The risks of swimming with contact lenses are causing a stir in the media following the case of Jennie Hurst.
Jennie was featured in the Daily Mail talking about how she lost vision in her left eye after contracting Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) as the result of swimming in her lenses. AK is a very serious but thankfully very rare infection often related to swimming in contact lenses. As a result, the British Contact Lens Association have updated their advice about swimming in contacts and it’s pretty good so I’ve copied it here:
“The BCLA’s advice for contact lens wearers is to not wear contact lenses for swimming – or in hot tubs or whilst showering or participating in water sports – unless wearing tight-fitting goggles over the top. After swimming – or if lenses are removed and stored whilst swimming – contact lenses should be cleaned and disinfected in fresh solution before putting them back on the eyes.
The BCLA recommendation is that regular swimmers talk to their eyecare practitioner about being fitted with daily disposable lenses for use with goggles whilst swimming. Wearers of daily disposable contact lenses should always discard them immediately after swimming.”
Daily disposables are a great idea for swimming and are available so prescriptions between about +8.00 to -12.00, toric versions for astigmatism and presbyopic versions for folks who need reading glasses. Almost all prescriptions can now be catered for in dailes and having a small supply for swimming/travel as an addition to your regular lenses is a great way of minisming the risks of problems. Call us and we can send you a trial in your prescription.
An Australian group have restored some minimal sight to a patient through an implanted bionic eye.
The implant is connected to an external head mounted camera which sends impulses to electrodes planted underneath the retina. The patient was able to see light and dark and some shapes where she had previously seen nothing for many years.
There are currently over 10 different bionic eye projects around the world at various stages but no one to date has got much further than providing very rudimentary vision. One of the most advanced is the Argus II model in America.
There has been a breakthrough in the treatment of the previously untreatable form of macular degeneration (‘dry AMD‘).
Kentucky vision Scientists have discovered the complex chain reaction of proteins and enzymes that happens in the retina causing dry AMD. They demonstrated that using drugs to selectively block these proteins and enzymes halted the process in various disease models.
There has been no trial on humans yet but this gives hope to millions suffering from dry AMD. Usually taken to be the unstoppable ageing process of the retina, dry AMD can get progressively worse with no effective treatment options. This new breakthrough could open up a whole raft of drug therapies to halt or prevent the condition developing.
A big and seemingly well designed study has shown the effect of caffiene on intraocular pressure (IOP).
106 patients split into 4 groups (3 types of glaucoma, 1 no glaucoma) and were seen twice. Before 1 visit they were given caffeine or decaf coffee and then the opposite on the second visit. The study was double blind meaning neither the researchers taking the measurements or the participants knew if they had had the decaf or the fullcaf drink.
The results showed that IOP is increased by about 1 unit after caffeine with maximum effect at about 90minutes but the effect is temporary and not very great so needn’t concern coffee lovers with glaucoma.
Previous studies had put the frighteners on some folks with glaucoma claiming coffee was bad for the condition, but this study will hopefully let them enjoy a cappuccino in peace.
You may not know but I seriously entertained becoming an astronaut.
In fact I actually applied to the European Space Agency while I was at university studying optometry. I really wanted to use my optometry skills rather than just be an astronaut so I had in mind to do some research while I was out there. Now that I think about it, I never heard back from them so they must have not recived my applicaiton. Yes, that’s what will have happened…
In any case it turns out I can combine eyes and space in the US by working for NASA in Houston investigating the effects of space on the eye and trying to eliminate the vision problems associated with space travel such as early onset cataract and UV/radiation related issues. You have to graduate from the Aeorspace Optometry programme in Florida and you don’t actually get to go into space.
It seems they don’t have use for optometrists during space travel unless you have other skills such as Payload Specialist Lawrence J. DeLucas who graduated in Optometry before studying biochemistry. So even my great optometry skills won’t get me a seat on the shuttle so I think I’m going to stick it out at CamOpt a while longer and save up for a shot in Richard Branson’s commercial space venture.
There were 100,000 more eye exams carried out in Scotland in 2011-12 compared to the year before.
The increase from 1.8million to 1.9million exams is positive for Scotland, where other regions are seeing static or declining numbers of patients attending for eye exams. This comes hot on the heels of a study demonstrating that many people think an eye exam is all about glasses.
Debbie McGill, operations manager for Optometry Scotland commented “The recent figures demonstrate an increase in awareness of eye health care and the importance of regular checks. Optometry Scotland is working hard to link eye care and current public health initiatives to help increase awareness even more in the future.”
