There have been several times when working as a scribe, I have seen some very interesting cases. One in particular stands out in my mind. We had a young patient come in for her eye exam; she was about 7 years old. Her mother said she was a good student for the most part, but had some trouble with reading and was in Title 1 reading assistance. She was a very sweet and curious girl who had abundant questions about all the equipment and all the staff. The young girl did not seem to have issues with distance because her mom said she could see signs farther away than mom could, but she was not reading well and was behind in school. After the doctor’s exam, she was prescribed reading glasses. The doctor prescribed a pediatric bifocal so the child would wear them all the time and not have to remember to take them on and off for reading. The girl was excited! She really wanted glasses just like her friends in school, which is actually quite common among the kids in the area.
It’s that time of year for a huge increase in vacationers. Many people will be heading to the beach and to other outdoor activities. One of the biggest concerns while enjoying the outdoors is preventing sunburn. The first thought is protecting your skin with diverse types of sunscreen, but not many people realize that your eyes can get sunburn just like your skin. This is a temporary, but painful condition that can be prevented with a little preparation.
Prevent Blindness America named June “Cataract Awareness Month,” and we need to be very aware that worldwide, cataracts are the most preventable cause of blindness. The message is clear: Long term exposure to UV radiation, especially from sunlight, is linked directly to cataract development. But how, exactly, does UV exposure cause cataracts?
In Part 1, I reviewed equipment used in lens computing from the 1911 Comptometer to the 1970s teletype. Here, I’ll tell you about the rapid changes in computing from the 1970s into the late 20th century. As an Engineer, I recall in the late 1970s being pleased to have a TI 99 desktop Calculator at my disposal. It was a powerful scientific calculator, but was memorable because it included a programmable magnetic strip. This permitted lens design/power calculation programs to be read into the calculator and subsequently executed. It was handy to have and helped as it was something engineers could bring to and use in offices and on the shop floor. The magnetic strip allowed programs to run calculations where prompting for variable input was possible.
I’m technically cheating with this entry in “Adventures in Eavesdropping,” since there technically wasn’t any eavesdropping involved, but it’s a continuation of the observations I’ve made in that miniseries. I recently discovered an absolutely charming little street near where I live in Texas that used to be a residential neighborhood, but whose houses have been converted into small businesses.
I have been reflecting on how computing technology has changed during my 44 year career at American Optical / Sola / Zeiss. I serve as the Executive Director of the Zeiss sponsored Optical Heritage Museum in Southbridge, MA, where American Optical was founded, and recently worked on a display of computing devices commonly used in the 20th century at AO. During this time, I have gained a great appreciation for what was achieved in ophthalmic lens design prior to today’s computer age.
Most of you are probably looking at the title thinking, “What does this have to do with Opticianry?” Well, I will explain. Several years ago, I landed an amazing opportunity to teach Opticianry at Goodwin College. I still pinch myself every day and tell my students I am the lucky one to have to the opportunity to share what I know and have learned with them. That said, we don’t often think about the educational aspect of how many of us have become opticians. It is my job to teach students to become opticians, therefore, I must understand how students learn. Last year, I participated in the Goodwin College Universal Design for Learning project, funded through a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation which gave me an opportunity to improve our students’ learning.
Happy May! Or should I say, “Welcome to UV Awareness Month,” as so-named by Prevent Blindness America. As Eye Care Professionals, we know that UV has harmful effects on the internal structures of the eye, but do you know that some medications can compound the effects of UV exposure?