The Unfortunate Truth After the Eclipse: Vision Damage

It is five months since the total eclipse of the sun crossed over our globe.  If you were one of those lucky people who viewed the amazing astronomical display, you were probably more prepared and protected than those viewing eclipses in previous years.  Massive public health campaigns helped guide watchers to safe methods of watching the eclipse.  However, despite these efforts, many watchers may still suffer from solar retinopathy, a condition affecting the very center of the retina of our eyes.  

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What is Solar Retinopathy:

The retinal layer most susceptible to solar damage is the photoreceptor layer.   Although, we have another layer responsible for absorbing solar radiation, it can only absorb a certain percentage.  Once this level is reached the temperature of the retinal tissue rises causing thermal damage ­– aka solar burn.  Additionally, the ultraviolet radiation exposure during an eclipse can also cause photochemical damage of the retina.  

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The Colander Trick: A smart way to view the eclipse without harming your eyes – Image Source

The likelihood of having solar retinopathy is very slim if people saw the sun briefly without a protective filter – as in a fraction of a second.  However, if longer viewing of the sun occurred whether intentionally or due to faulty filters the chances of retinopathy increase proportionally.  Most symptoms of solar retinopathy develop after approximately 12 hours.  Typically, the very center of the vision is blurred with a spot or multiple spots of missing vision (scotomas) and may be accompanied by color vision changes, light sensitivity and distorted vision.  More than half of those with solar retinopathy have it in one eye only.

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The good news is, over half of the cases of solar retinopathy reported in the past show that most of the retinal changes caused by solar burns are reversible in several months to a year.  However, there are cases of sustained vision loss and visual disturbance after eclipse viewing.  Children are particularly sensitive and at greater risk of permanent damage.  An article in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, concluded that, “solar retinopathy in children can cause persistent damage to multiple retinal layers despite recovery of good visual acuity”.  It is crucial for future efforts to focus on educating parents, teachers and children on protecting their eyes during an eclipse and making approved safety filters affordable and accessible.  

 

PREDICTING YOUR PRESCRIPTION? Yes, it’s possible!

As an optometrist, I am asked many questions about the eyes and vision every day in my practice. One question that has always been extremely hard to answer is, “How bad is my vision going to get?” While I answer them to the best of my ability, there are so many factors that determine how poorly we see or end up seeing.  I’ve usually told patients (you may have gotten this answer as well) that “I can’t really know for sure how much your prescription will progress”, and to remind them to come in annually for a comprehensive exam so I can monitor the changes.

Just recently, however, I have been able to offer patients research and evidence-based testing data on eyesight changes over time.  Based on the patient’s age and level of prescription, I can now predict how likely it is that the patient will become more nearsighted, with or without treatment.

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The Brien Holden Vision Institute in Australia has created a ‘myopia calculator’ that is changing the way we can approach the growing public health issue of nearsightedness (myopia): https://calculator.brienholdenvision.org/.  The calculator and research show that the earlier the onset of myopia, the higher the prescription will become. The calculator demonstrates how the many standard treatment options could slow down the myopia and even predict by how much.

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Brien Holden Myopia Calculator 

What this means for eye care professionals is that we now can help formulate a plan for our myopic patients to include trying to prevent the condition from worsening.

What this means for the patients is that with data-backed research and trends in younger generations, it is very important to start monitoring vision early and often.  Getting a comprehensive eye exam every year and starting treatment quickly is the key.  In between exams, use the EyeQue Insight for a fast assessment of your ability to see 20/20. Vision can change rapidly, especially at younger ages; monitoring these changes can help you get new glasses when you need them, and take action right away.

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We know there is a coming epidemic of myopia.  By the year, 2050, it is predicted that over half of the world’s population will be nearsighted.  As an Optometrist, I can now confidently predict, treat and monitor changes in eyes to try to slow down these prescription changes.  You can, too.  Report changes in your eyeglass numbers and your vision to your doctor.  Together, we can all make an impact.

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EyeQue Insight Visual Acuity Screener Now Available

Get hands-on with the latest at-home vision technologies including the EyeQue Insight and EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker at CES, Las Vegas

SAN FRANCISCO – January 8, 2017EyeQue™, developers of award-winning, affordable vision technologies today announced that the EyeQue Insight™ is now available for purchase at eyeque.com. Having successfully exited a Kickstarter campaign designed to elicit consumer feedback on the new at-home vision platform, the Insight has now been added to the EyeQue online store and will begin shipping to backers and customers in March 2018.

