Monday, 11 February 2013

How to Keep Your Eyes Safe from Computer Screens

It's so hard to look away. But you really should, at least occasionally. And "remind yourself to blink." 

Do you look like this right now?


If you don't, The Pakistan Optometric Society wants you to know that you're doing it wrong.
Sure, long days spent in front of your computer might make perfect posture difficult to maintain (and our office, at least, has an unofficial policy against wearing plaid shorts, even on Casual Fridays). But a blase attitude toward "eye-genomics" while you're doing all of your little computing work could be the reason you're experiencing eye strain, neck and shoulder pain, dry eyes, or blurred vision.

And there's a case to be made for glare-reducing computer glasses being kind of bad ass Maybe.
 Look at it this way: a study earlier this year from the American Academy of Optometry found that working for just two hours on a laptop caused a significant increase in eye pain and vision problems. So even though 70 percent of people surveyed by the Vision Council refused to admit that their screen time might be messing with their eyes, those of us who spend 8-plus hour workdays in front of computers, or who catch up on our reading on tablets, or who are constantly checking our email on smart phones, have got to be feeling the strain.

The first step is admitting that you have a problem (a #first world problem, if you'd like, but a problem nonetheless). From there, experts recommend some easy ways to protect your eyes during media binges:
  • Reduce glare by cleaning your screen and making sure it's the most brightly glowing thing in the room. Try not to use your smart phone in direct sunlight. Also, grey backgrounds are easier on your eyes than white.
  • Sit an arm's length away from your computer screen. They recommend the "high-five test": if you can't properly high-five your computer screen (full arm extension is key, people!), you're sitting too close. The screen shouldn't be tilted, and should be positioned right below eye level.
  • "Remind yourself to blink." Screens have a way of making you forget to do that.
  • Take what they call a "20-20-20 break": Every 20 minutes, give yourself 20 seconds to check out what's going on 20 feet away from you.
  • Consider buying a pair of glasses made specifically for computer use. If you think you can pull them off.
In no time at all, you can be like this iPhone user:

Comfortable yet sharply dressed, hair pulled back to avoid it getting in your eyes (but loosely, to prevent headaches), and always, always looking up before walking into traffic.


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Squid: Giant Eyes


Giant squid have the largest eyes on Earth, about the size of a basketball—but why do they need such big peepers? So they can see a sperm whale in time to escape its gaping jaws, researchers report online today in Current Biology. Seeing under water is tricky because light fades out at deeper depths and water makes distant objects disappear even before they are too small to see. But eyes are expensive to build and maintain, so such huge ones must serve a purpose. In the new study, researchers developed a computer model to look at what different-sized eyes could see at different water depths. In the dark deep, sperm whales and other animals become "visible" because their movements disturb small organisms that give off light, similar to a flashing firefly. The modeling showed that basketball-sized eyes could detect whales amid flashes of light from more than 120 meters away—giving the squid enough of an edge to make a quick exit. Most organisms are not faced with such big predators, so they don't need to see far away and thus get by with smaller eyes.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Overview- Age-Related Macular Degeneration

What Is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?


Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 60. It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates. The retina is the light-sensing nerve tissue at the back of the eye. Because the disease develops as a person ages, it is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Although macular degeneration is almost never a totally blinding condition, it can be a source of significant visual disability.

There are two main types of age-related macular degeneration:
  • Dry form. The "dry" form of macular degeneration is characterized by the presence of yellow deposits, called drusen, in the macula. A few small drusen may not cause changes in vision; however, as they grow in size and increase in number, they may lead to a dimming or distortion of vision that people find most noticeable when they read. In more advanced stages of dry macular degeneration, there is also a thinning of the light-sensitive layer of cells in the macula leading to atrophy, or tissue death. In the atrophic form of dry macular degeneration, patients may have blind spots in the center of their vision. In the advanced stages, patients lose central vision. 
  • Wet form. The "wet" form of macular degeneration is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels from the choroid underneath the macula. This is called choroidal neovascularization. These blood vessels leak blood and fluid into the retina, causing distortion of vision that makes straight lines look wavy, as well as blind spots and loss of central vision. These abnormal blood vessels eventually scar, leading to permanent loss of central vision. 
Most patients with macular degeneration have the dry form of the disease and will not lose central vision. However, the dry form of macular degeneration can lead to the wet form. Although only about 10% of people with macular degeneration develop the wet form, they make up the majority of those who experience serious vision loss from the disease.
It is very important for people with macular degeneration to monitor their eyesight carefully and see their eye doctor on a regular basis.

