Just like any part of the body, eye health can’t be ignored. But just how do you best support these delicate organs? Today, you’ll hear from a true expert on the topic who shares actionable steps you can make to keep your eyes in their best shape for life.
Listen to the Episode
Great foods to support eye health include:
- Leafy greens
About Dr. Rudrani Banik
Dr. Rudrani Banik is America’s Integrative Eye Doctor. She is a board-certified ophthalmologist and fellowship-trained neuro-ophthalmologist with additional training in Functional Medicine. Dr. Rani focuses on the root cause of eye diseases and uses integrative strategies for conditions such as macular degeneration, cataract, dry eye, glaucoma, and autoimmune diseases of the visual system.
Her treatments are based on nutrition, botanicals, lifestyle modification, essential oils, and supplements. Dr. Rani runs a private practice based in New York City and is also an Associate Professor of Mount Sinai in NYC where she serves as an educator and researcher. As Principal Investigator of several clinical trials in diseases of the optic nerve, Dr. Rani uses cutting-edge approaches such as nanotechnology and gene therapy.
Dr. Rani is frequently featured as an expert in the media and has been interviewed on Good Morning America, CBS, NBC, ABC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Fox, among many others. Dr. Rani has been voted as Castle Connolly Top Doctor and New York Magazine’s Best Doctor in Ophthalmology every year since 2017.
Eye Health Starts With Good Nutrition
Dr. Rani explains why nutrition is the cornerstone to good vision. A proper diet will even reduce the risk of developing certain eye diseases, such as macular degeneration.
This is particularly true with antioxidants. A diet that’s rich in antioxidants, particularly when derived from plants, will include many nutrients that protect the eye. Dr. Rani suggests eating a wide variety of vegetables every day to keep your eyes strong.
In addition to food, there are supplements that can help. Dr. Rani recommends daily supplements that contain lutein, zeaxanthin, and meso-zeaxanthin. These antioxidants play an important role in managing the light that comes into our eyes.
Protecting Your Eyes From Harmful Light
Dr. Rani also talks about the impact of blue light on our eyes. This is the light that comes from the Sun and helps regulate our sleep cycles. It also comes from screens. Too much of this light can lead to digital eye strain and disrupted sleep patterns. To combat this, Dr. Rani recommends using blue-light-blocking glasses. To that end, she discusses what to look for when shopping for these special glasses.
You also have to consider sunlight. UV light can damage your eyes. Dr. Rani shares her recommendations for finding the most protective sunglasses. Look for ones that block 100 percent of UV light. Also, the bigger the sunglasses, the better.
How can you eat right to protect your eyes? What role can supplements play in this? Leave a comment below!
Call the Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic today and schedule your first appointment at 319-363-0033.
“Such an integral part of health is what we eat, how we live, our choices.” [3:18]
“Think about it really in your bedroom. What color light do you have in your bedroom? You want to modulate that blue light, especially at night.” [12:57]
“If you’re on a screen for a long time, every twenty minutes, take a twenty-second break.” [25:25]
“We need to nourish not only our bodies but also our minds and our spirits.” [38:56]
In This Episode
- How Dr. Rani learned that there is more to eye health than conventional medicine [2:00]
- The link between nutrition and eye health [4:45]
- The impact of blue light on eyes and how to protect them with light-blocking glasses [7:00]
- How to protect your eyes from sunlight with proper sunglasses [13:05]
- Exercises for your eyes to support relaxation [18:45]
- How to relieve dry eyes [21:05]
- Which supplements can best support your eyes and vision [26:00]
- How stress impacts vision [30:55]
- What can reduce the likelihood of developing macular degeneration and glaucoma [33:20]
Links & Resources
Use Code IMMUNESUPPRT for 10% off Immune Support Supplements
Use Code OMEGA3 for 10% off Omega3 Supplements
Dr. Rudrani Banik 0:03
We're told okay carrots are important for eye health and so yes, you should eat carrots but you need to go well beyond carrots.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 0:12
Welcome to the your longevity blueprint podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Stephanie gray. My number one goal with the show is to help you discover your personalized plan to build your dream health and live a longer, happier, truly healthier life. You're about to hear from Dr. Ronnie banach. Today we're going to talk about how to keep our vision diving into how to protect our eyes if we should be wearing blue light blocking glasses and what the best nutrition for eye health is. Let's get started.
Thanks for joining me for another episode of The your longevity blueprint podcast today I have on guest Dr. Ronnie banach. She's America's integrative doctor. She's a Board Certified ophthalmologist and fellowship trained neuro ophthalmologist with additional training in functional medicine. Dr. Ronnie focuses on the root cause of eye diseases and uses integrative strategies for conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma, and autoimmune diseases of the visual system. Her treatments are based on nutrition botanicals, lifestyle modification, essential oils and supplements.
