Insight E-Newsletter - February 2012

Welcome to the February edition of “Insight”! This month, in an effort to reach more people living with vision loss, we celebrate the launch of several eye health kiosks in hospitals across the country. Next, we turn our focus to eye health and how the foods you eat may save your sight.



Promoting prevention and early detection of vision loss with eye health kiosks

Eye Care Centre volunteers Angela MacLean and June FeswickCNIB-run eye health kiosks will be opening up in hospitals and eye care centres across the country, in the hopes of reaching more people living with vision loss who may not be aware of CNIB’s services and everyday living products.

The kiosks were originally introduced last March at the Eye Care Centre in Halifax, which receives hundreds of visitors on a daily basis from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI. CNIB vision rehabilitation specialists and volunteer ambassadors were on hand to explain CNIB’s services, demonstrate a selection of popular Shop CNIB products, and respond to any questions visitors or their families might have about our services and referral process.

June Feswick, a volunteer facilitator for CNIB’s adjustment to vision loss and eye kiosk programs in Halifax, remembers an emotional moment when she first saw a woman she had met earlier through the kiosk program sitting in her peer support group.

When the woman introduced herself to the group, she said, “I’m here because I heard June’s presentation at the Eye Care Centre. And while at first I didn’t want to believe what she was saying, I knew in my heart that I needed to go to CNIB and get help with my vision loss.”

“That hit very close to home,” says June, who considers the adjustment to vision loss program instrumental in her husband’s own rehabilitation process. “Knowing that I had been able to reach someone - a total stranger - and make such a difference in their life was incredible.”

Being able to reach more people living with vision loss early on and raise awareness of available rehabilitation services is vital to ensuring more people have the skills and opportunities to fully participate in life.

June mentions that over the next eight weeks, the woman she met from the eye health kiosk received training on how to use a white cane and work with a sighted guide, which gave her the confidence and support she needed to plan a month-long vacation with her husband throughout Europe.

According to June, “It demonstrated that what we do every day at the Eye Care Centre is changing lives.”

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Healthy foods for your eyes

Image of spinach greens While some eye conditions are unavoidable, some - such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, dry eye syndrome and eyelid disorders - can actually be prevented, slowed or suppressed by making healthier food and lifestyle choices.

These eye-healthy foods include leafy greens, orange vegetables and cold-water fish - all rich in protective nutrients that, when consumed on their own or in conjunction with other nutrients, have been shown to promote eye health and protect against preventable eye conditions. These nutrients and their food sources include:

Omega-3s: Studies have shown that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids can lower the risk of AMD. The most common sources can be found in flax seeds, walnuts, soybeans and fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel.

Lutein and zeaxanthin: Eating foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce the risk of both AMD and cataracts by protecting against the oxidation of healthy tissue in the eye. Food sources include brightly coloured produce, such as squash, corn and orange peppers, as well as leafy greens, such as spinach and kale.

Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene, most commonly found in carrots, is a nutrient that the body converts into vitamin A and can offer protection against advanced AMD progression and cataracts when combined with other antioxidants.

Vitamin C: When combined with vitamin E, beta-carotene and zinc, vitamin C has been shown to lower the risk of AMD by 25 per cent in people who are at high risk and can also decrease the risk of cataracts. Food sources include fruits and vegetables, such as papaya, red bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries and oranges.

Fiber: Foods that are higher in fiber also have a low glycemic index (GI) - a measure of how quickly carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels. Foods with a higher GI (such as white bread and potatoes) can increase the risk of AMD and cataracts; whereas low GI foods (such as oat bran, lentils, beans and barley) work to promote eye health.

Eating the right foods, in compliance with the Canada Food Guide, is an excellent way to help avoid preventable eye conditions and maintain healthy eyes.

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Delicious recipes for eye health from the experts

Image of Chicken Almond WrapsVision loss can happen at any age, and in many cases because of factors beyond our control. However, there are still many things that can be done to help prevent it, including diet.

Here, Dr. Laurie Capogna and Dr. Barbara Pelletier, optometrists from the Niagara Region, give us a recipe filled with important nutrients to help save your sight.

Chicken Almond Wraps

These tasty wraps can be enjoyed as a nutritious lunch or a light snack. They are filled with nutrients that help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts, including lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C and zinc.

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and pulled into bite sized pieces
1 tbsp canola or olive oil
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1 orange pepper, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 large orange, peeled with a knife, quartered and sliced
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
Leaf lettuce leaves, Romaine lettuce leaves or kale leaves, washed and dried completely
Optional zeaxanthin boost: garnish with goji berries.

Dipping Sauce

4 tablespoons natural almond butter (or natural peanut butter)
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
4 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons honey
Dash hot sauce
Hot water

Directions

  1. Mix poultry, peas, pepper, green onion, orange, almonds and cilantro in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine almond butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and hot sauce.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons hot water and stir well. If sauce is too thick, add another tablespoon hot water. Continue until the sauce has the consistency of a thick salad dressing.
  4. Use 2 tablespoons of the sauce as dressing for the poultry mix. Toss gently to combine.
  5. Separate remaining dipping sauce into an individual bowl or ramekin for each person.
  6. Spoon chicken mixture into a lettuce or kale leaf and fold. Enjoy with the dipping sauce.

Tip: The chicken mixture can be refrigerated for up to two days. Serve cold or warm.

Serves 4

Dr. Laurie Capogna and Dr. Barbara Pelletier are the authors of the book “Eyefoods: A Food Plan for Healthy Eyes.” They have written numerous articles, and given presentations on the topic of nutrition and eye health. For more information, visit eyefoods.com​.

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Photo of “Eyefoods, A Food Plan for Healthy Eyes.”Shop CNIB

“Eyefoods, A Food Plan for Healthy Eyes,” $24.95

Co-authored by optometrists Dr. Laurie Capogna and Dr. Barbara Pelletier, “Eyefoods, A Food Plan for Healthy Eyes” offers ways to promote eye health and avoid preventable eye conditions by consuming foods that are high in eye nutrients and adopting healthy lifestyle choices. Information is presented in an easy to follow format, which includes tips on serving sizes, a food plan tracking page and lifestyle plan.

To order this item or browse our catalogue of products for everyday living, visit one of our 20 stores across the country or order online at webstore.cnib.ca.

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Monthly-Ask.jpgMonthly Giving - Become a Partner in Vision

Eliminating avoidable sight loss through cutting-edge research

CNIB is committed to improving the eye health of Canadians and eliminating avoidable sight loss through research and public education. You can help fund cutting-edge research in some of North America’s foremost universities and health care centres. For $10 a month, you help scientists to explore the causes of blindness and vision loss, potential cures, how our eyes work and what we need to do to maintain our vision. Become a Partner in Vision. ​

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