Back in the 1960s when mainframe computers filled entire rooms, the idea of sticking a computer in someone’s eye would likely have sounded ridiculous–but that’s just what scientists are planning to do. Researchers have unveiled an implantable computer system that’s meant to monitor glaucoma patients’ eye pressure.
The University of Michigan researchers say it’s officially the world’s smallest computer. Measuring less than 0.04 inches long (or a little over one cubic millimeter), the entire computer packs a lot into a little space: It has a pressure sensor, a low-power microprocessor, a wireless radio and antenna that sends information to an external device, a battery, and a solar cell to charge the battery. It can store information for up to a week, and the system can link with other devices to form networks of wireless sensors.
According to Live Science, millimeter-scale computers are a new technological frontier:
Shown pictures of other children and asked to pick birthday party attendees, six- to eight-year-olds did not care about gender or shirt color with any statistical significance. But they did care if a possible invitee had strabismus–a condition when a child’s eyes don’t line up while focusing, often resulting in crossed eyes or squinting. This heart-breaker brought to you by the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
The photographs included identical twins: children in four pairs of pictures looked the same, except for their digitally altered shirt colors and eyes. Given four chances to pick children with strabismus, 18 of 48 children did not select any child with the disorder. None picked the child with the eye disorder on all four opportunities.
The researchers say the study indicates that parents may want to consider corrective surgery before children with strabismus turn six–apparently the age when kids take a turn for the shallow.
Younger birthday boys and girls appear to care less about what their invitees eyes looked like: Of 31 children between the ages of four and six, the researchers found that 9 children picked kids with strabismus three or four times. Only one meanie didn’t pick any children with an eye disorder.
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In what sounds like a medical mystery suitable for Dr. House, doctors in Leeds couldn’t figure out why antibiotic treatment wasn’t working for a 29-year-old British man with a three week history of a red, watery, and light-sensitive eye. As the doctors soon discovered, this wasn’t your normal case of pink eye, according to the Los Angeles Times:
Once examined under high magnification lenses, hair-like projections were spotted at varying depths within the cornea. When these details were discussed with the patient, he immediately recalled an incident that had preceded the onset of his symptoms. 3 weeks earlier, he had been cleaning the glass tank of his pet, a Chilean Rose tarantula. While his attention was focused on a stubborn stain, he sensed movement in the terrarium. He turned his head and found that the tarantula, which was in close proximity, had released “a mist of hairs” which hit his eyes and face.
It’s hard to believe a blast of projectile hairs to his eyeball slipped the patient’s mind.
In hindsight, protective goggles would have been a good investment considering that Chilean Rose tarantulas are known to launch their barbed hairs at attackers in self-defense. The hairs were too tiny to be removed by microforceps, so the spider owner is left with taking steroid eye drops to clear up his symptoms.
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Is that an amoeba crawling on your eyeball? If you wear contact lenses, the answer is probably yes. Scientists testing contact lenses and lens cases found that more than 65 percent were infected with Acanthamoeba, a pathogenic amoeba. These bacteria-eating amoebae can cause extremely painful eye infections which may even lead to blindness.
Acanthamoeba is a common microbe found in soil and fresh water. It often makes its way into tap water and swimming pools, which is why rinsing out your contacts with tap water or wearing them while swimming increases your chances of infection. It also prefers warmer climates—including your eyeball.