‘Bionic’ retina implant to undergo clinical feasibility study in United States

A ‘bionic’ retina implant is to undergo clinical feasibility study in the United States.

The study follows the United States Food & Drug Administration’s approval of the study of Pixium Vision’s PRIMA device.

France-based Pixium Vision says the clinical feasibility study should begin in the first half of this year at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Up to five patients who have lost their sight because of atrophic dry AMD are set to be fitted with a ‘bionic’ retinal implant designed to restore some basic visual function. Pixium’s FDA approval comes just a few months after health authorities in France permitted a similar trial there, with five patients set to receive the implant at a Paris hospital.

The PRIMA system, which uses external glasses in combination with the implant, is designed to provide partial restoration of the patient’s visual function through electrical stimulation of retinal neurons, with the sub-retina implanted stimulator replacing part of the degenerated photoreceptors.


By | January 24th, 2018|Surgery|

Directors and senior executives bailing out of George & Matilda director’s company

The chairman, three directors and the chief executive are bailing out of a company that was floated in December 2015 by Mr John McGrath, who is also a director of optical retail group George & Matilda Eyecare.

Mr McGrath floated Australian Sock Exchange-listed real-estate company McGrath Limited for $2.10 a share, enabling him to pocket $37million. He is now executive chairman.

However, since floating the company’s share price has fallen steadily to 51c as of 23 January.

Documents leaked to The Australian Financial Review show earnings for the five months to November were only $1.8 million rather than the $7.8 million the market is said to have been expecting.

George & Matilda Eyecare is owned by Sydney-based IPIC Holdings Limited, which , for its first 16 months trading, reported a $7.6m loss on revenue of $15.9m including $7m borrowings.

IPIC’s auditor expressed concern about its ability to continue as a growing concern, however said its directors were confident of it being able to do so.

Since then, the company has refinanced.

The chairman of IPIC is Mr Andrew Reitzer,

By | January 24th, 2018|Business|

Transplanted retinal cells cause swelling to retina; not likely to affect future clinical studies

A patient who underwent transplant surgery using retinal cells derived from artificially derived induced pluripotent stem cells has suffered a swollen retina, according to researchers from Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital and the Japan-government-backed Riken Institute.

The research team said it is the first time a patient has developed a serious adverse reaction during the clinical research to assess the feasibility of using iPSCs.

Surgeons operated on the patient, who is in his 70s, to remove pre-retinal membrane, deemed to be the cause of the retinal oedema. The team was unable to improve the symptoms despite the administration of steroid and anti-VEGF medication.

Causal correlation

Dr Masayo Takahashi, MD, a researcher at Riken who heads the team, said, “We cannot deny the causal correlation with iPS cells.”

She said the symptom falls into the category of serious cases, as it requires hospital admission for treatment, but stressed that it is “neither a matter of great urgency nor life-threatening.”

The incident most likely will not affect future clinical studies on the transplantation of iPS-derived retinal cells in patients with severe eye diseases, Dr Takahashi said. \The patient’s condition improved after the removal of pre-retinal membrane.

Reverse in flow of liquid

The team believes the oedema was caused by a reverse in the flow of a liquid solution containing

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By | January 24th, 2018|Surgery|

Ulysses comments


‘Medical’ twaddle

Recently, I came across an overblown 2,000-plus-words interview with a senior executive of a major optical company in Australia, in a management-nonsense magazine, complete with images.

Putting aside the effusiveness, I couldn’t help but notice two references to the interviewees’s “medical” work – one being “closer collaboration with the medical industry” and the other “a very medical role”.

All misleading twaddle of course; the person concerned is an optometrist, nothing to do with “medical”.

By | January 24th, 2018|Comment|

Freckles on iris indicate high risk of melanoma: QUT research

University of Queensland researchers have found that freckles and moles appearing on the iris indicate a high risk of melanoma, particularly in people under 40 years of age.

Dermatology Research Centre’s Associate Professor Rick Sturm said the presence of pigmented lesions was an effective predictor of the risk of melanoma that complemented traditional factors.

“We found the presence of three or more iris pigmented lesions was associated with a 45 percent increased risk of melanoma,” Dr Sturm said.

“This association was particularly strong in people under 40.

“The presence of iris freckling and naevi (moles), provides additional information about an individual’s melanoma risk over and above factors like blue eyes, red hair, fair skin and the number of moles on the skin.”

The study, involving Professor Peter Soyer and Dr Antonia Laino, involved 1117 participants of European background living in South-East Queensland.

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By | January 21st, 2018|Research|

Health-insurance premiums set to rise 4%

Private health-insurance premiums are set to rise by an average of 4 per cent on 1 April, judging from comments made yesterday by the federal health minister, Mr Greg Hunt.

Such an increase would be the lowest in percentage terms since 2001, but would still be nearly twice the rate of general inflation and would add about $200 a year to the average policy.

