Wear-the-RIGHT-Sunglasses-for-Your-Summer-Fun!As we roll into summer, sunscreen and sunglasses are a winning combination. Sunglasses are an easy solution that makes life more comfortable when outdoors, while also providing critical protection from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. But…all sunglasses don’t provide the protection you need to protect your eyes.

Long-term exposure to UV rays can damage the eye’s surface as well as its internal structures. This damage can sometimes lead to eye conditions such as cataracts (clouding of the lens) and macular degeneration (breakdown of the macula).

Did you know that glaucoma can make eyes highly sensitive to light and glare, with some glaucoma medications exacerbating the problem even further?

A brimmed hat whenever you’re in the sun long enough to get a suntan or a sunburn, is recommended along with sunglasses to help protect your eyes from the sun. If you have blue, green, or gray eyes, you may have noticed yourself squinting into the sunlight more than your brown-eyed counterparts. Light sensitivity — typically affects people with light eyes because they have less pigmentation in multiple layers of the eye than those with darker eyes.

Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for sunglasses:

  • Look for UV protection.
  • Don’t be deceived by color or cost. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens or the price tag. Always choose sunglasses that are labeled as blocking 99-100% of UV rays.
  • Polarized lenses block out not only direct rays from the sun but also light reflecting off surfaces such as water, snow or reflective metals. Polarization is unrelated to UV protection, so you still need to ensure UV absorption of the lenses.
  • Blue light blocking.
  • Photo Chromic lenses adjust with the light and can be a compromise from buying dark lenses allowing you to see well in different level of brightness.
  • Wrap around frames and lenses add extra coverage and help to block out the light from all angles providing the best protection for your eyes. Some studies have shown that enough UV rays enter around standard sunglass frames to reduce the protective benefits of the lenses.
  • Check lenses for quality. Look for a uniform tint, not darker in one area than in another.

Special features in sunglasses can include:

Mirror coatings. These thin layers of various metallic coatings can reduce the amount of visible light entering the eyes. They are popular in high-glare environments and when combined with the wraparound feature, they can even provide added protection to the skin surrounding the eye area. UV protection, however, is not guaranteed.

Gradient. These lenses are permanently shaded from top to bottom or from top and bottom toward the middle.

Impact resistant. While all sunglasses must meet minimum FDA standards regarding impact resistance, no lens is truly shatterproof. Plastic lenses are less likely to shatter upon impact than glass lenses. And, polycarbonate plastic, used in many sports sunglasses, is even more impact resistant than regular plastic, but scratches easily. If you buy polycarbonate lenses, look for ones with scratch-resistant coatings.

Buying a pair of sunglasses that offer little more than looks and some shade for your eyes can not only fail you at blocking out the proper amount of sunlight, but they can also cause short term and long term damage to your eyes. Bissell Eye Care carries a full line of RXable (either prescription or nonprescription) sunglasses in a variety of styles and colors.

Wear sunglasses whenever you are outdoors, whether you are working, driving, participating in sports, taking a walk, running errands or doing anything in the sun. Remember this summer as you enjoy the nice weather it is important to protect not only your skin but also your eyes. If you have any questions about proper eye protection, stop in and see us so we can help you ensure you enjoy your summer!

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

tips-for-better-eye-healthDo you take your eyes for granted? Often patients take their eyesight for granted until they begin having problems with their vision. When day-to-day activities become challenging, that will trigger a call for an eye appointment. Having good vision and healthy eyes may determine your ability to remain independent and self-sufficient.

Studies have shown that women make up 65 percent of AMD cases; 61 percent of glaucoma and cataract patients are women, and 66 percent of blind patients are women. On average women live longer and many eye problems are age-related. Some eye conditions, such as dry eye, are more common in women, young and old. Often women put their family’s health and screenings before themselves and neglect regular eye care.

In general, women are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than men, many of which affect vision, such as lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and hyper thyroiditis. In addition, pregnancy can cause vision changes due to the hormonal changes pregnant women experience. As women age and go through menopause, dry eye occurs at double the rate.

