time slept
  • Difficulties falling asleep
  • Sleep disturbances (waking up during sleep)
  • Having diagnosed sleep disorders, including sleep apnea
  • Use of sleep medication
  • Problems with sleepiness during the day

The study found an association between having glaucoma and having various sleep problems. Among the findings:

  • People who slept for 10 or more hours a night were three times more likely to have glaucoma-related optic nerve damage than those who slept 7 hours a night.
  • People who fell asleep in 9 minutes or less, or those who needed 30 minutes or more to fall asleep, were twice as likely to have glaucoma than those who took 10-29 minutes to fall asleep.
  • The odds of having missing vision were three times higher among people who got 3 or fewer or 10 or more hours of sleep per night, compared with those who got 7 hours a night.
  • People who said they had trouble remembering things because of daytime sleepiness were twice as likely to have visual field loss than those who said they were not sleepy during the day and did not notice memory problems.
  • People who said they had difficulty working on a hobby because they were sleepy during the day were three times more likely to have vision loss than people who reported no problems working on hobbies and no daytime sleepiness.

“This study is interesting in that it adds to other research looking at the association between glaucoma and sleep problems,” says Michael Boland, MD, PhD, one of the study’s authors and a glaucoma specialist at the Wilmer Eye Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD.

“We already know that doctors should talk with their patients about the importance of healthy sleep for good overall health. With studies like this, we can add that glaucoma may be related to sleep health issues,” says Dr. Boland.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that everyone should see an ophthalmologist for a baseline medical eye exam at age 40. This is the age when early signs of eye disease (like glaucoma) and vision changes can begin.

Seniors who are worried about the cost of an exam can visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America program page to see if they are eligible for a no-cost eye exam.

How To Put In Eye Drops

By | Eye Care, Health and Nutrition, Latest Heritage News

By Amy Hellem; reviewed by Gary Heiting, OD


Eye drops are used to treat a wide variety of conditions — from glaucoma and eye infections to allergies and dry eyes. In many cases, eye drops (or “eyedrops”) are essential to preserving your vision and protecting your eyes.

To get the greatest benefit from eye drops, you must use them properly. Whether you need one drop per day or 10, there’s a right way and a wrong way to put eye drops in your eyes.

Your eye doctor or pharmacist may give you instructions that are specific to the prescription eye drops you need. But in most cases, the proper technique for applying eye drops is the same, whether you are using prescription or over-the-counter formulas that you can purchase without a prescription.

Failing to learn how to correctly put drops in your eyes not only can defeat the purpose of having them, it also can get expensive. Each time you miss your eye and have to use more drops than you should, it costs you money — potentially a lot of money in the case of some prescription eye drops.

Step-By-Step Approach ToPutting In Eye Drops

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water; then dry them with a clean towel.
  2. If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them. The only exception is if you are using eye drops that are specifically formulated to remoisten your contacts or if your doctor advised you to use the drops in this manner.
  3. Remove the dropper cap and look closely at the tip to make sure it’s not cracked or otherwise damaged. Do not touch the tip.
  4. Either lie down or tilt your head back, and look up at the ceiling. Concentrate on a point on the ceiling, keeping your eye wide open.
  5. Place one or two fingers on your face about an inch below your eye; gently pull down to create a pocket between your lower eyelid and your eyeball.
  6. Use your other hand to hold the eye drop bottle, pointing the tip downward. Resting your hand on your forehead may help steady it.
  7. Hold the bottle close to your eye (about an inch away). Be careful not to let the dropper touch your eye or eyelashes, since this can introduce bacteria and other organisms into the eye drops in the bottle.
  8. Squeeze lightly to instill one drop inside your lower lid.
  9. Remove your hands from your face, gently close your eyes and tilt your head down for a few seconds. Try not to blink, as this can force some of the drop out of your eye before it has had a chance to be absorbed.

Knowing how to apply eye drops properly will save you time, aggravation and, especially in the case of prescription drops, quite a bit of money.

