Vision: 360-degree images reveal how iconic tourist spots look to people with ocular conditions


An interactive tool is using 360-degree images to show how iconic tourist spots  look to those with eye conditions including cataracts, glaucoma and tunnel vision.

Users can, for example, see ‘floaters’ over the Sydney Opera House, experience Times Square dimmed by night blindness and view Dubai with ‘Deuteranopia’.

According to the developers at contact lens retailer Lenstore, the tool is intended to help people recognise the signs of vision loss that they should look out for.

The World Health Organisation has estimated that around one in seven people — that is, some 1 billion individuals — has either a near or distance visual impairment.

An interactive tool is using 360-degree images to show how iconic tourist spots look to those with eye conditions including cataracts, glaucoma and tunnel vision. Pictured, a view of Notre-Dame de Paris under both normal vision and six different optical conditions

An interactive tool is using 360-degree images to show how iconic tourist spots look to those with eye conditions including cataracts, glaucoma and tunnel vision. Pictured, a view of Notre-Dame de Paris under both normal vision and six different optical conditions

‘It’s great to raise awareness around some of the world’s most common eye conditions, and create a visual and interactive tool so people can really experience what it’s like to see the world from another perspective,’ said Lenstore’s Roshni Patel.

‘These eye conditions all vary in their symptoms, causes and treatment and it’s important for individuals to become more aware of their eye health to spot if anything different in their vision.’

‘Many of these eye conditions can be treated effectively to help reduce symptoms if detected by a doctor or optometrist at an early stage.’

‘We hope this tool will therefore not only help people visualise the world from another perspective, but also highlight some of the key signs to watch out for.’

CATARACTS 

Cataracts are a common condition in which the lenses of the eye become progressively opaque, leading to a blurring of the vision.

They typically develop as one gets older, although they can also occur in babies and young children. Cataracts can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, diabetes, smoking, radiation exposure, trauma and genetics.

They can render simple tasks — such as, for example, driving — extremely difficult. 

In extreme cases, they can eventually lead to total blindness. It is estimated that in England and Wales some 2.5 million people aged 65 or older have some level of visual impairment resulting from cataracts.

Cataracts can be treated surgically, in which procedure the patient’s original lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one.  

Cataracts are a common condition in which the lenses of the eye become progressively opaque, leading to a blurring of the vision. Pictured: London’s Piccadilly Circus

Cataracts typically develop as one gets older, although they can also occur in babies and young children. They can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, diabetes, smoking, radiation exposure, trauma and genetics

Cataracts typically develop as one gets older, although they can also occur in babies and young children. They can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, diabetes, smoking, radiation exposure, trauma and genetics

DEUTERANOPIA (COLOUR BLINDNESS)

Deuteranopia is the most common from of colour blindness, in which it is difficult to distinguish between the colours green and red. 

Experts believe colour blindness, which is an inherited condition, affects around 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women across the world. 

The difference here stems from how the genes responsible for most forms of colour blindness are on the X chromosome.

While the problems caused by colour blindness are often minor, those with the condition are typically prohibited from certain jobs, including those of aircraft pilots, train drivers and crane operators.

Deuteranopia is the most common from of colour blindness, in which it is difficult to distinguish between the colours green and red. Pictured, a lakeside in Dubai

EYE FLOATERS 

Eye floaters may be a more familiar experience — many people experience them temporarily at some point or another.

They appear as dark or grey specks that drift around as you shift your focus or try to look at them directly.

While they are common, they can also represent a sign of another condition — and those experiencing them over prolonged periods of time, with sudden onset, or in increasing severity are recommended to consult a doctor or optometrist. 

Eye floaters may be a more familiar experience — many people experience them temporarily at some point or another. They appear as dark or grey specks that drift around as you shift your focus or try to look at them directly. Pictured, Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong

GLAUCOMA 

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases which cause damage to the optical nerve and vision loss — starting with the periphery but then affecting central vision and ultimately leading to blindness if not treated.

The condition is usually caused by the build up of fluid in the eye, increasing its pressure. If caught early enough, it can be treated with medication, surgery or laser-based treatment.

The risk of glaucoma rises with age, increase pressuring in the eye, the use of steroid medications and also a family history of the condition.

 It is estimated that some 70 million people globally have glaucoma. 

Glaucoma is the name given to a group of eye diseases which cause damage to the optical nerve and vision loss — starting with the periphery but then affecting central vision and ultimately leading to blindness if not treated. Pictured, the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris

MACULAR DEGENERATION 

Macular degeneration is an aging-related condition in which one experiences increasingly blurred sight, or vision loss, in the centre of the visual field.

It is caused by damage to the macular lutea, an oval-shaped pigmented area near the centre of the eye’s retina. 

The onset of macular degeneration can also be accelerated by smoking and certain genetic factors. While it can be prevented by exercise, eating well and not smoking, there is no cure or treatment for vision that is already lost as a result of the condition.

