Tuesday, July 22, 2008

# * * Sunglasses Replace the Bag as the Must-Have Luxury Item

Sunglasses at the top rung of the price ladder are in step with trends, changing shapes and colors seasonally to reflect the whims of buyers. This summer, a heightened enthusiasm for aviator and wraparound frames and vintage Jackie O styles is contributing to their status as the luxury accent of the hour.

Ridiculous Headline of the day!

Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired!

In continuing coverage from a previous edition of First Look, HealthDay reported, "Because they can be nearly silent, hybrid cars pose a serious threat of injury and death to blind and visually impaired people," according to the American Council of the Blind (ACB).

Really, there is no winning in this world. I know, I'm an optometrist, I love helping people see better/feel better. But this was taking it a bit far - my opinion!

The council's executive director, Melanie Brunson, explained, "Traditionally, people who are blind or visually impaired learn to rely on their hearing and tactile cues to provide them with information about their environment, which they can use to navigate safely across streets and through...parking lots. In so doing, the sound of traffic is their primary focus." But, without any "sound cues, a blind or visually impaired person is at serious risk." That is because "[t]raffic sounds provide information about such things as the position of vehicles, their direction of travel, their rate of acceleration, and the speed at which they are likely to move."

The ACB is now "pushing the auto industry and government officials to develop ways to reduce this danger." Just "[l]ast week, the U.S. Federal Highway Traffic Safety Administration held its first public meeting on the issue."

Contact Lens + Surgery

You have heard of contact lenses. You have heard of surgery to correct for glasses like Lasik.

Here is a new procedure where a contact lens is implanted surgically into the front part of the eye called Cornea.

"It can take someone who is 22,000- someone who is so unbelievably nearsighted one day- next day drive without glasses," said eye surgeon Dr. Roy Rubinfeld.

The hour long procedure is most effective in patients between ages 25 and 45 and meant to be permanent. Cornea surgeon, Dr. Marwa Adi, says permanent contact lens should deliver optically "as long as the eye stays healthy."

Illinois mandates vision screening

I'm sure everyone is heard of Matthews Optometrist Jim Black. A licensed optometrist, Black went into politics late in life, but eventually became one of the state's most powerful politicians. After serving two terms in the N.C. House of Representatives in the early 1980s, Black lost three campaigns in a row. In 1990, he was re-elected and soon moved into leadership. He served as speaker of the house a record-tying four terms, including a historic co-speakership with Republican Rep. Richard Morgan.

He started a program to help children get screened for vision problems prior to entering the school system. The vision care program began as a mandate on parents to have their children seen by an optometrist before they entered kindergarten. The requirement caused an uproar after Black wrote it into the 2005 budget.

In Illinois things look different.

In continuing coverage from previous editions of First Look, Illinois's Herald News reported, "Starting this school year, all kindergartners and children entering Illinois schools from [an] out of state or home school must provide proof of an optometric exam by Oct. 15."

According to optometrist Sandra Bury, O.D., "Finding vision problems early is crucial to correcting them." Should "near- and farsightedness, depth perception, and clarity" not be "fixed by age 10 or 11, kids will suffer with them for life. After that, their bodies become more resistant to change." Children with persistent vision problems may be "more likely to have problems in school." Dr. Bury noted how "[p]arents often return to her office, telling [her] that glasses turned their children's academic lives around." Illinois now joins Kentucky among states mandating eye examinations. Dr. Bury said, "This is the biggest thing to happen to eye care, ever."

I think we are doing a dis service to our kids here in NC by not having a similar mandate. But that is for other powers to decide...

Friday, July 11, 2008

Want to be a Pilot? Read this in Braille

The U.K.'s Daily Mail reports that a job "advertisement for an air traffic controller is being offered in Braille," even though "20/20 vision is a requirement for the job." Officials at the "St. Mary's airport on the Isles of Scilly say they are simply adhering to equal opportunity guidelines." The job listing "states that as well as having excellent vision, the applicant needs to be highly qualified to fulfill the demanding role of guiding aircraft safely into the hilltop airport, which is often fogbound.

The controller of Radio Scilly, Keri Jones, said that "the note had attracted widespread ridicule." But, Bill Alker, of the Royal National Institute for the Blind, applauded the move, saying, "We welcome the Isles of Scilly's Council for their good practice, and would hope more employers do the same."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

U think you can dance?

Just watch this dance, choreographed by Nakul Dev Mahajan, "Hollywood's Bollywood choreographer,". He is the founder and artistic director of NDM Dance Productions and Studios in Los Angeles.

Smart contact lens feels the pressure of glaucoma

New Scientist reported, "A contact lens with a built-in pressure sensor that could help monitor" certain eye conditions was recently designed by scientists at the University of California-Davis. Using polydimethylsiloxane, "an elastic, transparent, and gas-permeable organic polymer," the researchers produced "a tiny pressure sensor, which they bent into the shape of a contact lens. Such a device could measure the stress on the cornea surface, and the fluid pressure within the eye to monitor glaucoma and ocular hypertension." Researcher Tingrui Pan explained that in glaucoma patients, rising pressure within the eye changes its shape, "which would deform the contact lens sensor." A prototype model "has an opaque sensor that would impair vision, and so would be worn only briefly," but the research team is "designing transparent equivalents that could be worn for long periods to give a continuous pressure read-out."

High Tech Contacts

Researchers @ the University of Washington have reported a system that would generate graphic displays directly to eyes.

Illinois ABC affiliate WHOI-TV reported that researchers "are trying to find ways to incorporate complex technology into" contact lenses. One "device under development, referred to as a 'bionic lens,' or 'e-lens,' integrates a miniature electronic circuit and LED lights between layers of polyethylene terephthalate. It's powered through radiofrequency energy transmitted to an antennae incorporated into the lens." This would allow "[c]omputer images [to] be sent to the circuit, enabling the wearer to see virtual displays." It would also allow "a wearer to play games, or surf the" Internet, "without the need for a display monitor."

The prototype contact lens - which will eventually contain LEDs - has yet to be powered up. That key step, says Parviz, is several months off. "We're looking at two different ways to transmit power. One is radio frequency power transmission. We need antennae on these contact lenses anyway because we need to transmit data to them. The other way we're looking at right now is to incorporate photovoltaic [solar] cells."

Monday, July 07, 2008

Snooze Guide

I can't believe that a topic like snoozing would provoke a blog post, but take a look @ this captivating graphic in the Boston Globe:

It’s full of tips such as when you’re most likely benefit from a nap, how long to doze off, as well as what you can do to improve your environment for good siesta.
So, quit reading this post, and hit it!

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