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Lazy Eye (Amblyopia) Treatment Update

Almost a year ago I wrote about some new treatments for amblyopia, involving playing video games. We were excited by this research but unfortunately this treatment was only available in research facilities…..until now.

eyetrain sports vision training

We partnered with a local computer gaming company and have developed EyeTrain. This is a system that can help treat amblyopia using video games. We have been using this system with our patients for the past 6 months and a excited by the results. We seem to get the same 2 line improvement that they researchers have.

If you have amblyopia and are interested if this might help you, send me an email. (This seems to be effective in adults and teenage children, whom we previously thought there was not treatment options.)

Michael Nelson, OD

nikon logo

Nikon Lenses Make Your Iphone Faster

If I was to ask you what business Nikon was in, you would probably say cameras, or perhaps eyeglass lenses or perhaps telescopes…but you would be wrong.

A little known fact is that one of Nikon’s main operations is the manufacturing of steppers.  Nikon is the second largest stepper supplier in the world.  Now if you are like me, you probably have no idea what a stepper is.  A stepper is the device that is used in the complex process of photolithography, which creates the millions of microscopic circuits on silicone chips.  These chips are the building block of virtually every electronic device you use.

Steppers use dozens of lenses to minify the circuit patterns onto a silicon chip.  The most important feature of a stepper is a lens that provides optimal transmission and focus of light through the lenses and that is why Nikon spends millions of research dollars in developing the best optics and the best coatings they can.  This is why they are a leader in the field of steppers.

Now the great news for you and I is that Nikon has decided to apply this research to their camera and eyeglass lenses, helping us see the world clearer.

Michael Nelson, Optometrist, Waverley Eye Care

eye examination test

I can tell your IQ by looking in your eyes

A study published in the May 15, 2013 journal Psychological Science reports an association between retinal vessel size and IQ.  Now considering I look at retinal blood vessels all day long, this article intrigued me.  The study looked at over 1000 individuals and found that after accounting for all sorts of extenuating circumstances, those with larger retinal vessel size had lower IQ’s and those with smaller retinal vessel sizes had higher IQ’s.

Armed with my new found knowledge, all I need are 2 retinas to compare.  So I chose mine of course and who else?   My wife of course, Dr. Friesen.

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My retina is on the left and her’s is on the right.  And I proceed to measure and average the retinal vessel size, just like investigators did in their study….one eye averaged to be 7.85 pixel vessel size, the other 6.5.

So who had the larger vessel size?

I think you already know.

Michael Nelson, Optometrist, Waverley Eye Care

contact lenses

3 Reasons Why This Will Be Your Favourite Contact Lens, and 1 Why You’ll Hate It

Let’s start with the good – 3 Reasons why you’ll love this contact lens:

  1. 156.  What does 156 mean?  Well the Dk/t of course!  Dk/t is the measurement of oxygen permeability of the contact lens and the higher the number the more permeable the lens is to oxygen.  And for the cornea, which has no blood vessels and breaths directly from the air, the higher the Dk/t the better.  There is only one contact lens that has a higher Dk/t than this lens, so that means your cornea will love this lens.
  2. Protein.  If you are on the Aitkens Diet protein is good, but when it comes to contacts protein is bad.  Proteins stick to contact lenses after just one wear and they can’t be completely removed with cleaning.  Proteins will cause decreased oxygen permeability, increased dryness,  a rough surface on which bacterial biofilms can grow and cause inflammation that can lead to red eyes and contact lens intolerance.  More and more studies show that the best way to combat protein is with a daily disposable contact lens, like this one.
  3. Lubricity.  The thing that makes contact lenses uncomfortable is friction.  Friction between the lids, cornea and contact lens.  A lens with less friction, or lubricious, will be more comfortable.  This lens is designed to be so lubricious that 4 out of 5 wearers say it feels like they are wearing nothing at all.  Check out this video comparing the lubricity of contact lenses.

So with all this good what is to hate?

  1. If you are hyperopic/farsighted, need a bifocal or require a toric lens for astigmatism it is not available in your prescription – yet.  Then again, you might just be willing to have a little blurriness to wear this lens.

So what is this lens?  Dailies Total 1

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Ask us about it at your next eye exam.

Michael Nelson, OD, Waverley Eye Care Centre

best brands of glasses

How many glasses should I own?

Great question.

Now I know that I am biased but the non-glasses wearing host of this youtube chat has a good point – glasses can cost a lot, but most of us have at least a couple of $500 plus items that we wear, but we don’t wear everyday.
The question I always would like to ask people is what is the oldest item you are wearing?  I am guessing it would be:
  1. Wedding ring
  2. Watch
  3. Glasses
What is the oldest item you are wearing right now?
Dr. Michael Nelson, Optometrist
waverley eye care logo

Improve Your Golf Game with New Adidas Sunglass Technology

If you are looking for an edge on the golf course, don’t forget about your eyes.  Take advantage of the latest technology from Adidas to improve your vision and improve your scores.  Take a couple of minutes to view the latest in this video from ScoreGolf.

Michael Nelson, Optometrist, Waverley Eye Care Centre

Retinal Transplant for Macular Degeneration

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Almost everyday I have someone ask me if it possible to do a retinal transplant for people who suffer from vision loss due to macular degeneration. The answer has always been “not yet”. A recent post by Review of Optometry doesn’t change this answer, but it does offer some hope.

