Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Free-of-charge eye clinic in Brigg on Friday, 21 June: A new way to monitor and improve the health of your eyes

As we get older, some people find that their central vision unfortunately deteriorates markedly, with blurriness and shadowing. These effects cause difficulties in everyday life, whether it’s watching TV, or reading – even if reading glasses are used.

Some sufferers find too that it is often impossible for them to recognise faces: this can make socialising very difficult.

At the back of the eye there is an area called the macula which has to be in good health for us to see clearly in the centre of our vision. That area can deteriorate with advancing age, causing the problem of poor central vision. That’s why the problem is called Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD.

Recent scientific research has found that compounds called carotenoids have a great influence on the macula and on the brain as well. There are more than 700 carotenoids in nature. They are plant pigments found in brightly coloured fruits and in green leafly vegetables.

Three carotenoids are present in the macula in the eye: Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin. Low levels increase the risk of developing AMD.

An impression of how Dry AMD can affect central vision, and gradually become more disabling.

Until recently, it is has been difficult to assess whether a person’s levels of carotenoids are adequate to protect the health of their eyes. New research has come up with a simple non-invasive way of assessing carotenoid levels: the ‘LifeMeter’ measuring device is the product of years of research.

It works by shining special light onto a forefinger and measuring the reflected light. The person being tested just has to put the tip of a forefinger into the reading device. After a few minutes, the test is complete.

The LifeMeter device being used to measure a patient’s carotenoid levels. The patient just puts a forefinger into the LifeMeter measuring instrument. There are no needles, and nothing to feel. The measurements are made by shining special lighting onto the finger.

If the person’s carotenoid levels are lower than recommended for continued eye health, food supplement tablets containing suitable carotenoids will be prescribed. Improvements in levels soon occur, and can be confirmed by further testing after about a month.

Carotenoid levels are not just important for eye health: they are now thought to influence brain health, and low levels may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

On Friday, 21 June, O’Brien’s Optician in Brigg is holding a by-appointment free clinic for evaluating patients’ carotenoid levels.

If you’d like to have your carotenoid levels measured, you’re invited to call 01652 653595 or 01652 649024 for your free-of-cost appointment.

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