Computer games and vision
Christmas is drawing closer and everybody is hunting for the perfect gift for their loved ones. On the top of many lists will be some of the brand new computer game consoles that have just been launched such as Xbox One or Playstation 4. You will have probably heard that these kind of games can damage the eyes, but you may be surprised to hear that playing certain types of games can help to improve your vision.
Diplopia is a game that can help to improve your 3D vision, and is especially helpful to people who have crossed eye problems. The game helps them to coordinate their eyes by manipulating contrast. Players achieve higher scores when their brain merges two images into one screen, this is when both eyes are working together. Regular play can also help adults who have problems with depth perception and can noticeably improve their eyesight.
For children who have amblyopia (lazy eye), a common treatment is to wear a patch over the good eye to strengthen and stimulate the weaker one. This tried and tested technique works even better when the lazy eye is forced to make lots of detailed judgements, which video games are perfect for.
First person shooting games are great for everyone, even if you don’t have any visual problems. They are so fast paced, that they require extreme attention as your eyes have to pick out tiny details and movements in a fraction of a second. They also build up colour and shape identification which can help to improve the sight of the visually impaired.
We would like to provide a quick guide on how to prevent damaging your eyes during gaming.
- Play in moderation and stop if you experience any redness, watering, eyestrain or headaches.
- Keep up with regular eye examinations and inform your optometrist if you are experiencing any symptoms.
- Keep blinking! When playing gamers blink a third less than in other situations. If the eyes dry out it can cause irritation and even a drop in visual acuity.
- To maintain 20/20 vision, follow the 20/20/20 rule: Take regular breaks at least every 20 minutes, and focus on objects at leasts 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.
Playing the right kind of games in a healthy setting can stimulate them, train them, increase visual perceptiveness and improve hand to eye coordination. So get playing but most importantly please play safely!
Laura Whitmore returns to the jungle
I’m a Celebrity…..Get Me Out Of Here! has hit the screens again this November and has launched with a bang. Our Focus friend Laura Whitmore is also braving the Jungle again, hosting I’m A Celebrity…..Get Me Out Of Here Now! for the second year running. It was last year when she was deep in the Australian outback that she found she was motivated to getting her myopia corrected. Filming for 12 hours a day dried her contact lenses, and she found it difficult reading the autocue scripts. She was squinting on camera and needed a solution.
Laura came to see Mr David Allamby at Focus Clinics earlier in the year, and he corrected her short sight with the Z-LASIK Wavefront treatment. More than 8 months on her vision has fully settled at better than 20/20!! Joining her on set this week was another former Focus patient, Denise Van Outen, who more than four years on from her laser surgery has never looked back. We wonder whether they exchanged experiences, but more likely, they were trying to avoid pescy mozzie bites!
We are very glad to see Laura on the screen again, and wish her the best of luck this season! We hope that her laser treatment has given her more freedom this year, and that she can see the best bits of the jungle in all its glory!
Bluetooth glasses? Or laser eye surgery.
Do you find that you keep misplacing your glasses? Or do you have several pairs dotted around the house, car and office, so that you so do not find yourself without them? Phone Halo thinks that they have found a solution. They have designed a special pair of glasses that have a bluetooth device attached to the arm that alerts you when you have moved a certain distance from your spectacles. It sends a signal to your smartphone which sets off an alarm on the phone. It can also stop you from losing your telephone in the same way. When you leave your phone the bluetooth device emits a quiet tone behind the ear. If you go out of range from the bluetooth device the TrackR can drop a pin in a map so you can see the location and a distance indicator helps you trace it.
Its a great idea for commonly misplaced items such as phones, and wallets, but a large bluetooth device on the side of your face is not exactly subtle. The large device is just too big and the cumbersome extra appendage can be uncomfortable pressing on the back of the ear, not to mention its not very stylish.
Surely a much better option would be to throw away the glasses for good and then you don’t even need to worry about losing them, or even breaking them. Laser vision correction can correct short sight, long sight and astigmatism, and even help you out of your reading glasses. So why not take a trip the The Focus Clinic and see how we can make each day a little easier, (just try not to forget your keys!).
Charles Saatchi and the Naked Eye
Charles Saatchi is a British businessman and co-founder of the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi. He is most well known as an avid art collector and is owner of The Saatchi Gallery. He is famed for his sponsorship of often sensational British artists such as Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin known as The young British Artists. These artists often caused shock headlines and much offence wherever they exhibited due to the graphic nature of their work. He has published several art books such as “My Name Is Charles Saatchi And I Am An Artoholic”. His latest offering is called “The Naked Eye” and is a collection of extraordinary images from around the globe. What makes these images phenomenal is that they are totally real and are void of any photo manipulation. You will see images such as an elephant balancing on its trunk and a dancing tree, images that are caught by chance at the perfect moment, that are astonishing and mesmerising.
In visual terms The Naked Eye is a figure of speech referring human visual perception unaided by devices such as telescopes or microscopes. What can the human eye see, and what are its limits?
