Home » News and Events

News and Events

AOA President Explains How UV Light Can Damage The Eyes.

On its website, CNN reports the National Eye Institute recommends that people wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet radiation whenever they go outside during the day. Andrea Thau, OD, the president of the American Optometric Association, said, “The recommendations are that eyeglasses should block UVA and UVB radiation.” The article also quotes Dr, Thau explaining how light can damage the eyes and what kind of sunglasses can prevent that kind of damage.

Certain Diet May Protect Against AMD, Study Suggests.

MedPage Today reports, “Adherence to a diet high in fruit, dietary fiber, beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E, as well as caffeine, afforded protection against” age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a study presented in 2016 at an eye medicine meeting. The article points out that some of the dietary components “are found in the Mediterranean diet.”

Glaucoma May Have Significant Impact On Children’s Functional Visual Ability And Quality Of Life, Study Suggests.

Healio reports glaucoma and its management can “have a significant impact on a child’s functional visual ability and quality of life,” according to a study published online in Ophthalmology. Researchers found that children with glaucoma had reduced functional visual ability, vision-related quality of life, and health-related quality of life.

Close To 175,000 US Preschoolers Struggle With Common, But Untreated, Vision Problems, Study Finds.

HealthDay reported, “Close to 175,000 American preschoolers struggle with common, but untreated, vision problems,” and that number is expected to rise in the next few years, researchers concluded. In fact, their “analysis projects that the number of cases of uncorrected poor vision in this very young population will jump 26 percent by 2060.” The findings were published online in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Many Decorative, Noncorrective Contact Lenses May Be Contaminated With Microbes, Study Suggests.

Invision reported many decorative, noncorrective contact lenses are contaminated with microbes, according to a study published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences. Researchers at the Food and Drug Administration’s Forensic Chemistry Center found “that 60% of the counterfeit lenses and 27% of the unapproved lenses examined were positive for microbial contamination.”

Decreased Near-Vision Function In Older Patients May Increase Risk For Later Dementia, Study Suggests.

Medscape reports, “Decreased near-vision function in older patients may increase the risk for later dementia,” researchers concluded . After analyzing data on some “7700 participants older than age 65 years,” investigators found that “those with moderate-to-severe near-vision loss at baseline were significantly more likely to develop dementia 12 years later than those who did not have any loss of function.” The findings were presented at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases and Related Neurological Disorders (AD/PD) 2017.

Color-Vision Deficiency May Pose Real Problem For Schoolchildren, Researchers Say.

In an over 2,200-word piece for The Atlantic, writer Amos Zeeberg discusses the challenges of “color-vision deficiency,” commonly known as colorblindness. Zeeberg, who is himself colorblind, points out that “some researchers say CVD can be a real problem for kids, since information is often color-coded in classrooms.” Pupils “can apparently get categorized as learning disabled simply if they’re colorblind.”

Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Mesozeaxanthin Improve Vision, CREST Trial Indicates.

According to Healio, in a video segment filed at Vision Expo East, John Nolan, PhD, discussed “results from the Central Retinal Enrichment Supplementation Trials (CREST)” showing that “the use of lutein, zeaxanthin and mesozeaxanthin supplementation improved vision in nondiseased eyes as well as those with early age-related macular degeneration [AMD].”

FDA Warns Poor Manufacturing Processes From Opto-Pharm Indicate Chance Of Contaminated Eye Washes.

Fierce Pharma reports the FDA “scolded” Singapore-based Opto-Pharm in a warning letter sent this month “for poor manufacturing processes as well for selling products in the U.S. that the FDA has never approved.” Investigators said the company shipped products despite noting “numerous leaking containers and other bottle formation defects” during aseptic production. In addition, “the company wasn’t conducting stability studies for its buffered saline and other ophthalmic solutions produced in 2014 and 2015, leaving open the question of whether the products would remain sterile throughout their expiration date.”

Many Patients With Sjögren’s Syndrome Suffer From Dry Eyes, Survey Reveals.

Healio reports on the findings of a Harris Poll survey “conducted…on behalf of the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation.” The survey of some 3,000 patients with the syndrome revealed that patients “described dry eyes (54%), fatigue (54%) and dry mouth (50%), the three most commonly reported symptoms of Sjögren’s, as having a major impact on their lives in the last year.”

Blue Light Has Potential To Create Substantial Eye Damage Throughout A Lifetime, Expert Says.

Healio reports that in a video presentation recorded at Vision Expo East, Dick Roberts, PhD, of Kemin Health, explains that “blue light has the potential for creating substantial damage in the eye throughout a lifetime.” But, as macular pigment is increased “with lutein and zeaxanthin, ‘we find that the quality of…vision is improved and the potential for advanced age-related macular degeneration decreases.”

USPSTF Recommends Children Should Be Screened For Lazy Eye Before They Turn Five Years Old.

Medscape reports the US Preventive Services Task Force released new draft recommendations calling for children to be screened for amblyopia, or lazy eye, before they turn five years old. The article reports that the draft recommendations are available for public comments until March 27.

HealthDay reports that experts say the early identification of amblyopia is critical, because if the condition is not treated in a timely manner, “vision can be permanently affected.

”FDA Consumer Update Promotes Proper Handling Of Hydrogen Peroxide Solutions.

Healio reports, “The FDA published a consumer update on proper handling of hydrogen peroxide contact lens solution, cautioning users that the red warning label and red tip on the bottle are reminders that they require special handling.” According to the FDA update, “it is essential for every patient to talk to an eye care provider about the best cleaning and disinfecting method and that incorrect care of contacts can increase the risk of eye infections and injury and could cause blindness.

”Screened For Diabetic Retinopathy, Research Suggests.

HealthDay reports, “Many young Americans with diabetes aren’t getting the eye exams” to screen for diabetic retinopathy, researchers found after examining data on some “5,400 people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at an average age of 11” and “more than 7,200 patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at an average age of 19.” MedPage Today reports, “Within 6 years of initial diabetes diagnosis, only 42.2% of youth with type 2 diabetes and 64.9% of those with type 1 diabetes with health insurance were screened for diabetic retinopathy with an eye examination.” The findings were published in JAMA Ophthalmology. The author of an accompanying editorial evaluated retinal telescreening with remote expert interpretation as the best way to address the barriers to diabetic retinopathy screening for youth.”

Comprehensive Vision Assessment Should Be Considered In Kids With Concussion Reporting Academic Difficulty, Researchers Say.

Healio reports, “Comprehensive vision assessment should be considered in children with concussion reporting academic difficulty and in the development of return-to-learn protocols,” researchers recommended after examining a “dataset of 1,033 concussion events” in a “cohort of 276 children.” The findings published in Optometry & Vision Science.

Most Americans Regard Loss Of Eyesight As The Worst Ailment That Could Befall Them, Study Finds.

New York Times reports, “A recent study from researchers at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that most Americans regard loss of eyesight as the worst ailment that could happen to them.” What’s more, “low vision ranks behind arthritis and heart disease as the third most common chronic cause of impaired functioning in people over 70, Dr. Eric A. Rosenberg of Weill Cornell Medical College and Laura C. Sperazza, a New York optometrist, wrote in American Family Physician.”

Taking A Break From Devices May Help Alleviate Symptoms Of Computer Vision Syndrome And Digital Eye Strain, AOA Says.

Shape Magazine discussed digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome. Digital eye strain is defined as “physical eye discomfort” that “may be felt after two or more hours of any screen use per day,” whereas computer vision syndrome is defined as “having tired, sore, often irritated eyes and blurry vision from sitting in front of a computer for hours on end.” The good news is that “any of these symptoms are only temporary and will decline when you take a break from your devices, according to the American Optometric Association (AOA).”

Children Who Spend More Time Using Smartphones Are More Likely To Have Symptoms Of Pediatric Dry Eye Disease, Study Suggests.

The Wall Street Journal reports children who spent more time using smartphones were more likely to have symptoms of pediatric dry eye disease, according to a study published in BMC Ophthalmology. Researchers also found that when the same children gave up their smartphones for a month that their symptoms improved.

Children Should Undergo Comprehensive Eye Exams After Having A Concussion And Before Returning To School, Study Suggests.

HealthDay reports children who have had a concussion should undergo comprehensive eye exams before returning to school, according to a new study published in the Optometry and Vision Science Journal. Researchers found that 46% of children who suffered from lingering symptoms 10 or more days after having a concussion had vision problems, and 29% had academic problems.

Individuals With More Advanced Glaucoma May Not Adapt Their Homes For Safety, Study Suggests.

Healio reported, “Individuals with more advanced glaucoma do not adapt their homes for safety,” researchers found after conducting 174 home assessments “using the Home Environment Assessment for the Visually Impaired.” One of the most “common hazards identified in one or more rooms were ambient lighting less than 300 lux,” the study found. In fact, just “27.9% of evaluated rooms demonstrated adequate lighting,” the study revealed. The findings Share to FacebookShare to Twitterwere published online in Ophthalmology.

Exposure To Sunlight May Reduce Risk Of Myopia, Study Suggests.

The New York Times reports exposure to sunlight may reduce the risk of developing myopia, according to a new study published in JAMA Ophthalmology. Researchers found that seniors “with the highest UVB exposure, especially in the teenage and young adult years, had about a 30 percent lower risk for myopia than those with the lowest exposure.” USA Today reports the researchers found that exposure to UVB “between the ages of 14 and 29 years was associated with a significant decrease in the chance of developing nearsightedness as an adult.” The article points out that a previous study found that the number of Americans with myopia between the ages of 12 and 54 increased from 25% to 41.6% from the early 1970s to the early 2000s.

Researchers Estimate Billions Will Have Myopia Or High Myopia By 2050, Study Suggests.

Healio reports researchers estimate that 4.8 billion people will have myopia by 2050 and 938 million people will have high myopia by 2050, according to a study published in Ophthalmology. The researchers relied on a systematic review of studies published since 1995 and used trends to predict the incidence of myopia and myopia into the future.

Longer Daily Smartphone Use May Be A Risk Factor For Dry Eye Disease In Kids, Study Suggests.

Healio reports, “Longer daily smartphone use may be a risk factor for dry eye disease in children,” researchers found. The findings of the 916-child study were published in BMC Ophthalmology.

Diabetic Retinopathy Is Leading Cause Of Blindness Among US Adults Ages 20-74, CDC Says.

The Miami Herald reports, “Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among US adults ages 20-74,” the CDC has found. Diagnosing the condition early and treating it in a timely fashion “are critical, as 50 percent of patients are diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective, the CDC said.” For patients undergoing timely treatment, “intravitreal injection has changed the course of the disease, said Dr. Andrew Schimel, retina specialist at the Center for Excellence in Eye Care at Baptist Health South Florida.” The piece also discusses cataracts, not just in patients with diabetes, but overall. While “most cataracts develop in people 55 and older, but they occasionally occur in infants and young children, according to the American Optometric Association.”

Many Patients Who Undergo LASIK May Experience New Eye Problems Months After Procedure, Study Finds.

In “To Your Health,” the Washington Post reported that while “millions of Americans each year undergo LASIK surgery to correct their vision,” now “a team of researchers from the Food and Drug Administration, the National Eye Institute and the Department of Defense would like to make sure you weigh the potential risks to your eyes more seriously.”

According to Reuters “Many people who undergo laser surgery” called LASIK “to correct their vision experience new eye problems months after the procedure,” including “dry eye, glare, halos, starbursts and general dissatisfaction with the surgery,” FDA researchers reported. The study which was conducted by Malvina Eydelman of the FDA and colleagues, was published online in JAMA Ophthalmology, along with an accompanying editorial Share to FacebookShare to Twitter.

Early Detection And Treatment Of Diabetic Retinopathy Can Reduce Risk Of Blindness By 95%.

Healio reports the National Institutes of Health says that early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy can reduce the risk of blindness by 95%. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to 50% of patients with the condition are not getting comprehensive eye exams, which can detect the often-asymptomatic disease when treatment is still possible. A survey conducted by the American Optometric Association found that 79% of Americans are unaware the disease can begin before patients observe visual symptoms.

Vision Tests In Preschoolers Often Fail To Detect Hyperopia, Research Suggests

MedPage Today reports “vision tests in preschoolers often fail to detect hyperopia,” researchers found after reanalyzing “data from a previous study of vision tests administered to 4,040 preschool-age children over thee years.” The findings were presented at an optometry meeting.

Study Finds 58% Of People With Diabetes Don’t Get Annual Eye Exams.

HealthDay reports, “Almost two-thirds of people with diabetes don’t get annual eye exams, despite having an increased risk for serious eye disease and vision loss,” researchers found after examining “information from nearly 2,000 people aged 40 and older with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.” Specifically, the study revealed that “58 percent didn’t have regular follow-up eye exams.” The findings were presented at an ophthalmology meeting.

Dual-Focus Daily Disposable Contact Lens May Decrease Myopia Progression Rate In Kids, Study Suggests.

Healio reported, “A dual-focus daily disposable contact lens decreased the progression rate of myopia in children between eight and 12 years old when compared to a single vision spherical daily disposable contact lens,” researchers found. The findings were presented at an optometry meeting.

Almost 16 Million People In US Have Undiagnosed Or Untreated Vision Impairment, Report Says.

Healio reports almost 16 million people in the US are living with an undiagnosed or untreated vision impairment because the US does not prioritize eye health, according to a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, which was sponsored by the American Optometric Association and other groups. The report calls for the Department of Health and Human Services to take action to address the problem.

AOA’s Eye-Q Survey Reveals Misconceptions About Diabetes.

Healio reports, “More than half of Americans do not know comprehensive eye exams can detect diabetes, and 79% of Americans are unaware that diabetic eye diseases have no visible symptoms,” the American Optometric Association’s 2016 Eye-Q Survey reveals. In a press release, AOA President Andrea P. Thau, OD, said, “In 2014 alone, eye doctors found diabetes-related manifestations in 240,000 patients who were not aware they had diabetes, leading to a prompt diagnosis and care [that] minimizes the risk of complications.”

Paintball Guns Pose Greatest Risk Of Vision Loss Among Sports Most Commonly Associated With Eye Injuries, Study Indicates.

HealthDay reports, “Paintball guns pose the greatest risk of vision loss among the sports most commonly associated with eye injuries,” researchers found after analyzing “a US database on emergency” department “visits at more than 900 hospitals in the United States from 2010 through 2013,” then focusing “on nearly 86,000 reports of sports-related eye injuries.”

Amblyopic-Eye Acuity May Improve With Both Binocular Game Play And Fellow-Eye Patching In Kids Study Indicates.

MedPage Today reports that in youngsters ranging in age from five to 12, “amblyopic-eye acuity improved with both binocular game play and fellow-eye patching, particularly in those younger than” seven, researchers found. The findings of the 78-site, 385-child study were published online in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Smartphone Screen Time Tied To Lower Quality Sleep, Study Suggests.

Reuters reports smartphone screen time is tied to lower quality sleep, according to a study published in the PLoS ONE. Researchers used a mobile app to calculate how much time spent looking at smartphone screens and found that an increase in screen time was correlated with lower quality sleep. CNN reports researchers found that screen time “near bedtime” was more closely correlated with lower quality sleep. Dr. Gregory Marcus of the University of California, San Francisco, the study’s lead author, said, “When we looked at smartphone use around the time when participants reported they went to bed, more smartphone use around that time in particular was associated with a longer time to fall asleep and worse sleep quality during the night.” HealthDay reports the researchers used data from “approximately 650 adults who took part in the Health eHeart Study.”

Re-Esterified Omega-3 May Help Improve Signs, Symptoms Of Dry Eye.

Healio reported investigators “confirmed the improvement in the signs and symptoms for dry eye after 12 weeks and support the recommendation that dietary supplementation of re-esterified omega-3 fatty acids should be included as a primary therapy.” The findings of the 105-patient study were published in Cornea.

Kids’ Horseplay With Laser Pointers Causes Dramatic Injury To Retina, Case Study Finds.