She runs a private practice based in New York City and is also an associate professor of Mount Sinai in New York City, where she serves as an educator and researcher as principal investigator on several clinical trials and diseases of the optic nerve. Dr. Ronnie uses cutting edge approaches such as nanotechnology and gene therapy, Dr. Ronnie is frequently featured as an expert in the media and has been interviewed on Good Morning America, CBS, NBC, ABC, The New York Times The Washington Post, and Fox, amongst many others. Dr. Ronnie has been voted as castle Connelly top doctor in New York Magazine's Best doctor in ophthalmology every year since 2017. Welcome to the show, Dr. Ronnie,
Dr. Rudrani Banik 1:52
thank you so much, Dr. Stephanie, thank you for that kind introduction. Thank you.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 1:56
Well, tell me your story. So where did you first have your aha moment, but there was more to eye health than conventional medicine or I should say more than meets the eye maybe exam. And you started incorporating functional medicine to help your patients keep their vision. So tell our listeners your story.
Dr. Rudrani Banik 2:12
Yes, so I love telling this story because it really it changed my life completely. And it all started with my own health journey. So I suffered from migraines and I had migrants since I was in my 20s. But things progressively got worse as the years went on in my 30s and 40s. And then there got to a point where I was having a migraine every single day and if you've ever had a migraine before, you know how miserable that could be. But But I was suffering every day and I went to the top doctors in my area in New York City and they all just kept prescribing the medication after medication after medication nothing was working. So finally I was having all these side effects I felt like a zombie I said I really need to find a better solution.
And I started to do research and I realized that there are so many natural ways to treat migraine, whether it's diet supplements, botanicals, meditation yoga, not one of my doctors and again these are the top doctors in New York City for migraine not one of them ever mentioned anything like that to me No one ever suggested that so I really started to do more research and I came across functional medicine and I found it really fascinating I was why why weren't we taught this in medical school you know it's such an integral part of health is what we eat how we live our choices and so I really decided to do a deep dive into it started as I began to get certified with Institute for functional medicine and then I realized you know this is really not apply to eye health either. And I really I that's when I started to do all my research into macular degeneration glaucoma cataracts, what is the root cause How can we treat it How can we prevent it and how can we keep the build seeing well throughout their lifetime? That's my story in a nutshell.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 3:46
So were you able to alleviate your migraines
Dr. Rudrani Banik 3:48
absolutely you know I was you know with it wasn't overnight it definitely took some time I had to adjust many things my diet for example, like I never thought about this but I was living off of junk food for the majority of my young adult life I would eat pizza ice cream and drink diet soda all day long. And I never once thought maybe these choices are really having a detrimental effect on my health and once that was I had that aha moment it really made a difference I cut out caffeine not to say that you have to cut out caffeine completely but I really reduced it I was having this is crazy. I hate to admit this but it's true. I was having eight to 12 caffeinated drinks a day and and not once did I think there was anything wrong with that. Yeah, and that was really what was with propagating my migraines. So once I made those changes, things start to get better. I don't take any daily prescription medications anymore for migraine. I do if I have you know a really bad day and once in a while I will have a bad day but it's not everyday like it used to be.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 4:42
Well that's good to hear. Speaking of nutrition, let's stay on that topic. So how important is nutrition for eye health because I'll tell you my eye doctors never once mentioned nutrition to
Dr. Rudrani Banik 4:51
me. It is Yeah, it is the cornerstone it is the foundation of maintaining good vision and probably the reason why your eye doctor never met to us because we're not taught and it's just the truth like we're not taught in medical school we're not taught in residency, we're never taught and I hope things will change and I do hope to be one of the people educate my peers in this because again many ophthalmologists, optometrists, they're just never told we were told okay carrots are important for eye health because they have vitamin A or a derivative of vitamin A beta carotene and it's good to prevent night blindness good to prevent dry but beyond that, most AI doctors don't know and the truth is I even didn't know until I started to really, you know, look into really what was the problem?
Dr. Stephanie Gray 5:32
So what are some foods you mentioned carrots quickly, what are some foods we should be eating for our vision? I always think antioxidants.
Dr. Rudrani Banik 5:39
That is true. Antioxidants are so important because the eye is very delicate. It has many delicate structures and they're very prone to oxidative damage, oxidative stress, whether it's metabolic byproducts, toxins in our environment, even light toxicity. So we need a diet that's rich in antioxidants. So vitamins A, C and E, we need glutathione we need alpha lipoic acid, we need an acetal cysteine and this is just kind of like the top of the iceberg here when I'm talking about antioxidants, but it's best to get them from foods. And so yes, you should eat carrots, but you need to go well beyond carrots.
