March/April 2018 Newsletter
Introducing Concierge Optometry Services
Stockists of leading fashion brands, contact lenses and a Concierge delivery to your door
SEE YOUR WHOLE WORLD, NOT JUST PART OF IT!
The annual World Glaucoma Week in March may have come and gone but unfortunately glaucoma is here to stay! Glaucoma is an irreversible progressive condition of the eyes caused by damage to the optic nerve at the back of the eye. After diabetic eye disease, it is the most common cause of blindness in the Western world if left untreated. The 2018 theme for World Glaucoma Week was B-I-G, Beat Invisible Glaucoma. This is an excellent incentive to visit your optometrist for a glaucoma screening, which is a quick and painless measurement of the pressure inside the eyes.
GATEWAY TO LEARNING
School Health Week in March served as a reminder of the need to be aware, not only of general health, but of eye health and the essential role vision plays in the classroom. Learning is a complex process which requires integration and coordination between a number of modalities, including hearing, vision, language, and physical and cognitive abilities. We all have different learning styles and strengths. Some people learn most effectively by looking, others by listening, and still others by doing. The large majority of the demand in the classroom is on the visual system, increasing as children progress through school, when more study materials need to be read, print in books becomes smaller, and more time is spent studying and working on the computer. Optimal vision for learning is not simply being able to see clearly but involves visual processing skills and the ability to make sense of what is seen. Less than optimal visual skills may lead to poor academic and sporting performance, a negative attitude towards school, and emotional and social problems.
Visual acuity is a measure of the sharpness of vision or how clearly one is able to see at various distances. Problems that could impact school performance include difficulty with distance vision (shortsightedness), close vision (farsightedness) or blurred vision due to an irregularly shaped cornea (astigmatism). Generally, a child will not report a visual acuity problem because he is unaware that he sees differently from others. Your optometrist will detect and manage problems in this area.
This is the ability to keep the eyes on target when looking from one object to another, moving the eyes from word to word in a book or following a moving object like a thrown ball. The child should be able to track with the eyes without moving the head.
This ability allows the child to quickly and accurately maintain clear vision while changing focus at different distances. Activities such as reading and writing require sustained focus for prolonged periods of time, while copying from one place to another requires a rapid and efficient change of focus.
Eye teaming is the ability of the eyes to coordinate and work together smoothly, simultaneously and accurately. Each eye actually sees a slightly different image, which the brain puts together to create a fused 3-D picture, enabling the child to judge depth, distances and spatial relationships.
This is the vital ability to use visual information to monitor and direct movement of the hands when doing both close work like writing or larger movements such as catching a ball.
By comparing visual features, the child is required to identify differences and similarities between colours, shapes and patterns. This is an essential skill in differentiating letters, numbers and words.
Figure ground refers to the child's ability to perceive the foreground from the background in a visual presentation, for example locating a specific word on a page or area on a map.
Visual closure is the ability to identify forms or objects from incomplete presentations. The child with adequate visual closure skills does not have to read each letter in a word or each word in a sentence but is able to read the word or sentence as a whole.
With good visual memory the child is able to recall what has been previously seen, for example letters, numbers and reading passages. Closely allied with this is visual sequential memory which requires the recall of items in the correct order, e.g. letters in a word. It is a skill which has an impact on daily activities such as dressing.
Sequencing is an important foundation for reading, writing and comprehension, as it involves putting letters, words, numbers and ideas in a logical consecutive order.
Spatial relations skills involve the ability to perceive and understand the position of one's body in space in relation to itself and others, to identify left and right, top and bottom, and the direction in which the body is turned. It has an impact on written work as well as on the sports field.
Form constancy refers to the child's ability to identify objects, shapes, letters, and words, despite differences in their size or position. The form remains constant but the orientation changes.
The main purpose of reading is to understand what has been read. Although not strictly a visual skill, it is essential that the child has adequate reading proficiency so as not to concentrate solely on the process of decoding words, but to be able to make sense of what he is reading.
Signs of Visual Problems
Visual skills can be influenced by many physiological, environmental and psychological factors, including development, illness, nutrition, medication, fatigue, environmental stress, emotional stress, attention and attitude. Some children are able to compensate for some of these factors reasonably well in the lower grades but may demonstrate difficulties as schoolwork becomes more demanding. Parents and teachers need to be aware of the signs that indicate that problems may exist. Among others, these are:
If any of these symptoms are noticed, visit your optometrist for a comprehensive assessment. Glasses or contact lenses may provide the necessary correction of certain vision problems, or a programme of vision therapy may be indicated to help develop or improve visual processing skills. Because vision may change frequently and demands on the visual system increase during the school years, regular eye and vision care is important, whether problems are evident or not.
