Pink Eye Tips and Prevention

pink eye
Pink eye is an inflammation or infection of the thin, clear covering of the white of your eyeball (the conjunctiva) and the inside of your eyelids. When the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become inflamed they are more visible making the whites of your eye to appear pink. Also called conjunctivitis, it can affect one or both eyes.

Common symptoms of pink eye include:

  • Redness in the white of the eyeball(s) and or inner eye lid(s)
  • Increased tearing or discharge
  • Slightly blurred vision from discharge
  • Crusting of the eyelashes from the discharge that may prevent eyes from opening after sleep
  • Mild eyelid swelling
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Irritation or gritty feeling in your eye(s)

Make an appointment with your eye doctor if you notice and of the symptoms of pink eye. Some forms are highly contagious for as long as two weeks, so an early diagnosis could protect those around you from contacting the disease. If you were contact lenses, stop using them until directed by your doctor.

There are four general types of pink eye.

Allergic Conjunctivitis
This form is caused by eye irritants such as pollen, dust, animal dander and other environmental factors. It is not contagious. Treatment often includes applying a cool compress to your eyes and using allergy eye drops and artificial tears. In severe cases non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis
This type is most often caused by staphylococcal or streptococcal bacteria, is highly contagious and can cause serious damage to the eye if left untreated. This is treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments to speed up the healing process that can take one to two weeks. While you may see improvement after three to four days, the entire course of treatment needs to be used to prevent a recurrence.

Because this is so highly contagious here are a few things to remember so you don’t spread it to others or re-infect yourself:

  • Don’t touch your eye with your hands
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly
  • Change towels and washcloths daily – and don’t share them
  • Change pillowcases often
  • Get rid of all eye cosmetics and personal care items such as eye creams – and don’t share them
  • Avoid swimming
  • Don’t reuse tissues when wiping your eyes, and throw them out immediately
  • Follow your eye doctor’s instructions related to your contact lens usage and care

Viral Conjunctivitis
This is the same type of virus associated with the common cold. Antibiotics will not work on a viral infection. Like a cold, the infection just needs to run its course which could take anywhere from a few days up to 2-3 weeks. It is also contagious like a cold, so follow the same instructions as listed above to not spread the infection.

Chemical Conjunctivitis
This can be caused by irritants like air pollutions, chorine in swimming pools or exposure to noxious chemicals. To treat this type of pink eye requires a doctor to carefully flush your eyes with saline and may require topical steroids. Acute chemical injuries are very serious and need prompt medical attention to avoid corneal scarring, intraocular damage, vision loss or the loss of an eye.

Of course the best way to deal with pink eye is not to get it. Here are some ways to protect yourself and others.
pink eye

2/24/16

Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation

4 Super Greens for Better Sight

A healthy diet not only helps your heart, but also your eyes. Your diet should include lots of fruits and vegetables to provide you with a natural source of nutrients to help protect your sight. As wonderful as supplements are, eating the actual foods is always better. Some of the best vegetables for you are the dark, leafy greens that are rich in valuable vitamins and nutrients. These are the super greens for better sight.

With the US experiencing bitter, freezing temperatures on the East Coast, while the West Coast is having summer in February, with record-breaking hot temperatures, I thought it would be interesting to see how you could enjoy those super greens, no matter what the temperature is outside. Below is a quick look at four dark leafy greens that are a great addition to a healthy diet, watercress, arugula, spinach and kale. For each vegetable I have included a recipe that is served hot, along with one that is served cold.

Here is what you need to know about super greens for better sight.
super greens
WATERCRESS

Watercress is a cruciferous plant and part of the brassica family, like arugula and kale. It contains vitamins A, B6, B12, C, K, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, lutein and zeaxanthin. In fact, weight for weight, watercress contains more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more folate than bananas. Watercress has the highest amount of nutrients for the smallest amount of calories.

The health benefits of watercress include boosting immunity, cancer & diabetes prevention, reducing cognitive decline, thyroid support, better cardiovascular health and stronger bones. As for your eyesight, it can help prevent or slow the onset of age-related macular degeneration and possibly cataracts.

Watercress is most commonly enjoyed fresh in salads, but can also be use in pastas, casseroles, soups and sauces. Choose watercress with deep green, crisp leaves, with no signs of wilting. Trim the stems, rinse the greens in cold water and dry. It is best if used immediately, but can be store for up to four days in the refrigerator.

Watercress Soup by William Anatooskin

Watercress and Grapefruit Salad by Martha Stewart
super greens
ARUGULA

Arugula is also known as a salad or garden rocket. It is a small low growing herb that is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is rich in folates, vitamin A, B-complex, C and K and has copper, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus.

The health benefits of arugula include a lowered risk of cancer, healthy bones, strengthened brain function, improved mineral absorption and it boosts the immune system. Because of being a source of carotenoids, it also helps to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration.

Arugula is popular in salads, used with milder greens to add a peppery flavor. But it can also be used in pastas, casseroles, pizzas, soups and sauces. Choose arugula that is crisp with green young leaves. Avoid the flowered harvest as those leaves are tough and have a bitter taste. Wash leaves in a bowl of water, swishing thoroughly to get rid of all sand and soil. Drain and pat dry before storing in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for no more than a few days.

Grilled Stuffed Swordfish by Stormy Scarlett

Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula by Martha Stewart
super greens
SPINACH

Spinach is a very popular leafy green vegetable, with two common varieties cultivated for food; the savory-type with dark green crinkled leaves and the flat-leaf type with smooth surfaced leaves. Spinach contains vitamin A, B-complex, C and K, along with lutein, zeaxanthin beta-carotene, potassium manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc.

