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|

Cadmium in cigarette smoke may affect visual quality

Exposure to a cadmium, a chemical in tobacco smoke, could make it more difficult for people to see in low-contrast conditions, such as low light, fog or glare, Reuters Healthreports.

Citing research led by Adam Paulsen of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, School of Medicine, which was recently published in JAMA Ophthalmology, Reuters Healthreports that higher levels of cadmium in the blood were found to be associated with diminished contrast sensitivity.

It isn’t just smokers, or those who lead what some might call unhealthy lifestyles, who are at risk for exposure to high levels of cadmium. consumption of leafy greens also can increase cadmium levels due to use of pesticides.

In addition to cadmium, cigarette smoke contains lead, which researchers also investigated for adverse impact on vision.

Both lead and cadmium accumulate in the retina. Volunteers’ contrast sensitivity was examined through an eye test. Instead of making letters smaller and smaller, researchers made successive reductions in the contrast between the letters and the background. Volunteers would start with black letters against a white background. Then, with each iteration, the letters would become more and more washed out.

At the beginning of the study, all 1,983 participants had no impairment. All were retested at five and 10 years after the study started. At

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By | October 7th, 2018|Health|

RANZCO glaucoma-referral pathways launched in New Zealand

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists has launched its glaucoma-referral pathways in New Zealand, for District Health Boards.

The guidelines provide an evidence-based resource for optometrists, GPs and other health-care professionals that outlines referral protocols for patients with, or suspected of having glaucoma.

The need for the guidelines was highlighted by the recent eye-care waiting list backlog affecting DHBs across New Zealand.

Dr Shenton Chew, of RANZCO, led the development of the New Zealand specific guidelines through consultation with glaucoma sub-specialists.

New Zealand-based RANZCO Fellows and several eye-health-care groups also reviewed the drafts ensuring the guidelines are practical and effective.

The end result is a clinical guideline that will ensure appropriate referral into DHB eye departments for glaucoma.

The guidelines are a part of a series of eye-care-referral guidelines RANZCO has developed for the referral of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and AMD, across Australia and New Zealand.

The glaucoma referral pathways launched on 8 September have been specifically developed for the New Zealand are being available to all optometrists and GPs across New Zealand.

“RANZCO is committed to working collaboratively with optometrists, GPs and other health care professionals to ensure the most effective and efficient patient care and to improve health outcomes for people across Australia and New Zealand,” the president of RANZCO, Associate Professor Mark

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By | October 7th, 2018|Health|

Specsavers aims for 4 million eye scans within a year

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.”

By | September 7th, 2018|Health|

Alcon calls for surgeons to stop implanting its micro-stent

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.

By | September 7th, 2018|Health|

How Bill and Melinda Gates see the world over the next 15 years

Bill and Melinda Gates have outlined their vision of what the world will look like 15 years from now, and it is confidently optimistic, The Washington Postreports.

According to the Gateses, the number of children dying before the age of five will be cut in half; polio, guinea worm and river blindness will be wiped off the face of the Earth; and the African continent will be able to feed itself.

‘State of the Union’

The couple announced those goals in their foundation’s annual letter – which over the years has become a sort of ‘State of the Union’ for the development world and has become influential in shaping the agendas and framing the debates for the greater global aid and health communities.

In a joint interview with his wife before the letter was released, reported by The Washington Post,Bill Gates said he hopes their foundation’ new commitments will serve as a catalyst in the coming years for other work that ensures every person on the planet has his or her basic needs met.

“Does that kid have a chance to have a good education? To not suffer from malnutrition? These are the primary issues we’re trying to point resources at,” Mr Gates said.

“While philanthropy provides only a small fraction of the money going toward

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By | August 12th, 2018|Health|

Early morning sun gazing in India may cause chronic solar retinopathy

The early morning religious ritual of sun gazing may be causing patients in India to experience chronic solar retinopathy with macular changes and a decrease in visual acuity, according to a speaker at the American Society of Retina Specialists 36thannual meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

“Sun gazing as a ritual can cause chronic solar retinopathy. Macular changes on OCT and fundus are very characteristic. Any person with these characteristic macular changes should always be asked about sun gazing,” ophthalmologist Dr Shaileen Parikh, DO, of Ahmedabad, India, said at the meeting.

The retrospective case series presented included 36 patients who were examined after complaining of a mild decrease in visual acuity or were seen for a routine eye examination.

