Stem cells and advances in diabetic retinopathy

Image courtesy of Science Museum UKEugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute researchers and the Indiana Center for Vascular Biology at Indiana University School will be collaborating on a NEI-funded $2 million study. They will be looking at the potential stem cells might provide in treatments for diabetic retinopathy. 

"Rajashekhar Gangaraju, Ph.D is assistant professor of ophthalmology and cellular and integrative physiology and will lead the study. Commenting on the potential of the new research Dr Gangaraju said:

'We know the stem cells are migrating towards the blood vessels and are trying to arrest the leakage. We believe this will be a therapy helpful for early stage diabetics, or those who have begun to suffer the effects of diabetes and have early vision loss due to the leaking blood vessels. This work is a precursor to clinical trials involving patients. We believe the basic science mechanisms will translate to a bedside treatment for diabetic patients if we can reach them in the early stage of diabetes.'"

Read the article: Stem cells offer potential treatment for diabetic retinopathy


Weinberg Foundation's Aging Initiative Findings

Image courtesy of University of Kentucky

As our upcoming 2013 symposium is on the aging eye, the Weinberg Foundation's findings from its aging initiative are relevant to the overall topic of aging in the US.

"Launched in 2009, the three-year, $15 million effort set out to identify the benefits of and best practices with respect to supporting family and informal caregivers, who provide as much as 80 percent of all long-term care for the chronically ill and disabled."

Read the article: Weinberg Foundation Announces Findings of Aging Initiative

Read the 20 page analysis: "The Weinberg Caregiver Initiative"


Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology Opposes Bill Allowing Optometrists' Use of Injectable Anesthesia

There is currently a debate in Tennessee over a recently filed bill, SB220/HB555, which would allow optometrists the ability to use injectable anesthesia. Currently, they are only able to use topical anesthetic on patients.

The Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology argues that the use of injectable anesthesia must require the advanced medical education and training of ophthalmologists.

“This legislation would create an unnecessary risk to patients and is a threat to the quality of surgical care in Tennessee,” said Dr. Ben Mahan, president of the Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology. “Anytime a needle is placed near the eye, there are serious risks to the patient that require clinical experience and expert judgment. A surgical error of just a few millimeters can result in a punctured eyeball and catastrophic vision loss.”

Read the article: Tennessee Academy of Ophthalmology Opposes Legislation Giving Optometrists Ability to Use Injectable Anesthesia


Need Ideas for Healthy Meals That Benefit Your Eyes?

AOA published some delicious and easy recipes for eye health. Cooking some of these meals for your household would be a great way to partake in Save Your Vision month.

Images courtesy of AOA

Read the recipes: Recipes for Healthy Eyes


Fascinating Report on Americans' Views on Eye Care

The American Optometric Association (AAO) released its 2012 American Eye-Q® Survey Questions and Responses, a worthy read in conjunction with March's Save Your Vision month. 

AAO conducted the online survey from May 9 – 16, 2012 with a margin of error at 95 percent confidence level:

"1,009 online interviews among Americans 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of U.S. general population.
From May 9 – 16, 2012, using an online methodology, PSB conducted 1,009 online interviews among Americans 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of U.S. general population."

Read the report: 2012 American Eye-Q® Survey Questions and Responses


March is Save Your Vision Month

Did you know March has been designated as Save Your Vision month? Promoted by the American Optometric Association (AOA), the public awareness campaign is focused on educating the general public on eye loss prevention and how people can maintain eye health through regular screenings and treatment.

"'More than two decades of extensive research have provided a better understanding of how diet and nutrition can not only keep our eyes healthy, but reduce the risk of certain eye diseases as we age,' said Ronald L. Hopping, OD, MPH, president of the AOA. 'From dry eye to age-related eye diseases, research shows that nutrition plays a critical role in maintaining the health of our eyes.'”  

Read article: AOA and Other Optical Organizations Join in Promoting March as Save Your Vision Month


Youth, Technology and Social Entrepreneurship

We here at ORSF value the role technology plays, not only in the lab, but also in social entrepreneurship and programs that serve the greater good.

At this month's South by Southwest, the annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin, Texas, the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award were given to 10 recipients who worked with youth who developed innovative technological efforts for their communities. 

Projects addressed areas such as health care, homelessness and poverty.

Read article: How 10 Leaders Use Technology for Good


Glaucoma Affects Hundreds of Thousands in Ghana

Image courtesy of
Various news service outlets in Ghana reported that 700,000 Ghanaians are currently living with glaucoma. Experts believe about 250,000 cases have gone undiagnosed.
Dr. Harrison Kofi Abutiate, National President of the Glaucoma Association of Ghana, presented these findings as a launch of Glaucoma Week in Ghana.
"He called for partnership from cell phone operators to send awareness creation messages regularly to the public as a reminder to regularly check their eyes for glaucoma in addition to financial support from both government and private institutions to help in creating the needed awareness to fight glaucoma in Ghana."
The Duke Eye Center is currently looking at isolating a possible glaucoma gene in Ghana. More about this work can be read here.
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