Monthly Archives: November 2011

Does Eating Carrots Improve Vision?

When you were a child, did your parents ever tell you to eat your carrots? Perhaps the answer you received when you asked “Why?” was “Well, have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses?

Carrots contain beta carotene which the liver turns into Vitamin A which in turn is absorbed by retinal cells (amongst others). However, intake of Vitamin A only improves the vision if there is a deficiency to begin with. No amount of carrots eaten by someone who already has a healthy diet will make any difference to their vision.

The myth comes from the difference between the words “improve” and “maintain”.

Click here for a list of the Top 10 Foods Containing beta carotene.

Vitamin A also plays an important role in bone growth, reproduction, cell division and cell differentiation. It should be noted that too much Vitamin A can pose serious health issues including such symptoms as blurred vision. It’s all about balance folks!

One only needs to type the letters “do carr” into Google and the thousands of search results that immediately appear tell us that it is a myth that is not going away anytime soon.

Now go eat your carrots!


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November is Diabetes Awareness Month

At Descriptive Video Works we take pride in not just making television and movies accessible to those suffering from vision impairment, but also in educating those with healthy vision as to how they can better protect themselves.

Diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss in North American adults aged 24-70 and this month is Diabetes Awareness Month.

There are two predominant forms of diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes results from the body’s failure to produce insulin and requires the person to inject insulin regularly. Type 2 Diabetes results from a resistance to insulin whereby cells in the body fail to use insulin correctly.

Diabetes can affect vision in a variety of ways but the two most common problems are Diabetic Retinopathy and Macular Edema. Diabetic Retinopathy is a disease which affects up to 80% of all patients who have suffered from Diabetes from more than 10yrs. Small blood vessels in the eyes are particularly vulnerable to poor blood sugar control and an over accumulation of glucose and/or fructose can damage the tiny blood vessels inside the retina.

Macula Edema occurs when fluid and protein deposits collect on or under the macula of the eye causing it to thicken and swell. It is this swelling that can cause a person’s vision to blur and distort.

Here some more numbers for you to digest:

14% of people with diabetes have diabetic macula edema. Prevalence increases to 29% for people with diabetes who use insulin for more than 20yrs.

25% of people with diabetic macular edema will develop moderate vision loss within 3yrs if left untreated.

40-65% is the annual rate for eye exams but this number varies wildly depending on the country. In North America we are lagging seriously so it doesn’t take much to imagine how serious this problem is for Third World nations.

Incredibly, research shows that up to 90% of vision loss cases resulting from diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macula edema could be reduced if there was significantly improved regular monitoring and treatment of the eyes. Even more startling are the prevalence figures of diagnosed and undiagnosed for ethnic minorities who are often in lower income groups and who lack access to medical services.

Be sure to do your part for Diabetes Awareness Month.

If you know anyone suffering from diabetes, please do encourage them to go for regular eye exams. Below are a few helpful links:

American Diabetes Association

American Foundation for the Blind – Diabetes & Vision Loss

Lighthouse International – Preventing Diabetes & Vision Loss

Also, check out this story from CTV about a new drug that could reverse diabetes-related vision loss.

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W5: “Confessions Of A Newshound”

Descriptive Video Works has been describing the CTV current affairs show W5 for many years. Given the nature of the stories featured on the show, the turnaround time is extremely tight – we often don’t receive the show until Friday night but have the descriptive script written, the audio description narrated and mixed and the show returned to CTV within hours in time for airing on Saturday evening.


This week’s episode of W5, Confessions of a Newshound, really caught our attention since one of the two stories featured focuses on CTV political correspondent Craig Oliver who suffers from the optic nerve disease Glaucoma. His interview subjects are blurry blobs to him and look in his words “like bad Monet paintings” but you would never know it from the degree of insight he brings to the stories he tells. He says he has learned to see the personality behind the words of the many political leaders he reports on.

Craig grew up in Prince Rupert, British Columbia and endured many hardships in his childhood years. A job at the local CBC radio station was all it took to set him on his path. Over the years Craig has witnessed and reported on many a news event and has rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest political names from Tommy Douglas and Pierre Trudeau to Ronald Reagan. Craig has been fighting Glaucoma for many years but he has not let his vision impairment stop him from either doing his job or from getting the most out of life.

Known for his novel insights and crackling sense of humour, Craig is as well known a fixture in Ottawa parliamentary circles as any past Canadian prime minister. Over a career spanning more than 50 years he has collected many a story but to find out about any of his crazy political tales from behind the scenes you’ll have to tune in to W5 or look out for his newly released memoir, Oliver’s Twist: The Life & Times of an Unapologetic Newshound. (available in bookstores or on Amazon here).

Check out W5 airing Saturday November 5, 2011 at 7pm coast to coast on CTV.

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