All About Eye Health

It is often said that your eyes are a window into your soul.  This phrase has different meanings for different people but most everyone can agree that eyes are a very important part of our bodies.

How the Eyes See

The American Optometric Association explains how the eye works:

When light rays reflect off an object and enter the eyes through the cornea, you can then see that object.  The cornea bends, or refracts, the rays that pass through the round hole of the pupil. The iris opens and closes, making the pupil bigger or smaller. This regulates the amount of light passing through.

 

The light rays then pass through the lens, which changes shape so it can further bend the rays and focus them on the retina. The retina, which sits at the back of the eye, is a thin layer of tissue that contains millions of tiny light-sensing nerve cells. These nerve cells are called rods and cones because of their distinct shapes. Cones are concentrated in the center of the retina, in an area called the macula. When there is bright light, cones provide clear, sharp central vision and detect colors and fine details. Rods are located outside the macula and extend all the way to the outer edge of the retina. They provide peripheral or side vision. Rods also allow the eyes to detect motion and help us see in dim light and at night.

 

These cells in the retina convert the light into electrical impulses. The optic nerve sends these impulses to the brain, which produces an image. (Click on the link at the beginning of this section for a complete diagram on this process)

 

The importance of Eye Exams

Eye exams at every stage of life can help keep your vision clear and strong.  Many people only go to the eye doctor when they notice things aren’t as clear as they once were. Noticeable lack of vision is only one of many reasons that regular eye exams are important to eye health. Regular eye exams can spot many diseases early on and with proper treatment can even help preserve your eyesight.

The CDC states that “Eye diseases are common and can go unnoticed for a long time—some have no symptoms at first. A comprehensive dilated eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist is necessary to find eye diseases in the early stages when treatment to prevent vision loss is most effective.

During the exam, visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement are tested. Eye drops are used to make your pupils larger so your eye doctor can see inside your eyes and check for signs of health problems. Your eye doctor may even spot other conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, sometimes before your primary care doctor does.”

Some of the common eye issues mentioned further in this article include cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and aged related macular degeneration.

Tips for Better Eye Health

The National Eye Institute, provides some simple ways in which you can help protect and save your eyesight.

  • Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam
  • Know your family’s eye health history
  • Eat right to protect your sight
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Wear protective eyewear
  • Quit smoking or never start
  • Be cool and wear your shades
  • Give your eyes a rest
  • Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly
  • Practice workplace eye safety

Following these simple tips can go a long way toward preserving your eyesight as you age. Don’t forget to check out this week’s sunglasses sale. Afterall, even the National Eye Institute advises to be cool and wear your shades.

Sunglasses and other high quality items can be found at: independent living aids, LLC.

Staying Connected

Staying connected is both easier and harder in today’s fast paced world. Some people feel that true communication is a lost art while others believe the opposite. Communicating today differs in some ways from in ages past and remains the same in others.  

 

Networking, Social Networking and Social Media

When you hear the word “networking” several different things may come to mind. For the purpose of this blog we mean the exchange of information among individuals or groups. In the past the main forms of networking were in person or by horse and/or carriage. This developed into telephones, more readily available transportation and through the mail or delivery services. The old adage of it being not what you know but who you know was true then and in many ways is true now but on a much bigger scale.

Social Networking is like regular networking on steroids. The earliest forms of the Internet, and with that email, was developed in the 1960s. By the 1970s it had advanced to the point of being able to share virtual newsletters. In the 1980s home computers were starting to be more common and in 1988 Internet Relay Chats (IRCs) were first used. These remained popular into the 1990s. It was becoming possible to network with people from all over the world with the click of a few keystrokes.

Small Biz Trends states that the first recognizable Social Media Site was Six Degrees. It was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today.

Understanding Social Media Sites

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Social Media sites across the world depending on how broad or narrow you define the term. Since 2012, Pew Research Center has researched and surveyed the trends of US residents using Social Media sites. Their findings in 2018 (see link above) found that the top 8 regularly used sites for Americans are: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Below is a  brief summary of each of the top 8 Social Media Sites using information from Leverage and Lifewire.