And some of the best foods for eye health include leafy greens, if you can tolerate them because I know some people can but like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, the sulforaphane are great as well to promote detoxification, cauliflower berries of any kind are amazing for Iowa, because they have the bioflavonoids not just antioxidants, but the bioflavonoids. resveratrol is wonderful as well. So it's actually been shown to protect the optic nerve prevent against glaucoma. So the majority of the foods that that are best for eye health are plant derived. So it really is important to have a plant rich diet, you don't have to be plant based, but plant rich. So I usually say at least five cups of various different colors in your diet of fruits and vegetables every day. For some
Dr. Stephanie Gray 6:56
people just one or two, maybe a good start. But it's good to
Dr. Rudrani Banik 7:00
start somewhere exactly have some color in your diet.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 7:04
Speaking of color, let's talk about blue light blocking glasses. You mentioned the blue light kind of toxicity. And before the interview here, I was asking you questions. For the listeners who can see the video, I have some blue light blocking glasses, one I just got on Amazon. And they're clear. And there's really no tint there. I guess these have more of a reflective blue kind of coating. And I kind of always just wondered, well, well, let's talk about the benefits of blocking blue light when we should wear them. But also, can you speak to the quality, right? Because when I look at these, and they look different, I think, Okay, did I get gypped? Is this just a cheap pair of Amazon? Or is this actually working? Or what are the best companies? How do we determine quality on blue light blocking glasses? And do we need them?
Dr. Rudrani Banik 7:44
Yeah, I mean, I get this question every single day for patients from parents of kids, because our kids are on screens all the time. So I'll just start off by explaining about blue light. So blue light comes from many sources, it comes from the sun, and it helps to regulate our sleep wake cycle, it basically tells our bodies, it's time to wake up. And then as the sun goes across the sky, the amount of blue light coming from the sun decreases, and it signals to our our bodies that it's time to wind and get ready for bed. But our devices also emit blue light. So any kind of device, whether it's your phone, your tablet, your laptop, your computer, even your TV monitor, and this blue light, and it's artificial blue light, so it can interfere with sleep or sleep wake cycle. But it can also lead to a syndrome called Digital eyestrain.
And probably many people have experienced this. I mean, I think the majority of people, especially in the past year when we're on screen so much have had some degree of this, but it's it's a constellation of symptoms. So blurry vision, trouble focusing light sensitivity, headaches, sometimes even neck and shoulder pain. So all that falls under the umbrella of digital eyestrain. So the question is, do blue blockers help protect against digital eyestrain? Well, it's very controversial. So in the ophthalmology, optometry world, it's extremely controversial. And the reason is, because first of all, I'll say that it the blue light coming from your screen does not do any permanent damage. So yes, most of us spend, you know, eight to 10 or more hours a day on a screen, it's not going to permanently damaged, it's not going to cause you to go blind. So I just want to make that very clear, but it can cause digital eyestrain.
The studies that have been done looking at blue light and blue blockers, unfortunately weren't that well designed. So one study that was just published a few months ago, had Healthy People put on blue blockers and look at a screen for two hours. And the blue blockers didn't really make a difference and they had a placebo group as well. The truth is that most of us spend way more than two hours on a screen. And the other thing people don't realize is that in that study, the blue blockers that they used only blocked about 30% of the blue light. So it may be that you need to get a blue blocker that's blocking more of the blue light to really get the benefit but I know like just anecdotally when I put on my blue blockers, I feel so much better. So much more comfortable particularly late into the night. And I know that when I wear them I don't have as much trouble with sleep falling asleep or staying asleep versus when I do Don't wear them, it is harder to stay asleep.
So let's talk about different types of blacks. I have two right here. And so you can see like one has a lighter tint, it's kind of a yellow tint, and the other one's like a deep, deep red. And so the truth is that there are so many manufacturers of loot boxes on the market, it's been an exploding industry. And the tint really makes a difference. If you really want to get the full benefits of getting a blue blocker, you want to get a deeper 10, either orange or amber or red. And the reason is because a lighter blue blocker will block the blue light but less as less so a lower percentage of the blue light. And the way you can tell is basically just put on your blue blocker, and you look at a screen and you look at the color blue on a screen.
And if you can still see blue, or you know some subtle shade of blue, it means that that blue blocker is not blocking much of that blue light. So probably I'm guessing that your blue blocker the one with the blue tint, the first one you try it on is probably blocking maybe like 20 to 30% of the blue light, this one's probably blocking much, much less. I don't know if you can tell a difference. Like when you look at what Look at the color blue, versus if you put on a deeper 10 blue blocker. When I look at my screen, I see no blue whatsoever, it basically looks black to me, when I'm working and I'm having a little bit of digital eyestrain, I'll wear my lighter colored once, but when I'm working late into the night, and I'm really bothered by it, if I have dry eye if I'm like really feeling light sensitive, I'll wear these. So that's my tip is just you know, and the way you can know is the manufacturer just ask them, just ask them how much blue light does it really block and they will tell you, if it's not on the product specifications just ask them. simple tip.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 11:36
I totally agree with what you've said I track my sleep with my aura ring here. And if I do read at night, instead of watching TV, if I want if I wear my blue light blocking glasses, I'm away from the blue light reading and then a if I also wear the blue light blocking glasses, I do get into sleep quicker. And I know I'm getting into deep sleep so I feel like I can prove it. So I'm convinced that I even with my cheap old 25%
Dr. Rudrani Banik 11:59
they still have I still think they are beneficial is better than nothing. Yeah, especially if you have to work late into the night. Everything I just wanted to add is that so our screens in blue light, but a lot of our bulbs also emit blue light. So many people have switched over to energy saving bulbs like CFL bulbs, compact fluorescents, and LEDs. All of those artificial light sources emit blue light. So incandescent bulbs emit very, very little. So I know it's harder to find, it's harder to find these days. But if you can get an incandescent bulb, particularly in your bedroom, and now they have these great smart bulbs, I don't know if you've ever seen them, Stephanie, but they have like bulbs that change color. depending on the time of day that get knows you can sync it with your phone is an app, and it will know your geographic location. So it knows when when the sun is rising when the sun is setting, and it will adjust the color of that bulb depending on where you are. And lower that blue lighter basically eliminate the blue light. So it's a really amazing technology. And so think about it really in your bedroom, like what color light do you have in your bedroom? And you want to just modulate that blue light, especially at night?
