EyeMark Newsletters

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EYE CARE AWARENESS MONTH

October006
“STRONGER TOGETHER” “ Stronger Together” is the theme of this year’s WORLD SIGHT DAY , which is on 13 th October, and is the culmination of EYE CARE AWARENESS MONTH , 21 st September to 18 th October. Celebrated throughout the world with various sponsors and activities, World Sight Day is a global event which aims to bring attention to vision impairment and blindness. It embraces the World Health Organisation’s Vision 2020, which aims to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. IAPB PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION In South Africa, amongst other activities will be an online photo competition, organised by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), with support from Bayer. After the huge success of the photo competition in 2015, IAPB again invites amateur and professional photographers to submit their photographs by Thursday 13 th October. Participation in the competition is open worldwide – upload a photo that best exemplifies “stronger together”, give it a title or caption, clearly note your name, profession and contact details on the competition micro-site, http://photocomp.iapb.org EYE CARE AWARENESS – 9 TIPS ON WHAT NOT TO DO You rely on them from the moment you open them in the morning until you turn off the lights at night. Are you giving your eyes the care they deserve? Here are a few tips on what NOT to do to ensure optimal eye care. Sleeping in contact lenses Some contact lenses are specifically designed for overnight wear; if yours are not, remove them before going to...
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835 Hits

EYE HEALTH FROM THE GARDEN OR IN A PILL?

October001
The age-old joke that rabbits don’t wear glasses because they eat carrots is not entirely untrue! Carrots get their orange colour from a form of vitamin A called beta-carotene which has been found to help certain parts of the eye function smoothly. Eating our way to good eyesight is not only about beta-carotene, and goes far beyond carrots. Several other vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy eyes, and a light-hearted suggestion is to “eat the rainbow”. From tomatoes through dark green leafy vegetables to blueberries, following a balanced diet helps to maintain good eye health and may prevent or slow the progression of some eye conditions. Some nutritionists go so far as to say that if the colour of the food is not in the spectrum of the rainbow, it probably has no real health value for our bodies or our eyes. RAINBOW EATING The minerals lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to reduce the risk of cataracts and AMD, and can be found in leafy green vegetables, red fruits and vegetables, and egg yolk. Citrus fruits and berries, which are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants facilitate overall health, and also target cataracts and AMD. The progression of AMD can be slowed by vitamin E, found in almonds, among other foods. DHA, a fatty acid found in the retina, has been linked to dry eye syndrome, and can be found in fatty fish such as salmon and anchovies. Antioxidants and omega 3, 6 and 9 are all essential for...
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AN ITCH TO SCRATCH

Eyemark September 12
People. You tell them not to do something, and what do they do? They do exactly what you told them not to do! I’m just an old pair of glasses, so what do I know? But I can tell you one thing… people are strange. There’s a lot of talk around eclipses at the moment. Same thing. You tell people not to look at an eclipse, and some crazy people do the exact opposite. Some of them think it’s okay because they’re wearing sunglasses… as if that’ll make a difference. I know a pair of sunglasses called Sharon who says she wishes she had that kind of power. If only a humble pair of sunglasses could block an eclipse… Same thing with people who rub their eyes. I mean, that’s the golden rule… right? Don’t rub your eyes! And if you shouldn’t rub your eyes on an ordinary day, you definitely shouldn’t rub them when they’re already scratched and irritated. But springtime is coming, and it’s bringing allergies with it. And yes, a person shouldn’t rub his eyes. But when he feels like he’s got feathers in his eyelids, desperation takes over. So how else is a person supposed to deal with spring allergies? Like I said, I’m just a pair of glasses. But I’ve seen a thing or two, so maybe I can help. Number one tip: Avoid. If you know pollen makes your eyes water like Vic Falls, don’t go near it. Of course, you’ll have to explain why...
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WHEN A DRAGON EATS THE SUN

