Sugar and Your Eyes

by MikeMeehan 1/22/2018 3:46 PM

Last week we talked about how sugar affects your teeth, which is probably commonly considered. Candy, soda and other sweets often trigger fears of cavities. But what’s less likely to be considered is how sugar can be harmful to your eyes.  How are they connected? One way sugar and our eyes are connected is through blood sugar levels. Since we have blood vessels in our eyes, the amount of sugar we consume that goes into our blood can affect our vision. As explained on AllAboutVision.com, “Fluctuating blood sugars are known to cause fluctuating vision.”  There is a connection between blood sugar levels and the lens in your eye being able to maintain focus. According to BostonSight, “sugar consumption is linked to a number of serious eye health conditions.” One example provided was from a study that found limiting sugar can reduce the risk or the advancement of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD can cause you to lose your vision. As discussed in an article on WebMD, it’s better to eat foods that are low on the glycemic index and that won’t make your blood sugar levels spike quickly. Cataracts are another eye condition that research has linked to sugar intake. High amounts of sugar in your blood can cause the lens in your eyes to swell. According to the American Optometric Association, this may increase your risk of developing cataracts. Excessive pressure in your eye can lead to glaucoma, another serious eye disease. High blood sugar can cause the blood vessels in your eyes to create a buildup of fluid. This fluid can create that excessive pressure. Diabetes and eye disease If you have diabetes, there are other diseases you’re at risk of developing - diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. Talking with your eye doctor to learn more and going for a comprehensive eye exam regularly can detect some of these conditions early.  Though it may seem common knowledge to watch your sugar intake because of the negative effects it can have on your health, it’s important to consider all the ways it can impact your health – including your eyes and vision.

5 Things to Know About Glaucoma

by MikeMeehan 1/11/2018 10:20 AM

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can lead to permanent vision loss. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), it’s one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. And according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, of the 60 million people in the world that have glaucoma, an estimated half of those people don’t know they have it. With January as Glaucoma Awareness Month, here are five things to learn about the disease. Use this information as a way to start your research and develop knowledge on how this disease can affect you and your family.  Glaucoma usually has no symptoms The symptoms of glaucoma can vary. What’s frightening is that you could have glaucoma without knowing; it can develop slowly and without pain. There could be no warning signs until you start to notice a loss in your vision. But as much as 40% of your vision can be lost without you noticing. With some forms of the disease, the condition could happen quickly, and there could be symptoms like blurred vision and halos around lights. Glaucoma can be detected with a comprehensive eye exam While it’s scary to think that glaucoma can develop without you realizing, remember this disease can be detected with a comprehensive eye exam from your eye doctor. With early detection, there is treatment available that can control the disease and reduce the risk of vision loss. Regular eye exams are so important for detection of this disease because any vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible. People over the age of 60 are at high risk If you’re over the age of 60, you have a higher risk of developing glaucoma. Other factors can increase your risk, so talk with your eye doctor and discuss these variables. The most common forms of glaucoma affect older people, but the disease can still affect all age groups. If you have a high risk of glaucoma, it’s extremely important to get a comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor every one to two years. Family history increases your risk According to the AOA, the exact cause of glaucoma is not known. We do know that the condition is “usually associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye.” We also know that it’s hereditary in some families. Read more about this and other risk factors. There are different types of glaucoma While we often might just use the general term glaucoma when referring to it, there are different forms of the disease. Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common. You can learn more about the different types of glaucoma and how they’re different on the Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Now, with these five things to know about glaucoma, consider your vision health, talk to your family, and make an eye doctor appointment. 

’Tis the Season for Dental and Vision Health Traditions

by MikeMeehan 12/20/2017 10:32 AM

At Delta Dental, we always have your dental and vision health in mind. And that doesn’t stop during the holidays. So we’ve come up with fun and unique ways to incorporate the goal to improve your dental and vision health with new holiday traditions and gift-giving ideas.  Elf on the Shelf can teach good health habits This popular elf can promote good dental health habits with your kids. He or she can encourage healthy snacking by sitting next to the fruit bowl. Or how about if the elf was wrapped up in dental floss and left a note about flossing daily? The elf can even bring gifts of new toothbrushes and toothpaste. Sunglasses and other vision wear make great gifts Sunglasses make a great holiday gift. They should be used in the winter, and it’s a nice reminder of the summer though it may be months away. Other vision wear like swim goggles and computer glasses or blue light blocking eyewear are useful gifts for the kids and entire family. Eyeglass holders come in all sorts of varieties for all personalities, and they’re also a useful gift for your friends. Bring along a pomegranate When you go to your holiday parties or family gatherings, instead of arriving with the usual candy and cookies, start a new tradition of arriving with festive fruit. The pomegranate is a symbol for the season and could be a unique surprise. Contributing healthy choices to the array of holiday foods is a good way to keep your overall health, and your dental and vision health, in mind during a season when those priorities might be pushed aside. Toothbrush in the stocking Need a stocking stuffer? Toothbrushes will fit in the stockings perfectly. There are fun options available for the kids. And a toothbrush in the stocking will be a good reminder to brush since kids are eating lots of sweets during the holiday. There’s room for floss in there, too. Holiday sing-a-long while you brush Already in the holiday spirit? Are you already listening to and singing along to your favorite festive tunes? Great! Now keep doing that while you’re brushing your teeth. Jingle Bells is a great choice to cover the two minutes of brushing you do twice a day. It works as a great reminder for the kids. Donations If you’re getting together donations, think about dental and vision health contributions. Consider donating dental health necessities like toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss to your preferred charity. Also consider the gift of vision this year. You can donate your old eyeglasses, reading glasses, frames, and sunglasses or donate to a charity that provides vision care to communities in need. We love the idea of giving the gift of dental and vision health this season, whether it’s through donations or starting new gift traditions. We wish you happy holidays and bright and healthy smiles in the New Year!

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