It is estimated that around 36 million people are legally blind, and an additional 217 million have moderate or severe impairment to their vision. Though it’s believed that a significant amount of impairment can be prevented, there is no known cure for blindness
If your vision is impaired and you must wear corrective lenses or contacts, you may have considered laser eye surgery as an alternative. As of mid-2016, LASIK, the most common form of laser eye surgery, had a patient satisfaction rate of 96%, and 99% percent of patients were left with 20/40 vision or better.
A recent study suggests that there may be a link between degenerative eye diseases and detection of Alzheimer’s in patients. Degenerative eye diseases and Alzheimer’s are not directly related but this experiment gives insight into identifying cognitive diseases before they come to fruition.
Maintaining a healthy diet is, unsurprisingly, and important habit that individuals of all ages should embrace. A lesser known diet that often falls by the wayside is one that directly addresses eye health.
Vision tests are not just for the doctor’s office. There are plenty of ways that you can test your vision right at home and know if you need to get a new pair of glasses. Follow these steps to test your vision at home or on the go!
Springtime is here, and the pollen count is through the roof. Your eyes get itchy, watery, and red. Right on queue. Eye allergies are very common among people and have a tendency to spike during the spring months and into the summer.
Today’s digital age presents a unique set of potential problems for your eyes. Many professions require people to sit in front of a computer screen for eight or more hours a day. At the computer, images and texts are constantly moving and shifting back and forth, in and out of focus as you work.
Now that you have finally decided on a pair of glasses that you want, it’s time to talk about taking care of them. Properly taking care of your lenses is ideal to ensure the longevity of your purchase. This article will talk about some useful tips and habits in cleaning and maintaining your glasses…
Many people around the world suffer from mild to extreme forms of photophobia. Photophobia, in the most literal sense of the word, means a fear of light. Although people who suffer from photophobia are not necessarily afraid of bright light…
Makeup is a fun way to play with our facial features and achieve a desired look or style. But, when used improperly or irresponsibly, certain makeup items like mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow can cause damage not only to the skin, but to the eyes. Examples of this damage include irritation around the eyes, premature aging, infection, and more serious health complications. When the proper precautions are taken, there is little to nothing to worry about, but you should be taking extra care to follow a routine that preserves the health of your eyes. Here are the top tips for practicing eye safety while using makeup! Wash Your Hands Before the Application Your hands pick up all sorts of dirt, dust, and bacteria. If you don’t wash your hands before applying your makeup, that bacteria can get into your eyes and cause infection. Renew Your Makeup Every Six Months It often goes overlooked that makeup has a shelf life just like any other product. Spoiled makeup is bad for the skin. Using a marker to write the purchase date on your makeup and get rid of it after six months. Close Containers All the Way Leaving containers open can allow bacteria and germs to permeate your makeup. When exposed to a large amount of oxygen, the shelf life of the makeup also shortens. To keep it safe, keep it closed! Do Not Use Sharp Objects Around the Eyes This one explains itself. If you use a sharp object to separate your eyelashes, for example, you are putting yourself at risk for a major eye injury. Better safe than sorry. Use... read more
Either because of heredity or age, sixty percent of Americans wear glasses or contacts to correct their vision. Others prefer to save 20/20 vision by ignoring warning signs, passing up an eye exam. The latter is not wise. If eyesight isn’t as sharp as it was previously, there are warning signs to help decipher the dilemma. If these problems match current eye issues, contact an eye doctor immediately. Blurred Vision When once-clear vision becomes fuzzy, it’s not always a warning. Clear vision allows people to see far away and up close. Blurry vision comes from dry and un-rested eyes. When eyes can’t see far or near, the results are nearsightedness or farsightedness. Astigmatism comes from trouble seeing near and far. An eye exam is mandatory when blurry vision doesn’t leave. Squinting The same fuzzy vision forces people to adjust just to read the information. People adjust their eyesight by squinting. This process makes reading information better at the expense of eye health. Squinting isn’t a one-time thing for eyesight problems. It’s a continuous dependence required for seeing the outdoors, road signs, items inside the home, grocery shopping, movie watching, and much more. Headaches An unusual side effect of squinting or blurry vision is headaches. Headaches come from eye strain. Besides squinting, eye strain originates from staring at the computer, phone, and tablet screens. While headaches from tech eyestrain are reversible by resting the eye, squinting or blurry vision headaches cannot. Night to Light Adjustment Eyes going back and forth between night and light are easy thanks to the iris muscles contracting and expanding accordingly. If it takes longer to... read more
Sclera tattooing is becoming the latest trend for individuals into body modification, but many people don’t understand the dangers associated with this practice. The process involves injecting ink into the white portion (known as the sclera) of the eye to tint it, but it’s not as harmless as tattoo artists may claim. The Parts of the Eye are Interconnected The sclera, the white part of the eye that is the object of this dying process, is connected to the other parts of the eye. It has been established that it’s one piece with the cornea, which is the transparent protective covering of the eye. This means that just one slip could cause permanent eye damage. Piercing the cornea may mean leaving scars that can affect vision. This is why getting dirt and debris in the eye is so painful. The cornea’s three protective layers are designed to keep foreign objects out of the eye. Deliberately injecting ink into the eye can cause serious damage that can even prevent the cornea from protecting the eye from other risks, such as the sun’s UV rays. The Cornea is Key to How We See In addition to providing protection of the eye, the cornea also helps in the eyesight process. The cornea is responsible for focusing light and images for the retina, which transmits those pictures to the brain. Damaging the cornea with a needle or ink can lead to permanent eyesight problems, such as fuzzy vision or full blindness. Even if the cornea isn’t damaged, there are cases where sclera tattooing led to infection of other parts of the eye. The... read more
