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Astigmatism

Astigmatism

In the course of an Optometrist’s daily professional life, patients will often ask “What is astigmatism ?”  In response, there is usually a brief period of silence to run through, in the Optometrist’s mind, which of the stock responses will be best suited to this patient.

Some will describe astigmatism in terms of the shape of the eyeball, or more specifically the cornea. Often holding a model eye in hand, earnest attempts are made to explain ‘the toroidal surfaces found in astigmatic optics via various allusions’. References to differences between dessert spoons and soup spoons, rugby balls and soccer balls, eggs and ping pong balls are then offered to the patient as further descriptions.

This is usually followed by another period of slightly longer silence, while the patient tries to determine how having an eyeball the same shape as a rugby ball gives them blurry vision. All the while, the Optometrist sits in hopeful anticipation that the explanation has been sufficient.

- sourced from MiVision, August 2018 publication

Good Foods

January 2019

Did you know you can help protect your retina against ultraviolet light damage by eating ‘carotenoid’ foods – the yellow, orange and green coloured ones. These include: pumpkin, carrot, winter squash, leafy greens, sweet potato, tomatoes, papaya, grapefruit, watermelon, brussel sprouts, yellow corn, oranges, sweet peppers. Apparently the ‘carotenoids’ from these foods deposit in the retina at concentrations 1,000 times the quantity than in the bloodstream.

The retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye on the inside, located near the optic nerve. The purpose of the retina is to receive light that the lens has focused on, convert that light in to neural signals and send these signals on to the brain for visual recognition.

Festive Season

Wishing you all a very safe and happy Festive Season

Our office is now closed until Monday, 7 January

See you in the New Year - Regards, David & Christine

Blind Foundation

October 2018

Did you know the Blind Foundation is New Zealand’s main provider of practical vision rehabilitation and emotional support for Kiwis who are blind or have low vision?

They are there to help and their services include:

  • Day-to-day living techniques
  • Counselling and support
  • Help accessing information and technology
  • Employment readiness

Part of their role is also to support people in facing their future with confidence so they can continue to do the things they want to do and live the life they choose, despite reduced vision.

Once your eye health specialist, or Optometrist, has referred you to the Blind Foundation they will be in touch promptly. In the meantime, you are welcome to contact the Blind Foundation directly to find out more about what they can offer. Call: 0800 24 33 33 or email: info@blindfoundation.org.nz and their website: www.blindfoundation.org.nz if you wish to do more research.

We @ Otumoetai Optometrists are also here to help so don't be shy to ask if you have any concerns about your vision or eye health.

 

Kumara

August 2018

'Sight-saving' sweet potatoes - Kumara ??

Fortifying vegetables could help people in some of the world’s poorest regions to stave off blindness related to vitamin A deficiency, according to researchers in South Africa.

Researchers at the Agricultural Research Council in Pretoria are developing bio-fortified versions of sweet potato to combat vitamin A deficiency. Several varieties of sweet potato (which is a popular staple in the region) contain high levels of beta-carotene. Two of the varieties tested, Implio and Purple Sunset, were found to have (in a125g serving), 113% and 261% of a child’s vitamin A requirement, respectively.

It is hoped that selective seeding will further increase the beta-carotene availability and that the research will help in other countries where vitamin A deficiency is prevalent. According to the World Health Organisation, vitamin A deficiency is an issue in more than half of countries worldwide.

Quirky Stuff

Quirky Stuff  -  12 June 2018

According to scientists, eyes evolved around 540 million years ago as simple light detecting organs. Today, vision is the most important sense for many animals, humans included, and they have became incredibly varied and complex. Over the next few weeks we will take a look at some of the strangest and most incredible eyes in the animal kingdom.

We all imagine pupils to be round – as they are the type we see most often (on humans) – but goats (and most other animals with hooves) have horizontal slits which are nearly rectangular when dilated. This gives goats vision covering 320 – 340 degrees; meaning they can see virtually all around them without having to move (humans have vision covering 160 – 210 degrees). Consequently, animals with rectangular eyes can see better at night due to having larger pupils that can be closed more tightly during the day to restrict light. Interestingly, octopuses also have rectangular pupils.

Giant Squid have the largest eye in the animal kingdom. At up to 10 inches in diameter, people often describe it as the size of a dinner plate or, in other words, as big as a human head.  Why do they need such big eyes? The deep ocean is so dark that bigger eyes probably don't help the Giant Squid pinpoint and hunt small food. However by drawing in even a bit more light this could help them see larger shadowy shifts in the depths - like those produced by an enormous predator. A study published in March 2012 suggested that Giant Squid could detect a moving sperm whale from 394 feet (120 meters) with those big eyes.