EyeQue intelligent vision solutions empower anyone to take an active role in their vision care.

The EyeQue Insight is the only binocular smartphone-based vision test to accurately assess distance vision, creating a cloud-based digital vision history.

“We developed the EyeQue Insight with families in mind, though everyone will benefit from the ability to test clarity of vision from home. Our binocular platform is designed to make self-administered vision tests ­– even for kids as young as 6 years old – extremely accurate and engaging,” said John Serri, PhD, CTO and co-founder of EyeQue. “This binocular platform will scale to support a full roadmap of additional vision tests through software updates, providing a convenient, low-cost option for knowing if your vision is suffering, whether from incremental vision changes or from inaccurate glasses or contacts.”

Combined with the award-winning EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker™, the two form an at-home vision screening power pack. Insight tests for 20/20 vision in under 3 minutes – with or without wearing corrective lenses. The Personal Vision Tracker can be used when results of the Insight show less than 20/20 results to determine refractive error, the numbers used to order corrective glasses online. Both products can be shared with anyone with an active annual EyeQue subscription ($4.99 per year) making it a great value for families, organizations, and charities.

Get hands-on and request product review units while attending the International CES show:

  • January 8, 7-10 pm, Pepcom’s Digital Experience®, Mirage Hotel
  • January 9 – 12, EyeQue Booth 45740, Fitness and Technology Marketplace, Sands Convention Center

About the EyeQue Insight

The EyeQue Insight is the world’s first gamified 20/20 screener, combining a binocular viewer, a mobile application, and cloud-based service. Low-cost, rugged, and convenient, the Insight is ideal for families, school administrators, group organizations, and charities. Insight is suited for international use with support for 20/20, 6/6, and other standardized units.

  • Screens vision for 20/20 to 20/400 in under 3 minutes, providing exact measures of single and dual eye performance
  • Creates a digital vision history– where a change indicates that a doctor’s visit would be advised
  • Tests the accuracy of current glasses or contacts, indicating when an updated prescription may be required
  • Instantly records and securely stores results, making data available to share with others
  • One EyeQue Insight can be shared with many people, making it a value for families and suitable for testing large groups.

Watch the video and learn more at eyeque.com/insight.

About EyeQue

EyeQue™ is on a global mission to elevate eye care. The Company is dedicated to inspiring people to learn about and care for their eyes by putting affordable, accurate vision tests directly into their hands. Based on patented technologies, EyeQue’s intelligent vision solutions allow people anywhere to self-administer vision tests using an optical smartphone attachment, mobile application, and a secure cloud-based service. The Company innovates from its Silicon Valley headquarters.

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Follow @EyeQueCorp on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Contact: Gloria Consola | gloria.consola@eyeque.com

 

 

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What Do You See When You Have Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error impacting the curvature of the cornea (the clear round dome covering the iris and pupil) or the shape of the lens (the transparent, flexible tissue located directly behind the iris and the pupil). This common refractive error affects one in three people and may occur in combination with near- or farsightedness. Both the cornea and lens help focus light rays sharply onto the retina in the back of the eye. When a person has astigmatism, the cornea or lens isn’t smooth or uniformly curved, thereby causing light rays to refract improperly. In sports terms, a normal cornea is curved like a basketball with the same degree of roundness everywhere. One with astigmatism is curved more like a football, with some areas that are steeper or rounder.

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Astigmatism causes images to focus in front of and beyond the retina, resulting in both near and far objects appearing out of focus or distorted. It’s almost akin to looking into a fun house mirror in which a person sees themselves and others distorted – appearing too tall, wide, or thin. It is possible for astigmatism to affect the cornea and lens (mixed astigmatism). In such cases, the unequal curvature of the cornea and the lens can cause one meridian of the eye to be farsighted and a second meridian (perpendicular to the first) to be nearsighted.

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Signs and Symptoms of Astigmatism

In addition to distorted or blurry vision, uncorrected astigmatism can lead to headaches, fatigue, squinting, pain in the muscles around the eye, and difficulty with night vision. When astigmatism is mild, it may not produce noticeable symptoms or require correction. Astigmatism can gradually worsen with age, most likely due to a combination of hereditary and environmental factors.

