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Month: July 2016

Cutting Edge Eye-dentification

We have all seen the futuristic thrillers that use high-tech eye scanning identification systems but nowadays the technology does exist to use them in real life. A greater number of high security establishments have begun to use iris recognition for identification and security systems.

How does it work?

The iris is the colored part of the eye that forms a ring around the black pupil that is responsible for contractions of the pupil to let in more or less light. It is also the only internal organ that is visible from outside the body. Like a fingerprint, the colors and patterns of the iris are completely unique to each individual, and this unique texture usually doesn’t change throughout a person’s lifetime. Because of these characteristics a scan of the iris is a highly reliable source of personal identification.

Iris recognition measures these unique patterns and textures through a specialized camera which captures an image of the iris from about 3-10 inches away. Iris recognition is considered one of the most accurate forms of biometrics (the use of body measurements for identity checks) because it is non-intrusive, fast and accurate. As a comparison, while fingerprint identification uses 40 unique characteristics, the iris has 256 unique markers.

In order for iris recognition to work, your iris first needs to be scanned and enrolled into the system so it can recognize your identity. Enrollment requires your eyes to be photographed using both ordinary and infrared light which helps to highlight the unique patterns present in the iris. These digital photographs then go through a specialized analysis that identifies the unique features (the 256 markers mentioned above) and then stores the information as a 512-digit number (your IrisCode®) along with your name and personal details into a database. This all happens within a few minutes.

Once you are in the system, you simply need to stand in front of the iris scanner and within minutes your iris can be verified.

Limitations of Iris Scanning

The markers on your iris usually remain unchanged throughout your lifetime except in cases of extreme injury to the eye, inflammation (such as iritis) or changes due to cancers. Additionally, certain surgeries for glaucoma involve removing part of the iris (iridectomy) or using lasers to put holes in the iris (iridotomy) which would also change the iris pattern. Lastly, certain tinted contact lenses could be a complication with iris scans because some of them have an artificial iris pattern imprinted on them. Nevertheless, iris scanning is still considered to be the most accurate and effective form of biometric identification.


Iris scanning is already being used in airports, military and prison institutions, high security government and corporate institutions and even at ATM and bank tellers. Looking into the future, it is likely we will see much more of this technology in common use.

Is It Too Soon to Have My Preschooler’s Eyes Checked?

by Caroline Cauchi, OD

Any reputable eye doctor will tell you that it is never too early to have your child’s eyes checked. In fact, most eye doctors suggest that once your child turns one, they should begin seeing an eye doctor every year or so to make sure that their eyes are developing correctly.

Eye Exam Milestones

A good way to remember how often to have your child’s vision checked is to link it to different school ages. This way, children are seen and have an eye exam in the La Mesa area at recommended intervals.


Your child should have their first full eye exam around the age of 3 ½. This exam will be able to determine if they are seeing correctly. Should your optometrist find that your child needs eyeglasses, they will be ready to enter the world of learning seeing more clearly and learning more easily.


Both eye alignment and vision are typically checked by your eye doctor once your child turns 5. This exam is often supplemented by yearly vision screenings that are done at school as well.

Elementary School Children

If your child needs prescription eyeglasses, he or she should see an eye doctor each year to ensure that the glasses are still working as well as possible. Unfortunately, the most common type of eye problem in children, myopia, tends to get a little bit worse each year necessitating a stronger pair of lenses.

Jr. High and High Schoolers

Worry about appearance often causes Jr. high and high schoolers to “forget” to wear their glasses to school. If you have noticed that they do not seem to be wearing them willingly, it might be time to talk to your La Mesa, CA area optometrist about contact lenses. Teens who can see more clearly tend to do better in most academic areas, so help them make the jump to contacts.

Being proactive about your child’s vision will help to ensure that they are seeing correctly and that their eyes are healthy. It is often a contributing factor to how well they are able to focus and lean, so take the time to have regular eye exams.

Innovations in Color Blindness

There have been a lot of videos going viral lately of color blind people “seeing color” for the first time using specialized glasses. The emotional reactions of amazement, shock and joy even lead some to break down into tears. The glasses provide these individuals a way to view the world in vibrant, living color, as everyone else around them is able to.

