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Exercise Can Reduce the Risk of Cataracts

Grandad Granddaughter GlaucomaResearchers have discovered that people who engage in moderate exercise have a 10% lower chance of developing age-related cataracts than people who don’t exercise, according to the International Journal of Ophthalmology.

An estimated 24% of adults do little to no physical activity, which puts them at greater risk of cataracts and other age-related vision problems, not to mention heart disease, high blood pressure, and more.

Getting into a regular exercise routine will not only boost your fitness; it can also help protect your eyesight! It is important to make time in your life to exercise regularly, as it can reduce the risk of developing cataracts and keep you healthy overall.

What are Common Signs of Cataracts?

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss and blindness worldwide. Fortunately, they can be easily treated with surgery. If you begin to notice the following symptoms, contact your eye doctor immediately:

  • Cloudy spots or hazy vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Light halos or glares, especially at night

With prevention and early detection, you can take greater control over your visual outcomes as you age.

How Does Exercise Benefit Our Eyes?

Exercise increases our antioxidant enzyme activity, which results in less breakdown and clouding of our natural lens. It is also known to reduce oxidative stress that can cause cell damage in the eye, which in turn causes cataracts.

Over time, exercise can also increase our HDL, the “good” cholesterol, which helps carry more antioxidants throughout the body, including our natural lens.

In addition to exercise, your diet also plays crucial role. An increased and consistent intake of vitamins A, E, and C has been shown to benefit eye health.

What Kind of Exercise Should I Do?

The risk of developing cataracts could potentially be reduced by 2% for every hour a person walks or cycles daily, the researchers concluded.

If you do not currently exercise, start off with a small amount and gradually increase your physical activity. You should aim to exercise several days a week for 30 minutes. This will improve your overall health and reduce the risk of cataracts.

Always consult your physician before starting an exercise regimen.

Running, walking, and biking are common activities found to help decrease the risk of cataracts.

Contact Dr. Tu to schedule an eye exam and find out what you could do to reduce your risk of cataracts and keep your vision healthy.

Regional Eye Center serves patients from , Leesburg, Montezuma, and , throughout Georgia.

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Can HSA/FSA Benefits Be Used for Eye Surgeries Like LASIK, Cataracts or Glaucoma?

Dry Eye Asian Man 640×350The prospect of eye surgery can be daunting not only because it’s a medical procedure, but because it can be expensive. Don’t let either of these things prevent you from receiving the sight-preserving surgery you need. Find out how a Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can help you pay for your eye surgery.

What is HSA?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a savings account that allows you to set aside money for medical needs pre-tax. HSAs are only available with high deductible health insurance plans. The funds are yours to keep and will roll over with you into the new year. But these funds are not available to spend until they have been added to your account.

What is FSA?

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is an employee account that allows you to deposit money in order to pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses such as insurance copayments and deductibles, qualified prescription drugs and medical devices. You do not pay taxes on this money. This means you’ll save an amount equal to the taxes you would have paid on the money you set aside.

FSA money is ‘use it or lose it,’ meaning that you must use the money in your FSA within the plan year. However, your employer may decide to provide a grace period of up to 2.5 extra months to utilize the funds, or permit you to carry over up to $500 per year to use the next year, according to

“Your employer can offer either one of these options but not both. It’s not required to offer either one,” the government website notes.

Can HSA and FSA Benefits Be Used for Eye Surgery?

Yes, eye surgery is eligible for reimbursement with both an HSA and an FSA. Any eye surgery for vision correction, improvement, or the treatment of a condition or disease related to eye health or eyesight falls under that category.

These accounts can also be used to pay for eye exams, prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses, as well as contact lenses.

Whether you are considering LASIK, cataract or glaucoma surgery, you can use your HSA or FSA funds to cover part or all of your treatment.

The first step toward using your HSA or FSA is to visit your eye doctor, who will provide you with a thorough exam and advise you on whether you are a suitable candidate for eye surgery. Your doctor will discuss the cost of your treatment and explain how to best utilize your HSA or FSA.

Contact Regional Eye Center to book a consultation to learn more about how you can use your benefits to pay for your surgery.

Regional Eye Center serves patients from Americus, Montezuma..Leesburg…, throughout Georgia.


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What to Avoid If You Have Glaucoma

Dry Eye Senior Woman 640×350Glaucoma is caused by high intraocular pressure that damages the eyes’ optic nerves. The risk of developing the disease increases over the age of 60. If undetected or left untreated, elevated eye pressure can cause irreversible vision loss and even blindness.

Glaucoma is known as theSilent Thief of Sight’ because most people aren’t aware that pressure is mounting in their eyes. For this reason, regular eye exams that include eye pressure measurements are vital to diagnose glaucoma early and prevent damage.

