Living Well: The Eyes Have It

An eye exam can reveal serious health issues

They say the eyes are the window to the soul, but they’re actually a portal to so much more. For most of us, one glance at another person’s eyes gives us clues about them as a person; maybe it’s those fine lines or dark circles that give away a person’s age or perhaps it’s a funky set of frames that tells us something about their personality. For an expert, an eye exam can reveal serious health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, tumors and stroke. In short, our eyes are a direct reflection of just how well we’re living, and there is much we can do to better see and be seen.

Healthy Eyes

Eye doctor visits should be a part of your preventative healthcare routine whether you have 20/20 vision or not, according to doctors Nicole Anderson Weiss and Michael Shapiro of Anderson & Shapiro Eyecare. Regular exams every one to two years (depending on age, genetics and lifestyle risk factors) are crucial in diagnosing eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration, as well as serious diseases you may not associate with your eyes, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, tumors and even things like rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s Disease. The bottom line is, don’t wait until you have pain or vision problems or make the mistake of thinking eye doctors are just for people who need glasses.

“The problem with glaucoma is patients often don’t have symptoms for five or even ten years, and the only way to catch it is if we examine them and measure the pressure in their eyes,” says Anderson Weiss. “If caught early, it’s treatable. If caught too late, the damage is done and it’s irreversible.”

Anderson & Shapiro offers products and procedures, both medical and elective, to correct nearly any conceivable eye issue. Things like Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) or cataract surgery implants (to correct both near and far vision and astigmatism) may have been unavailable the last time you had your eyes checked. There have been many advances in tried-and-true LASIK and Monovision—in which one eye is corrected for far-sightedness and the other for near—eliminates the need for reading glasses regardless of your age. Restasis prescription eye drops, implantable tear duct plugs, contacts, glasses—even a little Botox, fillers or Latisse eyelash treatment—are all available at Anderson & Shapiro depending on your unique needs.

“It’s a rare patient that has a legitimate visual complaint that we don’t have an option for,” says Shapiro.

Lifestyle changes are a key component to eye health, most notably dietary. Eat foods rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, spinach, broccoli, dark greens and green tea, and take supplements like Omega 3s, fish oils, lutein and Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is especially helpful for combating dry eyes, which can be a problem in itself or a symptom of a larger issue. Watery eyes, counter-intuitively, can actually be caused by dry eyes—and dry eyes can eventually cause scarring and lost vision.

“Five years ago I would have never thought I’d be sitting here talking about how I’ve changed my own diet to protect my eye health,” says Shapiro. “Now I recommend it to my patients as a critical component to ocular health.”

Younger Eyes

“When it comes to the face as a whole, the eyes are probably the most important area to focus on looking rejuvenated and rested,” says Kim Schuchardt of Lasting Skin Solutions. “The exciting thing now is we understand so much better what happens in the aging process.”

Schuchardt says aging is largely a deflation of tissue, and so today’s treatments focus on filling in rather than carving out. As part of her new, trademarked Airbrush Facelift, Schuchardt uses lasers and fillers to relax and soften the muscles around the eyes, tighten and restore the thinning skin, and then add volume above the brow, causing the whole eye to lift. The filler itself, Artefill, lasts approximately ten years—several years longer than many fillers of the past.

“It isn’t necessarily even an aging issue,” says Schuchardt. “Many times, simply due to genetics, our facial structure creates shadows or ridges that make us look tired, or angry or surprised, or older than we are. Most people don’t realize how simple, painless and low-risk it is to fix things like that today. Subtle changes can make a remarkable difference.”

For Schuchardt, how our eyes appear has a direct impact on how we feel about ourselves and influences how others interact with us.
“Our outsides features should match our inner personalities,” says Schuchardt. “I’m doing this to help people feel good about themselves, but it’s not about vanity. It’s about overall wellness.”

Eyes With Character

For many of us, wearing glasses is not only a necessity, it’s actually kind of … well, fun. Glasses can be yet another accessory used to express ourselves, just like a scarf, handbag or the perfect pair of shoes.

“When people walk into our store to buy glasses, we really want them to walk out feeling complete,” says Brittany Graber, president of Ulla Eyewear. “We don’t carry cookie cutter frames, so our customers really have an opportunity to find a pair of glasses that expresses their unique personality perfectly.”

Ulla Eyewear, a staple in Hilldale Mall, has been a family owned business for twelve years. In addition to heavy involvement in the community, Graber prides herself on offering the care and service that only a small, independent business can. This extends to the products, twelve to fifteen unique lines that Graber chooses herself, many of which are handcrafted and even hand-painted. From funky to conservative, affordable to full-out splurge, Ulla offers something for everyone: prescription sunglasses, sport frames, titanium frames, and lenses of all kinds—polarized, reading, distance, progressive, transition, tinted—as well as shapes and colors you just can’t imagine until you see for yourself.

“It’s all about transforming your face to bring out what’s inside you,” says Graber. “When you find just the right pair of glasses, you know it. The best part of my job is journeying alongside you every step of the way until you’ve got exactly what you need.” l

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