Do you know what are the risks to your eye health? Find out about blue light and UV rays

New research reveals most Britons unaware of damage to their eyes by surrounding objects, activities, and devices.

Anatomy of the human eye
Anatomy of the human eye

The poll has shown that many British people remain uninformed about the various ways in which eyes are damaged by common daily factors, despite evidence that eye health is affected by blue light[i], UV rays (reflected from common surfaces)[ii], diet[iii], obesity[iv], and smoking[v].

Of the 2,096 people polled, the percentage of respondents aware of the link between known factors affecting and eye health were:

  • Poor diet (59%)
  • Obesity (35%)
  • Smoking tobacco (36%)
  • UV light, not just direct from the sun but reflected off shiny surfaces (54%)
  • Blue light from low energy lightbulbs and electronic screens (29%)

Over one in ten people were completely unaware that any of these factors could affect your eyesight at all.

72% of respondents own or wear prescription glasses but only 28% knew that there were lenses available (for both prescription and non-prescription glasses) to protect against some of these factors. Namely ‘blue light’ (emitted from electronic devices and low energy light bulbs), and ‘UV light’ (not only directly from the sun but also from reflections such as off of water, windows, and road surfaces).


76% admitted they haven’t heard of E-SPF ratings – the grade given to lenses to show the level of protection they offer against UV.

Just 13% have lenses with protection from direct and reflected UV light, and only 2% have protection from blue light (from screens, devices, and low energy bulbs).

Poll results showed that younger people were most aware of the dangers of UV and blue light, yet least aware of how smoking tobacco and obesity can affect your eye health. W

Awareness of the impacts of smoking and obesity on eye health is significantly higher in Scotland (47% & 49% respectively) than anywhere else in the UK (35% & 33% in England and 40% & 38% in Wales).

Essilor’s Professional Relations Manager, Andy Hepworth, has commented: “The lack of awareness about these common risks to people’s eyes is concerning. Not only would many more glasses wearers be better protected, but also many people who do not wear glasses would likely take precautions too, if made aware of the dangers and the existence of non-prescription protective lenses”

To see the full results of the poll, please visit the Essilor site here: http://www.essilor.co.uk/all_about_vision/all_about_vision_news_events/Eye_Health_At_Risk

For more information on the protection offered from blue light and UV through specialist lens coatings, for both prescriptions and non-prescription glasses, please see here for Essilor UV & Blue Light Protection.

 

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,096 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21st and 24th August 2015.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

[i] Blue light causes a chemical to be produced that brings on cell death in the eye. Over time this can lead to age related muscular degeneration (AMD). – Aging of Cultured Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells: Oxidative Reactions, Lipofuscin Formation and Blue Light Damage – Documenta Ophthalmologica. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1022419606629

 

[ii] Prolonged exposure to UV rays can bring about early-onset cataracts and premature ocular aging. – Effect of Ultraviolet Radiation on Cataract Formation – The New England Journal of Medicine. http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM198812013192201
Reflected UV rays are arguably more important than direct rays, as they are responsible for 50% of the UV radiation we receive, yet it is not as immediately obvious to the public that this is a concern. – Meyler J and Schnider C. The role of UV-blocking soft CLs in ocular protection. Optician 2002, 223: 5854: 28-32.

 

[iii] A good diet rich in carotenoids from foods such as broccoli, green beans, leafy greens, foods with vitamins C and E, foods with omega-3 fatty acids and foods with zinc can help prevent macular degeneration. – Dietary Antioxidants and the Long-term Incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Blue Mountains Eye Study – Ophthalmology. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0161642007004745 and Dietary Carotenoids, Vitamins A, C, and E, and Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration – The Journal of the American Medical Association. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=382145

 

[iv] Obesity puts pressure on to blood vessels, which are especially delicate in your eyes, and this causes damage that can lead to poor vision. Obesity is also related to poor nutrition, which can prevent your eyes from getting the vitamins they need to maintain good health. – Obesity, Lutein Metabolism, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration: a Web of Connections – Nutrition Reviews – Oxford Journals. http://nutritionreviews.oxfordjournals.org/content/63/1/9

 