Above-inflation premium increases

It means that the government’s much vaunted sweeping changes and cuts to the medical devices sector, which is usually blamed for above-inflation premium increases, have so far (since October) only delivered a 1-per-cent reduction in premiums compared with 2017, which had an average 5 per cent rise.

Mr Hunt last year said the government wanted this year’s increases yto be “as close as possible” to the inflation rate of 2 per cent.

Opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King said the premium rise was more disappointing news for people struggling with cost-of-living pressures and stagnant wages.

“The government will now have presided over a 25-per-cent increase in private health insurance premiums [since it won office in 2013].

By | January 21st, 2018|Health insurance|

Canadian judge rules against online retailer

A Canadian judge has ruled in favor of two Ontario regulatory colleges that filed lawsuit seeking to prevent Essilor’s Canadian online retail company, Clearly, from dispensing prescription eyewear over the internet.

The College of Optometrists and the College of Opticians, both located in Toronto, jointly filed the application in December 2016. A hearing was held on 11 October 2017 and Justice Thomas Lederer delivered his decision on 11 January.

In a message to its members, The College of Optometrists said, “Although we are still reviewing the decision in detail, we are pleased that the court has agreed with the position of the colleges on the questions we brought forward.

Internet can be effective however …

“The colleges believe that the internet can be an effective tool for the provision of vision care, however the dispensing of corrective lenses is a controlled act, subject to Ontario legislation, that definitively requires a regulated health professional’s involvement. Mail order over the internet without the involvement of an optometrist or optician is inconsistent with legislation.”

Clearly is appealing Justice Lederer’s decision and while the appeal process is underway, the company plans to continue servicing customers in Ontario.

“Clearly is committed to making vision care accessible worldwide and believes that the internet is complementary to other distribution channels,”

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By | January 21st, 2018|Business|

MP/former ophthalmologist in expenses row

Federal MP and former ophthalmologist, Andrew Laming, has been caught charging the taxpayer more than $21,000 in 2017 for himself plus his wife and two young daughters accompanying him on business-class flights crisscrossing from Kununurra to Brisbane via Perth as well as accommodation and hire cars, The Australian newspaper has reported..

The expenditure is within the rules for MPs.

Mr Laming was the Abbott opposition’s spokesman for regional health services and indigenous health but has not held a front-bench position since 2013.

He claims to have visited Kununurra for NAIDOC Week to meet indigenous leaders, and health educators and social-service providers, as well as to attend an indigenous literacy launch and discuss the trial of a cashless welfare card in the East Kimberley community, which is 3,600km from his seat of Bowman in Brisbane’s east.

The Australian said Mr Laming declined to comment when asked why it was necessary for his wife and two daughters (by now aged nine and five) to join him on the trip.

However, he blamed an unforeseen cancellation of a flight from Kununurra to Darwin an alternative rerouting through Perth for much of the cost.


By | January 21st, 2018|People|

Full-service marketing, including appointment services, tailored to suit all-sized optometry practices; agreement

Jayex Healthcare has entered the optometry market and expanded its health-care services network by signing an exclusive world-wide ‘Solution Provider Agreement’ with OptomEDGE and the Valued Patient Group.

Both Australian-based companies have identified a strong need for practice-focused communication technology in conjunction with effective marketing campaigns.

Joint collaboration will accelerate time to market for PMS-integrated online appointments and practice marketing programs aimed at health-care topic awareness delivering measurable results.

Online appointment booking

The agreement is mainly focused on two key services – Jayex Appointuit online appointment bookings, and the integrated SMS and Email communication platform.

Optometry practices will now be able to benefit from ‘pre-populated’ email newsletter content, which saves significant time and ensures that practices have a reliable way to keep in touch with patients between visits.

Jayex brings its well-established model of supporting health-care professionals with dedicated development teams to enable the integrations and any customisations required.

Creating optometry content

OptomEDGE specialises in creating optometry content, patient recalls, online advertising, websites and landing page design, and data-driven analytics to optimise digital interactions.

The collaboration between Jayex Healthcare and OptomEDGE is designed to give patients greater access to quality health-care content, and for practices to achieve greater efficiencies in converting awareness into appointments by delivering a patient experience which can be tailored to each practice.

Jayex Healthcare: Contact: Amy Hill, Australian General Manager, 

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By | January 21st, 2018|Business|

‘Organ donation can transform lives’

Increased organ donation rates (including 1281 cornea donors) can transform lives as well as save precious health-care dollars, as organ transplants are more cost-effective than ongoing medical care, the Australian Medical Association says in a new position statement.

“The AMA supports organ and tissue donation, and strongly encourages individuals to consider their views on donation and discuss them with their family,” AMA president, Dr Michael Gannon, said while releasing the AMA Position Statement on Organ and Tissue Transplantation 2017.

A good time to make wishes known

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By | January 21st, 2018|People|