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Retina specialist Dr. Corey Westerfeld returned from practicing at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston to Eye Health Vision Centers in Dartmouth in April 2017 as medical director of eye health. Initially employed by Eye Health in 2009, Westerfeld left in 2015 to join Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates as a surgical retina physician.  Westerfeld serves on the clinical staff at Massachusetts Eye and Ear infirmary, where he teaches residents and fellows and has mentored trainees in ophthalmology. He also participates in the latest clinical trials in macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy and maintains an active partnership with leading researchers in these evolving fields. Providence Business News asked Dr. Westerfeld to talk in detail about the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

PBN: What is age-related macular degeneration?

WESTERFELD: AMD is a condition that causes damage to the macula, a small area in the center of the retina, which lines the inner back of the eye. The macula is made up of millions of light-sensing cells that provide sharp, central vision and allows us to do many of the vision-demanding tasks that we complete on a daily basis.

Tasks such as driving a car, reading fine print, or even identifying people’s faces depend on having a healthy macula. When the macula is damaged, the center of the field of vision may appear blurry, distorted, or dark. As a result, individuals with macular degeneration do not generally experience complete blindness. However, the loss of central vision can cause significant impairment with these everyday activities.

PBN: What are the risk factors for AMD?

WESTERFELD: The primary risk factor for AMD is age. AMD is more likely to occur the older an individual is. Another major risk factor is smoking. AMD also can have a genetic basis and individuals with a family history of AMD are at higher risk.

PBN: How can I reduce my risk of AMD?

WESTERFELD: Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk of AMD. I generally tell my patients that healthy living is the key to healthy eyes. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, avoiding smoking, and maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels are all important factors in reducing your risk of AMD. In particular, a healthy diet rich in green, leafy vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of AMD. It is also important to reduce your exposure to ultraviolet light by wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB light exposure when outdoors. They can be purchased anywhere – the pair just needs to be labeled as “UV 400” or blocks 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.

PBN: What about vitamins and supplements?

WESTERFELD: Vitamins have also been shown to be helpful in the treatment of AMD. Two large studies known as the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS and AREDS2) have found that certain vitamins and minerals can slow the progression of AMD in certain individuals with intermediate and later stage AMD. A number of manufacturers offer supplements based on these studies. I generally recommend the formulas based on the more recent AREDS2 study report. This study substituted lutein and zeaxanthin for beta-carotene, which had been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers. The AREDS2 supplements include 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 IU [international units] of vitamin E, 25 milligrams of zinc, 2 milligrams of copper, 10 milligrams of lutein, and 2 milligrams of zeaxanthin. The products with these supplements can generally be identified with a label indicating “AREDS2 formula.”

A common question is whether or not individuals with a family history or signs of early macular degeneration should begin taking vitamin supplements. As of now, the current research does not show any benefit of vitamins to individuals in this at-risk or pre-AMD category. I recommend that my patients who express these concerns aim to reduce their risk factors by making healthy choices. Stop or avoid smoking, make sure to control your blood pressure and cholesterol, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.

Green, leafy vegetables are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two of the main components of the vitamin formulas. Foods with the highest levels of lutein and zeaxanthin include kale, spinach, collard greens and turnip greens. Other greens such as lettuce, broccoli, squash and peas all have these healthy nutrients as well, just to lesser amounts. By eating these foods, you can get the vitamin nutrients necessary for your macular health in a natural way. In summary, the goal should be healthy dietary choices to promote healthy eyes.

PBN: Who should I talk to about macular degeneration?

WESTERFELD: If you have any symptoms of vision loss, or concerns or questions about macular degeneration, you should seek eye care. A comprehensive dilated eye exam can allow detection of AMD. Our eye care professionals can diagnose AMD and refer you to a retina specialist for management if needed. With early detection and ongoing management, we are now able to help many individuals maintain their vision and continue to live their lives with the fullness and richness that is the gift of sight.

 

Thank you Providence Journal readers for voting Koch Eye Associates the winner for Optometry in the
2017 Readers Choice Awards!

