EyeMark Newsletters

A list of all our EyeMark Newsletter Articles

MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL, WHO IS FAIREST OF THEM ALL?


The wicked queen in the fairy tale "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" didn't always receive the answer she was hoping to receive when she posed this question. What answer do we expect to hear when we ask related questions? Which gives a fairer reflection of me, the mirror or the camera? Which is more accurate and closer to my actual appearance? Does my reflection in the mirror show me what I really look like? Which image matches the way others see me? The one in the mirror or the one in the photograph? As with the fairy tale queen, the answer is not simple.   While there are similarities in what we see in the mirror and in photographs, there are also some differences. The camera works very much like the human eye in that they both process light and record images, but while the camera is a tool for capturing the images, the visual system makes sense of what is seen. The eye transmits a message to the brain which has the power to process and interpret the information it receives but the camera cannot process or interpret what is captured. Unlike the camera which simply takes a picture, the eyes are constantly receiving a flow of images which need to be processed.   Vision is a dynamic complex process in which the brain uses a combination of information from different sources to generate and make sense of what we see. This includes past experience and expectations as well...
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1014 Hits

MOVIE MAGIC


Three-dimensional stereoscopic films are films that enhance the illusion of depth perception. 3D movies have existed in some form or another since the 19th century, but they have had a roller coaster history, alternating between boom and bust. While they would hardly be considered 3D films by today's standards, the first patent for 3D film making was registered in the 1890s. Early 3D movies were typically in black and white, and the 3D movies made in the mid-20th century were generally horror movies. The first major 3D movie in colour, released in 1953, was "The House of Wax" which launched the career of horror movie actor, Vincent Price. The popularity of 3D films waned for some time, until its short-lived revival in the 1980s with the release of "Jaws 3D" and "Amityville 3D". As technology became more sophisticated, the early 2000s saw an explosion of successful 3D films, but it was James Cameron's award-winning "Avatar" that finally established 3D as a medium that is here to stay. Some studios are now converting 2D films into the 3D format.   The creation of the 3D effect in the making of 3D movies mimics the functioning of human vision. Human beings have binocular or stereoscopic vision, each eye seeing a slightly different image. These are fused by the brain into a single three-dimensional image. To create a similar effect, 3D films are captured using two lenses placed side by side about as far apart from each other as the human eyes, recording slightly...
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678 Hits

MY EYES ARE FINE; MY ARMS ARE TOO SHORT!


Out for dinner with friends one evening, one friend noticed that another was struggling to read the menu. Laughing, he said: "I see your arms have become too short. Would you like me to hold the menu for you on my side of the table?" Everyone at the table nodded and smiled, acknowledging that they were all in the same boat, all over the age of 50, and all experiencing presbyopia to some degree. "I manage to read the menu in a restaurant," commented one woman, "as long as the lights are bright enough and the print is a reasonable size." To save the embarrassment of being unable to read the menu, one man asked his wife to order his dinner. Another admitted that he always goes to the same restaurant and always orders the same meal. The conversation became more serious as presbyopia and its impact on daily life was shared.   "I can't read the labels on packets and cans when I shop." "Can you read the dosage instructions on medication?" "I often call or send messages to the wrong people because I can't read the numbers or names on my phone clearly." "I used to enjoy doing embroidery at night but now I just watch TV." While all these concerns may be signs of presbyopia, they may also be indications of more serious eye conditions like cataracts or age-related macular degeneration. Visit your optometrist regularly for a comprehensive eye examination to detect and manage problems and to discuss...
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938 Hits

