I.O.O.F. California Visual Research Foundation, Inc.

 Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Grand Lodge of California Home SERVICES BIG EYE LAMPS FUNDS RESEARCH HELP US TO HELP EDUCATION SEARCHServices
 IOOF California Visual Research Foundation, Inc.
















Signature and Check writing guides:








The Odd Fellow and Rebekahs have purchased a large Bulletin Board which is portable. It is used at Health Fairs, public lectures, exhibits and screening for the Community.



Another need within the eye program is for volunteers for pre-school vision screening teams. There are many opportunities to expand on our community service obligations in this very rewarding way. Your Visual Research Secretary Emeritus was very active in this field for many years.


National Eye Institute
31 Center Drive MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD 20892-2510
(301) 496-5248  


Vision-Related Terms--Selected Online Sources
MEDLINEPlus-Online Dictionary
National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health

Eye Terminology Glossary
Triad Communications (Barbara Cassin, M.Ed., Melvin L. Rubin, M.D., editor)

Glossary of Ocular Terms
Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology of the Human Eye (Ted M. Montgomery, O.D.)

image of the eye
Talking to Your Doctor

Today, patients take an active role in their health care. You and your doctor will work in partnership to achieve your best possible level of health. An important part of this relationship is good communication. Here are some questions you can ask your doctor to get your discussion started:

About My Disease or Disorder...
bulletWhat is my diagnosis?
bulletWhat caused my condition?
bulletCan my condition be treated?
bulletHow will this condition affect my vision now and in the future?
bulletShould I watch for any particular symptoms and notify you if they occur?
bulletShould I make any lifestyle changes?
About My Treatment...
bulletWhat is the treatment for my condition?
bulletWhen will the treatment start, and how long will it last?
bulletWhat are the benefits of this treatment, and how successful is it?
bulletWhat are the risks and side effects associated with this treatment?
bulletAre there foods, drugs, or activities I should avoid while I'm on this treatment?
bulletIf my treatment includes taking a medication, what should I do if I miss a dose?
bulletAre other treatments available?
About My Tests...
bulletWhat kinds of tests will I have?
bulletWhat do you expect to find out from these tests?
bulletWhen will I know the results?
bulletDo I have to do anything special to prepare for any of the tests?
bulletDo these tests have any side effects or risks?
bulletWill I need more tests later?

Understanding your doctor's responses is essential to good communication. Here are a few more tips:

bulletIf you don't understand your doctor's responses, ask questions until you do understand.
bulletTake notes, or get a friend or family member to take notes for you. Or, bring a tape-recorder to assist in your recollection of the discussion.
bulletAsk your doctor to write down his or her instructions to you.
bulletAsk your doctor for printed material about your condition.
bulletIf you still have trouble understanding your doctor's answers, ask where you can go for more information.
bulletOther members of your health care team, such as nurses and pharmacists, can be good sources of information. Talk to them, too.
Diseases and Disorders
bulletAge-Related Macular Degeneration
bullet Are You at Risk for Age-Related Macular Degeneration?
bullet Facts About Age-Related Macular DegenerationNew!
bulletResults--Age-Related Eye Disease Study
bullet Amblyopia Resource Guide
bulletAnophthalmia and Microphthalmia
bulletAnophthalmia and Microphthalmia Resource Guide
bulletBehçet's Disease of the Eye
bulletBehçet's Disease of the Eye Resource Guide
bulletBietti's Crystalline Dystrophy
bulletBietti's Crystalline Dystrophy Resource Guide
bullet Blepharitis Resource Guide
bullet Blepharospasm Resource Guide
bullet Are You at Risk for Cataract?
bullet Facts About CataractNew!
bulletCorneal Disease
bullet Facts About the Cornea and Corneal Disease
bulletDiabetic Eye Disease
bulletAre You at Risk for Diabetic Eye Disease?
bullet Facts About Diabetic RetinopathyNew!
bulletDiabetic Eye Disease: How Much Do You Know? Take this quiz and find out
Diabetic Eye Disease: How Much Do You Know? (PDF* file)
bulletDiabetes: Think of all the beautiful things you wouldn’t see if you lost your sight
bulletFacts About FloatersNew!
bullet Are You at Risk for Glaucoma?
bullet Facts About GlaucomaNew!
bullet Glaucoma: How Much Do You Know? Take this quiz and find out
Glaucoma: How Much Do You Know? (PDF* file)
bullet Library of Congress Mid-Day Lecture: Dr. Eve Higginbotham Discusses Glaucoma (cybercast)
bullet Histoplasmosis Resource Guide
bulletLow Vision
bulletLow Vision: Help Is Available
bullet Do You Have Low Vision? Take this quiz and find out
bulletWhat You Should Know About Low Vision
bulletMacular Hole
bullet Macular Hole Resource Guide
bulletMacular Pucker
bulletMacular Pucker Resource Guide
bulletRetinal Detachment
bullet Retinal Detachment Resource GuideNew!
bulletRetinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)
bulletRetinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) Resource Guide
bulletUsher Syndrome
bulletUsher Syndrome Resource Guide
bulletVitreous Detachment
bulletFacts About Vitreous DetachmentNew!