Tens of thousands of sports-related eye injuries happen every year, with most of them occurring in children. Basketball and baseball are responsible for most of these injuries, with water sports and racquet sports coming in not far behind. About 90% of these injuries are preventable, and those that do occur can be treated. Types of Eye Injuries There are three types of eye injuries that can occur in sports. The first is an impact injury, which is when someone is hit in or around their eye. These can cause bruising and swelling and often look worse than they are, but detached retinas and broken orbital bones can happen. The second type of eye injury that can happen when playing a sport is a penetrating injury. This is caused when something actually cuts the eye, such as a piece of a broken pair of glasses or a finger that goes into the eye. Penetrating injuries are significantly more severe than impact injuries and often require immediate medical attention. The third type of eye injury often seen in sports is a radiation injury. This is caused by exposure to the sun and is common in outdoor sports such as bicycling, swimming, or skiing. In the case of water or winter sports, sunlight can reflect off of water or snow and cause damage even if the person isn’t looking near the sun. Preventing and Treating Eye Injuries The good news about eye injuries is that almost all of them are preventable. Impact and penetrating injuries can be prevented with the proper safety equipment such as goggles and face masks, and radiation injuries... read more
It is imperative to have regular eye exams depending on one’s age, the risk of eye disease, and overall health. Early diagnosis of eye problems can help avoid blindness as rarely do the signs clear up on their own. The following are the most common eye diseases. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) It is the gradual damage to the macula cells which may lead to loss of central vision. Macula allows a person to see the fine details. Wet AMD is when abnormal blood vessels grow behind the retina causing blood and fluid to leak in the eye. Dry AMD involves the gradual breaking down of the light-sensitive cells in the macula leading to diminished central vision. Cataracts It is a painless eye disease that causes blurry vision due to clouding of the lens. It can be caused by excessive UV light exposure, trauma, age, medication, and diabetes among others. It continually gets worse if it is not treated. Cataracts treatments include laser surgery. Refractive Errors There are different refractive errors that are corrected by lenses, surgery, and glasses. Astigmatism is an error caused by an irregular-shaped cornea. An affected person sees blurry images. Nearsightedness (Myopia) occurs when the cornea has too much curvature. A patient can only focus on what is near. Farsightedness (hyperopia) is caused by a flat cornea that distracts light from focusing on the retina. Diabetic Retinopathy It is a disease that affects those with diabetes and it damages the retina due to higher than usual blood sugar levels. The nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy occurs when there is leaking of blood in the retina. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy... read more
Wearing contact lenses can be a better alternative for those who don’t really like the way they look in glasses. They can also be more convenient for people who live an active lifestyle. However, the one drawback to contact lenses is that it’s more important to keep them properly cleaned. What Happens to Your Eyes When You Wear Dirty Contact Lenses? When you wear dirty glasses, the worst thing that’s going to happen is that your vision will be obstructed. That in itself won’t pose a danger to your health. Dirty or improperly cleaned contact lenses, however, can cause your eyes to become infected. One such condition is keratitis, which involves an infected cornea. This can also be called a corneal ulcer. The cornea is the outer film that protects the eye. An infection affecting this film can grow into a very serious condition, risking the overall health of the eye. Anything breeding on the contact lens, such as a fungus, bacteria, or virus, can cause a corneal ulcer. In rare cases, a parasite can attack the eye and cause keratitis. It may be possible to identify an eye infection, before it gets too serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop wearing your contact lenses immediately and contact your eye doctor as soon as possible. Early detection may help you get the condition treated before it becomes too serious. Warning signs of an eye infection include: Swelling or redness around the eyes Blurry vision Unexplained tears, or a sticky, gooey secretion from the eye Eye pain Sensitivity to light Itching or burning, or the sensation that... read more
Vision disorders can affect anyone, but the risk of developing certain eye problems increases with age. Below are some common vision problems experienced by seniors: Dry Eyes and Tearing Regardless of age, “low-quality tears” are always present in healthy eyes. However, as people get older, tear glands sometimes fail to make enough low-quality tears, which can lead to symptoms such as redness, burning and itching. If dry eyes become a chronic condition, vision problems may eventually occur. For this reason, it is always in one’s best interest to consult with an eye doctor if constant dryness is a problem. Tearing is also not uncommon, particularly in seniors who are sensitive to temperature changes, wind or light. Wearing sunglasses and shielding eyes from wind may clear up the problem. If it continues, however, the advice of an eye doctor should be sought. Floaters Floaters are common in people of all ages, particularly nearsighted individuals. They may also become more noticeable as a person ages. They are typically harmless; however, if the number suddenly increases or they are accompanied by flashes of light, one should immediately consult an ophthalmologist. Presbyopia Presbyopia is simply a term for the inability to clearly read small print or see close objects. Most people over 40 develop some degree of presbyopia, which is easily remedied with suitable corrective lenses. Cataracts Cataracts are cloudy areas that cover part or all of the eye’s lens, making it difficult to see. They typically form slowly after age 50 and do not cause pain. Some remain small and don’t interfere with vision, while others grow large and eventually cause blindness... read more
Individuals living with low vision face a variety of challenges participating in workplace, home maintenance, and recreational activities. Many such visual conditions can only be partially corrected. Unfortunately, persons without complete correction frequently continue to face substantial limitations due to their continued difficulties with sight. Samsung’s new Relúmĭno smart glasses are designed to enhance the vision of individuals facing such challenges. These smart glasses are formed by attaching a compatible Samsung smartphone with the Relúmĭno app installed to the front of any Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset. A list of compatible Samsung smartphones is available on the product website. Once the Relúmĭno is configured, it can make the world an easier place to see for persons with a variety of visual challenges. These conditions include nearsightedness, diminished visual contrast, scotoma or isolated area of visual degeneration, and tunnel vision. The scotoma and tunnel vision modes allow the user to move areas of missed or reduced vision into usable visual field so that they can be seen. “Regular mode” sharpens and emphasizes the borders of objects to make them clearer for persons with diminished acuity. Relúmĭno smart glasses also have visual controls for the smartphone screen. The entire visual field covered by the glasses can be treated with the zoom, brightness/contrast, color filter/strength, and color invert settings. While these are standard screen features, viewing the screen throughout the entire visual field means that the viewer can see the image at a much larger scale. It also means that he or she does not need to physically maneuver a relatively small, possibly breakable device to see the screen. Reading can... read more
