Eye and Vision News

New eBook And App Provide In-Depth Info For Viewers Of Sight: The Story Of Vision Documentary

October 2016 — Don’t forget to see the new documentary Sight: The Story of Vision, starting on October 13, World Sight Day! (Details and trailer below.)

In the meantime, a companion eBook has become available for download from the iBooks store and the documentary website.

The author, Mark Mattison-Shupnick, ABOM, said he created the book as a “deeper dive” into the many topics covered by the documentary. (Mr. Mattison-Shupnick is a master optician who is also an All About Vision editorial advisory board member.)

The book is viewable on iPads, Kindles, other eBook readers, other IOS and Android devices, and computers.

Plus, you can download the Sight: Story of Vision Second Screen App, also available on the documentary website and directly from Apple’s App Store. The app provides terminology definitions related to the documentary as well as expanded video content.

The eBook was underwritten by a grant from contact lens manufacturer CooperVision. Development of the app was supported by eyeglass lens manufacturer Essilor.

New Documentary On Human Vision Narrated By Sir Elton John

September 2016 — Sight: The Story of Vision, a documentary on scientific, medical and technological aspects of human vision, is set to premiere on October 13 (World Sight Day).

The one-hour film will broadcast on public television and features Sir Elton John as narrator.

It tells the story of how people discovered how our eyes work, as well as how to improve our eyesight and even restore it when it is lost.

Online content will also be available for viewers of Sight: The Story of Vision, in the form of apps, a downloadable eBook and a companion website StoryofSight.com.

One interesting detail about the documentary is that its writer and director Kris Koenig decided to apply color correction to the film so people with red-green color confusion could distinguish those colors better while watching. He did this after trying a pair of EnChroma eyeglasses, which are custom-tinted to help people with various types of colorblindness.

Computerized Visual Training Game Is Believed To Stall Dementia

August 2016 — There’s new hope for baby boomers who are fast approaching the age at which they will be most vulnerable to developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. A new study of 2,802 seniors has led researchers to conclude that an inexpensive intervention involving visual training exercises can cut the likelihood of cognitive decline by nearly half over a 10-year period.

The ACTIVE study — short for Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly — was funded by the National Institute on Aging. All participants were cognitively healthy seniors with an average age of 73.4 at the study’s start. They were divided into four study groups:

  • No training
  • Classroom-based course designed to impart strategies aimed at boosting memory
  • Classroom-based course designed to sharpen participants’ reasoning skills
  • Computerized training designed to increase the speed at which the brain picks up and processes cues in a person’s field of vision

The participants who received training got 10 hour-long training sessions over a five-week period.

The results over the study’s 10-year follow-up showed that 14 percent of participants who received no training suffered significant cognitive decline or dementia. Two of the three treatment groups fared slightly better: significant cognitive decline or dementia occurred in 11.4 percent of the memory-strategies training group, and in 11.7 percent in the reasoning-strategies training group.

In the group who received computerized training to improve speed of processing, 10.5 percent experienced these conditions; however, when significant cognitive decline or dementia appeared, it came later.

Statistically speaking, the cumulative risk of developing cognitive decline or dementia over 10 years was 33 percent lower for those who had received the visual processing training compared with those who got no training at all. And when researchers gave a small group of seniors a refresher class 11 and 35 months after the initial training, the risk of cognitive decline or dementia went down even further — making them 48 percent less likely over 10 years to experience dementia or cognitive decline.

The computerized brain-training program is called “Double Decision.” It uses a gaming format that exercises an individual’s ability to detect, remember and respond to cues that appear and disappear quickly in varying locations on a computer screen. It uses colorful graphics and challenges players with escalating difficulty as their proficiency increases.

FDA Approves New Prescription Eye Drop For Dry Eye Disease

July 2016 — A twice-daily eye drop called Xiidra (lifitegrast ophthalmic solution) 5% has received FDA approval for treatment of both signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in adults. The biotechnology company Shire manufactures Xiidra and plans to launch it in the United States this quarter.

“The clinical program supporting the approval of Xiidra is the largest for an investigational-stage dry eye disease candidate to date, including more than 2,500 patients,” said Edward Holland, MD, in a company release. Dr. Holland is professor of clinical ophthalmology, University of Cincinnati, and a clinical trial investigator for Xiidra.

“The clinical trial program design took into consideration many of the challenges of past dry eye research,” he continued. “It’s exciting to see Xiidra as the first prescription eye drop FDA-approved for both the signs and symptoms of the condition.”

In the safety/efficacy study, 1,067 patients received the drops in four placebo-controlled 12-week trials. In two of the trials, an improvement in the patient-reported eye dryness score was seen at two weeks. In three of the trials, an improvement in the inferior corneal staining score was seen at 12 weeks.

The most common adverse reactions reported in 5 to 25 percent of patients were instillation site irritation, altered taste sensation (dysgeusia) and reduced visual acuity.

Take The See Change Challenge — And Change The World!

July 2016 — Eyeglass lens manufacturer Essilor wants YOU — that is, wants your ideas on how to help vision care providers in underserved areas of the world to accurately measure eye refractive errors.

More than 2.5 billion people live with uncorrected poor vision, and 95 percent of them live in countries where eye care is difficult to obtain or practically non-existent. They can’t go to an eye doctor’s office and get eye exams with up-to-date instruments. They can’t get eyewear. With uncorrected vision, they can’t learn in school or work to support their families.

So Essilor has launched the See Change Challenge, an initiative to find low-cost, easy-to-use, scalable software, hardware, or other solutions to enable more people to be easily trained to become eye care workers in less developed areas.

The Challenge is open to anyone, including app developers, universities, vision scientists, engineers, startup organizations and optometrists. Up to five winners of the first phase of the Challenge will each earn 25,000 € in cash and will have the opportunity to be in the second phase. Up to two final winners will receive 100,000 € in cash.

Essilor will potentially support the final winners with development contracts to help them build and scale up their solution.

Want to change the world? Visit the See Change Challenge website for details, and submit your entry by October 21. The first phase winners will be announced in January.

Celebrate National Sunglasses Day

June 2016 — Monday the 27th is The Vision Council’s National Sunglasses Day, but protecting your eyes from the sun’s UV rays is important every day.

The more exposure your eyes have to sunlight without sunglasses throughout your life, the greater your risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and more — even on cloudy days. After a day in the sun without sunglasses, UV rays can also cause immediate, temporary issues like red eyes and sensitivity to light.

Don’t let excuses prevent you from protecting your eyes. Get multiple pairs of sunglasses and keep spare shades in your car, so you’re not caught without them.

According to The Vision Council, these are the top four excuses for not wearing sunglasses while outdoors:

  • “I don’t have them with me” — 28%
  • “I forgot to put them on” — 26%
  • “I’m not outside long enough to put them on” — 17%
  • “I don’t own prescription sunglasses” — 11%

Celebrate National Sunglasses Day by making sure your family always wears shades while outside. On June 27, post a sunglass selfie to your favorite social media outlet with the hashtag #NationalSunglassesDay to promote the importance of UV protection for eyes. — N.B.

May Is Healthy Vision Month

May 2016 — The National Eye Institute (NEI) and partners like AllAboutVision.com are encouraging everyone to take make eye health a priority. Throughout Healthy Vision Month, try focusing on these five aspects of eye health:


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