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The Health Eye

31 Dec

We are constantly bombarded with the latest diet fads and crazes which promise to help us lose weight. Not surprisingly, there is no clear winner in the race to be the ‘best’ diet plan – no single diet will work for everyone – but most people accept that providing your body with foods rich in healthy nutrients is a good starting point.

What many people fail to consider is that your eyes are no exception to this – nutrition is an essential part of maintaining good vision into later life.

The Eye-Health Diet

A diet high in fat and cholesterol can lead to a build-up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels under the macula. This increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). So researchers advise that people should try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, maintain a low-fat diet and eat foods rich in antioxidants

The two nutritional pigments lutein and zeaxanthin can be found naturally in a number of food sources. For example, lutein can be found in yellow peppers, mango, bilberries and green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, chard and broccoli. Zeaxanthin can be found in orange sweet peppers, broccoli, corn, lettuce, spinach, tangerines, oranges and eggs.

Despite nutritional advice being available, awareness of the link between diet and eye health is poor.

Image courtesy: romafoods.com

Image courtesy: romafoods.com

Nutrition of the Eye

The main nutritional components of the eye are pigments known as carotenoids. There are over 600 known carotenoids in nature. In the human eye, just three of these nutritional pigments – lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin – form a concentrated ‘yellow spot’ in the macular, known as the macular pigment.

This pigment has two main functions: it acts as an antioxidant and it filters light.

As short wavelength (blue) light passes through the retina to the photoreceptors and pigmented epithelial cells, reactive oxygen species are generated. The conversion of the light energy into a nerve impulse by the photoreceptors generates free radicals – unstable molecules which damage a variety of tissues – resulting in many of the diseases and conditions associated with ageing. Antioxidants in the eye are able to quench these free radicals, thereby protecting the eye from oxidative damage. Lutein, zeaxanthin and particularly meso-zeaxanthin are very effective antioxidants.

Blue light, because of its relatively high photon energy, more readily damages the retina than yellow or red light, which is less energetic. The macular pigment acts as a filter, particularly to blue light, and therefore protects against this damaging effect.

These two functions are extremely important as they help protect against worsening of diseases of eye, such as AMD.

Superfoods for the Eye

These foods should be recommended to patients for the maintenance of good eye health:

  • Nuts and berries
  • Spinach, kale and green leafy vegetables
  • Blueberries and grapes
  • Eggs
  • Cold water fish
  • Papaya
  • Garlic, onions and capers
  • Soy
  • Virgin olive oil

How Computer Or Mobile Brightness Affect Vision

16 Nov

Our world has been transformed with the arrival of computers and mobile phones. Thanks to technological advancements, we live in a world where everything is easily accessible, faster, cheaper and quicker. Unfortunately, all this advancement has come at a cost, our health. And vision-related ill-effects from computers and mobile devices must be guarded against. 

So what exactly are the ill-effects of computers and mobile phones on our eyes and our vision? Let us take the computer to start with. Computers, their screens to be more specific, are made up of thousands of tiny pixels that are constantly moving. Our eyes in turn are not naturally able to set focus on these constantly moving pixels, and hence we try to focus on an area behind the actual screen. Therefore, in order to work on a computer, our eyes need to keep on fluctuating focus between their natural point of focus and the pixels on the screen. And this tires the eyes and causes a lot of wear and tear.

 

As a result, we suffer from irritation, which may range from a number of things like headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, problems in focusing and faulty color perception, to something as severe as glaucoma. How does one avoid this? One must reduce the intensity of the computer’s screen by attaching a filter or by getting an eye-friendly screen. Above all, one must try to reduce the amount of computer usage or take frequent breaks. 

Similarly with mobile phones too, the eyes suffer the most from extended usage. The electromagnetic waves that are emitted by a mobile phone can be extremely damaging to the eyes. It has been studied and well documented that these cell phone waves can have a damaging effect on the various parts of the eye, including the retina and the cornea. Moreover, they can cause cataract too.