Here are some surprising results:
· 5600 stars in an average sky
· 45,000 stars in perfect darkness
· 5 planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn
· Well over 100 frames per second
· A field of vision 180 degrees horizontally and 135 degrees vertically
· Luminosities and colours and how they change in time and direction
· The distances and three dimensional positions of objects and people
· The smallest object is about 0.116mm like a human egg or single cell organisms.
If you are short sighted, long sighted or have astigmatism, you may not believe the above points are possible. With 20/20 vision you may be shocked and sensationalised by what your eyes can achieve!
Protecting your eyes from the sun
As Britain sizzles in the hottest weather recorded since 2006, hundreds of thousands of people are set to get ready to attend some of the biggest summer events and make last minute holiday getaways. We know the dangers of unprotected skin from the sun’s rays, but what about ultraviolet damage to your eyes?
UV rays can cause considerable damage to your eyes. Growths called pingueculae and pterygia can occur as early as teens and early 20’s, especially for those that spend a large amount of time outdoors in the sun. As well as being unsightly, they can cause corneal problems and distorted vision. Other diseases take many years to develop such as cataracts and Macular Degeneration. The sun can also burn the eyes, the same way that it does the skin, causing a temporary but painful sensation, and if you stare directly at the sun you can cause permanent damage to the retina.
If you have taken the step towards incredible vision at Focus Clinics you will not want to reduce your results through sun damage. So how can you protect your eyes while still enjoying everything that summer can offer? The very best thing that you can do is invest in a good pair of sunglasses. Make sure you look for a CE Mark, a UV 400 label and a statement that the glasses provide 100% UV protection. Choose frames that are close fitting and wrap around the face as they protect the eyes from all angles, and remember that the darkness of the lenses is not related to the amount of protection. For the fashion conscious wearer, style and protection can go hand in hand. ‘Blinging’ your old shades is a big craze this summer, customise with feathers, sequins, bows and buttons, the bigger and brighter the better!
Also you can wear a wide brimmed hat, and take extra care when UV rays are stronger than normal, for example, at high altitudes, in equatorial regions, and in wide open spaces especially where there is snow cover.
Above all, enjoy your summer, stay cool and don’t stare at the sun. If you fancy sending us some shots of your supercool shades then please do – you can post them to our Facebook page.
New part of the eye discovered
You would think that in 2013, we would know all there is to know about human anatomy, and then scientists go and find a whole new body part! Where do we find it? In the eye, the organ that helps us to see clearly. I looks like we were not looking so closely at it!
Harminder Dua, of Nottingham University, has discovered a tiny new layer to the cornea which has set the ophthalmic world in a buzz of excitement! Named Dua’s layer, it joins 5 other previously known layers of the cornea and has been cited as “a major discovery”. It is just 0.001 millimetres thick, but is very tough. It was found by injecting tiny bubbles into the corneas to separate the layers and is believed to help to prevent fluid from building up in the cornea.
Knowledge of this layer could dramatically improve outcomes and safety for patients undergoing treatments such as corneal grafts or transplants. It could also help to explain and cure a myriad of eye diseases, that up to now have been elusive in origin.
It’s time to re-write the text books and hopefully look forward to some more exciting developments in the future.
Eye tracking is the measurement of eye activity. Where do we look? What do we ignore? When do we blink? It is becoming more and more common place within a variety of technologies from gaze controlled mobile phones and televisions to diagnosing brain disorders. Here are a few of its uses:
· Laser Vision Correction
In laser refractive surgery, patients eye and head movements may result in errors between the laser beam and the target location on the eye. Eye tracking technology leads to improved alignment between the laser and the eye, giving increased accuracy and significantly better visual acuity post treatment.
· Market Research
Advertisers and research when and where people look when they shop to better capture your attention. It gives insight into what a customer is looking at when they are making a purchase.
· Driver Drowsiness Awareness
Long hours, less sleep and distractions such as mobile phones are increasing road traffic accidents. Eye trackers can tell when a drivers eyes have left the road and detect eye movements that occur just before sleep. The eye trackers can alert the driver and save lives. Companies such as Caterpillar have already started to install this software in their vehicles so that they can advise the drivers to rest if they start showing signs of tiredness.
· Assistive Technologies
Eye trackers can be added to communication devices to assist users with mental or physical disabilities to communicate with others. The devices can be attached to wheelchairs so that eye movements can control the chair , permitting a user to manoeuvre by just moving their eyes.
· Diagnosing Brain Disorders
Tiny and rapid eye movements called Saccades serve as a window to the brain, and can give psychologists clues about our inner mental functioning, and helping them to diagnose disorders such as autism, attention deficit disorder and Parkinson’s disease. For example, autistic children tend to avoid images of social activities and favour abstract images, and rarely make eye contact when looking at images of faces. Similar, distinct, abnormal eye movements patterns occur in a number of mental disorders.
We are entering the beginning of a new era in eye control, many technologies may become redundant and many eyes may be watching what you are watching!
Hayfever and itchy eyes – What to do?
