EyeMark Newsletters

A list of all our EyeMark Newsletter Articles

SEEING THINGS DIFFERENTLY


The world isn't the same as it was. A lot of things seem unclear and sometimes we can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, or the wood for the trees. It's hard to find clarity, just like when you put on your mask and your glasses get steamed up. (Now there's a new expression for the times we're living in...)   It's true that the past days (weeks, months...) have made us see things a little differently. And not only in negative ways. Spending so much time in your house can be annoying, because you're noticing things you never noticed before. But maybe it's a new and positive experience, because you're... well, you're noticing things you never noticed before. Maybe you're finding new cracks in the walls, but maybe you're also finding new plants in the garden and actually watching them grow. Talk about seeing things through new eyes (and talk about glass half full).   Maybe we're seeing ourselves - and each other - a little differently too. A recent survey revealed that most South Africans miss fried chicken more than just about anything else. Did we know that about ourselves and each other?   True, these days of lockdown can be hard on the eyes. Our moms told us that staring at screens would make our eyes go square. And here we are, sitting through Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting (and yes, Zoom fatigue is a thing). But what if Zoom is helping us to develop...
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DIGITAL EYE STRAIN DURING LOCK DOWN


As well as being a potentially fatal disease, COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on numerous aspects of our lives, both global and personal. One of the personal effects of lock down has been on our eyes. While during "normal” circumstances many people spend hours staring at small screens, this has increased dramatically during lockdown, placing strain on the eyes of both adults and children who are spending extended periods of time watching TV, working or engaging in activities on computers and i-pads, and communicating with others via various forms of social media. Limited time is spent outdoors away from screens and artificial light. This may lead to Digital Eye Strain, sometimes referred to as Computer Vision Syndrome. Digital Eye Strain describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged use of computers, tablets, e-readers and cell phones. Rather than being one specific problem, it includes a range of eye strain and discomfort, which seems to increase with the amount of digital screen exposure.   For many reasons, reading text on a digital device is often more demanding for the eyes than reading printed text, which is why reading a book may not cause the same eye problems as staring at a screen. Several factors may contribute to this. These include glare, flicker and contrast from the screen, constantly moving images, poor lighting, poor posture, the incorrect distance or angle of the screen, or a combination of these. The eyes have to focus and refocus from the screen...
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THE VIEW THAT CHANGED A GAME RANGER'S LIFE


Shaun D'Araujo, a game ranger at Londolozi shared his experience of guiding a blind woman during game drives and how her view changed his life! Going to a private game reserve is a luxury for many. Even self-driving through the Kruger National Park and other reserves scattered around South Africa is a memorable experience. The great privilege is doing these things and being able to see them.   Shaun D'Araujo, a game ranger at Londolozi, was assigned to guide a guest who had lost her eyesight. He was unsure how he would guide her during their drives as he had spent his 15-year career pointing things out to his guests. His stresses were quickly put aside when he learned that the woman didn't need him to talk her through the sightings. She sat and listened to everything and taught Shaun a valuable life lesson.   On their first game drive, he sat there and closed his eyes. He and his guest listened to the animals, the sounds of the birds, the rumble of distant elephants and the boisterous zebra. They listened to the hippos fighting and the fish eagles flying overhead.   Using his eyes, he explained a passing lion's appearance in detail. Shaun described her scars and her missing tail, the colour of her eyes and the detail of her tongue. It was at that moment that Shaun realised how much of nature he was missing using only his eyes. He realised that even using his eyes, he had seen...
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13 Hits

WHEN SHOULD CHILDREN GET GLASSES?