Contact lenses are a popular alternative to glasses, but many people hesitate to try them out because of common myths and misinformation. Here are six myths about contact lenses that don’t hold up to reality. Contact lenses aren’t for everyone. You may have heard that some people can’t wear contact lenses because they have a challenging prescription or a specific vision problem. However, because of new contact lens technology, almost everyone can wear contacts. You can get bifocal contact lenses, lenses for astigmatism, and custom made lenses for almost all other issues. Contact lenses can get stuck or lost behind your eye. A contact lens can stick to the surface of your eye if it gets too dry, but it can’t get permanently stuck. Contact lenses also can’t get lost behind your eye. The inner surface of your eye is lined with the conjunctiva, which turns into the covering of the eyeball. This means that it’s impossible for your contacts to reach the back of your eye. They may get stuck under your eyelid, but it’s easy to retrieve them. Contact lenses are uncomfortable and inconvenient. Contact lenses might feel strange for the first few days you wear them, but almost everyone adjusts quickly. Most people can’t feel their contacts in their eyes at all. Contacts are also very easy to take care of once you get used to the cleansing process. Contact lenses cost too much. Contact lenses are usually about the same price or only slightly more expensive than glasses. In some cases, they can be even cheaper than glasses. For many people, the benefits of contacts... read more
Among conditions that affect the eyes, few have been as pervasive as cataracts. Cataracts, defined as opacities of the lens that can ultimately lead to partial or complete blindness, impact millions of people across the world: According to some studies, up to 15 million people have blindness that is linked to cataract formation. What are some of the details related to cataracts’ causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment? While the exact pathogenic process causing cataracts remains a subject for research, there is quite a bit of literature available that discusses pertinent risk factors. One theory states a photo-oxidative process leads to the damage and subsequent opacity development. Commonly cited risk factors include old age, cigarette use, exposure to sunlight, diabetes, and alcohol consumption, among others. The effects of certain medications (e.g. Statins) is a subject for discussion. The condition presents as a painless, gradual loss of vision. A patient may note that they can’t see in the dark as well as they used to. Additionally, they could be faced with challenges when focusing on fine print or attempts to read signs while driving. Color can appear faded, with a lack of richness that may have been perceived in the past. Of note, cataracts often affect both eyes, but the problems may start asymmetrically. This means that one eye (either the right or the left) may begin to experience symptoms prior to the other. An ophthalmologist who suspects cataracts based on a patient’s presenting symptoms can confirm the diagnosis with a fundoscopic exam. Treatment is essential to prevent the onset of full-blown blindness. Generally speaking, the decision to pursue treatment (which... read more
Eye drops are very important and have numerous different methods of used. Eye drops help replace your eyes’ natural moisture. Eye drops also helps those who have eye dryness and irritation. In addition, eye drops allow your eyes to be more comfortable overall. If you use eye drops, it is important that they are used properly. Eye drops should be applied while tilting your head back. You should focus on the ceiling when applying eye drops, so be sure to be looking up! You should use your index finger to pull the lower eyelid down. The bottle should be held at least one inch away from your eye. Then you should squeeze a drop into your eye. After you’ve done that, you should not blink; instead, just close your eye once and gently press the corner of your eye, the side by your nose. Using this technique will stop your eye from leaking the solution. When applying eye drops, do not let the bottle’s tip touch your eye. This could cause eye infections like pink eye. Also, do not expose the tip of the bottle to other surfaces, as this may introduce foreign bacteria that could cause infection. It is also important to not mix eye drops. Instead, if you’re going to apply different applications, do so at least 30 minutes apart for the best outcomes. If you wear contact lenses, ask your eye doctor or read the directions on what types of eye drops can be used while wearing contacts. If you are not sure, wait until after you’ve worn those contacts before using the eye drops. Be... read more
Most people are aware exercise is good for slimming down, toning up, feeling better, and remaining healthy. What most people do not realize is exercise can help preserve vision. Studies during the past ten years found connections between exercising regularly and reducing risks for numerous common eye ailments. This includes glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Exercise combined with a good diet can also help avoid health issues that can cause damage to the eyes including Type-2 diabetes. This can cause damage to the retina’s blood vessels and cause blindness. High cholesterol and high blood pressure can additionally cause eye disease and vision problems. Both risks can be lowered with regular exercise and a healthy diet. A study conducted in 2016 stated all individuals should do everything possible to maintain the health of the eyes. The quality of life is seriously affected by blindness and vision impairment. Researchers predict as the population ages, the number of individuals with visual impairment or blindness will double by 2050. The rates are already increasing throughout the world. This can be combated with regular screenings for eye diseases. The first step to take is visiting an eye doctor regularly. An eye doctor will schedule yearly checkups, and ensure glasses have the correct prescription. According to a decade’s worth of research, exercising should be a priority. This helps decrease the risk of specific eye conditions, and offers numerous additional benefits. A study in 2013 showed running or briskly walking can help decrease the risk of cataracts related to age. There were similar findings in a 2016 study, and additional information showed not enough physical activity... read more
Millions of people wear contact lenses every single day. However, many of these people suffer from problems like eye infections and vision problems because they do not properly care for their lenses. Soft and hard or rigid gas-permeable contact lenses both require a great deal of work to properly maintain. When you follow the right steps to properly care for your lenses, you will have fewer problems with your eyes. Here are the best ways to care for contact lenses. Always Handle Them with Clean Hands Your hands should always be thoroughly clean before you handle contact lenses. Wash with soap and rinse your hands completely. Make sure to dry them with a clean towel that is free of lint. Be Careful with Beauty Products If you wear hairspray, you should apply it before you put in your lenses. If you are a woman who wears makeup, you should also always apply your makeup before putting your lenses in your eyes. Remove your contacts prior to removing your makeup as well. Use the Right Solution Some contact lenses require special solutions for wetting and cleaning. If you have hard or rigid gas-permeable lenses, you will also have to use a solution that removes protein deposits at least once per week. Soak your lenses in the right product and avoid using tap water. Water contains many microorganisms that can damage your lenses and lead to a myriad of eye problems if you soak your lenses in it. Likewise, never use saliva on your contacts. If you are an eye drops user, check with your doctor to see what he or... read more
