2020 Vision: A Look into Your New Year

As 2019 has come to a close and 2020, also known as “the year of the eye” is upon us, it is important to focus on new habits that promote good health. At Optos, we stand by the idea that eye health, including regular comprehensive eye exams, including optomap, should always be at the top of your list.

Eye health is very commonly left off the list of resolutions made. Many resolutions encompass things such as eating habits, exercise and other surface health conditions, where eye health is often overlooked.

The first step to preserving eye health is scheduling a comprehensive eye exam that can assist in detecting any changes in vision and overall health. A commitment to a yearly eye exam can aid in the strides to prevent illness rather than treat it as it appears. Many adults with no eye-related symptoms will often forgo an annual eye exam, while many ocular diseases are asymptomatic in early stages.  Early detection of these diseases can have a significant impact on courses of treatment and the probability of positive outcomes. Your eyes are windows to the live action of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues throughout your body. Abnormalities spotted in the eye are often the first signs of disease lurking elsewhere.

Following a healthy diet is often a popular New Year’s resolution and an important one at that. Many of us indulge throughout the holidays and look forward to a healthier new year. Eating a balanced diet is good for not only overall health, but also aids to promote good eyesight. Vitamins A, C, E and omega-3 can do wonders to help keep your eyes healthy. Alternately, a poor diet can contribute to vision loss.

Cutting back on smoking and alcohol consumption can also be a beneficial resolution to promote both overall and eye health. These habits can have a negative impact on vision and can increase the risk of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Optos offers optomap, an ultra-widefield retinal imaging method that facilitates early detection from vision impairment or blindness, and other systemic disease. optomap captures more than 80% of the retina in a single image, whereas small-field methods reveal only 10 – 15%. Our eye care partners generally include optomap as part of their standard comprehensive eye exam.

As you finalize your resolutions this year, whatever they may be, we urge you to make preventative eye health a priority. Ask your eye care professional about optomap today.


Top Tips for a Safe Holiday Season and Winter Eye Health

Remember Eye Safety this Holiday Season

With the holidays upon us, it’s important to note the extra care we need to take to make sure the toys and gifts our children receive are safe and age-appropriate.  For this reason, Prevent Blindness America has declared December “Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month”.

Look at every toy before you buy it. Is the toy durable? Can it stand the wear and tear of everyday use without breaking, cracking or coming apart? Does it shoot objects or have sharp edges? Toys that fail these tests should be reconsidered.

Tips for gifts your child receives:

  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
  • Ask yourself if the toy is right for your child’s ability and age.
  • Avoid toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
  • Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
  • Look for the letters “ASTM.” This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by ASTM International.
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.

Winterize your Eyes

Aside from the holidays, there are certain winter precautions to take involving eye protection and safety.  Protecting your eyes from the sun’s UV rays is just as important in January as it is in July. Most of us remember to wear eye protection and sunscreen in the summer, but we often don’t think about it as much in the winter months. It is a common misconception that eye damage cannot occur during the winter months. Sun exposure can increase the development of cataracts, and cause growths on the eye regardless of the season.

Excessive exposure to UV light reflected off snow can damage the surface of the eye surface. In addition to cataracts, sun exposure can lead to lesions and tumors that may require surgical removal. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people be especially careful to protect their eyes in the winter months and only wear goggles or sunglasses with UV protection.

Common Winter Eye Problems

Knowing what your eyes are up against will help you understand why you need eye protection in the winter. There are several ways your eyes can suffer during the cold season. These are the most common winter eye problems, but you can avoid them with the right eye protection.

Dry eyes – Many people experience dry eyes in the winter. This is because cold air contains less water than warm air, and wind can further minimize the moisture. Dry eyes can look red, feel itchy, or even have a burning sensation.
Watery eyes – Watery eyes are another frequent problem in the winter. The dry air leaves our eyes with a thinner layer of tears to protect the surface of the eye, which may lead the eyes to over-compensate by producing extra tears.
Snow blindness – When the snow reflects sunlight, it can create an intense UV light that is very dangerous to the eyes. Snow blindness happens when the cornea is damaged by this strong UV light and causes temporary blurry vision.
Altitude problems – If you spend time on the slopes in the winter, you may experience even more risk of winter eye problems, including dry eyes, watery eyes, and snow blindness. This is because there is even less protection from UV light at higher elevations.