Prevention is key to preventable vision loss. The good news is most vision loss is preventable. Here are some simple steps to take control of your eye health today:

  1. Early signs of disease or changes in vision may begin at 40. Get a yearly comprehensive medical eye exam. An exam by an eye care professional skilled in medical and surgical eye care provides the opportunity to identify diseases and conditions that are not symptomatic in the early stages.
  2. Know your family history.  Certain eye diseases can be inherited – macular degeneration and glaucoma in your family’s history can increase your risk by 50% for macular degeneration and from four to nine times for glaucoma. If you haven’t talked with family members about their eye conditions, now is the time to do so.
  3. Eat healthy foods. A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains benefit the entire body, including the eyes.
  4. Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk for eye diseases such as cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Tobacco smoke worsens dry eye.
  5. Wear sunglasses. Exposure to ultraviolet UV light raises the risk of eye diseases, including cataracts, fleshy growths on the eye and cancer.
  6. Bacteria will form from your eyelashes and requires daily eyelid hygiene. Like brushing your teeth, your eyelids need daily care. Hot compresses help keep tear producing glands working at top efficiency.

In a comprehensive eye exam at Bissell Eye Care, our state-of-the-art technology allow us to look at the overall health of your eyes.  During these exams, we may discover conditions that affect your eyes in addition to perhaps uncovering an underlying condition in your overall general health. This will ultimately help your primary care provider enhance your overall health and wellness.

Be proactive, stay healthy and protect your eyesight with regular eye exams.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Corneal-TopographyEarlier this year, you may remember us talking about our OCT machine. OCT Angiography (OCTA) is a quick non-invasive piece of equipment which performs a test, allowing your eye doctor to see retinal vessels during your annual eye exam. OCTA is the only non-invasive way to visualize the vascular structure of your retina.

The machine allows us to look at the eye in a similar manner as an MRI. It takes a piece by piece view of the eye. Our optometrists then look at this imagery and are able to determine the health of your eyes, or if there are any concerns that need to be further addressed.

Our newest piece of equipment is located in the Natrona Heights office – a Topcon Corneal Topography Machine. Corneal topography is a procedure used to monitor and measure changes that may occur to the shape and integrity of the cornea of your eye.

Computerized corneal topography (also known as computer assisted corneal topography, computer assisted keratography, or video keratography) is a computer-assisted diagnostic technique in which a special instrument projects a series of light rings on the cornea, creating a color-coded map of the corneal surface as well.

The series of illuminated rings, referred to as a placido disc, are reflected back into the instrument. This process delivers accurate, high resolution images of the anterior corneal surface. Corneal topography testing provides the optometrists with a detailed description of various curvature and shape characteristics of the cornea. This type of testing is particularly helpful in pre and post op surgery.

Corneal-Topography-State-of-the-technology-in-eye-careThis information provided in the testing illustrates corneal astigmatism, detection of corneal pathologies and perfection of contact lens fitting. Through the use of the corneal topography machine, it provides the perfect platform for contact lens fitting. Simulation software is used in tandem with the testing, which automatically selects the best fitting contact lens based upon a complete contact lens database for all the main manufacturers.

If we break this down in very basic terms, when you look at a mountain, the OCT test looks at the land terrain by section and the Corneal Topography test is like a drone looking down at the overall shape of the mountain. If you combine both together, you are able to have a very comprehensive view of the overall structure of the mountain.

Bissell Eye Care invests in these types of diagnostic technologies to provide you and your family with comprehensive eye care services. If you have questions about these diagnostic tools, or other eye care concerns, give our office a call at 724-443-6767 or 724-226-0444.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

LASIK-Co-managementJust as you may have a team of doctors managing a heart or diabetic condition, so too can you have a team of eye care professionals managing your eye care. Co-management is the process of eye care professionals working as a team to provide a patient’s care. In most cases, this occurs when an optometrist such as the doctors at Bissell Eye Care provide the initial evaluation and care after the surgery with an ophthalmologist performing the surgical procedure. Often the optometrist has been the patient’s trusted eye care provider for years. This is especially valuable to patients as they have established a doctor patient relationship with our office over the years.