HealthDay reports that when kids play with laser pointers, they “an end up with blurry vision, blind spots or potentially permanent vision loss, eye experts report” in a case study detailing “the cases of four children, aged 9 through 16.” The youngsters’ “horseplay with laser pointers caused dramatic injury to the retina.” The findings were published in Pediatrics.

Nearly 90% Of Eye Care Professionals Believe Multi-Screen Lifestyle Is Responsible For Rise In Dry Eye Disease, Survey Reveals.

Healio reports, “Nearly nine out of 10 eye care professionals believe the multi-screen lifestyle is responsible for a rise in dry eye disease,” results from the National Eye Current Attitudes Related to Eye Health (CARE) Survey reveal. Included in the survey were “more than 1,000 eye care professionals (ECPs) and more than 1,200 adults with dry eye symptoms.”

Individuals With High Myopia May Face Significantly Increased Lifetime Risk Of More Serious Visual Impairment, Research Suggests.

MedPage Today reports, “Individuals with high myopia had a significantly increased lifetime risk of more serious visual impairment according to risk estimates extrapolated from data of more than 15,000 participants,” investigators found. The study revealed that “based on projections of the association between axial length, spherical equivalent, and visual impairment as a function of age, visual impairment will increase 7- to 13-fold by 2055 in areas with high rates of myopia.” The findings Share to FacebookShare to Twitter were published online in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Assessing Patients For Diabetic Neuropathy During Eye Exams May Be Quick, Convenient Way Of Identifying Those At Risk Of Nerve Damage, Researchers Say.

Medscape reports, “Assessing patients for diabetic neuropathy while they are having their eyes examined may be a quick and convenient way of identifying early those who are at risk of nerve damage,” researchers found. The findings were presented at the 52nd European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting.

Company Offers Blue-Violet Light Filtering Lenses To Combat Problems With Sleep, Macular Degeneration.

Forbes reports a company is now offering “blue-violet light filtering lenses to combat problems with sleep and macular degeneration.” The article points out that blue light emitted from computer screens can delay sleep and “cause damage to the retina…from both chronic or acute exposure, which can increase the rate of macular degeneration,” according to the American Optometric Association.

Accelerated Corneal Crosslinking May Slow Or Halt Progressive Keratoconus In Patients 18 Years Or Younger, Study Indicates.

Healio reported, “Accelerated corneal crosslinking in subjects with progressive keratoconus was shown to slow or halt the condition in patients 18 years or younger,” researchers found. The findings of the 19-patient study were published in the European Journal of Ophthalmology.

Kids’ Eye Exams May Help Detect Problems Affecting Ability To Read And Study.

US News & World Report reported that eye examinations in children help “detect unsuspected problems that can affect kids’ ability to read and study, see the board in class, excel in sports and reach their full potential at school.” It is important to note that “an eye exam done by health professional is not the same as a visual screening done in school, says” American Optometric Association president Andrea Thau, OD. “School screenings are simply ‘pass-fail tests,’ Thau says, often limited to measuring kids’ clarity of sight and distance acuity.”

Current Orthokeratology, Dual Focus Contact Lenses May Significantly Reduce Myopia Progression, Study Finds.

Healio reports, “Current orthokeratology and dual focus contact lenses can significantly reduce myopia progression,” researchers found. The findings of the 110-patient study were published in Optometry and Vision Science.

Online Eye Test Fails To Detect Elevated Eye Pressure, GMA Investigation Finds.

On its website, ABC News reported that Opternative claims consumers can skip going to the eye doctor “with its 20-minute do-it-yourself online eye test that delivers prescriptions by email.” American Optometric Association president Andrea Thau, OD, said, “This is really foolhardy and…dangerous.” Dr. Thau added, “It is taking a risk because you’re doing one small fraction of the whole eye exam with a potential for missing things that can be very significant to your eye health and your systemic health.” Good Morning America “recruited eight volunteers between 21 to 39 years old to take the Opternative eye exam, and then made appointments for them to have their eyes checked by” ophthalmologist Lisa Park, MD. One volunteer had “elevated pressure in his eyes, a risk factor for glaucoma” that Opternative did not detect. Glaucoma “is treatable if it’s caught early enough, which is why experts say it’s important that people get their eyes checked by an eye doctor.”

High Prevalence Of Concussion-Related Vision Disorders Appears To Support The Need For Appropriate Clinical Testing Of Vergence Accommodation And Eye Movements.

Healio reports, “The high prevalence of concussion-related vision disorders supports the need for appropriate clinical testing of vergence, accommodation and eye movements,” researchers found. The findings of the 218-patient study were published online in Optometry and Vision Science.

Toddlers Appear To Have Highest Risk For Chemical Burns To The Eyes, Study Finds.

In continuing coverage, the New York Times reports that “toddlers have the highest risk” for chemical burns to the eyes, the findings of a study in JAMA Ophthalmology suggest. After examining “a database of 900 emergency departments nationwide,” investigators found that “roughly 28 out of 100,000 one-year-olds and 23 out of every 100,000 two-year-olds had chemical eye burns while only 13 out of every 100,000 adults ages 18 to 64 did.”

People With Diabetes Who Remain Inactive May Have Higher Odds For Diabetic Retinopathy.

HealthDay reports, “People with diabetes who remain inactive may have higher odds for” diabetic retinopathy, researchers found. The 282-patient study revealed that “for each 60-minute daily increase in physical inactivity, the risk for mild or more severe diabetic retinopathy rose by 16 percent.” The findings published online in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Losing Vision One Of People’s Biggest Fears, Survey Finds.

HealthDay reports a nationwide survey of over 2,000 respondents in the US found that “blindness is what many Americans fear most.” The survey was commissioned by the nonprofit health research group known as Research! America and published online in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

One In Six Americans Who Are 40 Or Older Estimated To Have Cataracts.

KERA-TV interviewed Dr. Preston H. Blomquist, the chief of ophthalmology at Parkland Hospital in Texas, about cataracts and their prevalence. Dr. Blomquist said that one in six Americans who are 40 or older have cataracts and explained the importance of detecting symptoms early. The article mentions that the American Optometric Association has more information about cataracts available on their website.

Study Reports Rise In Myopia Among First-Year College Students.

Healio reported that investigators have seen “a rise in myopia among first-year college students, from 23.4% in 2002 to 41.3% in 2014. “Investigators posit “the increase in myopia prevalence…could be related to the lifestyle changes of the academic population.” The findings were published July 6 in Optometry and Vision Science.

Patients With OSA May Be Far More Likely Than Non-SA Patients To Suffer From Glaucoma, Researchers Say.

HCP reports that patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) “were nearly 10 times more likely than non-OSA patients to suffer from glaucoma,” researchers found. The findings Share to FacebookShare to Twitter were published in the May issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science.

Five Years Of Anti-VEGF Treatment Promising For Patients With Neovascular AMD.

HCP Live Share reports, “Five years of treatment with anti-VEGF (anti-vascular endothelial growth factor) drugs seems to hold considerable promise for those with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD),” research suggests. The study, which was conducted by the National Eye Institute and the National Institutes of Health, found that “half” of the 647 patients “studied at the five-year mark retained 20/40 vision or better at the study’s conclusion.” The findings were presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s annual meeting and published online in the journal Ophthalmology.

Intensive Blood Sugar Control Appears To Reduce Risk Of Eye Disease Progression In People With Type 2 Diabetes.

HealthDay reported, “Intensive blood sugar control appears to reduce the risk of eye disease progression in people with type 2 diabetes,” research suggests. Study lead author Dr. Emily Chew, deputy director of the division of epidemiology and clinical applications at the US National Eye Institute, said, “This study sends a powerful message to people with type 2 diabetes who worry about losing vision.” The study was presented at the American Diabetes Association 2016 Scientific Sessions.

Researchers Describe Cases Of Transient Smartphone “Blindness.”

The AP reports that looking at a smartphone “while lying in bed at night could wreak havoc on your vision,” the findings of a letter published June 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine suggest. In the letter, physicians describe how “two women went temporarily blind” in one eye “from constantly checking their phones in the dark.” The NPR “Shots” blog reports, “Vision loss in one eye can be a sign that a person is having a small stroke” or may “also signal a compressed optic nerve.” But, “after further investigation, researchers…think the problem is” simply a case of “transient smartphone ‘blindness.’” The women were looking at their smartphones with “one eye covered because they were lying in bed.” That meant the retina in the eye looking at the smartphone “was adapted to light,” while the retina in the covered eye had adapted to the dark. HealthDay reports that the “optical trick” resolves in a few minutes and results in no lasting damage. People who do not know about this effect may mistakenly think they are having a transient ischemic attack and so might their physicians. To avoid experiencing the phenomenon, smartphone users should “look at the phone with both eyes.”LiveScience also covers the story.

Many Patients With DME May Be Undertreated, Research Suggests.

HCP reports that many patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) may be “undertreated,” research suggests. What’s more, “many patients are not treated as early as they might be, before vision loss progresses,” researchers found. The findings, which were based on “Medicare claims data,” were published in PLOS One.

Diabetic Patients With Vitamin D Deficiency May Be At Risk For Diabetic Retinopathy, Research Suggests.

MedPage Today reported patients with diabetes and a diagnosed vitamin D deficiency may be at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, according to research shared during the annual meeting of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The researchers conducted a meta-analysis and found a “significant association between vitamin D deficiency and diabetic retinopathy, as well as a quantifiable statistically significant difference in mean serum vitamin D levels between patients with diabetic retinopathy and control patients.”

“Computer Vision Syndrome” Could Affect Millions, Report Suggests.

The New York Times reports that up to 70 million workers worldwide who spend “three or more hours a day in front of computer monitors” are at risk for “computer vision syndrome,” according to a report published in Medical Practice and Reviews. Studies have suggested that 70-90% of “people who use computers extensively” have symptoms of the condition, and may also have “neurological symptoms.” Research has also found that people who use computers for long periods of time may complain of “blurred or double vision as well as burning, itching, dryness and redness.”

High Dietary Levels Of Antioxidants, Zinc May Reduce Risk For Macular Degeneration.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the “National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease Study found that taking in high levels of antioxidants and zinc can reduce the risk of macular degeneration by about 25 percent.”

US Blindness, Visual Impairment Rates Projected To Double By 2050.

Popular Science reports that a new study by the National Institutes of Health and published online May 19 in JAMA Ophthalmology suggests that “blindness and visual impairment rates will double by 2050.” In “each decade for the next 35 years, the current population of visually impaired Americans (those with 20/40 or worse) will grow by 20 percent, from about 3.2 million in 2015.” Not included in this group are “the 16 million additional cases of correctable impairments like the nearsightedness and the farsightedness.” HealthDay reports that by 2050, investigators estimate that “2 million Americans will struggle with blindness; 7 million will have glaucoma, which damages the optic nerve, or age-related macular degeneration, which destroys the retina; and 16 million will have the wrong eyeglasses.” The leading factor behind increasing vision problems “is the growth and aging of the population.” Researchers arrived at these conclusion after having analyzed “data on men and women aged 40 and older from six studies on vision loss and blindness,” then “estimating” the future prevalence of such problems through 2050.

Few Cars Offer High Level Of Side-Window UV-A Protection, Study Suggests

HealthDay reports that research suggests that while “the front windshield of your car probably shields you from the sun’s UV-A rays as you drive…the same may not be true for side windows.” Investigators “analyzed the ultraviolet protection provided by the glass in 29 cars from 15 different automobile manufacturers.” Altogether, just “14 percent of the cars offered a high level of side-window UV-A protection.” The findings were published online in JAMA Ophthalmology. Reuters also covers the story.

Repeated Blows To Head May Cause Near Vision To Blur Slightly.

HealthDay reports that research suggests “repeated blows to the head can cause near vision to blur slightly, even if the individual impacts aren’t strong enough to cause a full-fledged concussion.” Over the course of “a regular football season, about two dozen college players developed a vision problem known as ‘near point of convergence,’ even though none suffered a concussion, according to the report which was published in JAMA Ophthalmology. HealthDay adds, “Near point of convergence occurs when the muscles that control the eyes – the ocular-motor system – are unable to perfectly align both eyes to focus on close-up objects, said senior researcher Keisuke Kawata, a PhD student.”

Females May Be At Greater Risk For High And Pathological Myopia, Study Suggests.

Healio reports “females are at greater risk for high and pathological myopia”, according to research presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Opthamology’s annual meeting. The article notes that “high myopia and pathological myopia pose a large burden in the US and put individuals at risk for vision-threatening conditions.”

Americans Likely Underestimating The Danger Of UV Rays On Their Eyes, Report Says.

Medical Daily reports the Vision Council has issued its “2016 UV Protection Report which reveals that “three-quarters of Americans are worried about eye damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, but only 31 percent actually take action to somehow protect their eyes” by wearing sunglasses. The report’s authors concluded, “Americans’ lax approach to sunglass use reveals that they are likely underestimating the danger of UV.”

Severe Vision Impairment Increases Number Of Falls Sustained By US Seniors, CDC Finds.

The CBS News website reports that about “30 percent of older adults” in the US “report falling down at least once in the past year, and that number jumps even higher when seniors have severe vision impairment, according to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its May 6 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Included in the report were some “140,000 adults aged 65 and older from across the country.” Investigators examined data on “participants with severe vision impairment and compared their fall rate to those with good eyesight.” HealthDay reports that “fall risk among seniors rose significantly as vision failed,” as evidenced by the fact that even though “about 28 percent of seniors without severe vision trouble experienced at least one fall in 2014, that number jumped to almost 47 percent in people who had such eyesight issues.” Additional “health issues, such as chronic illness, gait problems, leg weakness and the use of multiple medicines, could push the risk of falling even higher, the researchers said.”

Basic Visual Skill Training May Benefit Kids Reading Below Grade Level, Study Says.

Healio Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/4, Hemphill) reports, “Children reading below grade level showed improved reading outcomes after basic visual skill training when compared to traditional reading training,” the findings of a poster presentation at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting reveal. Researchers arrived at this conclusion after evaluating “17 public school children in fourth and fifth grade who were reading below grade level with no specific diagnosis,” measuring “binocular skills, consisting of convergence fatigue, blur at near, tracking symptoms and reading efficiency, before and after the training.”

Majority Of Parents Unaware Of Blue Light’s Impact On Vision, Survey Suggests.

Healio Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/2) reports, “Results of a survey conducted by VSP Vision showed that the majority of parents are not aware of the impact of blue light from digital devices on vision.” After surveying some “1,000 parents on their digital device usage and awareness of blue light,” researchers found that “fifty-eight percent of the parents surveyed were slightly or not at all aware of blue light in correlation to digital devices or its potential impact on vision, but 10% reported that they had taken steps to reduce their family’s blue light exposure.”

Products Protecting Against Blue Light From Digital Devices Introduced.

Healio Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/28) reports that at a press conference held during Vision Expo East, “Essilor introduced Smart Blue Filter, designed to reduce exposure to harmful blue light, and Eyezen+ lenses, which are embedded with the Smart Blue Filter and are also designed to provide accommodative relief to digital device users.”

Glaucoma Patients At Greatest Risk For Unsafe Driving May Exhibit Slower Performance On Psychometric And Mobility Testing.

Healio Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/26, Sutton) reports, “Glaucoma patients at the greatest risk for unsafe driving exhibited slower performance on psychometric and mobility testing,” the findings of a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the June issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology suggest. In the study involving “21 adults with glaucoma and 38 controls, moderate/advanced glaucoma patients had a 4.1 times greater risk of unsafe driving and a 4.7 times greater risk of requiring a wheel intervention compared to controls,” researchers found.

Preventing Or Recognizing Early Dry Eye Is Important, Experts Say.

