Dr. Randolph C. Kinkade, a Connecticut optometrist and founding member of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists, has written the Guide for Macular Degeneration Eyeglasses: Low Vision Treatment. The book helps educate individuals and their doctors about the newest ways to help people see better with macular degeneration and low vision.
For reading and writing there are Prismatic Magnifying Spectacles (PMSs), Spectacle Miniature Telescopes (SMTs) and ClearImage II Reading Microscopes. They provide higher magnification than regular eyeglasses, often making reading easier. They do make things better, but they cannot make things perfect warns Dr. Kinkade.
For seeing in the distance (10 feet and beyond), like watching television, driving and seeing people’s faces, new E-Scoop Glasses and Spectacle Miniature Telescopes (SMTs) are available. SMTs for distance viewing are available in full-diameter and bioptic designs.
“No pair of eyeglasses can eliminate developing blind spots created by macular degeneration, but they do make things larger, giving you a better chance of seeing and reading,” Dr. Kinkade said.
The Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) is another new treatment option for people with advanced stable macular degeneration and is discussed in the book.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) recently revisited its original recommendation of nutritional supplements AREDS for treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – daily high doses of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper – to test claims that it might be improved. NEI concluded that there was no overall additional benefit from adding omega-3 fatty acids or a 5-to-1 mixture of lutein and zeaxanthin to the original formulation.
Analysis of AREDS2 showed that participants with a low dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin pre-study who took an AREDS formulation with lutein and zeaxanthin during the study were about 25 percent less likely to develop advanced AMD compared to participants with similar dietary intake who did not take lutein and zeaxanthin.
On May 8, Jim discussed visual impairment on his radio show.
There are over six point six million Americans of all ages who are either blind or have a significant vision impairment. Slightly more are female rather than male, and slightly more are under the age of 65 than above. Two-thirds of blind or visually-impaired adults do not have even a high school education, and one-third have incomes that place them below the poverty line. Most tellingly, the unemployment rate for blind and visually-impaired adults is a staggering 63 percent. Living a fulfilled, independent life for these people is an uphill battle. However, more and more, technology is helping make the difference in helping the blind live rewarding and independent lives, both at home and in the workplace. We’ll learn more about blindness, other visual impairments, and how technology is helping to level the playing field with two guests: Charlie Collins, who is visually-impaired himself, the founder and CEO of the firm Vision Dynamics and ophthalmologist Dr. Howard Charles, of New York’s Mount Kisco Medical Group.
They discussed telescopic implants, stem cell research, retinal implants, AMD injections, talking books and various assistive technology.
For more info: http://www.jimbotalk.net/programhighlights?date=20130508
This discussion starts 40 minutes into the program and lasts about 45 minutes.
This article is by Gail Johnson.
Elias Konstantopoulos gets spotty glimpses of the world each day for about four hours, or for however long he leaves his Argus II retina prosthesis turned on. The 74-year-old Maryland resident lost his sight from a progressive retinal disease over 30 years ago, but is able to perceive some things when he turns on the bionic vision system.
“I can see if you are in front of me, and if you try to go away,” he says. “Or, if I look at a big tree with the system on I can maybe see some darkness and if it’s bright outside and I move my head to the left or right I can see different shadows that tell me there is something there. There’s no way to tell what it is,” says Konstantopoulos.
A spectacle-mounted camera captures image data for Konstantopoulos; that data is then processed by a mini-computer carried on a strap and sent to a 60-pixel neuron-stimulating chip that was implanted in one of his retinas in 2009.
German company Retina Implant, for example, recently completed human tests with its 1,500-pixel implant that does not depend on a camera but instead directly harvests light and transmits that data to remaining neurons (see “Microchip Restores Vision”). A photodiode array replaces the photoreceptors.
Some people with artificial retinas can read large letters, see slow-moving cars, or identify tableware. Other patients experience no benefit.
A new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that adding omega-3 fatty acids to the mix probably won’t help, but that replacing beta-carotene with two other nutrients might be a good idea.
Among key results:
• Simply adding omega-3s or lutein and zeaxanthin to the standard AREDS formula did not help or hurt.
• Taking away beta-carotene and reducing the zinc dose (meant to reduce side effects such as urinary tract problems) didn’t hurt.
• Using lutein and zeaxathin instead of beta-carotene produced somewhat better eye protection and no increased risk of lung cancer. Those supplements were especially effective for people whose diets were low in the nutrients.
The findings, though they sound complicated, will make counseling patients easier, says Julia Haller, ophthalmologist in chief at Wills Eye Institute, Philadelphia. She had patients in the study. The results suggest that all patients can take the same formula — dropping beta-carotene and adding lutein and zeaxathin — without worrying about smoking history, she and Chew say.
While the supplements don’t prevent advancement of AMD in all patients, Haller says, they are well worth taking.
“This is a disease largely driven by genetics and aging, and those are two things we can’t do anything about,” she says. “This is something patients can do to slow the progress, put the brakes on the train.”
There’s no evidence the supplements help the vision of healthy adults or people with earlier stages of AMD. The supplements also have not been shown to prevent cataracts, though an additional study published Sunday showed some possible protective effect from the lutein and zeaxathin formula in people with low levels of the nutrients in their diets.
But Chew says the best advice for most people is to “eat a good balanced diet with plenty of leafy greens and fish.” Such a diet is good for hearts, she says, “and it certainly can’t hurt your eyes.”
Abdhish Bhavsar, a retina surgeon in Minneapolis and a clinical spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, notes that smoking is a major risk factor for AMD progression. So for smokers with the disease, the most important advice is to stop smoking, he says: “What vitamin they take has a much smaller impact.”