IACLE Names Jordanian Optometrist Contact Lens Educator of the Year

Eyezone Blog-Yazan Gammoh-IACLE
Dr. Yazan Gammoh, 2017 IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year awardee.

Among those to receive the 2017 IACLE Contact Lens Educator of the Year Awards is Jordanian optometrist and Chairman of the optometry department at Amman Ahliyah University, Dr. Yazan Gammoh. Clinically focusing on keratoconus management using scleral contact lenses, as well as, low vision management in adults, Dr. Gammoh has spent 5 years lecturing and training at universities, symposia, and conferences in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

The International Association of Contact Lens Educators (IACLE) introduced the award way back in 2014 “to recognize and reward achievements in contact lens education worldwide”, which grants one educator from each of IACLE’s global regions, namely, Asia Pacific, Europe/Africa/Middle East, and the Americas.

Also receiving the award are Prof. Jan Bergmanson (USA), Prof. Koon-Ja Lee (Korea), and Prof. Martha Lucila Márquez García (Colombia). The presentation proper will be held on June 11, 2017 in Liverpool, UK.

Preserving vision for astronauts

Eyezone Blog-Preserving vision for astronauts
JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata sits in the chin rest during an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) session on ISS. Credit: NASA

Many astronauts who come back from space experience poorer vision after flight, some even years after, and researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham are working to see why.

Brian Samuels, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, and his fellow collaborators from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University recently received a grant to study computational modeling as a method of determining why astronauts who are in space for extended periods of time are experiencing eye pathologies. Samuels is collaborating with scientists at the NASA Glenn Research Center, and others, to help identify the cause of these pathologies, and determine whether there is a way to intervene and prevent these types of vision complications in the future.

“We know that, if astronauts are in space for extended amounts of time, they have a higher propensity for developing pathologies similar to increased intracranial pressure,” Samuels said. “We are trying to incorporate all of the existing clinical and research data into functional computational models of the eye itself, the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system to determine how they are interacting.”

He says these computational models should answer some of the questions as to “why this is happening to our astronauts.”

The length of time astronauts stayed in space changed in the mid-2000s when the International Space Station started being used. Space shuttle missions typically lasted two weeks, but now the ISS missions may last six months or longer. Astronauts were no longer going up to space and quickly coming back down to Earth.

It was around this time the scientific community noticed that longer durations in space, in microgravity, caused a larger propensity for changes in the eye.

Many astronauts who experience these vision issues are encountering a hyperopic shift in their vision, meaning they gradually become farsighted. Astronauts can develop folds in the retina, experience swelling of the optic disk and also have distention of the optic nerve sheath behind the eye. Some astronauts who have returned from a mission are still experiencing vision issues five years later. Samuels and his colleagues believe there may be some permanent remodeling changes in the eye after extended periods of time in space.

“Given that one of NASA’s primary goals is to send someone to Mars, this will be the longest amount of time humans have spent in space thus far,” Samuels said. “If we are able to identify risk factors that might predispose someone to these types of issues in space, the computational models could become a screening tool for future astronauts.”

Samuels says he also wants to find the direct cause behind these eye pathologies in an effort to develop tools to halt this process for astronauts in space.

“If an astronaut is six months from coming home and is already experiencing vision-related issues, we want to temporize any further damage that may occur,” he said.

Samuels’ role in this project is to interpret clinical and research data that informs the computational modeling and relay back to the other investigators whether the output data obtained from the models is realistic. As a clinician-scientist, he can take information that is gathered from research studies, clinical studies and computational modeling in the lab, and compare it to real-world scenarios in a clinic.

C. Ross Ethier, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the project lead.

“Dr. Samuels helps ground us in clinical reality by relating effects in space to clinical conditions on Earth, detailing pathophysiologic processes at the cellular level to clinical outcomes,” Ethier said. “He is an incredible resource for our team and the broader space physiology community.”

Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2017, February 27). Preserving vision for astronauts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 7, 2017 from Science Daily.

Feeling Van Gogh on World Sight Day

 


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Image source: facebook.com/vangoghmuseum

Van Gogh Museum marked the 2016 World Sight Day celebration with free multi-sensory tours to focus global attention on blindness & vision impairment. The programme, called Feeling Van Gogh, includes an interactive tour and an opportunity to touch high-quality reproductions of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings, so that visitors can explore the beloved Dutch painter’s artworks in depth.

On the day of the campaign, a free interactive tour, as well as, a workshop were prepared for  visually impaired visitors, along with their sighted friends, family, and carers.

Van Gogh Museum is located in Amsterdam.

Nobel Prize: Optical Legacies

eyezone-blog-nobel-prizeOct 3, 2016: Announcement of winners of the Nobel Prize 2016 kicked off in the following categories: Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Peace, and Economic Science. Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist, bagged the Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine for his discovery of mechanisms for autophagy. While the announcements continue and as we await awardees in other categories, let’s take a glimpse of the optical industry’s major contributors to scientific development.

Allvar Gullstrand (1862-1930)

Gullstrand, a Swedish ophthalmologist, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1911 for his study and research on “the eye as a light-refracting apparatus”. He contributed to knowledge of the structure and function of the cornea, as well as, to research studies on astigmatism. He also improved corrective lenses for use after surgery for cataracts and devised the Gullstrand slit lamp, a valuable diagnostic tool that facilitates detailed study of the eye. These investigations led to a new concept called “optical images”. Gullstrand was entirely self-taught in most of his geometric and physiological optic works. His major writings on physiological optics, along with his other works, received awards in various medical institutions.

Ragnar Granit (1900-1991), Haldan Keffer Hartline (1903-1983),

and George Wald (1906-1997)

In 1967, Granit, Hartline, and Wald jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their contribution to the study of primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye. Hartline studied the inhibitory interaction in and the receptor properties of the Limulus retina. Wald discovered that Vitamin A is an important component of a light-sensitive substance in the retina, called rhodopsin, which is responsible for visual impressions in the brain. On the other hand, between the 1930s to 1950s, Granit studied the electrical impulses from the retina’s cells and demonstrated the different types of cones which are sensitive to light of three different wavelengths.

David H. Hubel (1926–2013)

In 1981, Hubel, a Canadian neurophysiologist, along with the Swedish neurophysiologist, Dr. Torsten Wiesel (1924), won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their contribution to the study of visual perception and sensory deprivation “by measuring the electrical impulses of cells in the visual cortex”. They discovered that “vision does not develop normally if the brain fails to make connections with the eye during a critical window early in life”. The discovery played a major role in the development of systems in treating cataracts of infants in order to prevent vision impairment in its early stages. The study also lead to the development of treatment of strabismus.

(Source: Agencies)

Rihanna crafts Star Trek inspired sunglasses

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It’s been entirely work, work, work, work, work for Rihanna since the Secret Garden IV campaign as she crafts Dior sunglasses with pure lines and futuristic accents in a range of metalized colors and strong 80s vibes. Simply named “Rihanna”, the collection replicates La Forge’s shades, minus his ocular implants. The House of Dior ambassadress says the sunglasses will hit the stores in early June, and will include six variations: silver, pink, blue, green, and red, plus a 24-karat-gold-plated variation.