What Are the Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration?


As the name suggests, age-related macular degeneration is more common in older adults. In fact, it is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 60.
Macular degeneration may be hereditary, meaning it can be passed on from parents to children. If someone in your family has or had the condition you may be at higher risk for developing macular degeneration. Talk to your eye doctor about your individual risk.
Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and being white are also risk factors for macular degeneration.

What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?


In its early stages, macular degeneration may not have symptoms and may be unrecognized until it progresses or affects both eyes. The first sign of macular degeneration is usually a dim, blurry spot in the middle of your vision. This spot may get bigger or darker over time.
Symptoms of macular degeneration include: 

  • Dark, blurry areas in the center of vision
  • Diminished or changed color perception 
If you experience any of these symptoms, see an eye specialist as soon as possible.

How Is Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?


Age-related macular degeneration can be detected in a routine eye exam. One of the most common early signs of macular degeneration is the presence of drusen -- tiny yellow deposits under the retina. Your doctor can see these when examining your eyes. Your doctor may also ask you to look at an Amsler grid -- a pattern of straight lines that resemble a checkerboard. Some of the straight lines may appear wavy to you, or you may notice that some of the lines are missing. These can be signs of macular degeneration.

If your doctor detects age-related macular degeneration, you may have a procedure called angiography or an OCT. In angiography, a dye is injected into a vein in the arm. Photographs are taken as the dye reaches the eye and flows through the blood vessels of the retina. If there are new vessels or vessels leaking fluid or blood in the macula, the photographs will show their exact location and type. OCT is able to see fluid or blood underneath the retina without using dye.

Early detection of age-related macular degeneration is very important because there are treatments that can delay or reduce the severity of the disease.

What Treatments Are Available for Macular Degeneration?


There is currently no cure for macular degeneration, but treatments may prevent severe vision loss or slow the progression of the disease considerably. Several options are available, including: 
  • Anti-angiogenesis drugs. These medications (Avastin, Eyelea, Lucentis, Macugen) block the development of new blood vessels and leakage from the abnormal vessels within the eye that cause wet macular degeneration. This treatment has been a major change in the treatment of this condition and many patients have actually regained vision that was lost. The treatment may need to be repeated during follow-up visits.
  • Vitamins. A large study performed by the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, called AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study), showed that for certain individuals, vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper can decrease the risk of vision loss in patients with intermediate to advanced dry macular degeneration. Ask your eye doctor if these vitamin supplements will benefit you before taking them.
  • Laser therapy. High-energy laser light can sometimes be used to destroy actively growing abnormal blood vessels that occur in macular degeneration.
  • Photodynamic laser therapy. A two-step treatment in which a light-sensitive drug (Visudyne) is used to damage the abnormal blood vessels. A doctor injects the drug into the bloodstream to be absorbed by the abnormal blood vessels in the eye. The doctor then shines a cold laser into the eye to activate the drug, damaging the abnormal blood vessels.
  • Low vision Devices. Devices that have special lenses or electronic systems that produce enlarged images of nearby objects. They help people who have vision loss from macular degeneration make the most of their remaining vision. 
Researchers are studying new treatments for macular degeneration. The following treatments are considered experimental and have been used less often since the development of anti-angiogenic medications have developed:
  • Submacular surgery. Surgery to remove the abnormal blood vessels or blood.
  • Retinal translocation. A surgical procedure used to destroy abnormal blood vessels that are located directly under the center of the macula, where a laser beam cannot be placed safely. In the procedure, the macular center is rotated away from the abnormal blood vessels to a healthy area of the retina, thus preventing the formation of scar tissue and further damage to the retina. Once moved away from the abnormal blood vessels, a laser is used to treat the abnormal blood vessels.

