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Why vision therapy comes before tutoring or a learning center

Teacher eyeglasses 1280 x 853Our parental instinct naturally wants to find the fastest solution & often the first options for a child who struggles in the classroom are either a tutor or a learning center. However, not every solution to a learning problem can be solved by forcing extra hours of the same material.

One of the foundations of vision therapy is how we educate parents to recognize that when their child has a tantrum, gets easily frustrated, and can’t continue with homework, maybe very bright and intelligent in other areas. The issue might not have anything to do with the child’s intelligence. In fact, many parents who find out about vision therapy have already enrolled their child in various programs only to discover that something a lot more basic was the source of the child’s setbacks – their vision.

Why aren’t parents brought to vision therapy from the beginning?

There are various reasons why vision therapy may not have been recommended to you initially or perhaps have never heard about it until now.

  1. Vision therapy is a unique program that only some optometrists specialize in and offer at their clinics. Therefore, not all eye doctors when performing their eye exam will be on the lookout for a vision problem in your child.
  2. There’s a lot of competition in this field. Tutoring and learning centers offer a lot of value, and they’re often large institutions trying to win over your business.
  3. Other practitioners may not have had the education or years of training to specialize in vision therapy, but they will attempt ‘eye exercises” on their own to solve the problem. While there may be some benefits from this, without having the necessary training you’re not going to solve the problem appropriately.
  4. Because vision therapy is an out-of-pocket expense, parents try to turn to cheaper means or hope the problems will simply go away as the child grows older.

With factors like the ones shared, many children continue their years at school without ever treating their vision problem until the problem becomes too severe to cope or they reach adulthood & discover what was holding them back the entire time.

Plus, some parents consider their child in 1st or 2nd grade too early to start vision therapy. The child is starting to read & pronounce the words now, so who says it’s a vision problem that won’t go away? Unfortunately, in scenarios like this, a child with a vision problem who reaches 3rd, 4th, or even 5th grade falls behind the class as the foundational visual skills were never developed. The child may be able to pronounce words & run through sentences, but they will lack comprehension. For people with normal vision, it’s difficult to understand how someone can read through a page & not remember what they read. Children end up learning to read but never reading to learn.

Why Vision Therapy Should Be Your 1st Priority

Fortunately, vision therapy is well researched & supported with multitudes of success stories over the years. Plus, a developmental optometrist who specializes in vision therapy has ways to accurately test your child’s various visual skills & identify whether vision therapy is needed. There’s no guesswork involved. This means that your child will achieve normal, functional vision at the end of therapy, and in many cases, they become amazing readers, sports players, and happy to learn.

Can a Nutritious Diet Prevent Age-Related Cataracts?

slice orange fruit and strawberries 1116558Age-related cataracts are extremely common — so common, in fact, that more than half of all adults develop cataracts in one or both eyes by age 65. Left untreated, cataracts can gradually cause vision loss, even blindness. You can take steps to prevent this. By consuming foods or supplements rich in antioxidants, you may be able to slow the development and progression of cataracts.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts refer to the clouding of the eye’s natural lens due to light passing through to the retina in a scattered, rather than focused, manner. This leads to changes in vision, resulting in blurry vision and faded colors. This also impacts one’s ability to clearly see at night.

Cataracts come in three forms: nuclear, cortical, and posterior capsular, each of which depends on their locations on the lens.

Age-related cataracts are caused by tissue breakdown and protein clumping on the lens. Exactly why this happens isn’t yet clear. Cataracts must be taken seriously. Unaddressed, they can lead to vision loss or even blindness.

Once a cataract has developed, there is no cure except to have it surgically removed

How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?

To diagnose cataracts, an optometrist will assess the patient’s visual acuity, color vision, and evaluate their sensitivity to bright light. will also examine the front of the eye using a microscope, called a slit lamp, and check the retina for signs of cataracts.