Dr. Stephanie Gray 13:04
Makes sense. Makes sense. Okay, what about sunglasses? I have always had, I guess I'm pear skin blue eyed. I've always had tremendous light sensitivity ever since I was little I just I gotta go outside and put on my sunglasses right away. I love being outside, but I have to wear them. Tell us how we can choose a high quality sunglasses. And then my other questions with sunglasses, because I'm assuming you're gonna say yes, you need to protect your eyes from the sun. What does it mean when sunglasses are polarized versus not polarized? Do we want to look for that? And then also I have a two year old should I be putting sunglasses on my two year old. And you know that the sunglasses that are available for kids are like nine bucks. They're cheap, like are those actually working? like can you speak to those three?
Dr. Rudrani Banik 13:44
Absolutely. Yeah. So I actually have I just did a post on Instagram about this, about how to choose the best sunglasses for your eyes and actually have a blog as well that I can send you a link to. But there's a couple of important things. So first of all, I just want to say it doesn't matter that cost, you can buy a $10 pair of sunglasses, you can buy a $300 pair of sunglasses, what you need to look for is a little sticker on the sunglass that says 100% uv blocking, meaning that it's going to be blocking 100% of UVA UVB rays that come from the sun that can potentially do damage to your eyes. So too much UV exposure is associated with cataracts. It's associated with macular degeneration associated with growth and even cancers of the eye. So yes, you want to protect your eyes, but look for that little sticker.
The other thing the sticker may say is uv 400. And that's pretty equivalent up 400 basically means that it's blocking any wavelengths shorter than 400 nanometers. So look for one of those two stickers and again, it could be $9 It doesn't matter you can get them from Costco, it doesn't matter but make sure those that sticker is there. Now in terms of polarizing polarized lenses are great for when you're out in bright sun, especially now that we're getting closer to summer or if you're out on the water and there's a lot of glare coming off of the water or if you're on the beach or on if you're skiing. If you're if There's snow and there's glare coming up this No. So polarized lenses cut the glare, but they don't block UV light. So if you're going to get polarized, that's great, but you need to make sure you still get that UV protection for Scylla for the sticker. The other thing is, I don't have my sunglasses here, but I always choose sunglasses that are really big. I love like big Jackie O style sunglasses.
And the reason is because you just want to protect as much of your eyes as possible. They're like late rays that can get in from the side as well. So just the bigger the better. And also people can get I was mentioning about cancers, people can get eyelid cancers, eyelid growths, so it will help protect against that as well. Now some people ask me, Well, what about sun gazing? Like, isn't that supposed to be good? Like, you know, there's this trend that where people actually wake up really early, and they just get out and they try to get as much sunshine as possible to get vitamin D. And people look directly at the sun and they stare at the sun for you know, I don't know 1015 minutes, what I would say is if you're going to do that, don't keep your eyes open. Because those rays are so powerful that if you look continuously at the sun for minutes on end it probably most people have done this where they looked at the sun and they get an after image afterwards you looking at there's like a little after, which I'd say is for like a minute or so that's actually bleaching out your cells in your retina. And if it's too strong, you can actually cause a thermal burn. So you don't want to look directly at the sun. If you're going to do sungazing keep your eyelids close and you'll still get the benefit those rays will still get in, but just don't do it with your eyes open please do not do it with your eyes open.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 16:34
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Dr. Rudrani Banik 18:13
if your child's out for a very long time, it's hard, especially when they're young to get them to wear sunglasses, you can make a game out of it, maybe but at least have them wear a hat, you know, just to take breaks. Like if they're out in the center, they're playing outside have them come in for a little bit. Of course, it's great to get kids outside, but so it's really just kind of find a happy medium. And like for example, I have a teenager and when she was younger, she would listen to me she would wear her sunglasses, but now she doesn't wear sunglasses, so there's only so much he can do to try to instill good habits. But yeah,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 18:44
what about eye exercises so which I do not know a lot about but I think of our eyes is you know having muscles per se and we do need to work muscles in other systems of our body, right? We go we pump our biceps, we work our legs, like Do we need to work on our eye muscles? Are there benefits to certain eye exercises? Is that something that you're recommending to patients?