Living a healthy life is the best way to keep your body functioning properly well into the future, but many people often forget that eye health is equally as important as the rest of your body. If you do not take care of your eyes, then you will likely have vision issues later in your life. Eye health is even more important if you have a family history of eye conditions because almost every common eye condition can be passed down in your genetics. If someone in your immediate family has developed an eye condition at some point in their life, then you will be at a much higher risk of getting this condition too. Some of the most common vision problems that can run in your family are astigmatism, glaucoma, macular degeneration, myopia and hyperopia. Since vision is a vital sense that you rely on every day, it is highly important to know your family history when it comes to eye health. Learning this information can make it much easier to keep your eyes healthy and avoid any vision issues. Your eyes need to be treated like the rest of your body, so it is very important to get regular exams from a doctor. These eye exams are even more important if your family has a history of eye problems. The doctor will be able to easily keep track of your vision once you start getting an annual exam. If you develop an issue with your eyes, then it can be treated before your vision is damaged. Catching glaucoma or another serious eye condition early can potentially prevent... read more
Vision is like other parts of our bodies that feel the effects of aging, and our eyes will show signs as we meet good old father time. A lot of adults will notice changes in their late ‘50s with vision up close; this explains why you can look around a restaurant and see 50-somethings looking at their menu from afar or with reader glasses on the tips of their noses. These glasses come in different magnifications and help with making those little details or small text much clearer to see. Another issue aging eyes deal with are changes to regular vision: nearsightedness tends to change as you age as well and you may notice difficulties seeing far away. If this happens, an ophthalmologist can prescribe you glasses or increase your current prescription. Night driving is another difficulty that people complain about as they age and there are special lenses to make the glare of oncoming headlights less. Some elderly people prefer to not drive at night, but there are corrective helpers. Dry eyes, which can be extremely annoying, are a complaint of aging vision. Dry eyes happen as your eyes age because of the decrease in the production of tears. There are several reasons for this condition and it’s important to consult an ophthalmologist as soon as possible because this can affect the cornea. There is also the opposite of dry eye which is that your eyes tear too much. This could be a sign of a blocked tear duct or some kind of infection and both can be fixed by an eye professional. Older eyes may also see... read more
Along with books, pencils, and teachers, a child’s vision is a key ingredient in their education. Most children take in their surroundings visually, and poor or unhealthy vision can cause a number of problems in their learning environment. Your child may not realize that he or she has a vision problem. So, If you notice signs that your child might be having difficulty seeing, then it’s time to schedule an eye exam right away. Signs of a problem can include: Frequent complaining of headaches Excessive rubbing of the eyes Head tilting Short attention span Losing their place during reading Avoiding or omitting small words when reading The need to use a finger to keep track of words when reading If you notice these or any other signs of a problem, have your child’s eyes examined. Poor vision can cause a child to not live up to their potential. Children need healthy vision to study and excel at school. If you notice that your child is “giving up too easily” or if you get reports from their teacher that your child is not paying attention in class, unhealthy vision may be to blame. In order to learn effectively, children must have healthy vision. In the event of a problem, they will not be able to see the chalkboard clearly, they will not be able to complete assignments effectively, and they won’t be able to comprehend or retain information. By correcting any vision problems, you can help your child to better thrive in their learning environment. Children aged 6-18 need to be able to read effectively as well as take in... read more
If you work at a computer several hours per day, then you are prone to experiencing blurred vision, red eyes and eye strain. This is caused by computer vision syndrome. Computer vision syndrome often occurs because the eyes are unable to remain focused on the computer for a long time. If you are over the age of 40, then computer vision syndrome may be caused by a condition known as presbyopia. This is vision loss that is caused by the normal aging process. If you have been suffering from computer vision syndrome, then you will need to get a comprehensive eye examination. This will ensure that you do not have any serious eye conditions. You may need to get customized computer glasses. These glasses are designed to keep you comfortable while you are looking at the computer. They will also reduce eyestrain. Why Should You Use Computer Glasses? Computer glasses are different from reading glasses and regular glasses. Computer screens are typically 20 to 25 inches from the face. Prescription glasses are designed to correct vision problems such as farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. Reading glasses work by magnifying small print. Computer glasses have 40 percent less likely magnifying power than reading glasses. They will have to be customized in order to meet your needs. How close you sit from your computer and how close you hold your devices to your face will determine the type of computer glasses that you need. Lens for Computer Eyewear It is important to note that glasses that are designed for computer use are not designed for everyday wear or reading. Single vision lenses are one... read more
This month sees the return of a rare astronomical phenomenon. The total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21st will turn day into night from coast to coast across the United States. The path of the full eclipse will cover from Oregon to South Carolina, areas where, at totality, the sun will appear to be completely blocked by the face of the moon. Those outside of the direct path of the moon’s shadow will see the eclipse as a partial solar eclipse, but either experience will be an event that is not to be missed. The last total solar eclipse crossing the entire United States was in 1918. As the moon moves between the Earth and the Sun, the sky will begin to darken, and at its peak, celestial bodies, such as planets and some of the brightest stars, may become visible. The solar atmosphere—the corona—will also be visible, and as its name implies, a halo of light resembling a crown radiating with swirls and jets of solar energy will appear as well. In order to safely view an object as bright as the sun, special filters must be used. Looking at the sun directly with the naked eye—even for a few seconds—can cause eye damage and possibly blindness. NASA states that at the moment of the sun’s total eclipse behind the moon, it is safe to view the sun without protection, but using special eclipse filters will be necessary to know when that moment of totality occurs. Never look directly at the sun unprotected. Special disposable glasses can be purchased or ordered with dark filters specifically made for solar... read more
