EyeMark Newsletters

A list of all our EyeMark Newsletter Articles

HOW TO HAVE A SIGHT TEST


Before you see your optometrist, you will have to wait in the waiting room surrounded by outdated copies of every magazine imaginable. This is where you will discover the true meaning of the word "patient".   Once you have found the chair, the optometrist will slip a pair of heavy metal glasses on you that look like they have been knocked together by the local blacksmith. Whatever your optometrist tells you, these are not the latest in high fashion.   The eye test itself starts when you are asked what the lowest line on the eye chart is. Don't waste time by saying "Printed in the UK". Rather say "What eye chart?" The optometrist will then slide a number of lenses into your special metal glasses and keep asking you whether it is better with this one or that one. This is just to wind you up - they are all exactly the same!   Remember, the phrase optometrists hate most is "they are much of a muchness". Say this once too often and they will send you home with a pair of glasses that make you see round corners, and when you complain they will tell you that all glasses are "much of a muchness"!   Optometrists also like to ask whether the circles are clearer in the red box or the green box. This is no time to tell them you are colour blind! Just make a choice and go with it.   At some stage the optometrist will...
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DEARLY BELOVED....


June is Youth Month, so I'm sending my best to all the millennials out there (and the millennials at heart). It's also the month with the shortest day of the year, so when it's over we can start counting down to spring. But here's something I didn't know until my pal Wikipedia told me: June is named after Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage.   When I got to thinking about it, there are some mighty interesting things that married couples do with their glasses. So this column is especially for them. And like I always say, I'm just an old pair of glasses so what do I know? But here I go anyway...   We've all been in restaurants, and we've all seen this couple. Two people, one pair of glasses. You know who I'm talking about. He puts on the glasses and reads the menu. Then she puts on the glasses and reads the menu. Then he takes the glasses again because he's changed his mind. And just when they're ready to order, the waiter arrives with the specials board and it starts all over again.   On another note, it seems a spouse poses the biggest potential threat to a pair of glasses. How many people have had their glasses lost, broken or sat on by their significant other? Spouses have this knack of inadvertently causing harm to one another's glasses. It's true... the way I see it, getting married is the single biggest danger to glasses and...
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333 Hits

SEEING RED


We have all experienced red or bloodshot eyes at one time or another. Eye redness occurs when the small blood vessels in the eye become dilated, inflamed and congested with blood. There are a number of causes of eye redness, most of which are not serious and do not require medical treatment, unless they persist or are accompanied by symptoms such as pain or changes in vision. The degree of redness is not usually related to the severity of the problem; red eyes sometimes look worse than they are! Common Causes of Eye Redness These range from lack of sleep to allergies, from irritants in the air to infections, from trauma to the eye to chronic health conditions.   Deficiencies in certain vitamins and amino acids, sensitivity to some foods and excessive alcohol consumption are often reflected in red eyes. Allergies to cosmetic products or not removing make up before going to sleep can cause red eyes. General allergic reactions, for example to pollen or pets, are often accompanied by red, watery, irritated eyes, and the common cold often manifests with red watery eyes as well as a runny nose.   Environmental factors include dust, lengthy exposure to the sun, dry air and chemical fumes. Eye redness may occur only the day after exposure to these irritants. Prolonged hours in front of the computer can lead to eye fatigue and red eyes.   Contact lenses can prevent sufficient oxygen from reaching the cornea. If the lenses are worn for too long...
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CLEAR-EYED REASONS TO QUIT SMOKING


Every year, on 31 May, the World Health Organisation and partners mark World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health and other risks associated with tobacco use, and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption. As well as having a direct impact on eye health and quality of vision, tobacco use is one of the major risk factors for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, all of which can affect the eyes.   The good news is that smoking is the most preventable cause of vision loss. Even someone with a long history of smoking can significantly reduce the risk of health complications by quitting. For example, giving up smoking reduces the risk of macular degeneration by six percent after just one year, and it also reduces the risk of developing cataracts.   The harmful effects of smoking on the eyes include: biological changes in the eyes that can lead to vision loss; damage to the delicate blood vessels in the eyes caused by tobacco chemicals; interference with the production of tears; decreased amount of oxygen and nutrients reaching the macula due to compromised blood flow; increase in the risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of irreversible vision loss; development of AMD up to 5 years earlier than non-smokers; increased risk of cataracts; increased risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, damage to the blood vessels of the eye; risk of faster progression of diabetic retinopathy; increased risk of dry eye syndrome, a cause of...
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TWO EYES ONE IMAGE


The human visual system is a complex network including the eyes, the ocular nerves, and specific areas in the brain that process visual information. Because the eyes are side by side on the face, they see slightly different images of the same object, or the same object from slightly different perspectives, although the images overlap to some extent. These are transmitted via the optic nerve to the brain which synthesises them to create a single visual image. This ability to converge information from both eyes is called binocular vision and is essential for three-dimensional (3D) or stereoscopic vision. It allows us to perceive depth and judge distances and relationships between objects. Without it the world around us would appear flat like a two-dimensional picture.   So many of the day to day activities we take for granted and perform without a second thought depend on stereoscopic vision. Pouring a glass of water, parking a car, threading a needle, walking up or down stairs, catching or hitting a ball, even reaching out to shake someone's hand would be more difficult and less accurate without our ability to judge depth. It would be impossible to pursue certain professions and challenging to play certain sports.   The eyes and the brain need to work together in order for us to experience the world in three dimensions. The eyes are responsible for receiving a clear focused image which the brain is required to process and interpret, helping us to make sense of what we see....
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SEEING IN COLOUR


