Eyes provide insights into our hearts and souls, and above all give an insight into our health. Our eyes are a great tool for physicians to know more about our blood vessels, nerves and connecting tissue without surgery. This has garnered a great interest in scientists to work on new technologies to get a better look at our eyes and diagnose diseases at an earlier stage. Advancements are sought after in helping people with vision loss lead better lives and improve the quality of such individuals’ life with the designing of new tools.
Eyes: An Insight into Our Health
There are some people who survive without wearing glasses up to their late 80s and there are some others who are forced to wear glasses at a tender age of 2 or 3. Every individual must get his/her eyes tested even if they are sure about their vision quality. The eye professional looks out for eye problems as well as for signs of diseases during a regular eye checkup. This is critical because most eye problems don’t come with early warning signs and the best treatment is possible only when the disease is identified at an early stage.
Dilating the eye is the best means of examining it and the dilation is done after checking for vision sharpness. The physician dispenses drops into the dark center of the eyes (pupil) and this allows more light into the eyes which helps the doctor examine the eyes more clearly. Tissues at the back of the eye (which includes the retina [light-sensitive tissue], the macula [for sharp vision] and the optic nerve [carries visual messages from eye to the brain]) are examined with a magnifying lens and any signs of damage to any of these areas are a sign of an eye disease. Eye has the capacity to reflect an illness that begins in another tissue far from the eyes themselves which includes illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, sexually transmitted diseases and cancers. Eye doctors often diagnose diabetes by observing the retina and blood vessels of the eyes. Surprisingly, the disease shows its presence in the eye tissue before a blood glucose test shows positive results. Hence, a regular eye checkup helps preserve vision as well as detect any illnesses that need immediate attention.
Imaging technologies have witnessed tremendous improvements but are still undergoing further research for more advanced options. This will equip ophthalmologists with more powerful imaging tools than every before. One such improvement is on a microscope that helps to detect glaucoma with improved diagnosis. Glaucoma is a disease that has the potential to damage cells that are hard to see in the early stage of the disease. This disease has the potential to cause blindness by damaging nerves at the back of the eye and the current technology has the ability to detect glaucoma only after thousands of cells die. The fact that glaucoma runs in the family has become increasing popular of late and the website www.firsteatright.com has aplenty information regarding this insight which could be of immense help and interesting to you.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) also has the ability to cause vision loss and blindness and eye imaging techniques are being developed for detecting AMD as well. Yet another new imaging technique developed helps physicians track a specific protein in the eye. This can help doctors detect cataracts and presbyopia at an early stage. Presently, cataracts are operated and corrected but scientists are identifying different ways to correct this and one of them is by dispensing drops which includes a chemical that has the potential to reverse cataracts. Cataract is common in old age (if you live long enough to get it!)
Citing Ways to Improve Sight
There are some whose blindness and vision loss cannot be corrected forever and improvement in technology can better the lives of such people helping them perform their day-to-day activities with ease. For instance, a researcher developed a miniature telescope technology that can be mounted upon regular eyeglasses and help those with low vision see better while driving. Yet another discovery is a partially robotic cane that has the ability to detect what is nearby. The roller tip guides the person move forward. Even smartphone apps have been designed with sound as a guide to blind/visually impaired people. Here, the app gives prompts to the person tipping him/her on the safest crossing locations and helping to navigate through the streets.
Technological improvements exist on one side but there are many things that we can do from our end to improve a better quality of life. Actions such as eating healthy meals rich in foods such as carrots, kale and spinach, refraining from smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping blood sugar levels under control can protect eye health. Become aware of certain eye diseases that have the potential to run in families and take precautionary steps by getting yourself tested for these regularly. That’s also one of the reasons for getting your eyes checked regularly. Also, ensure to wear sunglasses to protect from harmful sun rays and wear protective eyewear while involved in sporting activities or likewise.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.