Evanston Eye Wellness
Helps Patients See and Feel Better
Dr. Deana LaBrosse
When Dr. Deana LaBrosse opened Evanston Eye Wellness, in Evanston, last March 2016, she wanted to have a space where she could incorporate natural and holistic treatments with traditional optometry practices. Her office provides comprehensive eye care, medical eye care and contact lens services, with a focus on dry eye treatment and preventive health.
“So much of medicine is focused on sickness. I try to take care of systemic health to limit the spread of disease and identify the root causes of eye issues. Diet, lifestyle and genetics all factor into healthy eyes and vision,” says LaBrosse. With the help of advanced diagnostic technology and vision correction products, LaBrosse helps her patients find overall wellness. “People who haven’t had vision problems in the past may not think about their eyes on a regular basis. But everyone should be concerned with ultraviolet (UV) exposure, blue light and any changes in their eyes. Waking up with red or itchy eyes is not normal. Contacts that are dry or uncomfortable, even at the end of the day, isn’t normal or healthy,” LaBrosse says.
Treating dry eyes is one of LaBrosse’s specialties and passions. She says technology has improved dramatically over the years so that doctors now understand more about how the fluid in the eyes is regulated. “We can now take an image of the eye glands and tears and see how much is fluid and how much is particulate matter. This allows us to tailor a treatment to the patient’s specific needs,” notes LaBrosse.
Instead of eye drops or surgery, LaBrosse first recommends more holistic treatments for dry eyes. “Blinking is one of the most basic things people can do to lubricate and cleanse their eyes. Every time you blink, the natural oils in the tear ducts are allowed to do their job. When we’re staring at a screen, we forget to blink. I encourage my patients to blink as much as possible, using the muscles in their ocular anatomy instead of other facial muscles. Nutrition also plays a role in eye health. Eating foods high in lutein and other antioxidants such as kale appear to help protect eyes from illness. Patients who are at high risk for eye disease can also take supplements,” she says.
Computers are to blame for a lot of modern vision problems. “Screens today emit high-energy blue light which can damage the cells in the retina and has been linked to cataracts and macular degeneration. With people spending 10 hours a day or more looking at a computer screen, cell phone or tablet, this can cause serious, long-term problems. We’re seeing it in patients as young as 12 years old now with permanent tear gland damage. I recommend my patients take a break to look away from the screen every 20 minutes. Focusing on something in the distance allows the eyes to rest and rejuvenate,” LaBrosse says.
Eye wellness is about much more than just vision. Changes in eyesight and eye function can be indicative of illnesses such as diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol or even brain tumors. “The eyes contain neurologic tissue and are the only place in the body you can actually view blood vessels. During an exam, I can detect those changes and recommend the patient follows up with the appropriate specialist,” says LaBrosse.
As a business owner, LaBrosse is able to form relationships with her patients and make sure they have the tools to be successful. “Part of my job is to educate them on eye wellness and find out any of their concerns. If they have a family history of macular degeneration or other eye diseases, they might need to come in more often than once a year, but in general, routine checkups are the best way to prevent decline.
“I work with my patients to make sure they like their glasses so they’ll actually wear them. I teach them proper ergonomics for sitting at a desk so they’re not getting headaches or straining their eyes, neck or back. I ask them about their nutrition, lifestyle, daily activities and offer suggestions to improve their eye wellness, which leads to overall wellness,” she says.
Evanston Eye Wellness is located at 716 Main St., in Evanston. For more information, visit EvanstonEyeWelllness.com or call 847-350-7952. See ad on page 41 and in the Community Resource Guide.
Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect with her at CarrieJacksonWrites.com.