Australian researchers developing new blood test to detect AMD

A new blood test is being developed at the Australian National University in Canberra to detect patients at risk of dry age-related macular degeneration and potentially save millions of people worldwide from going blind.

Dry AMD is a common eye disorder that is caused by damage to the macula. It can takes years for signs of dry AMD to be found in the eye and often by the time it is diagnosed the disease is irreversible.

Lead researcher Dr Riccardo Natoli, from The John Curtin School of Medical Research and ANU Medical School, is developing a blood test to detect the disease earlier based on a model he has developed.

“The detection mechanisms we currently have for dry AMD happen too ,” Dr Natoli said.

“Once dry AMD starts there is a threshold tipping point and once a patient gets over that point there is nothing that can be done to save their sight.

“By the diagnosis stage, you look at the back of the eye and you already see that photoreceptors, the light-sensing cells of the eye, are starting to die.”

Researchers used a light model, thought to be the first of its kind, to better understand how the deterioration of the retina’s photoreceptor cells in the macula.

By | December 24th, 2018|Research|

Moorfields Eye Hospital secures £20 million investment for new project

London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has successfully bid for government funding to support Oriel, a proposal to design, build and operate a new, integrated eye-care research and education facility, according to an announcement by the hospital.

Moorfields has managed to secure nearly £20 million of funding as part of the Department of Health & Social Care’s major investment in the long-term future of the NHS, the announcement said.

Oriel will relocate all services from Moorfields Eye Hospital on City Road and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology on Bath Street to the new facility at its preferred site at St. Pancras Hospital, the announcement noted.
“We’re very pleased that we have been successful with our bid,” David Probert, chief executive officer for Moorfields Eye Hospital, said in the announcement.

Plans for new, integrated eye-care, research and education facility

“This is fantastic news and is a really exciting opportunity for us and our plans to design, build and operate a new, integrated eye-care, research and education facility with the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology.”
Mr Probert added: “We’re very proud of the role we play with UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology in leading ophthalmic services in London, the UK and abroad, and we look forward to continuing this role in a new state-of-the-art facility.”
According to the announcement, five short-listed

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By | December 24th, 2018|Overseas|

Staff changes at Optometry Australia

Optometry Australia has announced the following staff changes:

  • Former national communications manager Sandra Shaw departed after 30 years;
  • Bookshop and brochures manager, Natalina Bortone, after 33 years;
  • Standards and research advisor, Patricia Kiely. after 18 years; and
  • Executive assistant, Maria Wallis, after 21 years.
  • Laura Gulbin; graphic designer, Ashleigh McMillian, journalist and Tin Nguyen, policy and advocacy advisor also left the organisation.

New appointments include:

  • Optometrists Sophie Koh, national professional services advisor and Kerryn Hart, standards and policy advisor. Kerryn Hart has subsequently been appointed clinical editor of Pharmawhilst maintaining her policy role.
  • Shayley Kilderry, digital support officer, Sarah Davies, policy and advocacy manager and Lachlan Hessing, brand custodian and multimedia designer, also joined the organisation.
By | December 24th, 2018|People|

Standard Chartered reaches $US100 million blindness-fight goal – 2 years early

Standard Chartered financial services company has announced it has reached the goal it set in 2011 to raise$US100 million for the fight against avoidable blindness and visual impairment.

The goal has been reached two years ahead of the bank’s 2020 target date.

The news was shared with employees, clients and charity partners on 25 September at an event at the British Museum to mark 15 years of ‘Seeing is Believing’ (SiB), Standard Chartered’s global partnership with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) to tackle avoidable blindness and visual impairment.

Access to health services for people in low-and middle-income countries

By funding projects run by international eye health organisations, SiB provides access to affordable and quality eye health services to people in low- and middle-income countries.

The money raised through SiB has reached more than 167 million people through medical interventions, eye examinations, and eye health education and training. The initiative has funded 184 eye health projects in 37 countries, supported 4.4 million sight-restoring surgeries and trained more than 318,000 health workers.

Mr David Fein, group general counsel and chairman of Seeing is Believing said: “Seeing is Believing has changed the lives of millions of individuals and families by providing eye health services that enable many to return to education and work. As a

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By | December 24th, 2018|Overseas|

Almost 6,000 doctors sign letter to PM demanding children be taken off Nauru

Almost 6,000 Australian GPs have lambasted “deliberate government policy which is causing the pain and suffering of these children”.

Australian doctors are ramping up their campaign to have children in detention immediately removed from Nauru.

Australian Medical Association paediatric representative Dr Paul Bauert, who has treated patients on Nauru, said it was an “unconscionable” situation that could be easily avoided.

Health professionals are calling on the government to give the vulnerable children urgent support.

“This is the only situation I’ve come across where it is deliberate government policy which is causing the pain and suffering of these children,” Dr Bauert said.

By | December 24th, 2018|Health|

China tackling myopia in children

The Chinese government is taking steps to curb the rising number of myopia among children with a new program that aims to reduce the rate of myopia amongst six-year-olds to three per cent by 2030.

Announcement of the program follows President Xi Jinping’s recent remark that the future needs to protect the eye heath of children and ensure they have “a bright future”.

An estimated 36 per cent of fourth graders and 65 per cent of eighth graders in China are myopic, according to the Ministry of Education.

Under the scheme, the aim is to reduce the incidence of myopia among primary school kids to below 38 percent, and the rate among junior and senior high school students to fall below 60 percent and 70 percent respectively.

The programme puts forward staged goals of prevention and control of myopia for children and adolescents, clarifies the responsibilities of families, schools, medical and health institutions, etc, and establishes a national assessment system for prevention and control of myopia.

That was issued by the Ministry of Education, the National Health Commission and six other departments.

The scheme encourages children to spend more time outdoors and orders schools not to leave written assignments to first and second graders.

Limiting screen time for mobile devices, PCs, and consoles is also part of

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By | December 24th, 2018|Education|