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Archives for August 2011
Astigmatism is a vision problem where objects at any distance can appear blurred. It is usually corrected with glasses or contact lenses. It is one of a set of vision problems referred to as â€œrefractive errorsâ€, and this collection of conditions includes nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and the loss of close vision associated with age (presbyopia). Refractive errors are not a health problem, but simply affect the way that eyes focus light.
Diabetes is a disease where sugar is not effectively moved from the blood stream into the cells. Sugar is vital as a form of energy and normally enters the cells of muscle, fat and liver to be used for energy or stored as a reserve. The hormone insulin is required to transfer sugar from the blood into the cells, and patients with diabetes either do not produce insulin (type 1 diabetes), or have developed a resistance to its action (type 2 diabetes). Diabetic patients therefore have high levels of sugar in their blood. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes list â€œblurred visionâ€ as a symptom.
Diabetes is a complex disease, with symptoms which are wide-ranging and can be severe. Eye problems are well-documented and are referred to collectively as diabetic eye disease. Diabetic eye disease most commonly includes diabetic retinopathy, where the tiny blood vessels in the light-sensitive retina are damaged, but may also include cataracts and glaucoma. Astigmatism is not normally listed as a common component of diabetic eye disease, but is there a link?
To understand the nature of astigmatism, you should consider what causes it. Unlike other refractive errors of vision, astigmatism results in a blurred image of objects at any distance. It is normally due to a misshapen cornea at the front of the eye, or a misshapen lens. The typical analogy to describe the nature of an astigmatic cornea is to compare the shapes of a baseball and a rugby ball. The curvature of a baseball is the same across its surface because itâ€™s spherical. That is a good design for a cornea or for each face of the convex lens. A rugby ball is longer in one axis than the other, and that is the case with the astigmatic eye. Some light is bent more than others as it passes through the misshapen cornea or lens, resulting in a fuzzy image.
How might this relate to diabetes? Glaucoma is one of the diabetic eye diseases, and the loss of vision is due to destruction of the optic nerve. This is due to an increase in pressure in the fluid in the front of the eye, in the anterior segment between the cornea and lens. This is known as ocular hypertension and is found in patients with diabetes. This increase in fluid pressure could account for the blurred vision reported as a symptom of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, even though some sources describe ocular hypertension as not affecting eyesight. Increasing the pressure on the cornea and the lens could result in deformation of the shape of those eye elements in some people, resulting in the typical blurred vision of astigmatism.
There are also reports of high blood sugar levels directly affecting the shape of the lens, though the mechanism for this is unclear. Astigmatic vision problems have been reported in patients before treatment for diabetes, and resolving (or reported as farsightedness) upon treatment. Clearly there is some link between high blood sugar levels and vision, but it is unclear if these changes can be called astigmatism in the traditional sense.
About the Author
Dr. David Cronauer works for ReplaceMyContacts.com, an online retailer of cheap contact lenses such as Acuvue Oasys and Proclear Toric. He is a graduate of Wilkes University Pennsylvania College of Optometry where he received his Doctor of Optometry degree. Dr. Cronauer is certified in the treatment and management of ocular disease and specializes in vision-related problems for head injury and stroke victims.
The myth of carpet cleaning needs to be debunked. At times, it is somehow considered more of a luxury than a necessity, but cleaning your carpets has much more to do with your life than just how your floor looks. Not having your carpets cleaned regularly can actually cause serious and real health problems. The toughest problems (stains, damp etc…) can often be the ones most neglected, yet are often the most potentially harmful. But there doesnt need to be a tough stain on your carpet for it to be a health risk. Whether you can simply use water and a cloth, or need a carpet cleaning machine, there are many reasons (health-related and otherwise) to make sure you regularly clean your carpets.
Here are the top 5 potential health issues associated with not cleaning your carpets.
1. Dirty carpets house dust mites
Dirty carpets are well known to be a breeding ground for dust mites, in the same way that dirty hair is a breeding ground for lice. Dust mites feed off of the same fungi, bacteria, and human skin cells that naturally filter into a carpet and stay if the carpet is not cleaned on a regular basis. Studies have also shown that most people are allergic to dust mites, and as they die, their carcasses are inhaled by humans who come into contact with the dirty carpet. Inhalation of the dead bodies has been known to cause rashes, and eye and nose irritation.
2. Damp carpets can cause asthma
The Kuopio Regional Institute of Occupational Health conducted a recent study which conclusively found that damp carpets increased the incidences of asthma in an environment where people were constantly exposed to the carpet. Organisms known as volatile organic compounds and microbial growth were found able to flourish in an unclean, damp carpet, and the results were increased cases of bronchial asthma, one of the deepest forms of the disease.
3. Dirty carpets house mould
Mould has not been proven to link to asthmatic attacks, but this does not mean that mould does not cause humans great discomfort if left unattended. Bacteria and allergens which live on the mould can build up on uncared-for carpeting, and when ingested, can cause allergies to surface via the respiratory system. Worse problems can arise if the body succumbs to the bacteria which live on the mould spores, which it is especially prone to do if already weakened by another disease. If you are experiencing cold-like symptoms more often than normal, it is most likely time to get your carpet cleaned.
More serious health issues can arise if the body is exposed to too many mycotoxins, which dirty carpets are an attractive environment for. Buildings are a source of mycotoxins and people living or working in areas with mould increase their chances of adverse health effects. These can range from stomach infections to fatality, depending on the initial health of the exposed person, or over time, as the mycotoxins wear down the body’s defences. For example, Stachybotrys chartarum contains a higher number of mycotoxins than other moulds grown in the indoor environment and has been associated with allergies and respiratory inflammation.
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