It’s hard to know how to respond to this one but apparently a 99p jar of honey from Tesco has cured an 8 year misery case of blepharitis.
Frank Dougan lost his left eye as a child to a nasty injury and so has been wearing a prosthetic eye ever since – often called a ‘glass eye’ although that is neither correct (as they are made of plastic) nor politically correct. Apparently some aspect of the prosthetic eye irritated his eye lids and led to blepharitis that could not be cured by any recognised treatment for over 8 years.
On holiday, he chanced upon some advice to try honey which is traditionally known for its antibacterial properties (true by the way) which he smeared on and the problems all went away. He now uses the honey regularly and he says he’s cured.
Far be it from me to rain on Frank’s parade but there seems to be a lot of confusion in this story – the bottom line is that if it works then great, but my sense is that the antibacterial properties of honey are probably nothing but a red herring. The most likely explanation for all this is that the prosthesis wasn’t fitting all that well, irritated the eyelids and the lovely thick honey acted like engine grease between the two and prevents the discomfort.
If you’re really keen, read our article on blepharitis which gives some background info about the condition but there is often confusion about blepharitis. It simply means ‘inflammation of the eyelids’ which people often take to mean ‘infection’. Now an infection of the eyelids will certainly cause inflammation but the opposite is not necessarily the case. I reckon Mr Dougan had inflamed but not infected, eyelids. But regardless, I wouldn’t have recommend honey. There is a medical lubricant called LacriLube which is more commonly used for this kind of heavy duty greasing.
We do a quite a lot of prosthetic eyes and they are very interesting and satisfying when they work well. Here’s a wee taster of a few I made earlier.
If you wear a prosthetic eye and its not comfortable, come and see us. There’s a Sainsburys just up the road too if you need a cure for blepharitis…
Bausch & Lomb (a contact lens manufacturer) has released some details about people’s attitude to eye examinations which makes quite sad reading if you’re an optometrist.
63% of people in the survery think that, because they don’t have any symptoms, there is no need to get their eyes tested, while one in three believe that if they can see, their eyesight is fine and another one in three haven’t ever had an eye exam or not for at least 3 years.
Woe is me
Fortunately our patients are of a far superior calibre and know very well that eye exams at CamOpt can reveal all sorts of things not only about your eyes but your general health. Diabetes, high blood pressure, other circulation problems, minor strokes (TIAs), many neurological conditions and much more can all be picked up first in the eye. It’s never nice to consider all these things and there is a temptation to think that ignorance is bliss but it’s always better to find these things and the earlier you find them the better for treating them.
So our advanced equipment and unparalleled clinical experience means not only will we check for cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and 1000s of other eye conditions, we’ll also give your eyes a thorough examination for these other problems and help you get treatment faster when you need it.
What a great day. Perhaps it was a combination of it being a Sunday, and the sun shining but the clinic was a bit quiter for everyone.
The stats thus far are that of 199 patients in the polyclinic 120 of them were seen in the eye clinic. The slight let up meant an great opportunity to chat to the athletes. Yesterday that included one of the team of only 6 from the Federated states of Micronesia. He explained that there aren’t any concrete buildings on the islands let alone an eye care system, so he has a 4 yearly eye test on his visits to Olympic games. A lovely example of what the Olympic movement is all about. I’m all clued up on the details of trap shooting now too and was able to reassure a shooter that he had better than 6/6 vision, which he said gave him real confidence for his event.
Also got to one of the ritual athletes welcome ceremonies that happen periodically through the day in this pre-games period. This time the teams in question were Fiji ( hawiian shirt glad) , palestine and St Kitts and Nevis. A mixture of music, dancing and theatre, with a welcome from Tessa Jowell and Johnathon Edwards. Really looking forward to a chance later this week to get up close to team GB at their welcome ceremony in the village. A well timed tea break will be required!
Team GB was the answer to your trivia question. 542 athletes over 26 sports, the biggest delegation in over a century. No pressure on the medal tally then!
A smartphone designed by a and for visually impaired people has gone on sale.
The system called Georgie (named after the couple’s first guide dog) use the latest voice assisted touchscreen technology combined with specially designed apps for tasks like reading small print, sending text messages and catching a bus.
“It’s exactly the type of digital experience we want to make easily available to people with little or no sight. It is also going to help solve everyday problems for blind people so they can be more confident about navigating the real world and become independent,” said it’s designer.
The system can come preinstalled on a phone or can be bought for Android phones from the Google Play store. More info here