What Is the Outlook for People With Macular Degeneration?


People rarely lose all of their vision from age-related macular degeneration. They may have poor central vision, but they are still able to perform many normal daily activities.

The wet form of macular degeneration is a leading cause of irreversible vision loss. When both eyes are affected, you may experience a significant decrease in your quality of life.

The dry form of age-related macular degeneration is much more common and tends to progress more slowly, allowing you to keep most of your vision.

Unfortunately, even after wet macular degeneration treatment, the condition can recur. Because of this, individuals with macular degeneration must test their own vision regularly and follow the recommendations of their ophthalmologist. Successful and timely treatment will slow the rate of vision loss and often improve vision.

Sleep Well

With Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM

Sleep disorders include a range of problems -- from insomnia to narcolepsy -- and affect millions of Americans. Dr. Michael Breus shares information and advice on sleep disorder and insomnia treatments and causes.


The opinions expressed in Web MD User-generated content areas like communities, review, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have... expand


Vitamin D Deficiency and Daytime Sleepiness 


Vitamin D has received a great deal of attention recently. Vitamin D has long been recognized as primarily a regulator of calcium and phosphorus, helping to protect bone density. In recent years, however, our understanding of the functions of Vitamin D in the body has expanded. Vitamin D is now understood to play an important role in metabolic and immune system functions. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a number of illnesses and chronic conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, pulmonary disease, and chronic pain.

We’ve seen evidence that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with sleep problems, particularly with daytime sleepiness. A new study examined the link between daytime sleepiness and Vitamin D, and also considered one of the major risk factors of Vitamin D deficiency: skin pigmentation.

Researchers at Louisiana State University investigated the relationship between Vitamin D and daytime sleepiness with two specific goals in mind. First, they wanted to determine whether a correlation exists between Vitamin D levels in the body and excessive daytime sleepiness. Second, they sought to evaluate the role that race might play in the relationship between daytime sleepiness and Vitamin D.

In earlier work, researchers at LSU had observed that more than half of the patients who came to their sleep clinic with sleep problems and with chronic pain were also deficient in Vitamin D. They noticed this cluster of symptoms appeared to occur more often in patients who were African American.

Vitamin D is actually a fat-soluble hormone, which the body can receive in food and also through supplements. But the primary—and most effective—way the body accumulates Vitamin D is during exposure to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight prompts our skin to self-manufacture Vitamin D.  Increased skin pigmentation lowers the rate of manufacture of Vitamin D. Therefore, greater levels of skin pigmentation are considered a risk factor for Vitamin D deficiency.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly one-third of African Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. Other groups at risk of Vitamin D deficiency include the elderly, the obese, pregnant and lactating women, and people who receive limited exposure to the sun.

The LSU study involved 81 patients, all of whom had either sleep problems or musculoskeletal pain either in the day or the evening, or both. Sixty five percent of the patients in the study were white, and 35% were African-American. All of the patients in the study group were diagnosed with a sleep disorder. Nearly three-quarters had obstructive sleep apnea, while others suffered from insomnia, or restless leg syndrome. All patients were evaluated for excessive daytime sleepiness using the Epworth Sleep Scale, a standard measurement. Their levels of Vitamin D were measured using blood tests.