Once cataracts have been diagnosed, the condition must be carefully monitored with regular eye exams. Because vision deteriorates over time, eyeglass or contact lens’ prescriptions will need to be frequently adjusted.

It is strongly advised to regularly wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats to avoid the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays on the eyes. Furthermore, since cataracts cause poor night vision, with halos around street lights and car headlights, people with cataracts may need to stop driving at night.

Once the condition has reached an advanced stage, the cataract will have to be surgically removed and replaced with a synthetic intraocular lens (IOL).

Diet and Nutritional Supplements Can Help Against Cataracts

Research suggests that antioxidants play an important role in staving off cataracts. In one study of 30,000 women aged 49 and older, those who consumed the most antioxidants had a 13% lower risk of developing cataracts than the group of women who consumed the least.

Certain foods and supplements rich in antioxidants may protect against free radicals — unstable atoms that cause cellular damage — that attack the lenses of the eyes and contribute to the formation of cataracts. Four powerful nutrients, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin, can delay the onset and even decrease the risk of developing cataracts.

Foods containing these nutrients include:

Lutein and zeaxanthin

Kale, spinach, egg yolks, salmon and certain yellow and orange vegetables, such as cantaloupes, corn, carrots and peppers

Vitamin C

Apples, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, spinach, tomatoes

Vitamin E

Nuts: hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts (including peanut butter)

Seeds: sunflower seeds

Oils: soybean, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, wheat germ

Green leafy vegetables: spinach, broccoli

Fruit: kiwi, mangos, tomatoes

Vitamin-fortified cereals

To preserve eye health and reduce the risk of cataracts, you’ll want to avoid processed, fried and junk foods.

Consult to learn about nutrition’s role in avoiding cataracts and which other steps you can take to maintain eye health.

serves patients from Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates and Arlington Heights, in Illinois.

References:

https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/cataracts.htm#:~:text=Antioxidant%20vitamins%20and%20phytochemicals%20found,and%20E%2C%20lutein%20and%20zeaxanthin.

https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/nutrition/nutrition-and-cataracts

https://www.aop.org.uk/advice-and-support/for-patients/eye-conditions/cataracts

https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/cataract#:~:text=A%20cataract%20is%20a%20cloudy,in%20infants%20and%20young%20children.

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/cataracts-treatment

https://www.reviewofoptometry.com/article/how-to-help-prevent-cataract

https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/lutein.htm#:~:text=The%20best%20natural%20food%20sources%20of%20lutein%20and%20zeaxanthin%20are,and%20zeaxanthin%20include%20egg%20yolks.

 

What Is the Shape of a Healthy Eye and How Does It Affect Vision?

eyes eye care 640x350The human eye is a biological piece of functional art, capable of producing colorful moving three-dimensional images with high precision. At the same time, one can marvel at the aesthetic beauty of the human eye and its shape.

The Shape of a Healthy Eye

In a healthy and perfectly shaped eye, light passes through the cornea and crystalline lens, and is accurately focused onto the retina, located at the back of the gel-filled eyeball. This process enables an image to be passed onto the optic nerve and then the visual cortex of the brain. Accurate focus and convergence depend on the proper shape of each part of the eye. However, eyeballs can be either shortened (hyperopia) or elongated (myopia).

Unhealthy Eye Shapes That Impact Vision

The Myopic Eye

In an elongated myopic eyeball, the distance between the lens and retina is too long, leading the image to come into focus before reaching the retina. As a result, the photosensitive cells of the retina pick up a blurry image.

The Hyperopic Eye

In hyperopia or farsightedness, the opposite is the case. The eyeball is too short, as is the distance that light travels from lens to retina. Therefore, the image comes into focus behind the retina, causing distant objects to appear clear, whereas close ones do not come into proper focus.

The Cornea

While the crystalline lens is flexible and auto-adjusts its shape for proper focus, the cornea is static. A healthy cornea maintains its smooth dome shape. However, if the cornea is weak, the structure of the cornea cannot hold this round shape, causing the cornea to bulge outward and downward like a cone. Perfect curvature of the cornea ensures the correct bending of incoming light onto the lens, whereas inadequate curvature results in a refractive error.

