How You See the World | How the World Sees You

Eye anatomy and eye careThe retina is a thin, light-sensitive membrane covering the rear of the eye. It’s the part of the eye where images are focused by the cornea and lens. The images displayed on the retina are transmitted to the visual centers of the brain by the optic nerve. In fact, the retina is technically part of the body’s central nervous system and is considered brain tissue.

Approximately 95% of the retina is responsible for side vision or peripheral vision. The remaining 5% located in the very center of the retina is known as the macula and allows for central vision.

If the retina becomes damaged or separates from the back wall of the eye, it’s a condition known as retinal detachment.  When a retinal detachment occurs, it’s a serious condition that needs attention. A retinal detachment causes the retina to separate from its blood and nutritional supply which could lead to loss of peripheral vision, central vision or both.

There are three (3) main types of retinal detachment:

retinal detachmentRhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment (RRD)

This is the most common type of retinal detachment. The term rhegmatogenous means “arising from a rupture or a fracture”.  Rhegmatogeous retinal detachment occurs when there is a hole or a tear in the retina. The break in the retina allows the gel-like substance from the vitreous cavity of the eye to seep through the opening causing the retina to detach from the eye wall.

Tractional Retinal Detachment (TRD)

A tractional retinal detachment is a retinal detachment caused by the gel like substance within the vitreous cavity of the eye pulling on the retina which eventually causes the retina to detach from the rear eye wall.

Exudative Retinal Detachment (ERD)

An exudative retinal detachment occurs as a result of a leak under the retina which allows the gel-like vitreous substance to enter behind the retina. These types of leaks are typically caused by inflammation.

Symptoms of Retinal Detachment

Flashing lights and eye floaters are common early symptoms associated with a retinal tear or retinal detachment.  If a dark shadow or dark curtain obscures a portion of vision, this is also an indicator of retinal detachment.  Anyone who experiences these symptoms should schedule an exam with their eye doctor immediately.

Learn more about quality eye care and eye wear from a company and a team of eye care professionals who have been providing a superior level of service for more than 35 years. Please visit www.shawneeoptical.com.

Eye Floaters

Eye floater is a term used to describe the tiny black or gray shapes that appear in your field of vision. Floaters can be especially noticeable when you are looking at something bright like a clear blue sky or a whiteboard.

For the most part, eye floaters are perfectly normal. However, floaters can also be a symptom of a serious eye condition. It’s important to understand what floaters are, how they are caused and when you need to discuss the floaters you are seeing with your eye doctor.

What are Eye Floaters

A large part of the eye is filled with a clear jelly-like substance called vitreous humor. Dispersed throughout the vitreous humor are millions of microscopic protein fibers called collagen.

As we age, the consistency of the vitreous humor becomes more liquefied which allows the tiny collagen fibers to stick together creating small debris particles. These tiny particles block light entering the eye and cast a shadow on the retina causing you to see an eye floater.

Vitreous Humoreye floater

Floaters will appear in many sizes and shapes including:

  • Dots
  • Rings
  • Thread-like strands
  • Squiggly lines
  • Cobwebs

When you see a floater and try to focus on it, the floater will generally move away rapidly.

 When Floaters Are a Sign of Serious Eye Conditions

During regularly scheduled eye exams, you should discuss any eye floaters you may be seeing with your eye care professional. It’s a topic that he or she wants to know about.

Sometimes, eye floaters can be a sign of serious eye conditions such as:

  • Retinal tear
  • Retinal detachment
  • Internal bleeding of the eye

If the frequency of eye floaters appears to increase suddenly or if eye floaters are accompanied by flashes of light, you should contact your eye doctor immediately.

Learn more about quality eye care and eye wear from a company and a team of eye care professionals who have been providing a superior level of service for more than 35 years. Please visit www.shawneeoptical.com.

Eye Color

Songs are written about it:

“Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”

“Brown-Eyed Girl”

“Behind These Hazel Eyes”

It is used to describe people:

“A pretty girl with blonde hair and blue eyes”

“A charming man with deep brown eyes”

Eye color captures our attention and our interest.  So what determines the color of your eyes?