The eye is a complex optical system - very similar to a camera. Vision begins when light enters the eye through the cornea, a powerful focusing surface. From there, it travels through clear aqueous fluid, and passes through a small aperture called the pupil. As muscles in the iris relax or constrict, the pupil changes size to adjust the amount of light entering the eye. Light rays are focused through the lens, and proceed through a clear jelly-like substance in the center of the eye called vitreous, which gives it form and shape. When light rays finally land on the retina, the part of the eye similar to film in a camera, they form an upside-down image. The retina converts the image into an electrical impulse that travels along the optic nerve to the brain, where it is interpreted as an upright image.



A cataract is an opacity or cloudiness in the natural lens of the eye. It is still the leading cause of blindness worldwide and represents an important cause of visual impairment in the United States. The development of cataracts in the adult is related to aging, sunlight exposure, smoking, poor nutrition, eye trauma, systemic diseases, and certain medications such as steroids. A single study has suggested that use of oral vitamin C may help delay the progression of cataracts. 

Just as a smudged or dirty camera lens may spoil a photograph, opacity in the natural lens of the eye can result in a blurred image. Patients with cataracts usually complain of blurred vision either at distance, near, or both. This may interfere with tasks such as driving or reading. Other common complaints include glare, halos, and dimness of color vision. 

A diagnosis of cataract can only be made by a thorough eye examination including slit lamp (microscopic) evaluation. Other devices are sometimes used to determine if glare interferes with vision. If cataract surgery is being considered, an ophthalmologist will also examine the posterior aspect of the eye, which will include evaluation of the retina and optic nerve. If a cataract is mature (extremely dense) or hypermature (white), an ultrasound device known as a B-scan may be used to rule-out retinal detachment and ocular tumors prior to proceeding with cataract surgery. 

The progression of cataracts is highly variable, however, they will invariably worsen in severity. Changing glasses may sometimes be useful in improving vision as the cataract progresses, since cataracts may induce relative nearsightedness. This is the answer as to why some patients with hyperopia (farsightedness) will actually have better vision without glasses in the early stages of cataract development. For most patients, however, changing glasses has minimal impact on overall visual quality. Besides changing glasses, the only other option for treatment of cataracts is cataract surgery. 

The decision for cataract surgery is reached only between the EyeMD and the patient. In general, this decision is based on the degree to which the patient's vision is impaired, and the impact that impairment has on his or her quality of life. When a patient is significantly bothered by symptoms of cataract, cataract surgery is usually offered. Many patients will ask if a cataract must be "ripe" before surgery. The answer with today's technology is "no." Before the development of small incision cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants, outcomes with cataract surgery were far inferior to outcomes today. Therefore, ophthalmologists would typically wait until a cataract was very advanced before offering surgery. Today, with advanced surgical techniques and equipment, cataract surgery can be offered at a much earlier stage. In fact, many ophthalmologists will agree that it is safer to proceed with cataract surgery at an earlier stage of development rather than waiting until the cataract is advanced and very dense.


How You See


The eye functions like a camera. Light rays enter the eye through the cornea (the clear front window), pass through the pupil (the hole in the center of the iris), and then through the lens, finally reaching the retina (the film) at the back of the eye. When light rays land on the retina, they form an upside-down image. The retina converts the image into impulses that travel through the optic nerve to the brain, which converts them into upright visual images.  

Vision is clear only if the cornea and lens correctly bend or "refract" the light rays and focus them on the retina. Blurry vision may be due to what is called a "refractive error" --- the failure of the cornea and lens to focus light properly. Prescription eye glasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery correct or improve refractive errors by focusing light rays closer to, or directly onto, the retina.

More than 90 percent of our knowledge is obtained through our eyes making vision the most valued of the five senses. However, millions of people suffer from diseases, disorders or injuries to the eye. The following section contains information about many eye diseases, vision disorders, and the exceptional services provided by the physicians and scientists of Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.

Eye Protection

Regular eye examinations should provide the basis for maintaining proper eye health as many eye diseases and disorders have no symptoms or early warning signs. However problems or injuries can occur suddenly and unexpectedly.

bulletAlmost all eye injuries can be prevented. Many sports and recreational activities, including tennis, baseball, basketball and racquetball, carry some risk of eye injury. Activities at home such as cooking and gardening, also may present eye injury risk. Use protective eyewear when participating in sports, using chemical cleaners or doing heavy yard work.
bulletDo not look into a closed container of hot food (especially liquids) immediately after removal from a microwave oven as steam can burn the eyes.
bulletDo not use eye medication prescribed for someone else.
bulletDo not use another person's eye make-up and do not apply make-up in a moving vehicle.
bulletWhen removing a cork from a bottle, wrap the cork in a towel and direct the bottle away from your face and away from others.
bulletTo minimize eyestrain associated with extensive computer monitor use: blink frequently; change your body, head and eye position often; place reference material as close to the screen as practical to reduce head and eye movements; and minimize glare and reflections from office lighting.
bulletBe aware of cigarettes or cigars in your hand when around children.
bulletKeep chemicals, spray cans, adhesives, scissors, knives, forks, keys, pens and pencils away from young children.

If you experience an eye injury, sudden pain, loss of sight, flashing lights, an increase in floaters or other changes in your vision, visit your eye care professional immediately.



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Last modified: October 25, 2006