Dr. Rudrani Banik 19:04
That is a really long answer, I guess a long answer so I'll try to make it short. So first of all, I'll just say that there are no exercises that will necessarily improve vision because a lot of people think oh if I do these exercises united saw them on YouTube, I'll my vision will get better. It's really as a relaxation tool. And I do recommend eye exercises, especially if you're on a screen for long periods of time. So there's a couple of things you can do. One is called eye yoga. And when I when I first heard about the census, what is it okay, you know, what would you be doing to a certain posture, but it's simply you just sit, sit comfortably and imagine a clock face in front of you with the numbers like one through 12 and what you're going to do is you're going to move your eyes in around following the numbers on the clock face, you're going to go 12 1234 and just basically go all the way around and do it slower than what I did. So maybe spend two or three seconds at each clock hour and go clockwise.
And then you're going to do two or three cycles of that and then go counterclockwise. So that's a yoga. And it will really just help to relax your eyes. Particularly if you're on a screen for a long period of time. Initially, you may feel tightness, you may feel like your eye muscles are really, really tight because they're not used to looking at all those angles in those directions. But over time, you'll feel that your eyes will be more relaxed when you when you go back to looking at your screen. The other really quick exercise you can do and actually recommend doing this after you do the yoga is you do palming. And I don't know if you've ever heard of this before. But palming is basically you take your palms together, you rub them, and you generate some heat cup your palms, and you just gently put them over your eyes sockets. And basically what you're doing is you're preventing any light from getting in. So really any stimulus from getting in, and the heat is very soothing. And it just really relaxes your eyes, it relaxes your focusing, it helps with dry eye because when you close your eyes, you're lubricating your eyes. So do the yoga first and then do some calming. And it's a great way to just kind of break up your day in terms of screen time.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 21:04
Awesome, awesome. What about Well, speaking of dry eye, let's go to dry. I have found in my practice that a lot of toxins can contribute to poor vision, especially mold that can really, really impact vision. Other than toxins, I would say I've found that hormone imbalances can impact vision, I experienced that postpartum big time, and then also really postmenopausal and just having low estrogen can really lead to dry eyes. So I've always been thinking about toxins and hormones for eye health in general, right? indirectly. And I will give women estrogen if they if they need it. You even have estrogen receptors in your eyes, which some patients don't know. But I want to ask you other than I know it's hard to not have an hour long conversation just about this topic. I'm sure you could. Other than kind of optimizing hormones and optimizing nutritional deficiencies. We've alluded to nutrition a little bit like I know fish oil, fish oil as a lubricant can lubricate the iron that can help it dry eyes. What are other tips specific to dry eye that you have for our listeners,
Dr. Rudrani Banik 22:02
so anyone can have dry eye First of all, so even kids can get dry, but it is much more common as people get older, and especially in women. So if I see a woman who's perimenopausal or postmenopausal, and she does not have dry eye, that's actually the exception to the rule. And I think some estimates are you know, up to 70% of people above the age of 60 have dry eyes, something like that. Don't quote me on that exactly, but something in that range. So it's extremely common, whether or not you're on a screen and it does have to do with our hormones. When estrogen levels fall also progesterone and testosterone. We have these receptors on our glands in our eyelids and our glands secrete oils that help to lubricate our eyes.
So when our hormone levels drop, our glands just don't function as well they made me not making proper oils are not making enough of those oils, and we're just not able to lubricate as much. So in that situation, I love fish oil, so omega threes, but you can also do plant based sources, officials like chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, I usually recommend at least 2000 milligrams a day, maybe even more in some people if it's safe for you just check with your doctor. Some of my patients even go up to 3000 or 4000 a day when they have severe dry eye. And then there's a couple of other things you can do so you can do hot compresses, that helps to stimulate the oil glands to produce more oils and keep the oil glands open so they don't get clogged. Sometimes there's really a problem with the structure of the oil glands.
So there's actually in my office I have a camera it's an infrared camera that can actually image the oil glands and we can see how they are structurally whether they're functioning well or not. And if they're not, then there is a treatment that can be used. It's actually called a thermal pulsation treatment to really boost those oil glands get them functioning well and get them to creating healthy oils and it's called the flow so you can ask your doctor about that about liquid flow. And then there are other strategies as well so you can do drops for example that's kind of the first line treatment and we were talking about this before the show but there are so many different kinds of brands out there if you go to your local drugstore you'll see a whole shelf of different types of dry eye drops.
If you are sensitive or if you are prone to allergies I would definitely recommend getting a preservative free pf it'll say refresh pf or sustain pf or theratears pF so get a preservative free. They come in single use files so there's basically you you pop one open, you use it during the day you throw it out and then there are some homeopathic drops that are on the market. So there's a really trusted company called similar sand. I think it's out of Switzerland. But they make these homeopathic eyedrops there they have dry eye drops. They even have allergy drops that are homeopathic I think that even now have a digital eyestrain version.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 24:45
Can I strain cause dry eyes?
