Lighting Tips For Less Eye Strain And Better Visibility

Light… it’s the most essential element of vision. We are surrounded by it all day, whether it be natural or artificial.
So it’s no surprise that we frequently get asked if certain types of light can negatively affect our eyes. Here we’ve compiled some tips so you can protect your eyes and prevent strain!

Adjust Your Workspace To Reduce Eye Strain

The American Optometric Association reports that over half of office workers who regularly use computers suffer from eye strain. You may not know it, but it’s not just caused by staring at your computer. The lighting surrounding your workspace could be making it worse. Here are some tips:

 

  • Reduce interior lighting: Most offices have harsh interior lighting that can contribute to eyestrain. If possible, use fewer light bulbs and fluorescent tubes.
  • Minimize glare: If there is a window directly in front or behind you, your eyes are working much harder than they need to be due to the glare and reflections on your computer screen. You can move or adjust your workstation, close the blinds, or get an anti-reflective coating on your glasses to reduce glare.
  • Adjust screen brightness: The blue light from the computer contributes to eye strain as well. Adjusting your brightness so it’s approximately the same as your surrounding workstation can help.

 

Improve The Lighting In Your Home

Remember when your parents used to tell you that reading in dim lighting will ruin your eyesight? While reading in the dark won’t do any lasting damage, it can give you a nasty headache. Doing any task that requires more intense focus in poor lighting can result in eye strain and all the uncomfortable symptoms that come with it.

Here’s a hint: take advantage of task lighting around your home. Desk lamps, reading lamps, under-cabinet lighting for kitchen work areas, among other types of task lighting, can help reduce your risk of eye strain when you’re doing near-work for longer amounts of time.

Good Lighting Is Even More Crucial For Those With Low Vision

In general, lighting needs to increase as you age. Research shows that a 60-year-old needs almost twice as much light to see as a 30-year-old!

Lighting is even more important for those with low vision. People with macular degeneration, glaucoma and other vision conditions should consult with their eye doctor about specific lighting improvements they can make in their homes to improve visibility.

See Things In A New Light
Believe it or not, small changes can make a big difference! The right kind of lighting can improve our reading ability, create a more noticeable difference in colors and prevent eye strain. Make some of these small changes and we promise, you’ll start seeing things in a whole new light!


Ocular and visual migraines: What’s the difference?

Visual disturbance caused by an ocular migraine

An ocular migraine is a rare condition characterized by temporary vision loss or even temporary blindness in one eye. Ocular migraines are caused by reduced blood flow or spasms of blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye.

In an ocular migraine, vision in the affected eye generally returns to normal within an hour. Ocular migraines can be painless or they can occur along with (or following) a migraine headache.

Unfortunately, the term “ocular migraine” is often used to describe a much more common (and harmless) condition — called a visual migraine or migraine aura — characterized by temporary visual disturbances that generally disappear within 30 minutes.

Unlike ocular migraines, a visual migraine typically affects both eyes.

Now let’s take a closer look at ocular migraines and visual migraines:

Ocular migraine and visual migraine symptoms

Ocular migraine symptoms generally include a small blind spot that affects your central vision in one eye. This blind spot gets larger, making it impossible for you to drive safely or read with the affected eye.

In some cases, the entire visual field of one eye may be affected. Generally, the episode lasts less than an hour.

Visual migraine symptoms can vary, and may include:

  1. A flickering blind spot in the center or near the center of your field of view
  2. A wavy or zigzag ring of colored light surrounding a central blind spot
  3. A blind spot that slowly migrates across your visual field
Visual migraines often appear suddenly and may create the sensation of looking through a cracked window. The visual migraine aura usually moves across your field of view and disappears within 30 minutes.

 

The symptoms of a visual migraine typically affect both eyes and last 30 minutes or less. A migraine headache may occur shortly after the symptoms of a visual migraine subside or no headache may occur.

If you’re experiencing a blind spot or other visual disturbance and you’re not sure if it’s an ocular migraine or a visual migraine, then cover one eye at a time. If the visual disturbance is occurring in just one eye, it’s likely that it’s an ocular migraine. If it affects both eyes, it’s probably a visual migraine.

But don’t take chances. If you suddenly experience any sort of blind spot in your field of vision, call or consult your optometrist  immediately to determine if it’s harmless or possibly a sign of something more serious, such as a retinal detachment.

What causes ocular and visual migraines?

Ocular migraines are believed to have the same causes as migraine headaches.

Migraine headaches have a genetic basis, and some studies say that up to 70 percent of people who suffer from the disorder have a family history of migraine headaches.

According to the World Health Organization, migraine headaches appear to be triggered by activation of a mechanism deep in the brain, which releases inflammatory substances around nerves and blood vessels in the head and brain.

Imaging studies have revealed changes in blood flow to the brain during ocular migraines and migraine auras. But why this happens and what brings about the spontaneous resolution of ocular migraines and visual migraines remain unknown.

Common migraine “triggers” that can cause a person to have a migraine attack (including ocular and visual migraines) include certain foods, such as aged cheeses, caffeinated drinks, red wine, smoked meats, and chocolate.

Food additives, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), and artificial sweeteners also can trigger migraines in some people.

Other potential migraine triggers include cigarette smoke, perfumes and other strong odors, glaring or flickering lights, lack of sleep and emotional stress.