What can you do if you have glaucoma? Consider avoiding or modifying the activities and foods below that boost intraocular pressure.

Activities to Consider Modifying

Some activities cause increased eye pressure, but research isn’t conclusive on their effect on glaucoma. Consider modifying these activities:

  • When weightlifting, use lighter weights. You’ll still get a good workout by increasing the number of repetitions with lighter weights.
  • You might enjoy doing headstands and yoga positions with the head upside-down and below the heart, especially the downward-facing-dog position. Discuss with Dr. Tu and your yoga instructor whether these and other positions can be enjoyed safely. Your eye doctor will offer additional recommendations for safely enjoying yoga.
  • If you play woodwind or brass instruments, such as the trumpet, French horn, or oboe, have Dr. Tu frequently check your intraocular pressure and visual field.

The Role of Consuming Unhealthy Foods

The following foods and food components can, directly and indirectly, harm the optic nerve and raise intraocular pressure, so consider reducing their consumption:

  • Trans-fats can harm blood vessels, which can damage the optic nerve. Avoiding fried foods and processed foods high in trans-fats (such as French fries, fried chicken, and potato chips) can help.
  • Saturated fats cause weight gain, which raises the body-mass index. A high BMI has been linked to intraocular pressure and glaucoma. It’s best to avoid foods high in saturated fats such as butter, cheese, and whole milk, and such fatty meats as salami and bacon.
  • Caffeinated coffee increases intraocular pressure, so moderating consumption may be a good idea.

If you would like to discuss lifestyle choices that could help you decrease the risk or even prevent a worsening of your glaucoma, contact Regional Eye Center.

Regional Eye Center treats patients with glaucoma from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, , and throughout Georgia.



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How to Reduce Your Risk of Cataracts

Lively Older Man Riding His Bicycle, Laughs And Enjoys Life. SenWhat Are Cataracts?

Healthy eyes properly focus on objects thanks to their crystalline lens. After the age of 50, many people experience protein buildup, which gradually causes the lens to become opaque, which leads to cataracts. The resulting fogginess and blurriness reduce vision since the cataract scatters light, causing less light to reach the retina. Unless the cataract is surgically removed and replaced with a clear lens, blindness can ensue.

Cataracts can develop due to aging, genetics, diabetes, head trauma, eye injuries, even excessive smoking, and drinking.

The most common signs of cataracts are:

  • Sensitivity to strong light
  • Diminished nighttime vision, especially while driving
  • Frequently needing to update your eyeglass prescription
  • Faded colors
  • Seeing duplicate images
  • Seeing halos around lit objects

Keeping Cataracts at Bay

According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Eye Institute, by 2050, 50 million Americans will have cataracts. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce or delay the prospect of falling into that demographic.

Eat a diet rich in certain antioxidants and nutrients:

Lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamins C and E, and zinc decrease the risk of cataracts and other eye diseases.

Foods containing these nutrients include green leafy vegetables; eggs; salmon; cantaloupes, corn, carrots and peppers; apples, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, kiwi, mangoes, peaches, and tomatoes; hazelnuts, almonds, and peanuts; sunflower seeds; oils: soybean, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, and wheat germ; and vitamin-fortified cereals.

In addition to improved nutrition, the following preventative steps can help keep cataracts at bay:

  • Avoid processed, fried, and junk foods.
  • Quit/avoid smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Wear protective eyewear and wide-brimmed hats to reduce exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays
  • Keep diabetes under control by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
  • Monitor your blood pressure.
  • Visit Dr. Tu routinely for eye exams. Early detection may save your sight!

If you’ve sustained eye injuries, had eye surgery, or been prescribed steroids for prolonged periods, make sure to let Dr. Tu know, as these can all cause cataracts.

Make an appointment with Dr. Tu to assess and reduce your risk of cataracts. If cataracts are affecting your vision, speak with Dr. Tu to discuss surgical options for their removal.


Regional Eye Center assists patients in Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, , and throughout Georgia.



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Signs That You Might Have Cataracts

Middle Aged Couple Multifocal ContactsThe crystalline lens, which sits inside the eye, allows us to focus on objects near and far. The lens is thin, soft, and clear throughout our youth, but the gradual buildup of protein that begins in our 40s or 50s makes the lens thick, rigid, and opaque. Left untreated, the cataract will disrupt vision, and can eventually cause blindness.

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • foggy or blurred vision, with less light reaching the retina
  • sensitivity to light, especially strong sunlight
  • difficulty seeing at night, especially while driving, when the headlights of approaching cars appear dispersed
  • frequently needing to update your eyeglass prescription
  • colors becoming less vivid and more yellow
  • images appearing in duplicate, even with only one eye open
  • halos around lit objects

Besides aging, cataracts can develop due to

  • genetics
  • medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • head trauma
  • eye injuries
  • excessive smoking and drinking
  • Poor nutrition

What Can be Done About Cataracts?