The results of the study support a strong correlation between excessive daytime sleepiness and Vitamin D. They also indicate that race is a factor in the relationship between Vitamin D and daytime sleepiness. But the results were in some ways surprising and indicate a complicated relationship, particularly where race is concerned.
Here’s an overview of the most important findings:
  • 65% of the study population was found to have a Vitamin D deficiency
  • The patients with greater skin pigmentation had higher average levels of daytime sleepiness and lower average levels of Vitamin D, compared to those with less skin pigmentation
  • African American patients made up 35% of the study population, but 55% of the group that were deficient in Vitamin D
  • Only 6% of the group without a Vitamin D deficiency were African-American
  • Among those with deficiencies of Vitamin D—under 20 mg/mL as measured by a blood test—there was no correlation between Vitamin D levels and daytime sleepiness. This is the opposite of what was expected based on prior research.
  • An exception to this was found among African-American patients in the study group. Among those African-American patients with Vitamin D deficiency, there was a direct correlation between levels of Vitamin D and daytime sleepiness. Among these patients, higher Vitamin D levels were associated with higher levels of daytime sleepiness-the exact opposite of what was expected.
It is this last finding that is unexpected, and surprised researchers themselves, who expected to see lower levels of Vitamin D associated with higher levels of daytime sleepiness.
Why might this have been the case? Additional research clearly is needed to further explore the role that skin pigmentation may play in Vitamin D deficiency and its effect on sleep, and daytime sleepiness in particular. This was a small study, and larger-scale research may provide a clearer picture of this complicated relationship.

There are other important questions that arise. We can see an association between Vitamin D deficiency and daytime sleepiness, but we don’t have an understanding of cause and effect. Is Vitamin D deficiency directly responsible for excessive daytime sleepiness and other sleep problems? Or is poor sleep a consequence of other medical conditions associated with Vitamin D deficiency, such as chronic pain? What are the biological mechanisms by which Vitamin D—and a lack thereof—affect sleep functions in the body? There’s a lot we don’t yet know about the relationship between Vitamin D and sleep.

If you’re at risk for Vitamin D deficiency, talk to your doctor. Supplements, dietary changes, and safe and controlled exposure to sun can all help boost levels in the body. Making sure your body has sufficient levels of Vitamin D offers important health protections and, perhaps, a welcome boost of energy in place of daytime sleepiness.

Sweet Dreams,

Unique Glaucoma Eye Test Through Eyelid Launched at Arab Health Exhibition and Congress

February 05, 2013

BiCOM Inc., featured its latest through the eyelid glaucoma testing DIATON tonometer technology at Arab Health 2013 in Dubai. Handheld, pen-like tonometer allows to measure intraocular pressure IOP without contact with eye ball, eliminating virus and infection and is independent of biomechanical properties of the cornea or contact lenses. 

Quick and painless glaucoma diagnostic DIATON tonometer received a lot of attention from 85,000 visitors to the 38th Arab Health Exhibition and Congress consisting from healthcare professionals, medical facility owners and managers as well as distributors from
Middle East

Attendees representing Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Bahrain, and Qatar were very intrigued by the latest DIATON tonometry technology and many were screened for elevated eye pressure in seconds right at the exhibit.

Since DIATON is non-contact and handheld pen-like tonometer, it can be used in any setting - rural areas that desperately need glaucoma screening or Inpatient & Outpatient Clinics such as Hospitals, Emergency Rooms, Nursing & Elderly Homes, General, Family & Specialty Practitioners office as well as Ophthalmic and Optometric practice.


Major Benefits of Diaton Tonometer: 

* No contact with the cornea (only upper eyelid)
* No anesthesia drops
* No risk of infecting or scratching cornea
* No consumables (no need to purchase replacement tips/covers..etc.,)
* No sterilization
* No pachymetry needed (no need to purchase pachymeter)
* No daily calibration needed
* Handheld / Portable + Easy to use

DIATON Tonometer provides reliable measurements and makes it possible to diagnose glaucoma in its early stages, allowing to devise an appropriate care and treatment plan. DIATON is effective in obtaining IOP measurements for many challenging patient populations, including: those with chronic conjunctivitis, erosions, edema and corneal dimness; people who have undergone corneal surgeries; and immobilized patients and children. Also, patients do not need to remove their contact lenses.