Dr. Rudrani Banik 24:47
Absolutely. Yeah. Okay. And the truth is when we're focused on something for a long period of time, like if we're looking at our screen for an hour, let's say 15 times a minute, that's the normal blink rate. So for people who are looking at screens, it's about four Five times a minute, so it's significantly less. And when you don't blink as much, you're just not lubricating, your tears just evaporate, and symptoms are worse. So try to use the drops to the hot compresses do those eye exercises I told you about. So the eye yoga, the palming, that really helps. There's just a simple rule that I also also tell my patients is called the 2020. Rule. 2020 stands for perfect vision. But for dry eye 2020 basically means if you're on a screen for a long period of time, every 20 minutes, take a 22nd break. So maybe take that break just like Close your eyes, or just look away, or I actually prefer closing your eyes. Because that way you're lubricating when you close your eyes versus if you just look away, your eyes still open. And it's not really spreading those tears around. So
Dr. Stephanie Gray 25:44
good tips, good tips. I want to go back to let's go back to nutrition for a second and supplements. So we've kind of talked about antioxidants and food and we've talked about fish oil, but should one take an eye health supplement. We do carry them at our practice. I will say typically, because they're high in antioxidants, they're pricier and I think patients kind of think well, do I invest in this? Do I not? And I'm sure individuals need to evaluate that based on their current condition in their family history and whatnot, or their eye health supplements do you recommend? What tips do you have there? Yeah, so
Dr. Rudrani Banik 26:12
I am a strong believer in a daily I help supplement I used to recommend it for all of my adult patients. But now I'm actually recommending for my younger patients as well for children as well just because of the amount of time they're spending on screens. Amongst the antioxidants. I talked earlier about vitamins A and C and E. There are three specific eye health supplements that the supplements probably contain. They're called lutein, zeaxanthin and Misa zsF. And so many people have probably never even heard of them. I like to call them vitamins elzie and M for short, even though they're not technically vitamins, but they're carotenoids they are very potent antioxidants. And the reason why these three are particularly important for eye health is because nature actually put them in the back of our eyes. So these are pigments that normally are in the retina in the back of the eye.
And they are serve as a shield. So they're basically like our natural sunglasses like our natural blue blockers. Whenever a lead comes in, whether it's UV light or blue light, they absorb and neutralize that light to protect our retinas against oxidative stress and oxidative damage. The unfortunate thing is that these pigments lutein zeaxanthin, muses these and then our bodies can't make them. So we need to get them from an external source. And of course diet is the first choice you want to get it from green leafy vegetables, orange peppers, yellow peppers, corn, preferably non GMO corn, even egg yolk has lutein and zeaxanthin. When there were nutritional studies done looking at how much intake people actually had lutein and zeaxanthin. Unfortunately, most people are deficient. And we need about I'll get a little bit technical here we need about six and a half milligrams of lutein every day.
Most people get only one to two milligrams a day, even people on the best of diets are probably only getting one to two milligrams a day. And in terms of CSM, then we need about one to two milligrams a day we're getting much less than one milligram and Misa CSF in that third pigment, it's actually the most potent of the three, it's really hard to get it from foods, there are some some marine animals and marine species that have these as the as anthon, but not high amounts. So that's why I really do think that supplementation is important. And there are some supplements that have those three pigments, but also have the full range of other vitamins and minerals you need so you can actually take a supplement, that's a more complete supplement that will not only help your idol, but it'll help your general health as well. So look for something that's more complete, and that way you don't have to purchase a separate eye health supplement.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 28:35
You've probably heard a lot about fish oil. It's one of the most common supplements available after all, but Have you wondered if you should be taking it and why you might want to think about it. The simple answer is yes. If you don't have access to fresh fish several times per week, you can likely benefit from supplementation and may even need to. I test many of my patients fatty acid levels and found that the overwhelming majority of my patients are low in omega threes. omega three fatty acids are essential cornerstones of human nutrition. They are deemed essential because we need them for proper health much like certain vitamins and minerals, but unfortunately we can't produce them on our own.
As a result, our only option is to consume these fats either through our diet or through supplementation. omega three fatty acids are known to benefit cardiovascular health, support healthy brain function and cognition and have been proven to maintain a healthy inflammatory response. For all these reasons. Achieving the proper balance of omega threes is an important health strategy one for which most people require supplementation. Simplified fish oil can help improve your cholesterol glucose help your memory reduce pain, even headaches and menstrual cramps. I typically start my patients with one to two grams or 1000 to 2000 milligrams per day of combined ecosa bentonite acid which is EPA and docosahexaenoic acid which is da ha daily. Our your longevity blueprint omegas are stabilized and vitamin E oil and rosemary extract is used to ensure maximum purity and freshness.