Macular Degeneration

May 2018

May is Macular Month – raising awareness of Macular Degeneration, more important than many of us realise. We’ve not written about MD (Macular Degeneration) for a while so here goes …

New Zealand is on the cusp of a significant demographic change – by 2030 (that’s only 12 years away !!) 1 in 4 people will be over the age of 65 years. They will also be living longer then previous generations and almost half of them don’t know about this eye disease. How will NZ cope with the health needs of a rapidly growing older population? Awareness toward possible prevention is a good start …

Macular Degeneration is the main cause of vision loss in New Zealand, affecting one in seven people over the age of 50 years. Sadly, people brush aside their failing eyesight as being ‘a sign of old age’ when in fact early detection of MD allows for steps to be taken that can arrest the progress of the disease.

So what is the Macular? It is the central part of the retina, responsible to see fine detail and the retina is where images are formed by the light that comes through the pupil. 

​   The optic nerve sends the image to the brain for processing.

Macula Degeneration is damage or breakdown of this area leading to loss of vision. Prevention is the best way to alleviate this happening - see our Blog from May 2016. More importantly having regular vision and eye health checks can diagnose deterioration in the early stages and in most cases further damage may be alleviated with treatment.

So don’t take the Kiwi “she’ll be right” attitude, have your eyes checked and keep having regular checks as directed by your Optometrist or Doctor.

Go to www.mdnz.org.nz to find out more, directly from Macular Degeneration New Zealand.

 

Trivia

Welcome to 2018 !! To the start the year - here is some important trivia :

 

Human eyes are not the most highly evolved. The mantis shrimp has four times as many color receptors as the human eye and some can see ultraviolet light.

Pigeons can see millions of different hues, and have better colour vision than most animals on earth.

Cat’s eyes have almost 285 degrees of sight in three dimensions – ideal peripheral vision for hunting.

Although colour blind, cuttlefish can perceive light polarization, which enhances their perception of contrast.

A moth’s eyes are covered with a water-repellent, anti-reflective coating.

Eyes on horses and zebras point sideways, giving them tremendous peripheral vision, to the point of almost being able to see behind them, but it also means they have a blind spot right in front of their noses.

Video Game Syndrome

 

20 December 2017

Wishing you all a safe and happy Festive Season, we will be back in the office on Wednesday 3 January 2018.

Video Game Vision Syndrome: A New Clinical Picture in Children?

30 minutes or more of video games on a daily basis could adversely affect visual development in children according to a new study.
Published in the Journal of Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, researchers examined the possible relationship between certain visual issues in children, aged between 3 and 10 years, and their exposure to video games and electronic screens.

A total of 320 children were observed using ophthalmological examination which included assessment of stereoscopic vision and identification of the dominant eye using the Dolman method. A questionnairewas also used.
Of the 320 patients, 49.7% (23 in the control group and 136 in the video game group) reported at least one symptom of asthenopia. Of these, 25.6% (85 patients) suffered from headaches and 3.4% suffered from transient diplopia. Furthermore, eyelid tic was present in 5.3% of patients and 2.8% reported dizziness. The percentage of children with stereopsis was less in the video game group than in the control group, and the percentage of those with heterophoria was higher in the video game group.
The results suggested that children who played video games for 30 minutes or more every day were much more likely to have asthenopic complaints than those who played video games for less time (control group).

Reference:
Rechichi C, De Mojà G, Aragona P. Video Game Vision Syndrome: A New Clinical Picture in Children?. J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 2017; 54: 346-355. doi: 10.3928/01913913-20170510-01 [link]

Bonobo

26 October 2017 

A study in the journal ‘Current Biology’ suggests that Bonobos, our closest genetic animal relative, have visual requirements similar to our own. It has been seen that as Bonobos age they have to hold objects further away from themselves to gain a clear focus. The older they get the longer they stretch their arms from the rest of their bodies as they groom each other. Like humans, this change appears to be due to a declining ability of the crystalline lens to make power shifts as they age. This information also suggests that the changes in vision that we experience after aged 40 are not caused by human life requirements but are a naturally occurring change for all primates.

Bonobos: along with the common chimpanzee, the bonobo is the closest extant relative to humans.

Some additional fun facts: 

An ant only has two eyes, but each eye contains lots of smaller eyes, giving it a “compound eye.”

Eagles have 1 million light-sensitive cells per square millimeter of the retina – humans only have 200,000.

A honeybee’s eye is made of thousands of small lenses. A drone may have up to 8,600 and the queen be can have 3,000-4,000 lenses.

The night vision of tigers is 6 times better than humans.

