All posts by lehighvalleycenterforsight

The doctors and staff at the Lehigh Valley Center for Sight are totally committed to providing complete eye care, unsurpassed customer service & the most advanced technology to meet all the needs of our patients.

Free Radicals – The Major Culprits in Age-Related Eye Diseases

Free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron.

This leaves them unstable and highly reactive, that is, they will react with just about any other molecule they find.

They steal an electron from these molecules, damaging cells and cell membranes.

They even have the power to damage your DNA.

Your body creates these molecules as byproducts of immune processes.

When bacteria, viruses and any other foreign substances enter your body, your immune system destroys them.

This destruction results in free radicals.

These molecules can also develop from the presence of heavy metals in the body.

Radiation exposure also creates them.

Sunlight, pollution, food contaminants, and especially smoking all provide or create even more of this.

Superoxide is the most reactive of all free radical chemicals; it is a very toxic oxygen molecule.

Your body uses superoxide dismutase (SOD), an antioxidant enzyme, to neutralize superoxide.

This reduces the damage you incur from the millions of attacks caused by superoxide that occur every second.

While protecting you, the quenching of superoxide reactions produces hydrogen peroxide, which requires catalase, another antioxidant enzyme, to reduce it to water and oxygen.

Two other antioxidant enzymes created in the cells and used to Protect Your Eyesight from damage are glutathione peroxidase and methionine reductase.

These four antioxidant enzymes are very important protectors of the eyes, and are found in high levels in eyes that are functioning normally.

Since blood flow, and thus the presence of oxygen, is higher in the eyes than in any other body part except the brain, this damage, also known as oxidative stress, is very high here.

These antioxidants protect your eyes from damage that leads to Cataracts formation and to Macular Degeneration.

The Aging Process

Many scientists believe that they are the major cause of the aging process.

As we grow older, more and more of them are created in our bodies, and more are added from outside influences.

They begin to outnumber the antioxidants available to destroy them, and the process begins to look like a runaway train: out of control.

We can help take control of this free-radical–induced aging process by avoiding the circumstances that create them, like exposure to sunlight without adequate protection, eating damaged, rancid and decaying foods, eating too much fat, and smoking.

We can also help by adding Eye Health Antioxidants to our diets, in the form of whole foods and supplements.

High Fat Diet Harms Your Sight – Cut Back on Fats and Protect Your Eyesight

A high fat diet harms your sight by clogging up blood vessels in The Retina and the choroid, which can reduce the flow of oxygen and nutrients necessary for vision.

Your body runs on glucose.

Your body burns glucose to provide the energy you need to keep your body processes functioning.

Calories are the measure of the amount of energy you get from glucose.

Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are all used by the body to provide glucose when needed.

Carbs and proteins both provide four calories per gram; fats provide nine calories per gram, more than twice as much.

This means that every time you eat foods that are high in fat (dairy products, red meats, poultry, oils, margarine, and processed foods), you are putting more than twice as many calories into your body.

When your body has more calories than it needs at the moment, it stores the rest in fat tissues, even if it has to make more fat tissue.

A high fat diet harms your sight, it produces the fat deposits that accumulate under the skin of your thighs, your abdomen, and your jowls (among other locations!), and in your arteries, restricting blood flow.

Atherosclerosis is the term for the accumulation of fat deposits on the walls of the arteries.

This results in arteriosclerosis, the term used to describe the thickening and hardening of the walls of your arterial blood vessels.

Arteriosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries, reduces the blood flow to the various parts of the eye.

This limits the amount of oxygen and nutrients these cells receive.

Especially affected are the choroidal blood vessels, which supply the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE).

The RPE cells become damaged and die off.

The photoreceptors, which are dependent on the RPE for their nourishment, then die off, resulting in vision loss.


Lower the Risk of Arteriosclerosis

What can you do to lower the risk of arteriosclerosis?

Start by eliminating your high fat diet harms your sight, or at least cutting back on the amount of fat you eat.