Facebook: Easy to create a profile and keep up with and find long-lost friends and family. Tons of groups and pages to join for nearly any interest, hobby, or concern you may have.

YouTube: From music videos, tutorials, movies, personal vlogs, and independent films you can find nearly any type video you have in mind.

Twitter: Microblogging social site that limits posts to 280 characters.

Instagram: It’s the ultimate social network for sharing real-time photos and short videos while on the go.

Snapchat: App for sending videos and pictures that disappear after being viewed. Most used platform among 12-24-year-olds.

WhatsApp: It is a cross-platform app that uses your internet connection or data plan to send and receive messages using your phone number instead of usernames and pins.

Pinterest: Social Media site all about discovery. Most sought for interests include home, parenting, beauty, style, food, and industries.

LinkedIn: Business oriented social media site.  Profiles look like extremely detailed resumes. Make professional connections, look for job opportunities, and possibly advance your career.

Ways to Effectively Communicate

Effective communication is about more than just the exchange of information. HelpGuide identifies how using a combination of 4 different skills can up your communication game. These skills are:

  • Engaged listening: Effective communication is less about talking and more about listening.
  • Nonverbal communication: The way you look, listen, move, and react to another person tells them more about how you’re feeling than words alone ever can.
  • Managing stress in the moment:  It’s only when you’re in a calm, relaxed state that you’ll be able to know whether the situation requires a response, or whether the other person’s signals indicate it would be better to remain silent.
  • Asserting yourself in a respectful way: Being assertive means expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in an open and honest way, while standing up for yourself and respecting others. It does NOT mean being hostile, aggressive, or demanding.

Independent living aids, LLC has many products that can enable you to have an easier and more relaxing time communicating with others. This week’s amplified phone sale can help you become a more engaged listener.

 

This post was written by Alicia Baucom.

Celebrating Father’s Day

According to the US Census, fathers make up 72 million of the nation’s population. Grandfathers make up 29 million. The idea for Father’s Day came over a century ago from Sonora Smart Dodd wishing to honor her father, a widowed Civil War Veteran and single father to six.

Father’s Day means something different to different people. There is likely a very personal reason why you look forward to or dread the coming of this day. Where you live or grew up could also be a factor in your response to the day. The day is celebrated worldwide on varying days of the year. It can be a day to cherish and celebrate the men in our lives regardless of biological affiliation

Father’s Day Around the World

There are many articles related to the various days that countries utilize for their celebration of Father’s Day. A good overview can be found at the Spruce. The second paragraph from that link states: “Traditions vary for Father’s Day celebrations around the world. For example, some countries link Father’s Day to the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19, which celebrates Joseph of Nazareth, father of Jesus. In Germany, Father’s Day is commonly celebrated by men loading wagons with beer and heading off into the woods. In Russia, Father’s Day overlaps with their Defender of the Fatherland Day. So, while fathers are honored, many of them march in military parades in their home towns on the same day.”

There are 38 countries represented from this site with the month of celebration breaking down into: 7 celebrate in March, 16 celebrate in June, 1 in July, 4 in August, 5 in November, and 1 varies but always on the 6th Sunday after Easter. To learn about the dates and traditions of Father’s Day even further feel free to see Wikipedia.

Father’s Day and the Men’s Health Week Campaign

Father’s Day is a great time to tell the men in your life how much you care about them. This is why the Men’s Health Week campaign was designed to coincide with Father’s Day in the United States. Instead of focusing on what could happen if you ignore your body let’s look at 6 ways you can refocus your health.

Everyday Health provides a checklist of what men can actively do to protect their health for both themselves and their loved ones. These 6 ways to better health are:

  • Get Enough Sleep: Aim for seven to nine hours per night.
  • Stop Smoking: If you quit now, you’ll lower your risk for cancer, COPD, and other smoking-related illnesses.
  • Exercise More: Try to fit in 2 ½ hours of aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening exercises, each week.
  • Eat Healthy: Your diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Reduce Stress: You’ll feel much more relaxed if you avoid drugs and alcohol, connect socially, and find support.
  • Get Regular Checkups: Positive outcomes are more likely with early detection.

