DNA test for congenital cataracts leads to faster, more accurate diagnoses of rare diseases linked to childhood blindness

Researchers in the United Kingdom have demonstrated that advanced DNA testing for congenital cataracts can quickly and accurately diagnose a number of rare diseases marked by childhood blindness, according to a study published online in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Using a single test, doctors were able to tailor care specifically to a child’s condition based on their mutations reducing the time and money spent on diagnosis and enabling earlier treatment and genetic counseling.

Each year, between 20,000 and 40,000 children worldwide are born with congenital cataracts, a disease that clouds the lens of the eye and often requires surgery and treatment to prevent blindness.[1] The disease can arise following a maternal infection or be inherited as an isolated abnormality. Congenital cataracts can also appear as a symptom of more than 100 rare diseases, making mutations in the 115 genes associated with congenital cataracts useful as diagnostic markers for the illnesses. Continue reading

Reading glasses not necessary with vision-correcting display

What if computer screens had glasses instead of the people staring at the monitors? That concept is not too far afield from technology being developed by UC Berkeley computer and vision scientists.

The researchers are developing computer algorithms to compensate for an individual’s visual impairment, and creating vision-correcting displays that enable users to see text and images clearly without wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. The technology could potentially help hundreds of millions of people who currently need corrective lenses to use their smartphones, tablets and computers. One common problem, for example, is presbyopia, a type of farsightedness in which the ability to focus on nearby objects is gradually diminished as the aging eyes’ lenses lose elasticity.

More importantly, the displays could one day aid people with more complex visual problems, known as high order aberrations, which cannot be corrected by eyeglasses, said Brian Barsky, UC Berkeley professor of computer science and vision science, and affiliate professor of optometry. Continue reading

Digital reading system for the blind, allows them to read graphs

People who are blind can now read more than just words, such as graphs and graphics, following the development of an affordable digital reading system by Curtin University researchers.

Opening up new career paths and educational opportunities for people with vision impairment, the system combines a number of pattern recognition technologies into a single platform and, for the first time, allows mathematics and graphical material to be extracted and described without sighted intervention.

Senior Lecturer Dr Iain Murray and PhD student Azadeh Nazemi of Curtin’s Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering developed the device to handle the extraordinary number of complex issues faced by the vision impaired when needing to read graphics, graphs, bills, bank statements and more. Continue reading

Pin-sized implant could replace reading glasses

A new corneal implant called the Raindrop could replace reading glasses for those who lose their ability to focus due to age.

According to reports, the Raindrop inlay is implanted on the cornea, improving its curvature and allowing the eye to focus properly. The eye loses ‘elasticity’ with age, a condition called presbyopia, making difficult for individuals to focus on small objects.

In the past, the only answer to presbyopia was eye surgery

The Raindrop requires a 10-minute procedure to insert the implant into the cornea. It is made of hydrogel which is also used in contact lenses and was developed by US firm, Revision.

The implant currently costs close to R50 000, and is still in its final testing stages in the US and the UK. To view:





New IOL design for AMD patients


A new design of intraocular lens could offer hope to patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and a range of other degenerative retinal conditions.

The iolAMD lens, also known as the ‘Hubble implant’, is inspired by the spherical and was developed by eye surgeon Bobby Quershi of the London Eye Hospital and Professor Pablo Artal, an optical physicist at the University of Murcia. Continue reading

Death of Welsh Government civil servant Gerry Lynch

OT is sad to report the death of former Welsh Assembly Government civil servant, Gerry Lynch, who championed the provision of community eye health care in Wales for many years.  

Mr Lynch was a great friend to the profession and Optometry Wales paid tribute to his passionate support for eye care in Wales, which saw the introduction of the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Service in Wales (DRSSW) and the gradual evolution of the Wales Eye Care Service.   Continue reading

College to commemorate WWI in Open House

The College of Optometrists will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War when it opens its doors to the public for Open House 2014 next month. 

Visitors to the College’s British Optical Association Museum on September 21 will be the first to see its newly-launched First World War trail. During the event, visitors will be given an insight and anecdotes into the health and vision of volunteer recruits in the war. 

 Last year the College saw almost 600 people visit during Open House, an annual weekend which sees many buildings in London that are normally closed to the public, open their doors free of charge. 

 Museum curator, Neil Handley, said: “This is the 11th year the College has taken part in Open House, and it seemed fitting that we acknowledge the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War this time.” Optometric Today