One in every 12 men and one in every 200 women have some degree of color blindness or color vision deficiency (CVD). The condition is not actual blindness, but an inability or a decreased ability to see color and perceive differences in color. CVD can be a partial or total deficiency, although total color blindness is not as common. There are two main types of color blindness:

  • red-green – which is most often inherited from the mother’s side on the x chromosome, and

  • blue-yellow – which is much more rare and usually occurs from damage to the nerve. CVD can sometimes be acquired through disease, brain injury or certain drugs or chemical reactions

The World of the Color Blind

Contrary to common misconceptions, a person who is color blind does not see only grey. He still usually sees color to some extent, but often the colors appear dull or washed out and can be easily confused with other colors. People often have trouble identifying or naming certain colors or distinguishing colors, for example, red and green, as well as orange, yellow and brown may appear similar, particular in low light situations. In fact, while people with normal color vision typically see about one million unique shades of color, individuals with color deficiency are only able to perceive 5-10% of that.

People with color deficiency often do not know they are color blind until they are tested. They assume everyone else perceives colors the same way. Often individuals are tested when they are seeking out certain career paths in which it is essential to distinguish colors such as pilots, electricians or police officers among others.

Innovations in Color Vision

Color blindness can impair certain aspects of daily life and limit certain activities or job options and therefore there are a number of companies out there working on technology to overcome these difficulties. While there is no cure for CVD, there are aids available that can sometimes assist with increased color perception.


There are a couple of brands of color enhancing glasses available that help some individuals with red-green colorblindness.

Both EnChroma and o2Amp Oxy-Iso Color Correction Glasses work for about 80% of people with red-green colorblindness – which means that not everyone will have the same experience as those that appear in the videos. The lenses enhance color perception by filtering out the light into different spectral components. EnChroma has two versions – indoor, designed for looking at computer screens and outdoor, sunglasses.

Another solution is a custom designed ColorCorrection System in which contact lenses and glasses are customized for the individual and are available with or without a prescription. These lenses work by changing the wavelength of the colors as they enter the eye to enhance color discrimination and perception.

Apps for CVD

There are a growing number of apps available for smartphones and tablets that serve as color vision aids for those with CVD. One example is the Colorblind Avenger which is a color identification program will allows the person to use their mobile device as a visual aid. The user takes a photo or selects an existing photo and when he touches an area on the image the app displays the color of the selected area.

Huevue is another app of colorblind tools that help people with CVD identify, match and coordinate colors. There are many other apps available out there to help aid those with CVD and educate others about living with the condition.

There are even video games and software design tools that are now created with colorblind modes to allow use by people with CVD. While none of these tools and aids are able to restore color vision permanently, they do allow those with the condition to live a more vibrant life.

Signs of Glaucoma

by Jamie Peters


Glaucoma. Detailed anatomy of Glaucoma eye disorder on a white background.

The idea of possibly having Glaucoma is quite scary. What is scarier than not knowing is finding out too late.

What is Glaucoma? Glaucoma is essentially the damage to the optic nerve caused by the pressure of your eye rising to abnormally dangerous levels.

Types of Glaucoma? Open-angle glaucoma and acute-angle closure glaucoma.

Effects of Glaucoma? Glaucoma will result in blindness if left untreated. Anyone at any age can be affected by glaucoma but is found most frequently in older adults.

Signs of Glaucoma? The issue with Glaucoma is there usually are no warning signs. The effects are gradual and usually undetected until is at its advanced stage which is why it is so important to get regular eye exams. When recognized early you will be able to slow down, halt or even prevent Glaucoma. Sign to look for are:

Open-angle glaucoma

  • In both eyes – patchy blind spots in your side (peripheral) or central vision
  • In the advanced stages – tunnel vision

Acute angle-closure glaucoma

  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Eye pain
  • Severe headache
  • Eye redness
  • Halos around lights

Schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor in La Mesa, CA for early detection and treatment of glaucoma.