New Nerve Cell Discovered in Retina

A new type of neuron, or nerve cell, has been discovered in the retina by scientists at the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah.

A complex group of neurons communicate with each other in the central nervous system, relaying sensory and motor information. These interneurons are an essential aspect of communication. This finding marks a breakthrough for scientists who are working toward a better understanding of the central nervous system. By identifying and classifying all neurons, researchers can more easily distinguish between different aspects.

A research team led by Ning Tian, Ph.D., identified the interneuron in the mammalian retina. Tian said, “Based on its morphology, physiology, and genetic properties, this cell doesn’t fit into the five classes of retinal neurons first identified more than 100 years ago. We propose they might belong to a new retinal neuron class by themselves.”

The new neuron is dubbed Campana after a handbell, resembling its shape. Campana cells are able to transmit visual signals in the retina, but the exact function is yet to be determined.

Tian said, “In the brain, persistent firing cells are believed to be involved in memory and learning. Since Campana cells have a similar behavior, we theorize they could play a role in prompting a temporal ‘memory’ of a recent situation.”

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

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Blind Woman Sees Shapes Thanks to Scientists

A team of researchers from the University Miguel Hernandez (Spain), the Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience (Netherlands), and the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah (USA) recently published details about how they were able to successfully restore vision in a woman using a brain implant.

The scientists oversaw a series of tests with the blind volunteer to eventually recreate her vision. First, a neurosurgeon implanted a microelectrode array into her visual cortex, which was composed of 100 microneedles intended to stimulate neurons near the electrodes. The woman wore eyeglasses outfitted with a mini video camera which translated the data collected and sent to the brains electrodes. Finally, the brain simulated the image by surrounding neurons to produce white areas of light known as “phosphenes.”

A former science teacher, the woman had been blind for 16 years. No complications were seen post-op, and scientists concluded the implant did not affect brain function. 

Lines, shapes, and letters were visible to the blind woman. The researchers developed a game to help her strengthen and recognize the different phosphene shapes. Because of her extensive involvement and unique insight, the woman became a co-author of the study.

Professor Eduardo Fernandez said, “These results are very exciting because they demonstrate both safety and efficacy and could help to achieve a long-held dream of many scientists, which is the transfer information from the outside world directly to the visual cortex of blind individuals, thereby restoring a rudimentary form of sight. Although these preliminary results are very encouraging, we should be aware that there are still a number of important unanswered questions and that many problems have to be solved before a cortical visual prosthesis can be considered a viable clinical therapy.”

Professor R. A. Normann, a study co-author, said, “It could allow them to identify a person, doorways, or cars. It could increase independence and safety. That’s what we’re working toward.”

Professor P. Roelfsema, a co-author in the study, said, “This new study provides proof-of-principle and demonstrates that our previous findings in monkey experiments can be translated to humans. This work is likely to become a milestone for the development of new technologies that could transform the treatment of blindness.”

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

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Research Proves LASIK Adverse Events are Rare

Ophthalmology is a scientific field that is continuously performing research and studies based on the human eye. LASIK eye surgery is an imperative aspect of ophthalmology that presents patients with more benefits than risks.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology outlined researchers’ data analysis from roughly 37,000 laser vision correction patients who underwent either LASIK (31,921) or PRK (5,016) between July 2014 and June 2016. Data analyzed included eye examinations prior to the surgery, procedure reports, and follow-up exams.

Data on adverse events were also recorded, such as those that negatively impacted patients’ visual outcomes. Out of 37,000 patients, 34 experienced adverse side effects; 70 percent were characterized as severe. With less than one percent of patients experiencing a significant unfavorable result, each procedure showed:

  • LASIK (31,921 patients): 0.4 percent of patients experienced unfavorable results
  • PRK (5,016 patients): 0.7 percent of patients experienced unfavorable results

Of those with serious adverse effects, roughly 80 percent still achieved 20/20 (or higher) vision without glasses or contacts.

With over 20 million procedures performed throughout the United States over 20 years, research papers number greater than 7,000. Experts study vision correction effects in-depth to ensure they are safe and effective for patients. Based on the large number of patients country-wide, LASIK and PRK are excellent, viable options to improve vision for suitable candidates. 

