{Health} Are Your Aging Eyes Causing All Your Troubles?

A new report says yes, but another expert says . . .


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“For decades, scientists have looked for explanations as to why certain conditions occur with age, among them memory loss, slower reaction time, insomnia and even depression. . . . Now, a fascinating body of research supports a largely unrecognized culprit: the aging of the eye.”  —The New York Times, February 20, 2012

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FOFs are buzzing (and panicking) about last week’s article in The New York Times that examines a body of research from Dr. Martin Mainster and Dr. Patricia Turner, two ophthalmologists from the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Mainster and Turner claim that the gradual yellowing of the lens and narrowing of the pupil that occur with age prevent sunlight from getting through to key cells in the eye. They claim that this disturbs our circadian rhythms–the body’s natural clock–and leaves us at greater risk for a number of ailments, including insomnia, heart disease, cancer and depression. Their evidence is compelling:  Based on their research, Mainster and Turner estimate that by age 45, the average adult receives just 50 percent of the light needed to fully stimulate the circadian system. By age 55, it dips to 37 percent and by age 75, to a mere 17 percent. “We believe the effect is huge,” says Dr. Turner.

The two doctors claim there is much research left to do, however they recommend that as we age we should make an effort to expose ourselves to bright sunlight or bright indoor lighting. They are also wary of cataract surgery that involves the implantation of “blue-blocking” lenses, as these may further limit the critical light that reaches the eye. Mainster and Turner have installed skylights and extra fluorescent lights in their own offices to help offset the effects.

So is it time to panic? Should you install windows in the ceiling or move your office to the front lawn?  Not so fast says Dr. Russell Fumuso, MD, an ophthalmologist, surgeon and Founding Partner of Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island (OCLI), one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the country. “The article sounds very dire,” Dr. Fumoso admits. “If you read it, you might think that as you age, you’re inevitably not going to be able to sleep; you’re going to get depressed….you’re going to become some sort of a zombie. In reality, that’s just not true. Everyone in the world gets cataracts as they age–not everyone experiences these other ailments.”
Fumuso goes on to point out that there are other reasons one begins to see sleep disturbances, heart disease and depression in patients in their 50s…namely, menopause. “The body systems are all interconnected, so looking at the eye as the root of all these problems is . . . problematic. It would be nice if it were the answer to everything, but it doesn’t work that way.”

When it comes to the “blue-blocking” lens implants that Mainster and Turner oppose, Dr. Fumuso says, “That’s the Alcon lens. It’s be implanted in over 26 million people in the last 10 years–that’s a pretty good track record. If you’re concerned, talk to your doctor–there are other options.”

So what can we do to preserve eye health and function as long as possible–if not skylight installation? “Stop smoking!” says Dr. Fumuso. “And eat a healthy diet. Your eyes are a lifetime in the making.”

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{Style Expert} Poof! 7 tricks to make your age disappear

When Carol Tuttle turned 50 two years ago she vowed to defy biology.

“I reached a fork in the road. There was the ‘I’m going to look old path’ or the ‘I don’t think so path,’” said Carol, the author of Dressing Your Truth, a best-selling guide to finding your signature style based on Carol’s system of beauty “Types.” “Around 50 your body wants to get a little saggier or put on extra pounds, but I challenge that. You can choose to maintain fitness and vitality, but it takes an investment–a more dedicated investment than when you were 25.”

After doing literally hundreds of makeovers with FOFs across the country, Carol says there are seven age-defying musts every FOF should know:

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7. Use lipliner, lipstick AND gloss.

FOFs often have feathering. Lipliner frames the lip so the lipstick doesn’t bleed. The gloss holds the lipstick and gives shine and a fuller look.

Carol’s picks:

Lip Liner: Clinique Quickliner for Lips in Honeystick is a good neutral that will blend with almost any lip color. Plus, it’s retractable so it never needs sharpening.

Lipstick: Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey adds just enough color without leaving you looking made up.

Gloss: Clinique Long Last Glosswear in Knock Out Nude has an SPF15 which is very important for protection.

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6. Swap black eyeliner for brown and avoid liquid liner.

Liquid and black-colored eyeliners accentuate eye wrinkles. Instead, choose a less-harsh brown eye pencil to line the top lid from the inside out. The only women who should wear black eyeliner are those with porcelain skin and dark hair.

Carol’s picks: Sephora Collection Slim Pencil in “Medium Brown.”

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5. Update your jeans. I tell my two adult daughters, ‘When I was your age, a woman’s waistline was at her belly-button!’ Today, jeans should land an inch and a half below your navel.

Carol’s picks: Not Your Daughters Jeans and Paige Premium Denim. These brands cater to fuller hips and thighs.

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4. Get a bra fitting every few years and buy new bras every 6 months. Saggy boobs really age a woman. Get a bra-fitting and invest in a quality bra. You should be recycling your bras every 6 months or when the backside of the bra is no longer holding its original elasticity. It’s better to have fewer bras and replace them more often.

Carol’s picks: Go to Nordstrom for bra fitting.

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3.  Use brow powder to cover grays between color appointments.

We all get patches of gray hair on our temples and our brow lines between color appointments. Cover the gray with a brow powder that matches your hair. Use an oversized shadow brush to dab on the powder and voila, your gray is gone.

Carol’s picks: Bare Escentuals Essential Brow Color easily covers the gray and is healthy for your hair. My line of brow powder, Dressing Your Truth Brush on Brow comes in eight colors to match your hair, from blonde to very dark.

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2. Incorporate a daily fitness routine into your lifestyle.

Maintaining your body doesn’t have to mean running 5 miles at the gym everyday. Even basic daily strength training can make a huge difference.

Carol’s picks: The T-Tapp, an easy, 15-minute fitness routine created by exercise physiologist Teresa Tapp. I highly recommend doing it 4-7 times a week. It helps with your posture and lymphatic system and reduces fat. If you’re dedicated and eat healthily you can easily drop a dress size with this routine.

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1. Update your hairstyle. The biggest anti-aging secret is the right color, cut and style. I see women lose 10-20 years off their appearance just by changing their hairstyle alone.

Carol’s picks:

If you have a rectangular face, go for a sleek and straight style with a few layers like Michelle Pfeiffer. Just keep your length no longer than your shoulder blades.

If you have a rounder face, go for a medium length, bouncy or curly style to create a youthful look like Susan Sarandon.

If you have a chiseled, angular face shape go with a short, edgy, layered look like Jane Fonda.

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Images via Carol Tuttle, Sephora, Nordstrom, figleaves, amazon.com, Top News, Blogmeister USA, and The Hair Styler