  April is that time of year when the mornings are chillier, the evenings are darker, and the leaves on the trees turn spectacular shades of... I don't know. Orange and red. I know I was about to get poetic there, but then I remembered I'm no poet. I'm just an old pair of glasses going on about the way I see the world.   But yeah... colours of leaves. Green turns to red. That's what April is all about in its autumn glory and all. But if you think about it, April is a time for other colours too.   On April 27 we'll remember how a major change swept across our country, and we found ourselves living in what became known as the very colourful Rainbow Nation.   Now, my friend Rose is a... well, no surprises here... a pair of rose-tinted glasses. And she says everything's been perfect since 1994. Me? I'm a little less rose-tinted myself, and I gotta say we have a lot of work to do. But even I can admit that we've come a long way. And this is the month where we stop and remember that.   Plus, our new democracy also gave us a new flag. Talk about colours... it probably contains more colours than any other flag in the world. Sure, there were people at the time who said it looked like a beach towel. Others said they'd never get used to it. But - as the millennials would say -...
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580 Hits

LOOK ME IN THE EYE


Eye contact has been compared to the fairy tale of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" - too much may be interpreted as rude, too little may make a person appear uneasy or disinterested, while just the right amount produces feelings of mutual trust and interest. Eye contact is an integral and powerful part of non-verbal communication, is often linked to facial expression and sends out messages that are not always picked up with words alone. However, it is not as simple as the Goldilocks theory would suggest. There are different types of eye contact, and the interpretation of acceptable eye contact differs from culture to culture, situation to situation, personality to personality, gender to gender and even extends to the eyes in photographs and paintings. Making and Breaking Eye Contact Making eye contact with someone acknowledges that person and shows that you are interested in them. In some cultures, however, it is interpreted as rude to make eye contact with people in authority or of the opposite sex. Breaking eye contact can indicate that the person has lost interest, disagrees with what has been said or feels threatened. During conversation we frequently look away and back again, to prevent the discomfort of prolonged eye contact. When a person is feeling uncomfortable, he may rub one eye or pretend to have something in his eye, giving him an opportunity to break eye contact by turning his head away. Avoiding Eye contact We tend to avoid eye contact when we feel that our...
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SEEING THE WORLD THROUGH ROSE-COLOURED LENSES?


Contact lenses have a rich history that dates back to the 1500s, when Italian artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci first conceived of them. While his idea was only a sketch and was highly impractical, it was the beginning of centuries of contact lens innovation which continues to develop. Today contact lenses are a part of everyday life for millions of people around the world. With the rapid advances in technology, not only have the materials evolved for better comfort and durability, but the availability of colours and patterns has grown, making coloured contact lenses an important feature in the world of movies and a cosmetic accessory in the wardrobes of many people.   Human eye colour is determined by two factors, the pigmentation of the iris (the coloured part of the eye) and the way the iris scatters the light passing through it. The amount of melanin in the iris is genetically determined; the more melanin, the darker the eye. Sometimes eye colour appears to change depending on variations in light and the way in which this is reflected by the iris.   Coloured contact lenses fall into three basic categories, each of which serves a slightly different purpose and has a different role to play in modifying the colour of the eyes.   As their name implies, enhancer contact lenses are designed to highlight the natural beauty of the eye colour, boosting it or subtly changing its tint. They are particularly meant for people who have light coloured eyes...
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A TWITCH IN TIME ....


Everyone has them from time to time. Everyone finds them irritating. No-one knows exactly what causes them. But they usually don't last long and are seldom a cause for concern. Eyelid twitches or myokymia are painless repetitive involuntary spasms of the muscles of the eyelids. They usually occur in the upper eyelid but can occur in both the upper and lower lids and are more prevalent during the day than at night. Episodes of eyelid twitching are unpredictable, typically occurring every few seconds for a minute or two. They may appear on and off for a day or two and then disappear for weeks or months. While most twitches resolve on their own, in rare cases they may be early warning signs of an underlying disorder which requires medical intervention. CAUSES The specific causes of eyelid twitching are usually unknown, although certain factors may be identifiable as triggering them or making them worse. These are usually related to life style.   Stress - Stress is often a reason for eye twitching. If associated with a particular stressful situation such as exams, it usually resolves once the stressful situation comes to an end. Meditation or just sitting quietly with closed eyes for a few minutes can help reduce stress and eye twitching, if not alleviate them completely.   Caffeine or alcohol - It is thought that the stimulants in caffeine and/or the relaxant effects of alcohol can bring on a twitchy eyelid, especially when used in excess. It is often difficult to...
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GATEWAY TO LEARNING


School Health Week in March served as a reminder of the need to be aware, not only of general health, but of eye health and the essential role vision plays in the classroom. Learning is a complex process which requires integration and coordination between a number of modalities, including hearing, vision, language, and physical and cognitive abilities. We all have different learning styles and strengths. Some people learn most effectively by looking, others by listening, and still others by doing. The large majority of the demand in the classroom is on the visual system, increasing as children progress through school, when more study materials need to be read, print in books becomes smaller, and more time is spent studying and working on the computer. Optimal vision for learning is not simply being able to see clearly but involves visual processing skills and the ability to make sense of what is seen. Less than optimal visual skills may lead to poor academic and sporting performance, a negative attitude towards school, and emotional and social problems.   Although visual processing skills can be broken down for the sake of definition, they do not function independently of each other. They are an integrated system of processes that work together to facilitate effective learning and interpretation of information coming in through the eyes. Visual Acuity Visual acuity is a measure of the sharpness of vision or how clearly one is able to see at various distances. Problems that could impact school performance include difficulty with...
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