Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Eye-Related Problems Linked To Diet, Sun, And Smoking via Wikipedia

A diet rich in all the things that are known to be good for your health also can protect against vision-stealing cataracts, according to a study in the Archives of Ophthalmology.

In a survey of more than 1,800 women, those whose diets were poor in fruits, vegetables and whole grains had a high risk of developing cataracts - deposits of altered proteins in the lens of the eye that can impair vision, according to Julie Mares, an ophthalmology professor at UW and lead author of the study

Separately, a preliminary study in the same journal found a correlation between high levels of sun exposure combined with the taking of certain medicines, including antibiotics and anti-depressants, with cataract formation.
Another study in the same journal shows a link between smoking and the development of one of the leading causes of blindness, age-related macular degeneration. Researchers aren't sure why smoking is linked with macular degeneration. Hypotheses include the suppression of antioxidants by tobacco smoke and impairment of blood circulation in the eye, said the report's lead author, Ronald Klein, an ophthalmology and visual sciences professor.

The findings on macular degeneration involved 2,800 people and come from the Beaver Dam Offspring Study. It is a second massive study of vision and eye diseases that the Kleins have conducted. The first, known as the Beaver Dam Eye Study, or BDES, began in 1987 and is ongoing. The offspring research involves the sons and daughters of participants in the first eye study.
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1 in 4 children have undetected vision problems

One in four children in the U.S. have undetected vision problems which could impair learning, according to the American Optometric Association.

Experts believe that approximately 80 percent of learning comes through a child's eye.

Sending your child to school without good vision could be setting them up for failure or even cause them to be misdiagnosed with a learning disability.

This year, the AOA surveyed teachers throughout America to get their take on exactly how significant children's vision is in their classrooms. According to teachers surveyed, more

than 60 percent saw a direct improvement in a child's academic performance and/or classroom behavior after an eye or vision problem was diagnosed and treated.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Depressed People See a Gray World

Researchers at the University of Freiburg in Germany had previously shown that people with depression have difficulty detecting black-and-white contrast differences. But the scientists had used a somewhat subjective measure — psychophysical tests — and others in the field had suggested perhaps depressed individuals had a harder time holding their attention and that explained the results.

The new study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, relies on an objective measure of the retina, suggesting depressed people may see the world in a different way from the non-depressed.

How the depressed eye works

Contrast vision relies on so-called amacrine cells within the retina, which horizontally connect the retina's neurons called ganglion cells with each other. These cells rely on dopamine, a substance known to be important for drive and attention – when lacking, cause two main symptoms of depression.

The finding has plenty of practical implications, including acting as an indicator of whether anti-depression drugs are working. In addition, the test could provide an objective measure of depression, as clinical tests are not always reliable.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Seniors Eye Care Program

Without question it is the older folks amongst us that need eyecare services. The reason is most people with eye diseases such as cataracts,glaucoma and macular degeneration are seniors. It is exactly these individuals that struggle with the cost of eye care. Many seniors neglect their eye care and vision problems because they have low or fixed incomes or inadequate vision insurance.

There is a solution: the Seniors EyeCare Program, formerly known as National Eye Care Project (NECP). Under this program, if you are a U.S. citizen or legal resident age 65 or older, have not seen an ophthalmologist in the last three years or more, and do not belong to an HMO or have Veterans' vision care, you can call a toll-free number for the name of a volunteer ophthalmologist in your area.

Because the participants aren’t evenly distributed across the country, it will probably be easier for applicants to find doctors in New York State (nearly 700 participating doctors) or Michigan (almost 300) than in New Mexico (14). And while the doctors will waive co-pays for visits and follow-ups, the program won’t pay for eyeglasses, prescriptions, or — if a patient needs surgery — the costs of a hospital or other doctors. (It does refer patients to local organizations, like the Lions Clubs, which maybe a able to help.)

Still, this program takes away one more excuse for not getting an eye exam. Find information and applications at

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Darker Skinned Individuals Also At Risk For Skin Cancer

Title: Pathology: Patient: Melanoma: Asymmetry...Image via Wikipedia

According to a study published in the Archives of Dermatology, darker skinned individuals are also at risk for skin cancer, particularly in geographic areas with intense sun exposure.

After analyzing data from the Florida Cancer Data System, looking at patterns of race- and sex-specific invasive melanoma trends between 1992 and 2004 and comparing them with national trends in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, researchers found that melanoma rates increased in both registries among all groups, including blacks and Hispanics, particularly in Florida.

To date, however, most public-education programs about melanoma have primarily been directed to whites, so there may be less awareness of risk and the need for medical attention for suspicious lesions among darker skinned groups.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alcohol consumption in diabetics linked to decline in visual acuity

Fundus photo showing focal laser surgery for d...Image via Wikipedia

New research shows that patients with diabetes mellitus who drink moderate amounts of alcohol are not at an increased risk for developing retinopathy, but are at an increased risk for losing visual acuity.

"The relationship with the decline in visual acuity was continuous through the distribution of alcohol consumption," report Joline Beulens of University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

In this study, the group analyzed data on 1239 individuals aged 55 to 81 years with Type 2 diabetes previously enrolled in the AdRem study, a sub-study of the Action in Diabetes and Vascular Disease: Preterax and Diamicron MR Controlled Evaluation (ADVANCE) trial.
Alcohol consumption was self-reported, with moderate drinking defined as one to 14 drinks per week and heavy drinking defined as more than 14 drinks weekly.

