We have created this website because we are dissatisfied with the fact that millions of people still get sick and die from diseases that could have largely been eradicated by now. The main reason why these diseases still exist is the fact that there is a multi-billion dollar industry – the pharmaceutical investment business – which considers ongoing diseases as their market place.
This has to change. And we know that this is possible.
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Cataract is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Although cataract is famous to affect the old population, it has the ability to affect all age groups. Some infants may be born with a cataract.
So, what is cataract?
As I always assure people to avoid getting stuck with terms in order to understand eye conditions, a cataract may be one of the most obvious examples. The eye condition and disease have no much things to do with the term “cataract.” This is a wrong “term” given to this condition by the ancient Greeks before science fully understands the condition as it did nowadays.
Wait, wait, wait… Did I say “cataract” is a wrong “term”? But, look at the headline of this article. Look at the headline of this paragraph, and you will see that I am using that wrong term “cataract.” It is like confusing weekly-wear and clear Acuvue Oasys with fashion-friendly Freshlook Colorblends.
Come on; it is just ‘terms,’ people! The whole world calls it “cataract.” No one could know what I am talking about if I call it “white lens opacity syndrome” or any other special term of mine (even if that term is correct).
After your doctor examines you and finds that your diagnosis is “cataract,” he will tell you that you have “cataract” in your eyes. He is 100% sure that cataract is a wrong term. And surely you are not going to say that you have “sabaract” or “shafarast” while your doctor is telling you that you have “cataract.” People usually don’t abandon or change first terms given to medical conditions even after they discover that they are wrong.
Now, let us understand the condition which people wrongly still call it “cataract.”
The journey of understanding cataract started at earlier centuries. Ancient people noted that some of them got blind and there was a white opacity appears in their eyes as this appears in the below image.
The ancient Greeks thought that this is a liquid or water which grows in the eye and call it “cataract.” The word cataract is derived from the Greek word “kataraktēs” which means ‘waterfall, or floodgate.’
At later years, people realized that there is no liquid or water develops in the eye at all. They found that this is the lens of the eye and it gets white opaque. The lens of the eye normally is transparent allowing light rays to reach the retina. When cataract occurs, the lens inhibits entering light rays from reaching the retina and form image.
Vision loss occurs gradually in cataract. The patient starts to see cloudy images. The vision worsens with days as cataract spreads more in the lens and becomes denser. In later stages, no light rays can pass through the affected lens, and this leads to complete blindness. The image below mimics the vision in cataract.
Until now, science still looking for the exact mechanism which causes cataract. Most researchers agree that cataract results from a problem in the arrangement of lens proteins. Those proteins are arranged in a very precise unique arrangement to keep the lens transparent. Any deformity in this arrangement makes the lens loses its transparency and turns it into white opaque.
As I mentioned earlier, the exact mechanism by which this happens is still unknown. And the vast majority of opinions still considering cataract cause as an unknown. These opinions justify this as we are all got aging, but we are not all got cataract. So, what makes some people get cataract with aging, and other people don’t develop cataract? This is the unknown part.
However, there are several common circumstances in which cataract develops which are:
1- Age-related cataract: this the most common form of cataract. Most people start to develop cataract around their 50s years or more. A cataract starts to develop gradually in its size and density. It begins as a small spot and then spreads through the lens. And it got denser throughout the months and years. Its effects on vision depend on the location at which it starts from. If it starts at the center of the lens, it affects the vision at early stages. If it starts from the periphery, it affects the vision in later stages.
2- Diabetes: diabetes causes the cataract to develop in the eye’s lens. A cataract develops in many cases, especially those who don’t control their glucose levels at normal levels.
3- Traumatic cataract: traumas to the eye may cause cataract. All perforated or blunt traumas to the eye may cause a form of cataract known as “traumatic cataract.”
4- Exposure to ultraviolet light, infrared rays, gamma rays and x-rays found to associate with the development of cataract. However, the exact mechanism by which cataract develops is not clearly understood.
5- Congenital factors: most of them are genetic and hereditary factors. Also, some infectious diseases (like measles) affecting the mother during pregnancy may cause a congenital cataract to the newborn baby.
Surgery is the only available treatment for cataract. Cataract surgery is one of the safest procedures. 98% of the patients restore good vision after the surgery, assuming no other disease affecting their eyes.
Two types of cataract surgeries are performed nowadays, are:
1 – Phacoemulsification: This is modern cataract surgery in which the eye’s affected lens is emulsified with ultrasonic waves. Then, the emulsified lens aspirated from the eye by a very thin tube. Then, a foldable plastic lens is implanted in the eye to compensate for the removed eye’s lens. The surgical incision is very small (1/8 inch). This incision needs no sutures to close it. This is the most commonly performed procedure in developed countries.