Parents are often uncertain and confused about when children should have their eyes tested and whether they should wear glasses or not. There are a number of myths around this topic, including if young children wear glasses they will become too dependent on them, or if children wear glasses when they are young they won't need them later, or even children will outgrow their visual problems so they don't need glasses. The truth is that optimal vision is essential for development, and undetected and untreated vision problems can negatively impact numerous areas of the child's functioning. The earlier problems are detected and managed, the better the long-term prognosis.   WHY WOULD CHILDREN NEED TO WEAR GLASSES?   Children need glasses for various reasons, some of which are different than for adults. The visual system is growing and developing during the first 5 – 6 years of life, and in some cases, glasses may be necessary to ensure normal visual development. The eyes may be crossed or misaligned, or one eye may be significantly weaker than the other. Glasses improve the alignment of the eyes, help to strengthen the vision of the weaker eye, or to protect the stronger eye. They provide better vision so that the child may function more effectively in the environment.   There are four basic refractive errors that can affect children. Myopia (shortsightedness) is a condition in which the distance vision is blurred, but a child can usually see well for reading or other near tasks. This...
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NOT JUST A BUMP ON THE HEAD


A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that as many as 20% of children will be diagnosed with a concussion during their childhood years. Concussions occur more often in children and adolescents because of the sports in which they are involved, and are beginning to be taken more seriously by school coaches and medical staff. Concussion is an injury to the brain caused by a sudden bump or blow to the head which causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth within the skull. The effects are usually temporary, but severe or repeated concussions can have a lasting impact in a number of areas, including on visual functioning.   Signs and symptoms generally appear soon after the injury. However, some symptoms may not show up for hours or days and the severity of the injury may not be evident initially. It is important to continue to check for signs of concussion for a few days after the injury. Physical signs and symptoms of a concussion may include dizziness, headache, ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, fatigue or drowsiness, and blurry vision.   Although the eyes may appear to be healthy, a number of functional vision symptoms can occur. Visual symptoms occur more often with near than with distance vision.  Blurry vision  is a typical vision problem following concussion. There may also be  double vision , which can be disorienting and may lead to dizziness, difficulty balancing or walking, and difficulty reading. The individual may experience ...
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329 Hits

VISITING YOUR OPTOMETRIST DURING LOCK DOWN


Optometrists have now been allowed to open their practices with stringent regulations to ensure the safety of themselves, their staff and you, their patients. Before reopening their doors, optometrists are required to implement protocols and take all the necessary hygienic precautions towards maintaining a clean and sanitised environment. All surfaces are sanitised before and after a consultation, with particular attention given to surfaces with which patients come into direct contact, such as the chair and certain testing equipment. Frames that have been handled by patients and optometric staff are sanitised before being replaced. If the optometrist or a member of his or her staff has symptoms of COVID-19, they will not be allowed to come to work until they have been cleared by the medical authorities.   Patients are required to follow guidelines recommended by the World Health Organisation that will further ensure safety when visiting the optometrist. Before visiting your optometrist for any reason, whether it is an adjustment to a frame, an eye examination or a consultation about an acute visual problem, call the practice to schedule an appointment. If you or a family member has had flu symptoms or have travelled within the two weeks prior to the appointment, it is necessary to reschedule the appointment for two weeks later to allow for a quarantine period. If you or a family member have had contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, inform the optometrist or receptionist immediately so that appropriate action can be taken.  ...
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402 Hits

THROUGH DIFFERENT EYES


Talk about seeing the world through new eyes. Not long ago, we celebrated the beginning of a new decade. To many, it felt like the dawning of a new era. And suddenly, here we are. Sitting inside our homes for 21 days.   I'm not about to ignore the seriousness of the situation, or put a happy face on a major international crisis. But since we're in this anyway, what if we could grasp the opportunity to put on new glasses (or new eyes), and see things from a fresh perspective?   I mean, this is the perfect chance to see your partner/family/housemate through different eyes... hopefully good ones. Hopefully we'll find new things to love about each other. Hopefully it won't matter that they leave dishes in the sink and half-empty coffee cups all over the place. Hopefully we won't mind that they breathe weirdly while they work. Hopefully we won't reach a stage where we're drawing lines on the floor to mark out Your Side and My Side.   See, we all have those meaningless little habits that would be annoying to the people living with us. Only they're not really, because we only enact them for a few hours every day. The rest of the time, we're inflicting those habits on our co-workers as they inflict theirs on us. Now? It's all day, every day.   But let's stay on track and keep things positive. (Fresh optimistic eyes, remember?) Staring at your four walls could help you see...
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406 Hits