In order to combat these common problems, here are some recommendations for when you step out into the blistery cold this winter

Wear sunglasses

Snowy and icy conditions double the sun’s effects as ultraviolet rays have access to your eyes from both above and as reflections off the snow. Wearing the correct sunglasses can block 99% of UV light, therefore taking the pressure off your eyes. Many people aren’t aware that the sun’s harsh effects are not specific to sunny days.

Moisturize your eyes

If you already suffer from dry eye, it’s likely for you to have difficulty in keeping your eyes moist and comfortable – even more so in the winter. It’s important to try to use eye drops, sit farther away from heat sources, or use a humidifier to alleviate dryness in the environment for your eyes.

Use goggles during winter activities

Goggles help protect your eyes during activities where dirt, slush, snow and ice can get into your eyes while outdoors. Find goggles that either have enough room to wear UV protection sunglasses underneath them or find a pair with UV protection already built-in.

If you experience discomfort with your vision when the temperatures cool off, be sure to ask your eyecare professional to include optomap in your comprehensive eye exam. optomap can help diagnose and treat early signs of retinal damage. To find a provider near you, visit www.optomap.com


Embrace the benefits of Cutting Edge Technology and Gift yourself Optos UWF!

Dr. Rachael Wruble, OD knew that when she went out on her own to practice that she wanted to bring in Optos ultra-widefield (UWF™) imaging for her patients. Wruble was already familiar with the cutting-edge technology and valued that it could capture 82% of the retina in a single, high-resolution image in less than ½ second. She embraces the concept that the eye is a part of a puzzle and is interconnected with the entire body, providing important information on systemic health, therefore proving her need to invest in a technology that supports a truly comprehensive eye exam.

With the use of optomap in her practice, Wruble explains how she sees subtle pathology and other retinal nuances that she had not seen on patients that she had been examining for years. According to Dr. Wruble, while the ease-of-use of optomap may expedite workflow in her practice, the real value of that rescued time lies in enhancing the comprehensive exam and further educating her patients.

Wruble shares a story of a recent patient who came in for a new glasses prescription. The patient complained of blurry vision but refused dilation because she had received a dilated exam 10 months prior. When she pulled up the optomap images, she immediately noted how swollen the optic nerve appeared in the patient’s left eye. Wruble immediately referred her for an MRI which revealed a tumor around the anterior cerebral artery, requiring the patient to undergo emergency brain surgery. Without the optomap image, the change in her eye might have been missed.

Additionally, Wruble’s practice boasts a high acceptance rate for optomap and her staff is very well versed in explaining to patients the importance of an optomap image for detection, diagnosis, and documentation for both ocular and systemic health. Wruble notes that she is able to provide a better exam experience for those patients that may be typically harder to examine, such as children and the elderly population. “I pride myself on finding pathology but optomap gives me the confidence that I am not missing anything. It is an amazing tool.”

Read Dr. Wruble’s full testimonial here

optomap is the only high resolution, single-capture UWF retinal image. Want to upgrade or add UWF to YOUR practice? Then we encourage you to take advantage of Section 179 tax incentives (US only) to gift yourself and your patients the technological advancements available with optomap. To learn more about our UWF devices please visit our website.

Optimize your Eye Health this Thanksgiving

As we roll into the holiday season, sharing meals with family and friends is at the top of the list for many.  Thanksgiving meals aren’t typically known for their health benefits, however, a few conscious choices could offer up healthy options that benefit both eye and overall health.  All the holiday greens, yellows, reds, and oranges on your Thanksgiving table contain eye-healthy ingredients galore.  This is excellent news for those of us who always end up with eyes bigger than our stomachs this time of the year! We are here to celebrate and share with you some of the most popular Thanksgiving dishes and how they correspond in benefiting your eye health.