Roman Iospa, CEO of BiCOM Inc., said, - "We're excited to see so much interest from Arab Health show and are proud to offer our latest DIATON glaucoma testing technology to the growing healthcare market in the Middle East."
The UAE healthcare sector is lucrative for global companies given the government's investment in medical infrastructure in recent years. The mandatory coverage policy for Abu Dhabi residents and several public-private healthcare projects in the UAE have driven the Emirates' annual per-capita healthcare spending to about $1,500 - the second-highest in the Arabian Gulf, according to a Deloitte report in June. The figure is expected to grow at a rate of 5 per cent until 2014, it said.

BiCOM Inc., is currently accepting and reviewing partnership inquiries from medical distributors from Middle East and plans to launch DIATON tonometer in many markets in the upcoming year.
More information on DIATON tonometers, including clinical trials data and demo video can be found at or by calling BiCOM Inc., at the Toll Free number 1-877-DIATONS (877.342.8667). Diaton tonometer has competitive price and is delivered complete with training Video/DVD describing full procedure step-by-step, battery, calibration plate, carry case in addition to the Test/Training Eye™ which is included with each N477 unit.

About BiCOM Inc:

BiCOM is committed to the global fight against blindness caused by glaucoma. A unique team of engineers, medical, legal and business experts makes BiCOM Inc. uniquely placed to provide DIATON diagnostic tonometer, which measures intraocular pressure (IOP) through the eyelid and sclera, making it possible to diagnose glaucoma on the early stage and appoint necessary treatment and medicines and provide a much more favorable outcome for the patient. More about DIATON Tonometer Glaucoma Eye Test at

conference delegates, it is attended by more than 80,000 healthcare professionals as they aim to tackle the growing diverse health issues across the Middle East ranging from the increasing demand for healthcare services, growing healthcare costs and the increase of lifestyle diseases in the region.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Braille Phone

Indian designer creates Braille Phone, a smartphone for the visually impaired
A touch screen made of tiny, height-variable bumps allows users to 'feel' information — and brings printed and visual resources like maps and animations to life. 

A prototype display of Sumit Dagar's Braille smartphone.

Imagine a smartphone for the visually impaired. A phone that provides the same kind of game-changing tools that most sighted smartphone users have come to take for granted over the past few years.

Sumit Dagar has done more than imagine one. He’s created it.

An interaction designer and sci-fi short film maker from Delhi, India, Dagar describes himself as “insanely passionate” about design, and more so about design thinking. He created the Braille Phone with the express purpose of empowering India’s visually impaired population to overcome the many obstacles they face both in their careers and in their daily lives. (India is home to 22 percent of the world’s visually impaired population.)

The phone uses a haptic touch screen, which is comprised of a grid of tiny, height-variable bumps, allowing users to "feel" information. At its most basic level, the phone can be used as a translator — scanning text and converting it into braille — but that’s just the beginning.

Facilitating independence

Using height mapping, the phone can also display visual imagery, and even video and animation, not to mention maps, charts and other graphic forms of communication that are ubiquitous in modern life. The result is a device that could better facilitate independent travel for the visually impaired, and allow access to a much broader range of printed and visual resources that are readily available to the rest of the population.

The phone is currently being prototyped. As Dagar explains on his website, this prototyping is set to proceed much faster than expected, thanks to the recognition the project has received of late, not to mention a handy cash injection of $50,000 from a major innovation award:

“After several years of getting hands-on with design, these days I concentrate on building the Braille Phone and its family of devices. Rolex honored me with its prestigious Young Laureate award recently (December 2012), which means that I get to implement this project much sooner and with even more uber-features to play with.”

Rolex officials aren’t the only ones who have been taking note of Dagar’s work. He’s been featured in Fast Company, National Geographic and the Herald Sun of Australia, to name but a few media outlets. And his talk as a TED Fellow explaining the Braille Phone concept has been making waves around the world.