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Phuket Lifestyle: Eye to eye contact

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Lifestyle: Eye to eye contact | The Thaiger
Doctor Captain Wiriyaluppain is launching a series of articles to help educate Phuket Gazette readers about eye health and what to be beware of. The articles will also explain advances in eye treatment technologies. Here is the first in the series.

PHUKET: As an eye doctor who has practiced in Phuket for many years, I have found that the patient base is unique because of the diversity of nationalities that reside on the island.

My patients are from various countries and I have learned that there is a huge difference in the ability to access healthcare services around the world. In some countries it is difficult to see specialist doctors – you need a referral from your family doctor before meeting with a specialist. If your condition isn’t urgent or is considered an elective condition, you will join a long waiting list.

In Phuket, the situation is considerably easier because you can visit a hospital and request an appointment directly with a specialist. The appointment will usually be set within one or two days (especially in private hospitals). In my opinion, this is a good opportunity for anyone to improve healthcare.

Eyes, as with other organs in the human body, keep changing over time, but they are unlike other organs because the changes generally occur in stages and are almost the same for everyone. For example, as people approach the age of 60 they face the increasing risk of conditions and diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration.

A misconception that many people have is that their eyes are healthy because they see well. This idea is totally wrong because human vision is maintained by the “healthy part compensating for the bad part”. Serious diseases such as glaucoma can confirm this fact because the disease will not affect your vision until 40 per cent of the eye nerve has already died.

If a patient waits until vision is affected, it most likely means a condition that has already progressed too far. I can say that most serious eye diseases that are difficult to treat have happened in this way.

Because of this, all eye care professionals have agreed that everyone should have a regular and comprehensive eye examination. A simple vision screening test at a spectacle shop is not enough.

What to expect during an eye examination.
Comprehensive eye examinations include a set or series of eye tests (click here for table of suggested frequencies for eye examinations), that determine your eye health status and estimate the patient’s risk for contracting various diseases.

The complete eye examination varies from 30 minutes to two hours. The amount of information gathered from the examination and the cost of the examination will mostly depend on how well the hospital is equipped with advanced instruments.

The following are eye and vision tests that you are likely to encounter during a routine comprehensive eye exam:

Vision test:
This is the first and most basic test where the patient reads a visual acuity chart. The test will let the doctor know how well you can see and will determine if your vision is in normal range or not.

Refraction test:
This test will tell give the patient’s eye prescription and determine if you need glasses to improve your vision or not.

Slit-lamp examination:
The Slit-lamp (or bio-microscope) allows the doctor to see a highly magnified structure of the front part of the eye. Corneal problems or cataracts can be detected with this test.

Glaucoma test:
Glaucoma refers to a group of diseases that are often associated with abnormally high pressure inside the eye which can cause damage to the optic nerve. Glaucoma is the leading cause of poor vision in the elderly and the risk increases with age. The glaucoma test consists of:

  • Eye nerve analysis
  • Eye pressure measurement
  • Visual field testing. The test measures peripheral vision and is straightforward, painless, and will identify vision damage caused by glaucoma.

Retina examination:
The retina is a nerve membrane that lines the back of the eye. Cells in the retina transfer signals from your eye to your brain which allows you to see. The central part of the retina is called the “macular”. It is a focus point and is responsible for central vision.

To obtain a better view of the eye’s internal structure and examine the retina, your doctor will apply dilating drops to enlarge the pupils. This is called a pupil dilation examination. Dilating drops usually take about 20 to 30 minutes to start working.

When pupils are dilated, sensitivity to light and blurred vision will occur for three to four hours, requiring the patient to be assisted home after the procedure.

Pupil dilation examination may be inconvenient, but is very important because it allows for the most thorough evaluation of eye health and helps with the detection and risk of various retinal and macular diseases.

Macular (focus point) scanning:
This examination will let the doctor analyze the focus point of the eye in great detail. This is a very advanced procedure and the instrument required to conduct this examination may not be available in every hospital.

Now that you know you need to have a regular comprehensive eye check up, the next questions are: When? How often? Which examination?

The most widely accepted recommendation is shown in the table at the link above.

You can see that an annual eye check-up is recommended for normal people whose are over 60. Why? Because your eyes will change very rapidly from the age of 60 on, and the risk of disease will increase significantly.

No matter who you are, regular eye exams are important and can provide early detection or prevention of many serious eye diseases.

Be happy with your vision.

Doctor Captain Wiriyaluppa now works as Ophthalmologist, Retinal specialist consultant and medical director at the Eye Center, Bangkok Phuket Hospital.

