I look at eyes all day. Young, old, sick, and healthy, I see them all. But I’ve never seen one as big as the one that was staring at me this week. This one however had no life. You probably saw it also. The softball sized fish eye that washed up on a beach in Florida. It was later confirmed as a swordfish eye. Huge, blue but void of that sparkle that life gives.
As with most jobs, maintaining perspective is vital in order to keep things fresh. Fortunately for me, I have a daily reminder of the privilege of being an eye doctor. At the conclusion of each eye exam, I review with the patient their Optomap retinal image. The Optomap or Optos for short provides me with a detailed wide angle view inside my patient’s eyes. As I take them on a tour of their eyes, I am reminded of the intelligent design behind our visual system. With over 100 million photoreceptors the retina is just 300 microns thick (one micron is 1/1000th of a millimeter). Photoreceptors are the smallest cellular component of sight and start the process we call vision. Once activated by light, the photoreceptor transmits the signal to other cells within the retina which pass that signal on to nerve cells on the top of the retina. From here the signal travels to the back of the brain (visual cortex)via the optic nerve for processing. This happens over and over and over and over….you get my point….it happens all day long countless times usually without any thought for what is happening.
Think about it for a moment, as you read this the optical components of your eyes (and possibly glasses or contacts) are focusing the light onto these cells giving your brain a picture to interpret. Because the photoreceptors work on change, your eye muscles constantly make small movements so that new photoreceptors are activated. These micro-movements are vital to keeping the picture fresh otherwise the brain would begin to ignore the image. Believe me this is just the tip of a huge iceberg. The process of vision, perception and reaction is so complex it boggles the mind. This process did not just happen, it was created.
As someone with a science background, its good for me to stop and reflect on creation. It redirects my thoughts to one of humility and thanksgiving. God the father is the wise creator and I’m thankful for the opportunity to care for his creation. Take a moment to thank Him for the wonderful blessing of sight.
Lotion for your eyes…..
Well, not really. If you’ve ever had dry skin you know how good lotion soothes the itching and burning. Did you know that the front surface of the eye is similar to the top layer of your skin? While there are some differences, the top layer of the cornea (epithelium) is not much different than your top layer of skin. One big difference is that the corneal epithelium must be wet for optimum function and comfort.
The cornea is the first structure of the eye that begins the focus of light. Actually, if you want to get technical the tear film that covers the cornea initiates this focus. For this reason, the cornea must maintain a high level of moisture. If the cornea is dry the quality of vision will be poor and no matter how ‘good’ your glasses are your vision will be outright blurry or inconsistent at best. Even more important, your level of ocular comfort will be directly affected if your moisture level is lower than required.
For acute or sudden onset dry problems, over the counter tear supplements are affective at boosting the volume of moisture and often solve the problem. If dry eye becomes more chronic, a combination of pharmaceuticals and over the counter drops will be necessary to reduce inflammation that often accompanies a dry eye.
Dry eye can be a complex problem that requires a wide range of treatments used consistently to bring relief and restore vision. Call my office today 205-491-8755 for a dry eye workup if you have been bothered by burning, itching or irritated eyes.
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Its a known fact that exposure to UV light from the sun can cause skin cancer. But did you know that this same UV light can hasten the formation of cataracts as well as macular degeneration? As with skin cancer, the effect of UV exposure on the eyes is cumulative. For this reason, it is imperative to protect yourself as often as you can while in the sun.
Advances in lens technology has given us several options for excellent protection from UV light. Even some contact lenses filter UV light making it an optimal choice. For the spectacle wearer, Transitions adaptive lenses may be the preferred mode of correction. Transitions lenses change tint once exposed to UV light, or in some cases ambient sunlight. Current day Transitions change much quicker and become darker than their predecessor. Transitions Vantage, the newest in the Transitions family is a variable polarization lens. Indoors its virtually clear and not polarized. Once exposed to UV light the lens darkens and increases in polarization depending on the amount of UV exposure. Anyone who has owned a polarized lens will tell you that this technology is the most visually comfortable lens available.
The bottom line is, are you protecting your eyes when you go outside? If not, consider your options. A quality pair of fixed tint sunglasses, Transitions adaptive lenses, a UV blocking contact lens or even a sun clip. Which ever you choose, you are doing yourself a great service by shielding them from harmful UV radiation.
Until next time,
I love to watch a really fluid athlete run fast. Search youtube for Usain Bolt and you will see what I’m talking about. Equally fun to watch is an athlete who can change direction quickly or freeze his opponent. You know what I’m talking about and can probably conjure up in your mind a play or event in sports that caused you to say WOW! Did you see that?
The ability to react to a stimulus and move fast is both a gift and a skill. Some are born with it and may not need much training. The rest of us need training to shorten that time between seeing and moving. This is what I am passionate about, improving athletic speed.
The Optometrist in me strives to achieve ‘perfection’ with each patient. In this case perfection is 20/20 and in some cases even better. The speed coach in me is also in search of perfection. Perfection here is not as clear cut and is a constant challenge. Coach John Wooden once said that success is doing the absolute best that you are capable of (paraphrased). Perhaps that is a relative form of perfection? I would say to this point in his career, Usain Bolt has achieved perfection in his event of the 100m (9.58 seconds).
Combining my skill as an Optometrist with my skill as a speed coach is what EyeMoveFast is all about. Each week I will be sharing with you what’s on my mind as it relates to athletic speed and development. In particular, youth athletic speed development. Some information will have more of a visual emphasis while other will have a greater emphasis on strength and conditioning. All the information will be valuable and practical. Occasionally, I will highlight other strength coaches who have influenced my over the past several years. Check back often or better yet, subscribe to this blog for updates. Thanks and I look forward to sharing my passion with you.