Glaucoma

July 2017 - Glaucoma NZ’s Annual Awareness Appeal.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness throughout the world.

For the majority of people, the diagnosis of glaucoma isn’t all bad news. Known as ‘the silent thief’ glaucoma is an incurable disease although it’s progress can be slow and most patients will retain useful vision throughout their lives.

We could bombard you with research results, figures & statistics but the fact is that early detection is the best policy. Therefore, the key is to have regular and frequent eye health checks, especially if there is a history of glaucoma in your family or extended family. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, please tell your family members so they are aware to keep vigilant as well. Nobody wants to lose their sight.

Case Study: The chance read of a recent NZWW article featuring Sir Richard Hadlee and his wife Dianne, encouraged a sports mad Cantabrian to get his vision checked. Turns out he had the early onset of Glaucoma which, if left untreated, would have rendered him blind in later years. This person was also on the Board of a local DHB and admits he “should have known better, and kept up with more frequent vision checks”. Sir Richard and Lady Dianne are ambassadors for Glaucoma NZ since his late mother lost her sight in 2004.

Please visit glaucoma.org.nz to make a donation.

OCT Scanner

1 June 2017

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) is a scanning technique, effectively ‘optical ultrasound’ which scans reflections from within translucent, or opaque, tissue to provide cross-sectional images. The technique delivers high resolution images because it is based on laser light, rather than sound. It is extremely important to note that the laser light output is low, eye-safe and near infra-red therefore no damage is likely. Another description of how an OCT scanner works is like an ‘echo technique’ similar to ‘ultrasound imaging’.

In a few seconds we can now produce a 3D image of the back of your eye, showing the different layers of the retina. These images can be stored for analysis, future comparisons and/or referral to specialists if required. 

This is our new tool for assisting with eye health diagnosis and onward referrals.

World Glaucoma Week

10 March 2017

International Glaucoma Week (12-18 March 2017)

Launching in New York with an all-day event in Times Square, ‘BIG’ is the byword for Beat Invisible Glaucoma for inventive awareness events all around the globe during World Glaucoma Week (WGW). The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified glaucoma as the second leading cause of blindness, with 79.6 million people expected to have lost their sight from glaucoma by 2020. New strategies concerning glaucoma screening, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation are mandatory.

The Sneak Thief of Sight – Glaucoma, if not treated, will impair your eyesight which can have major repercussions in many aspects of life. Strictly speaking Glaucoma cannot be cured, but it can be controlled so that further damage is slowed or halted – depending on what type of Glaucoma is present. It is important to realise that any loss of vision cannot be regained and you often do not notice the gradual decline in vision until it is too late. Having an early diagnosis for the presence of glaucoma is vital – regular vision and eye health checks with your Optometrist.

If you have a family history of Glaucoma it is crucial you be checked frequently and regularly and everyone over the age of 40 years should be checked for Glaucoma at least every 2 years. If you have Glaucoma it will be with you for the rest of your life.

Source: NZ Optics, March 2017

Blue Light

2 February 2017

Blue Light – Is your ‘device’ hurting you ??
The body of research on the visible spectrum and particular wavelengths of light is immense and while some effects of exposure are well established others are still being investigated.

Light is essential for various functions. It helps us to see better, it helps us with our visual acuity and contrast acuity and it helps us perceive colours.However, some components of natural light can be harmful to the cells of our bodies and these harmful rays tend to be mainly in the part of the spectrum where the light radiates at a high frequency.

Most people are aware that light in the UV and violet regions are particularly harmful to eyes. However, the Blue-Violet range with frequencies between 400 nm to 470 nm has also been linked to retinal damage and cell decay following direct exposure in laboratory and animal studies. The
blue light emitted from illuminated screens such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones peaks around the 460nm point.

In a 2016 study which assessed the blue light hazard from a variety of light sources by measuring luminance, researchers from the Centre for Radiation, Chemical, and Environmental Hazards in the UK (1) found computer monitors, laptop screens, tablet screens, and smartphone screens all tested below the published exposure limits, even for extended viewing times.

The authors concluded that the reasonably foreseeable exposure to optical radiation from lamps, computer screens and mobile devices, such as smartphones is lower than for the exposure likely to be received from staring at a blue sky. Under even extreme long-term viewing conditions none of the devices suggested cause for concern for public health.

The main symptoms are:

  • Eyestrain
  • Tired Eyes
  • Irritation
  • Burning sensation
  • Redness
  • Blurred vision

Often latent eye conditions become manifest when people start to use computers especially for long periods without a break. The main issue is that people are not well adapted to staring directly at a close stimulus for long periods and often fail to blink enough while staring at the screen.