Wearing sunglasses, ingesting Vitamins C and E, and eating antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and nuts can delay the onset of cataracts.

If you suspect you may have cataracts, the first step is to contact Regional Eye Center, where Dr. Tu will conduct a thorough examination, including dilating your pupils to check for possible protein buildup on your crystalline lens. If you have cataracts but can still see well, you might benefit from a strengthened eyeglass prescription.

When updating your prescription ceases to help, cataract surgery is the best solution. In that case, Dr. Tu will speak with you about the advantages of cataract surgery. If the examination finds cataracts in both eyes, the procedures will almost certainly be performed on separate days to allow each eye to recover independently.

During cataract surgery, Dr. Tu will replace the affected lens with an artificial lens. It is done on an outpatient basis, is virtually painless, and has a very high rate of success.

At Regional Eye Center, we care for patients with cataracts from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, , and throughout Georgia.


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If You Want Perfect Vision For Summer, Start Thinking LASIK Now!

woman enjoying summerWhether you have big summer plans or prefer a more low-key vacation, having clear vision without having to wear contacts or glasses will give you the freedom to experience the world in a whole new way. If you’ve been contemplating LASIK for a while and pushing it off, perhaps the following reasons will convince you this is a great time to consider this successful option for getting rid of your glasses once and for all. Could it be the right time to visit Regional Eye Center for a consultation regarding your LASIK candidacy and start your path to life without eyeglasses?

Why Is It Best To Have LASIK Done Before Summer Vacation?

Make Your Travels Comfortable

If you wear glasses or contacts, you know the struggle involved in traveling with eyewear. You want to sleep on the plane or in the car but don’t know the best place to safely keep your glasses. Following LASIK, you’ll no longer have to worry about losing a contact lens or breaking a pair of glasses.

Hassle-Free Vision

When you wear glasses or contacts, the list of eye-related items to pack in a suitcase can be daunting. In the past, you may have packed an extra pair of glasses, prescription sunglasses, extra contact lenses, storage solution, lens cases and cleaning solutions. With clearer vision after LASIK, you’ll be able to cross these items off your packing list.

Even if your summer plans involve little more than playing some ball with your kids and lounging by a pool, not having to worry about breaking or misplacing your eyewear can make these activities more pleasant and less stressful.

Enjoy The Great Outdoors

One of the most compelling reasons to undergo LASIK before the summer is quality of life. You’ll be able to see underwater while swimming and participate in watersports without the need for prescription goggles or the fear that your glasses might break or your lenses might pop out. Then there’s the ability to simply notice every small detail of your vacation with vivid clarity.

Perfect For College Students, Too

An additional, yet important, benefit of choosing LASIK before the summer is that college students will have enough time to recover and adjust to their new vision before the new academic year begins. The surgery is generally free of complications and requires very little down-time, but blurry vision can sometimes be a short-term side effect. While this doesn’t apply to the majority of patients, giving yourself enough time to completely recover before school starts in the fall will set you up for success.

Get Your LASIK Screening By Calling Regional Eye Center

There are so many reasons to choose LASIK now, before summertime. But all those reasons boil down to an overall increased quality of life, which is what our practice offers with LASIK. If you are ready for improved, hassle-free, and effortless vision, call Regional Eye Center today.

With summer’s warm weather just around the corner, you might be planning for more time out in the fresh air.

If you’re a glasses or contact lens wearer, you know that they can be uncomfortable for doing sports, swimming, and being in windy conditions.

LASIK surgery can give you the freedom to engage in whatever outdoor activities you like without needing to wear glasses or contact lenses.

Visit our practice to evaluate your LASIK candidacy and begin your journey to hassle-free vision.

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Can a Nutritious Diet Prevent Age-Related Cataracts?

slice orange fruit and strawberries 1116558Age-related cataracts are extremely common — so common, in fact, that more than half of all adults develop cataracts in one or both eyes by age 65. Left untreated, cataracts can gradually cause vision loss, even blindness. You can take steps to prevent this. By consuming foods or supplements rich in antioxidants, you may be able to slow the development and progression of cataracts.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts refer to the clouding of the eye’s natural lens due to light passing through to the retina in a scattered, rather than focused, manner. This leads to changes in vision, resulting in blurry vision and faded colors. This also impacts one’s ability to clearly see at night.

Cataracts come in three forms: nuclear, cortical, and posterior capsular, each of which depends on their locations on the lens.

Age-related cataracts are caused by tissue breakdown and protein clumping on the lens. Exactly why this happens isn’t yet clear. Cataracts must be taken seriously. Unaddressed, they can lead to vision loss or even blindness.