Healio Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/24, Hemphill) reports on the importance of dry-eye prevention and early recognition. In a presentation recently given at the Vision Expo East meeting, Paul M. Karpecki, OD, FAAO, said that when dry eye is in its later stages, “it could take a lot longer to reverse it.” Paul M. Karpecki OD, FAAO, said, “Studies show that whether it’s early, middle or severe stage dry eye, the only consistent symptom is blurred vision.”

Pilots May Not Be At Risk For Permanent Eye Damage From Laser Strikes.

The ABC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter website reports that despite “new high-wattage lasers, pilots are not at risk for permanent eye damage even if they are temporarily ‘dazzled’ by a laser strike,” an editorial Share to FacebookShare to Twitterpublished April 20 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology suggests. The authors “pointed out” that even though “there are new lasers available on the market with the potential for causing irreparable eye damage, those only affect people in close proximity.” The authors went on to “explain that when lasers travel through the atmosphere and the cockpit they tend to ‘scatter,’ which can be distracting, but is not damaging to a pilot’s eyesight.” CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter reports that “eyes are more sensitive to green lasers, which is why those are more dangerous to pilots.” Green lasers “‘will be perceived to be far brighter,’ the authors wrote, ‘and as a consequence will result in a greater degree of dazzle.’” HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter Preidt) points out that over the past year, “there were more than 1,500 laser-aircraft cases” in the UK alone, “but there has only been one case of alleged eye damage in a pilot as a result of a laser pointer targeting an aircraft.” That particular “case is questionable,” however, “because the long distance involved would have reduced the amount of laser energy, according to a journal news release.”

FDA Approves Riboflavin Ophthalmic Solution To Treat Progressive Keratoconus With Corneal Collagen Crosslinking.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter reports that the Food and Drug Administration “has approved a riboflavin ophthalmic solution (Photrexa, Avedro) that treats a corneal disease called progressive keratoconus with corneal collagen crosslinking, the manufacturer announced today.” The approval includes “a version of the riboflavin ophthalmic solution that contains dextran (Photrexa Viscous) and an electronic device (KXL System) that irradiates the solutions with ultraviolet A light after they have been applied to the cornea.”

Alzheimer’s Disease Appears To Affect Visual Perception, Particularly Facial Recognition Ability, Study Finds.

HealthDay reports that a study published April 12 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reveals that Alzheimer’s disease affects visual perception, particularly the “ability to recognize faces.” What’s more, problems with visual perception appear to occur “in the early stages of the disease.”

Many People Unaware Certain Eye Problems Require Immediate Emergency Care.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (2/24, Doyle) reports that not many people are aware certain eye problems can present suddenly and require emergency care immediately, such as central retinal artery occlusion, acute-closure glaucoma, giant cell arteritis, or retinal detachment, a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online Feb. 18 in JAMA Ophthalmology suggests. This is problematic, because if these conditions are not treated swiftly, vision impairment or blindness can ensue.

FDA Issues Laser Pointer Warning.

The Connecticut Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (3/15, Cuda) report that the Food and Drug Administration “is reminding consumers about the risk of eye and skin injuries from exposure to laser products.” The FDA recommends not using any laser pointer emitting more than 5 mW of power.

Even Moderate Uncorrected Farsightedness In Young Children May Significantly Affect Early Literacy Skills, Study Suggests.

The Boston Globe Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (2/23, Scudellari) reports that “even moderate uncorrected farsightedness in four- and five-year-old children significantly affects early literacy skills, according to” the findings of a 492-child study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the journal Ophthalmology and supported by the National Eye Institute. The study’s findings indicate that “an untreated vision problem can delay a child’s grade school readiness, says lead author Marjean Kulp of Ohio State University’s College of Optometry.”

Sudden Storm Of New Floaters Merits Doctor Visit.

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (2/5, Rabin) “Well” blog explained that “floaters in the eye” may be “alarming,” but often are totally “harmless” and “usually fade with time.” But, should a “sudden ‘storm’” of new floaters come into being, it is “important to see a doctor…because the detaching vitreous gel can pull on the retina, causing it to tear, which can lead to retinal detachment, a serious condition.

Vaccine For Chickenpox And Shingles Linked To Keratitis.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/25, Preidt) reports, “The vaccine for chickenpox and shingles has been linked to” keratitis, “but the number of such cases is small,” a study presented at an ophthalmology meeting suggested. Investigators “found 20 cases of keratitis in children and adults that occurred within a month of receiving a chickenpox or shingles vaccine.”

Daily Consumption Of Green Leafy Vegetables May Decrease Glaucoma Risk.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/15, Doheny) reports, “Eating green leafy vegetables daily may decrease the risk of glaucoma…by 20 percent or more over many years,” a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online Jan. 14 in JAMA Ophthalmology suggests. Researchers analyzed data on “nearly 64,000 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study from 1984 through 2012, and more than 41,000 participants in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study from 1986 through 2014.” MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/15, Wallan) reports that “intake of more nitrate-rich foods like leafy greens was associated with a 20% to 30% lower risk for primary open-angle (POA) glaucoma, especially for cases with early paracentral visual field (VF) loss in which cases the association had a 40%-50% lower risk,” the study found.Medical Daily Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/15, Olson) reports that the “American Optometric Association says” leafy greens “are packed with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.” The Telegraph (UK) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/15, Knapton) also covers the study.

Multitasking With Electronic Devices Leading To Digital Eye Strain, Survey Finds.

The Chicago Tribune Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/6, Elejalde-Ruiz) reports that about “three-quarters of people who use two or more” electronic “devices simultaneously report symptoms of digital eye strain, compared with just over half of people who use one device at a time, according to a survey of more than 10,000 people that was released Wednesday by The Vision Council.” Also known as computer vision syndrome, digital eye train “is becoming more widely recognized as a diagnosis, said Geoffrey Goodfellow, associate professor at the Illinois College of Optometry and an attending optometrist at the Illinois Eye Institute.” To avoid digital eye strain, the American Optometric Association recommends that people follow the 20-20-20 rule: “Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and look at something 20 feet away.”

Spending Lots Of Time Indoors And On Electronic Devices May Be Raising Kids’ Risk For Myopia, Experts Say.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/25, Cuba) reported that panelists at a recent ophthalmology meeting warned that youngsters “who spend lots of time indoors and on computers and other electronic devices may be raising their risk for” myopia. The experts recommended that children “spend more time playing outdoors” where they are exposed to “natural light” and their eyes benefit by “seeing objects at a distance.”

Less Than Half Of US Adults With Diabetes May Recognize Their Risk For Vision Loss.

Healio Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/25) reported that a survey conducted by the Market Research Group at Everyday Health Inc. on behalf of Regeneron suggests that “less than half” of US adults “with diabetes recognize their risk for vision loss” due to diabetic retinopathy or diabetic macular edema. The survey also revealed that “30% of respondents do not get an annual comprehensive dilated eye exam, and 56% were not aware that the exam is recommended by the National Eye Institute for those with diabetes.”

New Contact Lenses May Reduce Or Correct Low To Moderate Levels Of Myopia In Children.

The Daily Mail (UK) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/30, Hunter) reports that new “rigid gas permeable contact lenses work by altering the shape of the cornea to reduce or correct low to moderate levels of myopia (short sight), according to the British Contact lens Association.” Working with 282 children, researchers ran “trials…over three years in 10” US centers to test the lenses. It remains to be seen, however, if “the effects will last if the children stop wearing the lenses.”

 

Falling Number One Cause Of Eye Injury In The US, Study Finds.

The CBS News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/17, Welch) website reports that “falling is the number one cause of eye injury in the” US, accounting for “for more than 8,400 hospitalizations in a 10-year period, according to new research” recently presented at an ophthalmology meeting. The next “biggest cause of eye trauma was fighting,” researchers found after analyzing data from some 47,000 patients “diagnosed with ocular trauma from 2002 to 2011.” HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/17, Preidt) reports that “treatment costs” for such injuries also “rose 62 percent during that time” and are “now more than $20,000 per injury.”Atropine Drops May Slow Progression Of Nearsightedness In Children.The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/17, Mullin) reports in “Speaking of Science” that “drops of a drug called atropine seemed to slow the progression of nearsightedness in children,” according to the results of a five-year clinical trial presented at an ophthalmology meeting. Surprisingly, investigators “found that a lower dose of the drug was more effective than higher dosages, in addition to risking fewer side effects.”

US Soccer Bans Headers For Players 10 And Younger To Prevent Head Injuries.

CBS Evening News (11/10, story 9, 0:25, Holt) reported that “the national” youth soccer “governing body, US Soccer, is imposing new rules to protect against concussions. Children 10 and under will no longer be allowed to head the ball,” and “players between 11 to 13 will be allowed to head the ball, but only during games, not practice.” NBC Nightly News (11/11, story 6, 2:10, Holt) reported that these new guidelines come in “response to a lawsuit over brain injuries” that “sought rule changes.” The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/10, B11, Strauss, Subscription Publication) reports that the US Soccer guidelines will also modify “substitution rules that are meant to better serve players suspected of having sustained concussions.” The new “regulations will be mandatory for U.S. Soccer youth national teams and academies, including Major League Soccer youth club teams, but the rules will be only recommendations for other soccer associations and development programs that are not under U.S. Soccer control.” The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/11, Payne) “Early Lead” blog reports that the announcement came from US Soccer “in ajoint statement Share to FacebookShare to Twitter alongside other soccer entities and the law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, which filed a class-action lawsuit last year against FIFA and others over what it deemed the sport’s inadequate concussion protocol.” In a separate press release Share to FacebookShare to Twitter, US Soccer “said it would unveil a comprehensive campaign in the coming months that is being ‘developed with the help of medical experts to provide coaches, players, parents and referees with information, guidance and additional educational materials to improve the management of injuries, including concussions.’”

Paintball, Airsoft And BB Guns May Cause Severe, Life- Or Vision-Threatening Injuries In Kids.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/24, Doheny) reported that “paintball, airsoft and BB guns” may “cause severe, sometimes life-threatening injuries in children,” according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Many of these injuries are “eye-related.” In fact, the study of 288 kids revealed that “seven…had an eye injury so severe surgeons had to remove the eye, the researchers reported.” Experts recommend that children playing with non-powder guns wear goggles and be supervised closely by parents.

Study Finds Carotenoids May Be Protective Against AMD.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/9, Dotinga) reports on a new study Share to FacebookShare to Twitterpublished in JAMA Ophthalmology suggests that carotenoids “may help ward off” age-related macular degeneration. Researchers found that “people who consumed the very highest levels of carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin had a 40 percent lower risk of the advanced form of AMD compared to those who ate the very least.” Lead researcher from Harvard’s School of Public Health, Juan Wu, added, “Other carotenoids, including beta cryptoxanthin, alpha carotene and beta carotene, may also play protective roles.”

Parents Urged To Schedule Comprehensive Eye Exams For Their Children.

In “The Blog” for the Huffington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/2, Loomis), Steven Loomis, OD, president of the American Optometric Association, wrote to urge parents to “take the time this fall to schedule a comprehensive eye exam for” their youngsters. According to Dr. Loomis, “a comprehensive eye exam will test all aspects of children’s sight and for vision issues that may not yet show symptoms.” Vision disorders that go “undetected and untreated…can have some of the same signs and symptoms commonly attributed to a behavior problem,” which could result in some kids being “mislabeled as having behavioral issues” or “learning disabilities.”

Spending More Time Outdoors May Reduce Progression Of Myopia In Children.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16, Doyle) reports that spending just 40 minutes outdoors each day may help reduce the progression of myopia in youngsters, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published Sept. 15 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The NBC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16, Fox) website reports that 12 schools took part in the three-year experiment in which “half…assigned their first-graders to an extra period of outside recess for every day of the school year,” and the other half did not. Some 1,900 first graders took part. At the end of the study, “nearly 40 percent of the kids who did nothing extra had developed myopia, compared to 30 percent of the kids who got the extra outdoor activity.” Newsweek Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16, Firger) points out that an editorial Share to FacebookShare to Twitteraccompanying the study “suggests that increased amounts of outdoor light exposure may alter retinal dopamine neurotransmitters that are important for controlling the growth and development of young eyes.” Also covering the study are BBC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16), the CBS News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16, Welch) website, HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter(9/16, Phillips) and Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16, Phillips).

Lutein May Help Limit Macular Degeneration, NEI Study Finds.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/15, D2, Johannes, Subscription Publication) reports that a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter by the National Eye Institute found that lutein, combined with other dietary supplements like vitamins C and E, zinc and copper, reduced the risk of macular degeneration progressing to an advanced stage. Lutein and its cousin zeaxanthin are found in a variety of foods, including spinach, kale, collard greens, and egg yolks. Emily Y. Chew, co-author of the study and deputy clinical director at the NEI, said when the two nutrients are consumed, they help shield sensitive eye cells from incoming light.

FDA Says Gel Product Has Safety Risks.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/22, Brooks) reported that the Food and Drug Administration “has received reports of severe allergic reactions and herpes zoster in patients with actinic keratosis treated with ingenol mebutate (Picato, LEO Pharma) gel.” The agency’s review of these adverse events found that “severe eye injuries and skin reactions have occurred when Picato gel is not applied according to the recommendations on the label.” As a result, the FDA will require label changes to disclose the new safety risks and provide additional instructions.

DC Survey Reveals Many Wearers Of Contacts Practice Poor Lens Hygiene.

USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/21, Bowerman) reports that some 41 million Americans are estimated to wear contact lenses. Of that group, nearly “everyone is guilty of breaking the rules when it comes to contact care, according to a new survey Share to FacebookShare to Twitter from the Centers for Disease Control” published in the Aug. 21 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. People who wear contacts “answered questions in an online survey administered by the CDC in collaboration with the Contact Lens Assessment Youth group,” a survey that revealed that “99% of those surveyed are at risk for serious eye infections because of poor hygienic behaviors.” The NBC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/21, Fox) website reports that “nearly a third” of the adult contact lens wearers surveyed “admit they’ve gone to a doctor because of red or painful eyes,” and “half or more of wearers admitted they slept or napped while wearing lenses.” Better than half (55 percent) “said they just topped off solution instead of changing it and rinsing the case,” while 61 percent admitted to swimming with their contact lenses in. HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/21, Preidt) reports that nearly 80 percent “admitted keeping their contact lens cases for longer than recommended, and more than half said they add new solution to the existing solution instead of emptying the contact lens case first.” All of these practices increase “the risk of eye infections by five times or more, according to the CDC.”

Protective Eyewear Requirement In Girls’ Field Hockey Results In Fewer Eye-Related Injuries, Study Says.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/18, Doyle) reports that the National Federation of State High School Associations’ 2011 mandate that required field hockey players to wear protective eye gear during high school-sanctioned field hockey competitions helped reduce injuries to and around the eye, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online in the journal Pediatrics. HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/18, Haelle) reports that the study also “found that the odds of sustaining an eye injury were more than three times as high in areas where the mandate was not implemented compared with areas where it was implemented.” Researchers arrived at these conclusions after having “national and regional injuries for four seasons of girls’ high school field hockey,” including “the two seasons before the mandate for protective eyewear was implemented (2009-2010 and 2010-2011) and the two seasons after (2011-2012 and 2012-2013).”

Expert Discusses Importance Of Detecting AMD Early.

The Baltimore Sun Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/13, Cohn) interviews R. Ross Lakhanpal, MD, of the MedStar Union Memorial Hospital Eye Center, who discussed both the wet and dry forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), “the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60.” Regular eye exams are important, because early detection leads to more successful treatment. While the disease cannot be cured, it can be treated with laser therapy and “anti-angionic” medications injected into the eye. Vitamin supplements have also been “found to be very effective in delaying and possibly preventing vision loss.” In fact, “the National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that taking nutritional supplements with a specific high-dose formulation of antioxidants (vitamins C and E and beta-carotene), zinc, and copper delayed or prevented the progression of macular degeneration from the intermediate to the advanced stage.”