If people do experience problems their optometrist can prescribe glasses to make computer use more comfortable and for people with dry eye, optometrists can provide a management plan for the condition.
________________________________________________________________________

1. O’Hagan JB, Khazova M, Price LL. Low-energy light bulbs, computers, tablets and the blue light hazard. Cambridge Ophthalmological Symposium. Eye 2016 30, 230-233

Article attributed to NZAO publication, September 2016

Crazy Animal Vision facts ....

16 January 2017 

Shark corneas are similar to human corneas, which is why they have been used in human transplants.

The four-eyed fish can see both above and below water at the same time.

Owls cannot move their eyeballs – which has led to the distinctive way they turn their heads almost all the way around.

A dragonfly has 30,000 lenses in its eyes, assisting them with motion detection and making them very difficult for predators to kill.

Dolphins sleep with one eye open.

The largest eye on the planet belongs to the Colossal Squid, and measures around 27cm across.

Geckos can see colors around 350 times better than a human, even in dim lighting.

The eyes of a chameleon are independent from each other, allowing it to look in two different directions at once.

A camel’s eyelashes can measure up to 10cm long, to protect its eyelashes from blowing sand and debris in the desert.

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

Dogs can’t distinguish between red and green.

Polar bears have a third eyelid that helps filter UV light.

Barkers

Barkers offer

Purchase any BARKERS eyewear and receive a BARKERS $40 gift card

In Store Now … see frames for more detail, or call us on 576 0085.

Offer available until October 2017

 

Dry Eye

5 October 2016

It’s that time of year again – change of season which can precipitate allergy reactions in many people. Statistics show that ocular allergies affect around 20% of the population and 15% of people over the age of 50years, have dry eye problems. Studies have also shown that both these conditions may co-exist and there may be a causative relationship between the two.

Symptoms of Dry Eye include burning, stinging, tired eyes and a gritty sensation. Vision may also be affected by poor tear film and eye surface disturbance.

Allergic eye conditions also frequently cause burning, stinging and irritation sensations while vision may be affected by mucus production and tear film abnormalities. The major symptom of allergy is itching of the eyes due to histamine release.

Since both conditions involve inflammation of the ocular surface, controlling this inflammation is an important first step in managing both conditions.

(source: NZ Optics October 2016)

Myopia

10 June 2016

Myopia – is becoming an epidemic !!

So what is ‘myopia’ ?? Answer: difficulty seeing in the distance, blurry distance vision.

This condition is rapidly increasing and recent (Australian) research indicates that the condition will increase sevenfold by 2050. Myopia generally occurs between the ages of 6 and 16, which potentially can affect a child’s learning and social development. Onset of myopia is due to a combination of nature and nurture. Nurture, being the hereditary argument – if one or both parents are myopic, then statistically there is a much higher probability their child will also develop myopia. However, nature (i.e. lifestyle & environmental factors) is being proven to be more responsible for the increased diagnosis of myopia in the younger generation. This is resulting from the decreased time youngsters spend outside in general play and sporting activities and the increased time they are spending on ‘near work activities’; such as computer, television, other electronic devices.

The recent research concluded that “an extra 40 minutes of outside activity, per day over three years, led to a 23% reduction in the rate of myopia”. While the exact link between better eyesight and time spent outdoors is unclear, the professors concluded that this might involve increased ‘dopamine’ being released from the retina, stimulated by brighter outdoor light.

Our own conclusion: regularly have your children’s eyes tested and get them off those ‘devices’ and outside playing like kids of old !!

(Reported from ‘mivision’, Issue 113 of June 2016, Page 70/71)

 

17 May 2016

23 to 29 May 2016 is Macular Degeneration Awareness week.

With over 1.5 million New Zealanders at risk we need to spread the word that regular vision and eye health examinations are most important to arrest the development of this insidious disease.

Early detection can save sight … here is a repeat of our Blog from July 2014:

Macular Degeneration is the main cause of vision loss in New Zealand, affecting one in seven people over the age of 50 years.  Sadly, people brush aside their failing eyesight as being ‘a sign of old age’ when in fact early detection of MD allows for steps to be taken that can arrest the progress of the disease. 

Prevention is the best form of attack and diet is hugely important for good eye health and eyesight. Despite years of being told “carrots are good for your eyesight”, whilst this is somewhat true, the real benefit comes from dark green leafy vegetables such are spinach, silverbeet and kale. These vegies contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are essential for healthy eyes. Other vegies like peas, pumpkin, beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts are also beneficial along with eggs.

Another important nutrient for healthy eyes are Omega-three fatty acids, found oily fish - sardines, salmon and tuna.