  • If you eat a lot of dairy products, switch to nonfat versions based on skim milk.
    Whole milk carries half its calories as fat, while 2 percent (low-fat) has 38% of its calories as fat. Nonfat milk has just 2.5 percent of its calories as fat, so you can substantially reduce your high fat diet harms your sight by using skim milk and nonfat dairy products.
  • Cut back on the amount of meat you eat, especially red meat. Meat is high in both saturated fat and cholesterol. These both raise your serum cholesterol level, which results in arteries clogged with plaque.
  • Meat also contains iron, which oxidizes cholesterol into a type that sticks more easily to the arterial walls. And meat has few antioxidants, so while it has a negative effect on your sight and general health, it has few benefits, especially for your vision.
  • If you prefer to eat meat, concentrate on poultry and fish. These have lower fat content than read meats, and thus are a good way to reduce your high fat diet harms your sight.
  • Eat roasted or grilled skinless chicken. This will lower the amount of fat you ingest.
  • Fish is even better as it’s lower in fat, and some types (such as tuna) contain essential fatty acids (EFAs) known as omega-3 fatty acids. These EFAs reduce your risk of heart disease.
  • On the Glaucoma page, I discussed how these EFAs help regulate eye pressure, lessening your risk of glaucoma. However, please remember that you can take supplements to optimize your level of omega-3.
  • Avoid excessive use of oils, margarines, and other high fat diet harms your sight products such as butter and ice cream. Use only oils that are liquid at room temperature as they have little or no saturated fat, which causes your serum cholesterol level to increase.
  • Eat fewer processed and/or prepackaged foods, including ones that say they are “fat-free.” They may simply have serving sizes that are small enough to have less than .5 grams of fat, which qualifies these products for the term “fat-free.”
  • If you don’t read the label, you might be eating five or six of the manufacturer’s suggested serving size, and then you’ll be eating 2.5 or more grams of fat at one time.
  • Don’t fry your foods. You can bake, broil, grill, steam, or poach most foods. These cooking methods won’t overwhelm the taste of the food like cooking with fat or oil can do.
  • If you do fry your foods, add garlic, onions, or ginger to the oil before cooking, as these ingredients slow the degradation of oils during frying, resulting in fewer Free Radicals in your food.
  • While reducing the high fat diet harms your sight content in your diet, increase the complex carbohydrate and protein content of your diet. Complex carbs come from whole grains (whole wheat, brown rice, and many others) and from legumes (beans, peas, lentils).

These same foods provide some protein as well.

Supplement this with protein from other low-fat sources such as tofu (a soybean product), chicken and fish, and you’ll have reduced your high-fat diet harms your sight to a nutritious, good eye health diet.

Eye Drops for Allergies Information

Using medicated eye drops for allergies is an excellent way to help relieve some of the symptoms. Allergies can strike without warning, though most come about at specific times of year.

Depending on what you are allergic to, you might experience Allergy Eye Symptoms as diverse as itchiness, hives, sneezing, watery eyes, sore throat, congestion, Red Eyes, and swollen eyelids.

These Allergy Eye Symptom are by no means exclusive to any one Type of Eye Allergies, so it’s possible that you may even experience many of them at the same time.

If you really want to get rid of the eye related symptoms, one of the best options is to use eye drops for allergies that have an antihistamine ingredient to deal with the overload of histamine release that your body is giving you. A lot of seasonal allergies will come with a lot of Eye Allergy Symptoms that feel like a head cold: watery eyes, congestion, and a runny nose.

The reason these Eye Allergies Symptoms often appear together is that they’re both caused by the same type of allergen. An Eye Allergy is usually called allergic conjunctivitis, which basically means that the conjunctiva, a thin layer of skin on the eye, is reacting to an airborne irritant.

The inner lining of your nose has the exact same type of skin layer, and as such they both tend to react at the same time. Most people have a common pollen allergy. This is when the pollen released from flowers Eye Allergies Causes an allergic reaction.

Certain times of year, such as late spring, are full of flower pollen, which is when most people experience symptoms. Other allergens crop up at different times of year. Weed pollen, for example, is usually around more in the early autumn months.

If you’re allergic to pet dander or something that doesn’t cycle throughout the year, there’s a chance that you could be afflicted all year long. There are a lot of indoor allergens that a lot of people aren’t aware of, and as a result they just think they happen to get sick a lot. A lot of people have allergies to mold and mildew, which can grow in some corner of your house without you even knowing it’s there.

This can then lead to a chronic allergic response where you always feel at least some symptoms of your Eye Allergies.

The first step is of course to remove all potential allergens from your house, and in the meantime you can use eye drops for allergies to alleviate your symptoms a bit. Chronic allergic reactions have the potential to damage your eyes, so getting rid of everything that might be causing your allergies to flare up is the best way to Protect Your Eyesight.

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You can get just about any drug store. Your doctor might prescribe some prescription eye drops for allergies, which will usually have either an antihistamine or an anti-inflammatory, especially if you’ve been experiencing some swelling along with your other symptoms. Remember that there are ways to fight allergies.

Vitamins and Eye Health

Should You Use Vitamins and Supplements for Your Vision?

You may hear many claims about vitamin usage and how it may improve your eye health. Just because you saw an article on the internet or a friend shared one on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s accurate. There’s a good chance it was written by someone selling vitamins or dietary supplements, which are unregulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration.


Talk to us before taking any dietary supplement for your eyes if you’re pregnant, nursing, using any other medications or have other health issues. If we think it might help, or at least not harm you, take the dose we recommend. Supplements are meant to supplement your overall nutrition, they aren’t a replacement for food. Eat a healthy, balanced diet.