Eyemark September 9
Myths, Facts and Superstitions Around Solar Eclipses Solar eclipses have caused fear, inspired curiosity and have been associated with myths, legends and superstitions throughout history. Ancient cultures tried to understand why the sun temporarily vanished from the sky, so they came up with various explanations. Even today, an eclipse of the Sun is considered a bad omen in many cultures. Solar eclipses happen when the Moon moves between the Sun and Earth, blocking out the Sun’s rays and casting a shadow on Earth. For a solar eclipse to take place, the Sun, Moon and Earth must be aligned in a perfect or near perfect straight line. This can only happen during a new Moon, but does not occur during every new moon, and can only be seen if you are in the path of the Moon’s shadow. Most calendar years have four eclipses, two of which must be solar eclipses. While rare, the maximum number of eclipses, solar or lunar, that can take place in a calendar year is seven. There are four types of solar eclipses and they are determined by what part of the Moon's shadow falls on the Earth. A total solar eclipse takes place when the Moon completely covers the Sun and casts its umbra (the innermost and darkest part of the moon’s shadow) and penumbra (the outermost and lightest part of the moon’s shadow) on Earth. During a partial solar eclipse, the Moon does not completely cover the Sun and casts only its penumbra on Earth,...
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FUTURE EYE TEST FOR ALZHEIMER’S?

Eyemark September 6
A new eye test that is simple to perform could help primary care providers effectively diagnose Alzheimer's disease many years before signs and symptoms show up in patients. That means it may also be possible to conduct medication trials for treating or preventing the progression of the disease, according to new research. As reported by United Press International, scientists at the University of Minnesota discovered differences in light pattern reflection off the retinas of mice that progressively changed as they developed Alzheimer's disease. That suggested to researchers that the ailment could be detected long before symptoms present themselves either to patients or to their doctors. At present there is no reliable test for Alzheimer's disease. Currently it is diagnosed from a set of symptoms that present themselves and grow progressively worse over time. Researchers at the Center for Drug Design at the University of Minnesota note that the retina and brain, both of which are part of the central nervous system, undergo similar changes as a result of Alzheimer's. Because the retina is readily accessible for examination, the changes there are much easier to detect, UPI reported. In the coming days, researchers are planning to begin phase 1 of clinical trials of their retina imaging system with humans. They say they hope eventually to develop an inexpensive diagnosis method that could then lead to effective early treatment of the disease, instead of simply managing its symptoms. To treat the disease, Dr Robert Vince, director of the Center for Drug Design, said...
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SOLAR ECLIPSE – 1st SEPTEMBER - WARNING

Eyemark September 1
On 1 September we will experience a partial solar eclipse from 8:13 a.m. to 2 p.m., depending where you are. The maximum point of the eclipse will be around 11a.m. when the moon will cover the sun by 38% for Johannesburg and 15% for Cape Town. During a partial solar eclipse, or the partial phase of a total eclipse , looking directly at the sun without any type of protection can burn the retina at the back of the eye . Because the back of the eye does not have pain receptors, the burn won’t be felt, and the effects might not be noticed until hours after it has happened, but the damage to the eyes would be permanent . There are safe ways to view an eclipse, and if you are aware of these and well-prepared, you don’t need to miss this spectacular miracle of nature. Pinhole Camera The safest method of watching the sun anytime, even during an eclipse, is to avoid the temptation of even glancing at it, but instead to look at a projected image of the sun. A simple pinhole camera can do the trick. To make one, poke a small (about three-millimeter-wide) pinhole into a square piece of cardboard. Then, with the sun behind you, project the sun through that hole onto another white piece of paper. Now you can safely view the projected image of the sun on that second piece of paper. Binoculars or a small telescope mounted on a tripod can be...
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5025 Hits

BLINK AND YOU’LL MISS IT!

newsletter August13
Sony has recently been awarded a patent for a contact lens that captures photos and videos with a blink of the eye. This contact lens is capable of zooming and autofocusing, and not only records video and images, but manages to store them, right there and then on the user's eyes. Sensors embedded in the lens are able to differentiate between voluntary and involuntary blinks, giving the wearer a simple control mechanism to capture photos and videos. Power is supplied wirelessly by way of a nearby smartphone, tablet or computer. Of course, at this point, this technology isn't small enough to be comfortably embedded in a contact lens, so it's only theoretical. But it does make one wonder – is this an exciting innovation or a frightening invasion of our privacy?
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798 Hits

