Drinking hot tea every day linked to lower glaucoma risk

Glaucoma causes fluid pressure to build up inside the eye (intraocular pressure), damaging the optic nerve. It is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, and currently affects 57.5 million people, and is expected to increase to 65.5 million by 2020.
Read more

Decorative contact lenses: A horror story

Wouldn’t it be cool to have vampire eyes for Halloween? Or deep violet eyes to match your purple sweater? How about your favorite sports team’s logo on your eyes just for fun?

You can have all of these looks with decorative contact lenses (sometimes called “fashion,” “costume,” or “colored” contact lenses). These lenses don’t correct vision—they just change how your eyes look. But before buying decorative lenses, here’s what you should know. Read more

Healthy vision starts with a dilated eye exam

Eyezone Blog-Healthy vision starts with dilated eye exam-NEHEP-2

Getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam is one of the best things you can do to keep your eyes healthy. In this painless procedure, an eye care professional examines your eyes to look for common vision problems and eye diseases, many of which have no early warning signs.

Different from the basic eye exam you have for glasses or contact lenses, a comprehensive dilated eye exam can help protect your sight by making sure you are seeing your best and detecting eye diseases in their early stages, before vision loss has occurred. Read more

14 Dos and Don’ts Every Contact Lens Wearer Should Know

Eyezone Blog-FDA-Everyday eyecare-edited

Here are some safety tips you should follow if you wear contact lenses.

DOs

Eyezone blog-smiley-smile-edited

  1. Get regular eye exams to assure the continued health of your eyes.
  2. Always have a back-up pair of glasses with a current prescription in the event that you have problems with your contact lenses.
  3. Always ask your eye care professional before using any medicine or using topical eye products, even those you buy without a prescription. Some medicines may affect your vision or irritate your eyes.
  4. Ask your eye care professional about wearing glasses or contact lenses during sports activities to minimize your chance of injury.
  5. Apply cosmetics after inserting lenses and remove your lenses before removing makeup.
  6. Apply any aerosol products (hairspray, cologne, and deodorant) before inserting lenses.
  7. Always inform your employer if you wear contact lenses. Some jobs may require the use of eye protection equipment or may require that you not wear lenses.
  8. Follow and save the directions that come with your lenses. If you didn’t get a patient information booklet, request one from your eye care professional or look for one on the manufacturer’s website.
  9. Replace contacts as recommended by your eye care professional. Throw away disposable lenses after recommended wearing period.

DON’Ts

Eyezone blog-smiley-dont-edited-2

  1. Sleep in daily wear lenses because it may increase your chance of infection or irritation.
  2. Purchase contact lenses from gas stations, video stores, record shops, or any other vendor not authorized by law to dispense contact lenses. Contact lenses are medical devices that require a prescription.
  3. Swap contact lens with another person. Swapping provides a way to transfer germs between people. Contact lenses are individually fitted. Incorrectly fitted lenses may cause permanent eye injury, infection and may potentially lead to blindness.
  4. Smoke. Studies show that smokers who wear contact lenses have a higher rate of problems (adverse reactions) than nonsmokers.
  5. Swim while wearing contact lenses. There is a risk of eye infection from bacteria in swimming pool water, hot tubs, lakes and the ocean.

 

(Adapted from original article, “Everyday Eye Care”, retrieved from the FDA website on March 8, 2017).

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.