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Eye blog

Another reason to stop drinking diet soft drink.

Posted in 'General' on February 21, 2018 by Stuart Macfarlane
An Australian study has discovered that if you have diabetes and regularly drink diet soft drinks then you are at increased risk of developing proliferative diabetic retinopathy. This is a condition where new blood vessels grow in the retina, leading to ocular damage and potentially vision loss. 

People with diabetes who drank in excess of four cans of diet soft drink weekly were 2 1/2 times more likely to develop proliferative diabetic retinopathy. More extensive studies are proposed and will be conducted in the near future. In the meantime, you'd be prudent to reduce your intake of diet soft drinks if you have diabetes.

Focus on Ability Film Festival

Posted in 'General' on July 30, 2017 by Stuart Macfarlane

Help support the profile of the visually disabled and Blind Cricket. Here is a link to vote for Lachlan Macfarlane's Blind Cricket Documentary, a finalise in the Focus on Ability film festival. Voting closes shortly! Please register your vote for Lachlan's Documentary to help promote Blind Cricket and give him the support he deserves for doing such a great job with this film.


Posted in 'General' on March 2, 2017 by Stuart Macfarlane

Migraines are a recognised neurological medical condition.  They include various autonomic nervous system symptoms including headache, nausea, photophobia, vomiting, numbness or paresis, and sensitivity to noise and smell.

Migraines are generally accepted to be a neurovascular condition with the latest research considering that it starts with cortical depression spreading to the vascular system. 

Migraine can be preceded by various symptoms during the prodromal phase. These prodromal symptoms most commonly include a visual aura. This can involve a flickering zig zag light which usually enlarges over several minutes, a scotoma or patchy loss of vision, and hallucinations. The symptoms generally progress in severity over several minutes. 


Prodromal symptoms can also include difficulty speaking and thinking (known as aphasia), and confusion. Some migraine sufferers also notice a tingling sensation in parts of their body as well as irritability and fatigue. Sometimes these symptoms can occur in isolation without a progression of the migraine to the acute headache phase. 

If the migrainous episode progresses to a headache, this usually affects one side of the head and typically begins above the eyes. The pain is generally severe and throbbing and can have a duration between 3 hours to 3 days.

Although the cause of migraine is uncertain, it is thought to have both a genetic and enviromental component.  Some researchers postulate that it can be related to low levels of serotonin.  There also seems to be contributing physiological factors such as diet, stress and fatigue. 

Several years ago Harvard researchers discovered that specific wavelengths of light caused intensified pain in migraine sufferers. They postulated that "the mechanism of photophobia must involve the optic nerve, because in totally blind individuals, the optic nerve does not carry light signals to the brain." Subjects in the group were found to be particularly sensitive to short wavelengths like blue or grey. They also stated that "We also suspected that a group of recently discovered retinal cells containing melanopsin photoreceptors (which help control biological functions including sleep and wakefulness) is critically involved in this process".

Marijuana and glaucoma

Posted in 'General' on January 26, 2017 by Stuart Macfarlane

In news that will be underwhelming for some people, it has been found that marijuana is not an effective treatment to control glaucoma. 



The research by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in the USA found that  "there is limited evidence that cannabinoids are an ineffective treatment for improving intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma." Marijuana was found to have only a transient, short-term effect on intraocular pressure with the effect not of a long enough duration for it to be medically helpful. 

Colour Blind

Posted in 'General' on January 19, 2017 by Stuart Macfarlane

Colour Blind  

Colour Blind

Blind Ambition | Blind Cricket Documentary on Ray Moxly

Posted in 'General' on October 26, 2016 by Stuart Macfarlane

Ray Moxly is the Chairman of Blind Cricket Australia and Secretary General of World Blind Cricket. This is his story. By Lachlan Macfarlane. 

Bleach in my eye! First Aid for Chemical Burns.

Posted in 'General' on August 27, 2016 by Stuart Macfarlane

Bleach, oven cleaner, ammonia, detergents, pool cleaner and vinegar: we are all familiar with these useful chemicals for cleaning and use them often. However if any of these chemicals spatter into your eye it is a true ocular emergency that can possibly lead to blindness or visual impairment and requires treatment IMMEDIATELY. 

About two-thirds of chemical eye injuries occur in industries where dangerous chemicals are used, and the remainder occur at home mostly from cleaning products. 

Here is a list of chemicals that are harmful to your eyes:
-Airbag powder
-Potassium hydroxide
-Sodium hydroxide
Neutral Irritants 
-Mace, pepper spray
-Household detergents
-Battery acid (automobile battery)
-Pool cleaner
-Glass polish (hydrofluoric acid)

Alkali burns are the most dangerous and harmful to the ocular surface as alkalis penetrate the cornea (the clear window in front of the eye) more deeply and rapidly than acids and will cause more severe injuries. 

Symptoms of chemical burns include pain, redness, tearing, blurred vision, difficulty with keeping the eyes open, irritation and swelling of the lids. 

The first and most important treatment for chemical burns is to irrigate and wash the injured eye copiously with water or saline for at least 20-30 minutes. The longer the chemical remains in the eye the more devastating harm it causes. Also it is very important to open the eyes as wide as possible to effectively wash off the chemical. It is often useful to hold the lids with both hands to keep the eye open. 