[1] Blue light causes a chemical to be produced that brings on cell death in the eye. Over time this can lead to age related muscular degeneration (AMD). – Aging of Cultured Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells: Oxidative Reactions, Lipofuscin Formation and Blue Light Damage – Documenta Ophthalmologica. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1022419606629

 

[1] Prolonged exposure to UV rays can bring about early-onset cataracts and premature ocular aging. – Effect of Ultraviolet Radiation on Cataract Formation – The New England Journal of Medicine. http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJM198812013192201
Reflected UV rays are arguably more important than direct rays, as they are responsible for 50% of the UV radiation we receive, yet it is not as immediately obvious to the public that this is a concern. – Meyler J and Schnider C. The role of UV-blocking soft CLs in ocular protection. Optician 2002, 223: 5854: 28-32.

 

[1] A good diet rich in carotenoids from foods such as broccoli, green beans, leafy greens, foods with vitamins C and E, foods with omega-3 fatty acids and foods with zinc can help prevent macular degeneration. – Dietary Antioxidants and the Long-term Incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Blue Mountains Eye Study – Ophthalmology. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0161642007004745 and Dietary Carotenoids, Vitamins A, C, and E, and Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration – The Journal of the American Medical Association. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=382145

 

[1] Obesity puts pressure on to blood vessels, which are especially delicate in your eyes, and this causes damage that can lead to poor vision. Obesity is also related to poor nutrition, which can prevent your eyes from getting the vitamins they need to maintain good health. – Obesity, Lutein Metabolism, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration: a Web of Connections – Nutrition Reviews – Oxford Journals. http://nutritionreviews.oxfordjournals.org/content/63/1/9

 

[1] Smoking amplifies the impact of oxidation on cells in the eye, as well as restricting blood flow and causing build-up of heavy metals in the eye. – Smoking And Neovascular Form Of Age Related Macular Degeneration In Late Middle Aged Males: Findings From A Case-Control Study In Japan – British Journal of Ophthalmology. http://bjo.bmj.com/content/81/10/901.full

 

[v] Smoking amplifies the impact of oxidation on cells in the eye, as well as restricting blood flow and causing build-up of heavy metals in the eye. – Smoking And Neovascular Form Of Age Related Macular Degeneration In Late Middle Aged Males: Findings From A Case-Control Study In Japan – British Journal of Ophthalmology. http://bjo.bmj.com/content/81/10/901.full

 

Alzheimer’s Society report finds dementia diagnosis is ‘drawn out and needlessly stressful’- Find out about new research into life with Alzheimer’s


 

Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s

A new report released today by Red & Yellow Care in partnership with The Alzheimer’s Society highlights that timely diagnosis, increased public awareness and improved flexibility of care need to be addressed to help pave the way for a good life with dementia.

The new report coincides with the launch of Red & Yellow Care, a new service which uniquely offers specialist, integrated dementia care that is centred around, and is tailored to the person with dementia.

The report explores what a ‘good life’ with dementia could look like and shows that currently diagnosis is often drawn out and can be needlessly stressful. What happens after diagnosis was also highlighted as being remarkably variable. Experts interviewed in the report agree that there is a need for better post-diagnostic care and support.

Arguably the single biggest barrier to achieving a good life with dementia is the acceptance and understanding of the experience of dementia in the wider community. To overcome the loneliness, alienation and segregation currently felt by many people the report states that it is imperative that dementia is accepted as a ‘new normal’, just one more of the many challenges faced by people across all walks of life. It also calls for individuals with dementia to be treated as people and not to be feared or kept ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

Additional research of members of the public commissioned to support the report backs this up by showing



that 43% of people do not think you can live a good life if you have dementia and 65% of people are scared that they or a family member will get dementia.

Unsurprisingly, there is a strong desire from individuals with dementia to remain in their own homes and to be looked after by a loved one. Yet some carers can struggle to adapt to the changing needs of their loved ones, and few have the specialist expertise to ensure that individuals receive the highest quality care at every step of their dementia journeys.