Iris

Eye Diagram for Iris and PupilEye color is produced by the amount of pigment contained in the iris. The iris is the colored part of the eye that surrounds the pupil. The iris controls the size of the pupil which regulates the amount of light that is allowed to enter the eye.

As the size of the pupils change with different lighting conditions, the pigment within the iris can spread apart and contract causing variations in eye color. Pupil sizes can also change with emotions causing different eye colors when your mood changes.

Genetics

eye color and geneticsThe amount of pigment in the iris and the pattern of the pigment is a product of genetics.  The DNA received from your parents was the determining factor in how much pigment is contained in the iris part of your eye and therefore, your eye color.

We all have 46 chromosomes located in the cells of our bodies which are grouped into 23 pairs. A child inherits one chromosome from each of the parents’ 23 different pairs. Once the child’s chromosomes are established, they are the blueprints for all his or her physical characteristics, including eye color.

If you are expecting a baby and would like to know what eye color your child may have, there are a variety of easy to use websites that will help you make a prediction. For example, The Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Genetics has a website with an Eye Color Calculator. This site can be visited via the following link:  www.thetech.org

Changes in Eye Color

A new-born infant’s eye color can change significantly during the first 6-9 months of life and slight changes in eye color throughout one’s life are a normal part of the aging process, as the pigment contained with the iris changes. However, if you experience a dramatic change in eye color, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem. You should contact your eye doctor for an exam.

Learn more about quality eye care and eye wear from a company and a team of eye care professionals who have been providing a superior level of service for more than 35 years. Please visit www.shawneeoptical.com.

color blindnessWhen someone is color blind, they do not have the ability to see colors normally.  Color blindness (a.k.a. color vision deficiency) is the inability or the reduced ability to see and distinguish all the different colors of the spectrum.

In today’s technology-driven and color-enhanced world, color blindness can create challenges with everyday life. Here’s an overview of this eye condition and things to consider for students in the classroom and employees in the workplace:

Cause of Color Blindness 

Color blindness does not cause a loss of vision. The term simply refers to an issue with a person’s capacity to completely see and distinguish colors. The most common cause of color blindness is the development of retinal cones.

The retina is comprised of two types of very sensitive light receptors called rods and cones. Rods and cones filter and process elements of light that get transmitted to the optic nerve. Cones provide the ability to see and distinguish color.

There are different types of retinal cones that determine what specific colors will be seen. If one of these types of cones are missing or do not function properly, a person will have trouble seeing certain colors.

Most color blindness is genetically related and is far more common in males than females. In fact, about 1 in 10 males have some type of color blindness.

Color blindness can also be caused by damage to the eye, the optic nerve or certain parts of the brain.

What People with Color Blindness See

In order to understand the impact of color blindness on a person’s everyday life, it’s important to know what they see compared to a person with no vision deficiency problems. Here are examples when viewing the same set of colors:

no color blindness

Normal Vision (No color blindness)

Deuteranopia

Color Blindness –                Deuteranopia (A)

protanopia

Color Blindness –
Protanopia (B)

tritanopia

Color Blindness –
Tritanopia (C)

monochromacy

Complete Color Blindness – Monochromacy (D)

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(A) Deuteranopia – This is a type of red-green color blindness. While seeing red and green colors are the main problem, there are also other colors that cannot be distinguished well such as gray, purple and blue-green.

(B) Protanopia – This is also a type of red-green color blindness where there are difficulties distinguishing primarily between blue and green colors and also between red and green colors.

(C) Tritanopia – This is a type of blue-yellow color blindness and is far less common that red-green color blindness.

(D)Monochromacy – This is a rare form of color blindness where no color is seen.  

color blindness in the classroomColor Blindness Considerations for Students in the Classroom

The days of teachers using blackboards and chalk are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Today, teachers use whiteboards and PowerPoint presentations full of color.

