20/20: What You Need to Know About Eye Health in 2015
Education & Research The USC Eye Institute’s Dr. Rohit Varma gives us the low-down on vision; an important, yet often overlooked part of overall health.
Mediaplanet: What can one do to prevent eye damage and protect their vision?
Rohit Varma: Eye health can be promoted through a balanced, healthy diet. Maintaining optimal weight and blood pressure can prevent visual problems related to diabetes and hypertension. Above all, routine comprehensive ophthalmological examinations can detect disease early and prevent damage before it occurs or advances. If you feel there is something wrong with your vision, do not ignore it.
MP: When is Lasik or corrective surgery a good choice?
"Stem cell and gene therapy will enable us to treat many eye diseases for which currently there is no treatment. Advances in biomedical engineering will make surgical procedures even safer and more efficient."
RV: Myopia, hyperopia and presbyopia can be treated successfully with refractive surgery.
Patients who want to stop using glasses or contact lenses may consider these options after a thorough evaluation to determine candidacy and outline mutual expectations.
If you cannot wear glasses or contact lenses, talk to your ophthalmologist to see if LASIK is appropriate for you.
MP: Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among Americas who are age 65 and older. What is the piece of advice for people diagnosed with AMD?
RV: For dry AMD, the best way to reduce the risk of vision loss is to consume healthy food, including green leafy vegetables, fish and omega-3. Take the AREDS formula vitamins, avoid smoking, and get your eyes examined regularly by an ophthalmologist. For wet AMD, keep your regular appointments with your ophthalmologist.
MP: Where do you see the future of vision care and advancements for vision loss going in the next 5 years?
RV: Stem cell and gene therapy will enable us to treat many eye diseases for which currently there is no treatment. Advances in biomedical engineering will make surgical procedures even safer and more efficient. Drug delivery to the eye will become easier and will eliminate frequent office visits.