To improve your vision through LASIK, contact the ophthalmology experts at Rohr Eye & Laser Center today.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

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Glaucoma Patients See Clearer with Quantum-Dot LEDs

A study published in BMC Ophthalmology showed certain lights are better than others for people with glaucoma. Researchers in South Korea monitored visual acuity, black-and-white contrast sensitivity, and color vision tests on 36 glaucoma patients. The study subjects were situated under three different lights, all displaying various color wavelengths: a three-band fluorescent lamp, a white LED, and a quantum-dot LED. The luminescence was set to the same brightness on all lights.

Visual acuity or black-and-white contrast sensitivity did not change among the three lights; however, patients under quantum-dot LEDs were able to distinguish color better than under the other lights.

According to the researchers, “This finding is very important for glaucoma patients because it is strongly associated with vision-related quality of life in glaucoma patients. Thus, a more high-quality light system could increase the ability of color distinction and may increase quality of life in glaucoma patients because the relationship between ability of color distinction and quality of life has been closed.”

Previous studies showed that glaucoma patients have a lower quality of life because of visual impairment.

Glaucoma patients who take multiple antiglaucoma pharmaceuticals could also benefit from quantum-dot LEDs, as the most commonly-used method for distinguishing the different drugs is bottle cap color.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

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Blind People Could See Again Thanks to Novel Technology

One of the greatest challenges for scientists remains making blind people see again. Diego Ghezzi, Medtronic Chair in Neuroengineering (LNE) at EPFL’s School of Engineering, has been studying and developing technology to help blind people see. A retinal implant they created works with camera-equipped smart glasses and a microcomputer to form artificial vision.

Ghezzi said, “Our system is designed to give blind people a form of artificial vision by using electrodes to stimulate their retrial cells.”

The camera embedded within the smart glasses records images through the perspective of the wearer’s vision. This information is then transferred to a microcomputer placed in one of the eyeglasses’ end pieces. Light signals are created by the microcomputer and transmitted to electrodes in the retinal implant. When a person wears the glasses, they see a simplified, black-and-white version of the landscape in front of them. When the retinal cells are stimulated, dots and light appear in a simplified way. However, wearers will have to interpret multiple dots of light to decipher shapes and objects.

“It’s like when you look at stars in the night sky – you can learn to recognize specific constellations. Blind patients would see something similar with our system,” said Ghezzi.

The technology has yet to be tested on humans, as the research team needs to be certain of their results first. The engineers developed a reality program that enables patients to see implants in a virtual setting.

Are you looking to improve your vision without glasses or contacts? Contact the eye experts at Rohr Eye & Laser Center today.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

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Myopia (Short-Sightedness) Linked to Poor Sleep

Research from Flinders University in Australia suggests people with myopia (short-sightedness) experience poorer sleep quality than those with normal vision. The study found that people with myopia have more delayed circadian rhythms and reduced melatonin production (a hormone responsible for regulating sleep) compared to people with normal vision. Myopia results in the inability to see objects at a distance. People affected can only clearly see things up close.

Dr. Ranjay Chakraborty, optometrist from the Flinders University Caring Futures Institute, said the study adds to the growing evidence of the potential association between disruption of the circadian rhythm and myopia development. “Disruptions in circadian rhythms and sleep due to the advent of artificial light and the use of light-emitting electronic devices for reading and entertainment has become a recognized health concern in several fields, but its impact on eye health has not been studied extensively. These findings provide important evidence that optimal sleep and circadian rhythms are not only essential for general health, but also for good vision,” Chakraborty said.

Levels of melatonin were measured in participants through saliva and urine samples. In the study, the circadian timing and production of melatonin were measured in both people with myopia and those with normal sight. Melatonin is secreted in our brains soon after dark, peaking around 2 to 4 a.m.

Myopia is the most common vision disorder and, in severe cases, can lead to several blinding diseases in adulthood, such as retinal tear and detachment, glaucoma, or cataracts. Road signs and other long-distance objects are generally difficult for people with myopia to read.

“Because myopia typically develops during childhood, as a next step, we would like to examine circadian rhythm training, total production of melatonin sleep and light exposure at night in young children – the actual target population for myopia prevention,” said Dr. Chakraborty.