After a mean follow-up of 5.5 years, 182 individuals were diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, while 640 had retinal vascular lesions, and 693 had declines in visual acuity.

No type of alcoholic beverage was worse than any other, although the magnitude of association was slightly increased with beer compared with wine,
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Friday, July 09, 2010

Researchers at MIT have developed a method of using a basic cell phone coupled with a cheap and simple plastic device clipped onto the screen to estimate refractive errors and focal range of eyes. Because of its simplicity and the fact that soon just about everyone will have access to a mobile phone, eye exams may become available to the whole world at little to no cost.

Ping list

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FDA Approves Implantable Telescope To Help Patients With AMD

FDA has approved a first-of-its-kind technology to counter a leading cause of blindness in older adults -- a tiny telescope implanted inside the eye.
The Implantable Miniature Telescope aims to help in the end stages of incurable age-related macular degeneration, although the FDA warned Tuesday that patients need post-surgery rehabilitation to make it work.

Dr. Malvina Eydelman, FDA's ophthalmic devices chief, said the device can improve the quality of life for those who are 75 and older, have a certain degree of vision loss and who also need a cataract removed. In addition, the FDA took the highly unusual step of requiring that patients and their surgeons sign a detailed 'acceptance of risk agreement' before surgery, acknowledging potential side effects -- including corneal damage and worsened vision -- and the need for lots of testing to determine who's a candidate.

The benefits of the telescopic implants are numerous, such as:

1. Improving the central vision acuity of patients.

2. Can be used in combination with drugs to treat macular degeneration and photodynamic thepray. The use of anti-hypertensive and anti-angiogenic drugs to treat wet advanced macular degeneration, a condition in which ocular arteries leak inside the eye, include ranibizumab and bevabizumab which can cost upto $2,000 per treatment. Ideally, these prosthetic implants will be offered to patients who have undergone photodynamic therapy to destroy "leaky" blood vessels of the eye before this implant can be made in one eye.

3. It may be more cost effective to use these telescopic implants for the treatment of both dry and wet age related macular degeneration over time compared to the continual, protracted and expensive use of drugs. With time, the dosage and use of these drugs can be reduced once the damaged tissue is healed and the implant has been placed in one of the affected eyes.

"The telescope implant represents a new category of treatment for this severely visually impaired population," said Allen W. Hill, CEO of VisionCare.

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Autologous Stem Cell Treatment Restores Vision In Patients With Severe Eye Damage From Burns.

The AP reports, that, according to a study published online June 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine and reported last week at a meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, dozens of people who were blinded or otherwise suffered severe eye damage when they were splashed with caustic chemicals had their sight restored with transplants of their own stem cells -- a stunning success for the burgeoning cell-therapy field. In fact, Italian researchers say that the treatment worked completely in 82 of 107 eyes and partially in 14 others, with benefits lasting up to a decade so far.

The Time "Wellness" blog reported, In a study of 106 patients treated between 1998 and 2007, researchers were able to extract adult stem cells from healthy eye tissue, grow additional stem cells in the lab, and secure them over the damaged eye tissue. But, the treatment technique is limited to people who still have some healthy eye tissue and at least partial vision, as it requires extracting some living stem cells to cultivate new ones. Vision for many of the patients "was restored within mere months of treatment.

Interestingly, the procedure was successful in some patients who had been burned years before entering the study, HealthDay reported. Patients 22, 26 and 46, for example, were nearly blind in one of their eyes, with completely opaque corneas, after suffering alkali burns; they had undergone unsuccessful surgery, respectively, 13, 30, and three years before admission to the study. The researchers were able to restore a stable corneal covering to all three, with patients 22 and 46 regaining complete visual acuity.
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Two Therapies That May Slow Progress Of Diabetic Retinopathy

Description: Fundus photo showing scatter lase...Image via Wikipedia

The Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reported that, according to data published June 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting, doctors said they have identified two therapies that may slow the progress of diabetic retinopathy.

After examining data on a subset of 2,856 people from the ACCORD study, researchers found that "people with type 2 diabetes who adhere to intensive blood sugar control, compared with standard blood sugar control, have reduced progression of retinopathy. In addition, patients treated with a combination of a cholesterol-lowering statin and fibrate drugs also had a lower rate of progression compared with patients taking statins alone.
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Increasing Rates Of Hypertension Among People 18 And Younger.

Main complications of persistent high blood pr...Image via Wikipedia

The Wall Street Journal reports that over the past three decades, rates of hypertension have increased among people aged 18 and under.
In fact, data show that the rate has risen from one percent to five percent in this age group, putting young people at risk for heart attacks and strokes, particularly for those who are overweight, although the risk is higher overall.

Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital say that there is a link between pediatric high blood pressure and enlarged hearts, especially in those who are overweight or obese. Still, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, children who exercised regularly for just three months following a diagnosis of high blood pressure showed definite improvement.
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Corneal Transplant Rejection More Likely In Patients With Neovascularization

Corneal transplant 2 weeks after surgery. Oper...Image via Wikipedia

According to a study published in the July issue of Ophthalmology, corneal transplant rejection is more likely to occur in people who have abnormal vessel growth in their eyes before undergoing the surgery.

But, patients with such neovascularization might improve their chances of a successful transplant when administered antiangiogenic drugs beforehand, such as ranibizumab and bevacizumab.

After reviewing 19 studies encompassing approximately 24,500 corneal transplants, researchers also found that patients who do not have vascularization when they undergo transplantation have a greater than 80 percent chance of retaining good eye health five years after their surgery.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on corneal transplantation.
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