This exclusive fish oil is purified vacuum distilled and independently tested to ensure heavy amount Those pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs are removed to undetectable levels. Plus, our official has the shortest see to shelf time meaning from fish to bottle or capsule of only three to six months as compared to the industry average of 18 to 36 months. Seriously, that means most of the visual you buy over the counter is old, oxidized, rancid and not helpful that fish oil purchased over the counter could be three years old already before you ingest it. Yuck. With over 10,000 published studies in the last three decades, EPA and tha from fish oil are among the most researched natural ingredients available and have a long history of safety and efficacy. Check out more product information on our website, your longevity blueprint, calm and use code omega threes for 10% off.
Now let's get back to the show. Good recommendations. Okay. Let's go to my arch nemesis, which is stress. How does stress impact vision I mean, I imagine even eyestrain is a form of stress. We know stress. I talked about this all the time on the podcast stress can rob us of hormones, so we know then stress can lead to dry as well. But can you make other connections as far as how bad stress is specifically to our vision,
Dr. Rudrani Banik 31:13
so many connections. So this is something that again, most ophthalmologists probably have never been told or taught. And it's something that I've just realized in my practice, and I've seen this happen is when people are stressed, their cortisol level goes up. And you know, that's a normal stress response arise, of course, but when we're chronically stressed, that cortisol level stays high, and eventually it can actually start to dip down. But elevated levels of cortisol in the body lead to inflammation. And again, I'm simplifying, but just as a general kind of rule of thumb, there's increased risk of inflammation. And we know that inflammation is a major driver for many eye conditions. It's a driver for dry eye, it's a driver for macular degeneration, even glaucoma.
And then also there are a host of other autoimmune diseases that affect the eye that many people may not even be aware of, for example, your thyroid when your thyroid is off, especially if it's autoimmune in nature, whether it's hashimotos, or graves disease, it can actually trigger an inflammatory process in the eye socket. And I've seen so many cases of when people are stressed, their autoimmune eye disease will flare up their thyroid eye disease will flare up, or if they have something called UV itis, which is inflammation inside the eye that will absolutely flare when people are stressed. And it's almost predictable, that you know when they go through cycles of stress that they're more prone to having a flare up.
And so it is so important and I don't know Stephanie, what your typical recommendations are, but I usually ask people you know, what do they typically do for stress management, you know, what is it that they enjoy doing? And I try to promote that so many people you know, they may think oh, I need to meditate to reduce my stress. But meditation is not for everyone. Not everyone can do it really. So find an activity that suits you. Whether it's some kind of movement or exercise, whether it's listening to music, reading a book, taking a bath, lighting, candles, breathing whatever works best for you to reduce your maybe it's spending time with family and friends maybe that's your stress reduction technique, whatever it is try to incorporate that if not every day a few times a week and I think it will really help even essentially I love essential oils by the way. Essential oils are wonderful to relieve stress as
Dr. Stephanie Gray 33:17
well. Awesome. I wonder if we just for a few minutes can go to macular degeneration and glaucoma because I know a lot of the listeners may already have those or know that they're they have strong family history of those. I'm sure all the tips you've mentioned today apply to those conditions. But is there anything specific I know macular degeneration is like your absolute specialty. Can you speak a little bit to it to any any additional tips that you haven't been able to give yet specific to macular degeneration and or glaucoma?
Dr. Rudrani Banik 33:46
Yeah, so for macular degeneration, one of the reasons why I'm so passionate about this particular eye disease is because I'm at risk for it myself. I did genetic testing through through just for fun through 23andme. And it turned out I have a gene for it. So I really decided okay, there must be ways to prevent this much better ways than what people are told in their doctor's office, you know, like we're told, eat leafy greens, stop smoking, maintain a healthy body weight, see your eye doctor regularly, those are kind of the main tips that people are given. But what I've realized is that if you look at the literature, if you look at the studies, there are populations in the world that are at higher risk for macular degeneration, others that are at lower risk, and diet is really the key factor. We talked about all of those great, great nutrients. You need to get your lutein you need to get your zeaxanthin whether it's from food or from a supplement, you need to get all of the other antioxidants, but also macular degeneration.
The root causes of macular degeneration are oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and inflammation. So if you tailor your diet to address all of those things, and tailor your lifestyle to address all of those things, your risk will be less give you protection is important. Blue Light protection is important. Stress Reduction is important and taking the right eye health supplement. So there are So many things people can do to prevent vision loss that really doesn't get talked about much. When you go to your eye doctor, for example, if you go to your eye doctor, you're probably going to get about only 10 or 15 minutes with your doctor face to face. But some of these strategies really require a lot more time to explain, and to really help people understand.
