Atticus Finch told his daughter Scout in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” There is wisdom in that quote. Seeing life from someone else’s perspective is not easy, but what if it was simplified through technology? What if we could see through the eyes of someone else?
A GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, is a bitmap image format that was introduced in 1987 and has been easily adaptable to the Internet because of its wide support and portability. Clinic Compare, a company in the United Kingdom, has developed GIFs so that we can see through the eyes of someone with a visual impairment. This is quite helpful, given that 20.6 million Americans suffer from vision loss (Source: AFB).
There are four eye diseases that the GIF can replicate:
- Cataracts. A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye and accounts for 33 percent of all vision problems. Cataracts are usually associated with older age and can lead to blindness if left untreated. Common symptoms of cataracts include clouded vision, blurred vision, seeing glares, and seeing halos. The GIF that replicates cataracts will cloud and blur the vision and make colors seem muted or faded.
- Glaucoma. This family of eye diseases damages the optic nerve. Sufferers of glaucoma experience peripheral vision loss, which is irreparable and without cure. The glaucoma GIF blurs the outer areas of the visual field while the middle of the visual field remains clear.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This condition involves the loss of central vision. Instead of losing peripheral vision, AMD sufferers see a dark spot in the middle of their visual field, so the GIF helps to duplicate this phenomenon.
- Diabetic retinopathy. Diabetics can often develop diabetic retinopathy, which causes blood vessels in the retina to bleed. This can make the appearance of dark spots cover the visual field (Source: Metro).
It is easy to take our eyesight for granted. While it may not be top priority to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams, consider the alternative. Living with a chronic eye condition is life-altering and can take away independence and freedom. One simple annual eye exam could offer the prevention and early intervention that is needed to preserve your vision. Call your eye care professional today to schedule an eye examination so you can keep your vision clear and healthy.