Dry eyes – it isn’t always the heat or the air movement

As we age, the eye mechanisms age with us. And, on occasion, dry eye issues can crop up as well. As a group working with hot glass, we are additionally exposed to hot air plus air movement created by any ventilation we are using. Age + heat + air movement = pretty much everything needed for a good case of dry eye syndrome.

Note: I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be one, nor do I play one on TV, the movies or the internet. However, I HAVE talked with thousands of glassworkers like you and from time to time they all experience episodes of dry eye syndrome that cannot be medically explained.

Here’s the consensus of what seems to work for most people:

  1. First and foremost: BLINK YOUR EYES. The brain will override the blink reflex when you are working on very small intricate work. You have to consciously override your brain and blink. The best way to remind yourself to blink is to make a sign for the back wall of your work area. Make it big, on white paper. Use a black marker and write the word BLINK on it. Don’t put anything else on it. Write BLINK in large letters. Place it in your visual range at the back of your work area.
  2. Get some good quality branded SALINE ONLY eye drops. DO NOT USE MURINE!! DO NOT USE HOMEMADE SALINE!! Murine and other similar products reduce the red in your sclera (white of the eye) by constricting the blood flow through the surface blood vessels. Homemade saline will contain bacteria and other harmful crap. Use only pure, sterile saline drops from a brand-name manufacturer. At the start of your glassworking session, put at least two drops in each eye, then blink several times to lubricate your eyes. During your session, take “safety breaks” every 45 minutes to an hour and repeat two drops in each eye, blinking afterwards. If you feel your eyes “drying out”, stop and add more drops.
  3. At the end of the session for the day, after you’ve safely shut down your work area, wash up, including your face and hands, then put two more drops in each eye.

Now, if the dry eye symptoms still continue after this, you may have an underlying medical issue and I strongly encourage you to visit your local eyecare provider.

New Static Pressure Calculator now available for download

I’ve been getting bombarded with requests lately from folks who wanted me to create a program or spreadsheet to do the static pressure calculations automatically.

The download location has been changed and you will now find it on the front page of the Aura eCommerce website. You must be a registered customer on the website in order to download it.

Static Pressure Calculator

After you’ve completed the registration process, you will find it in the “Downloads” section of your account.

It’s in a zip file. Download it to a temporary file, unzip and click on the setup module. It will install like a normal windows program, and can easily be uninstalled from your control panel.

I *WILL NOT* be creating a version of this program for smartphones or for the cult of Apple.

Economic issues have required changes

As you may have noticed, we are no longer selling cerium oxide. For about the past six to nine months, the world-wide supplies of cerium have dropped significantly. This is due to export restrictions placed by China on raw materials. They have also placed rather large tariffs on all outbound shipments of some of the more “precious” raw materials. The combination of factors has caused our cost to skyrocket by 750%. Needless to say, we no longer have excess polish that we can afford to sell.

About the same time (roughly six to nine months ago) Schott in Germany shut down their welding glass (float glass) manufacturing processing plant. This was due (they claimed) to low demand for the product. Schott was the last large-scale manufacturer of welding sheet glass in America/Europe. The last of the Schott glass is gone from our supplier, and they are currently trying to get glass from China. This has lead to a shortage of sheet glass in shade 4, 5 and 6, which has also hit us.

We are starting to work with the Chinese glass, but it has some drawbacks, mainly an apparent color difference. Schott welding glass is grey-green in appearance. Chinese welding is yellow-green in appearance. Therefore, we will no longer be able to replace single lens units in any of the AGW-250, 286 or 325 filters, they must be sold in pairs so they color match. This will *NOT* be covered under our warranty.

Selections and more…

I’ve just finished a massive update to the AVC (www.auralens.net) website. I’ve added somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 (or more) frames (if you count colors and sizes).  We’ve got RED, Blue, Green, even PUCE (oh, god, why?). Plastic and metal. Some memory metals. Boring 1960’s retro designs as well as some cutting edge fashion frames. Did I mention RED? Men’s, women’s and unisex.

Oh, yeah, and I have RED frames!!!

Don’t forget, I’ve got a sale going on through the end of the month…http://www.auralens.net/discount_bts.cfm


I haven’t had much to say lately, which, all things considered, is probably a good thing LOL!!

My birthday is coming up this week. I’m not sure how I feel about it. My 30th was non-memorable as was my 40th. I’d prefer to forget my 50th and now it is time for my 55th.

I’m definately feeling my age. I don’t move quite as fast as I used to. It takes longer to get up from a chair (or out of bed!). My fingers are stiffer than I remember and my right knee aches every time the weather changes. Since my back surgery 7 years ago, I can’t twist and move as easily as I could, so that slows me down as well.

On the other hand, my son turns 20 this June and is enjoying life to its fullest. My 3 cats, Snowball, Kirby and Noisy are always bouncing around the house causing havoc and mischief.  I’ve moved closer to work and family, and it’s easier to have dinner with Mom and Dad.

So, as I look at the calendar and see my birthday on the horizon, I know one thing for sure: Continue reading

The view from the naughty bench

The title of this piece isn’t meant to be snide or churlish, just what I’m feeling right now.

Did your grade school have a naughty bench? You know, the bench or chairs outside of the Principal’s Office? Where the ‘bad kids’ sat before getting lectured for their behavior?

Yeah, that place.

I admit it. I’m an ass. I’ve taken the first step: admitting to a problem. The next steps are even harder, but today I’m trying my best. Continue reading