As winter ends and spring starts its thawing out process, many want to shed those extra hibernation pounds. We want to fit into our summer clothes, be confident in swim wear, and look and feel better.
This process requires us to review our overall health status; including exercise, diet, and living a healthier lifestyle. One aspect is our nutrition! Thanks to Weight Watchers, low-carb diets and all those weight-loss fads, we all know how to count calories. Eventually the number of calories and type of calories we consume are critical for weight loss. Another important aspect of our health is antioxidants.
Antioxidants contain vitamins and other carotenoids that protect our cells, keeping us looking "young" and promoting "anti-aging!" Antioxidants are found in every part of our body. The eye contains two- lutein and zeathanthin.
Research shows lutein and Zeaxanthin deplete as we age. We use numerous "vitamins" to help replenish our antioxidant stores. Dr. Bello has investigated and researched a state-of-the-art instrument, called the QuantifEye that is able to measure the antioxidant levels in the macula (located in the back of the eye). Advanced Vision Specialists now offers this testing, during each eye exam, to patients over the age of 21.
The QuantifEye accurately measures macular pigment density levels, and provides an MPOD score. Macular pigment, a key risk factor of AMD (age-related macular degeneration), is something that we can help patient's control. If the patient's MPOD score is low, Dr. Bello will recommend the patient take the EyePromise Restore vitamin, and return six months later to see if their MPOD score improved.
EyePromise Restore rebuilds macular pigment in the back of the eye by replenishing Zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan-thin) and Lutein, and is scientifically proven to increase the MPOD score. If the score doesn't improve the patient will receive a full refund (provided that the patient has been compliant in taking their EyePromise Restore vitamins). This takes the risk out of using a vitamin and not knowing if it is working. If it works, the patient lowers their risk for macular degeneration, if not they receive their money back!
We are proud that we through this process so that we may provide our patients with the most innovative and accurate advances in vision. The incorporation of antioxidants into our daily lives will help to maintain and strengthen our health, as well as keep our bodies in a "younger state" so that we will always be in "summertime clothes" mode!
As the long winter days start to shorten, we will begin to see the sun more. The sun has both good and bad effects on our body. It is needed to promote healthy bone formation as well as regulate our moods. In turn, it can also cause a higher incidence of skin cancer and macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is caused by various factors: nutrition, smoking, family history, and sun contact. Years of sun exposure can lead to cell damage, and possibly the formation of macular degeneration. The use of proper sunglasses can help protect our eyes from this irreversible damage. The difference between Ophthalmic versus store-bought sunglasses varies greatly, especially when taking into consideration the many advances in lenses. Store bought glasses have various amounts of tint that distort your vision and compromise true colors. Higher-grade lenses mean fewer impurities and less distortion. This leads to better vision, resolution, and less eyestrain compared to store bought sunglasses.
Another significant difference to sunglasses is the polarization and the coating of the lenses. Most store-bought lenses are not polarized, and those that are polarized only block partial glare. Likewise, most don’t have the anti-reflective or mirror coating, which is needed for maximum coverage. The best coverage will reduce UV rays by 100%. The effectiveness and placement of these coatings help protect and even improve vision.
Glare also results from the quality coating on our sunglasses. There are different types of glare: direct, indirect, and glare produced from various surfaces (concrete, water, snow, etc.). Glare will reduce our eyesight and make it more difficult to see in various driving and outdoor conditions.
So the question is … how much do we value our sight? As with many items we purchase for ourselves and loved ones, we assume the price, based on the value we place upon that particular object. When we consider the value of eyesight, I cannot think of a more treasured sense to protect. The continued use of Ophthalmic quality sunglasses will allow us to enjoy clearer vision, for a longer amount of time. So we must understand that while it is tempting to pay for a cheap pair of store-bought sunglasses, ultimately we get what we pay for!
