Specsavers aims to be providing four million eye scans at its Australian and New Zealand stores within a year – about equal to the company’s annual number of eye examinations, Mr Richard Couch, the company’s head of dispensing development, said in his welcome address at theSpecsavers Dispensing Conference 2 held at most capital cities this month.
Since being established in ANZ ten years ago, the company has dispensed over 30 million pairs of glasses and 50 million contact lenses, Mr Couch said.
“Importantly, we’ve equipped over 1,000 staff with new skills as part of our Certificate IV Optical Dispensing programme.
“In the past 12 months alone with the introduction of our OCT programme we have performed over 300,000 eye scans.
In the next year or so this will grow to over 4 million scans with continuous investment in technology, training and development and product developments.
“Dispensing and optical dispensers will play a core and critical role in the delivery of our eye-care services.”
A Melbourne-based biotech, PolyActiva, has attracted $16 million in venture capital for a clinical trial of a unique eye implant that experts say can sharply improve treatment of the blindness-causing condition.
PolyActiva’s ‘polymer prodrug’ technology virtually eliminates human error by delivering the solution via a tiny ocular implant that is almost invisible alongside a 5¢ piece.
Implant biodegrades and disappears within 90 days
The implant can be inserted in the eye using a customised applicator in an ophthalmologist’s office. Once the treatment is completed the implant biodegrades and disappears within 90 days.
Reliably delivering drugs to the eye without the need for human intervention is a ‘holy grail’ for ophthalmologists.
Current treatment requires the patient to self-administer four drops of latanoprost ophthalmic solution – a topical medication known by the brand Xalatan – for six months, an exacting task that studies suggest defies 46 per cent of patients in some way.
Patients may forget to take the drops or do it poorly, which is bad because untreated glaucoma – a build up of pressure on the eye that the drops can relieve – often leads to blindness.
Seven patients in phase 1 clinical trial
Investors, led by Brandon Capital’s Medical Research Commercialisation Fund and Yuuwa Capital, a Perth-based early stage commercialisation fund, have stumped up the $16 million to fund phase I clinical trials of the
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Scientists report they have successfully developed and tested the world’s first ultrathin artificial retina, which they believe could vastly improve on existing implantable visualisation technology for blind people.
The research was presented at the 256th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.
The researchers used 2D materials, including graphene and molybdenum disulphide, as well as thin layers of gold, alumina and silicon nitrate to create a flexible, high-density and curved sensor array.
The device, which resembles the surface of a flattened soccer ball or icosahedron, conforms to the size and shape of a natural retina without mechanically disturbing it.
In laboratory and animal studies, photodetectors on the device readily absorbed light and passed it through a soft external circuit board.
The circuit board housed all of the electronics needed to digitally process light, stimulate the retina and acquire signals from the visual cortex.
Based on those studies, the researchers determined that the prototype artificial retina is biocompatible and successfully mimics the structural features of the human eye, and could be an important step in the quest to develop the next generation of soft bio-electronic retinal prostheses.
Intravitreal injections provided in private hospitals are relatively ‘low-value’ procedures that can be safely carried out in ophthalmologists’ rooms at much lower cost, according to private health fund, HCF.
An analysis of HCF claims data for 21 procedures puts intravitreal injections in private hospitals at the top of the list
At the top of the list is inpatient intravitreal injections – a shot of medicine into the eye to protect vision – which experts say is a good procedure but shouldn’t be performed in hospitals because it only adds “enormous cost for no clinical benefit”.
They said almost all of the 5699 admissions for inpatient intravitreal injections were “low value”.
“Overall, 17 per cent of the injections are happening in the inpatient setting in the private system and that’s growing at 25 per cent a year,” co-author Professor Adam Elshaug said.
Citing “uncompromising commitment to patient safety,” Alcon has announced an immediate, voluntary withdrawal of all versions of the CyPass micro-stent from the global market and advises surgeons to immediately cease further implantation of the device.
According to a company press release, the decision was based on safety data from the COMPASS-XT study, which found a statistically significant difference in endothelial cell loss at 5 years after surgery in patients who received the device in conjunction with cataract surgery compared to those who underwent cataract surgery alone.
The CyPass micro-stent has been FDA approvedfor use in conjunction with cataract surgery for treatment of mild-to-moderate primary open-angle glaucoma since July 2016. That approval was based on 2-year results of the COMPASS study, which “were consistent with peer-review literature benchmarks of cataract-related endothelial cell loss,” according to the release.
The company will contact ophthalmic surgeons directly with recommendations how to proceed, according to the release.
“Although we are removing the product from the market now out of an abundance of caution, we intend to partner with the FDA and other regulators to explore labelling changes that would support the reintroduction of the CyPass micro-stent in the future,” Dr Stephen Lane, MD, chief medical officer for Alcon, said.
The Macular Degeneration Foundation of Australia will hold education sessions for the remainder of this year:
- Brisbane, Qld: 13 October, Geebung RSL Club.
- Brisbane, Qld: 15 October, Queensland Eye Institute.
- Maroochydore, Qld: 16 October, Maroochydore RSL Club.
- Noosa, Qld: 17 October, Villa Noosa.
- Hobart, Tas: 3 November, Grand Chancellor Hotel.
- Newcastle, NSW: 12 November, Belmont 16s.
- Maitland,NSW: 13 November, Maitland Leagues Club.
Bookings: 1800 111 709.