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Astigmatism Research

A 2011 study analyzed the prevalence of astigmatism by severity in more than 11,600 eyeglass wearers who were being fitted for soft contact lenses. The prevalence of patients with astigmatism of 0.75 and 1.00 diopters or greater in at least one eye was 47.4% and 31.8% respectively, and in both eyes, 24.1% and 15.0%, respectively. The prevalence of astigmatism of 0.75 diopters or greater was almost double in people with nearsightedness compared to those with farsightedness: 31.7% vs. 15.7%. This study provided insightful data on how many people would require special toric contact lenses for correction.

In an experimental study, uncorrected astigmatism was found to aggravate eye discomfort associated with reading text on computer screens. A study analyzing neck/shoulder discomfort related to computer use found many cases were temporary, however, some eye conditions exacerbated this discomfort. During visually demanding, cumulative computer work, researchers found astigmatism, extent of accommodation, and concurrent internal eye discomfort symptoms (e.g. dry eye, ache or strain) all increased neck/shoulder discomfort.

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A previous study on 12 youngsters with normal vision analyzed the impact of induced astigmatism on reading a computer screen. The presence of induced astigmatism produced a significant increase in post-task symptoms, however, reading rates and the number of reading errors were unaffected. Researchers concluded the correction of small astigmatic refractive errors may optimize comfort for computer users.

Astigmatism Measurements and Correction

Astigmatism is measured in diopters, therefore an eye without any traces of astigmatism is measured at 0 diopters. Most people have 0.5 to 0.75 diopters of astigmatism. The last two numbers on an eyeglass prescription refer to astigmatism. Cylinder is the measurement indicating the extent of astigmatism and flatness or irregularity of the cornea shape. Axis is the measurement in degrees referring to the location on the cornea where the astigmatism occurs. Axis numbers range from 0 to 180.

People with a measurement of 1.5 diopters or more typically need eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct the imperfection in order to see clearly. Many people assume they cannot wear contacts if they have astigmatism.

In astigmatism, varying degrees of nearsightedness or farsightedness require toric lenses rather than regular soft contacts. Toric lenses have different meridians to correct refractive variances and a special design feature that enables the lens to rotate to the proper orientation on the cornea. This allows the power meridians of the lens to align with the appropriate meridians of the eye. To better understand meridians, envision the front of the eye as a clock face. A line connecting the 12 and 6 is one meridian; a line connecting the 3 and 9 is another. The steepest and flattest meridians of an eye with astigmatism are called principal meridians.

Testing Astigmatism at Home

Two types of tests can be performed with the EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker. The Practice Test is comprised of three measurements per eye, with the EyeQue Miniscope detached and attached on your smartphone. The Full Test measures astigmatism and generates EyeGlass Numbers that are the same professional measurements used for refractive correction. For each eye, nine measurements are conducted, each one corresponding to a different angle. Once you receive your vision data, you can use your EyeGlass Numbers to order glasses online.

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Happy New Year 2018 from EyeQue

Happy New Year! 

The year 2017 seems to have passed with the blink of an eye. The beginning of a new year is often a time to reflect on accomplishments from the last year and to set goals for the year to come. If you’re one of the thousands who are using EyeQue, you can add “taking charge of vision care” to your list of accomplishments.

Speaking on behalf of the entire EyeQue team, we are grateful for all of the support received during the introduction of the Personal Vision Tracker. Many of you have been kind enough to make the time and effort to give us feedback – which has proven invaluable to improving the accuracy and usability of our offerings. The trust placed in us is heartfelt and we will continue to work hard to insure we turn out affordable, innovative vision monitoring devices that can be used by virtually anyone.

For 2018, we look forward to serving the growing EyeQue user community. In the next year, we aim to further empower you with more ways to monitor your vision, with a constant focus on improving usability, accuracy, and accessibility. We will be expanding our cloud services to include alerts, notifications, and enhanced analysis of vision test results providing you with more insight into your own vision data. We also pledge to continuously stock our Vision Knowledge Center with fresh content and to provide some free tests for anyone to try.

Finally, we will continue working with the global eye care community to determine how our technologies can be used to enhance patient services and bring testing to more people around the world – many of whom don’t have access to local eye care providers.

We wish you a happy, healthy new year!

John Serri, PhD.
Founder, EyeQue

 

What People Are Saying About EyeQue

“Advancements in optical, mobile, and cloud based technologies have allowed us to miniaturize what has traditionally been room-sized, costly optical test equipment. The ability for people to take these tests, track vision changes over time, share the results with doctors, and order online glasses with the results – all from the comfort of their home and for about $30 (MSRP) has immediate and profound impact on the global population’s access to corrected vision,” said John Serri, PhD, founder of EyeQue.

