By John Kavanagh
On December 6, 2023 Arthur Stampleman introduced Dr. Cynthia MacKay who spoke about cataracts – the number one cause of blindness in the world – and cataract extraction, which is the most common surgical procedure in medicine. She told the assembled group that if you live long enough, you will develop a cataract. By age seventy, everybody will have some degree of cataract, and more than half will have a cataract that is so dense they will no longer be able to read and drive.
Dr. MacKay explained what a cataract is, what causes cataracts, how you will know if you have a cataract, how you can prevent cataracts, how surgeons remove cataracts, and when it is time for you to schedule surgery. She showed a remarkable video of her performing a cataract surgery, using her preferred techniques and explained, in detail, the structure of the eye, with all its component parts. She gave advice on how to choose the power of the new plastic replacement lens and whether we should opt for an expensive “specialty” lens.
She described the symptoms that indicate the presence of a cataract: you can’t read road signs, you can’t follow a golf or tennis ball, you can’t read small print, you can’t recognize faces, you confuse blue, green, and grey, you see halos around lights, you see double out of one eye, you are bothered by glare; your vision gets worse in bright light, you experience increasing near-sightedness, and you need frequent changes in eyeglass prescription.
Dr. MacKay told us that to prevent cataracts, you need to avoid smoking and exposure to second hand smoke. Further, you should wear UV blocking sunglasses and a hat in bright sun, wear eye protection during sports, and if you are diabetic, you must control your blood pressure.
To see the full presentation, go to https://greenwichrma.org, cursor to “Speakers” and click on “Speaker Videos.”
The RMA’s upcoming presentation, “Why Our Brains Need Wildlands,” by Susan Masino, Ph.D., is scheduled for 11 AM on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2024. Protecting our brains and protecting nature are both vitally important for our long-term wellbeing. Professor Susan A. Masino will share how these two goals are mutually reinforcing, and how common-sense actions can benefit individual and collective health. The growing evidence for the brain health benefits of nature span across all age groups and levels of ability, and range among beneficial changes in brain activity, improved cognition and emotional regulation, and decreased depression and anxiety. The good news is these benefits do not require a wilderness trip – they can be achieved right here in our communities. In addition to practical information on brain health, the presentation will feature local data and implications of the recent regional report titled “Wildlands in New England: Past, Present, and Future” and will underscore how history, science, and fiscal responsibility can work together to inform public policies.
Susan A. Masino is the Vernon D. Roosa Professor of Applied Science at Trinity College, a member of the Science and Technology Working Group of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3), the Hartford County Coordinator for the Old Growth Forest Network, and recently a Charles Bullard Fellow in Forest Research at Harvard University. Her laboratory-based research focuses on mechanisms of brain health and disease, and her scholarship outside the lab focuses on nature and brain health, and the critical role of climate-regulating ecosystems.
To stream the presentation by Dr. Masino at 11 AM on Wednesday, January 3rd, click on https://bit.ly/30IBj21. This presentation will also be available on local public access TV channels, Verizon FIOS channel 24 and Optimum (Cablevision) channel 79.
Note: The views expressed in these presentations are those of the speakers. They are not intended to represent the views of the RMA or its members.
RMA speaker presentations are presented as a community service at no cost to in-person or Zoom attendees, regardless of gender. Any member of the public who would like to receive a weekly email announcement of future speakers should send a request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The RMA urges all eligible individuals to consider becoming a member of our great organization, and thereby enjoy all the available fellowship, volunteer, and community service opportunities which the RMA offers to its members. For further information, go to https://greenwichrma.org/, or contact email@example.com.