In this three-part series, we will explore new advances in the optical world. In this article, we’ll touch on three new discoveries in eye science and research. Look for our next pieces, New Tools in Eye Health and New Technology in Eye Treatment.
1. Scientists now believe that unborn children have better vision than previously believed.
A study from University of California, Berkeley, discovered that some of the ganglion cells, which develop between weeks five and eighteen, are light-sensitive.(1)
This evidence suggests that, while babies were thought to be blind up until the sixteen-week mark, they actually detect light through their eyes much earlier on. It also brings up new theories suggesting that this early vision-development could be intricately involved with the brain development.
2. What do you know!? Good food, clean air= better eye health!
More proof that the same unhealthy habits which are detrimental to our quality of life, are also linked to blindness and eye disease.
University of Bristol researchers found a direct connection between a patient’s progressive blindness and their poor diet (consisting of white bread, chips, and crisps). (2) While there is a known connection between malnutrition and eye problems, generally these symptoms are found in third world or war-torn countries. This case, studied in the UK, shows that even with sufficient access to food, humans have the ability to eat themselves sick and blind.
Meanwhile, a four-year long, UC-London study found that subjects living in pollution-dense cities had an increased risk of glaucoma, an inhibiting disease which can lead to blindness. While conclusive research is ongoing, the findings pointed to thinner retinas among those exposed to more environmental toxins. (3)
3. One kind of eye injury on the rise; the culprit hidden in plain sight.
Recent data raises the cautionary flag for detergent pods, once again—this time relating to ocular injuries. Overall, Poison Control averages over 18,000 calls a year, specifically relating to household cleaners in the eye.
The good news is, the overall rate of these calls has gone down nearly 30%, from 2000 to 2016 (the years studied). Unfortunately, injuries specifically related to laundry detergent pods shot up by 1,960%. (4)
While bleach is still the number one offender for household cleaner-related eye injuries, laundry pods have proved “particularly alluring to young children due to their colorful packaging and contents and unique scent,” says Dr. Gary Smith, a director at a Center for Injury Research and Policy.