  1. To keep as much of the drop on your eye as possible, press lightly on the inner corner of your eyelid, next to your nose. A small duct that drains tears away from your eye and into your nose is located here. By pressing at this point, you close down the opening of this drainage duct, allowing the eye drop to remain on the surface of your eye longer.

This technique also minimizes the funny taste you may get in your mouth after applying certain eye drops.

  1. Use a clean tissue to absorb and wipe away any drops that spill out of your eye and onto your eyelids and face.
  2. If you are using eye drops on both eyes, repeat this procedure for the second eye.
  3. Replace the cap of the bottle and screw it on securely. Never wipe the dropper tip with anything, as this may contaminate the drops.
  4. Wash your hands to clean away any stray eye drops.

What ToDo If You Need To Use More Than One Eye Drop

Sometimes, you may be prescribed more than one type of medicated eye drop. But if you apply the drops too quickly in succession, they may drip out of the eye and not be absorbed properly, reducing the therapeutic effect.

If you need to put a second eye drop in the same eye, wait at least five minutes. This will give time for the first drop to be fully absorbed and create more space for the second drop on the eye.

If you use both a medicated eye drop and a lubricating eye drop on the same eye, many doctors prefer that you start with the prescription (medicinal) eye drop first and save over-the-counter products, such as artificial tears, for later.

Practice With Artificial Tears

If you aren’t comfortable putting drops in your eyes, a little practice can help you master the task quickly.

Purchase a package of preservative-free artificial tears to use for practice. (Don’t practice with prescription eye drops — you don’t want to risk over-medicating.) Using a preservative-free formula eliminates the risk of you being allergic to preservatives found in many artificial tears. Also, choose a product formulated for mild dry eyes — these drops aren’t as thick as those made for moderate or severe dry eyes, so they won’t cause any temporary blurred vision.

Ask a friend to coach you while you are practicing. In particular, have them help you position the applicator at the proper distance and location above your eye so the drops fall directly on the surface of your eye or in the space between your eye and your pulled-down lower lid.

In less time than you might think, you will become a pro at applying eye drops. Also, it’s a good idea to keep a supply of preservative-free artificial tears on hand. These drops can help relieve discomfort associated with computer eye strain and are soothing at other times when your eyes are tired or dry.

10 Foods That Boost Eye Health

By | Blog, Eye Care, Health and Nutrition






Are there foods that promote healthy eyes? There certainly are.  There are a number of foods that can help protect your eyes and reduce your risk of serious eye conditions. The doctors at Heritage Eye, Skin & Laser Center in Stockton are dedicated to providing the best eye care in Stockton and they recommend a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to help keep your eyes healthy. In fact, we often see Dr. Miselis, Board Certified Ophthalmologist, Medical Director and Surgeon for Heritage Eye, Skin & Laser Center, eating his favorite salad for lunch – loaded with an assortment of dark leafy greens, plus a variety of seeds and berries.

If you want to help your eyes stay as healthy as possible, here’s a list of foods that are great for your eyes and worth incorporating into your family meal planning.

Zucchini is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect the central retina from damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and high-energy visible (HEV) light. Prolonged exposure to UV and HEV rays may damage the retina and increase your risk of developing macular degeneration. Some research suggests lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of cataracts later in life.

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts have been found to protect the retina from free radical damage. This may be due to a compound in broccoli called sulforaphane which naturally boosts the body’s own defense system against free radicals.

Eggs are rich in cysteine and sulphur, two components of glutathione, a protein that acts as an antioxidant for the lens of the eye. This may explain why sulphur-containing compounds have been found to protect from cataract formation. Egg yolks also contain lutein and diets high in lutein can help to reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Garlic and Onions
Sulphur-rich garlic and onions are important for the production of glutathione, an important sulphur containing protein that acts as an antioxidant for the lens of the eye. Raising glutathione levels can be instrumental in both prevention and resolution of visual problems like macular degeneration, glaucoma or cataracts.

Tomatoes contain two eye-healthy nutrients — lycopene and lutein. Both of these phytochemicals are carotenoids, found to be helpful for vision. Lycopene has been well documented as effective in cancer-protection, but its antioxidant capabilities also act to protect the eyes from sun damage.

