Did you know that May is Healthy Vision Month? We’ve rounded up some cool and interesting facts about eyes and eye health to share with your patients. Wow them with fun facts about shark eyes on social media, or quiz them on eye health myths when they come into your office. They won’t see the carrot one coming!
1. Eye scans offer the highest security.
While it may sound like sci-fi, Wells Fargo and other institutions are now using eye scans and other biometric markers such as voice- and face-recognition to enhance security for multimillion-dollar account holders. While fingerprint identification is now commonplace on many smartphones, a fingerprint has 40 unique characteristics, while the eye’s iris has 256.
2. All babies are born colorblind.
Many new parents have wondered, “What do infants see?” By 6 months old, babies develop color vision, except the one out of 12 males and the one out of 255 females who are colorblind, per the non-profit Discovery Eye Foundation. The most common type of color blindness is the disability to distinguish between red and green.
3. What causes “red eye” in photos.
When a camera flashes, the reflection of the light off the blood vessels in a person’s retina can give that creepy “red eye” look. People with light-colored eyes usually exhibit the worst red eye effect, notes AllAboutVision.com. To avoid it, turn off the flash or have the person avoid looking directly at the camera.
4. Why pets get “green eye” instead.
Ever wondered why your dog’s eyes look green or blue in photos? That’s due to the animal’s “special reflective layer in the back of the eye termed the tapetum, which enhances nocturnal vision,” reports Scientific American.
5. Eye transplants don’t exist – yet.
There is currently no such thing as an entire eye transplant. More than 1 million nerve fibers connect each eye to the brain and once cut, they cannot be reconnected. However, experts in optic nerve and retinal regeneration at top universities in the U.S. are currently collaborating on the Whole Eye Transplant Project.
6. Partial eye transplants do exist.
The cornea – the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye – can be transplanted, a procedure that’s existed for nearly a century. Over 95 percent of all corneal transplant operations successfully restore vision, according to the Eye Bank Association of America. Most anyone can be a donor; since there’s no blood in the cornea, it’s not necessary for blood types to match.
7. Sharks’ eyes are the most like ours.
Shark corneas are so similar to humans’ that they have been used for human corneal transplant surgery, according to the American Museum of Natural History.
8. The idea that carrots are good for eyesight most likely started as WWII propaganda.
Believe it or not, this is (mostly) a myth started by the British government during World War II. According to Smithsonian magazine, the Royal Air Force (RAF) used secret radar technology to pinpoint German bombers at night. But to keep that intel under wraps, the RAF claimed their success in fighting off German planes was due to British pilots improving their night vision by eating lots of carrots.
9. Certain foods do improve eye health.
While it’s not exactly true that carrots help you see in the dark, carrots and other vegetables rich in Vitamin A do contain nutrients that contribute to good eye health. Leafy greens like spinach and kale, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon and tuna, also keep your eyes healthy. (Check out this video: True or False? Carrots are good for your eyes)
10. Vision can actually improve with age – temporarily.
The lens of the eye hardens as we age, changing the way light is “bent” as it enters the eye much like a pair of glasses, explains the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Sometimes called “second sight,” these changes can improve either near or distance vision. Unfortunately, these pre-cataract changes are temporarily – as you continue to age, you will eventually need cataract surgery.
Remember: the most important fact you can share with patients, this month and always, is that the only way to know for sure what’s going on with their eyes is to see an experienced eye care professional for a comprehensive eye exam.
For more ideas on educating and engaging patients, get in touch with us today!