There are two glimpses of hope from this post. One is that a research team has discovered that they may be able to turn epithelial cells into stem cells. While most cells are programmed to grow into only a certain type if cell (skin, hair, teeth, muscle,etc) stem cells are a wild-card type of cell in our body that can develop into any tissue. This study is that this team has learned how to take skin cells and convert them into stem cells.

The second, and most exciting, part of this study is a leaked report from a research group which is currently carrying out studies on growing new retinas from stem cells in patients with macular degeneration. It reports that one patient had vision improve from 20/400 to 20/40. That is amazing because it changes a persons vision from being legally blind to being able to drive a car. So is it possible to do retinal transplants? The answer is yes, but it still may be years before this treatment is an option for patients.

Michael Nelson, Optometrist, Waverley Eye Care, Winnipeg

eyetrain sports vision training

Tetris training for Amblyopia

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The age old question – Are video games bad for my eyes?  Well one recent study says no, at least if used under specific conditions.

A recent study published in Current Biology showed that amblyopia can be reduced in adults using training with the video game Tetris.  Amblyopia affects up to 5% of the population and occurs when the connections from the eye to the brain do not develop as well in one eye.

Traditionally, patching the good eye and viewing images monocularly has been the treatment for amblyopia in children.  This treatment is effective in children but does not seem to be as effective in adults.  This recent study shows that when Tetris was played with diochoptically (one eye viewing the stationary objects and the other viewing the moving objects) 3D vision and vision in the weaker eye improved, compared to just playing the game monocularly.

Michael Nelson, OD  Waverley Eye Care Centre

How to choose prescription sunglasses?

Sunglasses

Sometimes all the options available for those choosing prescription sunglasses can make the task so overwhelming that it is easier not to make the choice at all.  So to try to simplify the process let me highlight a few keys points when making your decision.

Price

As with anything, you generally get what you pay for.  A more expensive set of sunglasses will mean you get a better quality and more comfortable frame.  The lens will have better optics, more comfortable tints and better scratch coatings.  That being said you can get good quality sunglasses without breaking the budget. My Recommendation: If you want an inexpensive lens, we have some starting at $20.

Base Curve

Base curve refers to how much wrap your sunglass lens has.  Wrap is desirable because it helps eleminate sun coming in from the side or behind the lens.  Optometrists have an instrument that can measure the base curve of the frame, but sunglasses are generally either 8 Base (lots of wrap) or 6 Base.  Frames that you use as your everyday clear lenses are usually between 2-6 Base.  High Wrap sunglasses (8 Base) look great without a prescription, but when you add a prescription to them, the lens can get very thick and distorted at the edges.   This means that unless you have a very low prescription, you should avoid wrap frames for your prescription sunglasses.  My Recommendation:  For a prescription sunglass, look for a 6 base frame for a good compromise in function and optics.

Polarized

Polarization is often an overlooked option, mostly because of the price.  But once you have had a polarized lens you will never want a pair of sunglasses without it.  Polarization is the feature that eliminates horizontal glare off a wet road, water or any horizontal surface.  It makes lenses incredibly comfortable.  My Recommendation:  Splurge for the polarized lens, you won’t be disappointed.

Tint Colour

Tint colour affects the contrast of what you see.  Grey lenses will keep colours looking normal but will do little to improve contrast.  Blue or purple lenses will reduce contrast and that is why you don’t see sunglasses with this colour.  Brown or amber tints will tend to improve contrast and make things appear a little brighter.  There is not really any right or wrong with regards to tint, it is more about personal preference.  My Recommendation:  If you don’t have any preference, I would recommend an amber tint.

Anti-reflection Coating

Antireflection is a must for clear lenses but it serves a different purpose in sunglasses.  An antireflection coating on the front of the lens is not needed on sunglasses, however some high-end sun lenses will have an antireflection on the back of the lens which can eliminate reflections from sunlight that comes from behind you.  My Recommendation:  If the sunglass lenses come with a back surface antireflection coating great, but if not I don’t think you have to invest in it – invest in a polarized lens instead.

 UV Protection

UV protection is essential.  Fortunately even the least expensive sunlens will have a UV coating.  One important fact, that most are not aware of, is that UV protection has nothing to do with how dark the lens is.  The UV coating is a clear coating that blocks invisible UV light.  You can have a non-sunglass lens that blocks 100% of UV light.  My Recommendation:  UV Protection is essential to reduce the risk of earlier cataracts and macular degeneration.

Hopefully this will be enough to get you started.

Michael Nelson. OD

Reading electronic devices in the dark

6a00d8354fadbd69e2017c38875f51970b-pi-1A recent article in The Wall Street Journal highlights an age old vision question and a modern day question.

Does reading in the dark harm your vision?  There is no evidence that reading in the dark  will cause any long-term damage to the eyes or change to the physiology to the eye.  It may cause some eyestrain or fatigue but there is no indication that this will increase myopia (nearsightedness) or harm your eyes.

Does reading on a tablet damage your eyes?  Studies comparing various fonts, displays and pixel resolution found no difference in the effect on the eye between reading e-ink or a printed book.  So if reading a printed book in dim light is okay, so i reading a Kindle.  One difference though, is that devices like ipads, iphones and LCD monitors all emit a lot of light in the blue end of the spectrum (just think about that familiar blue glow you get from these screens).  Blue light is known to scatter more and can cause increased eye fatigue.   The good news is that lens companies are starting to produce coatings, like the Nikon SeeCoat Blue, that selectively filter out this blue light and reduce eye fatigue.

Michael Nelson OD, Waverley Eye Care