ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
CANCER
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
Vitamin D Good for Breast Cancer Patients
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
Critically Ill Patients Lack Vitamin D
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
DIET, NUTRITION
Holiday Eating Without the Guilt -- or the Pounds
Quick Weight Loss May Be Best for Long-Term Success
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Controversial Chemical Lingers Longer in the Body
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
FITNESS
Vigorous Exercise Can Cut Breast Cancer Risk
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Hoping for a Happy Family Holiday? Here's How
Swine Flu May Have Infected More Than 100,000 Americans
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Add your Article

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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