While the science of nutrition has been evolving for years, its role in patient care has long remained elusive. Understanding the importance of food intake can have clinical implications for the modern practice of optometry and medicine.
The 21st-century movement toward patient-driven health care is driving the use of mobile health applications (apps), artificial intelligence (AI), and wearable technologies.
ODs are integral to the care of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension (HTN), age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and dry eye disease (DED). Primary-care ODs use innovative technologies to educate patients about their own health and use food and nutritional advice to improve their outcomes.
Furthermore, optometric practices that develop expertise in nutrition can differentiate themselves through the delivery of high-level, preventive eye care.
Previously by Dr. Wong: Is optometry ready for the age of smartphone imaging?
Benefits of apps/tech
Mobile apps and technology empower consumers with information to be more proactive in monitoring their own health.
One example includes the low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharide disaccharide monosaccharide and polyols) app from Monash University, which makes consumers more conscientious and self-aware of their behavior.1
Proper awareness supports action, encourages positive health behavior and preventive measures (including the MyFitnessPal and Nike Training Club apps), and helps guide consumers to a better assessment and decision-making with particular health situations (MyGiHealth GI Symptom Tracker App).2-4
Platforms for monitoring wellness include:
Nutrition and caloric intake
Amount and quality of sleep
Personalized food recommendations
1. Monash University. Your complete on-the-go guide to the FODMAP Diet. Available at: https://www.monashfodmap.com/ibs-central/i-have-ibs/get-the-app/. Accessed 9/11/19.
2. My FitnessPal. Lose Weight with MyFitnessPal.com—for FREE! Available at: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/welcome/learn_more. Accessed 9/11/19.
3. Nike. Nike Training Club App. Available at: https://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/nike-plus/training-app. Accessed 9/11/19.
4. Apple. My GiHealth GI Symptom Tracker. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/mygihealth-gi-symptom-tracker/id964527560. Accessed 9/11/19.
5. American Optometric Association. Sports & Performance Vision. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/optometrists/tools-and-resources/sports-and-performance-vision. Accessed 9/11/19.
6. Mischke J. The State of Wearable Technology in Healthcare: Current and Future. Wearable Technologies. Available at: https://www.wearable-technologies.com/2018/10/the-state-of-wearable-technology-in-healthcare-current-and-future/. Accessed 9/11/19.
7. Wearable Technologies. Wearable Technologies Show 2019 MEDICA. Available at: https://www.wearable-technologies.com/events/wt-wearable-technologies-show-2019-medica/. Accessed 9/11/19.
8. Food is Medicine Coalition. The Medically Tailored Meal Intervention. Available at: http://www.fimcoalition.org/our-model. Accessed 9/11/19.
9. Mount Sinai. Mount Sinai Health System and Epicured Partner to Bring Culinary Cures to Patients. Available at: https://www.mountsinai.org/about/newsroom/2019/mount-sinai-health-system-and-epicured-partner-to-bring-culinary-cures-to-patients. Accessed 9/11/19.
10. Stanford Health Care. Low FODMAP Diet: Our Approach to the Low FODMAP Diet. Available at: https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-treatments/l/low-fodmap-diet.html. Accessed 9/11/19.
11. National Eye Institute. What the Age-Related Eye Disease Studies Mean for You. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/areds2/PatientFAQ. Accessed 9/11/19.
12. National Eye Institute. Healthy Eyes. Available at: https://nei.nih.gov/health/healthyeyes/healthyeyes. Accessed 9/11/19.
13. American Optometric Association. Diet & Nutrition. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition. Accessed 9/11/19.
14. American Diabetes Association. Nutrition: Eating doesn’t have to be boring. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/. Accessed 9/11/19.
15. American Public Health Association. Food and Nutrition. Available at: https://www.apha.org/apha-communities/member-sections/food-and-nutrition. Accessed 9/11/19.
16. Ocular Wellness and Nutrition Society. Mission Statement. Available at: https://www.ocularnutritionsociety.org/mission-statement. Accessed 9/11/19.
17. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP): Chronic Disease in America. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/infographic/chronic-diseases.htm. Accessed 9/11/19.
18. World Health Organization (WHO). Chronic disease and health promotion: Overview-Preventing chronic diseases: a vital investment. Available at: https://www.who.int/chp/chronic_disease_report/part1/en/index11.html. Accessed 9/11/19.
19. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Red Meat Increases Heart Disease Risk. Available at: https://www.pcrm.org/news/health-nutrition/red-meat-increases-heart-disease-risk. Accessed 9/11/19.
20. Grunwald JE, Brucker AJ, Schwartz SS. Braunstein SN, Baker L, Petrig BL, Riva CE. Diabetic glycemic control and retinal blood flow. Diabetes. 1990 May;39(5):602-7.
21. Aykan NF. Red Meat and Colorectal Cancer. Oncol Rev. 2015 Feb 10; 9(1):288.
22. Rasmussen HM, Johnson EJ. Nutrients for the aging eye. Clin Interv Aging. 2013 Jun;8: 741-748.
23. Faulkner WJ. The Role of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids in Dry Eye Disease. Int J Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2017 Dec 22;1:055-059.
24. American Optometric Association. Nutrition and Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Available at: https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/nutrition/nutrition-and-age-related-macular-degeneration. Accessed 9/11/19.
25. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source: Vitamin E. Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-e/. Accessed 9/11/19.
26. Wong MYZ, Man REK, Fenwick EK, Gupta P, Ling-Jun L, van Dam RM, Chong MF, Lamoureux EL. Dietary intake and diabetic retinopathy: A systematic review. PLoS One. 2018;13(1): e0186582.
27. Harvard Health Publishing. Retinopathy. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/retinopathy-a-to-z. Accessed 9/11/19.