Eye Motion Test Could Detect Concussions.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/7, Olson) reports that a study published in the online journal Concussion shows that a new eye tracking system can identify concussions with 88 percent accuracy, which is “superior to many commonly used screening tests.” Dr. Uzma Samadani, a neurosurgeon and TBI specialist at Hennepin County Medical Center, was the lead author of the research and says the data will be presented to the FDA in hopes of gaining Federal approval for clinical care. FDA officials have raised a variety of questions about the eye tracking system.

Only 57.6% Of Adults With Diabetes Report Having Had An Eye Exam In The Past Year, Survey Suggests.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/6) reports that “the number of people with diabetes who have visited an ophthalmologist or an optometrist to have their eyes checked within the last 12 months increases with age and longer disease duration but is still not optimal,” according to research Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (pdf) published online by the National Center for Health Statistics in an E-Stat report. The results of “the most recent National Health Interview Survey” also reveal that “overall, 57.6% of adults with diabetes reported having had an eye exam in the past year,” researchers reported.

A Swim At The Beach May Result In Eye Infections.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/4, D4, Lukits, Subscription Publication) reports that people taking a swim at the beach may end up needing medical attention to deal with eye infections, according to a study published in the Journal of Water and Health. Researchers arrived at this conclusion after analyzing data from more than 54,000 swimmers who visited nine beaches in the US.

Review: Patients Can Continue To Take Aspirin As Recommended By Their PCPs Without Fear Of Worsening Macular Degeneration.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/17, Harrison) reports, “Patients can continue to take aspirin as recommended by their primary care physicians [PCPs] without fear of worsening their macular degeneration,” according to a review of “197 cardiovascular studies with 167,582 subjects and four ophthalmologic studies with 13,175 subjects.” In fact, “in the meta-analysis of all these studies, the possible risk for macular degeneration was outweighed by the well-established cardiovascular benefits.” The findings were presented earlier this week at the American Society of Retina Specialists’ annual meeting.

Implantable Miniature Telescope May Be Effective In Patients With Bilateral AMD Younger Than Age 75.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/14, Harrison) reports, “For patients with bilateral late-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an implantable miniature telescope is effective in patients younger than 75 years, according to results of a five-year study” that involved “217 patients who underwent implantation in one eye; the fellow eye served as the control group.” The study also stratified patients “by age at study enrollment: 75 years and older, 65 to 75 years, and younger than 65 years.” The research Share to FacebookShare to Twitter was presented at a medical meeting and published online in the Journal of Clinical Ophthalmology.

Summer Sun Poses Significant Issues For Eye Health And Vision.

In “The Blog” for the Huffington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/7), author Kim Dramer writes that “summer sun poses significant issues for eye health and vision.” To protect “vision during the summer months and beyond” from the harm caused by ultraviolet rays, including photokeratitis and long-term problems, such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and even cancer, the American Optometric Association (AOA) provides guidelines recommending the use of sunglasses, wearing a hat, and using sunscreen on the skin around the eyes. In addition, Andrea Thau, OD, “president-elect of the AOA and Associate Clinical Professor at State University of New York College of Optometry, provides an eye health primer for understanding the dangers posed by summer sun and protecting your eye health and vision as well as that of your child during summer vacation.”

Digital Devices Taking A Toll On Getting A Good Night’s Sleep.

In its “Sleepless in America” special series, NBC Nightly News (6/24, story 9, 2:45, Holt) reported, “The CDC has called lack of sleep a public health epidemic, and most sleep experts say all our digital devices we’re taking into the bedroom are taking a toll on getting a good night’s rest.” NBC News correspondent Hallie Jackson explained, “Experts say it’s no coincidence 95 percent of us look at some kind of screen within an hour of bedtime and 85 percent have trouble falling asleep.” Blue light emitted from “screens send[s] a signal it’s still daylight, triggering a surge of energy and blocking the melatonin that makes us sleepy.” Therefore, it’s “no wonder then that with the device on nearly every nightstand one in three people sleeps less than six hours a day, raising the risk for diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression.”.

CDC: Chloramines In Swimming Pool Water May Irritate Eyes, Skin.

The ABC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/25, Mohney) website reports that people using swimming pools often “end up with red eyes or even skin irritation,” and the cause is “probably not the chlorine” used in pool water. The CDC “advises Share to FacebookShare to Twitter that what is especially irritating for swimmers is when chlorine mixes with body fluids including sweat or even urine.” The resulting “by-products, called chloramines, appear in the water or even in the air near a pool.” Swimmers who do not use goggles “should be careful to keep their eyes shut underwater.” Chloramines in the air may irritate people’s airways, too, posing a risk for people with asthma.

Sunglasses May Help Prevent Many Eye Diseases, Cancer On Eyelid.

The Chicago Tribune Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (6/7, Carlson) reported on the importance of sunglasses “having 100 percent protection from UVA and UVB light (also called UV 400 block).” That is because “properly fitting sunglasses go a long way to preventing many eye diseases, including cataracts, macular degeneration and cancers related to the iris and eyelid.” Samuel Pierce, OD, “on the board of trustees for the American Optometric Association, said about 10 percent of skin cancers are around the eyelid, as damage from ultraviolet rays is accumulated over a lifetime of exposure, which is why parents should try to put sunglasses on children, including babies.”

Surge In Popularity Of Air-Powered Replica Firearms Leads To Increase In Eye Injuries.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/29, Jones, Subscription Publication) reported that air-powered replica guns have surged in popularity, leading to huge increases in associated eye injuries with the firearm replicas. According to Stanford University medical researchers using US Consumer Product Safety Commission data, non-powder replica gun eye injuries have increased by 500% between 2010 and 2012.

Metformin Use Linked To Lower Risk For Glaucoma.

Health Day Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/29, Reinberg) reports that metformin may be “linked to a lower risk of developing…glaucoma,” according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online in JAMA Ophthalmology. In the study, which included some 150,000 individuals with diabetes, “people who took the most metformin during the 10-year study period had a 25 percent reduced risk of glaucoma compared with people not taking the” medication.

Analysis Reveals Chronic Health Conditions Discovered During Eye Examinations.

LifeHealthPro Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/19) reports that by “looking at the experience of 820,000 enrollees who had both UnitedHealthcare medical and vision coverage for at least 670 days in 2011 and 2012, and who started 2011 without having any chronic condition diagnosis,” analysts at UnitedHealth’s UnitedHealthcare unit discovered that “52,408 of the enrollees, or 6.4 percent, received chronic condition diagnoses, and that 2,612, or 5 percent of the enrollees who received chronic condition diagnoses, first learned about the conditions when they saw eye care providers.” High cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes were three health conditions discovered during eye examinations.

More Children Around The World Becoming Nearsighted.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/20, Wang, Subscription Publication) reports on the increased numbers of children with myopia, particularly in Asia. Even in the US, the rate of myopia has increased in teens and adults by approximately 66 percent between studies almost 30 years apart, according to the National Eye Institute’s own research. Some experts believe that children spend too little time outdoors. Sunlight helps dopamine release substances that stop eyes from becoming nearsighted.

ChiTrib: US Kids Should Spend More Time Outdoors To Avoid Becoming Nearsighted.

The Chicago (IL) Tribune Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/11) editorialized that in 2004, a study conducted by the National Eye Institute found that 42 percent of Americans had “some degree” of nearsightedness. Numerous studies in people and in animals are now suggesting that sunlight allows for the release of dopamine within the retina, thus preventing the eye from becoming “misshapen during development.” Unfortunately, “dim indoor lights disrupt this cycle, stripping the eye of the dopamine’s protection during the day.” One Australian researcher claims that spending just three hours outdoors each day would help prevent some of children’s risk for developing myopia. These days, most US kids are outdoors far less time than that, the Tribune observed.

Calcium Supplementation May Be Linked To Higher Risk Of Macular Degeneration.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/11, Laidman) reported that research suggests that people “who take more than 800 mg of calcium daily are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as those who” do not. The findings were published online in JAMA Ophthalmology.

Expert Discusses How Certain Vitamins, Minerals May Lower AMD Risk.

In the Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/7, D3, Mitchell, Subscription Publication), Emily Y. Chew, of the National Eye Institute, discusses the results of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study that found that certain vitamins and minerals lowered the risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). She also talked about the follow-up study in which zeaxanthin and lutein were added to the previous study’s supplement formulation, lowering the risk for AMD even further. Finally, she recommended that people consume leafy greens and fish often during the week.

Simple Formula May Predict Which Kids Will Become Nearsighted By Age 13.

The Today Show Online Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/3, Fox) reports that in research published online April 2 in JAMA Ophthalmology, investigators have arrived at “a simple formula for predicting which children will need glasses as they hit middle school: measure how farsighted they are in the first grade.” After studying some 4,500 youngsters for over 20 years, researchers found that “measuring their vision at around age six can predict which kids will become nearsighted by the age of 13.” The NPR Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/3, Shute) “Shots” blog reports that the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that “children whose refractive error was less than +0.75 diopters (which is slightly farsighted) in first grade were most likely to become nearsighted.” Medical Daily Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/3, Caba) reports that investigators “assessed 13 potential risk factors, including physical measures of the eye and reports from parents regarding their child’s activities, to decide on the strongest predictor or set of predictor for nearsightedness.” Even though “all 13 risk factors did increase each child’s risk for nearsightedness, certain predictors were more important than others, such as two nearsighted parents.” Still, “the child’s eyeglasses prescription at baseline was the strongest predictor for if a child would develop nearsightedness before” adolescence. The Telegraph (UK) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/3, Knapton) also covers the story.

Google Testing Smart Contact Lenses That Measure Glucose Levels In Users’ Tears.

TIME Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (3/25, Sifferlin) reports that Google has been awarded “a patent for a contact lens with an embedded chip” that may help measure glucose levels in people with diabetes. The company “has been testing various prototypes of smart contact lens and is currently in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about a lens that measures glucose levels in users’ tears.” Google “says the chip and sensor are embedded between two layers of contact lens material and a tiny pinhole lets tear fluid from the eye reach the glucose sensor, and the sensor can measure levels every second.”

Company Claims New Laser Treatment Can Change Brown Eyes Into Blue Eyes.

TIME Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (3/6, Poppick) reports that California-based Stroma Medical claims that “a new treatment has successfully changed the color of people’s eyes in Latin America.” In the US, however, the FDA has not approved the procedure. Stroma “claims that it has conducted 37 successful treatments on patients in Mexico and Costa Rica” with a laser treatment that “turns brown eyes blue.” The 20-second, $5,000 procedure “works by disturbing the thin layer of pigment that exists on the surfaces of all brown irises.” Results are not instantaneous. It takes several weeks after the procedure for the eyes to turn blue. While the company maintains the procedure is safe, some eye experts have expressed caution that the procedure could result in increased ocular pressure and a higher risk for glaucoma.

Differences In Dress Color Perception Based In Science.

CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (2/27, Cohen) reported on the social media debate concerning the “colors in the now-famous dress,” and said “there’s a scientific explanation” behind the perception differences. The differences reportedly “have to do with the tiny cones in the back of our eyeballs that perceive colors in a slightly different way depending upon our genes.” Dr. Emily Chew, the deputy director of the division of epidemiology and clinical applications at the National Eye Institute, however, “said in more than 30 years of research she’s never seen an image where people, all with normal vision, have had such dramatically different responses.” She continued, “It would be interesting to use this image to learn more about the pathways of how we understand color.”

Function Of Eyelashes May Be To Help Protect Eyes From Drying Out.

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (2/25, A12, Gorman, Subscription Publication) reports that research published Feb. 24 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface suggests that “the real function” of eyelashes “is to help protect eyes from drying out.” Researchers discovered that “across a wide variety of mammals, eyelashes are always about one-third as long as the eye is wide, which, it turns out, is the ideal length for diverting airflow around the eye and reducing evaporation.”

AOA Estimates One In Four Kids Has A Vision-Related Issue.

The Oklahoman Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (2/17) reports, “The American Optometric Association estimates that one in four children has a vision-related issue.” Children with “uncorrected vision” may face “social, academic, behavioral, physical and athletic” problems. The AOA suggests that kids “first see an optometrist between six months and one year of age, and once every a year to 18 months afterward.”

Breathing Slowly, Deeply May Help People With Dry-Eye Disease Produce More Tears.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (2/3, Lukits, Subscription Publication) reports that a 20-patient study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the journal Ocular Surface suggests that breathing deeply and slowly may help people with dry-eye disease secrete more tears. Deep, slow abdominal breathing helps calm the autonomic nervous system which in turn controls the parasympathetic system and makes it easier for the lacrimal glands to produce tears. The National Eye Institute points out that some 12 million people in the US may have dry-eye disease.

Tracking Eye Movements May Help Detect Concussions.

Forbes Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/30) contributor Robert Glatter, MD explains that “researchers from NYU have developed a new approach using novel eye tracking technology that can spot abnormalities in eye movements which may represent the earliest signs of concussion,” and that “additional information obtained from abnormalities of eye movements may…be used to quantify the severity of a concussion,” according to study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online Jan. 29 in the Journal of Neurotrauma. For the study, researchers “evaluated 75 patients (between the ages of 18 and 60) in the emergency department at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, who had sustained head trauma and compared them with 64 healthy control subjects.”

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/30, Preidt) reports that “the movements of the participants’ pupils were tracked while they watched a music video for a few minutes.” Interestingly, 13 “trauma patients who hit their heads and had CT scans showing new brain damage, and 39 trauma patients who hit their heads and had normal CT scans, were much less able to coordinate their eye movements than trauma patients who hadn’t hit their heads and those in the control group.” And, “the more severe the concussion, the worse a patient’s eye movement problems.”

AOA Condemns Practice Of Eyeball Tattooing.

BBC News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/16, Jolly) reports on eyeball tattoos, a technique which “involves injecting pigment directly into the eyeball so it rests under the eye’s thin top layer, or conjunctiva.” A few injections are needed “to completely cover the sclera, which is then coloured for life.” BBC News points out that “the American Optometric Association unequivocally condemns the practice, saying it puts the patient at risk of infection, inflammation and blindness.”

Long-Term Hypertension May Increase Risk Of Glaucoma.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/8, Preidt) reports that research published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science suggests that “long-term high blood pressure may increase the risk of…glaucoma.” The investigators “said their findings suggest that doctors should consider a patient’s blood pressure when managing glaucoma.”

Small Study: Using E-Readers Before Bedtime May Disrupt Sleep Patterns.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/23, D3, Beck, Subscription Publication) reports that according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reading a real book printed on paper may be much less disruptive of sleep than reading from a tablet computer or e-book reader. The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/23, Bakalar) “Well” blog reports that after randomizing “12 healthy young adults to one of two activities: reading a light-emitting e-book in a dimly lit room for about four hours before bedtime on five consecutive evenings, or reading a printed book for the same amount of time,” researchers found that “compared with a printed book, a light-emitting e-book decreased sleepiness, reduced REM sleep (often called dream sleep), and substantially suppressed the normal bedtime rise of melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep and wake cycle.” People who read e-books reported feeling groggier and less alert in the morning. The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/23, Mohan) “Science Now” blog reports, “Although the study used only iPads, in separate tests the researchers found that iPhones, iPods, the Nook Color and the Kindle Fire all had similar short-wavelength emissions.”

Expert Panel Recommends Eye Screening For Preschool Kids.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/20, Preidt) reported that according to recommendations made by an expert panel of the US National Center for Children’s Vision Health in the January issue of the journal Optometry and Vision Science, all youngsters “should have their eyesight checked between the ages of three and six, preferably every year.” The authors of the recommendations pointed out that “early detection and treatment of vision problems is important in terms of a child’s development and readiness to school.”

Most Americans Not Incorporating Foods, Supplements Into Diet For Eye Health.

KY Forward Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/19) reports that “according to a 2014 survey from the American Optometric Association, 73 percent of Americans do not incorporate any specific foods or supplements into their diet to help improve eye health or vision,” even though “six nutrients ― antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc ― have been identified as helping to protect eye sight and promote visual health.” Optometrist Leslie Cecil, OD, said, “Since the body doesn’t make these nutrients naturally, it’s important that they are incorporated into your daily diet and, in some cases, supplemented with vitamins.”

