Thursday, March 12, 2009

MSNBC reports that, according to Carmen Bunde, program director with Prevent Blindness Nebraska, blurry vision in a child can cause brain damage if the vision is not corrected. In some cases, amblyopia is to blame. It's often called 'lazy eye,' because weak eye muscles make the eye drift to the side, eventually disrupting vision.

Amblyopia is responsible for more vision loss in people age 45 and younger than all other eye disorders combined. The article details how trained volunteers with Prevent Blindness Nebraska screen more than 3,000 low income children a year, many of them...preschool age, for eye disorders. Children who fail the eye exams are sent to their doctors for follow-up care. Approximately one in 20 preschoolers are referred to eye doctors after the screenings. Experts point out that the best time to catch eye disorders is between the ages of three and five years old.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Folic acid, B vitamins may reduce AMD risk in some women

Following a USA Today story, Nicholas Bakalar writes in the New York Times Vital Signs column that, according to a study published Feb. 23 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, vitamin B supplements may reduce the risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), at least in women with cardiovascular disease or at risk for it.

For the study, researchers from Harvard University followed 5,205 female healthcare professionals with cardiovascular disease or three or more risk factors for it, who were randomly assigned to take either a placebo or a combination of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12. After about seven years of follow-up, the investigators found 55 cases of AMD in the treatment group, and 82 among those who took a placebo. Specifically, the authors found that those who took the vitamins had a 41 percent reduced risk for significant degeneration, and theorized that the vitamins may reduce blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which has been implicated in vision loss.

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