 

That is just the fall out from the waves of the cell phone. The cell phone screen itself has its own pitfalls that are similar to the ill-effects caused by computer screens. Only in this case, the strain is of a different kind because cell phone screens are much smaller than computer screens. So not only are the eyes dealing with the pixels, but are inherently stressing to be able to view content on a tiny screen too. 

The solution again is reduced usage. There is nothing more effective than controlling usage to reduce and negate the effects. To say that we can now lead our lives without computers and mobile devices would be a fallacy. But at least we can protect ourselves by being judicious about their usage.

Image Courtesy: 

Mobiles: http://bit.ly/t2dNcJ

Laptop: http://bit.ly/utiK2R 

Eye Wear For Bike Riders

11 Nov

All over the world, bikers are obsessed with their mean machines. If there is anything a serious biker is concerned with besides his bike, it’s his clothing. And a very important part of this apparel, not just from a style point of view, is a pair of sunglasses. For a biker, a great pair of sunglasses is not just about style. In fact, it is a safety and health necessity that must be chosen with extreme care. So what should a biker look for while buying sunglasses? 

Protection: The key element for a biker’s sunglasses is protection. Unlike a car’s driver, a biker is out in the open and is in constant contact with the elements. At the very least, this means harsh UV rays. And depending on weather conditions, it can mean rain, heat and cold. So a biker should always be aware that the primary aim of his sunglasses should be to provide the maximum possible protection from these elements.

 

Build over style: Since sunglasses for a biker are not just a style product but a crucial protective tool too, they must not merely focus on pure aesthetics but must also be strong, sturdy and well-built. Therefore, a biker must always ensure that they are not flimsy and invest a little extra money and sacrifice some style if needed in lieu of a rock solid pair of sunglasses that won’t break under physical pressure from natural elements. 

Comfort: Usually, sunglasses need to be worn by bikers for extended periods of time. It’s one thing to briefly wear sunglasses while out in the sun for a short time and quite another to wear them for a ride that lasts several hours. Hence, the pair that a biker chooses must rest comfortably on the nose and not become a weighty obstruction. Choose comfort and you will be choosing peace of mind. 

Search, search, search: So how does one identify the perfect pair of riding glasses that meet all the aforementioned criterias? Look, look and then look some more. Don’t be swayed by deals or style alone. There are innumerable brands that make specialized riding glasses. So give yourself time, patience and a decent budget. Scan the market threadbare until you find that perfectly stylish, but strong and protective, pair. 

A great idea is to go to a renowned and well stocked optician, such as Lawrence & Mayo, where not only will you see a wide range of choices under one roof, but also interact with seasoned opticians who will be happy to give you expert advice and guidance in your quest to get that super pair of glasses for riding. Choose wisely and ride safely!

Image courtesy: (bikers) http://bit.ly/tqJosX


Eye Donation – History

12 Oct

Introduction

If you are reading this, you consider yourself lucky to do this experiment.

Imagine closing your eyes and someone reading you these lines. How relaxing as you just enjoy listening without bothering to read or keeping your eyes open. You don’t mind doing this and enjoy it as you always knew that whenever you feel like you can open your eyes to read and enjoy the beauty of the world to see.

What if you can never open your eyes afterwards to see anything? You would never want to close your eyes for anything.

Feels scary? Hurt?

Imagine the fate of people waiting out there for someone who can bring back their vision by opening their eyes to see and enjoy the freedom of vision all over again.

Though restoring vision by donating your eyes is limited to treating corneal blindness alone, it has a greater impact when it comes to brightening an individual’s world of vision.

By donating your eyes you brighten the hopes of millions of people.

The History of Eye Donation

How it all Started

The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration, the world’s first eye bank, is devoted to restoring sight through eye donations and cornea transplants

Some miracles just happen:

This pioneering agency which changed the lives of thousands and led the way for the whole field of transplantation, resulted from the brilliant partnership of an ophthalmologist Dr R. Townley Paton, M.D with a dream and a dynamic woman Mrs. Aida Breckinridge, a genius for motivating people.