FDA Warns Toy Lasers Can Damage Eyesight.

The Hill Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/19, Devaney) reports that the FDA has issued safety guidance Share to FacebookShare to Twitter “to protect children playing with toy laser guns and lightsabers,” which the agency says “can cause someone’s eyesight to slowly deteriorate over time.” The agency wrote, “Lasers with outputs above certain levels that are operated in an unsafe and uncontrolled manner may cause injury to the user and others within range of the laser beam” and “this is a particular concern for lasers intended for entertainment purposes, especially when intended to be used as toys by children.”

AOA Stresses Importance Of Full Vision Exams For Babies, Toddlers.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/9, Gormly) reports that while more and more younger children are being diagnosed with vision problems, “medical professionals and parents are catching the problems earlier than they did in previous generations.” The American Optometric Association “recommends babies get a full vision exam when they are six months and 12 months old, then annually after that.” That is because “basic vision screenings, like those done at schools and at standard pediatrician well visits, don’t give a thorough enough picture of the eye’s health and functioning…says” Andrea Thau, OD, vice president of the AOA. Dr. Thau pointed out the importance of detecting vision problems in little ones early, because “vision is the primary sense” used in learning.

Patients With Allergic Eye Symptoms May Also Have Concomitant Dry Eye Disease.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/12, Johnson) reports that according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, “patients with allergic eye symptoms can also have concomitant dry eye disease, and the combination of the two conditions often means that symptoms are more numerous and more severe.” Investigators came to this conclusion after comparing “the prevalence and severity of dry eye disease in a national cohort of 9216 ophthalmology patients (mean age, 55 years) and 68 allergy patients (mean age, 49 years).”

Bonnet Syndrome Examined.

Paula Span, in a piece for the New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/8, Span), explained that Bonnet Syndrome causes patients to hallucinate, much like dementia patients, though the source of the visions is related to diminished eye sight. The condition affects about 10-15% of older patients experiencing macular degeneration, glaucoma, or cataracts. The visions often go away after one or two years, according to Dr. Abdhish Bhavsar, spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Study Examines Dangers Of Detergent Pods To Kids.

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/10, A16, Saint Louis, Subscription Publication) reports on the dangers posed by “colorful, single-load packets of” detergents introduced on the US market about two years ago. Since the pods’ introduction, “more than 17,000 children under age six ate or inhaled the contents or squirted concentrated liquid from a packet into their eyes, “ according to a study published online in the journal Pediatrics. For the study, researchers compiled “all cases reported to the National Poison Data System,” finding that the problem was not “uncommon” and may even be under-reported, since information reported to the NPDS is voluntary. USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/10, Painter) reports that the single-use pods “sent an average of one child a day to hospitals in 2012 and 2013,” the study found. Even though there are not any numbers for this year available yet, “the danger persists, says lead researcher Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus,” OH. Youngsters at the most risk are toddlers under the age of two, who may think the colorful pods resemble candy or a juice product. The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/10, B1, Ziobro, Subscription Publication) reports on the front of its Marketplace section that the study tied one death to a detergent pod and revealed that about 4.4 percent of children ended up in the hospital after trying to ingest one. The piece also describes steps taken by certain pod-detergent manufacturers to make containers holding the pods opaque and much harder for little hands to open. The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/10, Tanner) reports that despite whatever precautions the pods’ manufacturers take to made the products safer, “the Consumer Product Safety Commission says children should not be allowed to handle the packets and advises parents to store them out of children’s sight and reach.” Also covering the study are Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/10, Seaman), the Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/10, Barbash) “Morning Mix” blog, and the Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/10, Mulder).

Ortho-K Treatment May Help Slow Myopia’s Progression In Teens.

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/4, D6, Bhanoo, Subscription Publication) reports that myopia is on the increase across the US, for reasons unknown. Epidemiologist Susan Vitale, PhD, MHS, of the National Institutes of Health, said, “It’s probably something that’s environmental, or a combination of genetic and environmental factors.” According to some studies, “‘near work’ — reading, computer work, playing video games, and using tablets and smartphones — is contributing to the increase.” To help prevent or at least slow myopia in teenagers, eye doctors offer orthokeratology (ortho-k) treatment in which special “contact lenses apply pressure to the cornea, flattening it.” Patients wear the lenses overnight and enjoy clear vision for the next day. Teens who undergo the treatment may end up less nearsighted than their peers who wear glasses or regular contact lenses.

AOA consumer campaign warns of illegal contact lenses

Consumers think decorative contact lenses complete their scary Halloween costumes, but what’s truly frightful are the consequences from circumventing eye doctors to purchase lenses illegally.According to the AOA’s 2014 American Eye-Q® survey, more than one in ten consumers report wearing decorative contact lenses, and, of those, half purchased lenses without a prescription—all the more reason to educate consumers about the dangers of improper usage and reinforce the recommendation to visit an OD to obtain a valid prescription for lenses.

Study: Laundry Detergent Pods Can Injure Children’s Eyes.

NPR Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/7, Shute) reports in “Shots” blog on a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter that emphasizes the potential risk of laundry detergent pods to children. The pods entered the US consumer market in 2012 and may seem like a toy to children, who can rupture the packaging either through squeezing or biting, which can result in eye injuries that are often worse than those caused by bottled detergents. The study is in this month’s issue of the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

FDA Approves Eye Implant To Treat Diabetic Macular Edema.

The AP Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26) reports Alimera Sciences and pSivida disclosed Friday that the FDA approved “their eye disease implant Iluvien.” According to the piece, Iluvien is an implant delivered by injection aimed at treating “diabetic macular edema, a condition that can cause blurred vision and blindness.” Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26) reports that during the treatment physicians insert a small cylindrical tube with medicine on the back of the eye, the spot where diabetic macular edema usually forms.

Number Of Toddlers Needing Glasses Expected To Rise.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/24, Byron, Subscription Publication) reports that physicians predict the number of toddlers needing glasses will rise as diagnostic tools improve and optometrical health awareness grows. A 2011 study published in the journal Pediatrics found that as many as one in every 20 preschool-aged children has a vision issue. To catch issues early, the American Optometric Association recommendation is that babies should see an optometrist between the ages of six and 12 months, and annually as normal after that.

Importance Of Early Eye Exams For Kids Emphasized.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/20, Harlan) reported on the importance of early eye examinations for children, particularly because most vision issues in youngsters are treatable and often even preventable. Optometrist Ida Chung, OD, president of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development, suggested that little ones undergo their first eye examination before their first birthday. For older kids, the American Optometric Association provides a suggested schedule of eye exams on its website.

Eyelid Surgery May Help Provide Migraine Relief.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/23, Doheny) reported that according to the results of a 35-patient study recently published online in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, “cosmetic eyelid surgery involving specific nerves…may also provide migraine relief.” The surgery “involves making incisions in the upper eyelid to deactivate so-called ‘trigger’ nerves.” In addition, it “lifts the lid, a technique known as blepharoplasty.”

Loss Of Visual Acuity Tied To Increased Risk Of Earlier Death In Seniors.

The NPR Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/21, Shute) “Shots” blog reports that according to a study Share toFacebookShare to Twitter published online Aug. 21 in JAMA Ophthalmology, “an eye exam may be the ticket to a longer life…because good vision is essential for being able to shop, manage money and live independently.” Independent living “in turn leads to a longer life.” The study found that individuals 65 to 84 years of age “who lost visual acuity equivalent to one letter on an eye chart each year had a 16 percent increase in mortality risk over eight years, and that was due to the loss in independent living abilities.” HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/22, Preidt) reports that the study authors believe “the study reinforces the notion that if a senior is burdened by impaired sight, helping them complete everyday tasks may be important to maintaining long life.”

Small Study: Eye Test May Help Test For AD/HD.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/21, Brooks) reports that according to a study published in the August issue of the journal Vision Research, “a simple test examining involuntary eye movements may provide an objective way to tell whether individuals have attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder (AD/HD) and whether stimulant medication will be an effective treatment.” After recording “involuntary eye movements in 22 adults with AD/HD with and without methylphenidate and 22 control individuals while they performed the test of variables of attention,” researchers “observed increased microsaccades and blink rates in adults with AD/HD, which normalized with methylphenidate treatment.”

Expert Advises Parents On Contact Lenses For Kids.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/16, Preidt) reported that when youngsters “ask if they can have contact lenses, parents need to carefully consider the pros and cons.” Optometrist Bernard Lepri, OD, of the Food and Drug Administration, said that parents “need ‘to remember that contact lenses are medical devices, not cosmetics.” Dr. Lepri added, “Like any medical device, contact lenses should be used only if they can be used safely and responsibly. And only under the supervision of your eye care professional.

Retinal Implants Found To Provide Some Vision In Retinitis Pigmentosa Patients.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/12) reports that findings presented at the 32nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Retina Specialists suggest that “retinal implants can provide some vision in patients blinded by retinitis pigmentosa.” The piece notes that “the researchers tested the ability of the patients to locate squares of light on a computer screen and detect the direction of motion on a screen,” and they “also used functional MRI to measure activity in the occipital areas of the brain when patients were shown flashes of black or white rectangles.”

Study: Behavior Activation Plan May Help Decrease Depression In Patients With AMD.

In its “Shots” blog and on its “Morning Edition” program, NPR Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/11, Neighmond) reported that about a quarter of people diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in both eyes may become clinically depressed. In a 188-patient study, researchers used a technique called behavior activation to “give patients strategies to build on whatever functional vision they have so they can continue their day-to-day activities and carry on an active social life.” The study revealed that study participants “who created a plan and stuck to it cut their risk of depression by more than half.”

AOA Provides Tips On Helping Kids Avoid Digital Eye Strain.

The Midland (MI) Daily News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (8/6) reports that “a survey by the American Optometric Association found that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 say they use an electronic device for at least three hours each day.” This may result in “digital eye strain, a temporary condition caused by prolonged technology use” that “can cause children to experience burning, itchy or tired eyes, headaches, fatigue, loss of focus and blurred vision.” The AOA recommends practice of the 20-20-20 rule to help avoid eye strain. In other words, kids should take a break lasting for 20 seconds every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet in the distance.

FDA Issues Warning Over Decorative Contact Lenses.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/30) reports the FDA has warned that decorative contact lenses could “cause serious eye damage” if people are not careful. The agency cautions that “decorative contacts should be fitted properly by an optometrist or ophthalmologist” after an eye exam, HealthDay adds. The FDA, the American Optometric Association and the Entertainment Industries Council have agreed to partner to raise awareness about the dangers of decorative contact lenses.

Experts Recommend Children Wear Sunglasses Outside.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/8, Landro, Subscription Publication) reports on the fact that few parents expect their children to wear sunglasses outside and yet children are particularly likely to suffer eye damage from the sun due to immature lenses and generally have greater exposure than do adults. Eye experts recommend children using good quality sunglasses that block nearly 100 percent of the UV spectrum when outside, especially at the beach, on snow, or on water.

Small Study: Cataract Surgery May Slow Dementia-Related Cognitive Decline.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/14, Preidt) reports that according to research presented over the weekend at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Denmark, “along with improving vision, cataract surgery may slow mental decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.” Researchers arrived at this conclusion after following 20 patients with dementia who underwent surgery for cataracts and “a control group of eight patients who did not have the procedure.” The Telegraph (UK) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/14, Donnelly) also covers the story.

Experts Recommend Children Wear Sunglasses Outside.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/8, Landro, Subscription Publication) reports on the fact that few parents expect their children to wear sunglasses outside and yet children are particularly likely to suffer eye damage from the sun due to immature lenses and generally have greater exposure than do adults. Eye experts recommend children using good quality sunglasses that block nearly 100 percent of the UV spectrum when outside, especially at the beach, on snow, or on water.

Sunglasses May Protect Against Cancer, Cataracts, Photokeratitis.

The Las Vegas (NV) Review-Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/6, Lyle) reported that sunglasses are not just stylish accessories, but are also necessary to protect the eyes against harmful ultraviolet radiation. UV radiation may cause melanoma of the eye or other forms of cancer either in the eye or in the skin around it. It may also cause cataracts and pterygium. Finally, sunglasses protect against painful photokeratitis, which Fraser Horn, OD, FAAO, of the Pacific University and a member of the American Optometric Association, explained is sunburn in the eye.

Blue Light May Disrupt Sleep, Damage Eyes.

The Fort Wayne (IN) News-Sentinel Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/5) ran a StatePoint article reporting on “the dangers of ‘blue light,’ a high-energy wavelength of light that can disrupt the sleep cycle and cause damage to the eyes over time.” Blue light, unlike other wavelengths of light, “can penetrate deep inside the tissue layers of one’s eyes causing a greater risk for diseases like macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for those over 55.” Youngsters “are especially vulnerable to macular damage and sleep disruption.”

Study Finds Years Of Education Boost Risk Of Myopia.

The New York Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/8, Bakalar) reports in its “Well” blog that a study published online in Ophthalmology based on “ophthalmological and physical examinations on 4,685 people ages 35 to 74” found that “the more education a person has, the greater the likelihood that he will be nearsighted.” The study’s lead author said, “The effect on myopia of the genetic variations is much less than the effect of education.”

Doctor: Wearing Google Glass can hurt

BBC News Google has warned people not to use its Glass eyewear for long periods of time because it can cause pain. It follows complaints from some users of pain after wearing Google Glass. Google’s optometrist said the problem was caused by the position of the technology, which forces people to look up.

Kids Who Suffer A Concussion May Have Symptoms For Weeks After The Injury.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/13, MacReady) reports that research published online in Pediatrics suggests that kids “who suffer a concussion may experience symptoms for several weeks after the injury, and those symptoms may differ from the ones seen at presentation.” HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/13, Reinberg) reports that in the “study from the emergency medicine division at Boston Children’s Hospital,” physicians “found that, while headache, dizziness and blurry vision can appear right after a concussion, emotional and mental symptoms, such as irritability and frustration, show up much later and stay longer.” Although the majority of “children recovered within two weeks after the injury, 25 percent still had headache a month after their injury.” Meanwhile, “more than 20 percent suffered from fatigue, and nearly 20 percent reported taking longer to think for a month after their concussion.”

AOA Warns Consumers On Claims Made About Online Eye Exams.

Crain’s Chicago Business Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/9, Sweeney) reports that Chicago, IL-based Opternative Inc. a start-up company, claims to be “developing the first online exam to deliver an accurate, valid prescription,” in the hope of changing the way people get eye examinations. However, “the American Optometric Association warns on its website Share to FacebookShare to Twitter that ‘anyone claiming to perform an eye exam without physically examining a patient is offering insufficient, ambiguous information and is contributing to a patient believing – incorrectly – that his or her eye health needs have been met.’”

Mouse Study: Antioxidants In Coffee May Prevent Age-Related Eye Diseases.

The Montgomery (AL) Advertiser Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (5/6) reports that according to a mouse study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, “the powerful antioxidants found in coffee can play a role in preventing age-related eye diseases and the degeneration of eyesight.” Researchers found that mice treated with chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant, “developed no sign of retinal damage.” However, optometrist Bryan Holman, OD, “believes instead that quitting smoking and eating kale provide greater chances in fighting degeneration.” Dr. Holman recommends eating kale because it contains the antioxidant lutein, which in turn lessens bleeding chances in age-related macular degeneration.

Expert Discusses Eye Color.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/29, Mitchell, Subscription Publication) reports that according to Ivan Schwab, a professor of ophthalmology at University of California, Davis, and a clinical spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, eye color does not typically change. He commented, “Some studies suggest that eye color can change a tad with age, but for most people, eye color is fixed after the first year of life.”

Some Teens Applying Lip Balm To Eyelids.

