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Volume 9       November 4, 2007

Innovation. Leadership. Passion for Perfection.

  Eye Health

Protecting your eyes from UV radiation is as important as protecting your skin. Strong UV rays can cause cataracts, retinal problems, and corneal and conjunctival damage called pterygium and pinguequlae which appear as bumps on the whites of the eyes. Ideally, the sunglasses should block both UVA and UVB rays, fit close to your face, or have wrap around frames. Polarized glasses may reduce glare but they do not provide more UV protection than normal sunglasses. Blue-blocking plastic lenses are often promoted for sun protection, but they also block red, amber, and blue light, making it difficult to discriminate traffic colors. Photochromic lenses and polycarbonate lenses, on the other hand, block UV light and do not interfere with the quality of vision. Standard glasses can be treated with material that absorbs UV radiation while maintaining clear appearance. UV protection can be obtained for most rigid contact lenses and many soft contact lenses, but do not protect the conjunctiva. Up to 80% of exposure may occur before the age of 18. Good eye protection should start early.

  What's new in vision correction procedures

A recent article in Wall Street Journal uncovers a possible reason for top performance in golf by the sport's professional elite. It turns out that superior vision is a huge advantage, especially when it comes to putting. Many of the world's best players, including Tiger Woods and seven other PGA Tour winners this year (Vijay Singh, Fred Funk and Masters Champion Zach Johnson among them) have had Lasik surgery to correct their eyesight to Top Gun sharpness, usually 20/15 or better. In fact, extensive testing of pro athletes from all major sports has determined that golfers and shooters with excellent uncorrected vision are the best at seeing and processing detail. On the greens, Tour pros tend to be especially adept at perceiving such small details as individual blades of grass and at detecting low contrasts, such as the difference in the shadows cast by the sun on turf that slopes at subtly different angles. They also excel at depth perception. Laser vision correction may become a necessity for athletes striving for a competitive edge. After all, Ted Williams credited much of his prowess in baseball to 20/10 vision.

  Tech Corner

Femtosecond lasers revolutionized laser vision correction. They are essential to safe and accurate LASIK, called IntraLASIK. The beam is focused precisely in the cornea to create a corneal flap with sub-micron precision. Did you know that these ultra-fast lasers revolutionized a wide range of other industries as well? In her book, "Femtodynamics: A Guide to Laser Settings and Procedure Techniques to Optimize Outcomes with Femtosecond Lasers", Dr. Faktorovich describes the many applications of femtosecond technology. From IBM manufacturing microchips to painless dentistry, from imaging the bonds between the atoms in a molecule to analyze composition of matter to tissue engineering and gene therapy to treat cancer, femtosecond lasers have launched an era of technology renaissance unprecedented in the history of science.

  Fun Eye Facts

Optical illusion dominates the work of many artists, especially M.C. Escher. Escher wrote that this print "gives the illusion of a town, of house blocks with the sun shining on them. But again it's a fiction, for my paper remains flat. In a spirit of deriding my vain efforts and trying to break up the paper's flatness, I pretend to give it a blow with my fist at the back, but once again it's no good: the paper remains flat, and I have only created the illusion of an illusion. However, the consequence of my blow is that the balcony in the middle is about four times enlarged in comparison with the bordering objects." Alternatively, he could have simply put a magnifying lens over the drawing and then redrawn what he saw through it.

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