EyeMark Newsletters

A list of all our EyeMark Newsletter Articles

Subcategories from this category:

January - February, March - April

FEELING APRIL FOOLISH?

FEELING APRIL FOOLISH?
We won't be allowed to touch each other. We'll sometimes have to queue for groceries. We'll have to cover our faces - all the time. We'll have curfews and alcohol bans. Beaches will close. In some countries, Christmas will literally be cancelled. Certain world leaders will say the virus will just magically disappear. The perfect April Fool's joke? Not exactly. Because it's really happening and we're all living through it. Make no mistake, we've had our share of laughs. Remember when our president got his mask stuck over his eyes? Remember when one of our minister's comments was transformed into a wildly successful song called "When People Zol"? Some might say it's too soon to look back and laugh because we're still living in the days of COVID-19. But as another April dawns, it's worth remembering that last year this time we were only just beginning our "New Normal". (Anyone else tired of hearing those words?) There were so many unknowns, including how long we'd be living in these very strange times. Last April people were shocked that COVID regulations could last until… (gasp)... July! Now it's over a year later and here we are. We didn't know when schools would re-open. We didn't know when we'd be able to go to restaurants again. But here's another thought… we also didn't know what strength lay within us. How resilient we are. How we have a capacity for humour even in these scary times. Yes, people have been selfish and corrupt. But...
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715 Hits

WHAT IS THE BLIND SPOT?

WHAT IS THE BLIND SPOT?
Look at the image above with the plus sign and the circle. Look straight at the image, with your nose positioned somewhere between the plus and the circle. Close your left eye and focus on the plus sign with your right eye. Do not look deliberately at the circle. Now move closer to the image, slowly. Don't take your focus off the plus sign while you are doing this. At some point between 30 - 35cm, the circle will disappear from your peripheral vision. And the brain will read the surrounding white colour to fill up the empty space. This exact spot is the blind spot in your right eye. The blind spot is a very small gap in the visual field of each eye. Generally, you don't notice this blind spot because the spot in one eye doesn't match the spot in the other eye. They overlap, allowing the eyes to compensate for each other. Each eye sends its own information to the brain, which is very efficient at filling in the missing information. Light enters the eyes by passing through the pupil and reaching the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is made up of light-sensitive receptor cells which transmit information via the optic nerve to the brain where visual information is processed. There are no light-sensitive cells at the point where the optic nerve enters the retina, creating an area in the visual field of each eye where nothing is seen. The blind spot! There...
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14 Hits

CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS AND YOUR EYES

CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS AND YOUR EYES
Many chronic systemic health diseases that affect the body can affect the eyes, too. In fact, an eye examination sometimes gives the first indication that a systemic disease may be present in the body. The eye is composed of different types of tissue, making it susceptible to a variety of diseases as well as providing insight into many systems of the body. The eye structures are uniquely transparent and blood vessels can be clearly viewed by an optometrist. The health of these blood vessels at the back of the eye often indicates the health status of blood vessels throughout the body. The optic nerve and eye movements can reflect changes in the central nervous system. Almost any part of the eye can give important clues to the health or ill-health of other organs in the body. Signs of problems can be detected before symptoms become apparent, and disease can be diagnosed and treated early. Early detection and treatment is the key to better health. Diabetes        Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce insulin or use it efficiently, resulting in abnormal blood sugar levels. Fluctuations in blood sugar can cause temporary vision changes, and over long periods of time uncontrolled diabetes can lead to more serious eye problems. Diabetic retinopathy is a condition in which the tiny blood vessels supplying the eye are affected causing progressive damage to the retina, gradual vision loss and sometimes blindness. Changes in the blood vessels of the retina...
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1442 Hits

