Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Systems To Help Blind See Again

Venture Capital Dispatch blog of the Wall Street Journal reported that two companies are working on vision systems to help some blind people see again.

Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. based in Sylmar, Calif. is developing special eyeglasses that transmit pictures to a receiver embedded on the retina. The images are transferred by the optic nerve to the brain. The device is targeted to patients who have lost most of their vision as a result of retinal degeneration and whose nerve connections are still intact.

Israel's Nano Retina Inc. is also developing a similar device. The devices are priced from $50,000 to $100,000. Both companies are now working with insurance companies to have them pick up the costs for patients in need of such devices.

A third company, Optobionics Corp is pursuing a trickier and more costly approach: restoring function to the damaged retina by using the device to stimulate the rods and cones, rather than using the system as an adjunct to the retina. They are looking for funds to enter Phase III trials.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

VA Rehab Center For Blinded Veterans To Be Named After Fallen Optometrist

A new rehab center for blinded service members will be named after Maj. Charles Robert Soltes Jr who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq.
The center is scheduled to be open in Long Beach next spring.
The bill to authorize that name was introduced by Rep. John Campbell, R-Irvine. Last month, it passed the House 417-0 and on Monday, April 19, it passed the Senate without the need for a roll call vote.
On Monday evening, Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, spoke up for the measure.

"Major Soltes was a dedicated Army officer and an outstanding clinician, educator and military optometrist,'' Akaka said. "And naming the Long Beach VA blind rehabilitation center in honor of him will be a fitting tribute to his lasting memory.''

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Early Screening For Type 2 Diabetes Cost Effective

According to a study published online March 30 in The Lancet, early screening for type 2 diabetes is cost effective and prevents diabetes-related complications, including myocardial infarction and blindness.

By using mathematical modeling to assess several screening strategies, researchers determined the most cost-effective approach is to begin screening patients for type 2 diabetes between ages 30 and 45, with follow-up every three to five years. They arrived at this conclusion by studying a simulated population of 325,000 non-diabetic 30-year-olds using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from 1999 through 2004.

Monitoring May Be Enough For Some Patients At Risk For Glaucoma

Dallas Morning News reported that most patients who are at risk of developing glaucoma because of high eye pressure may just require monitoring.

In a 15-year study presented at the American Glaucoma Society's annual meeting and published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, participants with elevated eye pressure but no evidence of glaucoma were randomized to eye drops or were simply monitored.

In the second part of the study, during which all participants received eye drops, researchers found that in lower-risk patients there was not much difference between those taking drops the whole time and those who got drops seven years later.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You thought contact lenses are to correct vision?

The UK's Daily Mail reports that thanks to advances in technology, contact lenses have been "transformed...into valuable health tools" that do more than just correct vision.
For example,

Red-tinted contact lenses have been developed to relieve the agony of migraines. They work by filtering out wavelengths of light that over-stimulate retinal receptors - lightsensitive tissues lining the inner surface of the eye - which results in head pain.

Researchers at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, have created lenses that chemically react to glucose found in tears as a means of monitoring glucose levels in diabetics.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Ipad = Eyestrain

The much awaited ipad is out this weekend. There has been lavish praise for it. The Wall Street Journal reports that experts are now debating which e-reader device is easier on the eyes.
While some e-readers provide printed book-like black text on a white background, others use a computer-like color screen that is backlit and uses a liquid crystal display. Although the choice of an e-reader may come down to personal preference, one eye expert maintains that all of the devices, no matter what their technology, may cause eyestrain. The solution to that, he recommends, is for people using the devices to take frequent breaks to rest their eyes.

Some people can have trouble with an e-paper screen, like the Kindle, where text looks like a dark shade of gray on top of a light shade of gray, says Mary Lou Jackson, director of vision rehabilitation at Harvard's Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. For those people, Dr. Jackson says "hands down I would vote for the iPad."

Our office dispenses a new lens that is aimed at relieving the stress on your visual system - Essilor Anti-Fatigue lenses are a patented design advanced single vision lens specially designed to relieve the symptoms of visual fatigue.
The lenses support the wearer's accommodation efforts with an additional plus power at near vision (+ 0.60 D) and with instant adaptation. This provides a greater level of comfort for the wearer as the natural accommodation pattern is retained.

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