How You See the World | How the World Sees You

Archive for November, 2011

Turkey Vision and Other Quick Gobbler Facts

Happy Thanksgiving from Shawnee OpticalToday is Thanksgiving and it’s appropriate to share a few brief facts about turkeys. After all, they are the centerpiece of so many American dinner tables today.

Our specialty is eye care, so we naturally asked ourselves the question, “How well can turkeys see?  We did our research and here’s what we found out about a turkey’s vision as well as some other interesting facts about these birds. Note, the below relates specifically to wild turkeys, not their domestic cousins, who are actually the ones that the majority of us will roast in our ovens.

A True Native American

Wild turkeys are native to the forests of North America and are the only breed of poultry indigenous to the Western Hemisphere. Turkeys live in a wide variety of habitat but are most commonly found in hardwood forests with grassy areas.

An adult wild turkey has approximately 5,500 feathers and weighs between 10-20 pounds on average.  Their lifespan usually ranges from 3-5 years.

Wild turkeys were first domesticated in Mexico. Spanish explorers returned to Europe with turkeys from North America as early as 1519.

Nearly Extinct

Wild turkeys were on the verge of joining the dinosaurs. In the 1930’s, habitat destruction and overhunting had placed this bird on the brink of extinction. However, do to the efforts of environmentalists and hunters alike, the wild turkey has made a remarkable comeback. Today, wild turkey numbers have swelled to over 7 million.


Exceptional Eyesight

Wild turkeys have excellent vision during daylight hours. Turkeys see color and have a very wide field of vision. In general, their eyesight is about three times better than a human’s.

As any experienced turkey hunter knows, particular attention must be paid to what a person wears on a turkey hunt. Camouflage attire needs to match the surrounding terrain very closely. Otherwise, the turkeys can distinguish a hunter’s slightest movement very easily from over 100 yards away.

When turkeys see danger, they can flee rather quickly. A wild turkey can run at speeds of 25 mph and fly short distances at 55 mph.


Our National Symbol

If Benjamin Franklin would have gotten his way, the turkey would be our national bird instead of the bald eagle. In a letter to his daughter, Franklin wrote:

For my own part I wish the Eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character…. The Turkey is in comparison a much more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America. He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a bird of courage, and would not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on.

Thanksgiving is a time to pause and give thanks for all the precious things in life including healthy and clear vision. Shawnee Optical wishes you and your family a Peaceful and Happy Thanksgiving!

To learn more about quality eye care and eye wear (for humans, not turkeys), please visit

Eye Health and Diabetes

eye health and diabetesThis month (November) is American Diabetes Month and brings with it a focus on stopping this growing disease. The American Diabetes Association reports that over 26 million children and adults in the United States live with diabetes. An even more staggering statistic is the number of Americans at high risk for developing the disease. That total is estimated to currently exceed 79 million people. Diabetes is having a dramatically negative impact on the physical, emotional and financial welfare of this country.

Diabetes can be detrimental to your vision and overall eye health. Regularly scheduled visits to your optometrist are essential in helping to detect the disease and preventing or treating diabetes-related eye problems if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease caused by either (1) the inability of the pancreas to produce a hormone called insulin or; (2) the body’s inability to use the insulin properly. When you eat food or drink a beverage, the body’s digestive system begins to break down the food into sugars or glucose. The sugars pass into the bloodstream and are transported to the body’s cells via insulin.

Under normal conditions, the pancreas produces the correct amount of insulin to accommodate the levels of sugar. With diabetes, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, the pancreas produces no insulin whatsoever or the body’s cells do not respond normally to insulin. As a result of one or more of these conditions, sugar levels in the blood build up, which is commonly referred to as “high blood sugar”

The Effects of High Blood Sugar on Vision

High blood sugar associated with diabetes causes the lens of the eye to swell and may blur vision. To correct this type of eye problem, blood sugar levels must be controlled and restored to normal levels. The blurred vision from high blood sugar levels is typically a temporary situation and a corrective lens is not necessary.

Common Eye Problems Linked to Diabetes   

The three (3) most common eye problems that may develop as a result of diabetes are Cataracts, Glaucoma and Diabetic Retinopathy.

Anyone can develop cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye). However, diabetics are susceptible to developing cataracts at younger ages. In addition, cataracts are likely to progress at a more rapid pace with diabetics compared to people with cataracts that do not have diabetes.

Glaucoma is a build-up of pressure in the eye due to the inability of fluid to drain properly from the eye. The excess pressure damages nerves and blood vessels in the eye and impairs vision.

The duration of one’s diabetes is the most contributing factor to the development of diabetic retinopathy. Therefore, the longer a person lives with diabetes the more risk of this serious eye condition. Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the blood vessels in the retina of the eye as a result of diabetes.

Preventing Eye Problems with Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association offers the following eye care guidelines for people with diabetes to help prevent eye problems:

(1) People with type 1 diabetes should have a dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist within three to five years after diagnosis.

(2) People with type 2 diabetes should have a dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist shortly after diagnosis.

(3) Annual eye exams should be done with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes by an ophthalmologist or optometrist; more frequently if necessary.

(4) When considering pregnancy, women with a history of diabetes should have an eye exam prior and during pregnancy. This does not pertain to women with gestational diabetes.

(5) To prevent eye problems in diabetes, you should:

  • Control your blood sugar
  • Control high blood pressure

Talk to Your Eye Doctor       

Your optometrist can play a very important role if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. It’s important to notify him or her of the disease in order to formulate a plan to keep your vision clear and your eyes healthy.

To learn more about quality eye care and eye wear, please Contact Us or visit

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