Co-managed care provides an additional check and balance between the patient and surgeon, with an optometrist assisting the patient’s questions and concerns.

LASIK/Cataracts Co-Management

In LASIK, “co-management” is the term commonly used to describe a situation when an optometrist provides pre-op and post-op care with an ophthalmologist providing surgery. For example, an optometrist will provide the initial LASIK, All-Laser Lasik, PRK, LASEK or any other refractive surgery evaluation, and then care for the patient after the surgery.

Some factors Bissell Eye Care will take into account to determine which surgery may be right for you:

  • An overall health assessment will be conducted to determine if any systemic diseases are present that may impair your ability to heal such as autoimmune or immunodeficiency diseases.
  • Corneal health including dry eye disease, thin corneas, irregular corneas, or corneal diseases such as keratoconus are considered.
  • Stability is determined by your eyeglass prescription.
  • Analysis of your retinal health ensures there is no other ocular disease present that would prevent you from achieving 20/20 vision after laser vision correction.
  • Candidacy for some refractive surgeries may be limited due to lifestyle and occupation.

Patient Benefits for co-managed care:

  • Familiarity with your optometrist and the convenience of pre- and post-operative follow-up.
  • A central hub of patient care coordination.
  • Often less costly depending on copays and insurance deductibles.

Bissell Eye Care has working arrangements with eye surgeons and specialized eye care doctors to provide many of the surgical services such as cataract surgery, laser surgery, refractive surgery, retinal detachments, retinal tears and hemorrhages. You can be assured that your eyes will be comprehensively managed by the best eye care professionals.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

diagnosis-of-eye-diseaseAs technology continues to improve, we are better able to look at the human eye with the Optovue OCT machine. OCT Angiography (OCTA) is a quick non-invasive piece of equipment which performs a test, allowing your eye doctor to see retinal vessels during your annual eye exam. OCTA is the only non-invasive way to visualize the vascular structure of your retina.

During this test the structure of your eyes are examined- from the front, or anterior segment, to the back, or retina. OCT is used to aid in diagnosing disease and managing your ocular health. These metrics along with a high-resolution image and symmetry analysis help to determine if you are displaying the early signs of retinal disease or glaucoma.

The machine allows us to look at the eye in a similar manner as an MRI. It takes a piece by piece view of the eye. Our optometrists then look at this imagery and are able to determine the health of your eyes, or if there are any concerns that need to be further addressed.

So what does this mean for you, the patient? These scans are able to detect early vascular changes in diabetic patients and early signs of glaucoma. We cannot stress the importance of early detection of eye diseases enough. Early detection can help to prevent further loss of vision. As we have talked about before, you can lose a significant amount of your vision without you noticing.

Bissell Eye Care continues to invest in the most up to date technology and equipment in order to best serve our patients. We are one of a handful of optometry practices in the Pittsburgh region to offer screenings with the Optovue OTC Angiography machine. By using this technology, we are able to better facilitate the diagnosis and management of eye diseases, many of which may lead to permanent blindness.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

new-year's-resolutionsAre you ready for the New Year? During the holiday season many people take the opportunity to reflect on the year that has past, focus on new goals and make New Year’s Resolutions. Weight loss, financial freedom, healthy habits are among the top resolutions people make.

Resolutions for better health often include, eating better, exercising, or cutting down on sugar intake. While many people have resolutions to improve their health, they tend to not include an annual medical physical, 6 month dental visits and an annual eye exam.

With the New Year in full swing there is no better time to schedule your eye exam. You or your children may receive an annual vision screening at work or school. What people don’t realize is that a vision screening is much less comprehensive than an eye exam.

Vision screenings usually only take a few minutes and are often performed by volunteers, not by a certified optometrist. Vision screenings are typically designed to detect major vision problems. What many people do not realize is that an eye screening is ineffective at detecting subtle vision problems or overall health diseases, which if left untreated can rob you of your vision or lead to ongoing health problems.

