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Steady Advances in Vision Science Research

SriniVas Sadda, MD
President & Chief Scientific Officer
August 2020

Like nearly everyone and every system around the globe, improvising in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Doheny Eye Institute is continually making adjustments and accommodations. In this environment of constant improvisation, I am reminded that resistance to disruption relies on consistency in vision.

At Doheny, that means we have not wavered in our mission and our fundamental goals: we are working to eradicate vision limiting disease, and we are doing that every day. Over the past few months I’ve communicated in this column about how patients are being served in our clinics, and that continues to expand. In coming months, I plan to use this space to keep you apprised of how our labs and faculty continue to work, safely, as well.

Let me share one example. Kaustabh Ghosh, PhD, a recent addition to the Doheny-UCLA faculty, came to us as a distinguished interdisciplinary researcher with projects in bioengineering and nanomedicine. His work is focused on understanding subtle alterations that occur in capillaries in early eye disease. For patients with either diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration, this breakthrough research may be game changing.

The gradual stiffening of the blood vessels eventually leads to more severe disease and diminished vision; and using atomic force microscopy to observe changes at a tiny scale, Dr. Ghosh can detect and track how capillaries alter both behavior and function over time. These data are critical, because early stage detection can point us towards treatments that may arrest or eliminate disease progress.

This research, and so much more, continues at Doheny, despite the additional protocols and precautions to keep our faculty, staff, and lab spaces safe. We are investing resources and time in following all of the CDC guidelines, and we are moving forward.

What has not been interrupted in this time of unpredictability and challenge is the excellence of our faculty and staff, their dedication to the work of vision science, and our precious connections to colleagues around the world, with whom we collaborate in so many ways, now more than ever in calls and virtual meetings.

Understanding what we can accomplish, comes into sharper focus when we face complications. Some of our patients live that reality daily, and we can authentically empathize as our daily routines and work habits prompt us to rise to the challenges, and learn more about what we can achieve and how.

Steady Advances in Vision Science Research

SriniVas Sadda, MD
President & Chief Scientific Officer
September 2021

As we age, we are at a higher risk for various eye diseases and conditions. Beginning at age 40, many adults develop difficulty seeing clearly when working on a computer or looking their phones.  Many of these diseases and conditions have no warning signs but can be detected in their early stages during a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Early detection and treatment are key to saving sight.

Age Related Eye Diseases to be aware of:
Glaucoma: is a group of diseases that can cause fluid and pressure to build up in the eye and damage the optic nerve.

AMD: is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among adults ages 50 and older. It gradually destroys the macula, which is the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision. A variety of treatments are available to help reduce the risk of vision loss in people with this condition.

Cataracts: A clouding of the lens in the eye that causes loss of vision. Cataracts are very common in older people, and surgery is the only effective treatment. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have cataracts or have had cataract surgery.

Low Vision: People who have age-related eye disease are more likely to develop low vision. Low vision means that, even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medicine, and surgery, everyday tasks are difficult to do. Reading the mail, shopping, cooking, seeing the TV, and writing can seem challenging.

What can you do? 
– Eat Healthy: 
Make sure that you include foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, and zinc to your diet.

Incorporating foods like eggs, pumpkins, carrots, dark leafy greens, sweet potatoes and others rich in antioxidants can help reduce macular degeneration. Coldwater fish such as mackerel, wild salmon, and cod are rich in DHA, a fatty acid that strengthens cell membranes, including those in your eyes.

– Pay attention to your vision health: Remember to schedule your annual dilated eye exam. Having a dilated eye exam every year or as recommended by your eye care professional can help detect age-related eye diseases in their early stages

– Avoid Smoking:  Smoking can increase your chances of developing cataracts and can cause age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Additionally, smoking can reduce the number of antioxidants that are beneficial to your eyes.

 

 

Do your Pencil Push-Ups
Strengthen your eyes with Convergence Exercises

 

Exercise Steps:

  1. Sit or stand straight and look at a far off small object.
  2. Hold out a pen at an arm’s length and look at its tip.
  3. Slowly bring the tip close to your eyes, keeping the tip at level with your eyes and hold for 10 seconds (the tip should appear clear and single) 
  4. Pull it back out to arm’s length and hold it there for 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat the exercise 5 times and work up to 10 times.

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