Since its award-winning debut in January 2017 at the CES Consumer Technology show until June 1, 2017, more than 15,000 EyeQue Personal Vision Trackers (PVTs) have been shipped to customers in 81 countries. And on June 1, the PVT was made available on Amazon, enabling more people to benefit from this easy-to-use, cost-effective home vision test. Here are a few of the many verified purchase, five-star reviews left by valued EyeQue customers.

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“It’s so hard to get out to the Doctor’s when you have 3 kids. EyeQue saved me a trip to the Eye Doctor’s and that is invaluable! I was concerned I was losing my vision but the test proved me wrong.  It was great peace of mind!’

Kristin F. Quinn

Lifestyle Blogger & Marketing Consultant

www.misadventuresinmommyhood.com

 

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“I look at the EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker as a tool to keep me on track with my health and a baseline for what my eye doctor eye exams 

determine. The convenience and portability of this tracker is what really makes it stand out for me. It is not always easy to head to an eye doctor so this might be a good starting point for those who may need glasses or need a new prescription.”

Cherise Kachelmuss

https://momandmore.com/

Five Star Amazon Reviews

Love It five-star-clipart-4

I just got my first pair of distance glasses based on the prescription that the EyeQue gave me, and I am quite impressed. I am 59, with moderate nearsightedness. I took 5 tests on the EyeQue to be sure I was using it right. I have been getting my glasses from Zenni online for about 8 years now…. (Verified purchase by Fair Witness, July 9, 2017)

Love This Vision Tracker! five-star-clipart-4

Awesome! Love the concept. It takes a little time to get familiar with the testing procedure but it is easy to follow. I already took a few tests. Will continue to try it on myself and on my family. Works well on my iPhone and I don’t need to remove my phone case to mount the tracker. (Verified purchase by YI LUO, July 29, 2017)

Worked Better Than Doctor’s Prescription five-star-clipart-4

I’m giving the EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker 5 stars because it provided eyeglass numbers which resulted in better glasses than two previous prescriptions by my eye doctor. I received my first prescription from my eye doctor about 6 months ago and had glasses made, but they left me with fuzzy vision. I went back to the doctor, received another prescription and had another pair of glasses made which also left me with fuzzy vision, so I decided to try the EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker…

After completing about 10 tests, I felt confident that my eyeglass numbers were optimized (each subsequent test builds on the data from the preceding ones) and I used those numbers to order glasses from Zenni Optical. (The thing that changed most from one prescription to the next to the eyeglass numbers was the axis of correction for astigmatism.)

I received those glasses two days ago and have been wearing them since. They are perfect! No fuzzy vision….(Verified purchase by Jay Aitchsee, August 5, 2017)

Ingenious Little Productfive-star-clipart-4

Device, when used properly, works as advertised. Results matched well with a recent professional eyeglass scrip and customer service was prompt and helpful with a couple of questions I e-mailed. Not to be used as a sole replacement for pro visits, however. Tests for problems such as glaucoma and macular degeneration are far too important to be dismissed. Still, this is a helpful product for people looking for between visit updates or who are just curious about their vision. (Verified purchase by John TK, September 23, 2017)

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Your Eye Doctor Won’t Like This, But You Will Love It. five-star-clipart-4

This device is awesome! It took about 20 minutes to learn and use, and out popped all the info required to order glasses far better than my last real prescription. I’m pretty skeptical of ALL of the reviews from the eye doctors on this list – my glasses are very clear and crisp – best ever…

I got my corrective glasses (can’t call it a prescription, right?) from Zenni. Three (THREE!!) pairs of glasses and the EyeQue for less than an eye doctor visit. (Verified purchase by Maker, October 25, 2017)

Five Stars five-star-clipart-4

Seems to be a better eye exam then the one I paid $300.00 for at my local eye doctor! (Verified purchase by John W. King, October 29, 2017)

Works Perfectly For Me five-star-clipart-4

After I came back from the optometrist, I tried this and it gave the exact reading the doctor gave for my prescription. I have to say it works perfectly and is accurate for me. It did take me a while to adjust it properly but when I did and followed the directions, this EyeQue is perfect for checking my eyesight. I love it. (Verified purchase by Hrhbella1, November 10, 2017)

To add to the discussion, visit us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, or Amazon.

