You've probably heard of cataracts. Maybe not. Either way, it's probably going to affect you or someone you know in your lifetime. Approximately 50% of people develop cataracts in their lifetime.
Cataracts are a disease that accounts for approximately 42% of blindness cases in all nations. In the United Statess, it's estimated that there are 25 million people with cataracts. That's a lot of people with impaired or absent vision! Fortunately, science has advanced quite rapidly in the past hundred years. Cataract treatment nowadays is fairly non-invasive and often times, patients end up with a better prescription than they had before. Complications are rare, and the procedure is very quick.
Let's start from the top.
What exactly is cataracts?
A cataract develops when the lens in your eye becomes cloudy, blocking light from entering your eye and allowing you to see properly. This is often due to UV exposure, old age, or a variety of genetic and environmental factors. Most cataract cases happen in older adults (a lifetime of UV exposure definitely contributes!) however, some cases can occur in children. It's important that cataracts in children are treated swiftly, as it can affect a child's vision development.
How are cataracts diagnosed?
Cataracts are often diagnosed with a dialated eye exam. An eye doctor places eye drops in the eyes of the patient that cause their pupils to dialate. This allows the doctor to look into the eye and monitor the eye health of the patient. An eye doctor diagnosing cataracts will be able to see the cloudiness of the lens, and refer to an Ophthalmologist, who can perform surgery if necessary.
What is the treatment for cataracts?
Depending on how cloudy the lens of the patient is, an Optometrist may suggest at home treatments, such as brighter lights, anti-glare sunglasses, or utilizing magnifiers to assist with vision. Alternatively, an Optometrist may write up a new prescription to help with a patient's vision. Finally, if the patient is unable to see with all of the previously mentioned methods, during their day-to-day life, the Optometrist will refer to an Ophthalmologist for a surgical consultation.
What is the cataract surgery process like?
After the initial referral, a patient will meet with the Ophthalmologist to undergo some testing to measure the size and shape of the patient's eye. This helps the doctor determine the right kind of artifical lens, also known as an intraocular lens, or IOL.
Following the intial visit, an appointment will be made to perform the surgery.
During the surgery, the doctor will put numbing drops in the patient's eye, remove the lens and replace it with an artificial one. The surgery lasts an hour and is nearly painless. The medical team will make sure there are no problems with the eye before the patient leaves the office.
9 out of 10 patients end up with better vision after the cataract surgery, and there are a number of artifical lenses available to correct vision, either for distance, or reading, or both.
I hope this post has improved your awareness regarding cataracts. It is cataract awareness month, afterall!
1. DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN GET FLOATING SUNGLASSES?
In an attempt to resolve the issue of losing sunglasses in the water, as well as reduce the pollution that comes from losing your sunglasses to the sea, some companies have taken the extra step to ensure your glasses stay in your possession.
There are many different ways to make/produce floating sunglasses.
Common methods include:
-Air injections (more air between the plastic molecules.)
-Cellulose/acetate combos (AKA Tri-acetate Cellulose)
-uses plant matter to make plastic buoyant
In addition to the actual glasses being buoyant, some companies are also manufacturing neoprene straps in order to prevent sunglasses from falling off in the first place.
2. THE FIRST PAIR
The first pair of sunglasses were discovered in 12th century China. These were initially meant to protect the eyes from the sun, and hide peoples' facial expressions in a court of law.
However, there is a heated debate regarding the actual origin of sunglasses, as the Inuit had been known to use "sun goggles" to protect their eyes from light reflected off the snow.
These goggles were made from carved driftwood, bone, walrus ivory, or caribou antler that formed a strip worn across the eye area. There were also thin slits carved into the goggles for the wearer to see through.
The use of these goggles dates back to around 2000 years ago, and as a bonus, the goggles improved the wearer's vision as the narrow slits helped to focus eyesight.
3. CHEAP GLASSES CAN BE EFFECTIVE
It may not seem like it, but sometimes something is better than nothing.
Inexpensive sunglasses can be as good at blocking the sun's rays as their expensive counterparts.
However.... expensive sunglasses tend to combine all of the technologies involved in protecting the eyes to achieve "complete" eye protection.
More often than not, you're likely unable to find a decent pair of polarized sunglasses for an inexpensive price.
4. 75% OF THE WORLD'S DESIGNER SUNGLASSES COME FROM THE SAME MANUFACTURER
These are produced by a single luxury goods company, Luxottica. The Italian company makes Giorgio Armani, Brooks Brothers, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Miu Miu, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Starck Eyes, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, Valentino, and Versace.
In addition to the brands already listed, Luxottica also owns Ray-Ban and Oakley brands.
Some have criticized the company for having a monopoly on the luxury goods sector. With such a monopoly, the company has been seen to raise prices and drive up the competition. Some estimate Luxottica has inflated pricing by up to 1000%.
5. THERE IS A NATIONAL SUNGLASSES DAY
No joke. On June 27th, many people celebrate the optical protection they receive from their favourite pair of shades. Every year, people commemorate the combination of fashion and function that essentially acts as sunscreen for your eyes.
6. POLAROID POLARIZATION
Polarization (technology that removes glare in your lenses) was invented by Edwin Land. This gentleman invented polaroid, the world's first polarizing material for commercial use in 1929.
He founded the Polaroid corporation in 1937. While many know polaroid for their photograph technology, it is actually the "Day Glasses" that provided the company with most of their revenue.