Go to www.mdnz.org.nz to find out more, directly from Macular Degeneration New Zealand.

 

1 March 2016

You’ve had your peepers since you were born, so you may think you know them pretty well, but here are some facts you may not know about eyes:

  • The average blink lasts for about 1/10th of a second.

  • While it takes some time for most parts of your body to warm up to their full potential, your eyes are on their “A game” 24/7.

  • Eyes heal quickly. With proper care, it only takes about 48 hours for the eye to repair a corneal scratch.

  • Seeing is such a big part of everyday life that it requires about half of the brain to get involved.

  • Newborns don’t produce tears. They make crying sounds, but the tears don’t start flowing until they are about 4-13 weeks old.

  • Around the world, about 39 million people are blind and roughly 6 times that many have some kind of vision impairment.

  • Doctors have yet to find a way to transplant an eyeball. The optic nerve that connects the eye to the brain is too sensitive to reconstruct successfully.

  • The cells in your eye come in different shapes. Rod-shaped cells allow you to see shapes, and cone-shaped cells allow you to see color.

  • You blink about 12 times every minute.

  • Your eyes are about 1 inch across and weigh about 0.25 ounce.

  • Some people are born with two differently colored eyes. This condition is heterochromia.

  • Even if no one in the past few generations of your family had blue or green eyes, these recessive traits can still appear in later generations.

  • Each of your eyes has a small blind spot in the back of the retina where the optic nerve attaches. You don’t notice the hole in your vision because your eyes work together to fill in each other’s blind spot.

  • Out of all the muscles in your body, the muscles that control your eyes are the most active.

  • 80% of vision problems worldwide are avoidable or even curable.

Who knew your eyes could be so amazing and complex?

 

21 January 2016

20/20 vision = normal vision. This number is largely arbitrary but eye doctors determined that people ought to be able to read a chart from 20 feet away. This is normal vision under normal lighting conditions.

 

If you wear glasses that flip images upside down, your brain corrects your vision. Even though you’d see things upside down, your brain will eventually adapt and you will begin to function as though you are seeing things right side up (even though you’re really not). There have been several experiments done on this.

 

Eye Colour can change: neither blue nor green pigments are ever present in the human iris or ocular fluid. Eye colour is therefore something like the sky it depends on the lighting conditions, especially for lighter-coloured eyes.

 

If your eyes are blue, you share a common ancestor with every other blue-eyed individual in the world. The very first person to ever have blue eyes lived around 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Back then, everyone had brown eyes.

 

Each eye contains 107 million cells and all are light sensitive. Seven million “cones” help you see colour and detail while the 100 million “rods” help you distinguish black and white. So, less than a tenth of your visual receptors actually detect colour.

 

 

4 November 2015 

Why drivers shouldn't ignore blurry vision.

A study recently published in the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science journal has investigated how blurred vision affects night time driving and has specifically looked at the effects of blurred vision on the ability of drivers to recognize pedestrians.

The researchers discovered that even small amounts of blur had a significant detrimental effect on nighttime pedestrian recognition. Both blur and age appear to decrease the distance at which drivers can see pedestrians at night; however, blur is the only one of these that is amenable to reduction.

25 September 2015

Some fun facts you might be interested in :

  • A worm has no eyes at all.
  •  An owl can see a moving mouse more than 50 metres away.
  • Guinea pigs are born with their eyes open!
  • Scorpions can have as many as 12 eyes, but the box jellyfish has 24!
  • Camels have three eyelids! This is to protect their eyes from sand blowing in the desert.
  • Most hamsters only blink one eye at a time.
  • Owls are the only bird which can see the color blue.
  • Goats have rectangular pupils to give them a wide field of vision.
  • A scallop has around 100 eyes around the edge of its shell to detect predators.
  • Snakes have two sets of eyes – one set used to see, and the other to detect heat and movement. They also don’t have eyelids, just a thin membrane covering the eye.

2 September 2015

September is Save Our Sight  month. The NZAO (New Zealand Association of Optometrists) has a comprehensive advertising campaign to encourage the general public to take positive action regarding having regular eye examinations and eye health checks. Eye examinations are not just related to failing eyesight, as perceived by many - there is much more to optometry than a new pair of glasses.

Save Our Sight month has been in operation since 2002 with the aim to improve eye health in the general population by encouraging people to get regular examinations by Optometrists, to show the connection between eye health and general health and to broaden the perception of eye exams beyond the association of ‘getting glasses’ whatever your age.  If you have a family history of Glaucoma and/or Macular Degeneration - it is crucial you keep a close and regular check on your eye health and vision.