 


 

Providence Business News - Dr. Corey Westerfeld returns to Eye Health Vision Centers

Read The Article
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Latest News

 


Retina specialist Dr. Corey Westerfeld returned from practicing at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Boston to Eye Health Vision Centers in Dartmouth in April 2017 as medical director of eye health. Initially employed by Eye Health in 2009, Westerfeld left in 2015 to join Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates as a surgical retina physician.  Westerfeld serves on the clinical staff at Massachusetts Eye and Ear infirmary, where he teaches residents and fellows and has mentored trainees in ophthalmology. He also participates in the latest clinical trials in macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy and maintains an active partnership with leading researchers in these evolving fields. Providence Business News asked Dr. Westerfeld to talk in detail about the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

PBN: What is age-related macular degeneration?

WESTERFELD: AMD is a condition that causes damage to the macula, a small area in the center of the retina, which lines the inner back of the eye. The macula is made up of millions of light-sensing cells that provide sharp, central vision and allows us to do many of the vision-demanding tasks that we complete on a daily basis.

Tasks such as driving a car, reading fine print, or even identifying people’s faces depend on having a healthy macula. When the macula is damaged, the center of the field of vision may appear blurry, distorted, or dark. As a result, individuals with macular degeneration do not generally experience complete blindness. However, the loss of central vision can cause significant impairment with these everyday activities.

PBN: What are the risk factors for AMD?

WESTERFELD: The primary risk factor for AMD is age. AMD is more likely to occur the older an individual is. Another major risk factor is smoking. AMD also can have a genetic basis and individuals with a family history of AMD are at higher risk.

PBN: How can I reduce my risk of AMD?

WESTERFELD: Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk of AMD. I generally tell my patients that healthy living is the key to healthy eyes. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, avoiding smoking, and maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels are all important factors in reducing your risk of AMD. In particular, a healthy diet rich in green, leafy vegetables has been shown to reduce the risk of AMD. It is also important to reduce your exposure to ultraviolet light by wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UVA and UVB light exposure when outdoors. They can be purchased anywhere – the pair just needs to be labeled as “UV 400” or blocks 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.

PBN: What about vitamins and supplements?

WESTERFELD: Vitamins have also been shown to be helpful in the treatment of AMD. Two large studies known as the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS and AREDS2) have found that certain vitamins and minerals can slow the progression of AMD in certain individuals with intermediate and later stage AMD. A number of manufacturers offer supplements based on these studies. I generally recommend the formulas based on the more recent AREDS2 study report. This study substituted lutein and zeaxanthin for beta-carotene, which had been linked to an increased risk of lung cancer in smokers. The AREDS2 supplements include 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 IU [international units] of vitamin E, 25 milligrams of zinc, 2 milligrams of copper, 10 milligrams of lutein, and 2 milligrams of zeaxanthin. The products with these supplements can generally be identified with a label indicating “AREDS2 formula.”

A common question is whether or not individuals with a family history or signs of early macular degeneration should begin taking vitamin supplements. As of now, the current research does not show any benefit of vitamins to individuals in this at-risk or pre-AMD category. I recommend that my patients who express these concerns aim to reduce their risk factors by making healthy choices. Stop or avoid smoking, make sure to control your blood pressure and cholesterol, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.

Green, leafy vegetables are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two of the main components of the vitamin formulas. Foods with the highest levels of lutein and zeaxanthin include kale, spinach, collard greens and turnip greens. Other greens such as lettuce, broccoli, squash and peas all have these healthy nutrients as well, just to lesser amounts. By eating these foods, you can get the vitamin nutrients necessary for your macular health in a natural way. In summary, the goal should be healthy dietary choices to promote healthy eyes.

PBN: Who should I talk to about macular degeneration?

WESTERFELD: If you have any symptoms of vision loss, or concerns or questions about macular degeneration, you should seek eye care. A comprehensive dilated eye exam can allow detection of AMD. Our eye care professionals can diagnose AMD and refer you to a retina specialist for management if needed. With early detection and ongoing management, we are now able to help many individuals maintain their vision and continue to live their lives with the fullness and richness that is the gift of sight.

 

Thank you Providence Journal readers for voting Koch Eye Associates the winner for Optometry in the
2017 Readers Choice Awards!

 


 

Providence Business News - Dr. Corey Westerfeld returns to Eye Health Vision Centers

Read The Article
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