2 – Extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE): This is the most common procedure performed in developing countries. A (5–6 mm) incision is made in the cornea under the upper eyelid. The surgeon extracts the affected lens and then replace it with a plastic lens. Then, the surgeon closes the incision by sutures. The recovery time in this procedure is more than in phacoemulsification.
Due to aging and the impact of diseases such as diabetes, there can be problems with the eyes leading to macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. The good news is that there are easy ways to help the eyes stay healthy, and even reverse the damage by these conditions.
Aging Eyes, Cataracts, and Macular Degeneration
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye and can severely impact the ability to see clearly. Although it can be treated effectively with surgery, many people are legally blind by the time surgery is done. Taking Vitamin A supplements every day will not only prevent cataracts in most cases, a deficiency of magnesium usually causes this but will often reverse the damage.
Macular Degeneration (MD) is a common breakdown of the eye through the process of aging. The macula is responsible for visual acuity and central vision. In MD, the center of the visual field is blurred, although peripheral vision is usually fine. Lutein is highly concentrated in the macula of the eye, and increased intake can lessen the chances of MD developing.
The following three supplements make a major difference in combating macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Vitamin A
Lutein is an antioxidant of the carotenoid family, and is the yellow-orange pigment in marigolds, egg yolks, carrots, and squash; it is also found in spinach and some leafy green vegetables. In addition to dietary sources, it can also be taken in pill form.
Bilberry, related to the blueberry plant, is full of the flavonoid called ‘anthocyanins,’ which helps rebuild rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is the purple pigment in the rods of the eye that allow for night vision. There is also an unfounded story that RAF pilots in World War 2 would eat bilberry jam to improve their vision when flying night missions.
Vitamin A should be animal sourced (retinol) rather than plant sourced (beta-carotene), as it is better utilized by the body.
Also, selenium, quercetin, rosemary, and catnip tea are all helpful in treating cataracts.
Diets low in fat and high in anti-oxidants are beneficial to the eyes.
Glaucoma is a serious eye condition that can be easily treated if caught early enough. Caused by high intraocular pressure, the goal is reducing the pressure within the eye. Bilberry and rutin are often the two most prescribed natural sourced supplements. Rutin is found in edible pansy flowers, so adding them to a summer salad is a good way to get rutin. Vitamin C also has shown to be effective in lowering intraocular pressure, as have derivatives of Jaborandi, a South American tree.
Of course, there is also enough evidence to believe that medical marijuana is an effective treatment for glaucoma.
Some people just can’t adapt to see at night. Although it can be a sign of more serious eye diseases, it can often be corrected with some simple supplements. Vitamin A, vitamin E, and bilberry should improve night vision. A zinc deficiency can also cause night blindness.
For some people, facing oncoming headlights while driving at night can also hurt the eyes. A deficiency of magnesium usually causes this. It can be corrected by taking magnesium (with calcium) supplement at bedtime each night.
When it comes to conjunctivitis or pink eye, many people start to panic. It is not like it is the worst thing that could ever happen to a person, but it is contagious, and many people do treat it like the plague. However, the more educated you are on conjunctivitis, the less you will fear, and the easier life will be if you have contracted it.
Some people believe that their contacts may be the cause of conjunctivitis. Truth be told, while the contact lenses are never the sole cause, they can be a method of transport for the viral infection that traveled to your eyes and can re-infect your eyes, although it is not likely that they will be the initial cause of pink eye.
What is Conjunctivitis?
Even though it is painful and possibly even embarrassing, you can rest peacefully knowing that this is the most common eye infection and it is one that is very easy to treat. This is inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the tissue found inside the eyelids that helps the eyeball and the eyelid moist. Bacteria, viruses, and substances such as chlorine from the pool, shampoo, smoke, and dirt can cause conjunctivitis.
If you have pink eye or conjunctivitis, you will experience redness in the whites of your eye, and you will produce a larger than normal amount of tears. There could be a yellow, white or green discharge from your eyes. Your eyes may also itch or burn and you will most likely have a sensitivity to bright light.
How Do Contact Lenses Play a Part?
Now, you might have heard that people must throw out their contact lenses that they were using. Why is this? Well, if you picked up conjunctivitis from something else and you have been wearing contact lenses, the contacts you have been wearing are now contaminated. While treating your eye infection, you will want to wear eyeglasses or simply go without any corrective lenses.
Putting contact lenses in your eyes while treating pink eye will only irritate your eyes more and re-infect your eyes. Once the pink eye is gone, you need to put in a brand new pair of contact lenses. Even if you used contact lens cleaner, you could not re-use the same pair unless you want to be infected again.
So technically, no, your own contact lenses will not usually be the cause of your initial conjunctivitis infection, but they can re-infect your eyes with it, should you use the same pair after you have cleared the infection out of your eyes.
