Category Archives: Science and the Eye

Special Eyeglasses For Computer Eyestrain?

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Years ago, most people who worked at desks would open their mail, read it and then pull out their typewriter or pen and paper and respond. Those days are practically ancient history now. When before, our eyes would glance around the room while opening our mail and then look up while thinking of how to respond, these days that’s rarely the case. Our computers go from one email to the other with no lag of time for us to glance across the room or, if lucky, out the window. All this contributes to computer eye strain.

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Our eyes are not prepared for constant sustained near work.  For thousands of years, the near work demanded of our eyes was pulling the spear out of some Mammoth beast after the hunt.  There was no Instagram or Facebook need for posting pictures of our hunt and sharing with nearby tribes.

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Looking at a monitor 22-26 inches away puts a demand on your eye’s focusing lens. Just like holding your arm out straight is an easy  task for 30 seconds but after 5 minutes keeping it straight out becomes a daunting task, your eyes operate in like manner.

They need to look away every few minutes for proper function and to reduce stress. In our work environment, looking away, even if possible, typically is not done due to a stream of work on the computer monitor in front of us.

This is why in many cases of prolonged computer work, a person needs a specialized computer pair of eyeglasses. When people become older and need reading glasses, specialized computer glasses become of paramount importance.  When people wear progressive (bifocal) eyeglasses, they cannot see the screen without tilting their head back, as the reading portion is at the bottom of their glasses. This is not only inefficient but, like carpal tunnel syndrome, can cause neck injury and pain.

A specialized computer prescription is designed to reduce stress at the computer monitor distance and drastically reduces eyestrain and radically improves work efficiency.

Contact us at 415-747-8191 or read more at our website.

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Alzheimer’s Detection In The Eye

altzheimer1There are many devastating diseases of aging like hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. However, none impacts the family quite as much as the emotional and psychological impact of Alzheimer’s disease.    

A relatively new eye scan instrument called an OCT –  OcularOCT machineCoherence Tomography – has been used to evaluate glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal holes and detachments. Now, researchers have determined a connection between OCT results and early Alzheimer’s detection.

Early detection can help with early treatments – though treatments are far less than medicine would like. However, early detection would help in early diagnosis and provide for life’s adjustment in a more comfortable fashion – both for the patient and for developing family support.

Though very technical, the OCT instrument scans the back of the eye in real time. The entire process takes less than 1 minute and requires no drops or medicines to perform.

Below is an image created by the OCT of a detailed picture of the retina at the back of the eye.  Deposits in the retina (drusen) or reduction of the number of transmission  nerve fiber layer may be indicators of oncoming Alzheimer’s.

Imre Lengyell, PhD discusses in this short video his thoughts over drusen and Alzheimer’s.

It is awesome that research continues not only in this ocular area but in all areas of medicine to discover causes, early detection and possible treatments for this horrific disease which strips a person of his cognitive abilities and yet physically he or she still lives.

 

 

 

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What Are Cataracts? – New Eyedrop?

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Cataract definition

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. The vast majority of cataracts are related to age. Most people do not even realize they have a cataract, as cataracts grow very slowly and may not impede vision early on. After a number of years vision will likely be affected. When the cataract has become so dense that it compromises the patient’s quality of life, the patient and optometrist will discuss the appropriate time to remove it. Surgery is the only treatment.

What Causes a Cataract?

The human lens is transparent so that light can travel through it easily. It has no blood supply. It is 65% water. Although new cells are being made for the lens continuously throughout our lifetime, many factors combine as we age to cause areas in the lens to become cloudy, hard, and dense. The lens can then no longer transmit a clear picture to the retina where it can be processed and sent through the optic nerve to the brain.

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What are the Different Types of Cataract?

Congenital

Although it is not common, some babies are born with cataracts or develop them within the first year of life.

Traumatic

This type of cataract results from an injury to the eye.

Secondary

This is a cataract that is caused either by medications (most commonly prednisone or other corticosteroids) or disease, like diabetes. Cataracts are 10 times more common in diabetic patients than in the general population.

Age-related

This is the most common kind of cataract. There are three subclassifications, based on location: nuclear, cortical and posterior subcapsular. Diminished vision typically relates to the location of where the cataract is developing.

Facts and Figures

  • By age 65, over 90% of people have a cataract
  • 50% of people between the ages of 75 and 85 have lost some vision because of a cataract
  • In the United States, cataract surgery is the most frequent therapeutic procedure performed on people age 65 and above
  • Over 2 million cataract procedures are performed in the United States every year and include patients who range from newborn to those in their 90s
  • Cataract is the most common cause of blindness in the world, although it is treatable.

Symptoms

Typically patients will experience blurry vision, double vision, sensitivity to light, glare, colors that appear washed out, and frequent changes to eyeglass prescription. An optometrist will be able to diagnose a cataract by looking through a slit-lamp during a dilated eye examination or by looking through an ophthalmoscope.

Treatment

Surgical removal of cataracts and replacement with an artificial lens (called an intraocular lens) is the most successful surgical procedure in the country. This is performed on an out-patient basis under local anesthesia.

Now there maybe be an option of drops to clear up cataracts but data on humans needs to be done.  Science magazine reports that preliminary tests in dogs demonstrate the new eye drops may well work in humans.

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Preventing Cataracts

Although there is no surefire way to prevent cataracts from forming, there is evidence to show that protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light may prevent or slow the progression of cataracts. UV protecting sunglasses in wrap-around frame provide the best protection.

Smoking also increases the rate of cataract formation, so stopping smoking will decrease the risk.

Mythbusters – Facts about Cataracts

  • Cataracts do not travel from one eye to the other
  • Cataracts are not caused by using the eyes too much
  • Cataracts are not related to cancer
  • Cataracts cannot be treated or removed with a laser

 

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Amazing Mantis Shrimp Eyes !

Mantis shrimp

Seeing is one of the most enjoyable senses humans enjoy. When Katrina, a patient of mine, told me about how special the Mantis Shrimp was, I knew I had to find out more.

At first hand you might think that all animals pretty much had the same eyes and got images of the world about the same.  Some do but the Mantis Shrimp is in a class by itself. This small unintelligent creature possesses a most unusual visual system.

Humans have 3 cones and 1 rod type receptors in their retina. Cones are red, green and blue and are utilized in various ways to give us the spectrum of colors we see. Rods give us acuity to see at night. Recently there has been discovered a new receptor that adjusts our internal circadian clock.

In a National Geographic article by Ed Yong, he describes the amazing layout of the Mantis Shrimp visual system in detail. Unlike humans who only have 3 different type receptors  the Mantis Shrimp has at least 6 to 12 and maybe even 16 !!!

At the first discovery of addition receptors, it was thought that the shrimp might see even more color details than humans do. However, that was not the case as described by Jessica Morrison’s article and video in the science journal Nature.

What research does seem to agree on is that the arrangement of the Mantis Shrimp’s eyes allows it to respond quickly, perhaps even bypassing it’s own brain, and avoid predators and react quickly to it’s environment.

If they ever figure out just ‘how’ the Mantis Shrimp’s eyes work, perhaps us humans will be able to react even ‘faster’ than we do now.  Think about how many Facebook postings and Tweets we could do then!!

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Quick Steps for Eye Health

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