An uneven or irregularly shaped cornea also distorts the image that forms at the retina. Common corneal irregularities include astigmatism and keratoconus.

Keratocoonus Labelled

Scleral Lenses for a Smooth Eye Shape

Scleral lenses are large contact lenses that rest on the sclera — the white part of the eye. The lenses span over the cornea, making them ideal for a deformed cornea as they even out the irregularity to create a perfectly shaped eye.

Contact at to learn more about how your eye shape affects your vision. We’ll be happy to discuss the different correction methods available that offer you sharp, comfortable and clear vision all day, every day.

We receive clients from Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Arlington Heights, and throughout Illinois.

 

Resources:

https://www.lasikmd.com/blog/eye-shapes-affect-vision

https://www.everydayhealth.com/vision-center/the-healthy-eye/how-the-eye-works.aspx

https://www.nvisioncenters.com/eye-shapes/

https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/refractive-errors

3 Reasons Why You Should Kickstart the New Year With Vision Therapy

holidays mug blog imageIt’s that time of year again when we sit down with a pumpkin spice latte in hand and think of a resolution we can take upon ourselves for the new year. Here at Brain Vision Institute, we believe that the best resolutions are the ones that positively impact other areas of our lives and enhance our overall quality of life. Vision therapy offers just that! This therapy is made up of a series of customized visual exercises designed to develop or regain visual processing skills.

Vision Therapy is highly effective in treating:

  • Amblyopia, (or “lazy eye”)
  • Strabismus, (or “eye-turn”)
  • Eye movement disorders
  • Focusing disorders
  • Binocular vision problems
  • Vision, balance, and memory problems associated with brain injury

Even those with 20/20 eyesight can benefit from vision therapy because perfect eyesight doesn’t mean perfect vision. Below are the ways in which vision therapy will help you kick-off the new year.

Improve Existing Vision Skills

You’re good at what you do, be it at work, school or sports. But can you do better? By training the eyes and brain to work in unison, you increase your potential for greater performance. Not only will you be more efficient, but performing tasks will become more enjoyable. This especially applies to school-aged children, as their brains are still in rapid development. Vision therapy effectively enables the brain to correctly process information for optimal academic success.

Learn New Skills With Ease

Many people make it their resolution to learn a new skill in the upcoming year but an underlying vision problem can interfere with that. Since learning is 80% visual, vision therapy offers an excellent opportunity to gear up for success! Undiagnosed or untreated vision problems related to convergence and focus can cause memory and reading problems and hinder learning. Dr. Ingryd Lorenzana will use an array of tools, such as prisms, specialized lenses, filters, balance beams, and computerized visual activities to train the eye-brain connection and help you learn more efficiently in almost any area that requires vision.

Gain The Confidence You Crave

Whether you’re a pro-athlete or a 4th grader struggling to read, improved vision skills will boost your confidence. This confidence will surely trickle into other areas of your life leading to increased self-esteem.

Start 2020 by empowering yourself or your child with vision therapy. Call Brain Vision Institute to book your appointment today.

Brain Vision Institute serves patients in Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, and Arlington Heights, and throughout Illinois.

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 847-891-8003

Is My Child Too Young for Vision Therapy?

Preschool Children Vision TherapyThe first years of a child’s life are crucial in ensuring the healthy and normal development of various body parts, especially the visual system. As a child’s body grows, so do the eyes. This can cause changes in vision. Keeping a close eye on, well, your child’s eyes, can help ensure that they are developing in a healthy way.

It’s important for parents and teachers to be on the lookout for problems with visual processing, as they can interfere with a child’s academics, social life, and extracurricular endeavors. This is especially evident during the school years when reading, writing, homework, and after-school activities become a part of their normal daily routine.