The New York Daily News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/28, Stebner) reported that adolescents are “apparently slathering their eyelids with Burt’s Bees lip balm to experience a tingly, stingy high.” Certain reports on the Internet indicate that “teens are now using the ubiquitous drugstore balm to coat their eyelids – an act called ‘beezin.’”The Allentown (PA) Morning Call Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/25, Sigafoos) reported, “Some who have tried ‘beezin’ say it adds to the experience of being drunk or high, and others said it helps to keep them alert.” However, the lip balm contains peppermint oil. For that reason, “physicians warn that using the lip balm on one’s eyelids could cause potential health effects including inflammation in the eye and swelling.” The FOX News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/25) website also covered the story.

AOA warns public about online eye exams

The AOA is warning consumers about possible risks associated with online refractive eye exams. Such online sites tout convenience. But any alleged advantages come with risks, the AOA cautions. In a statement, AOA President Mitchell T. Munson, O.D., says the association has received an increasing number of questions about the safety and validity of this type of online test. The AOA contends that such tests are no substitute for an in-person comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. “We believe that claiming to have performed an eye exam without physically examining a patient is offering misleading information and may contribute to a patient believing—incorrectly—that his or her eye health needs have been met,” Dr. Munson says. The AOA is calling for a thorough evaluation of online eye-testing sites, and how they might affect patient health. The AOA also plans to monitor these sites and play an active role in fact-checking their claims.

Optometrist: Regular Eye Exams Important For People With Diabetes.

In her column in the Indiana (PA) Gazette Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/1), optometrist Rebecca Bateson, OD, emphasized the importance of regular eye exams, particularly for people with diabetes. Diabetes can damage the eye, particularly the retina, so “optometrists stress the need for regular eye care” for patients with diabetes. “According to the American Optometric Association’s 2013 American Eye-Q consumer survey, only 32 percent of respondents are aware that diabetic eye disease often has no visual signs or symptoms,” which “is all the more reason to stress the need for regular exams, said Tina MacDonald, OD, a certified diabetes educator and a member of the AOA’s Health Promotions Committee.

 

Shatterproof Protective Eyewear May Prevent Golf-Related Eye Injuries.

In “Research Report,” the Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/15, Lukits, Subscription Publication) reports that according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the journal Eye, the use of shatterproof protective eyewear while playing golf may prevent terrible and potentially sight-robbing eye injuries, including ruptured eyeballs and orbital wall fractures. After analyzing injuries sustained by 22 patients on golf courses and eight patients on driving ranges, researchers concluded that wearing protective eyewear that won’t shatter would help dissipate some of the energy from flying golf balls.

Optometrist: Regular Eye Exams Important For People With Diabetes.

In her column in the Indiana (PA) Gazette Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (4/1), optometrist Rebecca Bateson, OD, emphasized the importance of regular eye exams, particularly for people with diabetes. Diabetes can damage the eye, particularly the retina, so “optometrists stress the need for regular eye care” for patients with diabetes. “According to the American Optometric Association’s 2013 American Eye-Q consumer survey, only 32 percent of respondents are aware that diabetic eye disease often has no visual signs or symptoms,” which “is all the more reason to stress the need for regular exams, said Tina MacDonald, OD, a certified diabetes educator and a member of the AOA’s Health Promotions Committee.

Ability To Distinguish Certain Colors May Be Lost With Age.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (3/19, Dotinga) reports that according to a study published in the March issue of the journal Optometry and Vision Science, “many people lose their ability to clearly distinguish certain colors as they age, with losses typically starting around age 70 and getting worse over time.” Researchers arrived at this conclusion after testing color vision in “nearly 900 people aged 58 to 102 from the Northern California enclave of Marin County, leaving out anyone who had inherited colorblindness.” The majority of color vision loss appeared to be in the blue-yellow spectrum, with some 45% of study participants affected “in their mid-70s.”

Cosmetic Facial Injection Complications May Include Vision Loss.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (3/8, Hand) reported that according to a brief report Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online March 6 in JAMA Ophthalmology, “irreversible vision loss should be added to the list of potential complications associated with injection of cosmetic facial fillers. “ The report described three cases of “central retinal artery occlusion shortly after receiving an injection of one of three different dermal fillers.” Notably, “the injections were in the forehead area, which is not an approved site for dermal fillers but is a common off-label use, the researchers write.”

High Folate Intake Tied To Decreased Risk For Exfoliation Glaucoma.

Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (3/5, Tucker) reports that according to research presented at the American Glaucoma Society’s annual meeting, “high folate intake is associated with a reduced risk for exfoliation glaucoma.” The “analysis of data from two large prospective cohort studies” found that “normalizing folate levels by eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of exfoliation glaucoma.”

Two Antioxidants In Kale Tied To Lower Risk Of Chronic Eye Diseases.

The Boston Globe Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (2/25, Kotz) “Daily Dose” blog reports that kale contains two antioxidants, “lutein and zeaxanthin,” which “have been associated with a lower risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, according to the American Optometric Association.” The blog entry provides tips on how to prepare kale. It also warns people with “certain thyroid conditions…to avoid eating raw kale more than three times a week since eating excess amounts of the raw green could interfere with iodine absorption in those with an underactive thyroid.”

WellPoint offers 6 tips for handling digital eye strain

Publish date: FEB 11, 2014PrintIndianapolis, IN—Digital eye strain is caused by the overuse of digital devices such as computers and smartphones. Because these electronic devices are designed to be used and held within close range of the eyes, after a while, the eyes become strained as they continue to refocus to process the images on the digital screen.According to organizations like The Vision Council, more than 70% of Americans don’t know or don’t believe they are at risk for digital eye strain; however, anyone who is in front of a digital screen is vulnerable. Red eyes, twitching eyes, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, neck pain, decreased productivity and increased work errors, fatigue from staring at a digital screen, and straining to see small fonts and images are some of the signs and symptoms that occur when experiencing digital eye strain.“In our fast-paced society, most people use a computer throughout the day while they’re at work, and they also go online to communicate with friends, read books, and even pay bills,” said Dr. Richard Hom, optometric director for WellPoint. “It’s just the way we operate in the 21st century. Nevertheless, people can stay digitally connected and also maintain the health of their eyes.”Dr. Hom suggests the following tips for avoiding digital eye strain:1. Follow the “20-20-20 rule.” Be mindful of the amount of time that is spent looking at a computer screen without taking a break. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something that is 20 feet away. Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye and reduces eye fatigue.2. Reduce glare. People often see reflections from objects around their computer on their computer screen. Install an anti-glare screen on the computer monitor to reduce glare on the screen. Cover windows with drapes and blinds, and use a computer hood to block some of the overhead and peripheral light. Get anti-reflective (AR) coating on eyeglass lenses.3. Work in proper lighting. When looking at a digital screen, the surrounding light should be half as bright as what is typically found in most offices. Try to position the computer screen so windows are on the side (instead of in front or behind) the computer screen. If the interior lighting is a concern, consider reducing the number of fluorescent tubes that are installed above the computer. Also consider turning off the overhead fluorescent lights in the office and use lamps that provide halogen or incandescent lighting, or switch to lower intensity bulbs.4. Blink often. People tend to blink less often when they look at a computer screen—approximately one third less often as they normally blink—and a lot of the blinking that takes place when looking at a digital screen are only partial lid closures. Blinking less often can cause the eyes to become dry. To reduce the chances of experiencing dry eyes when looking at a digital screen, try this exercise: Every 20 minutes, blink 10 times by closing the eyes very slowly, as if falling asleep. This will moisten the eyes, and it will also help the eyes refocus.5. Revise the workspace. When working on a computer, people often look back and forth between the computer screen and a printed page, which can cause eye strain. To alleviate the stress and strain on the eyes, put the printed pages on a copy stand that is next to the computer monitor. Make sure the paper on the copy stand is well-lit by using a desk lamp. Poor posture can also lead to problems with clearly seeing a digital screen. Consider purchasing ergonomic furniture where the computer screen is positioned 20 to 24 inches from the eyes. The center of the digital screen should be 10 to 15 degrees below the eyes.6. Get a regular comprehensive eye exam. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), computer users should have eye exams once a year. Before the exam, be sure to measure the distance between the eyes and the digital screen. Share that measurement with the eyecare provider, and remember to let the doctor know how often computers and smartphones are used.

Postmenopausal Estrogen Associated With Lower Glaucoma Risk.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/31, Doheny) reports that according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online Jan. 30 in JAMA Ophthalmology, “women who take estrogen-only hormone-replacement therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms might also be reducing their risk for” primary open angle glaucoma. After examining “insurance-claims data for women aged 50 and older who were enrolled in a managed care plan for at least four years,” researchers found that “each month of estrogen use reduced the risk of glaucoma by 0.4 percent, and that risk reduction accumulated over time.” Medscape Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/31, Lewis) reports that the National Eye Institute, among others, provided funding for the study.

Survey: 70% Of US Adults Say They Have Experienced Some Symptoms Of Digital Eye Strain.

On ABC World News (1/25, story 10, 1:45, Muir), ABC’s Aditi Roy said, “Researchers say staring at” computer and mobile device “screens for hours can cause digital eye strain.” USA Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/25, Hellmich) reported that the issue is “becoming a widespread problem as more people spend hours each day looking at computers, cellphones, iPads, tablets and other electronic devices, says” Sarah Hinkley, “a spokeswoman for the American Optometric Association and an associate professor at the Ferris State University Michigan College of Optometry,” who said, “It is rampant, especially as we move toward smaller devices and the prominence of devices increase in our everyday lives.” Nearly “70% of U.S. adults say they have experienced some of the symptoms of digital eye strain, according to a survey conducted for the Vision Council.”

Study: long-term use of oral contraceptives may lead to glaucoma

According to a recent study reported in Optometry Times, Jan 2013, women who have taken oral contraceptives for 3 or more years are twice as likely to suffer from glaucoma.The study, which was conduced by researchers at University of California, San Francisco; Duke University School of Medicine; and Third Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, China, which was presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in New Orleans, used data from 2005-2008 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The study included 3,406 female participants from the United States, ages 40 and over, who completed the NHANES’s vision and reproductive health questionnaire, and underwent eye exams. The study found women who used oral contraceptives for longer than 3 years are 2.05 times more likely to be diagnosed with glaucoma.

AOA Describes Risks Of Computer Vision Syndrome.

The Washington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/21, Adams) looks at the impact of excessive computer screen viewing on eyesight. The American Optometric Association says that those who “spend two or more continuous hours at a computer every day are at greatest risk for developing” computer vision syndrome. For most, “symptom treatment is enough — managing their reading position, taking rest breaks or using eye drops to relieve dry eyes.”

Sleeping On One Side Tied To Worsening Glaucoma.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/9, Jegtvig) reported that according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online Dec. 15 in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, sleeping on one side may worsen glaucoma in the eye in the downward position. Researchers arrived at that conclusion after studying 430 glaucoma patients and asking them about their sleeping habits. The study authors theorized that the side-sleeping position may increase intraocular pressure and may cause the eye to deteriorate faster.

Quitting Smoking May Reduce Cataract Risk.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/3, Dallas) reports that, according to a study published online Jan. 2 in JAMA Ophthalmology, smokers who quit may cut their cataract risk. The study found that men smoking over 15 cigarettes a day had a 42% higher chance of requiring cataract removal than non-smoking men. Twenty years after quitting, however, the same men faced only a 21% increased risk.

Dietary Antioxidant Consumption Tied To Cataract Risk In Women.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (1/1, Doyle) reported that according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online Dec. 26 in JAMA Ophthalmology, eating antioxidant-rich foods may lower the risk of age-related cataracts, at least in women. After examining the diets of some 30,000 women in their middle and senior years, researchers found that women who consumed the largest total amounts of antioxidant-rich foods had a 13 percent decreased risk of cataracts.

Study: Many Adults With Diabetes Unaware Their Eyesight Could Be Damaged.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/20, Thompson) reports that according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, “less than half of adults who are losing their vision to diabetes have been told by a doctor that diabetes could damage their eyesight.” After examining “survey data collected by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2005 and 2008 to review the responses of people with type 2 diabetes who had ‘diabetic macular edema,’” researchers also found that “one-third of the people said they already had suffered some vision loss related to their diabetes.” The study’s lead author pointed out that “vision damage can be prevented or halted in 90 percent to 95 percent of cases, but only if doctors get to patients quickly enough.”

Computer Vision Syndrome May Also Plague Smartphone Users.

The Boston Globe Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/16, Wen) reports that small screens on smart phones and notebook computers are causing a number of people to complain to eye doctors about “sore eyes, blurry vision, headaches, and muscle strain,” an array of symptoms described as “computer vision syndrome.” Many of these symptoms may result from the fact that people “blink far less when their eyes are straining to read text on a small screen.”

Researchers Develop Contact Lens That Delivers Glaucoma Med.

The Huffington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/10) reports that, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the January issue of the journal Biomaterials, medicines to treat diseases of the eye, such as glaucoma, may someday “be dispensed from a contact lens.” Working with cells and with animals, investigators “have developed a contact lens that effectively delivers” the glaucoma medication latanoprost. HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (12/10, Preidt) reports that in a mouse model, the contact lenses delivered medication for an entire month. The study authors now hope that “some day such lenses will replace eye drops now used to treat the eye disease.” The study’s lead author “said a noninvasive method of sustained eye-drug delivery could save millions of people from blindness if it helps them comply with their” regimen of medications.

Laser Toys May Cause Serious Eye Damage.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/22, Preidt) reports that, according to a case report published online Nov. 4 in the journal Ophthalmology, high-powered blue laser toys may “cause serious and potentially permanent eye damage.” Researchers reported “on 14 cases of laser-caused eye damage” that “were caused by high-power blue laser gadgets and included four cases of perforations of the retina.” The injuries were sustained by boys and men ranging in age from 11 to 30. Two patients suffered lasting damage to the retina.

Long-Term Oral Contraceptive Use Tied To Higher Glaucoma Risk.

The New York Daily News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/19, Miller) reports that, according to research presented at an ophthalmology meeting, long-term oral contraceptive use may “increase women’s risk for a leading cause of blindness.” After examining data on some 3,400 women, researchers found that “taking oral contraceptives for more than three years appears to double a woman’s risk of glaucoma.” The Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/19, O’Brien) reports, “The study results held consistent no matter which kind of oral contraceptives were used.” Previous research has indicated that “estrogen may play a significant role in the development of glaucoma.” The majority of oral contraceptives “contain synthetic forms of both estrogen and progestin.” On its website, CBS News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/19, Jaslow) quotes the study’s lead author, who said in a statement that “women who have taken oral contraceptives for three or more years should be screened for glaucoma” and monitored by an eye doctor, particularly if they exhibit other risk factors. According to the National Eye Institute, “people with a history of eye pressure, those with a family history of glaucoma, black people over the age of 40 or Mexican Americans older than 60 years of age” all may be at increased risk for glaucoma.

3D Movies May Serve As Great Self-Diagnostic Tools.

The Daily Astorian (OR) Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (11/18, Nemetz) reports that, in addition to being fun to watch, 3D movies “can serve as great self-diagnostic tools.” That is because nearly “20 percent of people cannot view 3D entertainment, which is a huge warning as to an undiagnosed or untreated vision disorder,” including possible problems with binocular vision. Visiting an optometrist “can lead to the correct diagnosis and treatment of the condition interfering with comfortably viewing 3D.” The article also points out that the American Optometric Association is cultivating partnerships with the entertainment industry on opportunities offered by 3D technology.

FDA Warns Against Use Of Decorative Contact Lenses.

