EyeMark Newsletters

A list of all our EyeMark Newsletter Articles

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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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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1267 Hits

EYES ON THE BALL


Sport is an important aspect of the South African way of life. Whether just enjoying playing with a ball in the garden, participating in team sports, or taking sport more seriously, vision plays a fundamental role, and there are a number of factors to take into account. These range from the necessary visual skills for sport to the importance of eye protection and the enhancement of sporting performance with different types of eyewear. VISUAL SKILLS FOR SPORT Dynamic Visual Acuity - This is the ability to see clearly objects that are moving fast at the same time as the player is moving. Visual Concentration - Our eyes normally react to what is happening around us and in our field of vision. Visual concentration is the ability to shut out distractions and remain focused on the activity. Eye Tracking - Eye tracking helps us to maintain balance while following a ball or opponent with our eyes, without movement of the head. Eye-Hand-Body Coordination - This is an essential element in most sports, affecting timing and body control. Eye-hand-body coordination is the ability of the hands, feet and body to respond to the information gathered through the eyes. Visual Memory - Using the skill of processing and remembering a fast-moving complex picture, the athlete with good visual memory always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Visualisation - Picturing yourself doing it can actually help you do it! Through visualisation, you see yourself performing well in your "mind's eye"...
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1292 Hits

EYES ON DIABETES?


A routine eye examination can show many things, from a minor change in a prescription or the need for a different contact lens solution, to a condition that may be life-changing or even life-threatening. One optometrist found this out first hand when he did what he does every day, an eye examination. But this was no ordinary examination. When he looked into his 48-year old patient’s eyes, he noticed that blood and other fluids were leaking out of the tiny blood vessels at the back of her eyes. He suspected that this was a sign of diabetes, referred her for further testing, and his suspicion was confirmed. Why are our eyes so vulnerable? Small blood vessels and nerves are very sensitive to changes in blood sugar levels in the body. As sugar levels rise in the blood of someone with diabetes, nerves and blood vessels are damaged. While this happens everywhere in the body, it is not visible because skin and bones block our view. Our eyes, on the other hand, provide an unobstructed view where the damage done to the delicate blood vessels and nerves in the retina can easily be seen by an optometrist, who is often the first professional to notice these changes. Diabetic eye disease comprises a group of eye conditions that affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma, all of which have the potential to cause severe vision loss. Diabetic Retinopathy Over a prolonged period of time,...
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Achtober


So close but so far. Whoever invented that expression must have been talking about October. Or - as my friends and I like to call it - Achtober. Because ach, who's got the energy to pull through two more months until the end of the year? Now my friends and I are just a bunch of glasses (with a few sunglasses among the group). But we figure we understand how you feel. And so... If you're feeling bleary and grimy like a dirty lens, take some time out for yourself. You know, some Me Time (or in your case You Time... you know what I mean.) If you can't take a weekend away, go out for a night or spend an hour at the spa. My friend Sandra is a pair of old cats-eye glasses whose lenses hadn't been wiped in months. Just one rejuvenating treatment with a soft cloth and she felt brand new. If you feel like your arms and legs are falling off, take some time for exercise in between all the typing, driving and other draining activities. My friend Doug is a pair of wayfarers whose hinges almost came apart. He couldn't even fit properly onto his owner's face. Rest that weary body of yours. And - like Doug did - get your hinges adjusted as and when necessary. Maybe a yoga session is all you need. If you're generally feeling bent out of shape, you might require the likes of physio or even acupuncture (if that's...
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CURVES IN THE WRONG PLACES!


