EyeMark Newsletters

A list of all our EyeMark Newsletter Articles

"Tis but a scratch!" - FOCUS ON EYEWEAR CARE


Glasses are an investment in time and money. You spend time choosing a suitable frame and discussing the most appropriate lenses for your vision needs with your optometrist. You wait for your new glasses to be made up and adjusted to fit correctly, and getting used to them may take a little while. They are not a cheap item, and you are unlikely to buy another pair for a while, so it is important to look after your glasses and keep them in the condition that facilitates optimal vision. Mid-September is the start of EYE CARE AWARENESS MONTH, when caring for your eyewear is as important as caring for your eyes. CLEANING YOUR GLASSES Washing you glasses at least once a day will keep the lenses in an optimal state, and avoid you having to strain to see through smudged or dirty lenses. Hold your frames by gripping the piece that crosses the bridge of the nose, rather than one of the ear pieces. This will prevent you from accidently bending the frame while you clean. Rinse with water before wiping and cleaning them. Particles of dust and dirt on the lens can be abrasive if you wipe over a dry lens. If possible, allow your glasses to air dry, which will prevent any abrasive materials from getting onto the lenses and scratching them. If you can't leave them to air dry, wipe them gently with a soft clean cloth; your optometrist may supply you with one. Wash the cloth regularly....
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1291 Hits

GLAUCOMA - A PERSONAL STORY


Why is award-winning actress, Emma Thompson, worried about losing her sight? Both her mother and her maternal grandmother, and probably her great-grandmother, have been affected by glaucoma, a hereditary eye condition which has sometimes been described as "the silent thief of vision". In the healthy eye, a clear fluid, aqueous humor, circulates in the eye. Constant eye pressure is maintained by a balance between the production of this fluid and its drainage from the eye. With glaucoma, the pressure gradually builds up, slowly causing damage to the optic nerve which sends signals from the retina at the back of the eye to the brain. Over time, the damage to the optic nerve results in irreversible vision loss. One sufferer from glaucoma commented that "sight lost really is hindsight"! Although the vision loss cannot be reversed, its progress can be slowed down or even stopped by timeous management of the condition. Unfortunately, because glaucoma develops slowly without obvious symptoms at first, many people are unaware that they have it until they notice changes, usually in their peripheral vision. At this stage, there is already some damage to the optic nerve. For this reason, it is essential that eye pressure is checked by your optometrist regularly, particularly if there is a family history of glaucoma, or other risk factors. These include extreme short-sightedness, previous eye injury, or health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Emma Thompson and her mother, Phyllida Law, reinforce the fact that early detection is the key to early...
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1088 Hits

NOT QUITE "IN THE PINK"!


Most of us have experienced "pink eye" or conjunctivitis at some time in our lives, either as children or adults, or both. We have woken up with red burning eyes that we struggle to open because of the discharge gluing them together. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the thin clear membrane over the white of the eye (sclera) and the inside of the eye lid. Not generally a serious health risk, it can be contagious, spreading easily from person to person. There are a number of different kinds of conjunctivitis, each with their own cause, symptoms and treatment, although the symptoms are sometimes similar regardless of the cause. BACTERIAL CONJUNCTIVITIS Bacterial conjunctivitis generally affects both eyes, or may start in one eye and spread quickly to the other. It is an infection caused by a bacteria which may come from the person's own skin or upper respiratory tract, or have been caught from another person with conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis is characterised by redness, itching and a discharge which crusts over the eyelids and lashes, particularly on waking from sleep. There is a feeling of grittiness in the eyes and may be an increased sensitivity to light. This type of conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic drops or ointment, and should clear within a few days. Discharge and crusting can be cleaned with cotton wool dipped in cooled boiled water. Even if left untreated, most cases will clear up on their own within a couple of weeks. VIRAL CONJUNCTIVITIS This is usually...
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639 Hits

