Special lenses help improve focus for screen work 89

Q: My sister just got new glasses for computer vision. What are these?

A: We are all spending so much time staring at screens — computers, tablets, and smartphones — that our vision is being affected.

Children are becoming more nearsighted more commonly, and adults are experiencing digital eye strain It seems our eyes are not designed to focus so closely for so long.

To slow this nearsighted progression in pediatrics, and to relieve eye strain in adults, we now prescribe special lenses to reduce the focusing effort required for those tasks These are available both in glasses and contacts.

Like a cousin of progressive bifocal glasses, these lenses do some of the focusing for you. These lenses look like regular single prescription glasses, but actually a range of powers built in to provide smooth clear vision from your smartphone out to about 30 feet. These are not meant for outdoor vision or driving. We often call them “office eyewear” or “computer glasses.” Here in Morgantown we often prescribe these designs for musicians as well!

The truth is that today the vision demands we are placing on our eyes cannot be solved with only one pair of glasses. Fortunately these special near vision lenses are easy to use and provide comfortable clear vision

Talk to your eye doctor if your work or life entails over four hours a day of digital device usage.

Dr. Thomas Stout, OD, FAAO, is an eye physician in private practice at Morgantown Eye Associates. Info: MorgantownEye.com.

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Summer means fun at camps 12

My favorite part of the year is approaching quickly and that is summer.

One wonderful thing that Monongalia and surrounding counties offer is summer 4-H camp. 4-H camp is open to any youth interested; you do not have to be a 4-H member. 4-H camp is a safe environment staffed by trained and vetted adult volunteers.

Participants at camp take classes like archery, tie-dye, and outdoor cooking. Youth also have the opportunity to swim, play sports and games, make crafts, and attend various assemblies. This year the theme at Monongalia County Younger and Older 4-H Camp is “4-H the Beautiful” and the events and activities throughout the week will be centered around patriotism.

The 4-H camp is not the only camp for area youth. Camps can be located through various other groups and organizations in Monongalia, Preston, Marion and Taylor counties.  Benefits of sending a child to camp are huge. Children who attend camps learn leadership skills, participate in character-building activities, and meet lifelong friends. Adults at camp serve as positive role models and work to teach the youth the importance of caring and fairness, which will hopefully follow youth throughout their lifetime.  Volunteers who serve as camp staff at Monongalia County 4-H camps take part in camp-related training sessions that focus on positive youth development.

I am a lifelong 4-H member and had the opportunity to attend 4-H camp in Preston County since the time I was 9. I had fun and made lifelong friends.

Monongalia County offers three week-long 4-H summer camps — all held at Camp Muffly. Younger 4-H camp will be June 10-14 and is open to youth currently in 3rd through 6th grade. Older 4-H camp will be July 8-12 and is open to youth currently in 8th grade through age 21. Current 7th graders choose between older and younger camps, but may not attend both.

The Monongalia County 4-H program also offers a four-day non-residential camp for youth currently in kindergarten through 2nd grade, which will be June 18-21. For more details or a registration form, visit https://extension.wvu.edu/monongalia/4h or call the WVU Monongalia County Extension Office at 304-291-7201 or e-mail Becca.Fint-Clark@mail.wvu.edu.

Camps fill up quickly. and forms are processed on a first come, first serve basis. If you are interested in attending 4-H camp in a different county, please contact your local WVU Extension Office.

Storms bring thunder and growth to our lives 13

Who loves the rain and loves his home,

And looks on life with quiet eyes,

Him will I follow through the storm,

And at his hearth-side keep me warm

— Frances Shaw

It’s raining. Again. Dark, gloomy clouds hiding the sun, drenching the earth. Rain falls, sometimes in dribbles that make a plopping sound on the puddles, sometimes in sheets resembling those shining icicles we hang on our Christmas tree.

For the last several days the sky has been entertaining us with such a variety of wetness pouring from gray clouds. When the mud is sticky syrup and the dog leaves dirty paw prints on every floor; when it’s impossible to stay dry outside even with an umbrella; when the constant gray skies remind us of unappetizing day-old porridge, then it’s hard work to remember this constant deluge has a purpose and an outcome we can appreciate. So it is with nature’s storms and so it is with the storms we encounter as we move through our lives.

We’ve waited through a long, freezing winter and a ridiculously cold, snowy March, on into April, and now, at last, our long wait seems to be almost over; rain instead of snow, mild temperatures instead of freezing cold. Before long we will be outside admiring the garden flowers, planting seeds and bringing home car-loads of perennials and vegetable plants from the various nurseries. Then will come summer, the season we wait for through the long winters. Then will come sparkling blue skies, flowers in abundance, fresh vegetables on the table. The children and grandchildren will visit more often. We’ll walk the woods’ paths, float down the river in kayaks, swim and play and live in sunshine. All this will be possible, will be doubly enjoyable because of the drenching, thundering storms of April. Without them there would be no summer.

The above poem by Frances Shaw goes on to say: “Nor hell, nor heaven shall that soul surprise, who loves the rain, and loves his home, and looks on life with quiet eyes.” I’ve never been able to read that poem without thinking of the murky gloom and the thunder of storms that enter our lives and how they affect us. We’ve all experienced these great, stormy upheavals. Most times they can cleanse the air and allow us to go on. Perhaps there are other times when the storm causes a landslide so huge, so terrible that everything we have is washed away in mud. When that happens is it still possible to “look on life with quiet eyes”? I wonder.

This much is sure: After the stormy spring season summer will come. It always has and, as long as our blue planet holds life, it always will. And so it is with our own storms. The trick is to be able to pull ourselves out of the mud and look up at a blue sky after the tempest is over, to know we’ve grown wiser and more insightful in the darkness of the storm; to realize these storms will come again and once again we will weather them.

Even the summer season to which we’ve looked forward for so long can have its down side. Much as we enjoy the bright, warm days, so are we bound by the unasked-for chores they bring. There’s grass to mow, gardens to weed and water. Summer evenings invite us to sit outside; mosquitoes and gnats send us back into the house. The good, the bad; the ugly, the beautiful. If we can deal with whatever the storms bring it all adds up to a full life.

How are clothes made? 75

How are clothes made?

Everyone wears clothes, hopefully.

Clothes help us show those around us what kind of person we are. Our clothes help other people draw judgments about us, for better or worse.

In the past, clothes were made from animal skin but, nowadays, we don’t really use that. Most of the clothes today are made from cotton. Mature cotton is harvested and placed in a machine that blows the balls from the cotton away and only leaves behind the fibers of the cotton. Placing it in a cotton gin removes the seeds. Back in the olden days, a spinning wheel was used with a foot pedal. The cotton was spun on this spinning wheel.

In the present, cotton is spun using electrical machines. The cotton must be carded before it can be placed on a loom. After it is placed on the loom, threads are used. Someone must be present because the electrical machines that are used need someone to be there so they can keep functioning. The cotton yarn is weaved into fabric, which in turn makes our clothes.