The nutrients in spinach help improve blood glucose control in diabetes, lower the risk of certain cancers, reduce blood pressure, increase bone health and help iron deficiency. The lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene help to potentially prevent and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Lutein also works to protect the eye from free radical damage by helping filter out damaging blue and ultraviolet light.

Spinach is a universally popular vegetable, used around the world in a variety of ways, including salads, soups, noodles, pies, casseroles, dips, sauces, etc. Look for leaves that are dark green in color, crisp and not dull or yellow and spotted. Wash thoroughly to remove sand and soil, dry, trim away tough stems and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Turkey-Spinach Meatballs from Bon Appètit

Spinach Salad with Dates from Bon Appètit
super greens
KALE

Kale is a member of the mustard and cabbage families and has more nutrients than spinach. Less than ½ cup has 333% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A, 587% RDA of vitamin K and 200% RDA of vitamin C. This frilly-leafed vegetable also has vitamin B-complex, lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

The health benefits of kale include healthy muscles and skin, improved blood glucose control, lower colon and prostate cancer risk, better cardiovascular health, stronger bone health, reduced neuronal brain damage and support for red blood cell formation. The advantage for your eyes comes from the lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and vitamin A, all which work to support a healthy retina. They help protect against blue and ultraviolet light as well as the early onset and progression of age-related macular degeneration. Because of the positive impact on diabetes it also reduces the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Kale is very versatile and can be served in a variety of ways including salads, soups and casseroles. It can also be braised, broiled, sautéed and even made into kale chips by tossing them in extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled with your choice of cumin, curry powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes or garlic powder and baking at 275 degrees for 15-30 minutes depending on how crisp you want them to be. When shopping for kale look for leaves that are crispy and crunchy with a brilliant dark blue-green color. Wash thoroughly to remove soil and sand, dry well, and remove all tough stems. It is extremely perishable, so use it as quickly as possible.

Kale and Chicken Casserole by Martha Stewart

Kale with Pomegranate Dressing and Ricotta Salata from Bon Appètit

All of these dark green leafy vegetables are not only healthy for you, but can be used in many ways to make it easy to incorporate them into your diet. Here are a few ideas:

  • Throw a small handful into your blender when making your favorite smoothie
  • Add them to your next omelet or egg scramble
  • Use them for making pesto or adding to pasta sauce
  • Sauté with a small amount of extra-virgin olive and season with freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve at a topping for your baked potato
  • Add it to your wrap, sandwich or flatbread

2/17/16

Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation

Understanding Your Eyeglass Prescription

If you need eyeglasses it is because you were diagnosed with a refractive error during your eye exam. This means your eyes have trouble focusing and images can appear blurry. Types of refractive errors include being near-sighted (myopia), far-sighted (presbyopia) or having an astigmatism (your cornea is an irregular shape).
Understanding Your Eyeglass Prescription

Understanding What 20/20 Vision Means

The number is based on you standing a distance of 20 feet (considered to be the norm) in front of a Snellen or Tumbling E eye chart to test your visual acuity. If during an eye test you can read the big E at the top of the eye chart, but none of the letters below that, your vision is considered 20/200. That means you can read a letter at 20 feet that people with “normal” vision can read at 200 feet, meaning you have very poor visual acuity. If you can read the fourth line from the bottom of most charts, you vision is 20/20. Any line below that would be 20/15 or below and indicates that you have exceptional visual acuity. Each eye is tested separately as your eyes are designed to compensate for each other and would not give an accurate reading.

Understanding Your Eyeglass Prescription

The prescription you receive may be a chart with headings that are filled in, or it may just be written out. In any case, it is written in a specific order, with the results for each eye listed first.

  • OD is an abbreviation for oculus dexter, meaning right eye, while OS is oculus sinister, meaning left eye. If both eyes are being referred to the abbreviation you will see is OU (oculus uterque) meaning both eyes.
  • The next term on your prescription is Sphere (SPH) and is are measured in diopters (D). This number tells you how strong your lenses need to be to correct your vision. If this number has a minus sign (–), you are nearsighted; if the number has a plus sign (+) or is not preceded by any sign, you are farsighted.
  • Next may be cylinder (CYL), an indicator of the lens power if you have an astigmatism. The number for the CYL has the same format as the SPH, a minus sign (for the correction of nearsighted astigmatism) or a plus sign (for the correction of farsighted astigmatism). If there is no number given you either have no astigmatism, or your astigmatism is so slight that it is not really necessary to correct it.
  • If you do have a CYL number you will also have an axis number, based on a protractor scale that tells you where on the eye the astigmatism is found. For example, SPH –2.50 D CYL +5.00 Axis 40 means you have a nearsightedness of -2.50 dioptics with an astigmatism of +5.00 along the 40 degree axis.
  • If you are getting bifocals or progressive lenses, there is another number called an “Add.” This number is the amount of additional correction your eyes need to focus at close distance and will always be a positive number, whether or not the + sign is there.

Needless to say, eyeglasses are expensive, but understanding a prescription should help you understand why. The stronger the lens the more expensive it is and then with each adjustment, the cost also increases. Also don’t forget that anti-glare or UV protective coatings add to the costs, but may be well worth it. Eye glasses are an investment in your safety, job, independence and letting you enjoy any leisure-time activities you enjoy.

2/9/16

Susan DeRemerSusan DeRemer, CFRE
Vice President of Development
Discovery Eye Foundation