The dream was to create a system that would allow people to pledge their eyes at death so that others, suffering from corneal blindness, could regain their sight.

As early as 1905, doctors had discovered that corneal blindness could be cured by replacing the damaged cornea with another clear human cornea.

A young ophthalmologist, R. Townley Paton, M.D., was convinced that cornea transplantation was a viable cure that could provide thousands of patients with visual redemption.

The Idea of an Eye Bank:

Dr. Paton had trained with the famous Dr. William Holland Wilmer at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He later established his own practice in New York City and became affiliated with Manhattan Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital.

There he began to perform cornea transplants with tissue he obtained privately. One source of tissue was prisoners on death row.

At the time, the death penalty was in practice, so Dr. Paton would make periodic visits to nearby Sing-Sing prison. With permission from proper authorities, he would obtain consent for donation from prisoners on death row and bring the donor tissue back to the hospital after a prisoner had been executed.

It may have been on one of these late night forays that Dr. Paton came to the brilliant conclusion that what was needed was a system for collecting eye donations, processing them and distributing them to doctors for transplant surgeries.

People could pledge their eyes in advance of their death, leaving a legacy of sight, just as they already made out their wills. He envisioned an eye bank.

The Organization is founded

Dr. Paton and a small group of doctors and laymen from surrounding institutions formed an organization on December 15, 1944 in a small room at Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital and laid the groundwork for The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration.

They designed a plan in which eyes could be systematically obtained, preserved and redistributed to doctors who were performing cornea transplant operations. 

Thanks to an Inspirational Woman

To help implement the plan, Dr. Paton wisely solicited the help of Mrs. Aida Breckinridge, a known powerhouse for motivating people.

Mrs. Breckinridge had worked tirelessly to establish The Wilmer Institute which opened in 1929. And after that she led other causes including President Hoover’s Child Health Association.

Well-connected to society, business leaders and political figures of the time, Mrs. Breckinridge could wield the influence needed to popularize a unique idea. Plus, the thought of an agency to restore sight appealed to her because she herself suffered from glaucoma and was nearly blind.

Early Challenges

The eye bank was underway. But progress was not without its hurdles — some predictable, others unforeseen.

State regulators were put off from incorporating a bank that did not do financial transactions. With legal counsel, the problem was solved by inserting a hyphen into the phrase eye bank and adding further description, hence, The Eye-Bank for Sight Restoration, Inc., as it is called today.

There was no legal precedent for obtaining anatomical gifts. So laws had to be amended allowing any person to direct the manner in which his body should be disposed of after death.

Image Courtesy:

http://bit.ly/eyedonimg 


Spectacle & Sunglasses Trends

8 Sep

Spectacle frames and sunglasses have for long transcended their intended purposes and emerged as fashion accessories. And the trends are dynamic, ever-changing, and exciting. So what are the current trends that will help you keep pace with the world of trendy glasses?

  • Big & Bold – Big & oversized frames are the in thing. It doesn’t matter if they’re a touch too big for your face. Buy them, wear them with confidence, and flaunt your inner flamboyance!


  • Sporty but Small – Gone are the days of full wrap around reflectors for sports-glasses. It’s the age of minimalism now. So if you’re the sporty type, look for glasses that are wrap-around, but small in size

  • Vintage – Anything retro is red-hot. And it is no different when it comes to sunglasses and spectacle frames. Classic shapes from the iconic 60’s & 70’s. Wayfarers, Aviators, they’re all in. And the funkier the colors, the better!


  • Dual Tone – Who said office-wear has to be boring, or formal wear glasses must be plain. It’s the age of merging colors, hues, and dual tones. Look out for subtle but fun dual colored frames and show off your personality

  • Office Chic – No longer is it ‘nerdy’ to be wearing glasses to work. Just like it is fashionable to work at Facebook or Google, as are the glasses. Rim-less is a great way to go


  • Geeked Out – Just like ‘nerdy’ is the new cool, there is suddenly new-found beauty in the geeky too! Typically geeky styles are totally in and make a great statement with otherwise sharp dressing

It’s a riot out there, and the choice of trendy frames is virtually limitless. For a more in-depth trend-spotting of the season, check out this video, and remember to always shop at the best opticians! 