It would be ideal if irrigation can be performed with an irrigating solution such as Eye Stream or saline, but tap water is also appropriate.  

When seeking medical help or calling an ambulance, it is essential to inform the health care practitioner what chemical was splashed in the eye and if in an industrial setting to provide a MSDS: Material Safety Data Sheet. Irrigation must be continued until the ambulance arrives or you arrive at a hospital emergency department. 

The types and duration of treatment depend on severity of the burn, which is graded from Grade 1 to Grade 4. 
Grade 1: Clear cornea, only epithelial damage and no limbal ischemia 
Grade 2: Hazy cornea, iris details visible, less than 1/3 of limbal ischemia
• Grade 3: total loss of corneal epithelium, stromal haze, 1/3-1/2 limbal ischemia
• Grade 4: Opaque cornea, more than ½ limbal ischemia

Overall chemicals must be used and treated with great care and protective goggles used. If chemical spatters into the eye remember two things: IRRIGATE COPIOUSLY and SEEK MEDICAL HELP IMMEDIATELY. 

If you have diabetes eating fish may save your sight

Posted in 'General' on August 20, 2016 by Stuart Macfarlane
Regular intake of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids obtained from oily fish was associated with a reduced risk of sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy in middle-aged and older patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study conducted in Spain.

The study's finding that consumption of at least 500 mg/d of dietary long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC3PUFAs) decreased the risk of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in patients with diabetes corroborates experimental models and the current theory of DR pathogenesis, according to the report.

The prospective investigation included 3,482 patients with a mean age of 67 years diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who had participated in the PREDIMED study, a randomized clinical trial that tested Mediterranean diets supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts vs. a control diet for primary cardiovascular prevention.

Among the 3,482 patients, 2,611 (75%) consumed the recommended amount of at least 500 mg/d of LC3PUFA, which could be achieved with two servings of oily fish per week.

Blind Cricket

Posted in 'General' on August 17, 2016 by Stuart Macfarlane
Steve Palmer, Ricky Segura and Matt Cameron (on debut), all with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), were the standout performers for Australia in Adelaide during the Australia vs England Lord's Taverners International Blind Cricket Series earlier this year. Unfortunately Australia lost the ODI series 4-1 but split the T20 series 1-1.  England ODI captain Matt Dean (RP with Ushers) dominated the series and was awarded the Vision Australia 'man of the series' and an iPad Pro.

Blind Cricket Australia Chairman and Australian fast bowler Ray Moxly (who has ocular albinism) said, "Blind Cricket is a sport for people who are legally blind at all levels but those who just qualify as being legally blind tend to have the greatest impact on a match.  Australia needs to find more well sighted (but legally blind) athletes if it wants to remain competitive at the international level."  A blind cricket 11 is comprised of 4 partially sighted (B3) players, 3 poor partially sighted (B2) players and 4 totally blind (B1) players.  Batsmen hitting 4's and 6's is a common occurrence, there are plenty of classic catches taken and the best bowlers deliver the ball at 100kph!!

Queensland Blind Cricket is currently looking for new players as it heads into a Summer of Cricket.  The Queensland Squad for the upcoming National Championships will be selected in the next two months and the Australian team will head to India in January to take part in the T20 Blind Cricket World Cup.

There is an indoor cricket version of Blind Cricket too.  This game is called Vision Impaired Indoor Cricket, it is suitable for players with a reasonable level of vision and is played every Monday night at Toombul, Brisbane.

For more information on Blind Cricket or Vision Impaired Indoor Cricket contact Ray Moxly or Facebook Vision Impaired Indoor Cricket and Queensland Blind Cricket.

Polarised sunglasses

Posted in 'General' on July 16, 2016 by Stuart Macfarlane

Living in Australia, we are subjected to glare and ultraviolet light on an almost constant basis. The harmful effects of ultraviolet light are well-known  and include an increased risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, ocular surface disease such as pterygium, and dry eye. It also increases the risk of developing cancers on the eye surface. Obviously the way to reduce your risk is to wear sunglasses. However what about glare and flare reflecting off surfaces? Normal tinted lenses and sunglasses will reduce the general amount of visible light and ultraviolet light that enters your eye. Only polarised lenses will specifically reduce the amount of reflected light. This is a particularly important in cases such as fishing and boating where there is a lot of light reflected off the water's surface.

Polarised lenses rely on a polarising filter in the lens which cuts out a large proportion of the polarised reflected light. The one disadvantage of polarised sunglasses is that you see stress patterns in glass such as windscreens, however this is minor and generally does not disturb people.

Polarised sunglasses are available in prescription and non-prescription forms. Prescription polarised sunglasses are available in single vision, bifocals and multifocal glasses. The most effective polarised sunglasses are permanently tinted and do not change colour. You will require one clear pair for inside and night-time driving and the polarised pair for use outside.

So if you do activities that involve a lot of reflected light such as boating, fishing, surfing or snow skiing then come in and ask for polarised lenses and your eyes will thank you for it.