Stay healthy. Stay beautiful….one health tip at a time.

Posts tagged ‘macular degeneration’

Cornea Sunburn: Cause and Cure

Is it possible for your eyes to get sunburned? Yes—and we’re referring to the cornea of the eye. The cornea is the clear tissue that covers the iris to protect the inner structure of the eye. Because the cells in the cornea behave like skin cells, they suffer the same fate—sunburn is a great possibility, especially if your eyes are exposed to bright light sources.

Radiation from the sun in the form of UV rays can inflict harm not only the skin causing photo-aging, age spots, wrinkles and even skin cancer, it can also harm your eyes. Two main types of UV rays—UV-A and UV-B are notorious culprits. UV-A rays can harm your central vision and damage the macula (the part of the retina at the back of your eye). UV-B rays with longer wavelengths can actually cause even more harm and is responsible for cornea sunburn.

If you’re looking for a technical term, the word is photokeratitis.  Any prolonged exposure to sunlight (anytime from 3 to 12 hours) can do that. UV-rays reflecting off bright surfaces such as bodies of water, snow, sand or bright surfaces can also cause cornea sunburn. However radiation is not just limited to the sun. Other examples include powerful light sources such as the photographer’s flood lamp, the sun lamp in the tanning booth, the halogen lamp or even the welder’s arc.

Symptoms can be mild or severe. Tell-tale signs include pain in the eyes, light sensitivity, tearing, blurry vision or bloodshot eyes. In severe cases, especially prolonged exposure to bright reflecting surfaces such as snow, temporary blindness can set in for a day or two.

Although you can’t lather sunscr
According to the American Optometric Association, it is highly advisable and downright smart to don protective eyewear, whenever you’re out and about, even on cloudy days. Look for sunglasses or contact lenses that offer 99 to 100 percent UV protection and cut off 75 to 90 percent of visible light.

The effort is minimal. You may even look stylish in trendy sunglasses and you can definitely save yourself some eye-grief in the long run. Cornea sunburn can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, tumors and formation of Pinguecula (unsightly yellow bumps on white of the eye.


If you’re looking for a pair of protective sunglasses, read this: Protective UV Sunglasses: How to Choose a Good Pair

Anthocyanins: The Secret to Goji Berries

My mother used to have tons  of goji berries stashed in her pantry–in plastic containers, in bags and dainty packs of herbal mix.  She used it relentlessly– in soups, in herbal teas and in her main dishes.  She would brew bitter nasty tasting broth, reputedly a magic cure for any kind of ailments and then had to chase us around the kitchen to get us to drink it.

Along with Goji berries was her often repeated health adage, “Eat this, it’s good for your eyes.”  Good for the eyes– seemed absurd when you’re young and your eyes are perfectly good but that didn’t not keep her from pushing her health agenda.

While doing some research on Anthocyanins, I found that my mother knew a thing or two about Goji berries, even if she didn’t know the medical term for it.  It turns out that Goji berries are loaded with Anthoyanins, a potent antioxidant, that also give Goji berries its bright red color.

Anthocyanins are color pigments found in fruits, vegetables and flowers.  Red grapes, pomegranates, eggplants, carrots, peaches, watermelon, guava, grapefruit–to name a few–all these owe their vibrant color to the presence of anthocyanins.  What can anthoyanins do for your health?  For starters, they are supper antioxidants, scavenging the body for free radicals and neutralizing their capacity for cellular damage, thereby reducing risks of cancer. They are also anti-inflammatory agents, fighting against the stresses of aging, improving cardiovascular health and brain function.

Now, back to my mother’s fascination with goji berries.  Scientific researches concur that goji berries are in rich alpha-carotene and zeaxanthin, both anthocyanins. While apha-carotene can be readily converted to Vitamin A and serves as an antioxidant and  an immunity booster, zeaxanthin plays key role in protecting the retina of the eyes.  By absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant for the eyes, zeaxanthin can decrease the risk of age related macular dengeneration, a leading cause of vision problem and blindness in people over 65.

So my mother was right.   Ancient wisdom is seldom wrong–after all, goji berries were used by herbalists in China, Tibet and India for more than 6,000 years.

If she were here today, she would say, “Told you so,” and  you won’t find me  rolling my eyes.

Goji berries can be eaten as a snack–a lot of health stores carry goji berries as a healthy snack, either on its own or in trail mix.  Toss a handful into chicken soup or incorporate them in your main dishes.  Here is a simple stir fry dish:

Goji Chicken

1 thumb of ginger, thinly sliced

4 or 5 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 handful of goji berries

1 stalk of spring onion, cut into 1″ lengths

1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

salt and pepper to taste


Sautee sliced ginger, garlic and goji berries in a teaspoon of oil until fragrant.

Add sliced chicken, oyster sauce and sautee until cooked through.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with green onion.

Want to find out more about Anthocyanins?  Read Anthocyanins:  Colors of Health.