So I do offer a webinar on macular degeneration if anyone's interested. It's called the macular degeneration masterclass, where I go through some of the journal strategies. And then for people who do want to go further, I offer an online course called eat right for your site and beyond. And in that course, I go through really detailed, what are the specific steps people can take to lower their risk. And I actually have a diet I explain it's called the Mad diet and macular degeneration diet and add that really goes through all the nutrients that are 12 therapeutic foods that can help reduce your risk for macular degeneration. So I go through what those foods are and how you can get them in your diet, I have a recipe guide. So if anyone wants to go further, please take take a look at some of that some of those resources
Dr. Stephanie Gray 35:59
and they can also consult with you I believe you consult nationwide right or worldwide or what
Dr. Rudrani Banik 36:03
well, it is it is limited by some you know telemedicine roles but absolutely reach out to my office and we'll find something that may work for you depending on where you are
Dr. Stephanie Gray 36:12
wonderful. Okay, quickly I want to go back to glaucoma, though. So any additional tips with glaucoma prevention?
Dr. Rudrani Banik 36:17
So glaucoma is an umbrella term so I didn't come up with as many different types of glaucoma there are some better to happen as people get older. Some types happen even in childhood. So depending on the type of strategies are different, but there are supplements specifically, that can reduce the risk of damage from glaucoma, and reduce eye pressure. So eye pressure is kind of a metric that we use to determine whether someone's at risk for glaucoma or not or how they're responding to glaucoma treatment. So some of those supplements include ginkgo biloba, resveratrol, bilberry extract, black current extract, some of the ones that have not been formally studied include an acetylcysteine, which I talked about earlier, alpha lipoic acid, acid is anthon. So there are specific glaucoma supplements out there.
They're usually called eye pressure support supplements and they weren't may not say on the name glaucoma supplement, but I pressure support supplements. So definitely look into that. There's another one that I failed to mention was called myrtos. cyan and and YR to CYN. And in some studies that's actually been shown to lower eye pressure by two or three points. So it's actually clinically proven, but unfortunately, most AI doctors have never heard of it. The reason I think people have never heard of it is because unfortunately there's no pharmaceutical company backing it. There's no pharma, Big Pharma to say Here take this supplement and instead all these drugs are marketed. So that's just a side kind of a trend that I've noticed are just a fact actually.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 37:43
Lots of tips. Well tell me where listeners can connect with you. So what is your website and I know you also have a free gift. So tell us about that.
Dr. Rudrani Banik 37:52
So my website is my full name, which is www dot Ruud Ronnie banach, MD calm and there you can find I have a lot of blogs on there. If you want to just set up an appointment you can book it online or you can do perhaps a telemedicine consult just a lot of information about eye health and brain health also because I'm also a neuro ophthalmologist. So as I was talking about earlier, I have a lot of tips on migraines if anyone's suffering from migraine, please take a look at some of my blogs and then I'm also a lot I'm on social media so Instagram Dr. Ronnie benek I have two Facebook groups. One is called envision health and one is called ion migraines depending on what you're interested in, feel free to join one or both if you want to get some natural tips on how to deal with some of these eye health issues. The free gift is an ebook which is six secrets that I hope that people can download.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 38:40
Awesome I will post a link to that and all of your links actually in the show notes so I end every episode asking the guests their top longevity tip doesn't have to do with eye health you can you can say anything. Well what's your top longevity tip be
Dr. Rudrani Banik 38:52
my top longevity tip would be I really believe firmly in this that we need to nourish not only our bodies, but also our minds and our spirits and really to have good good health overall you know we need to take care of our body of course eat right exercise, etc. But we need to pay attention to just maintaining good brain health through intellectual stimulation. And we need to also address that spiritual aspect. So you could put all three together you can really try to maintain just good overall health for I know a healthy, happy long life.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 39:21
love it love it. Well, this was very interesting. This was a different interview. We haven't had anyone talk about vision and eye health. So thank you for coming on the show and sharing all your tips. Oh, my pleasure.
Dr. Rudrani Banik 39:31
Yeah, there aren't that many of us actually out there that are in this area. So it's I love just talking about it's truly my passion and just to get that information out there to the public. To my colleagues, it's just so important.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 39:42
Well I hope many of my listeners connect with you and again, thank you for educating my audience on how to keep their
Dr. Rudrani Banik 39:47
vision. Thank you.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 39:51
That was great reminds me to get higher quality blue light blockers to wear them to give my eyes more breaks, take my eye health supplements and even have my fish oil. Hope you found that as useful as I did and if you have more questions, be sure to connect with Dr. banik on social media and her website at rude Ronnie banik md. com that's RUDRANIBANIK md.com Be sure to check out my book your longevity blueprint. And if you aren't much of a reader, you're in luck. You can now take my course online where I walk you through each chapter in the book plus for a limited time the course is 50% off. Check this offer out at your longevity blueprint calm and click the course tab. One of the biggest things you can do to support the show and help us reach more listeners is to subscribe to the show. Leave us a rating and review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. I do read all the reviews and would truly love to hear your suggestions for show topics guests and for how you're applying what you learn on the show to create your own longevity blueprint. The podcast is produced by the team at counterweight creative As always, thank you so much for listening and remember, wellness is waiting.
The information provided in this podcast is educational. No information provided should be considered to be or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your personal medical authority.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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