blood

Microwave oven cataracts

Microwave oven cataracts

I really wanted to write a post about microwave ovens and the very cool sparks that result from some metals that might accidently have found their way into the microwave. I think I have a lot to write about (or at least further study by me) when it comes to microwave ovens though. After reading a couple of websites and watching some fun videos I saw that microwave energy can affect the lens in our eye. I had no idea.

The lens in our eye, that many of my patients think is the outer clear part of the eye (that’s called the cornea), has no blood supply. And the cornea doesn’t either, incidently. Microwave energy, if powerful enough, could heat up the lens. The theory this could cause damage is because there’s no blood flow in the lens. If there were, ¬†blood could carry the heat away. Amazing that neither our lens nor our cornea have a blood supply.

But what are the chances of getting a cataract from a microwave oven’s radiation? I don’t know and I couldn’t find too much about the “incidence” but it boils down to this. If your microwave was dropped or somehow bent, there could be leaking microwaves coming out. I suppose leaking microwaves wouldn’t be that big of a problem unless you put your eye right in front of that leaking spot. But, no sense is putting your eye right in front of it either way unless you’re just checking your hot pockets.

Now how are you going to tell if your microwave leaks! Have I got a funny one for you. And this makes sense. The microwave energy is about the same frequency as our wireless networks wavelength at home. That’s around 2.4GHz (yeah, I know, there are other wireless frequencies too). Unplug your microwave, put your wirelessly connected laptop in your microwave with the door closed. If you can access your laptop through some sort of remote program on another computer, or just ping your laptop successfully, you have a leak. The wireless signal went through to the inside of the microwave oven. But that’s not the only way! I’ll just give you a link below to read other interesting ways.

I think the bottom line is this is all highly unlikely to happen…cataracts from microwave ovens…goes to show you that the everyday stuff has potential for harm though. And now I’ll go try one of those experiments I found you can do using a microwave oven. To my kids, don’t do this when daddy isn’t here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microwave_burn

http://www.wikihow.com/Check-a-Microwave-for-Leaks

microwave oven diagram

microwave oven diagram

electromagnetic spectrum

 

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Blonde fundus

Blonde fundus

I can’t figure out why this phrase even occurred….blonde fundus. I was looking up some other eye things this morning and where the words originated, like Greek or Latin derivations, and wanted to write about this one condition called amaurosis fugax but decided it’s just a bad problem that needed too much of my brain power. So I decided to look up some other things and settled on how we doctors might describe how a retina looks. Usually I just tell a patient that the back of their eye (their retina) was normal and healthy. But for some reason I was taught a special way to describe the appearance of a patient’s retina…probably because I should know that the variations in the appearance of a human retina can vary significantly. So to simply explain what a blonde fundus is, check the color of your hair. If it’s naturally blonde, or long ago it was :), then your retina probably is blonde. But the retina is not really blonde. It just has less pigment in it like your hair. I wish I could say for sure if the two were related to specific genes and I’d bet so.

There are some different layer structures in the retina where you find certain types of cells. You know, rods and cones and stuff. Well there’s a couple of other layers back there called the choroid (pronounced core-oid) and retinal pigment epithelium. I don’t know why there’s epithelium deep in the eye. I always thought epithelium was my skin. Maybe schools teach what our outer skin cells are called first and that just made me not understand what epithelium really is. Whatever the reason, these retinal layers in the eye contain melanin. A smaller amount of melanin means the retina looks redder. Look at the pictures I included below. And yep, in case you wondered, those pictures of red eyes from photographs are showing you, generally, who has the blonde fundus (or plural – fundi). The angle of light has to be just right though to get that red eye effect. Since the red eyes in pictures, or more specifically, the red pupils are the result of the redder color in the retina (red comes from blood) we see this effect reflecting from the camera flash back out of the eye.

Anyway, if your doctor says you have a blonde fundus you’re ok. But if the doctor doesn’t say it, you’re still ok. It’s just something we learned in school so we can call your retina names! Here’s one more name, tigroid fundus. You’re ok if you have that too! Oh, the word fundus is used to describe the bottom or end part of an organ so it’s not just an eye word. Maybe instead of saying bottoms up when we finish our bottled beer we could say fundus up?

blonde fundus

blonde fundus

dark fundus
dark fundus

tigroid fundus
tigroid fundus