For years, Maui Jim sunglasses have been the preferred choice that I recommend to all of my patients. They offer the best in polarization, and their lens technology brings out brilliant colors so every detail is crisper and cleaner, without glare or harmful UV rays. See how Maui Jim sunglasses compare to drugstore sunglasses. To celebrate and welcome back our warm, glorious sun, my office is now offering a chance to win ANY pair of Maui Jim sunglasses. ENTER HERE FOR OUR MOST EXCITING GIVEAWAY! In the meantime, we invite you to our optical boutique to see the Maui Jim difference for yourself.
Happy Mardi Gras!
My wife and I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras last weekend. We had such a great time last year and thought about how much fun our employees would have, that we decided this year to bring our staff!! I appreciated the fact that they were able to enjoy Mardi Gras, and that many want to return again.
While the trip was only a few days, we made sure to take in the many fine offerings that the great city of New Orleans has to offer: the architecture and history, the decadent cusine, the french maket, and one-of-a-kind street performances.
The week prior to Mardi Gras we ran a contest, and offered one lucky patient the chance to win a free King Cake. The contest was simple: let us know what theme song we should have for our Mardi Gras trip. Linda A., from Chicago, was the winning entry, with her song choice: My Toot Toot, by Rockin Sidney. Wouldn't you know, while we were enjoying our dinner Saturday night, at a courtyard restrurant, My Toot Toot was playing! What a perfect song, for a perfect trip.
We sure hope Linda enjoys her cake, as we sure relished the King Cake we brought back for the staff to share today. A tiny baby (symbolic of the baby Jesus) is placed inside each King Cake. It is a sign of good luck and is customary for the person who discovers the hidden baby to purchase the next King Cake. We would like to congratualte our own Trish, for finding the baby, and hope she carries on the tradition by bringing a King Cake next year!
Below you will find many great photos of our trip, along with favorite moments shared by our staff.
"The restaurants and seafood were outstanding." Kelly B.
"I really enjoyed the care free atmosphere of the festivities, words cannot describe the experience, you have to see it to believe it!" Renata D.
"I loved walking around Jackson Square during the day looking at all the art work, walking into the little shops, and seeing the street performers." Lindy L.
"Watching the people!!! Best time was meeting a local couple who were overjoyed to be staying at our hotel and enjoying the parades and experiences while on their vacation. Not only were there some fasinating people in costumes, but their pets were in costume too!!!! I absolutely had the time of my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Gail M.
"My favorite part of Mardi Gras was just getting to experience what an amazing unique culture that New Orleans has.. The music, art, food and the drinks all of it was so different than anything I have experienced. It was awesome having Doctor Bello and Nancy to show us around on Saturday. I even survived a few shark attacks!!" Callie P.
"All the amazing costumes and Crazy people made the trip that much better, I will forever remember this trip and already want to go back." Meghan O.
"The Mardi Gras Parade was my first experience and it was fabulous . All the vibrant colors and peoples energy made the atmosphere more alive. It made me feel like I was part of a story telling. I also enjoyed the aquarium because I saw things that I never saw before. I wish we could celebrate Mardi Gras here in Chicago. I will definitely recommend to visit New Orleans to all my friends." Maryana S.
"My favorite thing about Mardi gras were the Parades." Eileen L.
"The greatest thing about Mardi Gras was that I could become someone completely different and not be judged, I was known as the Aztec Queen down in New Orleans, I am definitely going back, as the talent and artistic people blew me away, as well as the incredible food and beverage. I can not thank Dr. Bello and Mrs. Bello enough for making all of this happen." Trish R.