READY FOR SCHOOL


With the start of a new year comes the beginning of a new school year. Many parents wonder if their child is ready to meet the academic and social expectations of grade one, the first step on the long journey of the school years. Feelings of anxiety are natural, and parents do not always have the objectivity or the knowledge to make this major decision but there are many experts in the field of early childhood development who can guide them.   Educational experts differentiate between a child's level of school readiness and the level of learning readiness. Although closely linked, these concepts are different. School readiness is based on the foundation of intellectual, motor, social, emotional and perceptual factors. To be learning ready the child needs to be able to sit still , have good listening skills, concentrate on tasks for a certain period of time, get along with others, show independence and a sense of responsibility, communicate effectively, and perhaps most importantly demonstrate an interest in learning. Learning readiness is influenced by the learning experiences to which the child has been exposed before going to school. A child may pass a school readiness test but not be ready to cope with the demands and requirements of the classroom.   No single factor determines whether a child is ready for school or not. Learning is a complex process requiring the integration and coordination of a number of skills, including physical development, cognitive abilities, communication skills, emotional maturity, hearing and vision....
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212 Hits

Halloween Hazard: Never Buy Decorative Contact Lenses Without a Prescription


Written By: Dan T. Gudgel Reviewed By: Thomas L Steinemann MD Just 10 hours after she first put in a pair of colored contact lenses that she’d bought at a souvenir shop, Laura Butler of Parkersburg, W.Va., had "extreme pain in both eyes," she said. "Because I had not been properly fitted by an eye care professional, the lenses stuck to my eye like a suction cup." Colored contact lenses are popular year-round for people who want to change the color of their iris. But every year at Halloween there is a surge of people using colored contact lenses to enhance their costumes. However, few know the risks associated with these lenses. "Most people believe that decorative lenses do not require the same level of care or consideration as a standard contact lens because they can be purchased over-the-counter or on the Internet," says Thomas Steinemann, MD, professor of ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. "This is far from the truth." It's illegal to sell any contact lenses without a prescription in the United States. All contact lenses are medical devices that require a prescription and proper fitting by an eye-care professional. "Many of the lenses found online or in beauty salons, novelty shops or in pop-up Halloween stores are not FDA-approved and are being sold illegally," Dr. Steinemann said. Retailers that sell contacts without a prescription are breaking the law and could be fined for each violation. Never buy colored contact lenses from a retailer who doesn’t ask for a prescription. Even...
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1135 Hits

SOMEONE ELSE'S EYES


Halloween has never been big in South Africa. The idea of dress-up and candy is an all-American tradition, and we just never caught on. Although, there's something to be said for putting on a mask and disappearing into a character. It's the one night of the year when everybody gets to be somebody else.   So if you could be anybody, who would you be?   Or to put it another way, whose glasses would you wear to see the world through different eyes?   It's been said that politicians have rose-coloured spectacles. So it would be a pleasant experience to put on a pair – you wouldn't see nasty little things like crime and unemployment. From the viewpoint of your government, those things just don't exist... right? (But enough about that...)   Try on the super-stylish titanium frames belonging to a seasoned investor. Maybe you'll see opportunity where others don't. Put on a doctor's glasses and you'll see how to fix people (although you probably won't be able to read your own awful handwriting). An accountant's glasses will show you the world as one giant balance sheet. And a developer's thick lenses (if you'll excuse the stereotype) will reveal the world as a giant matrix of zeros and ones.   If you really want to go deep and philosophical, put on the dirt-stained glasses of a grassroots community changemaker. Maybe you won't see the world as it is, but you'll see it as it should be.   Put on a...
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1366 Hits

HEARING COLOUR, TASTING SOUND


Colour is usually experienced visually via the eyes, and sound is experienced auditorily via the ears. How then is it possible to hear colour and taste sound? Some people have synesthesia, a neurological condition in which the stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to an automatic involuntary experience in another pathway; when one sense is activated another unrelated sense is activated at the same time. For example, when hearing music, patterns of colour are visualised. The exact incidence of synesthesia is not known but it is estimated that 3 to 5 percent of people have some form of it, many of them unaware that what they experience is unusual.   Artist Neil Harbisson was born with an extreme and rare form of colour blindness, achromatopsia, resulting in his inability to see colour at all, except in shades of grey. At the age of 16 he decided to study art because he wanted to understand what colour was. Although his first tutor had reservations, Neil was allowed to do the entire art course using only black and white. He discovered that throughout history there have been many famous people with synesthesia, many of whom related colour to sound. His life changed when he had an antenna surgically implanted in his brain, which transforms light waves into sound, enabling him to feel and hear colours as audible vibrations. Neil claims he can see 360 colours, including colours invisible to the human eye, such as infrareds and ultraviolets.   It took Neil a few...
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1143 Hits

WHEN YOUR BRAIN CAN'T BELIEVE YOUR EYES!