Happy framing!

Courtesy: http://bit.ly/keRy1M

Eye Care – With Exercises

15 Jul

As someone who is quite particular about health and fitness, I have always been a regular gym goer. No matter how much work or how busy my day gets, the one hour at the gym is not up for negotiation. Even if I may be in the middle of something, I ensure that somehow I squeeze out my gym time. Not only does that keep me fit, it’s a way of disconnecting and de-stressing. 

But like a lot of people, I did not realize that while my body was keeping fit, my eyes were suffering. In fact, as a man of forty-five, I found that I was having increasing trouble with my eyes. They would get blurry and not allow me to focus very well. It got to a point where I had to go see a doctor; and thank God I did. 

As it turns out, not only our body, even our eyes need regular exercise to help them cope with the wear and tear of the age process. My doctor assigned me a series of eye exercises that have helped me get my vision back, and I urge everyone out there to do the same. Being a nice person, I’m listing these exercises here, so you don’t have to suffer or make an expensive trip to the eye-doctor! 

  1. Sit upright & keep your body relaxed. Keep moving your eyes from left to right & focus on an object on either side for a couple of seconds. Repeat 5 times.

  2. Up down focus exercise: Focus on something directly in front of you and then move your eyes down, focusing on your lap. In a couple of seconds, bring your eyes back up. Repeat 5 times.

  3. Keep your palms tightly over each eye blocking all light. Rest the heels of your palms on your cheekbones and breathe deeply. Repeat 5 times.

  4. Move your eyes upwards and then downwards. Blink rapidly and then repeat the exercise from left to right. Repeat 5 times.

  5. Use a bright lamp in your room at night. Make sure no other lights are on. Sit facing the lamp with your eyes closed. Switch the lamp on and off in time with your breathing. Repeat 5 times. 


We all take certain things for granted and unfortunately our eyes are among those things. But with regularly doing the above exercises, we can arrest the age process, strengthen the iris, even relax the Optic nerve that connects to the brain, thereby easing mental tension! After all, don’t you want to be able to see clearly right until the end?

Computer Lovers – Tips To Save Your Eyes

12 Jul

About six months ago, I started experiencing uncomfortable symptoms in my eyes. Sometimes, I had blurred vision, and at other times, double! I had headaches, too. I underwent a complete medical check-up, which determined I was in the peak of health. Consequently, I grew more worried. Then, my doctor asked me about my computer habits. 

Like most people today, I am in front of a computer screen for long hours. Making presentations, sending e-mails, making budgets, and business proposals – everything at work is done on the computer, and as a result, almost 5-8 hours each day are spent on it. The moment I told my doctor this, he informed me that this extended use of computers was the cause of my problems. Though I was relieved that there was nothing medically wrong with me, I worried how I would cope, because I could not quit my job. Then, my doctor gave me a few tips to relieve my eyes of computer strain 

  • He asked me to take a lot of breaks. Either to look away from the computer, or get away from my desk every 15 to 20 minutes.

  • He asked me to measure the distance to my monitor. It should be between 33 and 59 centimetres from the eyes.

  • He asked me to get an anti-glare filter on my computer screen. However, my advice would be to get a modern monitor, one with minimal distortion, glare and reflection.

  • He asked me to keep my screen clean, so that I did not strain my eyes more than what was necessary.

  • And finally, he asked me to get anti-glare lens.

     

It’s been some time since I put all those pointers to action, and the headaches and irritation of the eyes have gone! Computers are an integral part of our lives, there is no avoiding them. But it is best to protect one’s eyes from the strain – after all, they are more valuable.

Have you protected them yet?

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