A TWITCH IN TIME ....
Everyone has them from time to time. Everyone finds them irritating. No-one knows exactly what causes them. But they usually don't last long and are seldom a cause for concern. Eyelid twitches or myokymia are painless repetitive involuntary spasms of the muscles of the eyelids. They usually occur in the upper eyelid but can occur in both the upper and lower lids and are more prevalent during the day than at night. Episodes of eyelid twitching are unpredictable, typically occurring every few seconds for a minute or two. They may appear on and off for a day or two and then disappear for weeks or months. While most twitches resolve on their own, in rare cases they may be early warning signs of an underlying disorder which requires medical intervention.
The specific causes of eyelid twitching are usually unknown, although certain factors may be identifiable as triggering them or making them worse. These are usually related to life style.
Most eyelid spasms disappear without treatment in a few days or weeks. If they are triggered by stress, fatigue or excess caffeine, try to eliminate or decrease these factors. Keeping the eyes lubricated with artificial tears or applying a warm compress to the eyes may ease the spasm. In cases of chronic blepharospasm Botox injections or surgery may be necessary. If an underlying health condition is the cause, treating this condition is the obvious solution.
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
Eyelid twitches are seldom serious enough to require medical treatment. However, in rare cases chronic eyelid spasms may be a symptom of a more serious nervous system disorder. You may need to see your doctor if you're having chronic eyelid spasms accompanied by:
SEEING THE WORLD THROUGH ROSE-COLOURED LENSES?
Contact lenses have a rich history that dates back to the 1500s, when Italian artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci first conceived of them. While his idea was only a sketch and was highly impractical, it was the beginning of centuries of contact lens innovation which continues to develop. Today contact lenses are a part of everyday life for millions of people around the world. With the rapid advances in technology, not only have the materials evolved for better comfort and durability, but the availability of colours and patterns has grown, making coloured contact lenses an important feature in the world of movies and a cosmetic accessory in the wardrobes of many people.
LOOK ME IN THE EYE
Eye contact has been compared to the fairy tale of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" - too much may be interpreted as rude, too little may make a person appear uneasy or disinterested, while just the right amount produces feelings of mutual trust and interest. Eye contact is an integral and powerful part of non-verbal communication, is often linked to facial expression and sends out messages that are not always picked up with words alone. However, it is not as simple as the Goldilocks theory would suggest. There are different types of eye contact, and the interpretation of acceptable eye contact differs from culture to culture, situation to situation, personality to personality, gender to gender and even extends to the eyes in photographs and paintings.
Making and Breaking Eye Contact
Making eye contact with someone acknowledges that person and shows that you are interested in them. In some cultures, however, it is interpreted as rude to make eye contact with people in authority or of the opposite sex. Breaking eye contact can indicate that the person has lost interest, disagrees with what has been said or feels threatened. During conversation we frequently look away and back again, to prevent the discomfort of prolonged eye contact. When a person is feeling uncomfortable, he may rub one eye or pretend to have something in his eye, giving him an opportunity to break eye contact by turning his head away.
Avoiding Eye contact
We tend to avoid eye contact when we feel that our personal space may be threatened, for example in lifts, when everyone faces forward, or in crowded places where people look out of a window or at their phones. In some cultures eye contact is avoided as a sign of respect. There is a universal myth that when someone is lying he will avoid eye contact, but some experts feel that he may overcompensate by holding eye contact too long. Still others believe that by closely watching the listener's eyes he may be able to detect if the listener has seen through his lie. Employees or children at school may avoid eye contact when they know that the boss or teacher is seeking volunteers and are thinking: "PLEASE DON'T PICK ME!" People who avoid eye contact by wearing sunglasses indoors can make those around them feel ill at ease which is often their intention.
"Just Right" Eye Contact
Too much eye contact is instinctively felt to be rude, hostile and condescending. In a business context, it may be perceived as a deliberate intent to dominate or intimidate or to place others at a disadvantage. Too little, on the other hand, can make a person appear uneasy, insincere, or lacking confidence. "Just the right" amount of eye contact, the amount that produces a feeling of mutual likability and trustworthiness, will vary in different settings. As a general rule, direct eye contact during conversation, more when listening, less when speaking, makes for a comfortable atmosphere. Females typically look more at the person they are talking to than males do.
