Saturday, October 22, 2011

Latest page

Here is yet another new page for the graphic memoir of my Parkinson's experience. I am completing about one page per day. Each page is a series of choices, from what blog posts will work in the comics format to what angle to view the scene from. Other decisions involve how to break up the text into visual moments that lead naturally from one to the next. Then there is the matter of formatting and editing, both for the way the story flows and the nuts and bolts matters such as spelling. Should you notice something amiss, dear reader, do not hesitate to alert me via a comment.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Parkinson's Disease and Eyesight, Notes from a Recent Telehealth Presentation

This is a tidied-up version of my notes from a Telehealth Session presented by Dr. Heavin Maier an Optometrist in Spokane. This was one of the more valuable of the telehealth sessions I have attended. There was a great deal of info that was news to me. I have tried to relay as much as I could here, but there are gaps when my attention wandered momentarily. I recommend that you visit their website to obtain a copy of the lecture on DVD or view it if and when they post it with their other on-line videos. Thanks to Dr. Maier for a comprehensive, well-organized and informative session. General vision principles We need to maximize vision as long as possible Vision is one of two main senses that orient us in space, the other is proprioception. As balance and other orienting mechanisms fail, vision can help compensate. Vision can help override cuing problems. For example tile grids or tape lines on floors that can help people unfreeze and walk normally when they see them.
Parts of the eye Sclera: Tear film is compromised by age, some meds, and reduced blink rate. Normal blink rate 12x per minute. Some people with PD blink as few as 1x per min. This will lead to dry eye. Cornea: dry eye will cause chronic breakdown of the cornea. Sensitivity goes down infection goes up. Iris: The colored part of the visible eye, expands and contracts to regulate the amount of light that enters the eye. Lens: focuses light on the retina. Vitreous humor: Clear filling of eyeball, that's where the floaters are. Retina: An extension of the brain there are dopamine cells here affected by PD. Optic nerve: over a million fibers that carry signals to the brain, which converts them to images. Comorbidities As we age we develop comorbidities, other diseases that affect vision on top of Parkinson's. Some of these comorbidities and teatments for them follow. Dry eye: Artificial tears can treat dry eye. Autodrop can help administer eyedrops. Cataracts: Cataracts caused by exposure to uv light. Cataract surgery very successful. Macular degeneration. Significant degradation but not total blindness. Glaucoma: elevated pressure in eye damages nerves. Diabetic retiopathy. After age 43, Focus problems. Get different glasses for different distances. Select different frames for different distances so you can easily tell them apart. Avoid trifocals and lined bifocals they can cause falls, confusion. Because of falls, shatterproof lenses are good. Pd-specific impairments Low contrast sensitivity: difficulty in distinguishing contrast. Sinemit helps. Filters help (like goggles for skiing) yellow, amber and pink.. Try them out. Double vision binocular and monocular. If you cover an eye and you still have double vision it's monocular. When the eyes work in tandem, the coordination can be thrown off by PD. Reduced visiospacial attention. Eye muscle movement difficulty. Quick eye movements are impaired and this reduces recognition, Abnormal color vision red- green distinction degenerates. Visual hallucinations. Opening the eyes while sleeping. Eye fatigue, can be caused by wrong prescriptions. Different eyedrops for different types or causes of dry eye. Many Pd-related eye problems can be helped by your eye doctor. talk problems over with them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October Meeting (and a look ahead to November)

Once again it's meeting time. My plan is to deliver a cliff-notes version of the excellent recent telehealth presentation on PD and eyesight. There was a great deal of interesting information that was unfamiliar to me which I want to pass on. Then mark your calendars for the November meeting when we will have Yoga instructor Beverly Churchill in to help us with balance, strength and flexibility. I look forward to seeing you all at 3:30 in our spacious and gracious digs high atop the Pioneer Home!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"I pulled on a thread...

... and where has it led? Where has it led?" So while I was mucking around with the new font I made a discovery concerning the page architecture, the underlying structure I had set up that is the skeleton that the images hang from. There was something bothering me with the lack of flow that was occurring, a knocking under the hood, a certain cog-wheeling in the joints between the panels. As an experiment I broke a couple edges off the boxes containing the narration. The effect was much less claustrophobic. The page went from this:
To this
(Click pages to enlarge) Much better! The muses are pleased. But they have one little request, just a small thing... now go back and retrofit all the pages that you thought were finished with the new look. Muses. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book report: One page at a time

It's always good to take a break from a big project. Breaks refresh your spirit and your eye. Recharged you return to the work at hand and you see you've made a Big Mistake. Good thing you're so refreshed because now you won't be happy until you uproot the Big Mistake (BM) and dispose of it.

In this case, I decided that the narration text should be a different font. The elegant Roman face I had chosen seemed too tight, too dense. Below is the old font.

And here is the new font

Unfortunately I already have 16 or so pages that all had to have the type reset. That meant redrawing many of the type boxes to fit the new type in. Just to make more work, I decided that since I had hand lettered the dialog in some frames, I should hand letter ALL the dialog to be consistent.

So I did. It could have been worse. I could have changed my mind about the text font on page 50 instead of 16. Good thing I left when I did. Of course I could still change my mind at page 50 and redo all 50 pages. Stay tuned.

Below is one of the pages you haven't seen yet. You can click the image to enlarge.