The Hargrave Eye Center

Nanotechnology and Night Vision

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Nanotechnology refers to work that’s done at the very smallest of scales. In nanotechnology, individual molecules and even atoms are moved and manipulated. Nanotechnology was first discussed in the late 1950s. The idea was named in the mid-1970s. By the 1980s, it was growing into a proper field.

In the past 30-odd years, nanotechnology has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, real interventions are starting to become possible. In labs across the globe, people are finding ways to integrate nanotechnology with biology. One of the most recent developments in this arena has seen mice develop night vision after injections.

Teams in China and Boston, Massachusetts have been hard at work on this project. Researchers there used subretinal injections to bind nanoparticles to retinal photoreceptors. The nanoantennae made it possible for the mice to convert near infrared light into visible green light.

The potential for this technology is intriguing. Scientists in China, who conducted this research, say the mice suffered few side effects. The injections left the mice with infrared vision, which no mammals have naturally. If this treatment can be adapted for the human body, it could have valuable applications.

Currently, to see in the dark, humans rely on equipment. Infrared cameras are used in research and for security purposes. Night vision goggles are effective, but they can also break or get lost at an inopportune moment. Injections making it possible for humans to see in the dark could revolutionize military maneuvers and some types of research. It could also make search and rescue operations much more efficient.

Of course, there are some caveats with this research. Mice are much simpler animals than humans are. The effects of the injections were temporary. The mice were able to distinguish things in the NIR conditions for about two weeks. Although not many side effects were observed, they were mild and temporary. Issues like cloudy retinas cleared up after about one week.

Scientists are eager to see what nanotechnology can do in the human body. This technology has the potential to change the way diseases are treated. In the future, it may be possible to target specific cells to prevent or repair damage. Nanotechnology could also possibly be used to specifically target troublesome cells in cancers. For now, these early experiments are offering very promising results.

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Evolving Patient Care Through Technology

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Advances in technology are improving patient care across many medical facilities. Telehealth is the use of telecommunication technology to enhance medical care for doctors and patients. The use of this technology can improve accessibility, convenience, and quality of care for patients with ongoing medical conditions. There are three main ways telecommunication technology is used in healthcare.

Remote Patient Monitoring

Remote patient monitoring (RMP) uses digital technology to collect patient data remotely. A patient using RPM can have important vital signs like blood pressure, heart rate, glucose levels, and blood oxygen levels measured at home with the results sent wirelessly to physicians.

RPM can allow patients with chronic conditions to avoid full time care and unnecessary hospital readmissions. Early detection of dangerous symptoms can allow doctors to prescribe changes in care that will intercept serious conditions before emergency care is needed. These developments are especially helpful in improving the quality of healthcare for the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.

Electronic Medical Records

The use of technology to create electronic medical records (EMR) works to make a patient’s medical history easily accessible across the medical community. EMRs allow physicians to track data over time through multiple facilities. This technology allows each provider within a medical team to access the same information.

Most patients visit different doctors throughout the course of their life. It may be necessary for a patient to see a general practitioner, specialists, mental professionals, and other caregivers. EMRs allow each of these professionals to access the full medical history of the patient for a clear picture of overall health. This technology allows for more precise diagnosis and eliminates the occurrence of crossover visits for the same condition.

Video Communication

Video communication allows real-time communication between patients and caregivers. This technology is especially important in rural areas or for patients without dependable transportation. Video conferencing can allow patients to connect remotely with doctors, ER doctors to connect remotely with specialists, and provide ongoing education to students and practicing physicians.

The use of video communication combined with RPM can allow patients to replace some in-office visits with in-home telehealth visits. This is expected to be especially helpful for homebound patients and patients who frequently miss appointments. The use of video communication also shows promise in the areas of mental health and substance abuse by providing immediate access to professionals in a comfortable location for patients who are reluctant to attend in-person visits.

The use of technology in the medical profession improves care for patients and convenience for doctors. This type of care eliminates barriers created by distance and will even allow patients to seek the care of physicians in other states.

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The Link Between Diet Soda and Blindness

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Diet soft drinks have been studied for many years and the warnings have gone out repeatedly. Sugar-free soft drinks can increase the risk of diabetes and diabetic retinopathy. Scientists have linked diet drinks to the problem because they actually taste extremely sweet. They trick the body into thinking there is sugar and therefore it responds as if sugar was consumed in mass quantity. In fact, those who drink regular soft drinks with sugar in them do not have this same problem.

