EyeMark Newsletters

A list of all our EyeMark Newsletter Articles

EAT A RAINBOW


Don't want to wear glasses? Eat your carrots! Carrots have long been touted for their efficacy in improving eyesight, and generations of kids have been admonished not to leave them on their plates lest they end up needing glasses. Where did this belief begin? The purported link between carrots and markedly acute vision is a matter of lore, not of science. The story goes back to World War II, and was deliberately manufactured by Britain's Air Ministry.   During World War II, the Allies had perfected Airborne Interception Radar which helped with both night raids into enemy territory and the detection of bombers attacking at night. Not wanting the enemy to find out about this new technology, the rumour was circulated that eating carrots had dramatically improved the night vision of British fighter pilots. The British public were encouraged to grow and eat more carrots, and the disinformation was so persuasive that people believed that eating carrots helped them to find their way during blackouts. One report suggests that some people ate so many carrots that their skin began to look orange. Another woman comments that her mother made her eat so many carrots that this is probably the reason she doesn't eat them now! Beta-carotene While not the total picture, there is some truth to the claims that eating carrots contributes to eye health. Research indicates that beta-carotene, which is found in carrots, may help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration as well as helping those who suffer...
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EYE OPENERS


Humans are a highly visual species, and our eyes are one of the most fascinating and complex organs of the body. Most of the information captured in our brain is through our eyes, which are also a means of expressing our emotions and feelings, and detecting the emotions in others. Here are some interesting facts related to the eyes of humans and animals.   The eye is the fastest muscle in the body, which is why when something happens quickly, we say 'in the blink of an eye!'   We see with the brain, not the eyes. The eyes function like a camera, capturing light and sending the information to be interpreted by the brain.   We see things upside down - it is the brain which turns the image the right way up.   Eyes are the second most complex organ after the brain.   About half of our brain is involved in the seeing process.   We have two eyeballs in order to give us depth perception – comparing two images allows us to determine how far away an object is from us.   People generally read 25% slower on screen than on paper.   It is a myth that it is impossible to sneeze with the eyes open. While it may be difficult, it is possible to sneeze with open eyes. Sneezing elicits a blinking response that is thought to be a protective mechanism to prevent irritants from entering and aggravating the eyes.   The human eye can...
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413 Hits

LIGHT HURTS


  Are we "darkness deprived"? With the widespread and ever-increasing use of electronic devices, there is a growing cause for concern regarding the impact of blue light on our eyes. Screen use is subjecting our eyes to temporary eye fatigue and could lead to permanent eye damage, particularly amongst children, whose eyes are not yet fully developed. Many questions still exist on the subject of blue light, and a great deal of research is being conducted. One researcher in this field is quoted as saying: "As opposed to the many other kinds of harmful environmental pollutants out there, we are rapidly figuring out exactly what to do about this one, and it is really not that hard". WHAT IS BLUE LIGHT? Sunlight is made up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet light. Each of these has a different wavelength and energy. When combined, this spectrum of coloured light rays creates the white light that is visible to the human eye. Rays on the red end have longer wavelengths and less energy. On the other end, blue rays have shorter wavelengths and more energy. While blue light is naturally present in sunlight, a major source of blue light exposure is found in emissions from artificial lighting and the electronic devices we use every day. Blue light exposure received from screens is small compared to the amount of exposure from the sun but concerns over the long-term effect on the eyes stem from the close proximity of the screens and...
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LEARNING TO SEE


The visual system is the most complex sensory system in the human body, but is the least mature at birth, constantly changing and developing as the baby grows. Although babies are born with the structures needed for sight, they need to learn to use them over a period of time. As well as learning to focus the eyes, move them accurately, and use them together, babies need to learn how to use the information the eyes send to the brain in order to make sense of the world around them. Babies develop according to their own individual schedules but being aware of the milestones of visual development can guide parents in how to stimulate their babies and to alert them to possible problems. Birth to three months Just after birth, the baby sees in black and white, but gradually begins to look intently at a target in bold contrasting colours. By two to three months, he will begin to show a preference for bright colours. At birth, his field of vision is only about 20cm, and he will focus for a few seconds on a face within his field of vision. Over the next few weeks as his peripheral vision develops and his attention span increases, he is able to make eye contact and hold his gaze on a familiar face for a little longer. He can recognise a smile, and by 6 to 8 weeks will respond with a smile of his own. He may start to look at things...
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WHILE WE WEREN'T LOOKING


What a year it's been, huh? A rollercoaster in every sense of the word. There were sanctions and nuclear threats and discussions about refugees. Paris celebrated its victory at being awarded the 2024 Olympics, while we mourned the news that we won't be hosting a certain World Cup. But you know what? A lot of things went almost unnoticed while we had our eyes fixed on Brexit and an orange president who doesn't know when to stop tweeting. (Not to mention another president who threw in the towel after 37 years.) While all this was happening, most of us didn't even notice that other pretty amazing things were happening. While we had our eyes on Twitter and Trump, others used their eyes to make some incredible discoveries. Such as... a new species of orangutan was discovered in Indonesia this year. They say it was the first new ape species to be discovered in over a century. I don't know how they found it, but there it is. And if the discovery of a new orangutan is something special, how about the discovery of a whole new continent?! Yup, a new continent (which is mostly underwater) was discovered this year in the South Pacific. It's called Zealandia, and word is it'll soon be officially recognised as earth's eighth continent. So while we had our eyes on an assortment of Kardashians, someone was busy discovering a whole new land mass. And we all heard about the total solar eclipse in 2017. But did...
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930 Hits

HOW ACCURATELY DO WE SEE OURSELVES?