Even if a child has no refractive errors (such as nearsightedness or farsightedness) and has 20/20 vision, he or she may still have difficulties with visual processing or focus. These types of visual complications are often more difficult to detect, but may still impact various aspects of a child’s development.

When a child’s visual difficulties hinder their learning or social interactions, it may be time to try vision therapy.

What is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is a personalized regimen of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions. Each patient has unique needs and different degrees of visual health, which is why Dr. Ingryd Lorenzana and the team at Brain Vision Institute create a customized vision therapy program to get the best results for your child.

Vision therapy is compared to physical therapy, only for the eyes instead of the entire body. The techniques and exercises can teach the eyes to improve specific areas of vision, such as focus, eye teaming, hand-eye coordination, and visual tracking, among other skills. The doctor may include prisms or special eyeglasses to boost the therapy program.

Most children’s vision therapy takes place in our office and usually once a week. You’ll be instructed to continue some of the exercises at home for 15-20 minutes daily, which will support the in-office treatment.

At What Age Can Children Begin Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is offered to children as young as 6 years of age. Kids can develop problems with visual perception and clarity that aren’t always detected with a standard vision exam or school screening. Of course, every child is different, and the best way to know if they’re ready for vision therapy is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ingryd Lorenzana.

Does Vision Therapy Really Work?

Vision therapy has been proven to improve visual skills and functions in both children and adults. It is an approved treatment by recognized organizations in the medical community, such as the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

Keep in mind that it can take several months to notice significant improvement. Consistency is key. Young children, especially in the toddler years, need a steady routine to achieve the best possible results.

It’s important to note that vision therapy does not fix your child’s learning abilities or correct any refractive errors. The goal is to improve their visual function so that their skills in reading, writing, schoolwork, and social activities are strengthened for a better quality of life.

Contact Dr. Ingryd Lorenzana and the knowledgeable staff at Brain Vision Institute to schedule a consultation and see whether vision therapy is right for your child.

Dr. Ingryd Lorenzana serves patients in Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, and Arlington Heights, and throughout Illinois.

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 847-891-8003

 

8 Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes

Whether you live in a climate with cold winter weather or you are planning a ski trip up north, winter can be a challenge if you suffer from dry eyes. Dry, cool air, cold winds and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness and redness, and sometimes even excessively watery eyes as more tears are produced to compensate for the dryness. Many people have a chronic feeling that they have something in their eye and some even experience blurred vision. These symptoms can be debilitating!

Dry eyes is one of the most common complaints eye doctors get from patients during the winter season, especially in the cooler climates. That’s why we’d like to share some tips on how to relieve dry eye discomfort, and how to know when your condition is serious enough to come in for an evaluation.

Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes:

  1. Keep eyes moist using artificial tears or eye drops. You can apply these a few times each day when the eyes are feeling dry or irritated. If over-the-counter drops don’t help or if you have chronic dry eyes, speak to your eye doctor about finding the best drops for you. Since not all artificial tears are the same, knowing the cause of your dry eye will help your eye doctor determine which brand is best suited for your eyes.
  2. Use a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heaters or generally dry air.
  3. Point car vents or indoor heaters away from your face when the heat is on. Try to keep your distance from direct sources of heating, especially if they blow out the heat.
  4. Drink a lot! Hydrating your body will also hydrate your eyes.
  5. Protect your eyes outdoors with sunglasses or goggles – the bigger the better! Larger, even wrap-around glasses as well as a hat with a wide brim will keep the wind and other elements out of your eyes. If you wear goggles for winter sports, make sure they fit well and cover a large surface area.
  6. Soothe dry eyes using a warm compress and never rub them! Rubbing your eyes will increase irritation and may lead to infection if the hands are not clean.
  7. Give your eyes a digital break. People blink less during screen time which is why extensive computer use can lead to dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and make sure you blink!
  8. For contact lens wearers: If you wear contact lenses, dry eyes can be particularly debilitating as the contact lenses can cause even further dryness and irritation. Contact lens rewetting drops can help your eyes feel better and may also allow you to see more clearly. Not all eyedrops are appropriate for use with contact lenses, so ask your optometrist which eyedrop is compatible with your contacts and cleaning solution. If rewetting drops don’t help, consider opting for glasses when your dry eyes are bad, and speak to your optometrist about which brands of contact lenses are better for dry eyes. Many people find dry eye improvement when they switch to daily single use contact lenses.

