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Our society is on the go...and to match a fast paced life style, technology has to keep up. Thus, the impetus for a unique, wearable piece of technology that customizes your every need was developed: Google glasses. The idea of wearing a computer on your head is not new...Steve Mann invented a form of Digital Eye Glass in the 1980s. The original intent of this invention was to act as a camera to record, and as a computer monitor .

Google Glass, as it is referred to, takes that intent a step beyond by adding features of computer design integrated music, fitness, cycling, texting, golfing, navigation and more. It has been released in a limited “Explore” version selling for $1500.00 US Dollars. They intend to release a public version to the market as well.

This invention has been used in the medical field to help medical doctors assist in remote instructional surgeries and teaching techniques. In ophthalmic medicine, it has an expansive role in educating doctors and students about the retina by allowing a view through an Indirect Ophthalmoscope at retinal tissue. The technology is also being used to integrate medical health records in clinics and hospitals.

The upside to this wearable technology is its applications in the fields of technology, medicine, communication, filming, sports and recreation. Furthermore, the basic design has been embellished by fashion designer eyewear to give the glass a more enhanced look.

The downside is the privacy concerns, and health and vision concerns. Privacy can be violated by recording without consent, and incorporating facial recognition features. Safety issues emerge when the device is worn during driving........drivers in several states have been fined. There are also vision concerns. The Google Glass optometrist from Harvard has warned about eyestrain if the glasses are used improperly or for too long. The side effects of eyestrain and headaches have not been widely experienced.

From a vision standpoint, the ergonomics could be improved or altered. The current configuration, if used too long,causes the eye to focus in a way the eye was not designed to. With the display in the upper temporal quadrant, Google’s design was for quick, periodic viewing. Eyestrain and headache can occur with extended viewing. The unwanted side effect evolves from the eye diverging or turning out while reading. The eye’s original design was to turn in or converge when reading, for this is the normal comfortable posture for the eye. The eye does not want to look up and out for extended reading periods, and those muscles simply were not designed for that activity.

Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” So once Google Glass, or other wearable technology, advances and simplifies the ergonomics issues, going one more step into the future of wearable technology, then the sky is virtually the limit and creativity and imagination will guide the next advancement.

For more detailed information on Google Glass, visit google.com.

 

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Ask Dr. Stewart Your Eye Care Questions

What can be expected during a contact lens fitting?

A patient can expect to have a different experience when having a contact lens fitting. In addition to the eyeglass exam, questions will be asked to determine which contact lens will work best for them. Will they want to leave the lenses in their eyes overnight or will they remove them every day? Will they wear them only occasionally or will they be for everyday use? Do they want a contact lens that they throw away every day or do they want a contact lens that they have to clean and disinfect? If the patient is over age 40 and has a compromised ability to see up close, how will they see up close with their contact lenses? Will they wear readers over their distant contacts, or will they wear multifocal contacts, or will they wear monovision?

Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes than others?

Experiencing dry eye symptoms is more common as we grow older, particularly in people 50 years of age and older. Hormonal changes in women who are experiencing menopause or who are post-menopausal. Inflammation in our body can affect the tear gland's ability to produce tears. Eye or health conditions such as glaucoma, diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren's Syndrome can be associated with Dry Eyes. Environmental conditions such as dry winter air, dry indoor heated air, working on the computer, and wearing contact lenses can cause Dry Eyes.

Are there advantages to single-use contact lenses? What are they?

Single-use daily wear contacts are convenient to the patient and a healthy recommendation from their eye doctor. At the end of the day, the patient only has to dispose of the contacts. There is no need to take the contacts out to clean and disinfect them. The patients time and money spent on solutions and caring for them are eliminated. Not to mention that the next time they wear a contact, they will be wearing a brand new contact! The single best recommendation your eye doctor can make is to recommend single-use daily wear contacts. They are the healthiest contact that can be worn. The contact lens pathology issues of wearing the same contact for two or four weeks such as neovascularization, microcystic edema, and bacterial infections are greatly reduced.

What is an eye infection?

Your eyes can get infections from bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Eye infections can occur in different parts of the eye and can affect just one eye or both. Two common eye infections are conjunctivitis (also known as pink eye) and lid styes which are swollen lid bumps that can also be painful. Common signs of an eye infection are pain, itching, or a sensation of a foreign body in the eye, photosensitivity, redness or small red lines in the white of the eye, discharge of yellow pus that may be crusty upon awaking, and tears.

What happens during a typical Diabetic Eye Exam?

Your Eye Doctor will evaluate the back of your eye called the Retina to check for leaking blood vessels. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when elevated blood sugars damage the walls of the blood vessels. The vessel walls may thicken, leak, develop clots, close off, or grow balloon-like defects called microaneurysms.

My eyes tear all the time. Why do you call it Dry Eyes?

Your eyes have extra tears because your eyes produce extra tears to combat irritation and dryness. A better way to describe Dry Eyes is tear film instability, which refers to the composition of your tears not being in the proper composition. Stopping eyes from producing extra tears is a goal in the treatment of Dry Eyes.

At what age should my child have his/her eyes examined?

If you ask 10 different Doctors you will get 10 different answers. Newborns have their eyes checked in the birthing ward for starters. From birth to age 5 their eyes are growing. At age 5 is a good time to schedule a regular eye examination, however, if any unusual eye behavior is observed under age 5 an eye exam should be scheduled at that time. Unusual eye behavior such as eye squinting, a head tilt, or having to get close to see.