The Dos and Donts of Eyedrops

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

How Fitness Helps Your Vision

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

Properly Caring for Your Contacts

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

Family History and Eye Health

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

How Vision Changes as You Age

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

How Healthy Vision Will Help Your Child in School

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

How Computer Glasses Can Help with Digital Eye Strain

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

Protecting Your Eyes While Watching the Solar Eclipse

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

First Aid for Your Eyes

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

Retinal and Iris Scanning: How Does It Work?

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

Vision and Virtual Reality

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

Caring for Your Baby’s Eyes

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

How to Clean Your Glasses

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

The Health Benefits of Sunglasses

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

Eye Care Tips for Spring

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

The Most Common Causes of Vision Loss

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

How Do Computers Affect Your Child’s Eyes?

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

How Smoking Harms Your Eyes

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

The Most Common Contact Lens Mistakes

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

Tips for Preventing Dry Eyes

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

REM Sleep: Where Dreams and Eyes Intersect

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

6 Practices that Harm Your Eyes

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

Iris Scanning and Smartphones

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

Eye, Robot

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

The Importance of Dedicated Training for Ophthalmology Residents

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

5 Ways to Protect Your Eyes from the Sun

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

5 Things You Should Do For Your Eyes in Your 20s

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.

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New Iridology App

Iridology can be defined as the science that helps you learn about your health through examination of the iris, sclera and other structural aspects of the eye. These signs correspond with various organs and systems of the body and provide details regarding their integrity and function. In addition, markings and patterns can indicate toxic accumulations, areas of congestion and inherent challenges and gifts.

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Do You Have Digital Eye Strain?

Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is the medical term for digital eye strain.  According to the 2015 Digital Eye Strain Report by The Vision Council, “Digital eye strain is the physical eye discomfort felt by many individuals after two or more hours in front of a digital screen.” From the moment people get up until the time they go to bed again– including when they are eating, exercising and reading– they are using their smartphones, tablets, computers, laptops and other electronic devices.  The use of such technology has increased each year since The Vision Council first conducted a survey on the topic in 2012.  According to the 2014 Vision Water survey results, nearly three in 10 adults (29.8 percent) are high users, spending more than nine hours each day using digital devices. Usually digital eye strain is caused by overuse of digital devices and the eyes having to constantly refocus and reposition to process content like graphics and text. Digital content is created by thousands of pixels.  When spaced far apart these become distorted which causes stress and strain on the eyes. This is called pixilation.  But other causes like blinking your eyes can also be a contributing factor. Blinking moisturizes the eye and the average person blinks around 18 times per minute.  However, this is halved when looking at a computer or other digital device.   After spending two or more hours looking at digital devices, you can experience dry eyes, blurred vision, irritation, eye fatigue, headaches and neck and back pain.  Dry eyes can result from reduced blinking rates. Headaches can be caused by repeated eye strain and... read more

Crossed Eyes, Wall Eye, and Lazy Eye

The medical term for misaligned eyes is strabismus. There are six different muscles that are attached to each eye to help it turn and rotate. The eyes may not appear straight because one or more muscles are pulling too hard or other muscles are too weak. If the eyes turn inward leading to “crossed eyes” we call it esotropia. If they turn outward, called “wall eyes,” then the condition is labeled exotropia. There are different treatments for strabismus depending on the specific cause. Some cases are managed with eye muscle surgery, some simply need glasses.   Crossed eyes (esotropia) needs to be treated early to prevent vision impairment later in life. As a baby grows and develops, so do his or her eyes. During the first few months of life, an infant does not have crisp, clear vision. Thereafter, the eye’s focusing mechanisms and eye movements rapidly develop as the eye and brain develop the visual apparatus. By about the age of 6 months, both eyes should consistently work together, allowing a baby to see both near and far away targets. The infant’s eyes should be aligned, both looking at the same object. However, in some situations the eyes do not appear to work together. One eye may tend to drift inward or outward some or all of the time. Prompt evaluation by an eye specialist is essential to determine whether any suspected drifting is due to a muscle imbalance or an internal eye problem that interferes with good eyesight.  Simply stated, the eye doctor needs to determine how well each eye sees and why the eyes do not appear straight. Parents will be relieved to... read more

Contact Lens Control

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say, around 41 million people in the United States wear contact lenses.  Among them, nearly one-third have sought medical care for potentially preventable problems such as painful infection or red eyes.  However, these symptoms could be much worse… Recent news has reported a case that left a man blind after sleeping with his contact lenses in.  The Ohio man became blind in one eye after working all day and sleeping all night without removing his contact lenses.   And, even though some contacts are now made to be worn while you sleep, a new report presented by the CDC, reveals nearly all contact lens wearers embark on risky behavior involving their contacts. Such behavior can increase a person’s risk of eye infections and complications related to contact lenses.   The report evaluated a national survey from about 1,000 contact lens wearers ages 18 and over, with roughly 93 percent saying they use some variety of soft contacts.  The study was published in an August issue of the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Here are some of the findings: Napping while wearing contact lenses ranked as the most common offense with more than 87 percent of those surveyed saying they’d fallen asleep with them in. More than 50 percent said they’d slept throughout the night with contact lenses and even though some lenses are approved for overnight wear, CDC warns that sleeping in any kind of lenses could increase the risk of infection.  Similarly, the American Academy of Ophthalmology believes that such kinds of contact lenses may elevate the risk of individuals... read more

32 Amazing Facts About The Human Eye To Impress Your Friends

Brown is the world’s most common eye color. Having two eyeballs gives humans depth perception, two eyes can compare two images allowing the brain to determine how far away something is. Your eye is the fastest muscle in your body. That is why the phrase “in the blink of an eye” was created. The human brain sees, not the eyes. The eyes function by capturing light and sending information to the brain, which interprets it. Eyelashes last just five months on average. Normal vision is 20/20. The human nose and ears keep growing throughout life, but eyes remain the same size. Keeping one’s eyes open will keep them from sneezing. The human eye can see ten times more than 50 shades of gray. The human eye blinks an average 4,200,000 times each year. The cornea doesn’t have any blood vessels, all other human tissue does. People read 25 times faster on paper vs. a computer screen. The human eye only sees RGB – red, blue and green. Other colors are a combination of RGB. The most active muscle in humans is the eye. Having blue eyes mean one shares a common ancestor with every other blue-eyed person. The sensitivity of the optic nerve is the reason eye transplants are near impossible. The hollow socket around the eye protects it. The muscles in the eye could be 100 times weaker and still perform. People produce less tears as they age. Basic function eyes are believed to have been developed in animals 550 million years ago Color blindness is more common in males. Vitamins A and  C help preserve eyesight. The human eye is always working and doesn’t need to rest. Only one sixth... read more