Eye exams that are performed by an optometrist are designed to not only evaluate your visual acuity, but also to check the overall health of your eye. During a comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist will also check for signs of eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and detached retina.

As an added health bonus, your optometrist can also detect early signs of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke risk; all based on the appearance of the delicate blood vessels and other structures within the eye.

As the New Year brings about resolve to change, consider your body’s overall health. Scheduling annual visits to not only your optometrist, but also to your medical doctor for a yearly physical can help to keep your body in top shape and provide early detection of any medical conditions before they become serious problems. Early detection is key to obtaining the best chance of treatment providing a positive outcome. Wishing you the best in 2018.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

eye-disease-in-DiabeticsNovember is Diabetes Awareness Month and we would like to talk about how this disease can affect your eyes. Diabetic eye disease is comprised of a group of eye conditions that affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic macular edema or DME.

If you or a loved one suffer from diabetes, it is important to maintain annual eye exams to help prevent vision loss. It is even more important for those who suffer from diabetes to take their medication as prescribed, stay physically active and maintain a healthy diet. This will help to delay or even prevent vision loss from diabetes.

Diabetics should be aware of a few eye diseases that can affect people with diabetes.

  • Diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the retina which lines the back of the eye. It is one of the most common causes of vision loss among people with diabetes.
  • Diabetic macular edema or DME. This is an accumulation of fluid due to leaking blood vessels in the macula – part of the retina that controls our most detailed vision abilities.

Diabetic eye disease can also include cataracts and glaucoma. While these are not limited to individuals who have diabetes, it is more common for diabetics.

  • Cataracts. This is a clouding of the eye’s lens. Adults who have diabetes are 2-5 times more likely to develop cataracts at an earlier age than those without diabetes.
  • Glaucoma. For adults, having diabetes doubles the risk of glaucoma. This occurs when the optic nerve that connects your eyes to you brain is damaged.

Of all the diseases that diabetic eye disease is comprised of, a cataract is the only one that is reversible. A simple surgery can remove the cataract from the eye allowing for clear, normal vision. With all of the other diseases, once the damage is done there is no reversing it.

There is good news! Early detection and treatment can help to reduce the risk of blindness. Early detection is key to preventing damage to the eye that is irreversible. If you are diabetic let your optometrist know and be sure to maintain your annual visits and exams.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

 

diet and eye diseaseFor many, summertime means taking care of the garden. It also means less trips to the grocery store as you are able to find your favorite vegetables just a few steps from your back door. This ease of access along with a free price tag often lead to many of us eating healthier throughout the summer.

As winter quickly approaches it is important to keep up the healthy diet that many of you enjoy during the summer months. A proper diet can help to reduce the chances of certain eye diseases.

Having a diet full of vitamins and nutrients is not only good for overall health, but in some cases, may help to prevent issues associated with vision loss. Nutrients that are linked with eye health are Vitamins C and E, B12, B9, B6, carotenoids, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Antioxidants are important in your diet as they help to deter build-up of waste products in the retina, reducing your risk for age related macular degeneration, or AMD for short. Vitamin B6 and Folate, or Vitamin B9, help to lower the blood chemical homocysteine, which helps to lower your risk for AMD. Antioxidants also help to prevent protein from linking which can cause cataracts.

Some foods that contain eye-healthy nutrients are:

  • Dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale for lutein and vitamin E.
  • Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables for beta carotene and zeaxanthin.
  • Fruits and vegetables for vitamins C and E.
  • Fish for omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Citrus fruits, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and nuts for folic acid.
  • Dairy products, eggs, meat, and poultry for vitamin B12.

Avoid selecting carbohydrates such as white rice, white bread and pasta. These foods have a high glycemic index which means they are broken down rapidly into blood glucose or sugar. Choose breads and pasta made from whole grains and brown rice.