The report outlines a six-part framework for enabling a ‘good life’ with dementia – one rooted in universal notions of identity, happiness and fulfillment:

  • How to better support people with dementia to maintain their sense of uniqueness and personal identity (Respecting identity: ‘It’s not one size fits all’)
  • Achieving the right balance between memory-based activities and enjoying the here and now (Embracing now: ‘It’s a moment-living life’)
  • Ensuring people with dementia are able to experience meaningful human connections (Sustaining relationships: ‘ You don’t always need words’)
  • Ensuring people with dementia are able to experience a full range of emotions (Valuing contrast: ‘Good days and bad days’)
  • Taking risks – what are we protecting people with dementia from? (Supporting agency: ‘What’s there to worry about?’)
  • Promoting good overall health with those who are living with dementia including physical and emotional wellbeing (Maintaining health: ‘My priority in life’) 

Red & Yellow Care commissioned the report to better understand the impact of dementia on the individual, their family and carers. The right clinical care can make a big difference, but few people with dementia receive the care they need; it can be difficult to access or is completely fragmented. Red & Yellow Care was set up to overcome this fragmentation and provide high quality clinical care and support. They are a group of dementia specialists who believe in providing the quality of care that we would all want for ourselves and our loved ones.

The Red & Yellow Care team of dementia experts have ignored the status quo and designed the ideal scenario; a care system that revolves around the individual. This is delivered by providing patients with a named dementia nurse, who is supported by a fully integrated, multi-professional healthcare team. Red & Yellow Care provide a common-sense solution to a complex problem via their:

  • Diagnostic Service
  • Post-Diagnostic Care & Support Service

To find out more check out their web site at

www.redandyellowcare.com

BACKGROUND AND REGIONAL INFORMATION 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,347 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 26th – 27th February 2014.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

43% of people in the UK do not think it is possible to live a good life if you have dementia. 

65% of people in the UK are scared that they or a family member will get dementia.

Is your child eating too much salt for breakfast? – find out more in our exclusive interview about healthy eating options for children

SaltA new study shows the vast majority of parents are unaware of the salt levels present in their children’s breakfast cereals, with health experts worried they could be easily exceeding recommended salt intake levels on a daily basis


In a study released today, 85% of parents didn’t factor in salt content when choosing breakfast cereals for their children. Many might ask why they would, when hot debate in this category has been focused on sugar (leaving salt levels largely unnoticed). But with cereal manufacturers under increasing pressure to reduce sugar levels in their products, the two issues aren’t mutually exclusive: salt enhances sweetness.

With two thirds of children eating cereal every day for breakfast, and salt levels still worryingly high in popular cereal choices and other mainstream foods (an innocent homemade ham sandwich* provides over 50% of this age group’s 3 gram daily allowance of salt), experts are concerned that parents could be struggling to bring their children’s diets in at the recommended levels.

The YouGov research, commissioned by healthy food brand BEAR on their launch of the first salt and refined sugar free cereal for children, saw 41% of parents whose youngest child was between 4-6 years old, guessing a maximum daily salt allowance for this child to be higher than the recommended maximum amount. 12% guessed this to be 3-6 times higher.

The need for a salt free start to the day is crucial to reduce future risk of strokes and heart attacks but the more pressing concern during childhood is that a high salt intake leads to loss of calcium, therefore thinning bones and putting children at serious risk of developing diseases like osteoporosis.

Katherine Jenner, Campaign Director of CASH (Consensus Action on Salt & Health) says that research has shown that we only develop a liking for salt through eating salt in food which is why it is important not to give children salty tasting foods.
A reduction of salt intakes across the UK population by just 1 gram a day is estimated to prevent 6,000 strokes and heart attacks a year as well as have other health benefits for the population. Salt is not needed in cereal.
Here to tell us more about the research and how parents can avoid giving their children too much harmful salt are Sonia Pombo of CASH and founder of healthy food brand BEAR, Hayley Gait-Golding.  Interviewing them on behalf of PatientTalk.Org is Lauren Beslaw.

 

BRESLAW I’m joined by Sonia from CASH and Hayley, founder of BEAR.  They are discussing a new study that shows that the vast majority of parents aren’t aware of salt levels in their children’s breakfast cereals.  This is leading health experts to worry that they could be easily exceeding the recommended salt intake levels on a daily basis.

So what’s the best possible breakfast for a child?