CONJUNCTIVITIS

CONJUNCTIVITIS            
Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as 'pink eye', is an infection or inflammation of the thin clear membrane over the white of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. The blood vessels become inflamed, giving the eyes the characteristic red or pink colour. There are several types of conjunctivitis, each with their own causes, symptoms and treatment. Not usually a serious health risk, it is generally contagious while the symptoms are present, and spreads easily and rapidly from person to person. What causes conjunctivitis? Conjunctivitis may be caused by bacteria, or a virus, usually the one that causes the common cold, or be an allergic reaction, for example to organisms in the environment, or a reaction to an irritant which enters the eyes. What are the symptoms? While the causes may differ, the symptoms of viral and bacterial conjunctivitis overlap and are often similar. These include redness of the eyes, itching, burning, tearing and a discharge from the eyes. Viral conjunctivitis usually starts in one eye and can spread to the other eye. It is usually associated with a cold or viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. The discharge from the eyes is watery, unlike the thick discharge in bacterial conjunctivitis, which builds up overnight and leaves a crusting of the eyelids and eyelashes. Bacterial conjunctivitis affects both eyes and can start with a respiratory or ear infection. Allergic conjunctivitis is typically characterised by itching, watering and a feeling of irritation. It may occur during certain seasons of the year...
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17 Hits

DO YOU NEED A LENS COATING?

DO YOU NEED A LENS COATING?            
  You have had your eyes examined, chosen a frame for new glasses and your optometrist may have recommended adding a coating to your new lenses to improve both the quality of the lenses and the quality of your vision. Are lens coatings really necessary or is this just an added bonus which usually comes with added expense? Lens coatings can improve the performance, longevity, durability and appearance of your glasses, while also providing protection for both your lenses and your eyes. The added expense is usually worthwhile, but different coatings offer different benefits, and a number of factors need to be considered before making a decision. These include your lifestyle, vision needs and budget. ANTI-REFLECTIVE COATING        As light contacts any clear surface, such as the lenses of glasses, most of it passes through but a certain percentage of it is reflected back. An anti-reflective coating is typically applied on both the back and front of the lenses, reducing the amount of light reflected off the surface and allowing more light to pass through the lens, enhancing vision. Glare is eliminated. Reflections from the lenses of glasses make it difficult to see the wearer's eyes, but with anti-reflective coating the cosmetic appearance of glasses is improved. Anti-reflective coating is particularly beneficial for people who drive at night and find reflections of street lights and headlights of oncoming cars disturbing. Eye strain from reflections during visual tasks such as computer use is minimised. SCRATCH-RESISTANT COATING As well as being...
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11 Hits

THE MORE OPEN YOU ARE, THE MORE YOU SEE

THE MORE OPEN YOU ARE, THE MORE YOU SEE
"The artist has a sharper eye. He sees what you do not see. He has a more fertile imagination and captures in the mirror of his imagination things that escape your notice. He sees more; he sees deeper; he sees better; he sees things in relationship to each other." These words by Abraham Kuyper make us wonder if creative people have an edge over other people in terms of how they see the world. Research seems to indicate that they do, that they are able to see things that others can't.       According to French writer Anais Nin, "we don't see things as they are; we see things as we are", supporting the view that how we see the world is determined to some extent by our personality. There is some evidence that suggests that people who are adventurous and open to new experiences have better visual awareness and can take in more visual information than other people and combine it in unique ways. Openness to experience is one of the five traits often used to describe personality. It is characterised by curiosity, creativity and an interest in exploring new things. Open people tend to do well at tasks that test our ability to come up with creative ideas, such as imagining innovative new uses for everyday objects. Most people's brains can only process one image at a time. When faced with two different images most people's eyes switch back and forth to focus on one or the other....
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12 Hits

PUT AWAY THOSE ROSE COLOURED SPECTACLES... SOMETIMES


February has always been The Month of Love, whether or not you've ever bought into that one. Some have traditionally celebrated with wine and candles in a romantic restaurant - which isn't so easy nowadays, what with an alcohol ban and a national curfew. Some prefer movie dates - also not advisable, and not always possible. And others prefer to do date night at home - as long as your delivery guy can get to you on time (again... we're living in a time of curfew). Hmm, so maybe 2021 isn't the time to celebrate The Month of Love. Maybe February needs to be the month of something else. Maybe it'll be the month where we reach our fitness goals in the living room that's become a makeshift home gym. Maybe we'll master that dish we've been trying to cook since lockdown began. Or that new hobby we've been promising to start. Maybe this is Bucket List time, provided the items on the list comply with extended Level 3. Or maybe none of these things will happen. And maybe that's okay. Not to get too serious or anything, but there's a new buzzword doing the rounds on social media called "toxic positivity". I'm not usually one for buzzwords, but even I have to admit there might be something in it. Basically, it's about the pressure of "needing" to be grateful and optimistic all the time and finding the silver lining in every curfew and alcohol ban. Or, in optometric terms, it...
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31 Hits

FEELING OFF-BALANCE?


