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Blog posts for July, 2017

Discover the latest innovations in the low-vision, low-hearing, and mobility industry, as well as those must-have products to enhance your day-to-day life. Our Independent-Living Blog will help make daily life a little less of a struggle and a bit more pleasurable with assistive products, suggestions, and advice. MaxiAids Helps You Do It . . . Yourself™
25 July, 2017

Is Your Smartphone Stealing Your Eyesight?

Isn't it odd how we seem to care more about scratching our smartphone or tablet screen than protecting our eyesight. Our electronic devices, while costly, are easily replaced or repaired – unfortunately, our eyes are not.

Many people are unaware how dangerous our precious electronic devices are to our vision. Smartphone and tablet screens – as well as computer monitors – emit damaging HEV (High Energy Visible) Blue Light.

Digital Devices Emit Dangerous Blue Light

Hazardous High Energy Visible Blue Light

You've probably heard the news that Blue Light from electronic device screens suppresses the hormone, melatonin, which helps control when your body goes to sleep and when you wake. Many people with a smartphone or tablet bring them to bed to surf the internet, check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., with the intention to unwind before going to sleep. Unfortunately, these devices emit Blue Light which disrupts your natural sleep-wake cycle. The problem is not just losing a good night's sleep. Upsetting the timing of your circadian rhythms can have unexpected and serious effects on your health, such as diabetes and obesity.

"A Harvard study shed a little bit of light on the possible connection to diabetes and possibly obesity. The researchers put 10 people on a schedule that gradually shifted the timing of their circadian rhythms. Their blood sugar levels increased, throwing them into a prediabetic state, and levels of leptin, a hormone that leaves people feeling full after a meal, went down."

—​ Harvard Health Letter: Blue light has a dark side

One solution researchers have recommended is to put some time (2 to 3 hours) between using your electronic devices and your bedtime. While this is good advice, it doesn't help protect you from the other dangers of HEV Blue Light. Every time you use a smartphone, tablet, or computer, Blue Light is doing damage to your eyes.

 

Let's Shed Some Light on Light

Why Is the Sky Blue?

Go out for a walk with a child on a nice day with a beautiful blue sky and they are sure to ask, "Why is the sky blue?"

Here's the short answer: Sunlight appears white but it's actually made up of a rainbow of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Aside from clouds, the sky looks empty but is really made of gases and tiny particles that scatter light in every direction. Blue light colors the sky because it travels in shorter waves than the other colors so it scatters more than they do.

Why Isn't the Sky Purple?

Technically, violet has the shortest wavelength in visible light. So why isn't the sky purple?

Two reasons:

1) Our sun emits less violet than blue; and

2) Our eyes are more sensitive to blue than violet.

 

Light Science via NASA and Stan Lee

Light is electromagnetic (EM) energy made visible to the human eye. Visible light occupies the smallest portion of the electromagnetic spectrum and has a wavelength range of 400 - 700 nanometers (nm).

"The visible colors from shortest to longest wavelength are: violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. Ultraviolet radiation has a shorter wavelength than the visible violet light. Infrared radiation has a longer wavelength than visible red light. The white light is a mixture of the colors of the visible spectrum."

—​ "What Wavelength Goes With a Color?" by NASA

Cosmic Rays

Examples of electromagnetic energy we cannot see are: Cosmic Rays – which created Marvel's Fantastic Four (as documented by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby); Gamma Rays – which transformed Bruce Banner into the Incredible Hulk; X-Rays; Ultraviolet Rays – which are the cause of sunburn, even on a cloudy day; Infrared Radiation (IR) – such as utilized in your TV remote control; Microwave Radiation; and Radio Waves.

Fun Fact: Certain insects, such as bumblebees and butterflies, as well as some birds, reptiles, and fish have "UV Vision" and can see ultraviolet light.

 

Why is Blue Light Bad?

So if blue skies are wonderful enough to inspire Irving Berlin to write a beautiful song about them, why is High Energy Visible Blue Light so bad for us? Light is a form of electromagnetic (EM) energy and not all EM energy is good for our health, which is why they put a lead apron on you when they take X-Rays and why you put on sunscreen and wear UV400 sunglasses when you go to the beach.

