Can Stem Cells Ward Off Glaucoma?


NearsightednessA condition of the eyes making it difficult to see distant objects is myopia, or better known as nearsightedness. Objects can be seen up close but trying to see in the distance becomes blurry. Nearsightedness has grown significantly in the number of people suffering from the condition. Approximately 25% of those living in the US were affected in the early 1970s. That percentage has jumped to 42% in just 30 years. A meta-analysis of 145 studies involving over 2 million participants predicts that half of the world will be wearing glasses by the year 2050 with myopia and high myopia. Almost 10% or 938 million people will suffer from myopia where their condition puts them at greater risk for glaucoma, retinal detachment, cataracts and macular degeneration.

Your brain is where what you see is interpreted, not your eyes. The light passes through the front of your eye (cornea) and the lens, and these help focus the light on the retina at the back of your eye. Then the light to electrochemical impulses make its way over the optic nerve and into your brain to be converted by the cells in the retina. The front part of the eye responds like a camera lens and lets more light in at night and less during the day. This is the reason that your pupils are larger at night to let more light in so that you are allowed to see.

Changing the focus of light on your retina to improve your vision is the job of the glasses. Sometimes the results are not as good as you want. Vision will fluctuate during the day. Glasses will help you to see more clearly, however, over a long period of time your eye muscle strength may change, making your unaided vision worse.

The vision is affected by other factors as well such as from the environment. For years, science blamed nearsightedness on your genes. The meteoric rise in the number of people affected, along with sociological changes and the disparity between the number affected in industrialized nations versus poor countries, has led researchers to evaluate other causes. The meta-analysis published in Ophthalmology, quoting the researchers saying the reason for the increasing number of people with myopia is related to changes in the environment. Work activities like working on a computer screen, reading books and cell phone usage increases the risk in myopia and high myopia.

What you eat also impacts your eyesight. Links have been made between groups of people who have not embraced a Western diet and those who have. Those with rising prevalence of myopia have adopted a Western diet, high in refined carbs and low in real foods.

More children are being diagnosed with nearsightedness, according to the diagnosis of the professional who evaluates them. The Journal of American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus discovered 35% of the children in a study who were evaluated by an optometrist, received glasses for nearsightedness.

Contacts lenses are not used for this condition. The lenses float on a layer of tears over the surface and have the same effect of worsening your unaided vision over time. There are also side effects as eye infections and corneal scratches.

Lasik is an option to correct vision. Recent studies have pointed out some complications from the procedure such as vision loss, severe dry eyes, chronic corneal neuropathic pain, debilitating visual symptoms and possible secondary correction. Instead, you might try reducing the amount of close work, spend time in the sunshine, normalize your blood sugar, practice distance vision, take vitamin C supplements, reduce blue light, take omega-3 supplements, optimize computer use, relax your eye muscles and avoid trans fats.

 – Dr Fredda Branyon

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