The U.S. Supreme Court rejected optical companies’ challenge Tuesday to a California law, backed by optometrists, that prohibits eyeglass sellers from using their offices to conduct eye exams.
The 1969 law bars opticians who sell eyewear from leasing space to eye doctors, while allowing doctors who check patients’ eyesight to also sell eyeglasses in their offices.
It thus reserves to optometrists and ophthalmologists the ability to offer “one-stop shopping” for exams and glasses while denying it to optical companies, many of them national chains.
A federal judge in Sacramento struck down the law in 2006, saying it was a protectionist measure designed to limit competition from out-of-state optical chains.
As a child, your mother always said: “Don’t sit so close to the TV, or you’ll go blind!” But now almost everyone who works at a desk spends their entire day staring at a screen from distances that are most definitely not “mom-approved.”
Do all those hours spent staring at your personal glowing portal to the digital world have an effect on your eyesight? Recent studies show that Mom might have known a thing or two after all. Eyestrain has also been linked with an increased risk of glaucoma.
The human visual system is complex and amazingly adaptive. It can change focus to see objects both near and far. It can change to see in bright conditions or dark conditions. With the help of 140 million neurons in the visual cortex it can identify, classify, analyze and react to approximately 12 to 15 one-million-point images per second. Yet, despite this complexity, human eyes just don’t handle extended computer screen viewing all that well. “Your eyes are happiest when used for a variety of tasks utilizing a variety of focal distances with a variety of properly aligned light sources,” states Jeffrey Anshel, O.D., author of Visual Ergonomics in the Workplace. “Computer use provides none of the above.”
Strain on the eye from computer use comes from a several sources. The first is a constant working distance typical of computer users. Two sets of muscles work in tandem to see your screen clearly. One set converges the eyes onto the same point. The other set actually flexes and fattens up the crystalline lens in each eye to properly focus light rays from the computer onto the retina. As with any muscle in the body, continuous flexing can create repetitive stress problems. Ever have blurred vision when looking away from the screen? This may be a spasm of the ciliary muscles causing focus to “lock,” thereby creating a temporary loss of distance vision. Other symptoms may include blurred vision, the inability to properly focus on the screen, or even a good old-fashioned headache.
You can’t do push-ups with your eyeballs, but doctors are discovering there are exercises that can make eyesight stronger.
Professional athletes spend countless hours improving their physical strength, speed, and agility. Now, thanks to new gadgets developed by Nike and optical science company Acuvue, high-performance professionals are working to better their vision without the need for surgery, glasses, or goggles.
For example, the Pitchback is a simple design employing a tightly wound net and a specially marked ball. The athlete throws a ball or beanbag into the net and attempts to catch it on the return flight. As the athlete’s ability to catch improves, the ball or beanbag is thrown faster into the net, and more spin can be induced by the athlete during the throw. Special markings on the ball (including letters reminiscent of an eye chart) can also be employed to add additional focus challenges—like picking up a given letter while the ball is in motion.
Pretty interesting idea. The eye is controlled by six different muscles and there’s no reason to think they can’t be exercised and trained to improve their performance and coordination. Fine tuning is what it’s all about in the upper echelons of athletic pursuit.
Children who are short-sighted spend an average of 3.7 fewer hours a week outside compared with those who have normal vision or are long sighted, a review of previous research has found.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, runs in families and has also been linked to a host of factors including the amount of time spent focusing on near objects, for example when reading, and levels of physical activity.
But simply spending time out of the house may also be enough to protect the eyesight.
The positive effect from being outdoors appeared to be independent from the amount of time children spent reading or playing computer games, or to an increased amount of exercise, researchers said.
Between 15 and 20 per cent of British people are short-sighted but the problem is much more serious in parts of east Asia where as many as 80 per cent of the population is myopic.
One study comparing Chinese children living in different countries found that those in Australia had better vision on average than their peers in China and Singapore.
The Australian group read as much and achieved the same results academically as those in other countries, but tended to spend more time outdoors.