Siegfried and Roy’s white tiger dazzled us with its magic. Shamu, the famous killer white whale at Sea World dances upon the water to the amazement of crowds, and who can forget Benji or Lassie as childhood heroes. Have you ever explored the fascinating world of animal vision? Who wins the prize for the the most advanced visual species of the animal or insect kingdom? The results may surprise you.

We all agree that birds of prey (hawks, eagles, falcons etc.) have the best bionics hands down but have you ever considered the vision of the colossal squid, or the dragon fly, the ogre spider or mantis shrimp?

The colossal squid has an eye larger than any sea animal: it's the size of a basketball! The squid’s eyes and 3-D vision are so astute so that they can spy whales that would be predatory to them.

The dragon fly has incredible vision, better than any other insect. Take for instance the common house fly who has around 6,000 eye facets that give them an astounding panoramic view of the world. Amazingly, dragonflies have 5 times more eye facets than houseflys, giving them 30,000 units of panoramic viewing. With this skill, they can predict where their prey will be and get there before the other insect does, thus the dragon fly comes in as a leader of all insects in the "amazing vision contest“!

Consider the ogre spider next. The ogre spider, out of all other spiders has this unique feature: two large posterior facing eyes with six smaller eyes to see prey even in the dark. It's huge eyes have outstanding night vision, in fact, about 2000 times better than most spiders! This unique portrayal of night vision gives it the edge over many other species in hunting prey.

So how about the mantis shrimp? How can a shrimp have good eyesight you ask? They have the number one most complex visual system of any species known to man. Literally hi-definition vision! They have compound eyes with 16 photoreceptors (humans have 3) and they see all colors of the spectrum including UV and singular & circular polarized light.

This is like an electric 3-D light show on steroids! There is ongoing research on how they can see 3-D with only one eye and how they communicate visually.

Keys to researching different species vision may on day unlock mysteries into the human eye. Only the future will tell what nature may unlock for future vision breakthroughs.

Keep your eye on the tiger and other species for more vision breakthroughs in the future!

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What is Presbyopia? What is a Cataract? What about Macular Degeneration or Dermatochalasis? What do they mean and how do they affect my eye or the eyes of my loved ones? These are all characteristics of the aging process and they can all be treated, and in some cases prevented.

At some point around 35 years old, the lens of the eye, responsible for focusing, starts losing that ability. It catches up with us visually in our early 40s through the symptoms of losing ability to see fine print. It is why the reading glasses business is a multimillion dollar business! This condition is called Presbyopia (Latin for “old eyes”). Presbyopia is treated through a variety of ways: reading glasses, bifocal glasses and contact lenses, and surgery. Presbyopia cannot be prevented but in some cases Macular Degeneration can be.

Macular Degeneration affects the back surface of the eye called the retina. The central processing center of vision takes place there. Small deposits of lipid and protein (called Drusen) build up causing a loss of central vision. The early symptoms are a need for more light when reading, then wavy lines occur which should be straight, then finally blind spots or scotomas centrally. Macular degeneration can be treated if caught early with medication and laser treatment. A dilated eye examination with your eye care practitioner yearly can detect this early so that intervention can lead to prevention of blindness. Smoking, sun exposure, and high cholesterol are factors that exacerbate the condition. However, eating certain foods such as broccoli, kale, and green leafy vegetables can give you the lutein that is required to prevent this condition. Lutein and antioxidants can be prescribed in a vitamin.

Dermatochalasis is lid drooping that causes the eyelid to cover a portion of the eye. It affects peripheral vision and is the natural sagging caused by loss of collagen elasticity in the skin. An eye lid surgery can remove the extra tissue and restore normal visual function again to the eyelid, and in some cases make you look younger!

Cataracts can be present at any age, even newborns. The most typical cataracts are seen after age 60. A cataract is a natural hardening of the lens of the eye which causes symptoms of glare at night, a need for more light when reading, and fuzzy or blurry vision that won’t clear with new glasses. Cataracts can be treated with surgery that restores visual function by way of an implant. Newer techniques can even restore reading vision and turn back the clock on your eyes by 20 years or more. Cataracts can be slowed by taking vitamins, especially Vitamin C and antioxidants, wearing sunglasses, and smoking cessation.

It is important to understand the aging eye and all the treatments and preventative care that can be implemented to save one of the most precious gifts you have: your vision.

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