ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indigo Ointment Benefits Psoriasis Patients
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Fruits and Veggies May Strengthen Bones
CANCER
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
DIABETES
Whole Grains Take a Bite Out of Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Blueberry Drink Protects Mice From Obesity, Diabetes
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Genetics, Environment Shape Sexual Behavior
EYE CARE, VISION
Guard Kids' Eyes Against Long-Term Sun Damage
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
FITNESS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Countdown to Hair Loss
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
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Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) -- If you're planning to retire to Florida or Arizona for health reasons, be sure to pack your sunglasses.

That's the message from a new study that found that older people with low levels of certain antioxidants present in many fruits and vegetables, and who are exposed to short-wavelength blue light from the sun, are more likely to develop certain types of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). But the damage can start decades before you turn 65.

"We recommend that people use eye protection, including sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats, if going outside and especially in bright sunlight" and during the middle period of the day, said Astrid E. Fletcher, lead author of the study published in the October issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

"Our advice on nutrition," she added, "is that people should ensure that they follow the five-a-day recommendations. In particular, they should see that their diet includes leafy green vegetables, citrus fruit, vegetable oils and nuts, as these are good sources of the antioxidant vitamins of relevance to the retina."

Dr. Julie Belkin, an ophthalmologist with University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, said, "Sunglasses are recommended anyway, and most people who have a normal, balanced diet will get adequate levels of those antioxidants. But there are vitamin supplements if you have other risk factors or other eye findings that put you at risk."

While the authors of the new study found that the link between blue-light exposure and low antioxidant levels was stronger in middle age, compared to younger years, other experts said it's unclear when the damage takes place.

"We don't really know how many years it takes" for AMD to develop. "For some people, it could be a few years in the sun is bad, and for others, a few decades is bad," said Dr. Robert Cykiert, an associate professor of ophthalmology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Previous studies had suggested that blue light may damage the retina and set eyes on the path to developing AMD, a leading cause of vision loss in Americans aged 60 and older.

Studies have also shown that antioxidant enzymes such as vitamins C and E, the carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin), and zinc can protect against blue light. But no one had really looked at how blue light and antioxidants might interact to affect the risk for AMD.

After studying nearly 4,500 older Europeans (average age 73.2 years), the study authors, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, found no overall association between blue-light exposure and neovascular (early) AMD.

However, blue light exposure was associated with neovascular AMD in 25 percent of the people with the lowest antioxidant levels.

"This is the first time they've looked at this in so many patients, but it makes sense from a physiological standpoint," said Dr. David M. Kleinman, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Rochester Eye Institute. "In addition to there being some things we can't control, like genetic predisposition, really taking care of ourselves in a certain way will really help reduce vision loss from AMD."

That includes exercising and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, added Kleinman, a retina specialist who studies macular degeneration.

A second study in the same issue of the journal found that, overall, visual impairment is more common in people with diabetes than in those without the disease.

The news is especially worrisome given the veritable epidemic of diabetes: In 2005, an estimated 14.6 million Americans had been diagnosed with diabetes, on top of 6.2 million undiagnosed individuals. The number of people with diagnosed diabetes in the United States is expected to reach almost 50 million by 2050.

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes, but other eye problems can occur as well, including cataracts and glaucoma, according to the study by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some 11 percent of U.S. adults with diabetes have some form of visual impairment, 3.8 percent uncorrectable and 7.2 percent correctable. Almost 6 percent of those without diabetes have some form of visual impairment, 1.4 percent uncorrectable and 4.5 percent correctable, the study found.

More information

The National Eye Institute has more on AMD.



SOURCES: Robert Cykiert, M.D., associate professor, ophthalmology, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York City; Julie Belkin, M.D., ophthalmologist, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland; Astrid Fletcher, Ph.D., department of epidemiology and population health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; David M. Kleinman, M.D., assistant professor, ophthalmology, University of Rochester Eye Institute, Rochester, N.Y.; October 2008 Archives of Ophthalmology

Last Updated: Oct. 14, 2008

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