SONIA POMBO: I think there are lots of potentially great breakfasts a child could have. I think that currently when parents go out to supermarkets there is a lot of almost, bewildering choices available for them.  There are so many cereals and obviously the ones that children seem to want the most tend to be full of refined sugars and salt.  So I think a great breakfast for children would be something like our BEAR Alphabites which we have made with no refined sugar and importantly no salt and also things like porridge, fruit that’s a great start to the day.  You want something without the refined sugars so you get nice steady energy and without the added salt too.

BRESLAW Is there any special advice you’d give for children with allergies and food intolerance?

SONIA POMBO: With regards to cereals or just in general?

BRESLAW Generally.

SONIA POMBO: Well definitely if they do have any allergies then they need to get a check-up by the doctor, make sure that they are aware of which allergies they have and then just check the back of food packaging to make sure they double check any of those allergens are not involved in the boxes.  So for example dairy don’t drink any milk.  If you are allergic to nuts, some cereals although they may not contain nuts they may be produced in the same factory that has nuts so always be cautious and double check the back of the pack.

BRESLAW So why is salt bad for us?

SONIA POMBO: The main reason, not just for children but for adults, is that it puts up our blood pressure and that’s the main cause of strokes, heart attacks and heart failures which is the biggest cause of death, not just in the UK but worldwide and although people associate having a high blood pressure with adults especially with the elderly, it’s definitely something that can start up as young as in childhood.  So if you have high blood pressure as a child that will most likely lead on to having high blood pressure in adulthood as well but just focusing on children, it’s especially important not to have a high salt diet as it affects the amount of calcium that’s absorbed in your bones and as we know while children are growing their bones are getting stronger and absorbing as much calcium as they can and with salt preventing this from happening then it could lead to problems later on in life such as osteoporosis and just having more brittle bones.

BRESLAW Why do we need salt?

SONIA POMBO: Well we need salt for, that’s a very good complicated question.  We need salt, although a very minimal amount which can easily be found naturally in foods, we need it just for our systems to work properly.  It’s involved in a number of nerve systems and also in making sure that our body retains the right amount of water and all the vitamins and nutrients etc.  So there is definitely a need for salt but it’s not really an issue for us because the amount of salt that we are having huge.  At the moment we’re as a nation, having about 8.1 grams of salt a day.  We probably don’t need even more that 1 gram a day so it’s something that we to try and combat, not just individually but as a nation and within the food industry and government.

HAYLEY GAIT GOULDING: Yes and we’ve recently done some work with Amanda Ursell who is a very respected nutritionist and we looked at the types of typical days, what a conservative estimate would be of what children in the UK would be consuming a day and they are already consuming around 7 grams a day and like I said that is a conservative estimate and you know if you think a 4 – 6 year old the maximum they are allow a day is 3 grams.  So that is at the upper limit, 3 grams but they are already more than double of what they should be having and like I said that was a very, very conservative estimate that we took so it could be very close to what adults are consuming, around 8 grams that children are having and that’s like Sonia said, is going to cause their bones to lose calcium.  Salt saps calcium from their bones and that that weakens over time and children are building that bone bank.  So I think it’s really important that manufacturers follow in our footsteps and take salt out of cereals because there is not technical reason you need salt in cereals.  It’s probably the one meal a day where you could quite easily say, do you know what, let’s get rid of that salt and it would give people a much better start to the day.

BRESLAW Are there any alternatives to salt available?

HAYLEY GAIT GOULDING: In terms of alternatives I’m guessing that you mean ingredients, is that

Sugar and blood glucose
Sugar and blood glucose

right?

BRESLAW Yes, that tastes similar.

HAYLEY GAIT GOULDING: Yes, the reason salt is in products is, it varies by product so salt has a technical function for some foods so it has some sort of interaction, I think it is with the yeast although don’t quote me on this, for break it makes break rise but like I say, when it comes to cereal there is no technical reason so you could take it out. Why don’t manufacturers do that?  It’s probably is going to make the cereals taste a bit bland because like you say, you have to find an alternative ingredient.  Just a better ingredient and what we think at BEAR is nature is always better.  We only use 100% natural ingredients, we don’t use any refined sugars or salts or anything artificial.  We go into nature and we look for the answer.  So we found that up a coconut tree, we found coconut blossom nectar which is a lot GI product.  It’s the sweet sap that is found in the flower of the coconut tree, it doesn’t have any coconut taste it’s just naturally sweet.  If you add that to your whole grains and mix it together it gives you a nice, sweet, crunchy cereal that kids really enjoy.  It doesn’t have that bland taste often associated with healthy cereals.