Many first aid courses focus on teaching how to treat cuts and lacerations and perform CPR, but they can overlook eye-related emergency care. Since nearly two million emergency room visits stem from eye injuries or conditions each year, the lack of emphasis on eye care represents a critical gap in first aid trainees’ knowledge—both for themselves and for others. If you want to learn more so that you can be ready to help provide emergency care for someone afflicted by an eye injury, take a look at these tips on eye-related first aid! Of course, first aid treatments for the eyes vary widely depending on the nature of the injury, but there are several universal principles to follow. The first step of any first aid procedure is to call 911 immediately so the victim can receive professional medical attention. If you need to provide treatment while the ambulance is on its way, however, wash your hands—ideally with soap and water—to prevent further contamination or infection. Additionally, never perform first aid without making sure that the area is safe, since you’ll be of no use to the victim if you get hurt, too. Bleeding or Lacerations To treat someone who’s eye is bleeding, perhaps as the result of a puncture wound or direct trauma, cover the eye with a clean cloth or an eye shield and head to the hospital as soon as possible. Be careful not to apply pressure to the eyeball, and if there is an object embedded in the eye, don’t try to remove it. Chemical Exposure Without protective eyewear, it can be surprisingly easy for workplace... read more
Today, technologies that once lived only in the minds of science fiction writers are becoming commonplace in every area of our lives. For example, biometrics—or methods of measuring biological features for purposes of identification—are now widespread in all areas of our lives, whether we recognize them or not. Biometrics explain why it’s second-nature for many of us to activate our phones with a fingerprint scan or why certain devices only respond to the sound of our unique voices. One of the most futuristic forms of biometrics involves iris or retinal scanning. You might be familiar with these technologies from movies or TV shows, but how does they work in the real world? Retinal Scanning The retina is a complex web of tissue and neurons that line the back of the eye, and it plays an essential role in vision by transmitting light into neural signals that our brains process as images. Retinas are so complex, in fact, that no two individuals—not even identical twins—share similar patterns. Combined with the fact that retinas do not change throughout our entire lives (with few exceptions), the uniqueness of retinas makes them a perfect biometric marker. Retinal scans operate by shining a beam of low-energy infrared light into an individual’s eye as they look into a scanner. This beam of light “draws” a path onto the retina. During this process, the amount of light reflected will vary depending on the individual’s unique retinal pattern, and the scanner converts this pattern into a string of computer code and records it in a database. In the future, when individuals return to the retinal scanner, it... read more
In recent years, virtual reality (VR) technology has taken the world by storm. All it takes is a headset, and suddenly, you might find yourself at the bottom of the ocean, the farthest reaches of space, or travelling the globe as if you were actually there. While VR’s success has been the result of a series of impressive technological innovations, it also depends on how effectively our eyes can process virtual images and convince our brains we’re having a real experience. This is no small task, and in fact, VR incorporates several visual concepts in order to create compelling virtual worlds in front of us. The principle that underlies VR is that of stereoscopic vision, which allows humans to perceive depth and distance. Thanks to stereoscopic vision, each of our eyes sees similar but different images than our other eye—this phenomenon is known as retinal disparity—and the brain processes these images by matching the images while accounting for the slight differences, which creates visual depth. VR headsets replicate stereoscopic vision by displaying two sets of images at different angles, which causes the brain to interpret the images as an open world and not a flat screen. VR further creates the illusion of depth (and thus visual authenticity) through the use of parallax effects, which cause objects that are farther from you to appear smaller and move slower, image shading, and other techniques. Effective VR headsets and software must also consider field of view (FOV). Humans have an FOV of about 180 degrees while looking straight ahead and about 270 degrees when the eyes move, so headsets must come close... read more
Newborn babies require a lot of care and attention to keep them safe from germs that could compromise their tiny systems. In addition to ensuring they have proper vaccines and fresh diapers, parents and caretakers need to protect their babies’ eyes from damage and infection. In utero, a baby’s eyes start to develop around the 17th day of gestation, and by day 50, the iris is fully developed. By the time they emerge from the womb, a newborn’s eyes are about two thirds of their full potential, so it’s important for caregivers to make sure that nothing interrupts the continuing development of lenses, corneas, and pigmentation. There are three main areas to keep an eye on for the first year of a baby’s life. Ophthalmia Neonatorum Known more commonly as infant eye infection to laypeople, ophthalmia neonatorum is a condition that develops in newborns’ eyes as a result of gonorrhea or chlamydia. If the mother is infected with one of these STIs and delivers vaginally, the baby is at risk for picking up the infections and suffering from partial or total vision loss. Today, doctors will instill a newborn’s eyes with erythromycin ointment, which is comfortable for the baby and reduces the likelihood of infections caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia. If a doctor knows that the mother has these infections, the doctor can recommend a C-section, which will totally avoid passing on the infection, but often these STIs present no symptoms and mothers are unaware they’re infected. Nasolacrimal Duct Obstruction Once babies start to produce tears around the three-week mark, parents need to keep an eye out for nasolacrimal... read more
As anyone who wears glasses can tell you, it’s incredibly annoying to see the world through specs, smudges, and fingerprint-smeared lenses. Glasses are generally designed to help deflect as many blemishes as possible, but sometimes, it becomes too much, and you need to deep clean your glasses. While wiping the lenses on your shirt isn’t the worst thing, sometimes, your specs need a full-scale bath. After washing your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap, give your glasses a warm rinse to flush the major debris, like hair or fur, from the frames. Then, use a tiny dot of non-moisturizing dish soap and lather up the lenses themselves as well as the frames to disinfect everything and wash away skin oils, makeup, and the “finer” dirt. After about 10 seconds, rinse the glasses very thoroughly, as soap residue will make the glasses foggy. Shake the glasses once or twice to get off most of the water, and gently pat them with a lint-free towel to remove the rest. Ideally, you’ll have access to running warm water to clean your glasses, but in a pinch, you can pick up some inexpensive glasses-cleaning solution from a corner store or a pharmacy. Apply the solution liberally to ensure a thorough cleaning. If you’re using cleaning wipes, make sure that they won’t interfere with any coating you may have on your frames to deter UV or blue light. Wipes for specially coated glasses are usually well-labeled. Dry microfiber cloth is also a great on-the-go tool to keep your vision clear. Because they’re so effective at trapping dirt and oils, it’s important to wash... read more