“Such a study will provide novel insights into the biological and environmental factors underlying myopia, which will aid in early diagnosis and treatment of myopia in children,” Dr. Chakraborty said.

Myopia doesn’t have to hold you back – talk to the eyecare experts at Rohr Eye & Laser Center today.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

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The Eyes Are a Window into the Soul – and Alzheimer’s Disease

A new study shows that the eyes are telltale signs for understanding diseases of the brain. Scientists at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences found that retinal scans can distinguish vital changes in blood vessels that might provide an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. These scans provide insight into how one of the most common Alzheimer’s risk genes (APOE4) gives way to the disease.

Fanny Elahi, MD, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology, member of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center (MAC) and lead author of the study, said, “The most prevalent genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease is a variant of the APOE gene, known as APOE4. We still don’t fully understand how this variant increases risk of brain degeneration, we just know that it does, and that this risk is modified by sex, race, and lifestyle. Our research provides new insights into how APOE4 impacts blood vessels and may provide a path forward for early detection of neurodegenerative disease.”

The effects of APOE4 capillaries in the brain have been studied in mice. Elahi has long suspected these tiny blood vessels might play a crucial role in Alzheimer’s disease due to their important functions through the blood-brain barrier, such as delivering nutrients and oxygen, ridding the body of waste, and monitoring immune system responses. Elahi says damage to these blood vessels could lead to multiple issues, including the protein buildup and cognitive decline seen in Alzheimer’s patients. Since we cannot  visualize individual capillaries in living peoples’ brains, Elahi focused on the eyes instead.

Through a non-invasive eye scan, APOE4-associated capillary changes were detected in humans. Light-penetrating tissue shares biology with the brain, so researchers believe the retina might help establish APOE4 variants and how similar capillaries inside the brain are affected.

After analyzing the retinal scans, a reduced capillary density in APOE4 carriers was found, signifying an effect that increased with age. The team also compared the abnormalities found in the retinal scans to brain perfusion and found that people with higher density retinal capillary density also had greater brain blood flow.

Elahi said, “This is the first time that we have demonstrated in living, asymptomatic humans that the smallest blood vessels are affected in APOE4 gene carriers. That’s important because it suggests that the increased risk of brain degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease in APOE4 carriers might be through its effect on blood vessels. This is just the beginning. But the implications for early detection and possible intervention can be significant in combatting Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. It’s much harder to regenerate neurons than to stop their degeneration from happening in the first place. Similar to cancer, early detection can save lives.”

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

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Hand Sanitizer Causes Eye Burns in Children

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers have become all the rage during the COVID-19 pandemic. The availability has sky-rocketed, and dispensers are available everywhere. Many adults are aware to not touch their eyes after rubbing the sanitizer throughout their hands, but children typically rub their eyes frequently. Some hand sanitizer automatic dispensers are almost eye-level with kids, which sometimes causes them to accidentally spray directly into their young eyes.

The chemical makeup of hand sanitizer can be moderately damaging to the ocular surface due to the elevated alcohol content. Ethanol causes severe discomfort and can kill corneal cells, sometimes requiring a corneal transplant.

A team of researchers using data from the French Poison Control Center (PCC) found a sevenfold increase in French reports of ocular hand sanitizer accidents in children from the same period in 2019.

From May 2020 to August 2020, the number of hand sanitizer eye exposures in public places increased from 14.4 percent to 52.4 percent. In 2020, a total of 16 children were hospitalized. Ten boys had a mean age of three-and-a-half years in 2020, while one 16-month-old boy was admitted in 2019.

Total hand sanitizer incidents in 2020:

  • 16 children were admitted to the hospital
  • Eight children developed a corneal or conjunctival ulcer
  • Six patients’ corneal ulcers involved over 50 percent of the corneal surface
  • Two children required amniotic membrane transplants

Hand sanitization and disinfection are crucial for public health. However, these findings insinuate health authorities need to ensure hand sanitizer stations are being used properly. The public should be warned about proper usage and safety concerning young children and the dangers of hand sanitizer.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

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Gold Nanoparticles in Contacts Help Correct Color Blindness

Colorblind people see the world in muted shades, sometimes completely grey. Most colorblind people cannot see specific colors such as orange, red, purple, blue, green, brown, or a combination of those. Tinted glasses sometimes help but are not solutions for complete color correction or to eliminate blurry vision. Dyed contact lenses are currently in development to treat color blindness but are (so far) harmful and unstable.

