Eyewear Fall Fashion

The Prodesign Iris is one of many exciting new frames released this Fall

The Prodesign Iris is one of many exciting new frames released this Fall

A USA Today Article Shares Fall Eyewear Fashion Tips

USA Today released an article this month detailing Fall fashion tips for eyewear buyers. The article noted that a third of all prescription eyeglass wearers rely on more than one pair, and around 16 million Americans who don’t need a glasses prescription still choose to wear eyewear in order to be fashionable.

What’s hot this Fall? For both men and women, think color. Deep reds, blues, and berry colors are popular choices for women, and men seem to be migrating away from standard black to navy, brown, and tortoise. For both men and women it is common to see even bolder colors used as frame accents.

Frame shapes have seen a resurgence of vintage styles. Women are wearing more cat eye shapes, although they have been softened for today’s market. Bold, circular styles dominate mens’ eyewear, as do the still-popular aviators. And, last years’ geek chic trend does not seem to be dying down, as bold, thick frames are found everywhere.

Is the Z Kamra Presbyopia Implant A Viable Alternative to Reading Glasses?

The makers of the Z Kamra Presbyopia Implant claim they’ve found a cure for presbyopia

The Z Kamra Presbyopia Implant

The Z Kamra Presbyopia Implant

According to a report by the UK’s The Telegraph, the Z Kamra Presbyopia Implant is a revolutionary new alternative to presbyopia, the natural aging process of the eyes that causes most people to require reading glasses or bifocals as they age. The procedure involves placing a permanent implant in the layers of the cornea, or front surface of the eye.

The report states that as many as four million people in the UK alone will opt for the over $6,000 procedure. The procedure is still in testing phases here in the US.

What has LaFollette Eye Clinic doctors concerned is the implant’s mechanism of action. It works like a pinhole camera, reducing the amount of light entering the eye. There is no doubt this mechanism works. But so do pinhole glasses, and you don’t see millions of people wearing those. While a pinhole mechanism works in theory, it still does not provide quality optics. If it did, why do the nearly 100 million digital cameras sold in the US each year use lenses instead of pinholes?

An example of pinhole glasses

An example of pinhole glasses

The article does concede that this procedure is not likely acceptable for airline pilots. The doctors at LaFollette Eye Clinic would like to add their concern that anyone active after dark may be negatively affected by the reduced light entering the pupil after a procedure like this.

And here’s another interesting note: the article describes patients as people “suffering” from presbyopia. Another article described “victims” of presbyopia. Suffering? Victims? Granted, presbyopia is inconvenient. But do we really suffer from it? Are we victims? Certainly, it depends on an individual’s point of view. Those terms seem a bit strong though, and may be used intentionally by the company manufacturing and selling the implants.

Time will tell if this procedure takes hold and survives, or if it goes the way of a number of refractive procedures that just did not provide patients the natural, crisp vision they were hoping for. You’ll see updates to this story here as more details become available.

Hallucinations may be due to Charles Bonnett Syndrome

Visual hallucinations due to Charles Bonnett Syndrome may be more common than you think

Are these cows real, or a visual hallucination?

Are these cows real, or a visual hallucination?

According to an article in the August Edition of Review of Optometry, visual hallucinations experienced by people with poor vision may be due to Charles Bonnett Syndrome, or CBS. It occurs when visually impaired people experience complex visual hallucinations. These people are otherwise healthy, with normal mental ability and no evidence of psychiatric problems or brain abnormalities.

The syndrome is named after Swiss philosopher Charles Bonnett, who first recognized it.

Interestingly, even though people who experience CBS have poor vision, the hallucinations can be very vivid and detailed. Images can be quite distinct, allowing the person to identify different animal types or even faces. Strangely, the faces can be very clear, yet unfamiliar to the person experiencing the hallucination. Essentially they can see a very clear image of a stranger.

Research suggests 10% to 40% of visually impaired people can experience CBS, but this number is likely low. Many people don’t want to admit they experience hallucinations for fear of being labeled as suffering from dementia.

The exact reason for these hallucinations remains uncertain. One theory suggests nerves spontaneously generate images when they no longer receive stimulation from vision. Another theory claims the brain is responsible, attempting to “fill in” missing or distorted spots in the vision. While not entirely accurate, it helps to compare CBS to “phantom limb” syndrome, where a person who loses a limb from trauma sometimes states he can still feel the missing limb even though he knows it’s not there.

CBS is more common in elderly women, and the most common eye disease associated with the syndrome is age-related macular degeneration. Other conditions that may cause CBS include cataracts, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, retinal detachments, and diabetic retinopathy.

My own patients have admitted to hallucinations including images of people, animals (cows and elephants), and trees. Sometimes they only realize the images are hallucinations when someone with them reveals it. For example, I had one patient look out her window and say to a friend, “Look how those cows have gathered in that field.” Her friend pointed out that the field was empty. Other times patients realize they are hallucinating, like the patient who told me she saw a beautiful grove of trees in the middle of the highway.

Unfortunately, not much can be done for people experiencing visual hallucinations. The good news is the frequency of the hallucinations tends to decrease with time. This can be comforting to someone suffering from CBS. Also, the best treatment may be to maximize remaining vision and decrease glare. A low vision specialist may be helpful in many cases.

Another good idea is to realize that Charles Bonnett Syndrome exists at all. If you work with or have family or friends suffering from impaired vision, it can be helpful to simply ask if they have experienced visual hallucinations. It may be the first step to getting them the help they need.