Here’s the continuation of the 2013 eye health news roundup that we previously posted. There were some really interesting developments last year concerning eye health and new optical treatments from January to June, but it did not stop there, in fact, there were plenty of news that have proven to be beneficial to eye health care.
Americans Spend $139 Billion on Vision-Related Diseases Each Year – A new report entitled Cost of Vision Problems: The Economic Burden of Vision Loss and Eye Disorders in the United States has concluded that the U.S. government, citizens of the country, and insurance companies are spending a whopping $139 billion on treating eye health problems. While this certainly helps in prolonging the lifespan of Americans, it does take its toll on the country’s financial capability to support such a huge expense, even for the sake of health.
Device Converting Sounds Into Images Provides New Way for Blind People to Visualize Objects – Researchers from the University of Bath have created a device that is designed to help the brain process sounds and turn them into images in their minds, which has been found to help blind and partially-sighted individuals and serve as an alternative to invasive treatment.
Pioneering Laser Surgery Technique Saves Teen with Rare Eye Condition – Eye surgeons from the United Kingdom have saved a 16 year old from becoming blind by using a technology inspired by “tongue and groove” type of floor boards. Called the femtosecond laser deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty, the procedure uses geometric tongue and groove laser incisions, which allow the graft to be perfectly inserted into the cornea of the patient, not to mention be stronger than usual to hold everything in place.
A Closer Look at a Protein Found in Mammalian Eyes Opens New Doors in Preventing Cataract – A study released in the scientific journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology reports how a group of scientists have managed to get a closer and more defined look at a specific protein that can only be found in the lenses of mammals called aquaporin zero (AQP0). This eye protein, viewed at an atomic scale, maintains optical lens’ transparency that could open doors for cataract treatment and prevention.
Retinal Blood Vessels Found to Reveal Stroke Risk – A study published in the American Heart Association journal named Hypertension has reported that retinal imaging may just be the key to finding out the chances of an individual to develop a stroke.
Portable Eye Clinic App for Smartphones Being Tested – A group of UK researchers in Africa are currently testing a portable eye testing kit for smartphones that could potentially change the way eye care is performed in third world countries that have limited access to conventional treatment. The mobile app becomes into a portable, low-cost eye clinic upon using it with clip-on hardware, which can be operated even by a non-medical professional to gather and store clinical information, diagnose cataracts, check the retina for any possible disease, and to provide or check prescriptions for vision lenses.
People Who Underwent Cataract Surgery Live Longer than Those Who Did Not – An Australian group study published in the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology has found out that individuals who lost their eyesight due to a cataract-related reason and have undergone surgery to treat the vision loss are living longer lives than those individuals who chose not to have surgical treatment.
Research on Better Treatment for Macular Degeneration Shows Promise – Scientists at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and colleagues researching on macular degeneration treatment share their findings in a recent online issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The new research is seemingly showing signs of a better, lasting treatment for macular degeneration through the use of drugs called MDM2 inhibitors, which to reverts the growth of abnormal blood vessels that are causing macular degeneration-related vision loss.
Japanese Scientists Successfully Regenerate Fully Functional Tear and Saliva Glands – Scientists from Japan have regenerated fully functioning bioengineered salivary and tear glands, according to two reviews published in the journal Nature Communications. Researchers from the Tokyo University of Science, led by professor Takashi Tsuji, say their findings demonstrate proof-of-concept and indicate a big step toward next-generation organ replacement regenerative therapies, helping people whose organs have been damaged by disease, injury or aging.
Software Enables Yoga for the Blind – A team of University of Washington computer scientists has created a software program that watches a user’s movements and gives spoken feedback on what to change to accurately complete a yoga pose.
Study Suggests That There is No Link between AMD and Alzheimer’s – A new study published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology suggests there is no association between age-related macular degeneration and dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, opposing previous research that has indicated otherwise. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Alzheimer’s disease are both conditions that commonly develop alongside increasing age.
Contact Lenses can Deliver Glaucoma Drugs for a Month – Scientists from Massachusetts have created a contact lens that will deliver controlled amounts of medicine directly into the eyes of glaucoma patients continuously for up to a month.