Light is made up of elementary particles called photons. We see by virtue of the amazing process whereby our eyes convert photons into electrical signals in the retina. Those photoreceptors in our eyes are essential to vision.

Blue-light hazard is the term used to describe the danger to your eyesight from electromagnetic radiation exposure at wavelengths between 400 and 500 nanometers – the wavelength of Blue light is 450 nm – which can cause the irreversible death of photoreceptors and lesions in the retina.

"Recent studies suggest that the blue end of the light spectrum may also contribute to retinal damage and possibly lead to [Age-related Macular Degeneration] AMD. The retina can be harmed by high-energy visible radiation of blue/violet light that penetrates the macular pigment found in the eye. According to a study by The Schepens Eye Institute, a low density of macular pigment may represent a risk factor for AMD by permitting greater blue light damage."

—​ "Ultra-violet and Blue Light Aggravate Macular Degeneration" by the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF)

Eyes

"Over time, our eyes are exposed to various sources that emit this blue-violet light (e.g., the sun, LED lighting, CFLs). Combine that with the use of tablets, TVs, computer screens and smart phones, and there's no doubt our exposure to blue-violet light is on the increase. This cumulative and constant exposure to the blue-violet light is going to accumulate over time and has the potential to cause damage to the retinal cells, which is going to slowly lead to retinal cell death and can in turn lead to AMD."

— Review of Optometry: The Lowdown on Blue Light: Good vs. Bad, and Its Connection to AMD

 

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a medical condition which results in blurred vision or lack of vision in the center of your field of view.

"Early on there are often no symptoms. Over time, however, some people experience a gradual worsening of vision that may affect one or both eyes. While it does not result in complete blindness, loss of central vision can make it hard to recognize faces, drive, read, or perform other activities of daily life."

— Macular Degeneration by Wikipedia 

Age Related Macular Degeneration AMD

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of retina damage is that there are no early warning sign or symptoms. Digital devices emit LED light that can damage retinal cells. Unfortunately, retina damage does not make itself known with pain, only with loss of vision. And that is why proactive, preventative measures must be taken to protect your eyes. Otherwise, by the time you know you have a problem, it will be too late to do anything about it, except to prevent additional damage.

 

Yes, You Can Eat Your Cake and Have It Too!

The good news is that the dangers from our latest-and-greatest technology devices, which we all so dearly love, can easily be eliminated by using some brand new, fairly inexpensive products.

 

Blue Light Protection Products

Fortunately, there are two ways to protect your eyes from HEV Blue Light. The first is at the source, with LED screen and eye protection; the other is with computer eyewear protection.

 

Protect Your Eyes As Well As Your Screen!

Reticare Eye+Screen Protectors

The Reticare Eye and Screen Protectors help shield your eyes from the damaging HEV (High Energy Visible) Blue Light emitted by digital device screens and also protects your screen from scratches. It adheres to the screen and is touch sensitive for easy scrolling.

At this time, Reticare is the only scientifically proven protection from High Energy Blue LED Light emitted from screens. Reticare is based on 15 years of research on avoidable blindness with 140 international scientists and experts involved. Reticare Eye and Screen Protectors reduce your risk of retina damage as well as the other unhealthy effects of HEV Blue Light.

 

Make eye health a priority. Protect your eyesight or risk losing it...

Children are drawn to digital devices like moths to a flame. Unfortunately, their young eyes receive three times more HEV Blue Light than an adult using the same device. Don't let those amazing smartphones, tablets, and computers that you and your loved ones love to use – for hours and hours a day – do harm to your eyesight or theirs. Reticare Eye and Screen Protectors help reduce the risk of eye strain; blurred vision; dry eyes; headaches; sleep disorders; and retinal damage, such as Macular Degeneration.

Check out all our Reticare Eye+Screen Blue Light Protectors

 

You Save Your Work, Now Save Your Eyes!

Cocoons Eyewear

Most people are fanatical about saving their precious computer documents. No one wants to lose a single bit of their work in progress, whether it's the great American novel or a financial spreadsheet. Saving your work is very important – but so is saving your eyesight.