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What Age Should You Start Testing Your Childs Vision?

Most young children have some degree of hyperopia (farsightedness). Other prevalent preschool vision disorders include amblyopia and strabismus. Children with vision problems generally don’t complain because they can’t understand symptoms are abnormal and/or can’t articulate they are having problems. Studies have shown hyperopia can interfere with learning and development, which implies correction in young children might be beneficial. While most states require vision screening before entrance into kindergarten, only 16 states mandate preschool vision testing. This leaves many parents confused about when preschool children’s vision should be tested.

AOA Recommendations

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends scheduling the first eye assessment when a baby is 6-months old or earlier if they are at risk. During the test, an optometrist will look for excessive or unequal amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism; eye movement ability; and eye health problems. Launched in 2005, InfantSEE® is a public health program managed by Optometry Cares® – the AOA Foundation. Under this program, participating optometrists provides a no-cost comprehensive infant eye assessment at 6-12 months of age.

After the initial infant exam, the AOA recommends vision testing at age 3, before first grade, and every 2 years thereafter in children ages 6-18 who are not at risk or asymptomatic. For those with problems, exams should also be done at age 3 (or as recommended) and annually or as recommended in children ages 6-18.

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AAO and AAPOS Guidelines

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) and American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS) recommend the following exams:

Newborns: An ophthalmologist, pediatrician, family doctor or other trained health professional should examine a newborn baby’s eyes and perform a red reflex test (a basic indicator the eyes are normal). If the baby is premature or at high risk for other medical problems, shows signs of abnormalities, or has a family history of serious childhood vision disorders, an ophthalmologist should perform the exam.

Infants: A second screening for eye health should be done by an ophthalmologist, pediatrician, family doctor, or other trained health professional as part of a well-child exam at 6-12 months-old.

Preschool Age: At age 3-3 1/2, vision and eye alignment should be assessed by a pediatrician, family doctor, ophthalmologist, optometrist, orthoptist, or person trained in vision assessment of preschool-age children.

School Age: When entering school (or if a problem is suspected), visual acuity and alignment tests should be administered by a pediatrician, family doctor, ophthalmologist, optometrist, orthoptist, or person trained in vision assessment of school-age children (e.g. school nurse). If an alignment problem or other eye health issues is suspected, it’s important to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist.

AAP Policies

In 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised its vision screening policy statement with two notable standard of care updates.

  •    Annual photoscreening is now recommended for children starting at ages 1-3
  •    Visual acuity testing is now recommended for children starting at age 4, when possible

Instrument-based screening devices have been extensively validated through AAP and other studies, therefore they may be electively performed in children ages 6 months to 3 years-old. When performed and interpreted correctly by appropriately trained individuals, these instruments usually identify the presence of common childhood eye conditions such amblyopia, high refractive error, and strabismus.

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Research on Preschool Vision Screenings

Preschool vision screenings have been recommended as a cost-effective way to identify children with vision disorders who might benefit from early detection, treatment, or follow-up eye care. In Phase 1 of a large-scale study, 2,588 3-5-year-olds enrolled in Head Start were screened by eye care professionals for potential problems with 11 different preschool vision screening tests. Phase 2 of the study utilized the most accurate screening tests from the prior phase, with trained nurses and lay screeners administering the tests. Researchers compared results from the second phase with those achieved by the eye care professionals. Accuracy and speed were virtually the same for both groups, with small variances attributed to screening equipment rather than personnel.

A recent study published in Pediatrics showed instrument-based vision screening resulted in greater completed screenings among 3-5-year-olds. The rate increased from 54% to 89% in the phase 1 group and from 65% to 92% in the phase 2 group. Improvement was most notable among 3-year-olds, with completed screening increasing from 39% with charts to 87% with instruments.

Testing Your Child’s Vision at Home

If you wish to test your child’s vision more frequently than the aforementioned guidelines, now you can do so in the comfort of your own home, as often as you wish. EyeQue Insight screens vision for 20/20 to 20/400 in less than 3 minutes, providing exact measures of single and dual eye performance. It runs in two modes, simple straightforward “adult” mode, and gamified “kids” mode to make vision testing fun for children. In school-age children, myopia (nearsightedness) is quite prevalent and can occur with rapid onset. Testing your child’s eyes at home is a great way to detect a potential problem early and follow up with a visit to the eye doctor.

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