To reduce the high levels of preventable blindness in New Zealand, it is vital for everyone to look after their eye health by having comprehensive eye examinations at regular intervals.  Save Our Sight is about encouraging early intervention, ensuring maintenance of the best vision possible for the longest time. Losing vision is devastating and generally irreversible - be pro-active so this does not happen J 

Contact us if you want to have your eyes checked over.

19 June 2015

Study shows elderly improve vision if they turn on the lights …

New York (Associated Press) : Some older people who seek medical help for diminished vision might achieve distinct benefit by shedding some light - literally - on the problem.  A group of researchers at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London checked the lighting in the homes of 63 people with an average age of 76 who were patients at the hospital’s low-vision clinic. Among the things they discovered was that the average lighting in the homes was one-tenth that found in the hospital and that the average reading light was one-seventh of that in a comparable hospital setting.

14 April 2015

DNA testing for diagnosis of diseases linked to childhood blindness is being successfully researched in the United Kingdom. Eash year between 20,000 to 40,000 children worldwide are born with congenital cataracts. Congenital cataracts can also appear as a symptom of more than 100 rare diseases, making mutations these gene mutations useful as diagnostic markers for the illnesses. Previously, diagnosing these rare diseases proved a lengthy, costly and inconclusive process. DNA testing one gene at a time would have taken years to complete but employing new DNA sequencing technology researchers have sped up the process to a matter of weeks.

The scientific explanation of how this ‘sequencing technology’ works is way beyond the comprehension of laymen such as ourselves, lets leave that to the expert scientists. Sufficient to say the success rate has been well received by Professors, Researchers and Ophthalmologists at the University of Manchester and the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine.

To quote the lead author of the study who designed and developed the test : “there is hope that our work may one day provide more insight into the development and treatment of age-related cataracts, a leading cause of blindness worldwide”.

Now wouldn’t that be great …

3 February 2015

The Silhouette range of spectacle frames are world renowned for their fashion and technology; even Queen Elizabeth II wears a range of their frames.  In 1964, Arnold Schmied and his wife Anneliese, founded Silhouette International based in Linz, Austria - today the company remains family owned and is one of the leading eyewear manufacturers in the world.

Arnold Schmied was an entrepreneurial pioneer and visionary by recognizing eyewear as a fashion accessory - to make people look good while improving their vision.  Arnold & Anneliese chose a French name for their company as French designers heavily dominated the world fashion scene at that time.  In the early 1970s a popular actress chose to wear their sunglasses in a series of ‘erotic’ movies, as well as in her private life. This gave the brand unprecedented publicity.

Despite the main emphasis always being their own brand, in 1991 Silhouette began a business partnership with Adidas, the German sportswear producer. To this day the company is responsible for design and production of Adidas Performance line of spectacle frames devoted to athletes and, the Adidas Originals range with its focus on fashion and life-style.  In 1994 even the doll ‘Barbie’ was seen wearing Silhouette sunglasses then in 1999 the ‘Titan Minimal Art’ series was introduced which led to a co-operation with NASA.  In 2007 an arrangement with the Vienna Philharmonic was formalized followed in 2011 by the ‘Crystal Collection’ being introduced - using genuine Swarovski crystal embellishments !!

 

The Silhouette company continues to be based in Linz; employs over 900 staff, produces over 3 millions pairs of spectacles per year and exports 95% of it’s product to over 90 countries around the world. Many celebrities choose to wear Silhouette frames and NASA astronauts exclusively use ‘Titan Minimal Art’ frames which are very light at 1.8 grams, and devoid of hinge screws, which reduces the potential for danger to a minimum. Because astronauts work in sensitive environments, tiny screws or eyeglass components that become loose or fall off could lead to a catastrophe.

Quite a legacy Mr Schmied and his wife, have left the world …

 20 November 2014 

Lions work to Improve Sight and Prevent Blindness

Lions International were challenged by Helen Keller in 1925, to become ‘knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness’. Lions accepted and for almost 9 decades there sight programme remains one of their defining international causes of support.  Members of Lions have worked on projects designed to prevent blindness, restore sight and improve eye health & eye care for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Some statics to back this up :

v      Sight for Kids provides eye screenings, glasses and other treatments that has saved the sight of more than 15million children

v      Pediatric eye care centres have been established or strengthened, therefore helping more than 120 million children

v      In Ethopia they have helped halt the spread of ‘trachoma’ by annually providing 10 million doses of the sight-saving drug ‘azithromycin’

v      Trained more than 650,000 eye care professionals and guilt 315 eye hospitals which has improved eye care services for 100 million people

v      Distributed more than 147 million treatments for river blindness

v      Provided nearly 8 million cataract surgeries

v      Vaccinated 41 million children in Africa against measles - a leading cause of child blindness

v      Lions ‘SightFirst’ fundraising campaigns have raised US$415million since 1990 to help provide vision for all.