Everything that enters the senses needs to be interpreted through the brain - and these interpretations occasionally go wrong. Optical illusions occur when our eyes send information to our brains that tricks us into perceiving something that does not match reality. There is a mismatch between our subjective perception and the physical reality of what we are observing. Although called “optical illusions” this is not entirely accurate because they have more to do with how the brain processes information than with the way the eyes take it in. An illusion is proof that we don't always see what we think we do because of the way the brain and entire visual system perceive and interpret an image. Illusions are more than parlour tricks; they are important tools that can offer scientists new insights on how vision and the brain work.   Optical illusions have been around a long time and are everywhere, even in nature. Centuries ago in ancient Greece, Aristotle noted that when he looked at a waterfall and then shifted his gaze to static rocks nearby, it appeared as though the rocks were moving in the opposite direction to the waterfall. The Op-Art movement in the 1960s and 1970s showcased a whole new series of illusions as fine art, using classic notions of apparent motion, twists of perspective and the visual influence of adjacent objects.   Not all illusions work the same way, and we are deceived by illusions for various reasons. Colour, motion, shape, perspective and the amount...
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  210 Hits
210 Hits

BE SUN SMART


Thanks to widespread publicity on the damaging effects of ultraviolet light on the skin, most people are aware of this issue and responsible about protecting their skin and the skin of their children. Less attention is paid to protecting the eyes from the sun, particularly in children. Children receive more annual sun exposure than adults because many of their activities take place outdoors increasing their exposure to damaging ultraviolet (UV) light. Because children's eyes are not yet fully developed, they cannot filter UV light and prevent it from reaching their retinas as effectively as adults can, with the result that they are more susceptible to retinal damage.   Excessive exposure to UV light can lead to both short-term and long-term eye problems. In the short-term, exposure can result in bloodshot, swollen eyes and a hyper-sensitivity to light. Over a lifetime, damage from unprotected exposure to UV rays can lead to eye conditions that will affect the health of the eyes and vision. Unlike the short-term problems caused by UV rays, the long-term damage caused by repeated overexposure will not fade as the symptoms and conditions caused by repeated overexposure appear over a longer period of time. Because UV exposure is cumulative, it is important to begin protecting the eyes from a young age.   The solution for protecting children's eyes from UV exposure seems to be a simple one. Sunglasses! However, it is a little more complicated than this. When should children start wearing sunglasses? How do we select sunglasses that...
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1057 Hits

TEAR JERKER


Dry eye is a common condition that occurs when tears are unable to provide adequate lubrication for the eyes, for various reasons. There may be insufficient tears or the tears that are produced may be of poor quality. The tear film has three basic layers, namely oil, water and mucus. Problems with any of these layers can cause dry eyes or there may be an imbalance in the composition of the tears. Dry eyes feel uncomfortable and can make it difficult to perform certain daily activities such as reading or driving. Symptoms include a stinging, burning or scratchy sensation, stringy mucus in or around the eyes, sensitivity to light, redness, blurred vision and eye fatigue. A typical symptom of dry eyes is excessive watering of the eyes. This may seem like a contradiction but is in fact a reflex reaction of the eyes to the lack of moisture and feeling of eye irritation, causing them to send a message to the brain for more moisture. Although there is a flood of tears, they are mostly made up of water which is not able to prevent evaporation of tears and provide long term relief by lubricating the eyes effectively.   A number of factors can influence the development of dry eyes. Although it can occur at any age, it is more common in older people as tear production tends to decrease as part of the normal aging process. Women are particularly susceptible due to the hormonal changes that occur at certain times...
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1332 Hits