While these tools may enhance the learning process for the majority of students, they can cause challenges and frustrations for students with color blindness.

It’s important to know if a student is color blind so teachers can be informed and make appropriate adjustments in the classroom.

color blindness in the workplaceColor Blindness Considerations for Employees at the Workplace

Problems seeing color can also impact an employee’s ability to perform on the job.

From charts and graphs to what cable gets plugged into what port on your computer,  colors can make it easier for most employees to do their job, but when an employee is color blind, it can create difficulties with performance.

Just like in the classroom, awareness of color blindness is essential in the workplace.  For instance, there are special types of software available to help transform computer screen displays into colors that are distinguishable for employees with color blindness.

Importance of Eye Exams

Testing for color blindness is an important part of regularly schedule eye exams. Detecting color blindness as early as possible provides the information necessary to make necessary adjustments in the classroom, the workplace and every other aspect of everyday life.

Learn more about quality eye care and eye wear from a company and a team of eye care professionals who have been providing a superior level of service for more than 35 years. Please visit www.shawneeoptical.com. While on the website, notice the special eyeglass frames offered just for children. Shawnee Optical’s KidSpecs program provides kids of all ages with hundreds of frames choices. After all, kids want to look good too!

Vision and LearningRemember when teachers used to write with chalk on blackboards? Today, those blackboards, chalk and erasers have been largely replaced with whiteboards, markers and Power Point presentations.

The question parents and teachers ask their students still remains just about the same:

“Are you having any trouble seeing the blackboard whiteboard at school?”

Parents and teachers know vision plays a vital role in a student’s ability to learn.  In today’s technology driven world, a student’s reliance on clear vision for learning is greater than ever. Research studies show a direct link between vision and a student’s performance in the classroom.

More Information Learned Visually

Various research studies conducted in educational theory show that visual learning is among the very best methods for teaching students of all ages how to learn.

According to the research, students remember information at a much higher rate when that information is presented visually.

Visual Clarity Improves Learning 

Studies also show that visual clarity of the information being studied greatly impacts the ease at which it is learned and the attitude of the student.  Students have a positive approach to the information if they can see it clearly and easily. This has huge implications on learning. A student’s feelings and perceptions about learning determine the student’s level of motivation, comprehension and retention. Crisp and clear vision is critical for optimal academic performance. If a student has a vision problem, they are likely to be frustrated with school and develop a poor attitude towards their education.

Color Vision for Whiteboards and Computer Screens

The increasing use of whiteboards and Power Point presentations in the classroom allow teachers to use a wide variety of colors in their teaching. If a student has an issue with their color vision (color blindness), they may not be able to see or distinguish important parts of the teacher’s presentation. This can have a significant impact on understanding a teaching lesson and learning. Boys are more likely to have issues with color vision than girls.

Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Academic performance is yet another reason why attending regular scheduled eye exams are so important. Talk to your eye doctor about your child’s academic performance and whether they are having trouble seeing the information presented to them in the classroom. It can be surprising how well a student’s grades improve when vision problems are corrected.

Learn more about quality eye care and eye wear from a company and a team of eye care professionals who have been providing a superior level of service for more than 35 years. Please visit www.shawneeoptical.com. While on the website, notice the special eyeglass frames offered just for children. Shawnee Optical’s KidSpecs program provides kids of all ages with hundreds of frames choices. After all, kids want to look good too!

Macular DegenerationMacular degeneration is an eye condition where the macula area of the retina begins to breakdown and deteriorates.  The macula is a small part of the overall retina, but is critical to central vision and seeing small details. The macula is the part of the retina that allows you to use your sight for such tasks as reading a computer screen, viewing a text message or setting the cooking time on the microwave oven.   The remaining part of the retina is called the peripheral retina. This part of the retina gives you side or peripheral vision.

Many people develop macular degeneration as they age into the senior years of life. There are various macular related eye problems, but age-related macular degeneration or AMD is the most common.

Causes and Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration usually does not affect side or peripheral vision. However, it does impact central vision. Symptoms of macular degeneration may include blurred central vision, dark areas in central vision or loss of central vision.