What Is Astigmatism? Astigmatism is the most common vision problem. It is caused by an error in the shape of the cornea or lens of the eye. Normally, the cornea and lens are smooth and curved equally in all directions, helping to focus light rays sharply onto the retina at the back of the eye. However, if the cornea or lens isn't smooth and evenly curved, it can change the way light passes or is refracted onto the retina, resulting in a so-called refractive error Corneal Astigmatism The cornea is a transparent layer of tissue that covers the front of the eye. A perfectly curved cornea bends, or refracts, light as it enters the eye so that the retina receives a perfect image. In a person with corneal astigmatism, the cornea is oval-shaped rather than perfectly round, with the result that the light rays will focus on two points on the retina instead of one. Lenticular Astigmatism Lenticular astigmatism, which is less common than corneal astigmatism, occurs when the lens has variations that cause images to reach the retina imperfectly. They may focus either in front of or beyond the retina, causing blurred vision of both far and near objects. Most people with lenticular astigmatism have a normal-shaped cornea. What Causes Astigmatism? It is not known what causes astigmatism, but it is thought to be an inherited condition. It is often present at birth, but may develop later in life, sometimes after eye disease, injury or surgery. Who is at Risk...
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1072 Hits

THE STORY OF THEMBI AND THE SINGING TREE


October 12th is WORLD SIGHT DAY, a day on which eye care awareness and universal eye health are emphasised. In South Africa, the theme of this year's World Sight Day is "Make Vision Count", and a number of community projects and awareness programmes are carried out. The story of "Thembi and the Singing Tree" is a moving account of the importance of drawing attention to the need for eye care awareness in children. Ken Youngstein is an American psychologist who spent many years in several countries in Africa working in the healthcare sector. In 1978 he set up a company with the aim of developing medical educational programmes for both professionals and patients. Based first in New York City and later in Zurich, he spent time each year providing these services to charities and government organisations throughout Asia and Africa. According to him, his greatest challenge was finding the right message and the right medium to reach each target audience, and to deliver information that was relevant and culturally appropriate for each group. In 2016, Youngstein met a man who worked for Orbis, an organisation which works with local partners to develop their capacity for accessible, high quality, sustainable eye-health services for all. By training doctors, nurses and community members, and conducting outreach services to communities, they act on their belief in "a world where no one is needlessly blind or visually impaired". Together they aimed to develop an educational toolkit that Orbis and their partner clinics could use to educate...
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679 Hits

WHEN SHOULD CHILDREN GET GLASSES?


Babies are not born with perfect vision. It is normal for them to be farsighted with some astigmatism until they are able to see well at about one year old as the brain and visual system mature. In children whose vision does not correct itself spontaneously with growth and maturation, the most common errors are refractive errors. These are caused when the shape of the eye does not correctly focus the light rays entering the eye. They include shortsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. With myopia, a child can see objects clearly close up, but has trouble seeing further away (like the classroom blackboard). Myopia is most commonly diagnosed in children between the ages of 8 and 12, usually gets worse during the teenage years, but stabilises in early adulthood. If the child is farsighted, words on a page will seem blurry, but distance vision is not as much of a problem. Hyperopia is particularly common in young children, but they may not notice any blurriness because their eyes can compensate by focusing. Astigmatism distorts or blurs vision for both near and far objects. It happens when the cornea is irregularly shaped, and is more like a rugby ball than like a soccer ball. Myopia and hyperopia can be combined with astigmatism, or astigmatism can occur on its own. Warning signs Most children should have their first vision assessment at 3 to 4 years of age, but a visit to the optometrist may be advisable earlier if there is a family...
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738 Hits

ALL EYES ON SPRING


The sun starts shining and the flowers come out. You can't wait to drive into the countryside and frolic in a field of yellow. (Okay, I've never frolicked in my life but you know what I mean...) So you park your car on a green, green hillside and throw open the door. You take a deep breath, step onto the grass… and step right back into your car. Because your eyes are itching so bad it feels like there are baby ants dancing on your eyeballs. As if the season of blooming flowers isn't enough, spring also happens to be the season of love. So instead of leaving those blossomy irritants in the countryside where they belong, people pick them and sell them at a massive profit to lovers everywhere. You know how it works – supply and demand. The demand for romance is so high that suddenly the cities are full of flowers too. And no matter where you try to hide, that pollen will find you and work its special magic on your eyes. Then there's the all-too-famous red eye. Like I said, spring is the time for romance, which also means it's the time for romantic movies. So maybe your eyes are red because you've cried your way through a tearjerker starring Sandra Bullock. Not that you'd tell anyone that. The whole reason why cinemas are dark inside is so people can cry to their heart's content. So maybe the red-eye is from crying through a love story....
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619 Hits