In studies of people drinking diet soft drinks, 25% of them have had retinopathy develop. This is a remarkably high percentage. People are being warned to stay away from diet drinks.

Better or Worse?

These drinks are often marketed as being the best choice for those who are weight watching. Many are fooled into thinking of these alternative drink options as a healthy food choice, with the reality being that they are horrible for you. Artificial sweeteners in the soft-drinks have been linked to other health issues besides the retinopathy that ultimately leads to blindness.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the exact condition linked to diet soft drinks. This is an advanced form of retinopathy where new capillaries try to grow and then leak into the clear fluid in the back of the eye, creating cloudy vision that can ultimately lead to total blindness. Treatment exists, a laser surgery called photocoagulation.

What is Retinopathy?

Retinopathy is leaking of the tiny capillaries in the back of the eye. When blood becomes thick, an effect of having high blood sugar, it puts pressure on the walls of the tiniest capillaries in the body first. For some, this is fingers and toes, and for some, the eyes. Many diabetics ultimately go blind from not taking care of their blood sugar.

As the blood leaks out of ruptures in the capillaries, it forms clots and pockets of fluid in the back of the eye that begin to make vision blurry and ultimately can block vision completely, causing total blindness. Victims of retinopathy report vision that comes and goes and starts with blurriness that gets worse, then better, until eventually they may wake-up unable to see at all.

As you might imagine, someone with diabetes may be drinking diet soft drinks thinking that they are making wise choices when they are actually drinking something that can contribute to their risk of retinopathy.

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Common Eye Health Myths

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At some point you may have heard some absurd information about taking care of your eyes and vision. There are a number of myths out there about eye care and eye health. But which ones are true and which ones are false? In this article we will talk about some common eye health myths and how true or how false they may be.

 

Eating Carrots Will Help Restore Vision

 

This is a false statement. Any kind of vegetable is going to be good for you because a majority of them contain Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an essential Vitamin to help your body maintain healthy skin, nails, hair, and vision. Although Vitamin A is good for you, it will not help you restore your vision.

 

Reading Glasses can Substitute Prescription Glasses

 

This statement is not entirely true. Reading glasses and prescription glasses are very different. You can normally find reading glasses in a number of stores on display and open for anyone to purchase. While these kinds of glasses can help your vision with reading fine print they are not ideal. Prescription glasses are specifically made for your eyes where reading glasses are generic. The prescription glasses will help correct astigmatism and have the right position for your eyes to use at all times.

 

Looking At The Sun Will Damage Your Eyes

 

Staring at the sun will hurt your vision if you look long enough. The invisible Ultraviolet Rays coming from the sun can cause common eye disorders such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and many others. Although you should never stare directly at the sun, the worst time of day to do so is midday or during a solar eclipse.

 

Sitting Too Close To The TV Can Damage Your Eyesight

This statement is false. When television was first introduced, the TV sets gave off low levels of radiation. At that time, sitting too close to a television increased the risk of eye problems in some people. Modern day televisions do not give off any kind of harmful radiation therefore not running any risk of permanent damage to your eyes.

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Questions To Ask Your Eye Doctor

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If you have an appointment with your eye doctor coming up, it is important to know what kind of questions to ask them when the time comes. For any appointment you have coming up it is important to prepare yourself with relevant questions for your health care professional. Here we will briefly talk about what kind of preparation and questions you should prepare before your appointment.

 

Certain questions should be asked depending on what the cause of your visit is. If it is a normal checkup then you will not have to have the same questions prepared compared to if you are going to get a different prescription or discussing current vision problems.

 

Basic Questions

 

Regardless of your reasoning for having an appointment with your eye doctor there are some basic questions that you should ask every time. Here are some examples of basic questions for your eye doctor:

 

  • What kind of tests will I be undergoing today?
  • What are some ways I can monitor my eye health and vision?
  • How often should I schedule an eye exam?
  • What kind of lifestyle changes could I make to help with my vision health?

 

These generic questions will give you a wealth of information that can help you understand your vision health and maintain it outside of your doctor’s office.

