Prevention of dry eye and itchy eye symptoms can sometimes be as simple as keeping your eyelids clean. Your eye
lid margins (where the eyelashes grow) have 25 oil glands. These glands, called meibomian glands, secrete a layer of
oil, called long-chain fatty acids, which keep your eyes moist and comfortable. The fatty acids form the thin protective
outer layer of your tear film and prevent your tear film from evaporating, especially during the long hours of staring at
the computer screen, for example. When tear film is stable and healthy, your eyes look less red and feel more
comfortable. When the oil glands are inflamed or are clogged, the oil is stagnant and doesn't contribute to your tear
film normally. This oil flows more easily when the oil gland openings are kept clean by gently washing the eyelids with
baby shampoo diluted in warm water on a washcloth, cotton ball or Q tip. We typically recommend that you wash your
lids once a day, typically when you take a shower or a bath.
What's new in vision correction procedures
With wavefront-guided laser vision correction, glare and haloes after LASIK became rare. With IntraLase all-laser
LASIK, flap-related surgical complications have been virtually eliminated. What's next? Laser scientists and engineers
have now solved the riddle of how to decrease the rate of enhancements and the need for additional laser touch ups.
WaveLight laser, developed in Germany, is the most recent FDA-approved excimer laser for LASIK vision correction. It
is the first laser that not only treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism in the center of the cornea, as
do all the other FDA-approved lasers, but also applies enough energy to the periphery of the cornea to maintain
naturally prolate corneal curvature. With such a wide and naturally-curved treatment zone, the correction is less likely
to regress. Good, stable vision is maintained. Additionally, the energy in each laser pulse is calibrated with the
legendary precision of German engineering. Therefore, very precise corrections are possible, regardless of the
patient's prescription. With the lowest enhancement rate of any laser in the world, WaveLight takes the precision of
laser vision correction to a new level.
There's hope for patients who have lost vision due to retinal diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and macular
degeneration. These diseases damage the crucial light-sensing cells that send signals to the retina and on to the optic
nerve and brain. Researchers are developing implantable microchips that sense light and produce electric signals in
a manner similar to the damaged cells. The chips can be surgically implanted in the eye where they sense light and
produce the signals that can be read by the remaining functional retinal cells, thus restoring some vision. Various
models have already been implanted experimentally in patients across the country. It will be very exciting to some
day be able to restore vision for thousands of patients with retinal diseases.
Fun Eye Facts
Ever wonder why eagles have such outstanding vision? First, their eyes can focus at different distances very rapidly.
Second, they have about four times as many rods and cones in their retinas than we do, which is like having more
pixels in a digital camera image. And finally, whereas we have one fovea in each eye to perceive the fine detail at
the center of our sight eagles' eyes have 2 foveae in each eye that allow them to focus on objects straight ahead
and to the side simultaneously.
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