Eyes, Blood Vessels and Sugar

As an eye doctor, I spend a lot of my day looking at my patients’ retinal blood vessels.  We do this with a Dilated Eye Exam or by using Optomap technology.  An Optomap is an excellent method of assessing blood vessels as this technology provides a panoramic view of the retina.  (www.optos.com)

Allow me to connect some dots:

1.   Eyes have some of the tiniest blood vessels in the human body

2.   Diabetes affects blood vessels.  The blood vessels most affected are the smallest blood vessels.

3.   That’s why Diabetes is a leading cause of permanent vision loss in the United States.

So cutting back on sugar is a good way to protect your eyesight.  From personal experience — the more sugar you eat, the more enticing sweets become.  Gradually decrease how much sugar you eat on a daily basis and you may find overly sweet foods just don’t taste that great anymore.  Really.

You may even end up eating less processed food as  foods that shouldn’t have a sweet taste — like spaghetti sauce, soup, frozen dinners, restaurant meals– start to taste sweet to you.

The easiest way to a healthier diet is to enjoy healthy food.  It’s easy to reduce sugar in your diet when you don’t think it tastes as great as it used to.  Eat less sugar and after a few months you won’t miss it. 

A special dessert to celebrate a special event is a great pleasure for many people.   But making excessive sweets a part of your daily life increases the risk of Diabetes–  and diminishes the the grand wonder of that perfect celebratory dessert on a special day.   Make your every day life healthier and your celebrations more special by eating sweets during celebratory events and not on a daily basis.  


Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations for all age groups, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area of Virginia. Her practice at GH Eye has a superb collection of  basic and high tech lenses and the latest in fashion frames for adults and children.   


Laser Pointer Maculopathy

Based on a recent case report in the Review Of Optometry, it’s possible to get the same kind of permanent retinal damage from a laser pointer directed at your eyes as it is from staring at the sun. In this case, a teenager was pointing the laser pointer at the reflection of his eyes while looking in the mirror. The result was a loss of vision – not correctible with glasses, contacts, surgery or medication. Clinically, the retinal lesion was similar to the type of lesion we see in people have who stare at the sun.

We have had millions of years of evolution of eye/brain nerve fibers so that even babies won’t stare at the sun. Unfortunately, laser pointers sometimes look like regular flashlights and when children (or adults) play with them, they may not realize how serious they are. It’s not as uncomfortable to look at a laser pointer as it is to look at the sun, so there is probably not a quick enough reflex to turn away.

It’s nice to know that some problems have a really easy fix. Don’t buy laser pointers, don’t use them, don’t leave them where kids, friends or colleagues can pick them up and look into them because they think its just a penlight. It’s the rare power point presentation that would suffer (any more than they already do) without the help of a laser pointer.

Dr. Ally Stoeger provides annual eye examinations, medical eye care, contact lens examinations and Lasik surgery co-management in the Gainesville-Haymarket area. Her practice at GH Eye has a superb collection of both basic and hi-tech lenses and latest fashion frames.