The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/25, Kaplan) “Science Now” blog reports that for individuals who intend to wear decorative contact lenses as part of a Halloween costume this year, “the Food and Drug Administration has a warning for you: Make sure you get a prescription from an optometrist or other eye care professional.” In a video on the Times’ website, Dr. James Saviola, an optometrist and FDA eye safety expert, says, “The problem isn’t with the decorative contact lenses themselves,” but with their improper use. Meanwhile, in a “Consumer Update.” FDA optometrist Dr. Bernard Lepri said, “Bacterial infections can be extremely rapid, result in corneal ulcers, and cause blindness – sometimes within as little as 24 hours if not diagnosed and treated promptly.” On its website, CBS News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/25, Castillo) reports that the agency “said that people should never buy color contact lenses from street vendors, salons or beauty supply stores, boutiques, flea markets, novelty stores, Halloween stores, record or video stores, convenience shops, beach shops or the Internet, unless the site requires a prescription.” McClatchy Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/24, Hotakainen) reports on “‘Operation Double Vision,’ an effort to stop the flow of illegally imported decorative lenses and counterfeit contact lenses that appeal to kids at Halloween.” The FDA is participating in the effort. FOX News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/24) cites John Roth, director of FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations, who stated, “Our concern is that consumers who buy and use decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription can run significant risks of eye injuries, including blindness. … It is always better to involve a qualified eye care professional and protect your vision.” Also covering the story are the Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard Share to FacebookShare toTwitter (10/25, Mulder), Alabama Live Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/25), HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/25, Preidt).

Number Of Americans Getting Cataract Surgery On The Rise.

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (10/12, Preidt) reported, “The number of Americans getting cataract surgery is on the rise as active baby boomers are getting the procedure earlier and often having both eyes repaired,” according a study published in the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery. After examining data derived from a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers also found that “significant increases in cataract surgery over the past 32 years occurred in all age groups, except among those aged 90 and older.”

Optometrist Provides Tips On Contact Lens Hygiene.

The Huffington Post Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/26, Chan) reports that not all of the “36 million contact lens wearers in the US” are following all of the steps for proper hygiene in caring for their soft contact lenses. The Huffington Post talked to optometrist Andrea Thau, OD, of the SUNY College of Optometry and a spokesperson for the American Optometric Association. Dr. Thau pointed out the importance of not using saliva as a replacement for saline solution. She also recommended changing out contact lens cases every three months and replacing them with new ones, not using “off-brand saline solution,” not using contact lenses that are several years old; not wearing them when experiencing redness and discomfort, after applying makeup, or for longer than recommended; and not sleeping while wearing them.

Seniors With AMD May Not Venture Far From Home.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/19, Doyle) reports that, according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published online Sept. 12 in JAMA Ophthalmology, US seniors with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) appear not to venture very far away from home, limiting or even stopping their driving. Researchers arrived at that conclusion after following 65 seniors with AMD and some loss of vision, 84 with glaucoma and some loss of vision, and 61 with good vision. Participants were tracked for seven days, with researchers measuring the maximum distance from home traveled as well as total distances traveled.

Statin Use May Be Associated With Increased Risk Of Developing Cataracts.

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/20, Seaman) reports that research published online in JAMA Ophthalmology suggests that statin use may be associated with an increased risk of developing cataracts. MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/20, Kaiser) reports that “in the primary analysis of 6,972 matched pairs of statin users and nonusers, those taking the cholesterol-lowering medication had a 9% increased risk of developing cataracts (95% CI 1.02-1.17).” Meanwhile, “in a secondary subgroup analysis of 33,513 patients (6,113 on statins) who had no comorbidity, based on the Charlson comorbidity index, the use of statins remained significantly associated with cataracts (OR 1.27, 95% CI 1.15-1.40).”

Corn Provides Nutrients Protective Against Eye Diseases.

In an article extolling the nutritional value of corn, the Bangor (ME) Daily News Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/16) reported, “Corn is a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds often found in yellow and green vegetables that help protect the healthy cells in our eyes against damaging high-energy blue wavelengths of light.” According to the American Optometric Association, “lutein and zeaxanthin may help protect from developing chronic eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.”

 

AOA’s Secor: Goggles May Help Avoid Irritation From Chlorinated Pool Water.

The Wall Street Journal Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (9/2, D3, Mitchell, Subscription Publication) reports that swimming in chlorinated swimming pools may result in eye redness, blurriness and irritation. What’s more, it’s still possible to get eye infections from water that has been treated with chlorine The article interviewed optometrist Glenda Secor, OD, FAAO, chairwoman of the American Optometric Association’s section on contact lenses and corneas, who recommended that swimmers use goggles while in the pool and that people not swim while wearing contact lenses lest they contract acanthamoebic keratitis.

Optometrist Debunks Myths About Reading In The Dark.

The Wall Street Journal (4/9, D4, Mitchell, Subscription Publication) debunks eye myths about reading in the dark. Optometrist Jim Sheedy, OD, PhD, director of the Vision Performance Institute at Oregon’s Pacific University, explained that reading in the dark or really dim light will not cause blindness or long-term eye damage, even though it may make the eyes feel tired. Dr. Sheedy also explains that genetics, not reading, is the primary cause of nearsightedness.

 

Dry Eye From Glaucoma Drops May Lessen Patients’ Quality of Life.

Medscape (3/13, Boughton) reports, “Patients with glaucoma who use topical eye drops can have dry eye symptoms that significantly affect their quality of life [QoL],” according to research presented earlier this month at the American Glaucoma Society’s annual meeting. “The study involved 353 patients with glaucoma who were being treated with topical eye drops and 114 patients with no history of ocular surface disease, glaucoma, or topical medications (control group).” Investigators found that “patients being treated with glaucoma drops were more likely to report that dry eye negatively affected their emotional well being.

Regular Aspirin Use May Be Linked To Increased Risk Of “Wet” Age Related Macular Degeneration.

BBC News (1/22, Gallagher) reports, “People who regularly take aspirin for many years, such as those with heart problems, are more likely to develop” “wet” age-related macular degeneration, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. — HealthDay (1/22, Reinberg) reports, “People taking aspirin for heart and stroke prevention benefits should not be alarmed, however…said” study senior researcher Jie Jin Wang. According to Wang, “Currently, there is insufficient evidence to recommend changing clinical practice, except perhaps in cases of patients with strong risk factors for age-related macular degeneration, such as existing age-related macular degeneration in one eye.”

 

Increase In Visual Impairment In US Tied To Diabetes.

Print media covered a study suggesting that an increasing percentage of Americans are losing their eyesight due to the complications of diabetes. Because diabetes rates are on the rise, so are the complications of the illness, including those that affect eyesight.USA Today (12/10, Szabo, Today) reports, “The nation’s twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes are beginning to rob more Americans of their sight,” according to a study published Dec. 12 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “The percentage of American adults suffering from uncorrectable vision loss spiked 21% in only about six years, rising to nearly 1.7% of the population, according to an analysis of the years 1999-2002 to 2005-08.” However, “rates of visual impairment doubled among poor people and those who had had diabetes for a decade or more,” the study found.

 

Better Vision Associated With Health Plans Covering Eye Exams.

HealthDay (12/11, Preidt) reports, “Working-age adults who have vision insurance have better eyesight than those without insurance,” according to a study published online Dec. 10 in the Archives of Ophthalmology. After studying data on “more than 30,000 people, aged 40 to 64, in the United States,” researchers found that “people with vision insurance were more likely to report having periodic eye examinations and, on average, those who had such a checkup in the previous year had better eyesight.”MedPage Today (12/11, Neale) points out that even though “periodic eye exams are recommended to detect and treat various conditions that can cause vision impairment or loss, vision coverage is often not part of medical insurance plans, throwing up a potential barrier to screening.”

Gene Therapy May Someday Correct Colorblindness.

On the front of its Personal Journal section, the Wall Street Journal (11/6, D1, Beck, Subscription Publication) reports in “Health Journal” that gene therapy may someday help make colorblind people see the colors red and green. In 2009, vision researchers at the University of Washington were able to restore red-green color vision to squirrel monkeys by injecting a missing gene into a virus inserted into the animals’ retinas. The animals still can see the colors red and green today. The piece also points out that red-green colorblindness is the most common kind of colorblindness. This X-chromosome linked colorblindness predominantly affects men. Now, new tools, apps, contact lenses and special eyeglasses at Vision Care Consultants can help people with colorblindness recognize certain colors.

Digital Tablets May Help Improve Reading Speed In Low Vision.

HealthDay (11/13, Preidt) reports, “Digital tablets such as iPads and Kindles can boost reading speed in people who have eye diseases that damage their central vision,” according to a study presented at a recent ophthalmology meeting. “Researchers looked at 100 people with this type of vision loss and found that their reading speed increased by at least 42 words per minute when they used the iPad tablet on the 18-point font setting, compared with reading a print book or newspaper,” while “their reading speed increased by an average of 12 words per minute when they used the Kindle tablet set to 18-point font.” WebMD (11/13, Mann) reports, “The backlight boosts contrast sensitivity or the ability to see an object stand out from its background. Many people with low vision lose this ability,” said researcher Daniel Roth, MD, of the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine. He explained, “The findings apply to anyone with compromised reading vision who has difficulty seeing letters or words.” He added, “The magnified font and backlight allows them to improve their reading ability and comfort.”

FDA Issues Halloween Warnings On Contact Lenses

The York (PA) Daily Record (10/25, Zaleski) notes that the Food and Drug Administration “regulates all contact lenses — including decorative ones — because they are medical devices under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.” With Halloween just around the corner, the agency has released a consumer update (pdf) about decorative lenses, which “pose risks, including allergic reactions, corneal abrasion, infection, decreased vision and blindness.” For those who are interested in wearing decorative contact lenses, the FDA update provides tips to ensure they are purchased safely. Notably, FDA spokesperson Sarah Clark-Lynn says, “Anyone selling contact lenses must get a prescription from the buyer and verify it with the customer’s doctor.”

AOA Points Out Risks Of Special-Effects Contact Lenses For Halloween.

On its website, KTAR-FM Phoenix (10/9, Haros) reported that the Food and Drug Administration “has been keeping tabs on the sale of theatrical or special-effects contacts since 2005.” Now, with Halloween approaching, many people may be tempted to buy them. These contact lenses, available online and at street vendors without prescription, may be dangerous. “According to the American Optometric Association, ‘Risks associated with the improper use of decorative, or prescribed corrective contact lenses include conjunctivitis, swelling, allergic reaction and corneal abrasion due to poor lens fit.'” Their use “may result in a reduction of visual acuity [sight], contrast sensitivity and other general eye and vision impairments,” the AOA warns.

Lutein, Zeaxanthin Supplementation May Improve Retinal Function In Early AMD.

Medscape (10/2, Brown) reports, “Lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation could improve early functional abnormalities of the central retina in patients with early age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to a randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial that studied the effects of 48 weeks of lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation on retinal function by multifocal electroretinography (mfERG) in patients with early AMD.” Chinese researchers “studied the effects of 48 weeks of lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation on retinal function by multifocal electroretinography (mfERG) in patients with early AMD” and “published their findings in the October issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.”

Contact Lens Users At Risk For Acanthamoeba Infection.

The Daily Mail (UK) (9/7, Macrae) reports, “Contact lens wearers are at the mercy of a bug that is found in tap water and gnaws through the eyeballs causing blindness, scientists have warned.” The single-celled parasite Acanthamoeba, which is found in tap water, “feeds on bacteria found on dirty contact lenses and cases.” When contaminated lenses are inserted into the eye, the parasite “starts to eat its way through the cornea, the outer layer of the eyeball and breeding as it goes,” potentially damaging vision permanently. Keeping contact lenses clean, not using water to rinse them off, replacing contact lens cases regularly, and not wearing lenses in the shower or in the swimming pool will help reduce the risk of Acanthamoeba infections.

 

Eye Exams May Find Signs Of Illness Elsewhere In The Body.

The Pocono (PA) Record (8/30, Leap) reported that during eye examinations, optometrists not only can detect vision problems, but also can find signs of illness elsewhere in the body, such as diabetes, which may lead to “diabetic retinopathy, which damages vision, according to the American Optometric Association. ” During the course of a dilated eye exam conducted on a patient complaining of double vision, Stroudsburg, PA optometrist Stephen Rudnick, OD, found swelling of the optic nerve. “The patient was then further evaluated and she was diagnosed with advanced Lyme disease that had progressed into meningitis, causing the brain to swell.” The patient was hospitalized and is now recovering well.

OSHA Ranks Computer Vision IssuesNo. 1 Health-Related Office Complaint.

In an entry for the Huffington Post (7/5) blog, optometrist Robert Joyce, OD, discussed computer vision syndrome, a workplace ergonomic issue that “is by far and away the most prevalent, affecting an estimated 150 to 200 million Americans, or 90 percent of computer users who work more than three hours a day on the computer.” Notably, “computer vision issues are ranked by OSHA No. 1 on the list of health-related office complaints. The National Eye Institute, again unsurprisingly, recently released data showing a 66 percent increase in the prevalence of myopia in the 25 years since the advent of the personal computer.” The rest of the entry was devoted to steps people can take to lessen eyestrain while working on the computer. Dr. Joyce also advised readers to see an eye care professional annually for a thorough check-up.

 

NIOSH: Many Computer Users Have Symptoms Of Computer Vision Syndrome.

The Sacramento (CA) Bee (8/5, 1D, Gonzales) reported, “Eye trouble associated with sitting in front of a computer is a national phenomenon, with computer users going to eye doctors with complaints of tired, dry or weepy eyes, headaches, blurry vision and eyestrain.” In fact, “the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health estimates that 90 percent of people who spend three hours or more a day in front of a computer screen have some symptoms of computer vision syndrome.” In addition, according to the National Eye Institute, “kids are being diagnosed with myopia, or nearsightedness, more often and at an earlier age because of long stints in front of the screens.” At Vision Care Consultants, our doctors can now fit you with glasses specifically designed to relieve computer vision syndrome.

 

 

Acne Drug Associated With Increased Eye-Infection Risk.

HealthDay (6/1, Goodwin) reports, “Teens who take the acne medication commonly known as Accutane (isotretinoin) appear to face twice the risk of eye infections, including conjunctivitis (pink eye) and styes,” according to a study published in the Archives of Dermatology. For the study, investigators “collected data on nearly 15,000 teens and young adults taking isotretinoin to treat acne and compared their rates of eye infections to an age- and gender-matched group that had acne but was not taking the drugs, and to a third group that didn’t take the drugs and didn’t have acne.” They found that “compared to the acne-free group, those taking isotretinoin were at 70 percent increased risk of an eye infection over the course of a year.”

Blue Light Exposure May Contribute To Macular Degeneration.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel /ARA (5/25) reports that “low macular pigment is a key risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which destroys central vision, and is the leading cause of vision loss in people over age 50, according to the American Optometric Association. Science indicates that damage from blue light exposure is a significant contributing factor to AMD.” The article advises readers to visit their “eye care professional and ask about having…MPOD (macular pigment optical density) measured — it’s simple, affordable and takes only a few minutes.” As a leader in the eyecare field, Vision Care Consultants has been providing the MPOD testing technology to our patients for over 5 years.

AMD Associated With Stroke Risk.

MedPage Today (4/28, Neale) reported, “Patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) appear to be at risk for both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke,” according to a study published online April 24 in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. “Through an average follow-up of 13 years, middle-age individuals with the eye condition had a higher rate of any stroke (7.6% versus 4.9%),” researchers reported. “The difference was consistent for both ischemic stroke (6.4% versus 4.4%) and intracerebral hemorrhage (1.2% versus 0.4%).”

Isotretinoin Use Associated With Adverse Ocular Events.

MedWire (4/27, Albert) reports, “Use of isotretinoin for treatment of acne may result in an increased risk for adverse ocular events such as conjunctivitis,” according to a study published online in the Archives of Dermatology. After examining data on “14,682 adolescents and young people (mean age 16.55 years) who were prescribed isotretinoin for treatment of acne” and comparing them to a similarly matched group of young people being treated for acne without isotretinoin and another without acne at all, then following everyone for one year, researchers found that “13.8% of the isotretinoin group experienced adverse ocular events in total, compared with 9.6% of the isotretinoin-naive and 7.1% of the acne-free groups,” and that the “conjunctivitis, hordeolum, chalazion, and blepharitis” were the most common adverse ocular effects experienced.

Early Glaucoma Detection Key To Maintaining Vision.

