Unlike some other skills we use in our everyday lives, driving relies almost exclusively on our sense of sight. We feel our feet on the ground as we move about or know we are sitting in a chair; we are fully aware of our surroundings. This sensory information lets us know where the ground or chair is. When you are driving, there is no movement of your body. It is totally about your vision and how precisely your two eyes work together. If your eyes are not aligned perfectly, you may think an object is closer or farther away....
If you are coming in to your 40s, you may be noticing that your eyesight is changing. You have to strain a little to read, holding the book or newspaper farther away, or you find you need to wear bifocals. You may even notice a bit of clouding of the lens of your eyes. What is going on? Your eyes, like many other parts of the body, are showing signs of aging. The Crystalline lens in your eye is becoming less flexible. This makes it more difficult for the lens to adjust and focus when you look from far to near.
Age takes its toll on all parts of the body, even the eyes. While conditions such as glaucoma are not necessarily inevitable as we get older, they are still possibilities that can change the way we see. It always pay to practice foresight – it just may save your eyesight. Glaucoma is a rather complex disease. Simply put, it occurs when fluid pressure builds up in your eyes. Approximately two and a half quarts of fluid, called aqueous humor, pumps through the eyes every day, providing nutrients to the inside of the eyes.
Visual efficiency is more than 20/20 vision, and there is much more to reading problems than dyslexia or ADHD. About 85 percent of schooling is visual-
A concussion, also known as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or an acquired brain injury, can adversely affect vision. Unfortunately, possible visual problems are often overlooked during the initial treatment of a concussion. Perhaps a coach or doctor will move a finger in front of the patient’s eyes to see how they track movement, but this cursory examination does not get to the deeper repercussions of the injury.
It is interesting to note how eyesight has evolved. The vision system used to be more about looking far afield for what could be hunted and eaten – and what could hunt and eat us. These days, people are spending more time with their gazes fixed on their computer or TV screens or cell phones. There are certain physical dynamics to this everyday phenomenon. There is a lens inside the eye that flexes and focuses, so when we look at things up close, that lens has to work extra hard.
What happened the last time you went on the Mad Tea Party ride at DisneyWorld? Did you enjoy yourself initially, but as the ride went on, did you start to feel sick and disoriented? When you closed your eyes, however, you probably felt much better. And you were immensely glad when the ride ended and you could get your bearings again.
It may surprise you to learn eye-
Whether they’re swinging at a fastball, shooting free throws, lining up a putt or setting up a dig, athletes depend a great deal on their vision. They have to keep their eye on the ball in order to connect properly and hit a homer, make the basket, sink the putt or send a spike between two opponents. Many pro teams have a vision therapy program for their players. The program works on improving the athletes’ recognition and response. A sports vision therapist will show a baseball player photographers of a pitcher holding a ball...
Vision involves over 70% of the neural pathways of the brain. Vision is more than eye sight. Vision is the only body system that continues to develop after birth. Vision involves the way the eyes and brain interact. It takes approximately three years for the eyes to learn how to work together. When they do not, it can result in the eyes turning in (esotropia) or out (exotropia), crossed eyes (strabismus) or lazy eye (amblyopia).
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If you are coming in to your 40s, you may be noticing that your eyesight is changing. You have to strain a little to read, holding the book or newspaper farther away, or you find you need to wear bifocals. You may even notice a bit of clouding of the lens of your eyes. What is going on?
Your eyes, like many other parts of the body, are showing signs of aging. The Crystalline lens in your eye is becoming less flexible. This makes it more difficult for the lens to adjust and focus when you look from far to near. Oxidation is another part of the equation. New fibers form in the eyes, and these cause the lens to lose flexibility. This typically happens around your 40th birthday, give or take a few months. You start noticing headaches and fatigue. Your computer comes in and out of focus. You may begin to be affected by cataracts.
As the fibers around it grow, the lens gets denser and less clear. This is due to a process called brunescence, which means browning. You may notice you need more light to see to read by. Or as you drive at night, car lights seem to have a little more glare around them. Cataracts do not appear all of a sudden. They undergo a natural progression. Doctors who specialize in cataract surgery recommend watching and waiting for them to grow. The rule of thumb is, as long as you can see well enough to do the things you need to do and be safe while doing them, you don’t need to do anything with the cataract. Cataract growth is a slow,
insidious process; most people don’t realize their vision has been debilitated by cataracts until it gets very bad. When it starts interfering with your day-
Cataract surgery has come a long way over the past few decades. Previously, the surgery entailed cutting the eye open and using 16 to 20 stitches to put the implant in place. These days, the surgery involves no stitches because the incision is so microscopic. The cloudy lens is removed and replaced. Formerly, the lens was not replaced, causing the eye to lose 20 percent of its focusing power. With all the technological advances today, the eye surgeon can measure the different parts of the eye and calculate exactly what power lens implant you need in order to see after undergoing the extraction. The surgery is such a straightforward procedure that you will probably be able to return to work the day after. People who have had cataract surgery often say it wasn’t as big a deal as they thought. They exclaim over how much better they can see and wonder why they put it off so long.
There’s little you can do to prevent cataracts, but you can stave them off by following a healthy diet and exercising, improving your oxygen intake and use.
Dr. Graebe received both his B.S degree in Visual Science and Doctorate of Optometry from Indiana University. He is a Behavioral Optometrist and learning expert. He has been in private practice here in the Bluegrass area for the past 32 years.