Dishes containing food such as carrots, sweet potatoes, cherries, apricots, kale or pumpkin are all rich in the nutrient beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene is converted to retinol that is essential for vision.  It is a carotenoid and antioxidant that promotes night vision and overall good eyesight.  Most are familiar with this nutrient in carrots, but in the event you aren’t a carrot lover, there try one of the other options to get your fix.

Spinach, green bean casserole, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts along with other leafy greens are loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, both nutrients that help protect the retina as well as reduce the risk of cataracts.  Adding kale, spinach, or romaine lettuce to salads helps your eyes absorb damaging blue light, combats the effects of cigarette smoke and pollution, and also decreases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that affects the macula, the part of your retina responsible for central vision.   You can also find lutein in grapes, kiwis, broccoli, peas, corn, swiss chard, and collard greens. 

Cranberries, contributing to a holiday favorite, cranberry sauce, contain bioflavonoids, which are a large class of antioxidants found in the pulp, skin, and rinds of foods containing vitamin C.  Both flavonoids and vitamin C help protect the eyes from free radical damage which can be caused by outside pollution or the body’s metabolic process.

Last, turkey and lean beef, our favorite for the holidays, do plenty of work to help keep your eyes strong and healthy.  Both of these foods are very high in zinc.  Zinc is a nutrient that is very important to the retina and the choroid (a layer beneath the retina) and is vital to good night vision.  In addition to other nutrients discussed, foods high in zinc can also reduce the risk of cataracts and AMD. 

Additional foods such as fish, fruits and whole grains also prove to boast many eye health benefits. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, reducing the risk of developing glaucoma in addition to dry eye or AMD.  Whole grains can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

Proper nutrition, however, is only a part of the recipe for healthy eyes.  Regular, comprehensive eye exams represent the most important ingredient to preventative eye health.  Many eye diseases can often go undetected and without symptoms.  Early detection and diagnoses can often prevent or at least slow down vision loss.  optomap® can help doctors to detect vision problems earlier, in order to provide optimum treatment.  Visit our website to find a doctor in your area utilizing optomap today.

Join Optos in Recognizing World Diabetes Day

Each year, November 14th is recognized as World Diabetes Day. IDF and the World Health Organization created World Diabetes Day in 2011 in response to escalating health issues surrounding diabetes and diabetic eye diseases.

Diabetic eye disease describes a group of eye conditions that include diabetic retinopathy (DR), glaucoma, diabetic macular edema and cataracts. DR is often reported as the most common form of diabetic eye disease. It is a serious complication of diabetes mellitus (DM), afflicting one third of all people with the disease, and it is the leading cause of blindness among the working population in the world. Over 40% of patients diagnosed with diabetes eventually develop some level of diabetic retinopathy (DR). Regular vision care is an important part of diabetes management.. DR affects the tiny blood vessels of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eyes. In the less severe form of DR, blood vessels swell and leak small amounts of blood and fluid into the eye. Vision may be unaffected, giving no clue to the presence of disease. Untreated, this mild form of DR can progress leading to macular ischemia, in which capillaries in the macula close and cause blurred vision. More advanced DR causes macular edema, which results in the swelling of the macula leading to the potential of complete vision loss.

Diabetic retinopathy may have no outward signs but can quickly progress to complete vision loss. Doctors will often recommend those with type 1 or 2 diabetes undergo a comprehensive eye exam once a year, or even more often if there are signs of DR.

optomap® imaging has been shown to improve management of diabetes in patients. optomap images capture a 200° view (about 82%) of the retina versus the 75° view provided by 7SF images. Studies have shown that this wider view can uncover evidence of disease that’s outside the narrow view of 7SF images. It can even change how doctors judge the severity of disease.

 Evidence of disease at the periphery of the retina can also be a sign of future problems. One study found that patients with peripheral DR lesions were more than four times more likely to see their DR get worse as compared to patients without lesions.

In cases of diabetic eye diseases and further complications, early detection is key. optomap can help doctors to better monitor and facilitiate decision making reagarding treatment. Visit our website to find a doctor in your area utilizing optomap today.