Gazing can have either positive or negative implications. The acceptable duration of eye contact is situation and culture specific; sometimes even a slight glance is regarded as disrespectful. Looking at something indicates an interest in it, and others often follow our gaze to share what we are looking at. The gaze that is short but intense is sometimes used to impose one's will on another, showing power without aggression. It is usually accompanied by a facial expression that conveys the same message.
Glancing at something can betray a desire for that object. Glancing at a person can indicate a desire to talk with them. It can also indicate a concern for that person's feelings. Glancing may indicate a desire to gaze at something or someone when it is forbidden or uncomfortable to look for a prolonged period. Glancing sideways at a person can be viewed as a sign of attraction or sometimes disapproval, depending on the situation.
Prolonged Eye Contact
Eye contact longer than normal can have several different meanings. Eye contact often increases significantly when we are listening, and especially when we are paying close attention to what the other person is saying. In more intense or intimate conversations, we naturally look at one another more often and for longer periods of time. We look more at people we like and like people who look at us more. Prolonged eye contact without blinking, contracted pupils and an immobile face can indicate domination, aggression and use of power. Prolonged eye contact can be disconcerting; to reduce stress from this look at the bridge of the other person's nose - he will think you are still looking at his eyes!
Limited Eye Contact
We generally reduce eye contact when we are talking about something shameful or embarrassing, or when we are sad or depressed. Less eye contact is used in conversation when people who are visual thinkers stare into the distance or look upwards as they access internal thoughts or emotions.
Eye Contact and Persuasion
A public speaker wanting to convey his message strongly seeks out eye contact with audience members and continues to sustain it with reconnection as he speaks. This makes him appear confident, believable and competent. If people in the audience are listening but are not making eye contact with the speaker, the personal connection is reduced.
Staring is generally done with eyes wider than usual and with reduced blinking. It generally indicates particular interest in something or someone. Staring is often indicative of aggression. A short stare, with eyes wide open and then back to normal indicates surprise, shock or disbelief. The length of an acceptable stare varies across cultures, as does who is allowed to stare, and at what. Babies and young children stare more, until they have learned the cultural rules.
Squinting or narrowing of the eyes can indicate judgement, uncertainty or not necessarily believing what one has heard.
Blinking is a natural process to lubricate the eyes but it can also convey nonverbal cues. Blink rate tends to increase when people are feeling stressed and it can be an indication of lying. In a conversation between two people it may reflect their rapport as they tend to blink at the same rate as they listen carefully to one another. A single slow blink can be a reaction to surprise - "I do not believe what I am seeing!"
Pupil size, contraction or dilation, sends a subtle subconscious message which is often missed by the sender. Not very different in meaning to squinting, the pupils often constrict in disgust or distaste, while they dilate in situations of attraction. In general, dilated pupils are positive while constricted pupils are negative.
Eye Contact and Learning
Some studies have suggested that eye contact has a positive impact on retention and recall of information and may facilitate learning. Most teachers are aware of engaged eye contact versus the blank stare of the child who is daydreaming or does not understand what is being said. One study reports that while maintaining eye contact when listening enhances retention of information, avoiding eye contact when processing information is helpful. This could be one explanation why children tend to look away while thinking.
Animals and Eye Contact
In general, most animals perceive direct eye contact as a threat and a means of establishing dominance. Prey animals, such as horses will run away, while predators are likely to attack. Chimpanzees use eye contact to signal aggression in hostile encounters and staring at them can induce agitated behavior. With domesticated animals, particularly dogs and cats eye contact depends on the situation. The slow blink of a cat is often interpreted as friendly. Some people believe that dogs are the only animals who look humans directly in the eye, read facial expressions and understand human emotions. Others say that their response to the feelings of their owners has more to do with body language and tone of voice than eye contact.
SEEING IN COLOUR
April is that time of year when the mornings are chillier, the evenings are darker, and the leaves on the trees turn spectacular shades of... I don't know. Orange and red. I know I was about to get poetic there, but then I remembered I'm no poet. I'm just an old pair of glasses going on about the way I see the world.
SEE YOUR WHOLE WORLD, NOT JUST PART OF IT!
GATEWAY TO LEARNING
A TWITCH IN TIME ....
SEEING THE WORLD THROUGH ROSE-COLOURED LENSES?
LOOK ME IN THE EYE
SEEING IN COLOUR
Visit our new website www.paigeoneoptical.co.za
|This newsletter is published by EyeMark, a division of SB Media. www.eyemark.co.za|