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Taking a closer look at eyes and technology

An incredibly complex combination of cornea, pupil, iris, lens, choroid, sclera, macula, vitreous gel and optic nerve which transmits visual information captured by the light sensing retina to the brain in the form of electrical impulses, the eye is our window on the world.  Through our eyes, we can take in and instantly interpret vast undistorted panoramic surroundings in 3D that could never be captured by even the widest angle camera lens.  We can separate and recognise individual features in any scene – a distant snow-capped peak, a single tree in a forest, a face in a crowd.

In other words, our eyes give us access to the bigger picture with the built-in processing power to make sense of it all that no pixel-map restricted computer on earth has so far been able to replicate.  But as this article explains, what technology can do is to further enhance the inherent natural power of the eye and help turn the tide in combating some of the most common eye diseases suffered by millions of people all over the world.

Proving that eyes really are the mirror of the soul

As part of the intricate network of complementary components that make up the human eye, the black pupil at the centre acts as a little mirror reflecting whatever visual image the eye might be focussing on at the time.

With advances in high resolution imaging made possible by the ongoing evolution of the modern digital camera, studies are now underway into the possibility of identifying perpetrators and onlookers present at the scene of a crime by zooming closely in on the pupils of victims in cases where the victim had been photographed while the crime was taking place– the obvious example being images of child abuse circulated on the internet.

It’s win-win all the way for eye tracking technology

A prime example of the potential offered by the developing partnership between eyes and technology is the relatively new innovation of eye tracking, already being employed in psychological research, user experience testing and as a means of helping people with disabilities communicate through visual instructions relayed to their computers.

As an illustration of how this technology works, eye tracking is now being harnessed by the online gaming industry to enhance the player experience by allowing them to control the action on-screen by movements of their eyes.  A sensor mounted beneath the PC monitor uses a single camera with infrared capabilities to track the player’s eye movements by capturing reflections of their pupils as they focus on different parts of the screen.  This vastly expands the ways players can interact with games and gives players the winning edge by speeding up their reaction times for faster fingers on their console’s controls.

Bringing eyesight to the blind

It is a startling fact that 90% of blind people live in under-developed countries without ready access to nearby medical facilities for diagnosis and possible treatment.  It is also a fact that 80% of the conditions causing blindness can be reversed and sight successfully restored.

As a potential solution to this worldwide problem, a smartphone type device has been developed with advanced imaging and diagnostic capabilities that allows health workers to travel to remote communities and conduct ophthalmic tests there and then on visually impaired patients, including those who may have been totally blind for years.

Those identified with treatable conditions can then been transported en-masse to an appropriate hospital for corrective treatment, usually involving a simple surgical procedure that will see them returned to their villages in a matter of hours with their sight restored for good!

Our Eye Clinic offers a wide variety of diagnostic assessment and treatment procedures for all kinds of eye conditions, including laser eye therapies such as YAG Capsulotomy to correct clouded vision after cataract treatment, Iridotomy for the treatment or prevention of closed-angle glaucoma and Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) to rectify internal eye pressure in certain cases of open-angle glaucoma.  To find out more, visit  http://www.edinburghclinic.com/services/ophthalmology/eye-laser/

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Date: 05/03/2014
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