A stylish accessory can go along way for your health. Wearing sunglasses is more than just keeping the sun out of your eyes and looking cool. Aesthetics aside, there are many health benefits to wearing sunglasses. Save yourself the squint and grab a pair today! SPF for Your Eyes UV exposure is not only dangerous for your skin, but it causes damage to your eyes as well. You take time lathering your body with SPF to protect it from the sun so you don’t get sunburn, or even worse, skin cancer. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, but can also occur on your eyelids. The most common type of skin cancer on the eyelid is basal cell carcinoma. Sunglasses with 100% UV protection are a great preventative of skin cancer on the eyelids. Reduced Risk of Cataracts The UV rays from the sun don’t just cause skin cancer, they cause cataracts, too. Cataracts are a cloudy coating over your eye and the most common cause of vision loss. The good news is that by wearing sunglasses, you reduce your exposure to the sun and it’s UV rays. Sunglasses are the proper way to protect your eyes from possible vision loss due to developing cataracts. Decrease Dry Eye Issues Dry eye is an eye condition lacking the amount of tears used to lubricate the eye. It can cause itchiness, dryness, discomfort and vision impairment in your eyes. Because people who suffer from dry eye can’t produce the right amount of tears, artificial tears can be created. Doctors recommend sunglasses to those who suffer from dry eye, but also to... read more
Now that the last of winter’s snow has melted and flowers are back in bloom, people across the country will be getting ready to enjoy spring. As temperatures make it practically irresistible to go outside, you’ll definitely want to enjoy spending time in the fresh air and sunshine, but watch out for some of the unique risks that spring presents for your eyes. That doesn’t mean you need to lock yourself inside for the rest of the season, however–it just means that you need to take the right precautions. Have a look at some of the best ways to take care of your eyes this spring! Protect Against UV Light More sunshine means higher temperatures, but it also means that you’re more exposed to UV light. You probably use sunscreen to defend your skin from these cancer-causing rays, but your eyes are also vulnerable: certain studies indicate that exposure to bright sunlight can cause cataracts or growths on the eye. To protect yourself, wear sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection—you can check the label—and that wrap all the way around your eyes. You should also wear wide-brimmed hats when going outside for further protection. Allergies—or Something Else? Spring is prime time for allergies, especially due to the massive release of pollen from newly blooming plants, which can trigger eye redness and an itching sensation. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, try to limit your exposure to pollen, use medications to treat your symptoms, and be careful not to rub your eyes, as you may bring them into contact with irritants on your hands. At the same time, if your... read more
Millions of people are affected by vision loss or impairment and require glasses, surgery, or may even be blind. While there are many factors that affect vision, take a look at this list of the most common causes of vision loss. Glaucoma The optic nerve transfers visual information from your the cells in your eye to your brain. It translates colors, images and visuals from the back of the eye and is what allows you to see properly. Glaucoma is a common disease that can damage the optic nerve, creating vision loss. This means that there’s high pressure fluid in the eye that causes cells to die and compresses the optic nerve. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) The central part of the retina is the part of your eye that makes your vision clear, and that can be affected by Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). The two forms of AMD are wet, which means there’s a growth in the vein under the macula, and dry, which means macula thins and causes blurred vision over time. Cataract As the leading cause of blindness in the world, cataracts cloud the eye lens and causes the loss of vision. Surgically, cataracts can be treated and removed, however cost and insurance are major factors. Although cataracts are more common in older ages, they can actually occur at any age, including birth. Refractive Errors If you’ve ever been to the eye doctor and were prescribed glasses, that’s because you have a refractive error. Refractive errors are more commonly known as nearsightedness, farsightedness or distorted vision at all distances. Contact lenses, eye glasses, and sometimes surgery can... read more
The world is becoming increasingly dependent on computers. This notion is exemplified in children, who are exposed to computers and similar electronics in nearly every phase of a normal day. They use computers to access classroom software in school, they complete homework assignments using internet research and word processing programs, and they spend their free time indulging in internet-based video games and entertainment streaming services. With screen exposure becoming a such constant for children, it is worth considering how it can impact their vision over time. The unfortunate reality is that, while computers have been found to benefit school readiness and cognitive development, they can also be detrimental to a child’s sight. Knowing the Risks Regardless of age, too much computer time can be a problem due to the specific vision demands of computer screens. Often, computer text is not as defined or precise as that of typewritten or printed pages. As the level of contrast between text and background is reduced, the amount of glare and reflection can rise, making viewing more difficult. This phenomenon leads to visual overcompensation, which can subsequently lead to eye strain and other more serious conditions such as computer ergonomics and computer vision syndrome. In children, these effects can be heightened, as most children’s vision is still developing. Excessive screen exposure can put children at risk for developmental conditions later in life–such as myopia and macular degeneration. The Effects of Blue Light Digital devices with screens have been found to emit blue light, also referred to as “high-energy visible light” or “HEV light.” These emissions can be harmful when absorbed in excess, and since... read more