Chronic Dry Eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tear film, or do not produce the quality of tear film needed to properly keep the eyes moist. While winter weather can make this condition worse, it is often present all year round. If you find that the tips above do not alleviate your discomfort or symptoms, it may be time to see a optometrist to see if your condition requires more effective medical treatment.

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring.

The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy.

The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
  • Blind spots
  • Color vision loss

There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages.

A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal Detachment

Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids.

Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes.

April is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month

Hey women! Did you know that women are more likely to suffer from vision problems and are at higher risk of permanent vision loss than men? Well 91% of the women surveyed recently didn’t know that, which means that many of them aren’t taking the necessary precautions to prevent eye damage and vision loss.  

According to a recent study, the statistics for many of the major vision problems show that women have a higher percentage of incidence than men. These include:

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration 65%
  • Cataracts 61%
  • Glaucoma 61%
  • Refractive Error 56%
  • Vision Impairment 63%

Women are also more susceptible to develop chronic dry eye, partially because it is often associated with other health issues that are more common in women such as ocular rosacea which is three times more prevalent in women.  Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause can also contribute to dry eye.  

It’s important for women to know the risks for eye-related diseases and vision impairment and the steps they can take to prevent eventual vision loss.  Here are some ways that you can help to protect your eyes and save your eyesight:

  • Find out about family history of eye diseases and conditions.
  • Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing 100% UV blocking sunglasses when outdoors.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Consume a healthy diet with proper nutrition and special eye health supplements as prescribed by an eye doctor.
  • Adhere to contact lens hygiene and safety.  
  • Adhere to cosmetic hygiene and safety precautions. 
  • Protect your eyes against extended exposure to blue light from computers, smartphones and LED lamps. 
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and have diabetes, see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. In women who have diabetes, diabetic retinopathy can accelerate quickly during pregnancy and can present a risk for the baby as well. 

Mothers are often charged with caring for the eye health of the entire family, but too often their own eye health needs fall to the wayside. It is critical that mothers take care of their eyes and overall health so that they can be in the best condition to care for their families. 

Speak to your eye care professional about your personal eye health and vision risks and the precautions and measures you should take to protect your eyes.  Encourage the other women in your life to do so as well.  Once vision is lost, it often can’t be regained and there are many steps you can take to prevent it with proper knowledge and awareness.  

The most important way to prevent vision loss is to ensure you schedule regular eye exams. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear as many eye issues are painless and symptomless, and sometimes by the time you notice symptoms, vision loss is untreatable. 

Understanding Eye Color

eyes green close up woman

Eye color is a hereditary trait that depends on the genes of both parents, as well as a little bit of mystery. The color of the eye is based on the pigments in the iris, which is a colored ring of muscle located at the center of the eye (around the pupil) that helps to control the amount of light that comes into your eye. Eye color falls on a spectrum of color that can range from dark brown, to gray, to green, to blue, with a whole lot of variation in between. 

Genetics

The genetics of eye color are anything but straightforward. In fact children are often born with a different eye color than either of their parents. For some time the belief was that two blue-eyed parents could not have a brown-eyed child, however, while it’s not common, this combination can and does occur. Genetic research in regards to eye color is an ongoing pursuit and while they have identified certain genes that play a role, researchers still do not know exactly how many genes are involved and to what extent each gene affects the final eye color.

