Friday, June 21, 2013

Patagonia's Plant-Based Wetsuit

Interesting new technology to keep your "eye" on  . . .

The technology behind the eco-pioneering company's prolific green innovation

by Hans Aschim in Tech on 20 June 2013

With a committed mission to reducing their environmental impact, Patagonia has partnered with eco-friendly biomaterial firm Yulex to create the first plant-based wetsuit material. "Performance, natural rubber has not been used in wetsuits, ever," says Patagonia's director of surf projects Jason McCaffrey, adding, "the manufacturing process is almost entirely green." The natural rubber is made from organic matter derived from the little-known Guayule plant, which grows in dry, arid environments and produces terpene resins that act as a natural pesticide. Requiring few resources and rendered inedible, a rise in the plant's demand will not adversely impact food equity, as can be the case with some biofuels.
Once the Guayule plant has been harvested, it is mixed with water as a solvent for extracting rubber. "Traditional rubber plants and synthetic rubber production both use environmentally harmful solvents and create a vast amount of non-biodegradable byproducts," McCaffrey says. Yulex's Guayule-based rubber production creates only organic byproducts and uses only water solvents. As the plant pulp is mixed with water, the sap rises which becomes the rubber and, eventually, your new wetsuit. "The suits themselves are also biodegradable," McCaffrey says.
Patagonia has spent several years developing the technology, but they don't plan on keeping it to themselves for long. "There's no point—from an ecological perspective—to develop this technology and be the only ones in the industry using it," McCaffrey explains. Patagonia will share the Yulex wetsuit technology with all of the major wetsuit manufacturers in hopes of having the greatest environmental impact. "Eventually we want every suit from every company to be Yulex, but that's a ways off," says McCaffrey. Educating producers and customers about the traditional wetsuit production process is the first step in changing people's minds, McCaffrey says. For Yulex, their collaboration with Patagonia is just the beginning. "Yulex’s Guayule-based biomaterials can replace petroleum-based synthetic materials," says Yulex CEO Jeff Martin of his company's plan to expand into various consumer and industrial products—further illustrating the far-reaching possibilities for the new technology.
In addition to being far more sustainable than traditional wetsuits, the plant-based suits perform the same in terms of warmth, flexibility and durability as their petroleum and limestone-based counterparts. "We've given wetsuits to a few friends to test without telling them it's made from plants," McCaffrey says, "the only difference they notice is the smell." The Guayule-based suits naturally have a eucalyptus-like scent, a welcome change from traditional neoprene's peculiar chemical smell.
Keep an eye on Patagonia's wetsuit line as they integrate a Yulex blend into select suits this fall. Custom-made full-blend Yulex suits will be available from select flagship Patagonia surf stores in the coming months. In the meantime, enjoy today's holiday as International Surfing Day.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

How Do We Treat Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is an optical or focusing problem caused when one or more parts of the eye are shaped like a football instead of a basketball. This causes a situation where TWO points of focus are created inside the eye, and sometimes neither of those points is focused right on the retina (the part of the eye that "sees"). This makes your vision blurry.

We can correct astigmatism in several different ways. Let's introduce them today. Of course, the easiest way to correct astigmatism is to wear a pair of glasses. Your prescription will not only correct for SPHERE (nearsightedness or farsightedness), but also for CYLINDER (your astigmatism). For all but the most extreme cases of astigmatism a pair of glasses might be all you need.

There are two types on contact lenes that will correct your astigmatism, both soft (toric) and hard (gas permeable). Soft Toric contact lenses from companies like Bausch & Lomb and Acuvue are much better now than in years past, giving good vision and lots of comfort. Many people still see better with glasses but strongly prefer their contacts because of the freedom they have with the contacts.

We can also treat your astigmatism with Laser Vision Corrections like LASIK where we literally put the correction right on the surface of your eye. There are also new implants called Toric IOL's that can correct astigmatism if you have cataracts. We'll talk about these two things in detail another time.

So if you live in the Cleveland area and you have ASTIGMATISM, call Skyvision Centers in Westlake so that you can see how you can See What's Next(R)!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Scientific Finding: Bright Light Causes Baldness!

At SkyVision Centers we are always looking for cutting edge medical advances. We are especially interested in new theories to explain the things that happen to us as we get older. One of our patients recently explained the cause of baldness to Dr. White.

"Don't shine that light inside my eyes too long Doc! Bright lights cause baldness. All that extra light has no place else to go so it just bangs around the inside of your head. Eventually it just fries your hair from the inside and your hair just falls out! Just look at me!"

Well, there you have it! And all these years we thought men inherited their baldness from their grandfathers. You just never know what you can learn when you go to the eye doctor's office!

Friday, June 7, 2013


It has become quite trendy to knock the pharmaceutical industry.  Everyone from the President of the United States to individual patients seem to have nothing but complaints about pharmaceutical companies and things like the cost of medicine, how much executives make, and how much profit there is in the pharmaceutical industry.  However, few people realize how often pharmaceutical companies give away their medicines, especially in the undeveloped world. 

Parasites are a scourge in the developing world.  Onchocerciasis was once responsible for blinding literally hundreds of thousands of people every year.  Elephantiasis caused gross thickening of the lower extremities, especially the legs, which resulted in chronic, unstoppable pain in the victims.  Both of these diseases are caused by a parasite called microfilaria.

The giant pharmaceutical company Merck makes a medicine called Ivermectin which was developed for other reasons, but works very well against microfilaria.  The people who are affected by onchocerciasis and elephantiasis were not able to afford this medicine, and their governments were either unable or unwilling to buy it for them.  So Roy Vagelos, at the time the CEO of Merck, decided that Merck would provide the drug free to the poor people who needed it.  Today, an incredible 200 million people on our planet, roughly 3% of the world’s population, take Ivermectin for free every year!

Did you know this wonderful story?  With all of the complaints about the makers of medicine it is highly likely that you didn’t. 

This is hardly the only example of drug companies giving away expensive medicine for free to the poor undeveloped countries.  For example, the manufacturer of azithromycin provides millions of doses of this antibiotic to poor Africans who are either afflicted with or at risk for trachoma, another potentially blinding medical problem. 

We at Skyvision would like to congratulate Dr. Vagelos and other executives like him who have done, and continue to do the right thing.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Unique Images to Remember

Every now and again we like to post some extraordinary images to remind all of us how wonderful it is to see! To have healthy eyes that allow us to enjoy our surroundings. At Skyvision we take pride in being Cleveland's first and foremost patient-centered eyecare center, working our hardest each and every day to bring you the very best vision you could possibly have!

Clark Little is a professional photographer who jumped into the ocean in Hawaii one day and came out with some of the most beautiful and unique ocean photos anyone has ever seen. Imagine seeing a wave from the viewpoint of Dorie from "Finding Nemo" (thanks to Barb for remembering the movie!).

Dr. White received these photos as remembrance of his 50th birthday trip to learn how to surf with his youngest son, Randy. We are here to help you see so that you, too, can enjoy beauty like this. Whether it's LASIK, or cataract surgery with a Lifestyle Lens Implant, or just the very best pair of glasses or contacts you could possible have, if you live in or around Cleveland we are ready to help you See What's Next (R)"!!