Creating a Father’s Day to Remember

If you’re looking for things to do with and for your father look no further than this article at All Pro Dad. Jackie Bledsoe shares not only wonderful creative suggestions but also provides links to photo tutorials if you want to create your slide show and/or order products with family photos on them. These 5 memory worthy ideas are:

  • Share and write down old stories the two of you have together
  • Go through old family photos
  • Take him somewhere special
  • Get the grand-kids to do something special
  • Visit him wherever he is

If you’re still looking for a store bought present for dear-old-dad don’t forget to check out the sale items at independent living aids, LLC.

Handwriting is Good for You

Writing by hand can increase both memory and creativity. It can also be a welcome respite from this crazy busy world to just sit down with pen in hand. It can feel like you’re putting more of your heart and soul into what you’re writing when you take your time and watch the ink glisten off the page. It seems that handwriting, especially calligraphy, may be making a comeback in big ways.  

 

Handwriting Increases Memory and Creativity

According to Quartz, handwriting leads to increased brain activity, long-term information retention, and increased ability to generate ideas. They came to this conclusion by comparing brains scans that were imaged be persons typing and by persons handwriting. Researchers surmise this could be due to the fact that it takes more intention and more action to form words by pen than by hitting a series of keys. When someone is handwriting, they are forming each letter themselves instead of allowing a machine to form them instead.

The article further shares results form a Princeton University study. Their research found that students who took notes via laptop performed poorly on conceptual questions, whereas, those that handwrote their notes performed better. It is suggested that the process of taking notes longhand forces your brain to sort through what is being said allowing for more pertinent information to be written down versus typing what is said verbatim.

The article concludes by naming famous writers who to this day prefer to handwrite their novels, stories, or poetry prior to typing them up for print format. Quentin Tarantino even went so far as to say poetry should never be typed at all.

Handwriting is great for both the Writer and Recipient

There are many reasons why a handwritten note or letter is good for you but for now let’s look at 5 reasons why you should write and 9 reasons why once you start you shouldn’t stop writing.

According to American Stationery, the 5 most important benefits to writing are:

  • It really shows you care
  • You make memories that matter
  • You make your words count
  • It helps you become smarter and more creative
  • It reduces stress levels

If those aren’t enough reason for you to get into the habit of handwriting again (or even for the first time) let’s now look at the 9 reasons once you start you shouldn’t stop. You’ll soon see that the list to encourage you to write are quite like the list of whys to keep going. This list comes from an article on Huffpost and it delves into both the physical and mental benefits to keep you writing.

  • They create lasting memories
  • They show how much you care
  • They make you feel good
  • They make every word count
  • They spark creativity
  • They require your undivided attention
  • They require unplugging
  • They honor tradition
  • They’re timeless

 

If you do not believe some of these are true take a step back in time and read some of these timeless letters preserved (and yes typed for legibility/sharing) for the ages at Letters of Note.

Handwriting is making a Comeback

If you search on Amazon for “calligraphy” you’ll come up with over 10,000 search results. If you search Facebook for “Pen pals” you’ll come up with many pages and groups some with more than 13,000 members. Even Hollywood has gotten in on the handwriting craze in the past few years with movies such as “The Lakehouse” (Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock) and “Letters to Juliet” (Amanda Seyfried and Gael Garcia Bernal). Not to mention writing clubs forming around the world.

Yes Magazine gives us an inside look at one such writing club in LA. The writing club made its debut in 2015 and in addition to writing letters that are sent all over the world, the group cooks together, laughs together, and just has a great time socializing while practicing the age-old art of handwriting letters.

To love ourselves, is another writing club that has popped up recently. It is a non-profit letter project allowing women to writer to other women/girls from around the world who need a bit of extra encouragement.

Ready to start, or return, to writing? Be sure to check out this week’s specials on writing supplies from our store page independent living aids, LLC. While you’re there you can check out other items that can make your newfound hobby easier and more relaxing.

 

 

This post was written by Alicia Baucom