If you have or at risk for certain eye conditions, vitamins and supplements may help slow or prevent some conditions. The National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) shows that high doses of antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, along with zinc, reduces the risk of vision loss from advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in some, but not all, of those with this condition. Those who benefited were those with,

  • Intermediate AMD, or,
  • Advanced AMD in just one eye.

If you’re in either situation, contact us so we can talk about supplements.

There are many variables that may impact outcomes. As part of the next study omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) and two carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin (found in vegetables and fruits) were added. The research showed,

  • Beta-carotene failed to reduce the risk of AMD progressing.
  • Adding omega-3 to the AREDS formula didn’t impact the chances risk of AMD progressing.
  • The AREDS formula was protective when less zinc was used.
  • When the formula included lutein and zeaxanthin study participants had more improvement.

These combinations didn’t prevent the onset of AMD, slow its progression when it was in an early stage or improve vision that was already lost.

Other studies have shown not having enough antioxidants contributes to the start of chronic dry eye syndrome. Nutritional supplements with omega-3 and omega-6 are available and may help restore and maintain tear formation and eye lubrication.

If you have glaucoma or fear it may develop, vitamins or supplements don’t offer much help. There are few studies on the topic. There is some evidence a diet high in vitamin B, including green leafy vegetables, may decrease the chance of some kinds of glaucoma. But it appears B complex pills don’t offer similar benefits.

Other studies show that antioxidants and natural compounds such as Ginkgo biloba, tropical fruits and green tea may slow progression of glaucoma, but the evidence showing a benefit is weak.

If you have questions about dietary supplements and vitamins and how they may prevent eye conditions or improve your vision, contact the Lehigh Valley Center for Sight at 610-437-4988 or fill out our contact form so we can start the conversation and work together to protect your sight.

Houman Ahdieh, MD
Lehigh Valley Center for Sight

Retinal Detachment Symptoms And Treatment

The are Many Slow Moving, Chronic Eye Conditions. Retinal Detachment is Not One of Them

Many eye conditions are slow moving, like cataracts, where changes in vision are gradual to the point your vision is greatly impaired. Surgery for cataracts is normally not done in a rush and can easily be planned in advanced. Retinal detachment is a different story. If you experience its symptoms you need to act fast.

The retina of your eye is a layer of tissue lining the interior of your eye. It sends visual signals through your optic nerve to your brain. If the retina comes off, if not treated immediately, the detachment could result in permanent vision loss.

Retinal detachment involves the retinal cells coming loose from the layer of blood vessels underneath them. Those blood vessels provide oxygen and nourishment needed to keep the retina healthy and functioning. The longer it goes untreated, the greater the chance of permanent vision loss.

Retinal detachment can happen at any time but more likely in those older than forty. It’s more likely to  occur in men than women and more common in Caucasians than African Americans. Other characteristics that increase the chances of a retinal detachment include,

  • Extreme nearsightedness,
  • A prior retinal detachment in the other eye,
  • A family history of it,
  • Prior cataract surgery,
  • People with other vision conditions, including retinoschisis, uveitis, degenerative myopia or lattice degeneration, and,
  • A prior eye injury.

Signs of retinal detachment are,

  • An increase in “floaters” in your vision,
  • What appears to be flashes of light, and,
  • What looks to be a curtain over your vision.

Retinal detachment is a medical emergency. If you experience these symptoms contact our office immediately.

Treatment involves surgery, which can include the treatment of small holes and tears in the retina with laser surgery or a freeze treatment (cryopexy). These treatments are normally done in our office.

  • A laser makes tiny burns around the hole in the retina to “weld” it back into place.
  • Cryopexy freezes around the hole to help reattach it.

We can successfully treat more than 90% of those with retinal detachment. There are no guarantees the person’s vision will be completely back to normal. Your result may be unknown for several months. The outcomes are the best if the detached retina is repaired before the macula (the center of the retina) detaches.

Immediate action is needed after you experience symptoms to reduce the risk the macula is impacted. The faster treatment can begin the better your chances your vision will eventually be restored.

Your vision is critical to your quality of life, your ability to work and safely get from one place to another. Don’t take it for granted. If you or a family member are showing signs of retinal detachment contact the Lehigh Valley Center for Sight at 610-437-4988 immediately. We can examine the eye, see if retinal detachment occurred or some other condition is causing the problem and take appropriate action to protect your sight.

Houman Ahdieh, MD
Lehigh Valley Center for Sight

Vision Problems Information

There are a lot of different Vision Problems that can affect humans, ranging from mild to severe.

Some common problems are blind spots, Floaters, Blurry Vision or Blurred Vision, and halos around lights.