AIN’T NO SUNSHINE

newsletter August10
There are people who wear sunglasses, and there are people who really wear sunglasses. Then there are those who lose them, sit on them and find other ways to destroy them. All I’m saying is I’m glad I’m a good old pair of glasses. I’d rather be what I am than a pair of shades. My friend Rocco is an exhausted pair of Aviators. He belongs to an actor from some soap opera or something. And that guy wears Rocco twenty-four-seven. Not only when he’s driving. Not only during the day. He wears Rocco inside, outside, when he goes to parties, when he appears at red carpet events… My buddy never gets a moment’s peace. The actor says it’s his “thing”. Well, I don’t know about that. But Rocco says he thought being a pair of sunglasses was a part-time deal. It just goes to show. On the other hand, my shady friend Barney never gets to go anywhere. He belongs to a guy who bought him, but never wears him! This guy forgets to take Barney in his car, so he’s driving with the sun shining straight into his eyes. He doesn’t even wear Barney on the beach, because he doesn’t want to get a “sunglass tan”. So instead he lies there and lets those UV rays burn down on him. I can’t even imagine what those retinas look like by now. Then I’ve got a friend Marlene, who belongs to a lady who loses sunglasses all the time. She’s...
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1045 Hits

ACCIDENTS HAPPEN!

newsletter August5
As careful as we may be at work, at home or at school, accidents do happen, and its not always possible to protect ourselves from these. Eye injuries can range from relatively minor, like shampoo in the eyes, to something potentially serious, such as a blow, cut or chemical splash. When the eyes are affected, it is important to know how to deal with it at the time, and when it might be necessary to consult a doctor or optometrist. The key things to look for with an eye injury are pain in the eye or eyelid, an obvious wound, bloodshot appearance, bruising or discolouration around the eye, bleeding, swelling, excessive watering, sensitivity to light, or a loss of vision, either partial or total. How to Handle a Blow to the Eye As soon after the injury as possible, gently hold a cold compress or ice pack against the eye, without putting pressure against it. Pressure can be applied around the eye, but never directly on it. Repeat as often as possible. The head should be kept elevated to minimise swelling. After the swelling has reduced, usually a couple of days, heat is more effective than cold, so a warm compress can be applied a few times a day. A warm compress can be a hot water bottle, heating pad or even a cloth soaked in warm water. Be careful not to make it uncomfortably hot. See a doctor immediately if there is severe pain, blood in the eye, bleeding from...
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A DELICATE BALANCE

newsletter August
Problems with vision occur for a variety of reasons, and an imbalance in hormone levels can sometimes be an underlying cause. Hormones regulate important body functions, and throughout life, from childhood to old age, everyone experiences fluctuations in hormone levels as the body goes through different stages of development. During these hormonal shifts eyesight can be temporarily affected. Although both males and females go through hormone fluctuations, the effects are often more marked in females due to specific life changes. As we celebrate the “fairer sex” during Women’s Month, it is necessary to be cognisant of some of the down sides of being a woman. It is important to remember that changes in hormone levels are normal and generally no cause for concern, but it is wise to have regular eye examinations so that any problems can be detected and managed early. Puberty is that time in a young woman’s life when literally everything about the body is changing, but one change that is commonly overlooked is the one to the eyes. It’s not uncommon for teenagers who are experiencing sudden hormonal changes to find that they have trouble seeing things at a distance. Sometimes this is temporary, but puberty can mark the start of needing glasses. Although vision may fluctuate until the hormone levels stabilise, it is a good idea to visit your optometrist for an assessment. After puberty, some women may continue to experience vision changes due to hormone fluctuations. Women of child-bearing age commonly have changes in vision...
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924 Hits