BRESLAW How can we reduce salt in our diets?

HAYLEY GAIT GOULDING: There’s lots of ways you can look to reduce salt in your diets.  I think, like I say, the number one thing that we are hoping to help people do is start the day salt free.  That’s a really important thing to do because already that tips the scales.  Sonia talked earlier about how much salt that you do actually need.  If you think that a very small bowl of breakfast cereal which 30 grams, which is what people say on the portions but that is actually really small and I don’t think it is that realistic that many people are having a 30 gram bowl but that has 0.5 gram typically, of salt in most of the very well-known brands that we all buy and if your child is supposed to have 3 grams a day you can see that that’s already a lot.  So if you took that out of breakfast that’s already giving you a head start makes the rest of the day less of a worry and then just make sensible choices throughout the day.  So cut down on things like ketchups and stuff that might be really salty or buy or buy low salt versions.  Switch salty snacks like crisps and maybe some cheeses, watch out for some cheeses, they have got quite a lot of salt in.  Things like that just switch them for fruit or yoghurt, things that are salt free.  Pick a few salt free things throughout the day and then start taking out those little surprising things like, humus or ketchup could be quite high.

BRESLAW So with the study that you conducted what was the methodology and the conclusions?

HAYLEY GAIT GOULDING: So we took a nationally represented study of 1,178, to give you a precise number of people.  We did that together with YouGov and the conclusions that we found from the study was that 85% of parents said that they didn’t even consider salt when it came to making the decisions about what to give their children for breakfast.  They were thinking about very high sugar a levels which is good, that’s a really great thing.  There has been a lot of media focus sugar over the last few years but I think salt really needs to come under the agenda now equally because it has equally negative health implications.  So that was one of the findings.  The other finding was that two thirds of families have cereals for breakfast and I think Sonia will probably tell you a little bit about that, like how much cereals contribute and cereals and cereal products contribute to breakfast.

SONIA POMBO: Yes definitely.  If you look at the latest government national diet and nutrition survey that was done in 2011 they actually found that cereals and other cereal products contributed to over a third of a child’s salt intake.  So that’s a huge amount that you’re contributing and removing that as BEAR have you are already reducing the salt intake of a child’s diet by that third and giving them a better start to the day but by far most of the salt that we do consume isn’t from what we add to the food ourselves, its already in the foods that we buy.  So breads, cereals, cheeses are a very big contributor.  Cured meats so ham, bacon, sausage all the things that people tend to love but they are completely coated in salt and it’s just a matter of trying to remove that slowly and gradually that people don’t notice and their taste palettes, the palettes in their mouth will adapt to the level of salt really.

HAYLEY GAIT GOULDING: One other thing you might be interested in knowing about with what was found, what came out of the research was that 61% of parents when they gave their children lower sugar cereals, so things were either without sugar, so things like porridge or things like Weetabix which have less sugar, they were saying that they added it back so that’s also something interesting to think about when comes to health.  Sometimes when people are choosing these lower sugar alternatives they are adding it back in refined sugar which kind of defeats the object.  So that’s why it’s really important to try and find natural ways.  So if you are going to another brand of lower sugar cereals, try and sweeten it with fruit or buy something like BEAR Alphabites which doesn’t have the added sugar or porridge, add something which is a healthier lower GI sweetener.  Try to think about as many of those things, I know it can all be a bit overwhelming but try and think about as many of those things as you can.

BRESLAW Finally, what online information would you recommend?

HAYLEY GAIT GOULDING: There are two great places to go to for information.  There’s the CASH website which is you type into any search engine ‘CASH salt’ it will come up and they’ve got absolutely loads of amazing information on salt specifically.  If you are looking for a bit more general information about healthy breakfast or healthy food products we’ve also got some nutritional information at BEAR and that’s www.bearnibbles.co.uk

BRESLAW Thank you very much