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Exciting New Developments in Optometry

Thursday, March 13, 2014 @ 07:03 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

You probably hear about new breakthroughs in medical technology on a regular basis, but relatively little when it comes to optometry. New prescription drugs and other medical options seem to take center stage in public discussion, while many forget about eye and vision care, which is a very important thing we often take for granted. That doesn’t mean advancements in optometry are not happening, though. New developments in optometry are taking place at a fast rate, such as stem cell therapy for retinal, corneal and optic nerve problems and prosthesis. There are also more vast-reaching developments for contact lens wearers that affect millions of consumers around the world. Read further to learn more about some recent advancements and developments.

Antimicrobial Coatings for Contact Lenses

Right now, future developments are being made that involve protecting the lens surface itself from bacteria without the use of disinfectant solutions. The University of New South Wales is developing a coating for contact lenses made of a material called melimine. Melimine is a peptide that remains effective when applied to contact lenses and worn in your eyes. Like most consumers, you may be wary of placing a new material or chemical in your eyes. This coating is safe to use in the eyes and remains stable when exposed to heat or liquid. It doesn’t alter the contact lens dimension in any way, so lenses will remain their usual small dimensions. The coating is proven to be effective for reducing bacteria, fungi and other pathogens on the lenses. In addition, melimine is not toxic to mammals. Although this won’t completely take the place of proper lens care, this new melimine coating can reduce the number of eye infections even further.

Advancement for Diabetes-Related Eye Problems

As you probably know, more and more people are diagnosed with diabetes and pre-diabetes every year. This disease can affect the eyes and cause vision loss over time, especially with uncontrolled blood glucose levels and unhealthy lifestyle habits. Some things researchers are working on in the optometry world include treatments for eye disorders related to diabetes. Scatter laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy is one advancement that has been proven effective. Since diabetes is known to cause vision problems, researchers have found that strict control of blood glucose levels and proper nutrition can greatly reduce the risk of developing diabetes-related eye problems for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. This is just another reason for people to adopt healthy lifestyle habits, whether they have diabetes or not.

Stem Cell Therapy for Eye Disorders

Researchers are working on stem cell therapy as a treatment for retinal and optic nerve problems. As you’ve likely heard, stem cell treatments enable to body to regenerate healthy cells that have been destroyed by certain conditions and restore proper function. This may eventually lead to a new way to treat patients altogether. Right now, stem cell advances provide a way to regrow retinal and optical nerve tissue. This can help patients with diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma. Researchers are currently working on corneal regeneration to treat a whole other segment of eye disorders. Stem cell therapy will definitely be something to look forward to in the field of optometry.

Optiwave Refractive Analysis

Many advances are being made when it comes to eye surgery, especially in the realm of laser technology. If you had to have eye surgery in the past, its success was typically not determined immediately after the surgery. Surgeons were previously unable to assess patients’ focusing capabilities during surgery, and they had to wait for weeks until after the procedure to learn the final results. New technology called Optiwave Refractive Analysis allows surgeons to analyze the eyes during the procedure using a laser. The reflection of the laser off of the back of the eyes gives surgeons real time information about the condition of the patient’s eyes. This makes it easier to adjust the procedure according to the patient’s needs and provide them with the best possible results. You would typically know the results of your surgery immediately after instead of having an agonizing wait during recovery.

Optos Retinal Scanning

If you’ve ever had to receive dilating eye drops at the doctor’s office, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Irritated eyes and sensitivity to sunlight for hours make it a dreaded procedure for many people. This can even make you want to put off a visit to the eye doctor, even when you know it’s for the best. A new advancement in diagnostic tools, the Optos retinal scanning system, eliminates the need for those irritating drops. The doctor scans your eyes in a few seconds and can view a digital image of your retina and other parts of your eyes. The results allow eye doctors to diagnose many different eye diseases and conditions. Some things that can be found through Optos retinal scanning include macular degeneration, retinal tears or detachment, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and even diabetes, eye cancer and high blood pressure, which may show up in your eyes without previous symptoms. Eye doctors can also save the results and compare your eye’s condition over time. This makes future visits to the eye doctor less invasive and more comprehensive than before, hopefully leading to greater compliance of regular visits.

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