 

Elevated Questions

 

If you are visiting your eye doctor to discuss recent changes in your vision or dealing with an ongoing vision problem, the questions you ask may be a bit different. Here are a list of some questions that may be relevant to ask:

 

  • Will I need medication or surgery for my vision problem?
  • What future symptoms should I be aware of?
  • Am I still able to drive?
  • Are there any side effects from the prescribed medications?
  • While Insurance cover the costs of the treatment?

 

These questions are a bit more serious but are necessary depending on the severity of your vision problems.

 

Always come prepared to your eye doctor visits and you will gain much more out of the time with your doctor then if you did not come prepared. Trust your doctor and their decisions and bring a friend with you just in case you undergo tests that prohibit you from driving a short amount of time afterwards.

 

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Using Virtual Reality To Train Eye Doctors

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New technological advances such as virtual reality (VR) have been used to help eye care patients in recent years. Now, some companies are utilizing the incredibly useful VR technology for training doctors for real life situations. This article will briefly talk about how VR is being used to train doctors and the positive outcomes of VR and other developing technologies.

Testing

Normally, eye doctors would receive training on on surgical procedures from observation and on patients. This can be a risky way of training surgeons and VR is helping to eliminate the risk entirely. A biotech company called Genentech has developed a high-grade version of VR that eye surgeons can use to simulate performing surgery on patients.

Tech

In recent years, the VR headsets had only been used for gaming purposes. The headsets tended to have a delay making the technology at the time unusable for medical testing and procedures. Now, with costs lowered for the VR headsets and the improvement of the tech, VR can be used more seriously in medical practice. Putting on the VR headset, the surgeon is immersed into a world where the smallest movements and gestures affect what they see and hear. Surgeons can now simulate performing common procedures such as cataract surgery with real tools laid out for them. Everything about the VR procedure is as real as it can be but, biotech companies like Genentech are still looking to improve the VR tech to the most optimal level.=

Other Uses

Many biotech companies are investing in VR and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies to improve many medical procedures. The popularity of VR and AR technologies continues to rise every year and seeps into many other industries. Companies such as Walmart and the United Parcel Service (UPS) are using VR and AR to simulate driving situations. Before their drivers hit the road, they are having them go through an immersive training using VR tech that very closely resembles life-like driving situations. This way drivers are much more prepared to deal with stressful situations on the road. VR tech continues to grow and has a massive amount of potential for all industries.

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Eyewear Trends in 2019

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Whether one has a prescription for them or just likes wearing them to make a fashion statement, eyewear is one of the hottest style accessories going. The right pair or pairs can transform an ensemble, attitude and turn heads. Every season, new eyewear trends emerge, and for 2019, both the runway and social media are showing off all kinds of bold and beautiful frames. TV icons like Oprah Winfrey are obsessed with striking eyewear and don’t leave home without a snazzy pair on. There are plenty of cool options just waiting to enhance every unique face shape and set of features out there.

New York-based eyewear company Vint & York is always at the forefront of fashionable eyewear and sees 2019 as an opportunity to treat one’s peepers to some vibrancy in color, revamped classics or a pair adorned with extraordinary details.

For instance, the popular eyewear designers are forecasting strong red frames as one choice that also leads to pink and purple frames. These flirty girly shades give a woman a playful vibe and are especially appealing to college-age students.

Classic gold metal eyeglasses are a sophisticated option for both men and women, and in 2019, round frames in gold are perfect for the work environment. This style is refined and simple and never goes out of fashion.

Vint & York also fancy eyeglass frames in modern prints to dazzle the eyes. Marble-toned frames are a great take on the classic tortoiseshell look and give the wearer’s ensemble that extra touch of hipness. In addition, vintage nude frames are hot in shades like caramel, light brown and beige. Trying on a pair in an oval frame is the ultimate since the oval silhouette is one of the chicest of the moment.

When it comes to sunglasses, 2019 is also eyeing bigger and bolder trends in every sense of the word. For instance, patterns aren’t shy in the least, especially animal prints like the zebra or black and white checkered designs. These frames say “Look at me” and well, everyone does.

A pair of sunnies bedazzled in crystals are ideal and bring out the bling, and Stella McCartney has rolled out some sexy, tinted futuristic shades.

Eyewear trends for 2019 are anything but demure or plain.

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