Research published in the American Chemical Society (ACS) Publication Nano shows promising results from infusing contact lenses with gold nanoparticles to correct color blindness.

Daily activities such as choosing a ripe banana, selecting matching clothes, stopping at a red light, or plugging in color-coordinated cords can be difficult for color blind people. With tinted glasses precisely the same color as the person’s deficiency, colors can show up more vividly. However, these lenses are bulky and cannot correct vision in terms of sight or depth.

Specially-tinted contact lenses have been recently invented to improve red-green color perception. They are effective in clinical trials; however, they leaked dye, which has led to safety concerns. Gold nanocomposites are non-toxic and have been used for centuries to produce “cranberry glass” due to the way they scatter light.

Ahmed Salih, Haider Butt, and colleagues incorporated gold nanoparticles into contact lenses to improve the red-green contrast safely and effectively. To make them, they mixed gold nanoparticles into a hydrogel polymer, resulting in rose-tinted gels that filtered light within 520 to 580 nm, the wavelengths where red and green overlap.

The most cost-effective contact lenses were those with 40 nm-wide gold nanoparticles. In tests, these did not clump or filter more color than necessary. Additionally, they had water-retention properties that mimicked commercial lenses and were also non-toxic to cells growing in Petri dishes.

Researchers directly compared the new material with two commercially available pairs of tinted glasses and their dyed contact lenses. The gold nanocomposite lenses were more selective in blocking wavelengths than the glasses. Also, they matched the wavelength range of the dyed contact lenses, which suggests the gold nanocomposites would be suitable for people who suffer from red-green color issues without safety concerns.

Clinical trials with human patients are the next steps to assess comfort.

To learn more, read the full journal article by the American Chemical Society.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

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Age-Related Macular Degeneration Linked to Air Pollution

The University College of London revealed their study findings that showed a link between air pollution and a heightened risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD.)

The most polluted areas tested in the study were at least eight percent more likely to report people having AMD. The leading cause of irreversible blindness among people over 50 in high-income countries is AMD. The projected amount of people affected by 2040 is 300 million. Some risk factors include old age, smoking, and genetic composition.

Brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and strokes have been implicated in those who breathe poor air conditions as well. In 2019, a study found air pollution was linked to an elevated glaucoma risk.

Professor Paul Foster, a lead author of the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology study, said, “Here we have identified yet another health risk posed by air pollution, strengthening the evidence that improving the air we breathe should be a key public health priority. Our findings suggest that living in an area with polluted air, particularly fine particulate matter, or combustion-related particles that come from road traffic, could contribute to eye disease. Even relatively low exposure to air pollution appears to impact the risk of AMD, suggesting that air pollution is an important modifiable risk factor affecting risk of eye disease for a very large number of people.”

The research was conducted with participants who were asked to report any formal doctor-diagnosed AMD. Structural changes in the thickness and/or numbers of light receptors in the retina were assessed in the participants using retinal imaging.

People in areas with high levels of fine particulate matter pollution were higher on the AMD scale. Even after taking other factors such as underlying health conditions and lifestyle, air pollutants (except coarse particulates) were associated with retinal structure changes. 

Though the study cannot confirm cause, as cautioned by the researchers, their findings align with evidence found worldwide. Ambient air pollution might be a culprit, through oxidative stress or inflammation.

Dr. Sharon Chua, of the UCL Institute of Opthamology, said, “Higher exposure to air pollution was also associated with structural features of AMD. This may indicate that higher levels of air pollution may cause the cells to be more vulnerable to adverse changes and increase the risk of AMD.”

If you have AMD or need a professional ophthalmologic evaluation, contact the office of Rohr Eye & Laser Center today.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to provide personalized and extraordinary care to our patients. Whether your goal is to maintain or improve your natural vision, we are here to help you. Call us at 877-579-0202 or visit https://www.michiganlasik.com/ to schedule an appointment today.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.