Eye Test For Early Detection of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease Being Developed

July 25th, 2013

 
A recent article by Brean Joseph published in the National Post on April 13th, 2013 reveals that scientists are studying the retina for abnormalities that could indicate the early onset of Parkison’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The goal of the studies is to develop a test that could lead to the early diagnosis of these two debiliting diseases. According to the study, by the time a patient sees their doctor with symptoms of memory loss or tremor the illness have progressed to the point where they do not respond well to the treatment available.

To find out more about this groundbreaking research click on this  National Post link.

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Spending Time Outdoors May Minimize Nearsightedness In Children

July 16th, 2013

best friendsA recent article in Eyeworld Magazine (published by The American Society of Cataracts and Refractive Surgery) discusses two different studies conducted in Taiwan and Denmark that have found that a child’s risk of developing nearsightedness was reduced if they spent more of their time outdoors.  The Taiwan study compared myopia rates in two groups of children in a control school from 2009 to 2010.  One group spent 80 minutes per day outdoors while the second group did not have an outdoor recess.  

You can read the results of this study on the Eyeworld Magazine Website ……..

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CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome): How to alleviate this “Technological Malady”

June 25th, 2013

Portrait of senior woman attending computing training According to a 2012 Survey done by The Vision Council almost 70 percent of U.S adults experience some sort of digital eye strain while using their computers and other electronic devices such as smart phones and tablets.

For many of us computers and smart phones have become an essential part of both our working and our leisure time.   Studies have shown that computer eye strain has become a extremely common job-related complaint.  In fact 50 to 90 percent of people that work with computers regularly have problems with eye strain and other visual symptoms. These symptoms can include fatigue, decreased productivity, headaches , work related errors as well as redness and twitching of the eyes.

Here are a few tips on what we can do to help offset the effect computer use has on our eyes.:

1.  See your ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye eamination.

Having regular eye examinations is one of the most important preventative measures for CVS.  According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health,  those of us who use a computer regularly and/or for work should have a complete eye examination on a yearly basis.  It is important to provide your doctor with an estimate of the amount of time you spend on a computer both at work and at home and to provide a measurement of how far your eyes are from your screen so that you can be tested at this specific working distance.

2. Reduce reflection/glare and use proper lighting.

Glare comimg of walls in your office, as well as reflections from your computer screen also contribute to problems with eye strain.  One option is to install an anti-glare screen on your monitor.  Another would be to paint the walls of your office a darker color that has a matte rather than a gloss finish.

If you wear glasses you might consider purchasing glasses with anti-reflective coating, which helps to reduce glare by minimizing the amount of light relecting off the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses.

Excessive and/or harsh bright light can also contribute to your eye strain symptoms.  You may notice less eye strain if you  can avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights.  Using floorlamps with indirect incandescent or halogen lighting is a good alternative.  Switching to full spectrum fluorescent lights that more closely mimick the light spectrum from sunlight is also a good choice but keep in mind that these too can cause eye discomfort if they are too bright.  If possible, place your monitor/screen so that windows are not in front  or beside it and if this is the case and repositioning isn’t possible closing the blinds etc will help.

3. Upgrade your monitor

LCD screens have proven to be easier on the eyes  and usually come with an anti-reflective surface.  When deciding on what type of LCD screen to purchase choose one with the highest resoltuon possible.  Resolution is related to the “dot pitch” of the display with a lower “dot pitch” producing a sharper image.    A larger screen of at least 19 inches (diagnally) is recommended for a desktop computer.

4. Adusting your screen display settings.

  • the brightness of display should be about the same as the brightness of your surroundings.  For instance, if you look at the white background of a web page and it looks like a light source it is too bright and conversely if it appears dull and gray it is too dark.
  • The size of the text should be adjusted according to what is comfortable for you visually.  You shouldn’t have to squint or move the screen to be able to easily read the words.  Black print on a muted white background is believed to be the best combination for comfort. According to Dr. James Sheedy, an expert in Computer Vision Syndrome, text size should be three times the smallest size that you can read from your normal viewing position.

5. Blink more often.

Blinking is extremely important when working at a computer.  Blinking moistens your eyes and helps to prevent dryness and irrtiation.  Studies have shown that people working on computers blink less often – about one third as often as they do normally.  Many blinks performed while working on a computer are only partial lid closures.  The air in many environments we work in is dry and this combined with a reduction in blinking puts us at greater risk of developing dry eye problems.  The use of artifical tears can help to alleviate dryness and irritation.

6. Exercise your eyes.

Focusing fatigue is another contributor to eye strain. Prolonged staring at your computer screen can actually cause what is know as accomdative spasm, which is a condition where your focusing ability locks up after prolonged computer woerk.   A good rule of thumb is what some doctors call the “20-20-20 rule” where every 20 minutes you look away from your screen and focus on a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for a least 20 seconds.  This aids in relaxing the focusing muscles inside the eye and reduces fatigue.

7. Take frequent breaks.

Most workers take only two fifteen minute breaks away from their computer during their work day.  According to a recent NIOSH ( National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) study taking four additional five minute breaks did not reduce worker’s productivity but in fact  actually increased data entry speed!

Yes, technology is advancing and computers, for most of us, are an extension of our workplace and leisure activity.  Our eyes are showing signs of fatigue and irritation from prolonged visual participation with our devices.  The importance of structuring the way we use these devices and making adjustments to improve our visual experience and it’s effect on our eyes is essential to  insuring  that our relationship with this electronic world continues to be a harmonious and healthy one.

For  some interesting statistics on how computers  and other electronic devices affect our eyes watch the video below:

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Yes…. On a Cloudy Day, Your Eyes Can Be Sunburned

June 13th, 2013

Photo by minds-eye

Photo by minds-eye

Most people are aware that they need to wear sunglasses on a sunny day to protect their eyes from the harmful UV rays from the sun. However, it may be news to some that it is just as important to wear UV protection on cloudy days.

Anderson Cooper from CNN news has firsthand knowledge of the importance of wearing sunglasses even on those cloudy days when you really aren’t feeling the heat. Read more about Anderson Cooper’s experience while out boating on a cloudy day.

 

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Retinal implant Restores Partial Sight to Previously Blind Patients

March 1st, 2013

mature-woman-smilingIn exciting news, patients in a clinical trial were able to regain part of their vision through retinal implants.

The previous blind participants suffered from the heriditary disease of retinitis pigmentosa which affects the light sensitive cells in the eyes. The tiny 3mm x 3mm chip was implanted in the eye and turns the incoming light rays into eletrical pulses which send information to the optic nerve.

While the patients’ vision wasn’t completely restored, for many it was enough to be useful in everyday life.

For more about this research development you can read the whole story online on the Guardian website.

The research team led by Eberhart Zrenner at the University Eye Hospital in Tübingen, Germany,

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Dr. Anderson's other websites

Impowerage.com

An online magazine for active older adults founded by Dr. Anderson to raise money for macular degeneration research.

Carolyn Anderson MD

Carolyn's blog and professional speaking topics. Carolyn also offers coaching for other physicians to grow their business.

Langley Surgical Centre

A private surgical clinic co-founded by Dr. Anderson offering expedited cataract, orthopedic and other surgeries.