The Iris

Looking at it simply, the color of the eye is based on the amount of the pigment melanin located in the iris. Large amounts of melanin result in brown eyes, while blue eyes result from smaller amounts of the pigment. This is why babies that are born with blue eyes (who often have smaller amounts of melanin until they are about a year old) often experience a darkening of their eye color as they grow and develop more melanin in the iris. In adults across the globe, the most common eye color worldwide is brown, while lighter colors such as blue, green and hazel are found predominantly in the Caucasian population. 

Abnormal Eye Color

Sometimes the color of a person’s eyes are not normal. Here are some interesting causes of this phenomenon.

Heterochromia, for example, is a condition in which the two eyes are different colors, or part of one eye is a different color. This can be caused by genetic inconsistencies, issues that occur during the development of the eye, or acquired later in life due to an injury or disease. 

Ocular albinism is a condition in which the eye is a very light color due to low levels of pigmentation in the iris, which is the result of a genetic mutation. It is usually accompanied by serious vision problems. Oculocutaneous albinism is a similar mutation in the body’s ability to produce and store melanin that affects skin and hair color in addition to the eyes.

Eye color can also be affected by certain medications. For example, a certain glaucoma eye drop is known to darken light irises to brown, as well as lengthen and darken eyelashes.

Eye Color – It’s More Than Meets the Eye

It is known that light eyes are more sensitive to light, which is why it might be hard for someone with blue or green eyes to go out into the sun without sunglasses. Light eyes have also shown to be a risk factor for certain conditions including age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  

Color Contact Lenses

While we can’t pick our eye color, we can always play around with different looks using colored contact lenses. Just be sure that you get a proper prescription for any contact lenses, including cosmetic colored lenses, from an eye doctor! Wearing contact lenses that were obtained without a prescription could be dangerous to your eyes and your vision.  

 

 

 

Holiday Season Shopping: Are Nerf Guns Safe for the Eyes?

Nerf guns or blasters come in a remarkable number of shapes and sizes and have become incredibly popular for use in the home and even in large scale “Nerf Wars”. However publicity surrounding the toy has not been all positive. Many parents out there are questioning the safety of the toy foam guns, particularly to the eyes, before making the purchase.

The question of safety ultimately comes down to the user. Nerf darts are relatively soft, foamy and not inherently dangerous, but if shot in the wrong way, they could cause pain or even serious injury. This is particularly true of the eyes because they are a vulnerable organ that can be damaged easily upon impact. Injuries from even a soft projectile could include corneal abrasions (surface scratches), bleeding, cataracts and even retinal detachment which can lead to permanent vision loss.

Nevertheless, Nerf guns are fun and can even be used to help motor development and other skills, so with the right guidelines, children can learn to use them safely and benefit from the enjoyment they provide.

Want surefire eye safety? Wear safety glasses!

The best defense for your eyes is safety glasses. This is the one way you can be sure that you or your child’s eyes are truly safe during Nerf shooting. We strongly recommend safety glasses be worn during any play that involves projectile objects, particularly for small children or during serious games such as Nerf Wars.

General rules of Nerf Gun play:

  1. Never shoot at the face.
  2. Never look into the barrel of the nerf gun, even if you think it isn’t loaded.
  3. Avoid walking around with your finger on the trigger until you are ready to point and aim at the proper target.
  4. Only shoot others that are “playing” and are aware that you are aiming at them.
  5. Don’t shoot from a moving vehicle (including a bicycle, skateboard, rollerblades, etc.).
  6. Don’t shoot at a moving vehicle.
  7. Never shoot at a close range.
  8. Never leave loaded gun in reach of a child or individual that is not able to use the toy properly and safely.

To be safe, all toy guns that shoot projectiles should be treated as a dangerous toy in order to ensure proper usage and precautions. Yes, Nerf guns can cause serious eye damage and even vision loss, but these type of injuries can be caused by many “harmless” objects as well. Before you purchase a toy like this for your child, ask yourself whether the child is old enough and mature enough to understand the safety issues involved and to be able to use it responsibly.