— Dr Captain Wiriyaluppain

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Now you can study the success of K-pop band BTS – University of California, Berkeley

The Thaiger

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Now you can study the success of K-pop band BTS – University of California, Berkeley | The Thaiger

PHOTO: BTS members posing with South Korean President Moon Jae In

400 million views, 500 million, 600 million. Just scroll through the group’s songbook on YouTube from the past five years and you will be watching music history in the making – a success built on a new pop genre, new ‘music business’ model and seven young South Koreans hell-bent on succeeding in the music world, beyond South Korea.

Now you can study the success of K-pop band BTS - University of California, Berkeley | News by The Thaiger

Now, the global success of K-pop act BTS lies at the core of an academic course launched at the University of California, Berkeley. The student-run course has been announced on the university’s website as part of UC Berkeley’s Democratic Education at Cal program.

The group – consisting RM, J-Hope, Suga, V, Jungkook, Jimin and Jin – have amassed a social media following (called ARMY), ignited live audiences with their happier sharp choreography and won international awards. It hasn’t all been easy and their story, from seven teenagers living in one dorm in Seoul, to international music stars has lessons for all interested in modern pop music.

On the course “Next Generation Leaders: BTS” students will learn about the K-pop boy band’s growing global impact, which led to their immense success.

Now you can study the success of K-pop band BTS - University of California, Berkeley | News by The Thaiger

The DeCal program allows students to create and facilitate their own classes on a variety of subjects, as reported by Yonhap. The BTS class is an option for media students at UC Berkeley and will be offered for the first time in spring.

The course outline for “Next Generation Leaders: BTS” on the school’s website reads: “This course will focus on Korean boy group BTS and their global impact. We will attempt to explore the group’s history, artistry, philanthropy, and many other aspects in order to analyze their growing impact in society as well as their international success.”

It would also dive into the intricate world known as ‘Bangtan Universe’ that the group has created through its album concepts and videos. Media articles and interviews would be utilized as well, and students would come up with theories about the group’s success.

The orientation session for the course was held on Feb. 5, and a Twitter account has been dedicated to the course. A photo on Twitter showed the enrolled students watching a video of BTS’ acclaimed speech during a United Nations General Assembly session in September. BTS fans expressed their support for the program on Twitter.

BTS attended this year’s Grammy Awards in Los Angeles and made history as the first K-pop presenters at the event. The group’s album Love yourself: Tearwas nominated in the Best Recording Package category. They made history in 2018 with two Number One albums on the Billboard Top 200 charts.

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Thai Life

Top 10 news sources in Thailand (2019)

The Thaiger

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Top 10 news sources in Thailand (2019) | The Thaiger

…in English, in no particular order.

This post is mainly for newbies, tourists and people-interested-in-Thailand. Locals already have their home favorite news sources. But all these Top 10 do it well, in their own way. All are trying to navigate their way through the labyrinth of modern media, some better than others, whilst punching out daily news. We think they’re all stars because doing media in Thailand, in English, is a tough gig.

These are all news and information sources and the list doesn’t include the myriad of excellent blogs around – a topic for another Top 10.

1. Bangkok Post

Traditional news, still delivered as a daily newspaper, but with an expansive and thorough website. It’s been going since 1946 and reported on a coup or two, or three. As far as making the move into digital media is concerned, Bangkok Post is doing it better than most. Editorially it has has taken a, mostly, neutral political stance with a few exceptions. But, as newspapers go, it walks down the middle fairly reliably.

2. The Nation

The other major daily coming out of Bangkok is a lot newer than Bangkok Post, starting up in 1971. As the two broadsheets battle it out, The Nation has occasionally taken a more partisan line, famously turning its editorial voice against PM Thaksin Shinawatra. Recently the paper has been struggling with circulation and was taken over by Sontiyan Chuenruetainaidhama, founder of conservative outlets T News and INN News. At this stage there appears to be no impact on The Nation’s editorial stance but it’s falling circulation and advertising revenues are impacting its bottomline.

3. The Thaiger

Please indulge us as we put our own website and news in the Top 10. The Thaiger, only running as a national website since April 2018, is the fastest growing English-speaking online-only news and information site in the Kingdom (according to the ‘stats’).

The Thaiger are the new kids in town with everything to prove. The Thaiger curates the news and chooses topics it believes will be interesting, important or newsworthy, in English and Thai. The Thaiger bought out the Phuket Gazette’s digital assets in August 2017 but now has a national and regional focus, whilst continuing to pay homage to its home turf in Phuket. Currently has the third highest readership of any English-speaking news website in Thailand.