The camera never lies. Or does it? Does the camera give a more accurate view of ourselves than a mirror does? Or is the image we see in the mirror a truer reflection of what we really look like? Does the image we have of ourselves match the way other people see us? We assume that the camera records exactly what our eyes see, but the truth is that, although there are some similarities, the camera and the eyes "see" differently. Both the camera and the human eye process light and record images, but the brain interprets and makes sense of what is seen.   Human Eye vs Camera As with a camera, light enters the eye through the front part of the eye, the cornea, is focused by the lens, and passes through the eye until it reaches the retina at the back of the eye. The pupil and the iris act like the aperture in a camera lens, opening and closing depending on the amount of light reaching the eye and the amount of clarity needed. The retina contains two types of light-sensitive receptors, rods and cones. Rods perceive light while cones are sensitive to colour. Once the eye captures an image, it is sent via the optic nerve to the brain, where the processing happens. Unlike the camera, which snaps a picture and that's it, our eyes receive a continuous flow of images, which the brain later processes into what we actually see. The eyes "look" while the...
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837 Hits

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW! (THE TREES HAVE LEAVES!)


"I think its time for this cataract to be removed." This observation by my optometrist did not come as a surprise! I had known for some time that I had cataracts in both eyes, and that the one in my right eye was considerably worse than the left one, but they were not posing any problems. YET!! Over the past year or so I had begun to notice changes in my right eye. My vision had deteriorated dramatically, to the point that I was unable to read the print on the TV screen, and my optometrist had to change my contact lens script every few months. Night driving had become increasingly difficult, the headlights of oncoming cars too bright, and haloes appearing around street lights and other lights. My left eye could compensate to some extent for activities such as reading and computer work, but distance vision had become a strain, even when I was wearing glasses or contact lenses. Reluctant as I was to have eye surgery, I was forced to agree with my optometrist that the time had come to make an appointment with an ophthalmic surgeon. Doctors have their individual styles, protocols and procedures for running their practices, and this was my specific experience with my particular ophthalmic surgeon, which may not be the same for another one. After taking a detailed health, family and vision history, she conducted a comprehensive eye examination. She started with a visual acuity test to measure the clarity of my vision with...
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THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL ON THE EYES


As 2017 draws to a close, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a joyful, peaceful and safe festive season, and all the best for the coming year. Frequently called the "silly season", for good reason, the end of the year brings with it many occasions to celebrate, spend time with family and friends, and sometimes indulge in excessive consumption of alcohol. Moderate drinking may lead to some changes in vision, but these are usually short-term. Heavy drinking over an extended period of time often impacts the body and the eyes in a more serious way, and the effects can be more permanent.   Short-term visual effects Consuming alcohol in moderation is unlikely to have any lasting adverse effects on the eyes, and the symptoms usually disappear shortly after a drinking episode. The way the body responds to alcohol differs from one person to another. The way your body responds depends on the amount consumed and your tolerance threshold. Alcohol slows the pace of communication between neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that communicate information around the brain and to the body. The delay in communication between the brain and the eyes affects eye muscle coordination. This may result in distorted or double vision, difficulty with depth perception, difficulty judging distances, and decreased peripheral vision. It makes perfect sense, then, not to drink and drive! Excessive drinking decreases the reaction time of the pupils, which are unable to constrict or dilate effectively when...
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1172 Hits

WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND


I'm no fashionista. But every November I check out the fashion blogs and magazines to see what trends we can expect in 2018. And this year I thought they were getting mixed up - were they talking next year or were they talking fifty years ago?! Lemme explain what I mean... My friend Charlene is a pair of marble frames, and she hasn't seen the light of day in a while. But then she heard from her friend Lois that they're destined to make a big comeback in 2018. Lois saw something on the Fashion Channel, and now she's convinced all the major labels will try to do what she and Charlene were doing in the Seventies. My friend Jimmy is a pair of aviators. And according to him, his kind never goes out of style. (Trust a pair of aviators to say that. I mean, they're nice guys and all but super-confident if you know what I mean...) So anyways, Jimmy has been talking for years about how he doesn't need to make a comeback - because he's never really gone away. I was a bit suspicious when it came to Jimmy. Then I saw how many Hollywood celebs are wearing aviators, and now I think he might be onto something. After all, it only takes one movie star to set off an entire fashion trend. Speaking of which, I saw a magazine that said 2018 will also be the year of oversized sunglasses. You know... the Sophia Loren kind....
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A JUMBO-SIZED OPERATION!


Win Thida, a 45-year old Asian elephant in an Amsterdam zoo, suffered an injury to her cornea after what was thought to be a tussle with another elephant. She was obviously in pain and struggling to keep the eye open, so the zoo called in vet Anne-Marie Verbruggen, who decided to fit a contact lens to protect and soothe the eye. She had often fitted horses with contact lenses, but this was her first attempt with an elephant. Daily training sessions prepared the elephant for the procedure which took less than an hour. She had to remain standing during the anaesthetic, because elephants can't lie down for long as their immense weight hampers their breathing. As the vet climbed a ladder to reach her patient's eye, Win Thida remained calm and relaxed, was cooperative throughout, and was reported to be happier and more able to keep her eye open immediately after the operation. Protected by the contact lens, the wound on her cornea will now remain clean and be able to heal. Win Thida has resumed her position as the dominant matriarch of the Amsterdam herd of elephants, and a favourite among visitors to the zoo. While she may be the first of her species to be fitted with a contact lens, Win Thida is not the first animal to undergo such a procedure. The World Wildlife Fund has sponsored lens transplants for brown bears in a nature reserve in China, as it has been found that vision loss, often due...
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1184 Hits