Finally we have a warm week and it feels like summer is here. But for more than 15,000,000 people in the UK suffering with hay fever it’s all about sneezing, itchy eyes and a runny nose. To help those of you suffering in the sun, we’ve compiled a list of top tips for battling those itchy eyes:
· Firstly, the pollen count is usually at its highest early in the morning and again in the evenings. You can download a free NHS pollen count app to keep informed. Stay indoors with windows closed if possible. Make sure that your car’s air conditioning is fitted with a pollen filter too.
· It’s been proven that pollen can also stick to your hair and clothing, so give your outdoor clothes a really good shake when you come back home (and before you go through the door!), and wash your hair regularly.
· To protect your eyes from pollen, and also harmful UV rays, a pair of wrap around style sunglasses can come in handy.
· To reduce symptoms, take a daily non-sedating anti-histamine tablet. You can also get a steroid nasal spray from your doctor to prevent inflammation in the nasal passages. Rubbing Vaseline at the entrance to your nostrils can also help to trap pollen.
· Ask your GP for a prescription for anti-inflammatory eye drops to beat the itchy eyes and reduce streaming. A steroid tablet can also be prescribed for more severe symptoms.
· Remember that your lifestyle can also affect how severe your hay fever symptoms are. So eat well, sleep and exercise more, cut down on alcohol and reduce your stress level.
What is Presbyopia?
You can’t escape presbyopia, the medical term for the loss of reading vision in middle age. Sadly, it will happen to us all eventually. Even if you’ve never had a vision problem before. It usually occurs around the ages of 45-50 in the UK, and earlier in warmer and more southerly countries. The problem is when the lens inside the eye becomes less elastic and the eye is no longer capable of ‘zooming’ in to focus on a near object. Think of it as a camera where the focus dial is stuck for clear images in the distance, but you can’t turn the focus ring to get a clear image of your newspaper.
Before Blended Vision
After Blended Vision
This stiffening of the eye’s internal lens means you have a reduced ability to bring near images into focus. When people start to develop presbyopia, they find they need to hold books, magazines, newspapers and other reading materials at arm’s length in order to focus properly and even computer work can become increasingly difficult. When they perform near work, they may also develop headaches, eye strain or feel fatigued.
Traditional cures are wearing reading glasses, bifocal or varifocal glasses or monovision contact lenses, all of which have their limitations either in inconvenience, effect or tolerability.
However these are fortunately no longer the only options. Mr David Allamby, an ophthalmic surgeon at London’s prestigious Focus Clinic, is the pioneer in presbyopic treatments in the UK and a recognised leader of the field of presbyopia. After performing the very first treatment of its kind in the UK, he has paved the way for a more sophisticated treatment called Blended Vision.
Blended Vision is a 10-minute laser eye treatment which allows you to see both far and near without needing glasses or contact lenses. One eye is corrected fully for distance vision and the other eye is corrected for near vision, and both eyes then work together merging, or ‘blending’, the images from each eye within the brain to allow good vision for near and far and giving a greater depth of field. It is an advancement from monovision and a much more refined treatment.
Blended Vision is suitable for more than 90% of people who need reading glasses, and is much more effective than the related contact lens monovision which only 40-50% of people can tolerate. Screening tests at your consultation can easily confirm if you are suitable for Blended Vision.
The key advantages are:
· Freedom from reading glasses, distance glasses and contact lenses.
· Increased depth of field.
· It is tolerated by more than 90% of people, compared to just 40-50% with monovision.
· A long duration of benefit, and can be enhanced to keep up with any age-related progression of presbyopia.
The word presbyopia comes from the Greek word presbys, meaning “old man” or “elder”, and the ancient Greek word ops, meaning “eye”, but this “old man eye” and the unavoidable deterioration of the eye with age can be overcome with the help of Mr Allamby and the Focus Clinic team.
TETRIS Improves vision?
Many people believe that computer games can be detrimental to your vision, but surprisingly the addictive puzzle game Tetris can help to improve Amblyopia, commonly known as Lazy Eye.
Amblyopia occurs when the nerves that connect one of the eyes to the brain develop incorrectly as a child. As a result, blurry or wrong images are sent to the brain, which causes the brain to ignore these signals, favouring the other eye. Patients then tend to use the stronger eye more and more, suppressing and weakening one eye also causing problems with depth perception.
Traditionally Lazy Eye is treated during childhood with patching techniques, covering the strong eye in order to make the weaker, suppressed eye work harder. Researchers have now found a new therapeutic approach that can also help adults. By using Tetris patients take part in dichoptic training (both eyes working together), using a specialised headset where one eye focuses on the falling shapes, and the other on the ground plane objects. After just two weeks, patients showed a dramatic improvement in the vision in the weaker eye and depth perception was also improved. A similar group who played using the traditional patching method only saw a moderate improvement.
When the weaker eye has to work harder it is as if the brain becomes more aware of the lazy eye, dormant cells reawaken, become activated and regenerated. Not only does your vision improve, but you get to have much more fun helping it!