Over time, polarized lenses became more popular, and are still sought out today.
In 2011, Safilo purchased the Polaroid company, gaining rights to the patented technology consumers are so familiar with today.
Do you know any interesting facts about sunglasses you didn't see here?
Trends come and go. We know how fast things change, and trends are no exception.
Often, you see previous favourites come back into style, and some that should've never been in style in the first place! As the years go by, fashion cycles through yet another round of trendy and 'hip' products. Sometimes we sit and shake our heads at what was considered "in" for the year.
This list outlines some of the current trends and their origins.
1. CLEAR FRAMES
If you were paying attention in the last year or so, you may have noticed that plenty of frames were bright, big and bold. Clear products are relatively new, and people often make the switch to reduce the visibility of glasses on their face. OR, they could simply be following the trends.
Clear Frames are here to stay, at least for the next little while.
Aviators haven't necessarily gone out of style, but they have waned in popularity over the years. Once again, the aviators are coming back into the trends in full force.
Fashion is, after all, cyclical. Aviators have been in the market for nearly 50 years, and it seems classics are getting much more attention over the past decade.
Introduced in the 70's, aviators are coming back into mainstream popularity and are known for it's classic, timeless look. Part of the recent surge in popularity can likely be attributed to Netflix airing shows featured in the 70's. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
3. ROUND GLASSES
Also known as "John Lennon" or "Harry Potter" glasses, these frames have come into style more so in the recent years. Likely due to the spike in the well-known magical series' popularity in the last decade. These frames were iconic in the 60's, and are now part of a collection known as 'Geek Chic.' Slowly, but surely, this style of frame is phasing out due to the hipster trends constantly changing.
4. CAT-EYE GLASSES
Originally introduced in the 50's, the test of time for this style hasn't decreased it's popularity. Cat eye sunglasses were extremely popular when they first came out, and while popularity had decreased in the years following, they were not a style that completely went out. With the rise of round frames in the 60's, and the aviators in the 70's, it's no wonder they got pushed to the back burner. Today, we see a modification of original cat-eye glasses in style, including larger, more exaggerated frames, as well as bright colours and often added gems or crystals on the side.
5. HORN RIMMED GLASSES
This style has been around for nearly a century. (We're only 20 years off!) Originating in the 1940's, horn-rimmed glasses have gone in and out of popularity for decades. The original horn-rimmed frames feature a bold top with a very thin bottom frame. Lately, some horn-rimmed styles have been featuring the increasingly popular double bridge, or unique colours and patterns.
Horn-rimmed glasses were made famous during their first decade mostly because of Malcolm X, a human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement.
Styles come and go, but fashion is forever.
Never doubt the power of a classic, but keep in mind that new styles can be fashionable and reasonably unique.
What are some trends that have left you scratching your head over the years?
Comment below! I want to hear it!
It's amazing how often our eyes are overlooked (no pun intended!) We use them everyday, usually without thinking about it. With the introduction of screens in our daily lives, and the ever-increasing exposure to UV rays from the sun, it's important to be aware of your eye health and facilitate the necessary habits to protect your eyes, and their longevity.
1. TAKE A BREAK FROM YOUR SCREEN
This may seem obvious, but it often gets pushed to the side or completely ignored. While certain circumstances may be unavoidable (you may need to sit in front of a computer for 8 hours a day for work,) it's still important to give your eyes a rest.
Try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to rest from the constant blue light coming from your screen.
2. WEAR SUNGLASSES
Even on a cloudy day, the UVA/UVB rays from the sun can do some damage. In fact, during overcast, 80% of the UV rays from the sun pass through the clouds. This is a substantial amount, and explains why you can get a sunburn with no direct sun.
Wearing Sunglasses will help prevent cataracts and reduce eyestrain during all months of the year. They don't need to be fancy, or exceptionally expensive, they just need to indicate UV Protection.
Pro tip: When choosing sunglasses, look for stickers to indicate UV protection, UV 400 or lenses that block 99-100% of the sun's UV rays.
3. KNOW YOUR EYE HEALTH HISTORY
It could take a simple phone call, or a visit with your parents/grandparents. The information you'd receive is invaluable. Many eye diseases are hereditary and can be prevented with proper care.
There are more than 350 hereditary eye diseases, many of which can lead to permanent blindness.
Prevention can minimize the impact of eye diseases if caught early enough.
That's why it's so important to know your history. Knowing what to look for can have a substantial positive impact when it comes to treatment.
4. INCLUDE EYE HEALTHY FOODS IN YOUR DIET
We all know it's important to eat healthy. And I'm sure you've heard about carrots being good for your eyes. But did you know there are plenty of foods available that can help your eyes?
Foods containing Vitamin C, (papaya, red bell pepper, kiwi, strawberries, and oranges,) or anti-oxidants, such as lutein or beta-carotene, (spinach, sweet potato, carrots, squash, kale and broccoli,)
can help reduce the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
Age-related macular degeneration is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness.
5. GET CHECKED REGULARLY
Many eye diseases have no detectable or obvious symptoms. Your eye care specialist can detect and help prevent many issues before they become serious. The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends that children have their first eye exam between ages 6 and 9 months, and annually after that. As a general rule, adults, should have an eye exam every 2 years, or as directed by their optometrist.
By Hoedeman Optical