The least we who wear spectacles can do, is donate our old spectacles to your local optometrist who will ensure they reach the right people in the Lions organisation. From New Zealand’s perspective, these are then cleaned and graded then provided free of charge to those in need around the Pacific Islands and South East Asia.  It does not matter what the prescription, someone will benefit somewhere.

22 October 2014

Continuing our story of eye health and related studies … many factors contribute to the development of AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) and Cataract formation.  These factors include diet, smoking and genetics.

The AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study) Research Group is unsure how supplements in the AREDS formulation exert their protective effects however an April 2013 report in the Ophthalmology journal shows the beneficial effects of taking the AREDS vitamins are long-lasting.  Those who took the AREDS formulation during the initial five-year study trial were 25-30% less likely to develop advanced AMD - mostly due to the a reduction in the number of neovascular, or wet, AMD cases - over the next five years, compared with those participants who took placebo.  By the end of the follow-up period, 70% of all participants were taking the original AREDS formula.

The AREDS2 results provide patients and physicians with new information about preventing vison loss from AMD. The National Eye Institute (USA) notes that people over the age of 60 years should get a dilated eye exam at least one per year and should also discuss with their eye care professional whether taking AREDS supplements is appropriate for them.



22 September 2014

The National Eye Institute (in the USA) launched AREDS2 (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2) which is designed to test, over five years, whether the original AREDS formulation could be improved by adding Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Lutein and Zeaxanthin and removing Beta-Carotene or reducing Zinc.  The study also examined how different combinations of these supplements performed.

Participants with AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) in the first AREDS trial, who took the AREDS formulation were proven to be 25% less likely to progress to advanced AMD over the 5 year study period.  This compared to those who took a ‘placebo’.  There was no overall additional benefit from adding Omega-3 Fatty Acids or a 5-to-1 mixture of Lutein and Zeaxanthin to the formulation.

However, when the investigators analysed two subgroups of participants they found some benefits for those not given Beta-Carotene and those who had very little Lutein and Zeaxanthin in their diets.


25 August 2014

Sadly, around the world every five seconds an adult goes blind and a child goes blind every minute. It is estimated, by WHO (World Health Organisation), that 285million people live with visual impairment and of these, 39 million are blind while 246 have what is termed ‘low vision’.  The top four causes of visual impairment are (in no particular order) : Glaucoma, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Cataract and uncorrected refractive-errors. 

It is estimated that 20% of those registered as blind  in New Zealand, are bind from preventable causes.  This is why a regular eye examination is vital to the health of your eyes and therefore vision.

Nine-step Comprehensive Eye Exam :

  • Medical History

  • External Eye

  • Slit-Lamp Examination

  • Internal eye, including Macula

  • Colour perception

  • Glaucoma

  • Visual functions

  • Eye muscles

  • Visual fields

30 July 2014


Ideal recipe full of Lutein for healthy eyes and vision :

Pumpkin and leafy green FRITTATA (serves 4)

500g peeled Butternut or Crown Pumpkin, cubed    
1 large Red Onion, cut into 2cm chunks                 
1 Tbsp Olive Oil       
2 Tsp liquid Honey     
2 cloves Garlic, chopped                                              
120g Kale, Spinach or Silverbeet leaves (stalks removed), chopped    
6 Eggs (free-range ??)       
½ cup Milk         and     ½ cup Cream     
Salt, a good pinch  
150-200g Feta cheese    
2Tsp chopped Thyme  
½ cup sliced Sundried Tomatoes         
½ Tsp Chilli flakes (optional)

Heat oven to 200C.   Toss Butternut/Pumpkin & Red Onion with Olive Oil and Honey on a prepared oven tray. Season with salt & pepper, roast for 20-30 minutes or until soft and slightly caramelized. 

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan (oven-proof with high sides). Sizzle garlic for 30 seconds, then add the ‘Greens’ (Kale/Spinach/Silverbeet) and cook for a further 2-3 minutes or until wilted - add a couple of tablespoons of water and place a lid on top of the pan to help create steam to help cook through. 

Lightly whisk Eggs, Milk, Cream, Salt, Feta, Thyme and Chilli flakes together.

Toss roasted Butternut/Pumpkin and Onion mixture in with the ‘Greens’ then pour the Egg mixture over ingredients. Scatter with Sundried Tomatoes and bake for 20-30 minutes or until Frittata is puffed and golden.
Stand Frittata in pan for 10 mins before serving. Serve with leafy green salad on the side.

