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Volume 14       August 27, 2008

Innovation. Leadership. Passion for Perfection.

  Eye Health

A cup of coffee may not only help open your eyes in the morning, but it may actually save your vision! Researchers at the University of Maryland in Baltimore found that alkaloids in tea and coffee may prevent cataract formation. As we age, the lens in our eyes becomes more yellow and cloudier. A cloudy lens is called a cataract. Oxidative stress and exposure to free radicals are thought to increase the likelihood of cataract formation. Stopping smoking and protecting your eyes from UV exposure helps. Now, we may have something else - caffeine. Researchers found that caffeine protects our lenses from oxidative stress caused by UV exposure. This may mean that a cup of coffee or tea each day may help us see better longer.

  What's new in vision correction procedures

When we are young, the lens inside our eye can flex (or accommodate) bringing objects up close into clear focus. As we get older, our lens stops accommodating and we start to need reading glasses to see up close. This is called presbyopia. There is now a sophisticated solution to this age old problem of "my arms are not long enough anymore to see up close." Our aging lens can be replaced with a lens that has the ability to flex or accommodate, like our own lens, but when it was younger. A fourth generation design of Crystalens HD-100 features an optic that allows us to see both small print and objects far away without distance or reading glasses. Crystalens HD-100 can be used to replace an aging lens and improve near vision even in patients who had LASIK and can see well in the distance.

  Tech Corner

At the recent World Ophthalmology Congress held in Hong Kong, scientists unveiled nanotechnology application to treat eye conditions. Nanotechnology can be used to monitor eye pressure 24 hours a day, for example. This may be important in diagnosing and treating glaucoma. The particles can also deliver medication continuously to treat various eye conditions. In the future, this could help patients use drops less frequently or even eliminate them entirely.

  Fun Eye Facts

REM sleep is an important phase of a healthy sleep cycle. During this stage of sleep, you experience rapid eye movements, low muscle tone, low voltage brain activity, vividly recalled dreams, and, sometimes, you are acting out the movements occurring in the dreams. Have you ever wondered what causes rapid eye movements during this stage of sleep? How do you actually "see" the dreams? During REM sleep, certain neurons in the brain stem part of your brain get activated. Eye movements are generated when the neurons in the specific portion of the brain stem, called pons, start firing. These neurons stimulate eye muscles that control eye movements. When you dream, the primary visual cortex is inactive, because you are not actually seein anything with your eyes. Instead, the secondary visual areas in your brain are active. This is similar to when you are asked to imagine or recall a scene. Interestingly, most anti-depressants inhibit REM sleep, causing some patients to stop dreaming.

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