Best corrected visual acuity of the cohort ranged from 20/20 to 20/80, with a mean of 20/40, Dr Parikh said.

Thirty patients were found to have a history of sun gazing for more than one year, he said.

After a fundus examination, Dr Parikh said 70.8% of eyes had subretinal yellowish deposits and 59.7% had retinal pigment epithelium mottling; mean central foveal thickness in the cohort was 175 µm.

Other common OCT findings were central foveal thinning, lamellar macular holes and a collection of materials with hyperreflectivity in the foveal space, he said.


By | August 1st, 2018|Health|

Clinics in US offering stem-cell therapies without FDA approval

A study of stem cell therapy clinics has found 40 companies with 76 clinics across the United States are offering patients non-Food-and-Drug-Administration-approved “cell therapy” for ocular conditions, according to a speaker at the American Society of Retina Specialists meeting held in Vancouver on 20-25 July.

“There is a large number of cell therapy clinics across the United States working on providing direct-to-consumer marketing,” DrAjay Kuriyan, MD, said at the meeting.

“They offer treatment for a variety of retinal conditions and the cells are harvested from different sources and administered in various different routes.

“It’s very important to continue to educate patients about the potential risks of treatments at such stem cell clinics.”

The researchers found 187 websites offering non-FDA-approved stem-cell interventions at 215 different clinics across the United States. The fee for treatment injections ranged from $5,000 to $50,000.

Fees from $US5,000 to $50,000

The cross-sectional, clinical study used systematic, keyword-based internet searches, and websites were data-mined for content analysis.

Of the 76 clinics offering stem-cell treatments for ocular conditions, the most common marketed treatment was “macular degeneration” with 35 clinics offering treatment.

“The most common were macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachment. Some of the websites were very vague, including ‘ophthalmology’ as a condition they treated,” Dr Kuriyan said.

The common source of the “cell

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By | August 1st, 2018|Health|

Specsavers matches Federal Govt’s $1m funding for diabetes screening program

Specsavers is matching the Federal Government’s $1 million funding for the first year of a new national-diabetes-screening program, announced on 13 July.

Both the Federal Government and Specsavers have committed $1 million each for every year of five years – a total of $10 million over the first five years.

Major diabetes and eye-health groups have applauded the program to reduce vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes.

Combatimg diabetes-related blindness

The first such program is a major step in combating diabetes-related blindness and will assist early detection and treatment to protect the sight of over 1.2 million Australians living with diabetes.

Federal health minister, Mr Greg Hunt, on 13 July announced his department’s $1 million in funding for the first of five years, to commence development of the program outlined in a proposal put forward by the diabetes and eye-health groups.

Diabetes Australia will partner with Vision 2020 Australia, Oculo and Specsavers and engage all leading organisations in the eye-health and diabetes sectors across Australia to support the initiative.

Diabetes Australia’s chief executive officer, Professor Greg Johnson, said too many people with diabetes were missing out on eye checks that could prevent them from losing their sight.

Leading cause of blindness

“Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Australians. We are pleased the Australian Government

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By | July 14th, 2018|Health|

Glaucoma Australia launches referral response intervention program

Glaucoma Australia has launched a new patient-support program, in consultation with eye-care practitioners.

The new intervention-and-education program is designed to increase adherence and reduce vision loss – by minimising ‘drop-outs’.

“The first few months in my new role as chief executive officer have been spent reviewing what, when, why and how Glaucoma Australia collaboratively works with eye-health professionals and patients to eliminate glaucoma blindness,” Mrs Annie Gibbins, chief executive officer of Glaucoma Australia, said.

“The opportunity to fully engage collaborative partnerships, technology and consumer feedback to drive future excellence in service provision has been top of mind.

“The tragic 50 per cent undiagnosed and 40 per cent non-adherent statistics need a proactive patient-centred intervention which captures powerful data and helps drive future change.

“If every patient diagnosed with glaucoma is not being actively supported by Glaucoma Australia, we have much work to do.”

Following an extensive consultation and feedback period with key allied stakeholders from ophthalmology, optometry and pharmacy, an innovative and collaborative patient-support study has been created, offering personalised education and support targeted at critical, high-risk periods for patients.

“Glaucoma Australia is harnessing digital technology and smart electronic referral systems to promote screening for at-risk individuals, linking patients with support services and education resources.

“This ground-breaking work should imrpove detection rates and patient knowledge as well as

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By | June 24th, 2018|Health|