Keeping a healthy diet will not only help to improve your overall health, but also will help you to see clearly into the future. Choose foods that are high in vitamins and nutrients, even if that means going to the store to get them, until next year’s gardening season begins.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Seeing-More-Clearly-with-your-Night-VisionAs the leaves begin to change and the beautiful colors start to appear, it also becomes apparent that days are growing shorter and the nights are getting longer. For some Americans this means that they may struggle to see – particularly at night.

If you find you are becoming afraid to hit the road after dark because you struggle to see, now is the time to let your eye doctor know. The answer may be as simple as a pair of glasses, or it may mean that you need to get your cataracts taken care of. In any case, it is important to speak with your eye doctor to make sure there isn’t a more serious underlying issue.

Cataracts are one of the leading causes of night vision problems. As you age, cells grow and die behind your pupil. When the debris from dead cells builds up, it starts to cloud your vision. While cataracts are not painful they do make it difficult to see, especially at night. Cataracts are easily treatable and once removed you will find your night vision improves but also your vision in general may change.

A lack of Vitamin A may also be a reason for struggling with night vision. Vitamin A is found in carrots and leafy vegetables. It helps to keep the retina, the back of your eye where images are focused, healthy. Many Americans get enough vitamin A in their regular diet – that’s one of the reasons we always talk about a well-balanced diet. However, those with health problems such as celiac, gastric bypass or Crohn’s disease, may have problems absorbing the nutrients they need.

If you have recently been on a beach vacation, you might feel as though your vision is worse at night. This is more than likely correct as sustained bright sunlight can worsen night vision for up to two days. One way to avoid this is to wear sunglasses with UV protection. The wrap around style is best.

Regardless of why you suffer night vision loss, it is always a good idea to consult your eye doctor. While some forms of night vision loss may be permanent, there are several kinds that are treatable. If you do have difficulty seeing at night, be sure to clean your car windows and headlights before heading out for a night drive. As the leaves begin to fall, also remember the pavement becomes slippery when wet so give yourself extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.

If you have questions about night driving or any other vision related issue, give our office a call at 724-443-6767 or 724-226-0444.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Cataracts-and-macular-degenerationAs summer is finally underway, and temperatures reach up into the 90’s, many of us will find ourselves at annual pool parties, on the way to the beach, or just soaking up the sun’s rays outside. While sun exposure is encouraged, as it provides a good source of vitamin D, overdoing it can cause more harm than good if you fail to use the proper protection.

July is National UV Safety month and it is a great time to spread information and awareness about UV safety. UV radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer in the United States and is also responsible for eye damage, including cataracts and macular degeneration, which are the primary causes of vision loss among seniors.

There are some characteristics that make people more susceptible than others. Individuals with light colored eyes, blue or green, are generally at a larger risk from UV exposure than those who have darker eye colors.

There are some ways that you can help to prevent UV Damage.

  • Put on your sunglasses. The most effective type of sunglasses block out 99-100% of UV and are the wrap around type. This style helps to prevent UV rays from entering around the sides of the glasses.
  • Find the shade. Avoiding the sun when the UV rays are at the most intense, between the hours of 10 am to 3 pm, will lower the amount of UV you are exposed to.
  • Grab the cap. Wearing a hat will also help to limit exposure not only to your eyes but also to your face, scalp and neck depending on the type of hat you choose.

Remember that more than your skin can get burned by the UV rays. This is referred to as photokeratitis or sun burned eyes.

Symptoms of sun burned eyes are:

  • Eye pain
  • Burning sensation
  • Swollen eyes or lids
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Headaches
  • A gritty feeling
  • Red eyes.

These symptoms are usually temporary and will generally resolve themselves in 24-48 hours. If you find your symptoms are prolonged, contact your eye doctor immediately.

When the pool bag is packed and the sun screen is applied, don’t forget to grab your sunglasses as you head outdoors this summer. Proper UV protection will help to prevent your eyes from being burned by the sun but will also help to reduce the chances of eye troubles years down the road!

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

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