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National Picnic Month

July is National Picnic month! This July, why not try out some picnic foods that are good for your eyesight?

Below, we recommend some creative recipes that’ll feed both your stomach andyour eyes.

Pan Bagnat

A pan bagnat is a sandwich that originates from the Provence region in France. Typical ingredients include tuna, green peppers, hard-boiled eggs, olives, tomato, and vinaigrette.

Cold water fish like tuna are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fatty acid that may protect eyes against conditions including macular degeneration and cataracts. Eggs, meanwhile, contain lutein and vitamin A. Lutein is an antioxidant that may prevent macular degeneration, whereas vitamin A may decrease the risk of vision loss associated with the disorder. If you want a healthy dose of omega-3, lutein, and vitamin A, this sandwich is an excellent choice for a picnic.

Click for recipe.

Kale and Quinoa Salad

On a hot summer day, few things are more refreshing than a cool salad. Dark leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, and kale are full of lutein and zeaxanthin. As mentioned previously, lutein may decrease your risk of developing macular degeneration. A diet rich in zeaxanthin is alsoassociated with a lower incidence of macular degeneration.

This particular recipe features pecans. If you’d like an extra boost of omega-3 fatty acids, try using walnuts instead!

Click for recipe.

Mixed Berry Salad with Mint

Speaking of cool, refreshing salads, a berry salad can make an excellent side dish – or even a dessert. Berries are rich in vitamin C, which can be particularly important for reducing the risk of developing cataracts. Vitamin C is also linked to blood vessel health throughout the body, including blood vessels in the eye.

If berries aren’t your jam (pun intended), you can also get vitamin C by eating oranges or grapefruits. A fresh glass of lemonade can also give you a much-needed boost.

Click for recipe.

Sunflower-Seed Brittle

Sometimes, you just need a good crunchto keep you going. Sunflower seeds are a great source of both vitamin E and zinc. Vitamin E may reduce the risk of developing cataracts, and zinc may protect against macular degeneration and night blindness. Zinc also helps your body absorb vitamin A, another vitamin that is excellent for eye health.

If you don’t feel like cooking, there’s no harm in eating sunflower seeds straight from the bag!

Click for recipe.

Are you interested in learning how to keep your eyes healthy year-round? Contact Larson Eye Care today to set up a comprehensive eye examination. Our staff will share insights about how to keep your eyes healthy longer.

How to Keep Your Eyes Safe From UV Rays

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you forget to wear your sunglasses?

During the summer months, people tend to spend more time outdoors. If you leave your sunglasses at home, it might be tempting to shrug it off. You might need to squint a little, you figure. What’s the worst that could happen?

As it turns out, exposure to UV rays significantly increases the risk of cataracts and other eye conditions.

This cataract awareness month, Larson Eye Care encourages you to take special care of your eyes and keep them safe from the sun.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a common eye condition in which the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to blurry vision, light sensitivity, and difficulty seeing at night.

Risk factors for developing a cataract include:

  • Older age
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Previous eye injury, surgery, or radiation treatments on the upper body
  • Using certain medications, e.g., corticosteroids
  • Other health issues, e.g., diabetes
  • Exposure to UV rays, particularly without sunglasses

Although many of us think of cataracts as having obvious symptoms, sometimes they can develop slowly. For this reason, it’s important to have regular comprehensive eye examinations, particularly as you get older. Cataracts can only be treated through surgery.

How can I keep my eyes safe this summer?

This summer, take special care to avoid harming your eyes by wearing wrap-around sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays. You may also want to wear a wide-brimmed hat.

There are three different types of UV rays:

  • UVA rays can pass through the cornea, damaging the eye’s lens and retina. Overexposure to UVA radiation has been linked to the development of cataracts as well as macular degeneration.
  • UVB rays are mostly filtered by the ozone layer, but can still travel down to reach your eyes. UVB rays have been linked to snow blindness and surfer’s eye.
  • UVC rays are the most dangerous type of UV radiation, but they’re almost exclusively blocked by the ozone layer.

The strength of these UV rays varies depending on time of day, geographic location, and altitude. Be sure to check your local weather report before going outside; most reports will offer insights into current UV levels.

Worried about keeping your eyes safe this summer? Contact Larson Eye Care for more information about how to protect your vision from common eye diseases.

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week

The week before Memorial Day marks Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, an annual awareness week that aims to prevent drowning, pool chemical injuries, and illness outbreaks.

This year, Larson Eye Care encourages our patients to pay special attention to their contact lens habits, particularly while they’re swimming.

Is it safe to wear contact lenses in water?

No! If you’re thinking about dipping into a pool, lake, or ocean this summer, you should remove your contact lenses first.

Water – even seemingly clean water – can contain countless microbes and viruses. Most of the time, your eyes naturally fight these invaders by blinking them away. When you’re wearing contact lenses, these foreign organisms can get stuck between your eye and the lens, leading to irritation, infections, or even conditions that can permanently harm your vision.

  • Acanthamoeba keratitis: Acanthamoeba keratitis is a rare, but serious condition in which an organism known as Acanthamoeba infects the cornea, leading to inflammation and potential corneal scarring. If not caught early, people with this condition may need a corneal transplant to recover their lost vision.
  • Corneal ulcer: A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea, typically caused by an infection. Symptoms of corneal ulcers include pus or discharge, blurred vision, redness, severe pain, and a persistent sensation of having something in your eye. Some people may also notice a white spot on their cornea.

In addition, water can dislodge rigid gas permeable contact lenses or cause soft contact lenses to tighten around the eye. Both instances can lead to significant discomfort or worse – scratches on the surface of your eye.

What should I do if I swim in my contacts?

If water gets in your eye while swimming with contact lenses, you should immediately remove, clean, and disinfect the lenses. You should also rinse your eyes with rewetting drops or artificial tears.

Some doctors recommend throwing them away entirely. If you frequently swim while wearing contact lenses, daily disposable lenses may be the safest – and the most economical – option.

The best way to swim while still wearing your contacts is to invest in waterproof swim goggles. A good pair of goggles can protect your eyes from waterborne contaminants, as well as reduce the risk of your contacts dislodging or scratching your eyes. It’s also possible to purchase prescription swimming goggles that are custom-designed to correct your vision.

When should I see my doctor?

If you go swimming without removing your contact lenses, you might experience some unpleasant symptoms:

  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Unusual discharge
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately remove and disinfect your contact lenses. If these symptoms last for more than a few hours, it’s time to contact your eye doctor.

Do you have any other questions about swimming with your contact lenses? Contact Larson Eye Care today, and we’d be happy to discuss any questions you might have.

A Q&A with Renee, Our Aesthetician!

Can you tell us a little more about your background? What made you want to become an aesthetician?

Well for starters, I’m proud to say I graduated from the Mequon/Thiensville School of Aesthetics at the top of my class. Since then, I’ve been offering aesthetician services to the Milwaukee and surrounding areas for over 13 years.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.