Eat More Pumpkin for Eye Health

Thanksgiving is just around the corner!
Did you know eating pumpkin has lots of benefits for your eye health? Pumpkins contain beta-carotene, which is a form of vitamin A which helps protect the surface of the eye and decrease the risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration. It also contains antioxidants which help protect the body from diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
However, beta-carotene supplements may increase the risk of lung cancer in people who smoke. The best way to get it and avoid toxicity is from fruits and vegetables. Try a variety of ORANGE vegetables, such as sweet potato, carrots, butternut squash, and of course – pumpkin! Pumpkin seeds also contain a healthy dose of zinc, which helps bring vitamin A to the retina, where it produces melanin as a protective pigment in the eyes. Roast them in the oven for a delicious snack!
 
Sounds like the perfect excuse to have an extra piece of pumpkin pie this weekend 😉 (just watch out for the added sugar and butter!) Use fresh pumpkin or 100% canned pumpkin rather than pumpkin pie mix to get the maximum benefits.
 
Wishing everyone a happy and safe long weekend! 🙂
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Retinal Imaging for Brain Disease

We already know that checking your eye health can tell us a lot about general health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, liver disease, thyroid disease, and more – but it’s possible that a retinal scan could one day help detect early signs of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease!
The eyes really are a window to your health 🙂

Read more here: Retinal imaging could provide window into brain disease (The Globe and Mail)

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Underlying Health Conditions Visible In The Eyes

During a comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Lee does much more than just determine your prescription for glasses or contact lenses. She will also check your eyes for common diseases, assess how well they work together as a team, and look for indicators of potentially serious health conditions that affect your whole body. A number of underlying health conditions can be detected through a comprehensive eye exam, ranging from high blood pressure and diabetes to certain forms of cancer. Because the eye is the only part of the body in which blood vessels can be viewed without invasive techniques, it can be the first place that conditions like high blood pressure is detected. Other health conditions that may show signs in the eyes include tumours, aneurysms, autoimmune disorders, thyroid disease, sickle cell disease, liver disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurological or brain disorders.

A comprehensive eye exam includes tests of peripheral vision and eye muscle function and can often be the first line of detection of a brain tumour. The eye and its surrounding tissues are one of the most common areas of the body where skin cancer is first diagnosed. The muscles attached to the eye that are responsible for coordinated eye movements are controlled through nerves that arise directly from the brain. Several neurological conditions, which affect the brain, including Parkinson’s disease and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, can affect eye movements and even cause double vision.
A comprehensive eye exam can detect problems with eye movement, and vision training or spectacle (eyeglass) therapy can improve the ability of the eyes to track and work together.

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Importance of Children’s Eye Exams

Here’s why The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends a child’s first eye exam to be between age 6-9 months. A comprehensive eye exam is more than just checking vision and reading letters (which we know your baby can’t do!). By looking inside your eyes, an optometrist can help detect potentially seriously health conditions such as brain tumours, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

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