Once a cataract has developed, there is no cure except to have it surgically removed

How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?

To diagnose cataracts, an optometrist will assess the patient’s visual acuity, color vision, and evaluate their sensitivity to bright light. Dr. Tu will also examine the front of the eye using a microscope, called a slit lamp, and check the retina for signs of cataracts.

Once cataracts have been diagnosed, the condition must be carefully monitored with regular eye exams. Because vision deteriorates over time, eyeglass or contact lens’ prescriptions will need to be frequently adjusted.

It is strongly advised to regularly wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats to avoid the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays on the eyes. Furthermore, since cataracts cause poor night vision, with halos around street lights and car headlights, people with cataracts may need to stop driving at night.

Once the condition has reached an advanced stage, the cataract will have to be surgically removed and replaced with a synthetic intraocular lens (IOL).

Diet and Nutritional Supplements Can Help Against Cataracts

Research suggests that antioxidants play an important role in staving off cataracts. In one study of 30,000 women aged 49 and older, those who consumed the most antioxidants had a 13% lower risk of developing cataracts than the group of women who consumed the least.

Certain foods and supplements rich in antioxidants may protect against free radicals — unstable atoms that cause cellular damage — that attack the lenses of the eyes and contribute to the formation of cataracts. Four powerful nutrients, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin, can delay the onset and even decrease the risk of developing cataracts.

Foods containing these nutrients include:

Lutein and zeaxanthin

Kale, spinach, egg yolks, salmon and certain yellow and orange vegetables, such as cantaloupes, corn, carrots and peppers

Vitamin C

Apples, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, spinach, tomatoes

Vitamin E

Nuts: hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts (including peanut butter)

Seeds: sunflower seeds

Oils: soybean, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, wheat germ

Green leafy vegetables: spinach, broccoli

Fruit: kiwi, mangos, tomatoes

Vitamin-fortified cereals

To preserve eye health and reduce the risk of cataracts, you’ll want to avoid processed, fried and junk foods.

Consult Dr. Tu to learn about nutrition’s role in avoiding cataracts and which other steps you can take to maintain eye health.

Regional Eye Center serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma and , in Georgia.



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Can You Undergo Cataract Surgery and LASIK Surgery?

Happy Middle Aged CoupleHave you had LASIK surgery as a young adult and are now wondering whether it may compromise your eligibility for cataract surgery later in life? You can put your mind to rest; it is indeed possible for someone to undergo both LASIK and cataract surgery — though only in that order. Someone who’s had LASIK can have cataract surgery later in life, but someone who’s had cataract surgery, in most cases, is no longer a candidate for LASIK or other refractive surgeries.

If you have any questions about your eligibility for either surgery or regarding any other ocular health matter, call Regional Eye Center for all of your eye care needs.

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Understanding LASIK Surgery and Cataract Surgery

To better understand why cataract surgery is possible following LASIK surgery, it’s important to know the basics of both procedures.

LASIK surgery and other refractive surgeries are performed on the cornea — the dome-shaped, clear tissue at the front of the eye. During LASIK surgery, a laser reshapes the cornea so it refracts, or bends, light waves more precisely onto your retina (the light-sensitive tissue lining the back inner portion of the eyeball), resulting in clearer vision.

Cataract surgery, however, is performed on the eye’s natural lens — which is positioned just behind the iris (the colored part of the eye). The lens is responsible for focusing the light that passes through the eye onto the retina to produce a clear, crisp image. A healthy lens should be transparent and clear. Those with cataracts experience a clouding of the lens which disturbs normal vision. During cataract surgery, the cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with a synthetic lens, improving the clarity of your vision.

Cataract Surgery Without Having Had LASIK

The artificial replacement lens is designed to correct vision and replace prescription glasses. For those who have not had refractive surgery, vision correction through cataract surgery is usually uncomplicated and has a predictable outcome. After cataract surgery, many patients experience clear distance vision without the need for spectacles, although many will still need their reading glasses.

Cataract Surgery Following LASIK Surgery

The modern equipment used by Regional Eye Center takes very accurate measurements of the eyes, even many years after having undergone LASIK surgery. However, it is still highly recommended for those who have had LASIK surgery to provide the surgeon with all previous eye health records so that the appropriate lens implant be used for cataract surgery. If you do not already have them, you can request these records from the doctor who performed your LASIK surgery. If obtaining these records is not possible, cataract surgery can still be an option, though the postoperative refractive error may not be as predictable.

Contact Us For All Your Eye Health Concerns

Whether you’ve had LASIK or not, you still may have questions about your vision and ocular health. At Regional Eye Center, we’re here for you. Speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members about all of your vision and eye-related concerns.

serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, , and throughout Georgia.

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