If there is a rare case where you allowed someone else to touch or use your contact lenses, which you should never do, and they transferred the bacteria to your lenses, then yes, you could receive pink eye that way. Of course, it is still not the contact lenses themselves that caused the inflammation and infection, but rather the transfer of the bacteria from someone else to something you use and stick in your eye. It would be the same if you shook hands with someone with a pink eye and then rubbed your eyes. You will most likely end up with conjunctivitis.
Get Better And Do Not Re-Infect
During your treatment, you want to make sure that you are avoiding people and keep your hands washed. Do not touch your eye and do not use contact lenses during that time because you could make the situation worse for yourself.
Never reuse any contacts that were in your eye before treatment was received and finished. Throw out any eye drops or anything else that may have made direct contact with your eyes. These items could end up re-infecting you and anyone else that uses them. The more careful you are, the less likely you will be to re-infect yourself or to infect someone else.
Ergonomic solutions in healthcare have grown over the past several years, and recent innovations are changing the way physicians are treating patients.
It is a well-known fact that many health caregivers suffer from ailments like carpal tunnel, headaches, back pain, and other illnesses during their careers. The causes can often be blamed on equipment that places stress of certain parts of the body because of their poor design.
Ergonomics Can Optimize Stress Factors
When ergonomic equipment is utilized, stress factors which cause ailments in health caregivers can be greatly reduced, and the quality of care given to patients improved. For example, a physician is better able to concentrate on treating a patient rather than agonize over the discomfort he or she is experiencing.
In most circumstances, people simply do not perform their best if they are experiencing fatigue or pain. Design barriers can prohibit the productivity and quality of work they are engaged in. The applications used in the ergonomic design are meant to significantly improve performance through the design and engineering of a product.
People typically don’t perform well when they’re in pain or fatigued; likewise, they don’t perform well when there are design barriers to quality and productivity. Ergonomic applications are used to improve human performance through product and process design and engineering.
Why is There Resistance to Ergonomics in the Medical Field?
There is resistance on the part of some practitioners in the medical field to adopt ergonomic products because most practitioners tend to be quite skeptical when it comes to new solutions. They have to be convinced and sure that the new measures will not restrict their work rather than enhance it. Practitioners must see with complete assurance that any alterations using ergonomics will not only improve comfort and safety but will not interfere with the system of efficiency they have created.
Another deterrent is the process of approval for medical devices, which can often create barriers inhibiting the success of ergonomic designs. On the one hand, the FDA promotes ergonomics, but new product development and approval process take time and money. It isn’t cheap to create human-centered design technology, which often leads to it taking a backseat to more functional needs. Small changes to improve ergonomics for caregivers and patients can mean a new approval from the FDA for the changes, even after the product has been approved.
Example of Ergonomic in Motion
Computer workstations are a good example of ergonomic products needed by caregivers in health care. Ergonomic mobile workstations that allow health care professionals to take their work with them are light, can be rotated or folded when not being used and are extremely valuable assets at patient care and nursing stations. Mobile workstations eliminate the need to lug awkward and heavy computers from place to place. They immediately improve care delivery performance and space utilization, as well as make for a higher quality customer and patient relationship and experience. Although ergonomically designed workstations are expensive, purchasers must take into consideration the long-term benefits of providing workers with a well-designed unit rather than a poorly designed workspace that only triggers less productivity and prolonged sick leaves, which cost a facility much more in the long run.
Ergonomic medical equipment to handle patient lifting, aids for ambulation, manipulation and repositioning are allowing workers to avoid injury by remaining in a neutral body position while assisting a patient.
There are total body devices that are used to move completely dependent patients. Those patients who can only exert partial upper body strength benefit from stand-assist equipment and ambulation lifts are used to support walking patients. There are also shower and bathtub lifts that can transport patients from a chair or bed to the bathroom and back to bed. Ergonomic medical devices are used to move patients from flat surfaces like examining tables and include draw and slippery sheets, transfer boards, transfer slings and maps and gurneys complete with attached sideboards. To aid patient ambulation, manipulation, and repositioning, there are ergonomic stands, gait belts, lift-type ergonomic chairs, cushions, the range of motion machines, push-up bars, pivot discs, and trapeze bars.
Function and Ergonomic Design
To truly understand and implement ergonomic design and function, companies like Royal Philips Electronics use ergonomic computer hardware modules in their research to identify what ergonomic medical devices work best. Experts consider factors like patient safety and human error to determine the usability of ergonomic medical equipment. Product specialists then go on to create an ergonomically quality product, which is tested before it is sent on to the marketplace to make sure it will meet user needs.
Ergonomics Medical Applications in the Future
There are health concerns affecting employees in most medical facilities that include repetitive motion, awkward posture, lifting and more. To better address these concerns, open communication that relays information about what is good and what is bad about various manufacturer’s medical equipment has to come forward using a well designed human computer interface system, which identifies the best products available in the marketplace. With this technology, practitioners may gain the assurance they need and recognize that ergonomics will not interfere but rather improve their systems of efficiency.
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