The old axiom that carrots are good for the eyes is not just a myth. Carrots are rich in beta carotene (precursor to vitamin A, a necessary nutrient for vision), lycopene (a phytonutrient antioxidant protective of UVB radiation in the eye) and lutein (a protective phytonutrient found in high concentrations in the macula which protects it from free-radical damage).

In addition to having the eye-healthy carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, blueberries contain anthocyanins, eye-nourishing phytonutrients which have been shown to improve night vision. They also contain flavonoids like rutin, resveratrol and quercetin which may help to prevent macular degeneration. Blueberries also contain minerals necessary for proper vision and are associated with reducing eye fatigue

Apricots are rich in both beta-carotene and lycopene, two phytochemicals that promote good vision. Beta-carotene is converted by the body to vitamin A, an important antioxidant that resists oxidative stress damage to the lens of the eye, helping to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

Fatty Fish
Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, haddock as well as sardines are rich in the healthy Omega-3 oils. Fish are especially high in EPA and DHA, two Omega-3 fats which are important for cellular health. DHA makes up 30 percent of the fatty acids that comprise the retina. Low levels of DHA have been linked to dry eye syndrome.

Leafy Greens, Fruits and Berries
They’re packed with vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin—antioxidants that, studies show, lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.

Sources:  www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition/lutein?sso=y

Exercise Your Way to Healthier Eyes

By | Blog, Eye Care, Health and Nutrition


Who doesn’t want increased energy, a toned, fit body and improved health? It’s no secret that exercise is the best way to get in shape and avoid serious health conditions. But you may be surprised to learn that you can actually exercise your way to healthy eyes too.

Like your heart, brain, and lungs, your eyes are impacted by how you care for your body. Regular exercise can help prevent eye conditions linked to obesity and being out of shape:

  • Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve. Simply walking 2 or 3 times a week can help lower pressure on the nerve in the eyes.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy can lead to blindness unless a regimen of the right diet and exercise is followed.
  • Age-related Macular Degeneration(AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older. Lowering blood pressure through a good diet and exercise may help slow the progress of AMD.

Get Fit to See the New You

Searching for a new fitness routine to get in shape? Fitness is about more than just exercising—it’s a lifestyle change that includes eating right, getting enough exercise, and taking care of your overall health. Today is your day to make that lifestyle change.

Start by Focusing on Your Plan to Get Fit
Start simple and set realistic goals–and write them down! This will help you stick to your plan and track your progress. Find sources of motivation like quotes, photos, anything that will encourage you to stay on track and keep them close by.

Put Your Plan into Action
Get plenty of exercise. Studies show that exercise decreases pressure in your eyes, both right after exercise and over longer periods of time in those who exercise regularly.

Keep it fun. Mix up your fitness routine with combinations of strength and cardio. If you don’t feel motivated to get moving, try jump-starting your fitness routine by shaking it up a little.
Zumba and ballroom dancing are all the rage and super fun ways to get in shape. Head outside and roller skate, bike, or go on a hike—all are great calorie burners too.

If you’re short on ideas, check out sites like active.com and caloriecount.com for tons of fitness information.  If it’s too cold to go outdoors, pick up the latest fitness DVD and create a work-out atmosphere right in your living room. Don’t get stuck in a rut: change up your routine frequently to get the biggest bang out of your exercise time!

No time for exercise? You can squeeze it in between everyday tasks such as:

  • taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator
  • walking to your co-worker’s desk instead of sending an e-mail
  • doing lunges or squats while brushing your teeth
  • contracting and holding your abs while working on your computer – try for 10 every hour
  • taking the dog for a long walk or jog—try doing a few lunges on the way

When you’re tempted to slack off, or quit exercising all together, just remember how terrific you’ll look and feel when you keep moving. Then, think about how precious your eyesight is—you’ll probably agree it’s worth working out a few minutes each day to reap the rewards of good health and great vision!

Along with your new exercise routine, make it a routine to get an annual eye exam. Combining fitness with yearly checkups will increase your defense against serious health conditions.

Source: www.vsp.com