Friday, June 27, 2014

Health Care and Eyewear

Chances are, if you are over 50, you are wearing glasses, or at least contacts some of the time. Eyewear has been around in one form or fashion for hundreds of years. According to this website, www.glasseshistory.com most historians believe that the first form of eyeglasses was produced in Italy by monks or craftsmen in Pisa (or perhaps Venice) around 1285-1289. These magnifying lenses for reading were shaped like two small magnifying glasses and set into bone, metal, or leather mountings that could be balanced on the bridge of nose.

The first known artistic representation of the use of eyeglasses was Tommaso da Modena's painting in 1352. His painting depicts monks reading and writing manuscripts. One monk uses a magnifying glass, but another wears glasses perched on his nose. The first eyeglasses can only be used to rectify hyperopia and presbyopia. And those eyeglasses for myopia appeared much later, sometime in the early 1400's.

Throughout history and even today, eyeglasses have served as one of the oldest and improved upon accessories around the world. Yes, there are now contacts and laser surgery, but if you are conscious of the way you look and the way you are perceived by others, know that eyeglasses can drastically improve your appearance and the way others view you. More info can be found at this website on styles and how glasses have changed over time: http://www.vintageiwear.com/history.html .

According to this website: http://inventors.about.com/od/gstartinventions/a/glass_3.htm, in 1784, Ben Franklin developed bifocal glasses. He was getting old and was having trouble seeing both up-close and at a distance. Getting tired of switching between two types of glasses, he devised a way to have both types of lenses fit into the frame. The distance lens was placed at the top and the the up-close lens was placed at the bottom.  

And, Sam Foster started the Foster Grant Company in 1919. In 1929, Sam Foster sold the first pair of Foster Grants sunglasses at the Woolworth on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Sunglasses became popular in the 1930s. More details about eyewear can be located at that site.

Choosing the right eyeglasses often depends on individual traits such as hair color, face size and even the type of vision correction you need, according to this website: http://www.allaboutvision.com/eyeglasses/. If you have an unusually wide face, for example, you may need to shop around for extra-large eyeglass frames. On the other hand, smaller faces may require a petite frame size. Unusually strong corrections also can make lenses look thick or distorted when eyeglass frames are oversized.

For example, a rough-and-tumble teenager who engages in all manner of outdoor activities will have far different needs for eyeglasses than an office worker who spends hours at a desk. Active people also may need to consider extra eye protection such as sports or safety goggles. For those who love fashion, designer eyeglasses with embellishments such as crystals and logos are a fun option.

If you have reached your 40s, you will need to consider different eyeglass options for correcting near vision problems caused by presbyopia such as:

·         Progressive lenses
·         Bifocals or trifocals
·         Occupational lenses
·         Reading glasses
·         Computer glasses

In some cases, you may need different pairs of eyeglasses depending on whether you are driving down the highway or sitting indoors in front of a computer screen. Your eye doctor or optician can advise you about the right fit for you, as well as discuss coatings and tints that can help you see your best in different circumstances such as low lighting at dusk. Much more detail about this subject can be referenced at the website.

One drawback to purchasing ready-made ("drugstore") reading glasses is that they are essentially "one-size-fits-all" items. The prescription is the same in both lenses, and the location of the optical center of the lenses is not customized for each wearer. Most people do not have exactly the same prescription in both eyes, and almost everyone has at least a small amount of astigmatism correction in their prescriptions.

Headaches, eye strain, and even nausea can result from wearing reading glasses that are too far off from your actual prescription or that have optical centers too far away from the center of your pupils. If you experience these problems, visit your eye doctor for a customized reading glasses prescription.

Also, don't confuse reading glasses with computer eyewear. If you're using reading glasses to try to view your computer screen, it's probably not working very well. For one thing, reading printed matter is done at a closer range than reading text on a computer screen. And, if your reading glasses are the type that force you to lean your head back in order to view your monitor, you're placing unnecessary strain on your neck muscles. Computer users really should invest in prescription computer glasses.

When choosing ready-made reading glasses, always examine the lenses for little bubbles, waves, or other defects. Insist on the best quality, and if you can't find it in ready-made readers, buy a custom-made pair, which many eye care practitioners offer at special prices. Much more information can be found at this website: http://www.allaboutvision.com/over40/readers.htm .

Getting your eyes examined at least once a year is very important, especially if you are over 40. Prior to that, unless you are experiencing problems with your vision, perhaps once every 3 to 5 years is acceptable. Children and teens should be tested to make sure they can see classroom materials. One major problem that has developed since the advent of the smart phone and computers is an increase in vision issues, particularly with kids and teenagers. If you have similar problems with your vision, it’s time to see your optometrist or opthalmologist.

Until next time.

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