The most common concern with smoking is the health condition of the lungs. However, the unfortunate reality of smoking is that it affects more than just your your respiration. Smoking harms every organ in your body, even your eyes. If you or someone you know has the habit of smoking, here’s how to see the dangers smoking more clearly, literally. Cataract Connection Save yourself the surgery. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness, even though you can treat them or have them surgically removed. No one wants the hassle of surgery. Smoking has been linked to cataracts, and the unfortunate truth is that smokers have a higher risk of developing cataracts than those who don’t smoke. A myth about cataracts is that they only occur in older ages, however anyone at any age can develop cataracts. Cataracts create a cloud around the eyes’ lenses and blur vision. If you’re a smoker and think your vision is blurry and you simply need glasses, you could be developing cataracts. Blurred to Blind Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) happens when the central part of the retina has been damaged. Studies have shown that smokers have a much higher chance of developing AMD compared to non-smokers. The harmful chemicals from cigarette smoke affects the retina and could damage it until vision is blurred or lost altogether. Although smokers are at higher risk for AMD, quitting can significantly lower that risk. Smoking is a hard habit to quit, but the reward of clear vision is worth it. Got Glasses? There are other risks to your vision through smoking other than developing cataracts or AMD. Uveitis... read more
In the United States, over 30 million people wear contact lenses–that’s nearly 10% of the total population. However, despite how common contact lenses are, it’s very easy for their users to make mistakes with them; in fact, according to a recent study, 99% of contact users in the U.S. reported routinely making at least one risky or unsafe behavior with their contacts that could drastically increase their risk of eye infection. It’s easy to make mistakes when you don’t know what they are, so take a look at this list of some of the most common mistakes people make with their contacts! Sleeping While some contacts advertise themselves as “extended wear” and safe to wear while sleeping, there are still issues that arise when you keep your contacts on through the night. For one, the contact lens is a barrier that prevents oxygen from reaching your corneas, which they need in order to function properly. On top of that, your contacts can rip while you sleep and lead to irritation, discomfort, and potentially risk of serious infection. Be sure to take out your contacts before you go to sleep! Showering or Swimming Most water sources are home to a microorganism known as Acanthamoeba, and it can cause serious infections and even blindness. Since your contacts will absorb and retain water–which may or may not contain acanthamoeba–swimming or showering while wearing your contacts can drastically increase your risk of infection and blindness. Cleaning Contacts with Tap Water Acanthamoeba can live in tap water, so using it to clean your contacts can be another way of increasing your exposure to the... read more
One of the most common and most frustrating eye problems isn’t necessarily related to vision loss or trauma, but dryness. In fact, dry eye syndrome affects millions of Americans each year, which can cause an irritated, burning sensation and can actually reduce a patient’s clarity of vision. The eye has several sources of moisture. The lacrimal gland, for example, produces tears, and each time you blink, a layer of tears spreads across your eye. This layer of moisture is essential for your eyes: It lubricates the eye, reduces your risk of eye infection, keeps the eye free of foreign objects, and helps to ensure clear vision. If your eyes do not produce enough tears or if they produce low-quality tears, however, then you develop dry eye syndrome, which can lead to a scratchy or burning sensation in the eyes, excess watering, blurred vision, and other symptoms. There are a number of factors that can affect tear production and dry eyes. For example, aging slows tear production, as do certain medications, use of contact lenses, staring at electronics for too long without blinking, and more. However, there are simple things that you can do to reduce your risk or to treat dry eyes! Drink More Water In order for your eyes to produce tears, your body needs to be hydrated. Make sure that you drink several glasses of water every day so that your body has enough moisture to produce tears and keep your eyes from drying out! Take Frequent Breaks from Screen Time Spending time on computers and using mobile devices is a fact of daily life, but spending... read more
Although almost everyone talks about the dreams they have at night–what happened, what they could mean, and so on–nobody talks about what the body does while dreaming. Of course, we can’t watch ourselves in the moment, but studying the body’s behavior during dreams can help us to understand the brain. That’s exactly what a team of French scientists set out to do earlier this year, and their findings are incredible. About 20% of our sleep cycle consists of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is marked by random, intense movement of the eyes and low muscle tone; REM sleep is also when dreaming occurs. While our brains and eyes may be racing during REM sleep, our bodies actually enter a state of paralysis so that we don’t injure ourselves in an attempt to act out dreams. The irony of an active mind but a perfectly still body has caused some experts to call REM sleep paradoxical or desynchronized sleep. However, for people with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), the body isn’t so peaceful during dreams. RBD prevents the body from slipping into paralysis while the mind dreams, so people with RBD physically react to dreams by talking, throwing punches, jumping out of bed, and so on, while remaining asleep. This can be dangerous for both themselves as well as the people around them. Recently, researchers from the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center at the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 in Lyon, France conducted a study to explore possible neural foundations of RBD. In a rat model, the researchers focused on a set of neurons known as the sublaterodorsal nucleus–which has... read more
Certain habits are common sense when it comes to taking care of your eyes, such as not staring directly into the sun or sitting directly in front of the television. Though these are commonly known to be harmful to your eyesight, there are lots of other habits people engage in that could be hurting their eyes. A recent survey says that 70 percent of people would prefer losing a limb to losing their eyesight, which is baffling as to why more people are not conscious of taking good care of their eyes. Since it’s likely that you would prefer to keep your eyesight, stop doing these six habits that can severely harm your eyes. No protection When you’re at the beach, you know to wear sunglasses. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that they need to wear sunglasses year-round as well, if they’re spending time outside. Even in the winter, the sun can be shining and causing damage to your eyes, especially with the way it reflects off of the snow. Always wear sunglasses that have UV protection in them and cover your entire eye. Eyedrop happy Some people suffer from dry eyes or want to whiten their eyes, so they use eyedrops. Unfortunately, this method can do more harm than good. Eyedrops restrict blood vessels, which causes further irritation to your eyes once the effects of the drops wear off. If you have to use eyedrops, make sure you use them sparingly. Staring at a screen You know not to sit too close to the television, but it can also be detrimental to be too close to a computer... read more