HER EYES


With Women's Month upon us, I gotta say something. If I ever find myself on a plane travelling through dark, stormy skies, I'd want a woman to be my pilot. Why? Because women's eyes are so much better than men's. I'm talking super-advanced exceptional vision. Think about it... A man looks for something three times, but he still can't find it. It could be a missing sock or a TV remote or one of his very own children. His wife looks and finds it first time around. In fact, she told him where to find it before she even started looking. And of course she was right (which he hates to admit). A woman's eyes can find a parking space from at least one hundred metres away. No matter how crowded the parking lot is, her laser eyes would put Superman to shame in their ability to seek out the free space. Her man would rather park in the first space he sees, which is exactly... you guessed it... one hundred metres from the mall entrance. And then he has to pretend he doesn't see the parking space right next to the entrance. You know, after he's just made his wife walk a distance of one hundred metres. A woman and a man have the same number of eyes. But a woman can use those eyes to watch three kids, a boiling pot on the stove and a TV show... all at the same time. For generations, moms have warned kids...
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1131 Hits

WOMEN IN EYECARE


As Women's Day approaches on 9th August, it is an opportunity to commemorate the courageous deeds of women in history, as well as to celebrate the contributions made by women in all fields. One such woman is Patricia Bath, a pioneer in ophthalmology. Born in Harlem, New York, on November 4, 1942, Patricia Bath became the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology in 1973, and to receive a medical patent in 1988. At the age of 16, Bath became one of only a few students to attend a cancer research workshop sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The program head, Dr. Robert Bernard, was so impressed with Bath's discoveries during the project that he incorporated her findings in a scientific paper he presented at a conference. The publicity surrounding her discoveries earned Bath the Mademoiselle magazine's Merit Award in 1960. While pursuing a fellowship in ophthalmology at Columbia University, her research led her to the development of a community ophthalmology system, which increased the availability of eye care to those who were unable to afford treatment. In 1976, Bath co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, which established that "eyesight is a basic human right." Its motto is "to protect, preserve, and restore the gift of sight". In 1981, Bath began working on her most well-known invention: the Laserphaco Probe (1986). Harnessing laser technology, the device created a less painful and more precise treatment of cataracts. She received a patent for the device in 1988, becoming...
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640 Hits

FLOATERS AND FLASHES – THE INSIDE STORY


Do you ever experience specks, threads or cobwebs in your line of vision, only to see them disappear when you try to focus on them? Or do you see flashes of light or sparks flickering across your field of vision when there is nothing there? Both of these are common occurrences for many people, and, although they may be irritating or alarming, they are usually harmless. Although they seem to be outside the eye, they are actually coming from within the eye itself. FLOATERS, FLASHES AND HALOES Floaters are a common complaint, as are flashes, but to a lesser extent. The two may occur separately or together, depending on the underlying reasons. Haloes are less common. The small specks or threads drifting in the line of vision are called floaters. They may have different shapes, which move as the eyes move, and drift slowly when the eyes are still. Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel floating inside the vitreous humor, the fluid that fills the inside of the eye. The vitreous humor is a clear jelly-like fluid with the consistency not unlike raw egg white. It fills the rear two thirds of the eye, providing a pathway to the back of the eye for light entering through the lens. It is contained within a fine membrane attached to the lens at the front of the eye and the retina at the back. As we age, the vitreous gel starts to thicken, shrink or become stringy, forming clumps or strands that...
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2300 Hits

DON'T CRY! ITS BAD FOR YOUR EYES??


My grandmother used to tell me to stop crying because it was bad for my eyes. Crying, or to be more precise tears, are not only not bad for the eyes, but serve a vital function in eye health. They provide lubrication and moisture, helping to keep the eyes more comfortable and facilitating vision. When there is an imbalance in the flow or the composition of tears, dry eye syndrome can occur. What are tears? The eyes constantly produce tears, not only when we experience emotion. Healthy eyes are covered with a tear film, which prevents the eyes from becoming dry and enables clear vision. The tear film is made up of three layers, oil, water and mucus. The top layer, oil, comes from the melbomian glands which produce fatty oils. The oil lubricates the eyes and slows down the evaporation of tears from the surface of the eyes. The middle layer, produced by the lacrimal or tear glands, consists of water, salt, proteins and antibodies. Their function is to provide moisture to the eyes, cleanse the eyes of irritants, and prevent infection. The inner layer, mucus, enables the tears to spread evenly over the eyes. What causes dry eyes? Problems in any of the layers of tear film can lead to dry eyes. Inadequate oil levels can cause the tears to evaporate too quickly, causing dry patches on the surface of the eyes. Any condition that causes blocking of the melbomian glands can cause dry eyes. If the tear glands...
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711 Hits