Cocoons Blue-Light Blocker Computer Fitover Eyeglasses make it super simple to deal with the dangers of our digital devices. And they are perfect for both those who wear prescription glasses and those who don't, because they can be worn "as is" or over prescription eyeglasses. And don't worry, they are available in a variety of frame sizes to comfortably fit over your current eyeglasses.

Cocoons is the world’s leading manufacturer of professional grade fitovers. They make optical-grade lenses which have an anti-reflective, chemically-bonded, scratch-resistant coating. They are known throughout the world for their technically advanced, yet fashionably designed, sunglasses and eyewear. Welcome to designer eyewear without the designer price tag.

Cocoons Blue Light Computer Eyewear

Cocoons has a variety of eyewear collections to address different needs. Their Computer Eyewear Collection filters out both harmful UV light and High Energy Visible (HEV) Blue Light. Wearing a pair of these glasses will reduce headaches, eyestrain, blurred vision, sleep disruption, and eye fatigue from digital screen exposure. Cocoons Computer Eyewear provides 360 degrees of protection with a full undercarriage and maximum-sized peripheral lenses to completely shield your eyes from harmful HEV and UV light.

Whether you spend hours looking at a computer screen, smartphone, or tablet, you owe it to your eyesight to grab a pair of these superb, beautifully designed, yet surprisingly affordable eye protectors.

Check out all our Cocoons Blue Light Computer Fitover Eyeglasses

 


 

 

05 July, 2017

5 Safety Tips for Drivers with Hearing Loss

Driving Safety Precautions for the Hard of Hearing

For those who are hard of hearing, safety precautions should be taken to ensure a safe driving experience for everyone on the road. Hearing impaired drivers aren’t any less safe than other drivers, but there are certain precautions that should be taken.

Since driving is mostly visual, focusing on seeing visual indicators while on the road is the most important precaution deaf or hard of hearing drivers should take. There are additional safety precautions to consider, such as removing distractions and keeping up with car maintenance. Below are five tips for drivers with hearing loss to be extra prepared while behind the wheel.

Driving Safety Precautions for the Hard of Hearing

flashing emergency light

1) Rely on Visual Cues

Driving with hearing loss means you might not be able to hear sirens clearly or quickly enough. It is paramount to pay attention to visual cues, such as flashing lights for emergency vehicles and police cars. Another important aspect of driving when hearing impaired is to make frequent use of mirrors when changing lanes or passing other cars. It’s prudent to get your eyes examined annually to adjust your prescription eyeglasses as needed.

2) Remove Distractions

Removing distractions is important for any driver, hearing impaired or not. However, there are other distractions hearing impaired drivers might experience, such as feedback from hearing aids. It is vital to care and maintain your hearing aid and its batteries regularly. Other tips to remove distractions to help you keep your focus solely on the road are: turning the volume down on the radio; keeping the car windows closed to eliminate road noise; and asking your passengers to keep their conversations to a low volume.

3) Check Signal Lights

Hearing impaired drivers may be unable to hear the clicking sound that alerts the driver that a turn signal is still on, even after turning. It could be a driving hazard to other drivers on the road if your signal indicator is still on even after turning. As a hearing impaired driver, be hypersensitive to checking the signal lights visually so as not to confuse your fellow drivers on the road.

4) Keep Your Car in Top Working Condition

Keeping up with car maintenance is important for every driver, but for drivers who are hard of hearing and living with hearing loss, it is an absolute necessity – because strange vehicle noises may occur unheard. If something is wrong with your car without any visual indication and it breaks down, that could be dangerous to yourself and a hazard to other drivers.

0004412-oversized-rearview-car-mirror-for-optimum-field-of-vision

5) Get Regular Hearing Checkups, Use Assistive Aids, and Take Spare Batteries

  • Visit your doctor if you notice any changes in your hearing, because driving carries a big responsibility, affecting other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and your passengers.
  • There are assistive devices available for hearing impaired drivers, such as oversized rear view mirrors and wide-angled mirrors.
  • If you wear a hearing aid, make sure to always carry an extra set of hearing aid batteries when driving – or keep a fresh set in your glove compartment.

 

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