CHANGE THE WAY YOU SEE THE WORLD


A contact lens is a thin lens placed directly on the surface of the eye and is a comfortable convenient alternative or addition to wearing glasses. Leonardo Da Vinci is frequently credited with introducing the idea of contact lenses in 1508, although his methods were not practical. Modern contact lenses have been in use for decades, and the technology is constantly changing and developing as manufacturers realise the need to improve the comfort, safety and vision needs of contact lens wearers. With these significant developments comes the assurance that there is a contact lens solution for each of the 150 million contact lens wearers worldwide.   Contact lenses are very versatile and are a good choice of vision correction for people who enjoy an active lifestyle, who want to look and feel more natural or who want a full field of vision wherever they look. There are a number of different options available for different vision conditions.   CONTACT LENSES FOR REFRACTIVE ERRORS   A refractive error occurs when the eye cannot accurately focus the light entering the eye, resulting in blurred vision. The most common refractive errors are myopia (shortsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism and presbyopia, which is generally associated with aging.   For people who are shortsighted or farsighted there are numerous options, including hard or soft contact lenses. Most people choose to wear  soft contact lenses  which are generally more comfortable. There are a number of soft contact lenses to choose from. Daily wear contact lenses are worn on...
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HUNGRY EYES


For "2020: The Year of the Eye," the American Academy of Ophthalmology intended to list 20 vision-healthy foods. Instead, they came up with 36! It is widely believed that failing eyesight is an inevitable aspect of aging, but it has been found that a healthy lifestyle, which includes a healthy diet, can significantly reduce the risk of problems with the eyes. In fact, the same diet that enhances heart health and general well-being will help the eyes. Just as the heart relies on larger blood vessels, the eyes rely on tiny arteries for oxygen and nutrients.   Many studies on age-related eye disease agree that certain specific nutrients are vital for eye health. These include zinc, copper, vitamins A, C and E, beta carotene, omega 3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin. While some nutrients keep the eyes healthy, some have been found to reduce the risk of developing eye diseases.   LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES   Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants found in high concentrations in the macula, the centre of the retina which is responsible for central vision. They are believed to protect eye tissues from sunlight damage and reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. The body does not naturally produce enough of these nutrients that it needs so it is important to include them in the diet. Leafy green vegetables that are rich in these antioxidants include spinach, kale, broccoli and peas. The body needs fat to absorb lutein and zeaxanthin, so it is best to eat them...
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WHAT COLOUR IS THAT?


Colour blindness is a condition that is often misunderstood. The name implies that colour blind people are unable to see colour and can see only black and white, but this is not true. A more accurate term would be "colour vision deficiency" because people are able to see colour but they see a much narrower range of colour. It is estimated that with normal colour vision, people can see up to one million shades of colour, while people with colour vision deficiency may see only about ten thousand shades. To the normally sighted person, a rainbow features all seven colours. For many colour blind people, however, a rainbow only appears to have two or three colours.   HOW WE SEE COLOUR   The retina has two different types of cells, called photoreceptors, that detect and respond to light. These are the rods and cones. On average, we have about 110 million rods, which are activated in low or dim light, and 6 million cones, which are stimulated in brighter environments. Cones contain photo pigments, or colour-detecting molecules. Colour is not inherent in objects; rather, the surface of the object absorbs some colours and reflects others. The reflected colours enter the eye, are picked up by the photoreceptors on the retina, and sent via the optic nerve to the brain which processes them and interprets them as the sensation of colour. Cones are sensitive to red, green and blue light. If only the rods are activated, we see only shades of grey....
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385 Hits