Of course, the most severe Problem is blindness, and there is rarely anything that can be done to reverse it.

To Protect Your Eyesight and take preventative measures against blindness, it helps to familiarize yourself with the different types of common vision problems that affect people.

It’s always important to consult a Eye Care Professional or Eye Care Specialist if you notice any problems with your vision.

Eye conditions can be either progressive or sudden onset; progressive means that it happens slowly over time, which is often the case with Glaucoma and Cataracts, but sudden onset means that it appears over the course of a few days, hours, or minutes.

If you have any sudden onset vision problems like Blurry Vision or Double Vision, you should consult professional help immediately. The eyes are very closely intertwined with the brain, and sudden Vision Disorders are often neurological in nature.

Vision problems don’t always point to just one disease or condition, and in fact most Problems with Eyesight can manifest in the form of Blurred Vision.

Sometimes the problem with your vision can be caused by an inflammation or blunt force trauma, and in these cases you should always have your eyes checked out immediately.

The following is a list of some of the most common vision problems:

  • Presbyopia – The inability to focus on close objects. Most people who acquire this are in their 40’s.
  • Macular Degeneration Symptoms – This is a common side effect of aging, and manifests in Blurry Vision, cloudy vision, colors not appearing as bright, and central vision loss.
  • Floaters – These are small spots or particles that appear to drift lazily across your vision. They are usually harmless and signal areas of the Retina that are not receiving the right input signals. In rare cases they can be a sign of retinal detachment, and in which case they will appear suddenly.
  • Retinal Detachment – This is a Eyesight Problem caused when the retina detaches from its surrounding tissue. The Retina is essentially the film in a camera – when light passes through the Cornea and the lens, it is filtered onto the retina, where millions of photosensitive cells break down the information and pass it up to brain through the optic nerve. If the retina begins to detach and you notice a sudden increase in floaters or blurry vision, you should get immediate medical attention. If not treated soon enough retinal detachment can result in total blindness, or at least massive vision loss.
  • Cataract Information – One of the most common problems with vision among elderly individuals are cataracts. Some Causes of Cataracts are the breakdown of proteins in the eye. It’s a progressive disease that cannot be stopped, but can only be delayed, or slowed down.

Eyesight problems happen often, but with the right care and treatment you can prevent certain conditions from taking hold and you can slow down the effects of others.

Allergy Eye Relief Information

Finding immediate allergy eye relief is usually a top priority among people who suffer from severe allergies. It’s not a surprise; Eye Allergies can be extremely irritating, even painful, and they pose a serious detriment to work and school productivity.

Allergies affect more people each and every year, and unfortunately there isn’t any certain way right now to completely stop allergies from affecting you. That doesn’t mean, however, that you just have to sit back and accept it each time your allergies flare up.

There are plenty of medications and a Allergy Eye Home Remedy that can relieve the worst Allergy Eye Symptoms of seasonal allergies and give your eyes a break for once.

Pollen allergies are what most people are effected by, and it’s probably what you think about when someone mentions allergies. Pollen allergies come along with the “allergy season” that so many fear and dread during spring, summer, and early autumn.

Floating pollen in the air triggers the allergic response. When plants bloom, they release pollen as a way to fertilize the surrounding flowers of the same species. Bees and birds help this process along by landing on the flowers, picking up a bit of pollen, and flying away with it to spread it somewhere else.

Needless to say, the air is literally filled with these microscopic spores all summer long, and it wreaks havoc on a lot of people’s sinuses.

The best way to get allergy eye relief would simply be to purchase some Allergy Eye Drops. The body releases chemicals called histamines when it wants to fight off the pollen, and those are what cause the effects.

This is a natural reaction of the body to protect itself from foreign invaders, but the problem is that pollen isn’t really that dangerous, so there’s no real need to overreact like that. Therefore, quelling that natural response is the best way to experience allergy eye relief and Protect Your Eyesight from the annoying Eye Allergies Symptoms that come along with pollen allergies.

If you don’t want to go for the chemical relief, you can try a variety of home remedies as well to relieve not only the Eye Allergy Symptoms but much of the congestion as well.

The easiest thing to do is give yourself a steam bath for 10 or 15 minutes. The steam enters the nasal passages and clears out a lot of the excess mucus and phlegm that’s making your eyes water and causing you to sneeze.

To make a steam bath, just take a few cups of boiling water and hold your face over it. You can either pour the water into a heat safe ceramic bowl or just leave it in the pot. Drape a towel over your head to form a tent that will trap the steam, and breathe deep.

If you want an extra kick you can add a few drops of eucalyptus or lavender essential oil to the water. It will smell good and give you extra allergy eye relief thanks to the medicinal properties of the essential oils.