For a long time, iris scanning was something to be found in James Bond movies and other thrillers. It seemed like advanced technology far out of our grasps. However, this technology is used in the military and as a fixed security device in certain sectors. Now, it’s being taken to the next level. Scientists developed iris scanning technology that can be installed onto a smartphone and used to log into the phone. Iris scanning is now one of the biometric options users can use to log into their phones, along with voice recognition and fingerprint scans. How does it work? Your iris (the colored part of the eye) has random patterns in ligaments from the tissue folding in utero. The odds of two irises having the same pattern are astronomical and pretty near impossible. The iris is unique, similar to a fingerprint, even though some people have nearly identical fingerprints and it changes over time due to daily activities. Some smartphones have already instituted iris scanning technology, including the Galaxy Note7 and the Lumia 950. Spokespersons for the companies are being vague about how exactly the technology works in an effort to avoid being targeted by hackers. Daehoon Kim, the founder and CEO of IriTech, is less worried. He reveals the “images can now be captured using [off the shelf] CMOS sensors, with negligible extra cost for an NIR LED.” NIR light is used because it can scan any colored iris and doesn’t hurt the eye as a bright light would. Current research shows that shining this light into your eye poses no risk and is quite safe. For... read more
Robots are the tools of the future. For the first time ever, surgeons have been able to use a robot to perform a surgery inside of a patient’s eye, which successfully restored his sight. For a long time, robots have been used to assist with surgeries, but never before on the inside of the eye. What is it? The robot is called the Preceyes surgical robot and was developed by a Dutch company. Previously, robots used in surgery have been large, but this tiny robot is the first that has been small and precise enough to do invasive eye surgery. The robot inserts a thin needle into the eye and is controlled by a joystick and touch screen the surgeon uses to maneuver the robot, who also monitors its progress through a microscope. The robot is like a mechanical hand and has seven different motors to control it. It’s even able to filter out hand tremors from the surgeon, thus preventing damage to the eye and as soon as the surgeon releases their grip on the joystick, the robot freezes. Generally, this operation is done by hand and hemorrhaging occurs from the retina, which did not happen with the robot. The Surgery This experimental surgery was performed on Curate Bill Beaver, 70, who lives in Oxford. The procedure was performed at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital. A membrane obscuring Beaver’s vision was successfully removed, even though it was only one hundredth of a millimeter thick. Beaver stated, “It’s almost the world of fairy tales but it’s true. I’m just fortunate that I’m the first to have it.” The membrane in... read more
In a report for Healio, the ocular surgery news publication, Paolo Lanzetta, MD addresses the need for formal educational programs on surgical teaching during residency as mandatory for the ophthalmic surgeons of tomorrow. Writes Dr. Lanzetta: During the last decade, ophthalmology has gained credit as a highly sophisticated surgical specialty. In the past, eye surgeons were among the first to use the operating microscope, and since then, the number of procedures, techniques and technologies have exploded and become more and more refined. Surgical operations that once took numerous hours are now being completed in under 60 minutes. And patients have likewise drastically changed. They realize that most conditions can be altered quickly and successfully. Which means, too, that their expectations have expanded. This ever-evolving situation has numerous ramifications, says Dr. Lanzetta. Today, technology advancements also involve equipment for training in medicine. New simulators, such as the Eyesi (VRmagic), allow residents to practice on a dummy linked to a software that projects a 3-D image of different conditions, such as cataracts or retinal diseases, on which physicians can operate. Most of us are more familiar with wet labs, usually equipped with multiple work spaces, microscopes, cameras, head models and fresh animal eyes. I personally started phacoemulsification through a memorable wet lab course led by Dr. Buratto and Dr. Zirm, who gave me the ABCs of modern cataract surgery. Most recently, dry lab and wet lab tools such as the Kitaro kit (FCI Ophthalmics) have been introduced. Residents can practice techniques repeatedly without the added complication of long preparation times and costly live tissue samples. These tools simulate the stages of cataract surgery using both... read more
Summertime is sunglasses season. Thing is, we need to protect our eyes from UV rays year-round. There’s a lot of research about developing cataracts and skin cancer around as a result of sun exposure. July is UV Safety Awareness Month and here are five things you can start doing now to protect your eyes. Choose Proper Sunglasses Sunglass labeled “UV400” or “100 percent UV protection” are best. The Federal Occupational Health recommends wrap-around styles, too, so you can protect your eyes from every angle. Remember to wear your sunglasses on overcast days because UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds. Look Away from the Sun Perhaps this one goes without saying, but it still bears repeating. When you stare directly at the sun you risk burning holes in your retina which is called solar retinopathy. This condition is rare, but when the damage occurs, it’s irreversible. Beware Medications that Cause Photosensitivity A 2014 survey by the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that “one-third of adults use medications that may increase photosensitivity, or increased susceptibility to damage from UV rays.” Check your prescription labels to see if there’s one such warning with one of your medications. Furthermore, taking these drugs might be more harmful if you have light-colored eyes. Wear a Hat Donning a wide-brimmed during walks or beach trips can help protect your eyes from sunrays at every angle. Drive with Sunglasses Yes, you need to keep your sunglasses on even in the car. In a recent study, “Assessment of Levels of Ultraviolet A Light Protection in Automobile Windshields and Side Windows,” published in JAMA Ophthalmology,... read more
Allergy season isn’t limited to the spring. Many allergy sufferers can attest to battling symptoms in the summer and fall, too. One of the many painful and bothersome concerns? Eye redness.
The risk of vision loss increases with age. A disease known as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is one of the most common cause of blindness in people older than 60 years. AMD is part of the body’s natural aging process. That doesn’t mean you should walk into your golden years, shrugging your shoulders with a sense of inevitability that you’ll eventually be blind. Here are 5 things that you can do now to prevent AMD.
March is “Save Your Vision Month,” a campaign promoted by the American Optometric Association that focuses on maintaining healthy vision and eyesight. The 2016 Save Your Vision Month campaign focuses on working to educate both employers and employees about how to avoid digital eye strain in the workplace.
According to new research by The Vision Council, 65% of Americans suffer from too much time spent in front of screens.
This highly complex system of vision is designed to detect light energy and transduce it into electrical information that is sent to the visual cortex of the brain for perception. Interestingly, light input in the right eye is perceived in the left part of the bran and vice versa.