Macular degeneration is an aging-related condition in which one experiences increasingly blurred sight, or vision loss, in the centre of the visual field. It is caused by damage to the macular, a pigmented area near the centre of the retina. Pictured, the Sydney Opera House

NIGHT BLINDNESS 

Night blindness, or ‘nyctalopia’, occurs, as the name suggests, when your eyes are unable to adapt to low-light conditions.

While individuals with nyctalopia typically experience no consequences of such during the day, this vision impairment can make driving at night — or even popping to the toilet — considerable more challenging.

While it can occur as a symptom of a number of different eye diseases, the most common cause of night blindness is a genetic disorder called ‘retinitis pigmentosa’ in which rod cells in the retina lose their ability to respond to light.

Nyctalopia can also result from injury or malnutrition — such as, for example, a diet that is deficient in vitamin A.

Night blindness, or ‘nyctalopia’, occurs, as the name suggests, when your eyes are unable to adapt to low-light conditions. While it can occur as a symptom of a number of different eye diseases, the most common cause of night blindness is a genetic disorder in which rod cells in the retina lose their ability to respond to light. Pictured, New York City’s Time Square

TUNNEL VISION

Individuals with tunnel vision experience a deterioration of complete loss in their peripheral vision — with the end result that they can often only see things as if through a small circle before their eyes.

Tunnel vision can arise as a result of damage to the retina and optic nerve — both of which are signs of glaucoma (see above) and also damage to the brain.

However, the condition can also emerge temporarily as a result of the body producing high levels of the body’s ‘flight-or-fight’ hormone adrenaline, such as would occur under extreme levels of anger, panic or stress.

 The interactive tool can be found on the Lenstore website.

Individuals with tunnel vision experience a deterioration of complete loss in their peripheral vision — with the end result that they can often only see things as if through a small circle before their eyes. Tunnel vision can arise as a result of damage to the retina and optic nerve — both of which are signs of glaucoma and also damage to the brain. Pictured, Venice

Exposure to blue light from phones and computer screens ‘makes it harder to fall asleep’

Leading Optometrist, Dhruvin Patel is a specialist in the impact of blue light on eye health – that is light produced by phone and computer screens. 

Blue Light can make it harder to fall asleep and have an impact on the health of eyes

Blue Light can make it harder to fall asleep and have an impact on the health of eyes

Researchers say exposure to blue light could increase the risk of damage to eyesight and make it harder to fall asleep.

Patel shared his tips for minimising the impact from blue light while working from home or using screens. 

1. Work an arm’s length from the screen

Fully extend your arm and work from a distance – looking from your eyes to the end of your fingertips. 

Use this as a minimum distance to reduce the stress on your eyeballs. 

2. 20/20/20 

Simply put, every 20 minutes, look away from the screen for a minimum of 20 seconds at least 20 feet away. 

This will help to reset your visual systems and eye through any long periods of screen work.

3. Screen height

Height and level of your working screen can have a big impact on eye strain.  

Research has shown that it is better for the screen to be located higher than the users’ watching level – the middle point should be 5-6 inches below the straight line of the users’ vision.

This makes the space between upper and lower eyelid more open, often resulting in dryness of the eyes.  

4. Lighting

Position the computer screen to avoid glare, particularly from overhead lighting or windows. 

Use blinds or drapes on windows and replace the light bulbs in desk lamps with bulbs of lower wattage and intensity. 

If there is no way to minimise glare from light sources, consider using an anti glare filter.

5. Put a post-it note on your screen titled ‘BLINK’.

Normally, in a minute, we blink up to 20 times. This is controlled automatically by our central nervous systems so we’re not conscious of blinking. 

While on screens, this is actually reduced to 3-5 times a minute meaning our tear films cannot be maintained and the eye does not remain lubricated. 

A post-it-note on your monitor saying ‘Blink’ should help you consciously make an effort to blink. It’s simple but definitely works.

6) Consider your device

Usually the biggest, newest phone is best, but not for your eyes. An iPhone X is 20 per cent brighter than an iPhone 6 and emits higher levels of blue light.

This is the difference of a 100 per cent increase in harmful blue light exposure!

7. Remember to switch off

I would suggest no digital devices or artificial lighting after sunset. If you’re like most people, you’re probably sending that last minute email or finishing your favourite show on Netflix before bed.  

Try reading a book or start that meditation that you promised yourself you will do in the new year. 

Dhruvin Patel says you shouldn’t assume that ‘night mode’ or ‘blue shade’ on devices is enough to counter the impact of blue light.

He said this ‘has been proven to not aid sleep compared to a screen’s normal output’ and so even with it enabled you should still avoid the screen after sunset if at all possible.

Patel founded a company called Ocushield that produces screen protectors to filter out blue light based on his research into the impact of the light source. 

 Source: Dhruvin Patel (Ocushield)

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