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Designer Sunglasses To Save Future Operations

May 17, 2008
There are several reasons why a person loses their sight. For those who have had traumas to the head there is obviously no way of preventing this knock on result. For many others, including those who lose their sight later in life due to age-related molecular degeneration, there is much that can be done to prevent this situation occurring.

The simple matter of wearing a pair of sunglasses is all that is required to save the sight of so many people. The damage is done in the younger years that leads to blindness later on and we would all do well to remember that. It is no good being complacent and thinking that there is nothing wrong with our eyes now and that there is no genetic optical faults in our family, this guarantees nothing.

Neither does it matter, for those shallow enough to think it does, whether or not we wear designer sunglasses. What is important is that we get the highest UV protection possible and wear them outdoors as much as possible but especially when the sun is at its strongest, such as mid day during the summer months.

For many people it is already too late to do anything about but help is at hand. In the field of optical surgery, two ground breaking techniques have been carried out. One involving a 'bionic' eye means the patient can differentiate between light, dark, shadows and shapes. This obviously isn't perfect vision but it's more than the patient had before and can make a great deal of difference to their quality of life.

An ultra thin electronic receiver and electrode panel are implanted into the eye and attached to the retina. The patient wears a pair of glasses that are fitted with a tiny camera and transmitter which sends a wireless signal to the receiver. These messages are then passed along the optic nerve to the brain and sight is partially restored.

This new technology comes from the US and they are still developing it in the hope that the camera will actually be able to be implanted within the eye itself. This truly will make it a bionic eye but if only the patient had worn designer sunglasses, any sunglasses, when they were younger the need for this surgery could be avoided.

For the hundreds of thousands of patients in the UK with a genetic inherited blindness, designer sunglasses would have made no difference. However, there is new gene therapy that is being perfected to restore sight for these people too. Medical trials began back in February to imbed genes into the eyes of people with genetic faults whose retinas are unable to detect light properly.

Scientists from the University College London are hopeful that this will lead to a cure for genetic blindness in the future. The sad fact about this particular eye disease is that it affects people so young. Leber's congenital amaurosis (LCA) is an inherited condition and can lead to blindness before a sufferer leaves their teens. One such patient was only eighteen when he went blind and he has been over the moon with the results of his surgery saying that it has improved the quality of his life beyond a doubt and he is no longer restricted in what he can do.

For the rest of us who are fortunate enough to not have these problems, we should never take our eyesight for granted. If you need designer sunglasses to not feel a little odd in sunglasses then by all means get them. It is even possible to get designer sunglasses with a prescription so if you need glasses, you will appreciate even more how difficult it could be without your sight.
About the Author
Optical expert Catherine Harvey looks at the way designer sunglasses could help our eyesight in later years.
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