Macular degeneration is normally caused by the formation of deposits under the retina or the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina.

There are two types of macular degeneration:  dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration.

Dry Macular Degeneration

The dry form of macular degeneration is the most common.  Deposits form under the retina causing the tissues of the macula to become thin and stop working properly.  With dry macular degeneration, the loss of vision is typically a slow and gradual process.

Wet Macular Degeneration

The more problematic type of macular degeneration is wet macular degeneration. It can cause significant damage to central vision.  Wet macular degeneration is a condition where abnormal blood vessels develop under the retina. These blood vessels can leak fluid or blood and distort vision. Loss of vision from wet macular degeneration is usually much faster and more noticeable than dry macular degeneration.

Importance of Regular Eye Exams for Detecting Macular Degeneration 

Many people who develop macular degeneration are not aware of this eye condition until they start to notice vision problems.  Diagnosing macular degeneration early is vital to preserving central vision. It’s one of the many reasons why scheduling and attending regular eye exams as recommended by your eye doctor are so important.

Learn more about quality eye care and eye wear from a company and a team of eye care professionals who have been providing a superior level of service for more than 35 years. Please visit www.shawneeoptical.com.

Focus on Astigmatism

AstigmatismAstigmatism is a type of refractive error of the eye. It is not a disease of the eye. Rather, it is simply a problem with how the eye focuses light. Other types of common refractive errors include nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). Frequently, astigmatism and nearsightedness or farsightedness affect one or both eyes simultaneously.

Clear and crisp vision is created by how different parts of the eye bend or refract light that passes through them. The process of refracting light to achieve perfect vision starts at the front part of the eye with the cornea. The process continues as light travels through the lens of the eye and ends with light properly focusing at a single point on the retina located at the back of the eye.

In an eye with astigmatism, there is an irregular shape of either the cornea or the lens of the eye. This irregularity makes it difficult to focus light precisely on the retina.  Instead, light comes to a focus either in front of the retina or behind the retina, resulting in distorted vision. Astigmatism usually will cause blurred vision in objects being viewed at both far distances in close proximity.

Corneal Astigmatism

The cornea is the clear, rounded-dome part of the eye covering the iris and the pupil. In a normal eye, the cornea is smooth and equally curved in all directions. As described above, this is essential for properly refracting light that enters the eye and creating clear vision. If the cornea has an irregular shape, it will not refract light properly. This type of astigmatism is called corneal astigmatism.

Lenticular Astigmatism

Just like with the cornea, the shape of the lens of the eye must be equally curved in all directions to correctly refract light and achieve perfect vision. If the lens has an abnormal shape, it will not bend light accurately. This type of astigmatism is referred to as lenticular astigmatism.

Correcting Astigmatism

Similar to nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism can usually be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses.

In the past, rigid contact lenses could only be utilized for astigmatism. Now, special types of soft contact lenses called toric contact lenses are available for astigmatism.

The appropriate type of corrective lens used for the correction of astigmatism, whether eyeglasses, soft contact lenses or rigid contact lenses is typically determined by the severity of the astigmatism.

Surgery is also an option for some people to correct astigmatism, including laser eye surgery (LASIK).

Importance of Starting Regular Eye Exams Early in Life

Astigmatism usually causes vision to be distorted regardless of whether the object being viewed is close or far away.  The blurred vision from astigmatism may lead to squinting, eye strain and chronic headaches. For adults, these symptoms are easily identified. However, they may difficult for a child to recognize.

Astigmatism often occurs early in life. In fact, many people are born with it. Detecting astigmatism early is important for a child not only to identify and correct vision problems but also to help prevent other developmental issues.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends infants have their first eye exam conducted when they reach 6 months of age. Testing for astigmatism is one of the reasons why an eye exam is important so early in a child’s life.

Learn more about quality eye care and eye wear from a company and a team of eye care professionals who have been providing a superior level of service for more than 35 years. Please visit www.shawneeoptical.com.

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