"It was my biggest joy to expose my staff to one of my favorite places and to see how each one thoroughly was able to have so much fun. Having lived in New Orleans for 3 years I still feel close to the city and its traditions. Each staff commented that they will go back one day. There are no words to express my satisfaction of sharing an experience like this with those that work so hard for this practice." Nancy Bello
January is in full swing, and once again, we closed out one year and begin with another. This is a perfect opportunity to both reflect, and look forward to what the future may bring. As we look forward to another year, we can't help but wonder, what new adventures and challenges will we encounter? As we get older, it feels like change is happening faster and faster. How do we cope? Do we accept and embrace change or do we fight it? Some of the many changes we experience, which we have no control of, are eye-related. After you pass the milestone age of 40, you'll notice it gets more difficult to focus on objects that are up close, due to presbyopia. This is a normal, age-related loss of focusing ability, due to hardening of the lens inside your eye. This odyssey continues well into our 50s. The use of bifocals, using two pairs of glasses; one for reading and one for distance, bifocal contacts, etc. come into play. Decisions, decisions, decisions.
As we continue to age, our eyes continue to give us more trouble. We may start experiencing burning, stinging, or other eye discomfort. These symptoms are due to Dry Eye Syndrome (DES). DES occurs when the eye does not produce enough tears, too many tears, or when tears are not the correct consistency and evaporate too quickly. DES can make it more difficult to perform activities, such as using a computer or reading for an extended period of time, which can be very frustrating to deal with. There are several treatment options to treat DES, such as the many types of artificial tears, punctal plugs, steroid drops, Restasis, and the use of Omega 3s, which can help us cope with this disease.
I recently spent five days attending the Annual Ophthalmology Innovation Summit, where I learned about the newest vision enhancing technologies that can help my patients. An advanced treatment, which I plan to add to my practice, will use an intense pulse laser (IPL) to help combat dry eyes. This treatment brings hope to dry eye sufferers, who are tired of the daily hassle of the standard remedies. In addition, this groundbreaking treatment will not only be unique to my practice, but also to the Chicagoland area.
I also evaluated a new procedure to treat glaucoma, which is minimally invasive, has a lower rate of complication, and is very good at lowering intra-ocular eye pressures.
Additionally, keeping with my tradition to continue remaining at the forefront of modern medicine, I have added a new piece of equipment that delivers the latest technology for cataract surgery outcomes.
Change is a vital ingredient to growth. I believe we are armed with new technology and advancements to make 2013 the best year yet. I can't wait to see what it will bring!
With Christmas fast approaching, many of us are consumed with buying presents for our loved ones, and feeling the stress that accompanies juggling our family's schedules to share Christmas together. During the most wonderful time of the year, I thought it would be nice to take a break from the hustle and bustle to reflect on what Christmas means to me.
"Christmas feeling" often means something different to each of us. For me, my memories go back to my youth and recent Christmas' that happened not so long ago. I also ponder the new additions to our families, and participating in the celebration of Christmas' to come.
Many of my youth memories took place on Christmas Eve. I remember being in my parent's basement, eating all sorts of fish and playing cards. There was smoke in the air, from both cigarettes and frying fish. I can almost hear the noise of everyone talking to each other all at the same time. As a child, Christmas represented a time of relaxation and enjoying each other's company.
The holidays also remind me of memories of my parents, who both have passed (my father on December 6, 1985 and my mother June 21, 2000). I try to preserve how much they meant to me and how their upbringing shaped my character. After these times of reflection, I can focus on looking forward.
As I began my own family, with my wife and five sons, my "Christmas feeling" changed. The chaotic memories of Christmas Eves of my youth were replaced with feelings of contentment, joy, appreciation, and love. Presently, our Christmas' have dramatically changed, now that all of my children live out of state. This caused my wife and I to adapt to a new set of rules, while trying to instill the same old-fashioned values. It has been challenging, but not impossible.
Our first grandson, Vincent Patrick (who lives in San Diego), will be celebrating his first Christmas this year. He just finished his first visit to Chicago and we celebrated Christmas with my son's family early this year. Our hope is that he will embrace our traditions of Christmas' past, as we look forward to adopting new traditions with him, that will help shape his own "Christmas feeling" and memories.
God bless all of you and your families. We wish you a joyous Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.