MADIBA'S VISION


July is Madiba Month, a 31-day commemoration that includes Tata's birthday on the 18th. Many people have found many ways to celebrate the great man and his legacy. Cape Town decided to honour the humanitarian with a giant pair of "Mandela glasses" on the Sea Point promenade, staring into the distance towards Robben Island. Thing is, some people thought it was a kinda strange choice. Of all the things Madiba stood for, is he really most famous for his eyewear? Other folks pointed out that he didn't actually wear the kind of frame that now stands on the seafront. He's probably most famous for the teardrop shape he wore on Inauguration Day. Why didn't they put up a giant version of those? Anyways, it got me thinking about other famous pairs of glasses. I mean, what would you say if I asked you to name the most famous glasses in the world? (Take a moment to think about it before you keep reading... come on... there ya go...) Would you go with music and choose Buddy Holly's heavy black frames? After all, they're as famous as his timeless tunes. Would you stick with music and choose one of Elton John's many eccentric eye pieces? Or would you say John Lennon's round glasses are the most famous of all? I mean, could you "imagine" a more famous pair? (See what I did there? Imagine... heh, heh...) Speaking of circles, what about the rimless rounds that Steve Jobs always wore? They became as...
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1024 Hits

NOT THE END OF THE WORLD; A DIFFERENT VIEW OF IT


One day at school I was day dreaming out of the window. All of a sudden I heard my name. Teacher: "Brad, what colour is that on the right page?" Me (Turning to the page): "Red." Teacher (Mad): "No! What colour is it really?" Me: "Green?" (Now I knew if something wasn't red it must be green) Teacher (Furious): "Stop playing games! What colour is it?" Without red and green, I had no clue. I started spouting out colours. Me: "Orange? Yellow? I don't know. I honestly don't know." Teacher: "It is brown! It is brown!" "Brown," I thought," I would never have guessed brown!" Many everyday tasks depend on the perception of colour, and people with colour blindness, or, more accurately, colour vision deficiency are challenged by tasks as simple as reading colour-coded information such as maps or charts, selecting ripe fruit and vegetables, identifying medication that is poorly labelled, or coordinating colours when buying clothes or deciding what to wear each morning. As in the example above, it can be particularly difficult for children at school where educational material is often colour-coded, or if they are unable to read a green board when yellow chalk is used. People who are able to perceive colours are often puzzled by the way in which colour blindness affects activities such as driving and the interpretation of traffic lights, for example, but it is possible to compensate and respond to other cues, such as the position of the lights. Most people with colour...
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970 Hits

NOT SIMPLY A SUMMER ACCESSORY


We usually associate sunglasses with long hot summer days, time at the beach or pool, iced drinks, and protecting our skins from the sun's harmful rays. Before you put away your sunglasses along with your sun screen until next summer, remember that sunglasses are not simply a summer item, but play a vital role in eye care, even in winter. TV and magazines are full of fashion eyewear and facts about the danger of UV rays to the eyes in summer, but they tend to neglect the fact that the sun still shines in winter. Although the winter sun is less intense than it is in summer and the UV rays are weaker, the winter sun can still damage the eyes. Being lower in the sky and at a different angle, it often shines directly into the eyes. The tissue that makes up the human eye is some of the most sensitive and vulnerable tissue in the body. The eye has many natural defenses that protect it from the sun's rays, including pupil dilation, the squinting reflex, and the concave shape of the eye socket, shielded by the brow. However, the eyes' natural defenses are not adequate in protecting them from all harmful UV radiation. Reflexes like squinting and pupil dilation are only triggered by the sun's visible light. That means that on cloudy days, the amount of UV light reaching the unguarded eye can be dangerous. Two different types of light enter the eye, namely ultra violet (UV) light and...
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987 Hits