Maintaining balance is a complex process that is controlled by three different systems in the body. These are the vestibular system which is located in the inner ear, proprioception which receives information through joints and muscles in the legs and feet, and the visual system which provides input through the eyes to the brain. Vision plays a significant role in our ability to balance, orient ourselves in space and process the movement of things in our environment. Any disruption in the eye-brain connection or the visual system can result in dizziness or balance problems. Symptoms of a Balance Disorder      People suffering from a balance disorder can be in a still position but feel as if they are moving. They may find it difficult to walk straight, especially after standing up suddenly from a sitting or reclining position. Other common symptoms include dizziness or vertigo, falling or feeling as if you are going to fall, lightheadedness, fainting, a floating sensation, blurred vision, confusion or disorientation, nausea and vomiting, and changes in blood pressure and heart rate. Anxiety or panic may be associated with balance problems. Causes of a Vision-related Balance Disorder There are a variety of visual dysfunctions that can cause dizziness and balance problems. Sometimes these are purely visual problems, and sometimes they are associated with disorders such as concussion, stroke, head injury or vestibular dysfunction. Sometimes an error in the glasses or contact lens prescription can cause eyestrain and dizziness.      In many cases, dizziness is caused...
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448 Hits

BETTER VISUAL SKILLS = BETTER ATHLETES


What do all athletes have in common? They all rely on their visual systems for their performance. Sport is all about the visual. The eye sees, the brain interprets and leads, and the body follows. The more accurately the visual system can take in and process visual information, the more accurately it can direct appropriate motor movement and the better the sports performance will be. Sports vision is more than 20/20 vision, more than being able to see clearly at various distances. It requires a specific set of visual skills which are involved in the performance of sport, different skills being required for different sports.    The sports vision optometrist essentially has two functions. These are to identify the required visual skills and formulate a training programme to develop, improve or enhance these visual skills, and to recommend appropriate protective eyewear for use while playing the sport.   For peak performance sportsmen or sportswomen need their responses to be dynamic, precise and fully aligned every time all the time. The visual skills needed for peak performance in sport include: Dynamic visual acuity - the ability to see moving objects clearly,   Eye tracking - the ability to follow objects with the eyes without excessive head movement, "to keep the eye on the ball",   Accommodation - the ability to change focus quickly and accurately from one object or distance to another,   Peripheral Vision - the ability to see out of the corner of the eye, to be aware of people...
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972 Hits

DOES AGE MATTER?


When is the right age for children to start wearing contact lenses? Optometrists are often asked this question, to which there is no "right" answer. While most children start wearing contact lenses in their early teens, age is not the main consideration. Physically, a child's eyes can tolerate contact lenses at a very young age, and they can be worn successfully with no higher risk for complications than in adolescents or adults. Factors other than age include the child's level of maturity and responsibility and the reason they would like to wear contact lenses. The decision should be a joint one between the optometrist, who has the professional knowledge and experience, and the parents, who can best judge the maturity and motivation of their child.      What are the reasons a child may have for wanting to wear contact lenses? The child may simply find that glasses interfere with playing sport and contact lenses are less cumbersome. In spite of fashionable and attractive frames for children, some feel self-conscious wearing glasses and may be teased at school. Contact lenses would boost their confidence and self-esteem. Sometimes, even school performance and participation in social activities improves after the switch to contact lenses. Why would an optometrist prescribe contact lenses for a child? Contact lenses can provide clearer vision and better peripheral vision. They offer several advantages over glasses during sport by not fogging up or becoming streaked with perspiration. There is less risk of injury due to glasses slipping or being...
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60 Hits