4. ThaiVisa

The biggest and most popular news website in Thailand (in English). If ‘The Thaiger’ curates, ThaiVisa splashes EVERYTHING onto its front page. If it moves or breathes, you’ll find the story on ThaiVisa. It’s big, bold and an eyeful of news. It’s also famous, or infamous, for its hugely popular forums where keyboard warriors dispense their opinions and wisdom on everything, usually tearing things to shreds. It’s the biggest English-speaking news website in Thailand and has been for a decade. Recently had a makeover and now has a purple cut durian as its logo – go figure.

5. Khaosod English

Fresh, selective, well-written and a rising star in real Thai english-language journalism. An offshoot of it’s much bigger Thai-language sister. To the point, original stories with a modern journalistic spark. They tend to choose their stories and provide excellent insight when they do. Original and deserving of your daily read.

6. Coconuts

Most would agree that when Coconuts started it was the best and cheekiest news blog for its time. Actually covering all of South East Asia, it’s Bangkok blog was a daily log-on for most hip expats. In recent times they’ve taken the brave ‘paywall’ option (because people want to pay for good journalism) which hasn’t affected their web hits, yet. In our opinion it’s lost a bit of its verve but it’s still a healthy and reliable daily read, for Thailand and the region. Singapore it its most popular location, Thailand is third.

7. Thailand News

A shameless aggregator, they copy and paste headlines and a few paragraphs with a link to the original story. Designed to rank in Google, the site is still in its early days. To avoid any copyright issues, the stories usually include a photo library ‘look-a-like’, instead of the real photo from the story. For all we know the entire site could be run by cleverly-coded robots. There is no sign of a human touch anywhere. Rather than a contributor to the world of Thai journalism, the site is just a parasite using everyone else’s news. But, hey, it’s a viable business model I suppose. Bottomline, it’s nicely set up and has, well, most of the stories around Thailand, all in one neat package.

8. The Phuket News

Phuket-based and Phuket-focussed, the weekly newspaper took on the well-established Phuket Gazette (which had been running since 1993) and eventually became the island’s one and only weekly ‘newspaper’ (somewhat of an oxymoron these days). The paper has always employed some of the best editorial staff in Thailand, runs a lifestyle and travel section and, well, is about as good a local paper as a tropical island could hope for. Also has a Russian and Thai version.

9. All Pattaya media

Whilst the rest of Thailand does things one way, Pattaya does things differently, in every aspect, including its media. It’s quite saturated with farang media – websites, Facebook pages, radio and cable TV – but there’s no single, ‘outstanding’ Pattaya news source. For the local expats there’s plenty of choice. Problem is there’s TOO much choice and the many are eating out of the same small advertising revenue pie.

10. Thai PBS World

A government news agency but has demonstrated its independence over the years. As a website it’s had more face-lists than Joan Rivers but remains solid, reliable and surprisingly (especially with the military government) unbiased. Also tends to cover stories the other don’t.

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Thai Life

Amnesty for possession of cannabis in Thailand?

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Amnesty for possession of cannabis in Thailand? | The Thaiger

The Government is looking at a plan to grant amnesty to those who have been using, or have, cannabis in their possession, But only if they report to authorities within a given time frame.

The Drug Committee approved three draft legislations for amnesty yesterday.

If the drafts become law even possessors of cannabis, who are not patients or research units, will be automatically pardoned, no questions asked.

The Food and Drug Administration secretary-general Tares Krassanairawiwong says… “We have already passed the draft regulations, but there are still many steps left. The FDA will have to put these drafts through public hearings and gather opinions for further review.”

He was speaking after chairing a meeting with the Drug Committee, during which the green light was given to several draft laws yesterday.

The approved drafts included three announcements designed to grant amnesty to government agencies, private firms, community enterprises, practitioners of traditional Thai medicine, research organisations, patients and everybody else who use or possess cannabis.

“They must report within 90 days once the announcement goes into effect,” Tares explained.

Under Thai law, cannabis is an illicit drug and possession or use of it is punishable by a fine and/or a jail term.

However, the Kingdom is currently in the process of allowing the use of medical marijuana, and several draft laws are being prepared to facilitate the enforcement.

According to the plan, patients who use marijuana for health reasons will be allowed to continue using the drug after they register themselves for amnesty and till the medical-marijuana system is introduced.

Marijuana is believed to be useful for patients battling Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, some stress conditions, chronic pain, and nausea related to chemotherapy.

SOURCE: The Nation

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