Treatment and prevention

As already noted, visual disturbances caused by ocular migraines and visual migraines typically disappear within an hour or less without treatment.

If you are performing tasks that require clear vision, when an ocular migraine or visual migraine occurs, stop what you are doing and relax until your vision returns to normal.

If you’re driving, park on the side of the road and wait for the vision disturbances to completely pass.

If you experience visual disturbances that are accompanied by a migraine headache, see your family physician or a neurologist for evaluation of your migraine episodes.

Your doctor can advise you on the latest medicines for treating migraines, including medicines designed to prevent future attacks.

It’s also a good idea to keep a journal of your diet and activities just prior to your ocular migraine or migraine aura episodes to see if you can identify possible triggers that you can avoid in the future.

If your ocular migraines or migraine auras (visual migraines) appear to be stress-related, you might be able to reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks without medicine by simply:

  • Eating healthful meals on a regular basis
  • Avoiding common migraine triggers
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Trying stress-busters such as yoga and massage

EXPERIENCING VISUAL DISTURBANCES? Don’t take chances. Contact us to discover what’s causing the visual disturbances.

Source: www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/ocular-migraine.htm

by Gary Heiting, OD


Eye’s cornea can resist infection from novel coronavirus

 

New findings from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggest the eye’s cornea can resist infection from the novel coronavirus. Although the herpes simplex virus can infect the cornea and spread to other parts of the body in patients with compromised immune systems, and Zika virus has been found in tears and corneal tissue, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, does not appear to replicate in the human cornea.

The researchers have yet to determine, however, whether other tissue in and around the cornea, such as the tear ducts and the conjunctiva, are vulnerable to the virus.

The new findings are published Nov. 3 in the journal Cell Reports.

“Our findings do not prove that all corneas are resistant,. But every donor cornea we tested was resistant to the novel coronavirus. It’s still possible a subset of people may have corneas that support growth of the virus, but none of the corneas we studied supported growth of SARS-CoV-2.”

Jonathan J. Miner, MD, PhD, First Author

Miner, an assistant professor of medicine, of molecular microbiology and of pathology and immunology, teamed up with ophthalmologist Rajendra S. Apte, MD, PhD, to study mouse and human corneas exposed to the herpes simplex, Zika and SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

“Some COVID-19 patients get eye symptoms, such as conjunctivitis (pinkeye), but it’s not clear that the viral infection itself causes that; it could be related to secondary inflammation,” said Apte, the Paul A. Cibis Distinguished Professor in the John F. Hardesty Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences. “The cornea and conjunctiva are known to have receptors for the novel coronavirus, but in our studies, we found that the virus did not replicate in the cornea.”

Prior research in human and mouse corneal tissue had demonstrated that Zika virus could be shed in tears, and the researchers wanted to learn whether the cornea might serve as an entry point for SARS-CoV-2. Apte, Miner and their colleagues tested that by exposing the eye tissue to the different viruses and observing whether they could grow in and replicate. They also identified key substances in corneal tissue that can promote or inhibit viral growth.

One inhibitor they identified is called interferon lambda. They found that interferon lambda prevented efficient growth of Zika virus and herpes simplex virus in the cornea. But with SARS-CoV-2, levels of the substance had not effect on whether the virus could replicate. It simply could not gain a foothold whether interferon lambda was present or not.

That’s reassuring to Apte, also a professor of developmental biology and of medicine, who said it suggests COVID-19 probably cannot be transmitted through a cornea transplant or similar procedures in the eye.

“Our data suggest that the novel coronavirus does not seem to be able to penetrate the cornea,” Apte said.

Miner added, however, that because of unknowns involving the tear ducts and the conjunctiva, it’s too soon to dismiss the importance of eye protection.

“It’s important to respect what this virus is capable of and take appropriate precautions,” he said. “We may learn that eye coverings are not necessary to protect against infection in the general community, but our studies really are just the beginning. We need larger clinical studies to help us better understand all the potential routes of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, including the eye.”

Source:
Washington University School of Medicine

Journal reference:
Miner, J.J., et al. (2020) HSV-1 and Zika Virus but Not SARS-CoV-2 Replicate in the Human Cornea and Are Restricted by Corneal Type III Interferon. Cell Reports. doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108339.


Covid19 safety measures in practice update

Following the latest Government announcement on 04/01/21, we will remain open to provide eyecare for patients.

Please call the practice to discuss your visual requirements so that emergency and essential eyecare can be prioritised.

Please check our opening hours as these may be subject to change.

Please contact the practice on 020 7222 0066 or email info@uniaopticians.co.uk to book an appointment.

We are currently available on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, from 10:00am am to 3.30pm, but please check our website & contact us as these are due to change to allow for more appointments.

We are operating a closed door system, so we can control the number of customers in the practice at any time. All staff are wearing full PPE, and we would request all customers entering the practice to wear a face covering. (This can be provided if patients do not already have one) There are hand sanitiser stations both at the door and throughout the store.

We are able to dispense spectacle frames from our complete range, for prescriptions to be made up, and are sanitising any frames that are tried on after each customer. All equipment & surfaces are also sanitised after each customer visit.

In order to limit face to face contact we are able to carry out OCT scanning & retinal imaging. This enables us to have a fully detailed view of the retina and to detect the potential for many ocular diseases.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

The Unia Team.