HealthDay (4/21, Gordon) reported, “Glaucoma isn’t just one disease but a group of conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain.” Unfortunately, when “left untreated, glaucoma can in fact cause blindness. And because the disease can progress for long periods undetected, experts stress that checkups and early detection are key to maintaining vision.” Once lost, vision cannot be restored, according to experts.

Eye Symptoms May Be Due To Other Conditions.

The UK’s Daily Mail (3/14, Epstein) reports on various “potential causes of…eye symptoms.” For instance, “persistent red blotches on the whites of both eyes can be a sign of hypertension,” while dry eyes can be caused by menopause causing “changes in hormone levels, affecting, among other things, the lubrication mechanisms of the eye.”

Genes Predicting Macular Degeneration Identified.

HealthDay (2/25, Dallas) reported that scientists have “identified more than 50 genes that can predict age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide,” according to research published in the journal Genome Medicine. After using “a human donor-eye repository to identify differences in gene expression in people with AMD and those with normal eyes,” researchers “found that genes expressed below and in the retina, thought to be involved in inflammatory and immune response and wound healing, were overexpressed in eyes with AMD. Here at Vision Care Consultants, our doctors were one of the first practices in the nation to perform the “Macula Protect” genetic testing for our patients. Call our office today to find out if genetic testing is appropriate for you.

AOA: AMD Leading Cause Of Severe Vision Loss In Older Americans.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel /ARA (2/8) reports that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) “is the leading cause of severe vision loss in Americans over age 50, according to the American Optometric Association.” Currently, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate 1.8 million have AMD and another 7.3 million people are at risk. As our population ages at an ever-increasing rate, the incidence of AMD is expected to triple by 2025.” The article goes on to explain how people develop AMD, what factors may affect central vision, such as “harmful blue light from the sun, indoor lighting, and even computers, along with poor diet, smoking, and high body mass index.”

Next-Generation Contact Lenses May Help Monitor Health.

On its website, KDKA-TV Pittsburgh (1/12) reported that next-generation contact lenses, “called ‘smart lenses’…are packed with circuits, sensors and wireless technology — all designed to keep an eye on your health.” Researchers are now testing contact lenses that may someday “replace the standard blood test,” pointing out that “biomarkers found in the blood — such as cholesterol, sodium, potassium and glucose — can also be found on the surface of the eye.” Currently, one type of smart contact lens already out on the market in Europe monitors eye pressure over the course of a day. Called the Trigger Fish, it can diagnose glaucoma. Contact lenses still in the developmental stage may one day slowly release eye medication over a long period of time.

Protective Eye Gear Reduces Eye Injuries In US Female Lacrosse Players.

Reuters (12/17, Grens) reported that in young women playing lacrosse appear to have far fewer eye injuries since wearing eye protection mandated by US Lacrosse since 2004, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. During the years 2002 to 2003, 22 eye injuries were experienced by female players. Following the protective eye wear requirement of 2004, however, only five injuries occurred between 2004 and 2009. Notably, of those cases, one involved inflammation and the other four injuries were because the young women had failed to wear protective eye gear

Expert Provides Tips On Minimizing Risks From Night Driving.

The Chicago Tribune (11/29, Stevens) reports that “driving in the dark poses very real dangers to your physical well-being, particularly if your daytime vision is less than 20/20.” Cristina Schnider, senior director of medical affairs with Johnson and Johnson vision care, provided “some tips on minimizing the risk,” such as making sure that “daytime distance correction is well adjusted for your eyes” and making sure that astigmatism is properly corrected. Making sure that eyeglasses have anti-reflection coating will cut down on nighttime glare. Motorists driving at night should be mindful that their reaction times are slower and that the eye processes images differently in darkness. Therefore, it’s important to “slow down,” and “minimize multi-tasking,” Schnider advised.

 

New Laser Treatment Changes Eye Color.

BBC News (11/5) reported that a new laser treatment pioneered in the US by Stroma Medical may change a “patient’s eye colour. Dr Gregg Homer claims 20 seconds of laser light can remove pigment in brown eyes so they gradually turn blue. He is now seeking up to $750,000 (£468,000) of investment to continue clinical trials.” A computer scan maps the iris. The laser then “agitates the pigment on the surface of the iris” several times over the course of 20 seconds. About three weeks later, the eyes turn blue. Eye experts “urge caution,” however, “because destroying eye pigment can cause sight problems if too much light is allowed to enter the pupil.”

Physically Active Lifestyle May Reduce Glaucoma Risk.

HealthDay (10/31, Preidt) reports that according to a study published in the October issue of the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, “a physically active lifestyle may help protect your eyes from glaucoma.” After examining “the association between physical activity and eye pressure in 5,650 men and women aged 48 to 90 in Britain,” researchers “found that moderate physical exercise performed about 15 years previously was associated with a 25 percent reduced risk of low ocular perfusion pressure (OPP), an important risk factor for glaucoma.”

 

FDA Warns Against Decorative Contact Lenses Without A Prescription.

KCRG-TV Cedar Rapids (10/26, Yeung) reports, “Dr. Rachel Bishop from the National Eye Institute says that people should not get decorative contacts until they’ve seen an eye specialist, gotten a prescription, and learned how to care for them.” Otherwise, “taking shortcuts and buying these without getting an eye exam” could put “a person at significant risk,” ranging from “irritated eyes to permanent vision loss.” The FDA said “even decorative lenses are prescription, so over-the-counter sales are illegal.” The Star-Ledger (10/26, Baxter) reports the FDA has “received reports of the lenses causing corneal ulcers, eye infections and vision loss because of people not using them properly, or because they were not designed properly for someone’s eyes,” according to the FDA.

Car Windows Do Not Filter Out UVA Rays.

The Boston Globe (10/13, DeMarco) reports, “Car windows — and those in your home — are good at filtering out ultraviolet B rays, which cause sunburns. But car and home windows generally don’t filter out ultraviolet A rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin” and “can interfere with your body’s ability to protect against skin cancer,” explained dermatologist Paul Lizzul, MD, PhD, MPH, MBA, associate director of clinical research in dermatology at Tufts Medical Center. According to the American Academy of Dermatology’s website , sunscreen should be worn “on exposed areas whenever we go outside,” and that includes inside the car. Quality sunglasses that block UVA, UVB & UVC should also be worn outside and inside the car to protect the eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. If you are not sure if your sunglasses provide all that protection just bring them in to Vision Care Consultants optical. Our experienced opticians will check them in our UV scanner and let you know how your glasses perform.

New Study On Texting And Driving Released.

Reuters (10/6, Forsyth) reports that Texas A&M’s Texas Transportation Institute released a study yesterday finding that using a cell phone while operating vehicles doubles a driver’s reaction time. The longer reaction time means drivers have less time to focus on the road and react to changing conditions. The study tested 42 drivers between 16 and 54 who sent and received text messages while driving on an 11-mile text rack. When not texting, a driver took one to two seconds to respond to a flashing light. However, a texting driver took three to four seconds, making them 11 times more likely to drive through the flashing light. This is the first study conducted on actual vehicles, not simulators. US DOT statistics show that about 20% of fatal accidents are due to texting and driving.

A Third Of All Prescription Glasses Wearers Regularly Use Two Pairs.

USA Today (9/15, Healy) reports, “A third of all prescription eyeglass wearers regularly use two or more pairs, sometimes just to have different frames for different fashions.” What’s more, “about 16 million Americans who don’t even need prescription glasses still wear eyeglasses to be fashionable, according to Kristie Whitford, fashion spokesperson for the trade group The Vision Council.” The article goes on to detail the latest eyewear fashions for the fall, including “vintage revivals” and “Geek chic.”

NRC Considering Radiation Dose Limit Change To Lens Of The Eye.

On its website, the trade outlet Occupational Health & Safety (9/2) reports that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) “has asked for comments from stakeholders about possibly lowering the current US occupational exposure limit for radiation to the lens of the eye. NRC hasn’t begun rulemaking on the issue, but its notices said the international radiation protection community may follow the International Commission on Radiological Protection’s recent recommended limit of 20 mSv (2 rem) per year, averaged over defined periods of five years, with no single year exceeding 50 mSv (5 rem).” Currently, the US limit is “seven times higher: 150 mSv (15 rem) per year.”

Optometrists Remind Parents To Get Children Back-To-School Eye Exams.

OzarksFirst (8/10) reports in a brief story, “Optometrists remind parents to add an eye exam to your child’s back to school checklist.” OzarksFirst notes, “The American Opto metric Association says healthy eyes at the start of the school year can help avoid some learning difficulties in class.” The article also includes some advice from AOA’s James Sheedy, OD, about the importance of giving one’s eyes a chance to rest when spending long amounts of time in front of the computer. “Every twenty minutes you look away for twenty feet for twenty seconds and this gives the eyes a chance to relax,” Sheedy said. Here at Vision Care Consultants our pediatric specialist Dr. Marie Wehner makes certain every child in our practice has healthy, effective vision with all the tools necessary for them to succeed academically.

AOA Report Explains Optimal Uses Of 3D Technology In Classrooms.

Modern Medicine (8/10) reports, “In an effort to assess and address the vision-related effects of the increased use of technology in learning environments, the American Optometric Association (AOA) has conducted a survey and released a report.” AOA expert James Sheedy, OD, PhD, said, “Today’s classroom technology is extremely visual, making it critical for students to maintain excellent eye health … Binocular vision, focusing abilities, as well as nearsightedness and farsightedness should be checked by an eye doctor yearly, particularly as students head back to school.” AOA has also “developed a new report, ‘ 3D in the Classroom–An AOA Report ,’ in collaboration with educators, vision researchers, and 3D industry experts, to explain the optimal uses of 3D technology in the classroom to teachers, students, and parents.”

Several Nutrients May Decrease Risk For Macular Degeneration.

The Time (6/20, Melnick) “Healthland” blog reported that, according to a study published in the June issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, “people who got the highest amounts of several nutrients, including zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, in their diet had a lower risk of developing a condition known as macular degeneration.” For the study, investigators examined “2,167 people over age 55 who had one of the two genes known to contribute to macular degeneration,” surveyed eating habits, then followed the group for 10 years. “The researchers found that among those with the CFH gene variation, people who got the most zinc, beta carotene, omega-3 fatty acids or lutein/zeaxanthin in their diets were less likely to develop macular degeneration than those who got the lowest amounts.” Here at Vision Care Consultants our doctors prescribe the eye vitamins containing all the above mentioned nutrients for our patients who need them.

One In Three Adults Unaware Of Eye Health RisksOf Too Much Sun Exposure.

USA Today (6/9, Healy) reports that wearing a hat and protecting eyes “from harmful UV rays” is as much a part of sun protection as slathering on sunscreen. “A 2009 survey by the American Optometric Association found that one in three adults are unaware of the eye health risks of spending too much time in the sun without proper protection.” Excessive UV exposure may result in pterygium, macular degeneration, or cataracts. And, “even a few hours of intense, unprotected exposure can have consequences, says optometrist Sarah Hinkley of the American Optometric Association,” possibly leading to painful photokeratitis.

Zeaxanthin, Lutein Helps Protect Eyes Against UV Light Damage.

The Calgary Herald /Monterey County Herald (5/26, Quinn) reported that, according to the National Eye Institute, eyesight is “all about light” entering the eye and hitting the retina. That body “contains ‘photoreceptors’ that convert light to electrical signals that travel to the brain and figure out what we ‘see.'” Unfortunately, ultraviolet (UV) light may damage eyes, much like it does skin. Fortunately, “specific nutrients and other substances in foods can help to absorb dangerous light and act as a shield.” The article went on to explain that vegetables and fruits containing zeaxanthin and lutein may help protect the eye against damage caused by ultraviolet light. Here at Vision Care Consultants we have advanced instrumentation that measures the actual amounts of these protective pigments in your eyes. If we find your pigment levels too low our doctors can prescribe for you the corrected supplement to replace those protective pigments back safe levels before retinal damage occurs.

Physician Makes Case For Lifestyle Changes To Slow Coming Tide Of Type 2 Diabetes Cases.

In a guest column in the Des Moines Register (5/24), Dr. Robert S. Bar, of the University of Iowa College of Medicine, wrote, “Unless Americans drastically change their dietary and exercise habits, diabetes may play a major role in nearly 90 percent of all patients seen by US physicians in the next five to 10 years.” Of special concern is “a larger, poorly defined group of people that arguably could double or triple the current number of people with diabetes,” that is, those who have been “described by physicians as having ‘borderline diabetes’ or ‘pre-diabetes.'” Bar made the case for lifestyle changes to slow the coming tide of type 2 diabetes patients, such as exercise, losing weight, cutting out junk foods, and being aware of family history. Here at Vision Care Consultants we do comprehensive eye exams to detect even the earliest effects of diabetes could have on your eyes.

AOA, Vision Council To Release Report On Safety Of Buying Prescription Eyeglasses Online.

Consumers increasingly feel more comfortable buying eyeglasses from online vendors. While buying online is convenient and cost-effective, consumers may not end up with the prescription they need. In fact, optometrist Sam Pierce, OD, “a board member of the American Optometric Association, which represents 36,000 doctors of optometry, says preliminary research has revealed some eyewear prescriptions are not being filled accurately online.” Because of that, the AOA “and the Vision Council plan to release a joint report this summer examining the safety of buying prescription glasses on the Web.”

Heavy Precipitation Prompted This Year’s Particularly Robust Allergy Season.

The AP (5/16) reports, “Warnings about the difficult season have come from allergy specialists from New York to Atlanta, Chicago to California.” Heavy snow and rain in “some parts of the country have nourished a profusion of tree pollen, while a sudden shift to warm, sunny weather has made its release more robust.” The deluges and some flooding have also boosted the “volume on mold.”

New 3-D Video Games May Be a Problem For Some Individuals

25th February, 2011 – Posted by Dr. David Seibel – No CommentsExtended exposure to 3-D media input especially for certain individuals may have potential vision risksComing soon to an electronics store near you will be a series of new 3-D video games! The thought is exciting to many. Greater reality in imaging, a more intense gaming experience. But will this have eye and vision implications? Well, generally for most people the answer will be no. At most these 3-D games, just like 3-D movies and television can result in some eye strain or headaches after prolonged viewing. There is no credible scientific evidence that viewing 3-D media causes any perminent eye or vision problems. Some individuals (especially young children) who have a binocular vision condition called “esophoria” where the eyes tend to focus or align closer in space than the object they are looking at may be at greater risk for problems. Theoretically the stress of over-convergence associated with 3-D media could stimulate progression in myopia (nearsightedness) development in these “at risk” individuals. However this is only a theoretical possibility and not supported by evidenced based research at this point in time.

Sunglasses Necessary To Prevent Eyes From UV Damage.

The Washington Post (7/4, Butler) reported that wearing sunglasses is necessary to protect the eyes from damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Optometrist Michael Rosenblatt, OD, pointed out that “certain people run an elevated risk for UV damage,” particularly people “with light-colored irises.” He explained, “If you easily burn in the sun, you should think of yourself as a person who suffers greater damage from UV light in all areas, including your eyes.” For that reason, he recommended sunglasses that “extend from the eyebrow to the cheek and wrap around the contour of face, along with lenses that have 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. At Vision Care Consultants our opticians can verify your current sunglasses to make sure they provide the full spectrum of UV protection.

Eye Experts Say Protective Eyewear Would Prevent Most Sports-Related Eye Injuries.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (7/18, Kelly) reports, “More than 600,000 Americans will suffer an eye injury while playing a sport this year,” according to the National Eye Institute (NEI). “Of these, about 42,000 will be serious enough to require treatment in a hospital emergency room.” But, “more than 90 percent of these injuries could be prevented if the athletes were wearing protective eyewear, say the NEI and the national associations of ophthalmologists and optometrists.” Regular eyeglasses are no substitute for impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses. Ideally, the glasses should completely cover the eye socket, particularly for those who play basket ball and racket ball.