Happy eating ...


7 July 2014

Macular Degeneration is the main cause of vision loss in New Zealand, affecting one in seven people over the age of 50 years.  Sadly, people brush aside their failing eyesight as being ‘a sign of old age’ when in fact early detection of MD allows for steps to be taken that can arrest the progress of the disease. 

Prevention is the best form of attack and diet is hugely important for good eye health and eyesight. Despite years of being told “carrots are good for your eyesight”, whilst this is somewhat true, the real benefit comes from dark green leafy vegetables such are spinach, silverbeet and kale. These vegies contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are essential for healthy eyes.  Other vegies like peas, pumpkin, beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts are also beneficial along with eggs.

Another important nutrient for healthy eyes are Omega-three fatty acids, found oily fish - sardines, salmon and tuna.

Next time we’ll give you a lovely lutein rich recipe …



23 May 2014

As you may already know, we merged our Domain Road Optometry clinic with Otumoetai Optometrists and now practice solely from the Otumoetai facility. We have been so pleased with the number of Papamoa patients travelling over to see us in Otumoetai. Long may this continue and hope to see you this way soon.



17 March 2014

Dame Judi Dench, the acclaimed actress and theatre performer, first revealed that she has Macular Degeneration back in 2012. However in years leading up to this she was already getting assistance with the reading of her many stage and film scripts. She is now facing one of her toughest challenges as her eyesight degenerates to the extent she is unable to read and paint anymore plus watching movies is difficult. She also does not like interviews as she cannot make out the faces of people in front of her. Sadly her ARMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration) is both ‘wet’ in one eye, and ‘dry’ in the other; so she has a ‘double whammy’ so to speak. 

Dame Judi has banned two words from her, and those around her, vocabulary : ‘retire’ and ‘old’. She really is a marvel, born in 1934 - can you believe she will be 80 years of age at the end of this year and never dwells on the negative.

Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life.  The loss of central vision profoundly affects visual functioning. It is quite difficult, for example, to read without central vision.  Aging, Family History and having an MD Gene are considered major reasons for contracting ARMD.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macular_degeneration#Age-related


3 March 2014

Galileo did get it right after all, back in the 16th Century : Jupiter is bigger than Venus !! 
Scientists have now proven that your Optic Nerve tricks the brain into thinking Venus is larger than Jupiter, in the night sky, only because Venus is brighter - due to it being closer to Earth. Venus appears 8 to 10 times bigger than Jupiter, when in fact Jupiter is 4 times larger in the sky (actually 390 times the size); when viewed with the naked eye. When viewed through a telescope everything appears normal - this is where Galileo figured it was to do with ‘human perception’, or “an impediment of our eyes” that we saw Venus as being the bigger.



3 Feb 2014 ... out of left field :

A group of twelve or more cows is called a ‘flink’.

Donald Duck comics were banned from Finland because he doesn't wear any pants.

During the chariot scene in 'Ben Hur' a small red car can be seen in the distance.

There are no words in the dictionary that rhyme with: orange, purple, and silver !

Leonardo Da Vinci invented scissors.

Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying !

Polar bears are left-handed.


22 Jan 2014

Macular Degeneration (AMD) prevention comes down to nutrition and lifestyle.

 

EAT MORE: Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Beans, Lettuce, Peas -  vegetables. Also add to your dietary needs: corn, tomatoes, grapefruit, peaches, papaya, melons, tangerines and oranges.

 

AVOID: processed food or drinks labels ‘diet’ as these contain ‘aspartame’ (artificial sugar),

fried foods and MSG, cut back on alcohol and caffeine. Also on the avoidance list are man-made fats, corn and safflower oil, and hydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola and especially margarine.


13 January 2014 

A leading cause of vision loss is the eye condition ‘Macular Degeneration’ (AMD). This is a gradual decline in vision, does not cause total blindness as peripheral vision remains untouched. The condition does however reduce central vision ability: affecting facial recognition, the ability to read and/or undertake detailed work and more importantly the ability to drive a vehicle.

Research has shown that high doses of antioxidants, vitamins and zinc can hinder the progression of AMD. Therefore a good healthy diet is recommended, not just for your general health and well-being but for your eyesight.  Those most affected by AMD are people of European descent and of particular risk are those people with diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, digestive difficulties and compromised immune systems.

We will give you some key nutrition pointers in the next blog …


Dec 2013
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a blog! , what is it all about?. A truncation of the expression web log. Perhaps also the modern way to deliver news and info about us, your eyes and health and occasional things of interest. This is the first one more in the new year. Cheers
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