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Followup: Ultraviolet Vision After Cataract Surgery 311

xmas2003 writes "Several months ago, I posted to Slashdot about being able to see ultraviolet light after cataract surgery. While a lot of the discussion whimsically discussed the best way for 'Captain UV' or 'UltraMan' to use this 'super-power,' there were some people who were skeptical or (incorrectly) said this is Tetrachromatic vision. I've subsequently done more testing using an Oriel Instruments MS257 Monochromator and was able to see color down to 350nm — below the usual ~400nm limit of the visual spectrum. It's also easily demonstrable with a pair of 400nm and 365nm UV flashlights. Some readers who also have UV vision commented this can be quite annoying at black-lit Disney Rides, Halloween Haunted Houses, etc. Fortunately for me, it's just an interesting oddity so far. Along those lines, some interesting related stories about using UV vision during World War II and Star Gazing. Finally, many/most people end up getting vision debilitating cataracts, so my experience having a Crystalens implanted after cataract surgery may be informative."
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Followup: Ultraviolet Vision After Cataract Surgery

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  • Come back... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Brannoncyll ( 894648 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @12:39PM (#39033985)

    ...when you have X-ray vision!

    Seriously though, as someone who has a hearing range beyond the standard I sympathise with people forced to endure irritating stimuli that noone else notices and hence cares about. I remember having to leave a bar once because the tube was going on their old television; the high pitched screech was like nails down a blackboard. My girlfriend thought I was mad.

  • by pz ( 113803 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @01:01PM (#39034313) Journal

    Moreover, any plastic or (especially) glass lens you wear in a pair of frames will filter some-to-most of the UV even if the lens isn't specifically marketed to do that. Regular old glass filters out about 80% of UV. For polycarbonate (a/k/a CR-39, the standard eyeglass lens material), blocks nearly all of UVC, most of UVB, but passes much of UVA (blocks about 60%). Polycarbonate is often coated or treated with a UV-opaque dye for lenses that are marketed as UV-blocking.

    Normally, the anterior anatomy of the eye, including the crystalline lens, blocks most of UVA, so having an artificial lens implanted and then not wearing glasses would make one sensitive to UVA, and possibly UVB. Given that it would be stimulating the S (short wavelength) pigments, it probably would look intensely blue, but I'd have to check the spectra of the L (long) and M (medium) pigments to be certain ... might just appear whiteish.

  • Re:Cool (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcavic ( 2007672 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @01:08PM (#39034381)


    Be nice. In The World's Not Enough, Bond's x-ray glasses were blue, not red.

  • by dohnut ( 189348 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @01:09PM (#39034409)

    UV light and even blue light are damaging to the retina and UV light is a major contributor to cataract formation. The replacement lens you get after surgery may not block UV light at all (currently some replacement lenses do offer UV & blue light protection).

    Cataract surgery patients are advised to avoid blue light therapy products and, obviously, direct sources of UV radiation. Of course, protecting your eyes from UV radiation is generally a good idea for everyone.

    As someone who has a has a Grandfather with AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and I myself have, according to a genetic test, factors that make it more likely that I too will experience AMD, I try to protect my eyes as much as possible from both UV and blue light.

  • Re:Cool (Score:3, Informative)

    by fuzzfuzz ( 881119 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @01:20PM (#39034539)

    "the inability or decreased ability to see color, or perceive color differences, under lighting conditions when color vision is not normally impaired", since now he perceives some black colors as violet.

    Not quite. Black is not a color.

  • by WeirdAlchemy ( 2530168 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @02:38PM (#39035507)
    I don't think that's the Haidinger's brush effect -- I believe what you are seeing in the car window is the variability in birefringence from the strain pattern caused by the process of toughening the glass. []. From the article:

    The strain pattern resulting from tempering can be observed with polarized light or by using a pair of polarizing sun glasses.
  • Re:Cool (Score:4, Informative)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Tuesday February 14, 2012 @03:47PM (#39036577) Homepage Journal

    You're seeing it because it successfully passes through the artificial lens where previously it was either reflected, diffused, or absorbed by your body's natural lens.

    If the natural lens absorbed or reflected the UV, this means that your retina is receiving significantly more UV with the artificial lens.

    If the natural lens merely diffused the UV (which seems somewhat unlikely), then your retina is probably getting more UV than it did before (because some of it would have hit other parts of the eye), and is also getting more intense UV in certain spots than it did before, but less intense UV in other spots. IIRC, a shorter exposure time increases the risk of cancer even if the total exposure is the same.

    Either way, it's not good.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"