Research is under way to develop new techniques for detecting diabetic retinopathy at early onset with the hope of improving prevention and treatment of this major cause of blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of sight loss in people of working age. It is estimated that in England every year 4,200 people are at risk of blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy, with 1,280 new cases identified annually.
As part of the Retinal Vascular Modelling, Measurement and Diagnosis (REVAMMAD) project led by the University of Lincoln, UK, Marie Curie Researcher Georgios Leontidis is investigating new methods for the early screening and diagnosis of the disease by developing computer models which can detect small changes in the blood vessels of the eye.
Funded by the European Union’s 7th Framework (FP7) Marie Curie Initial Training Network programme, the University of Lincoln has been awarded 900,000 euros from the 3.8 million euro budget to lead the project and to develop retinal imaging and measurement training and research. It aims to improve diagnosis, prognosis and prevention of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke and coronary heart disease and retinal diseases.
Georgios, an Electronics and Computer Engineer within the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, is investigating the effects of diabetes on the retina’s vessel walls and how this ultimately affects the flow of blood in the whole vasculature of the retina. He said: “Here at the University of Lincoln, our efforts focus on analysing images of diabetic patients before the first stage of diabetic retinopathy. In that way we want to see what changes diabetes causes to the retina vessels and how these changes progress to retinopathy. We will then try to correlate the standard features we extract from these images with functional changes that occur, such as abnormality in blood pressure, blood flow volume and blood flow velocity, as well as to associate them with some risk factors like age, type of diabetes, duration of diabetes, gender and smoking.”
As a result of a recent study, contrary to popular belief, researchers at the University of St Andrews have found that it is possible to see in 3D with one eye. Dr Dhanraj Vishwanath, a psychologist at the University who led the study, says that it is possible to experience vivid 3D vision simply by looking through a small hole.
The research findings have implications for people who have just one eye or difficulties with double eye vision. It also has wide implications for 3D vision technology, because it suggests that there are other (possibly cheaper) methods by which the 3D experience can be created.
Dr Vishwanath said, “We have demonstrated experimentally, for the first time, that the same ‘special way’ in which depth is experienced in 3D movies can also be experienced by looking at a normal picture with one eye viewing through a small aperture (circular hole).”
“While this effect has been known for a long time, it is usually dismissed. Now we have shown that it is in fact real, and the perceptual results are exactly like stereoscopic 3D, the kind seen in 3D movies. Based on this finding, we have provided a new hypothesis of what the actual cause of the 3D vision experience might be.”
Since the invention of the stereoscope (the technology behind 3D movies) in 1838, the conventional assumption is that this added feeling of depth can only occur when the real world or a 3D stereoscopic image is viewed with 2 eyes.
Dr Vishwanath explained, “Most people understand what 3D is – for example, when watching a 3D movie with special goggles, objects appear more vividly three-dimensional, they seem real, and they look like you could reach out and touch them. There is also a sense of real space. This is also the way depth, space and 3D objects are experienced when the real world is viewed with two eyes by people who have ‘normal’ binocular (2 eye) vision.”
The St Andrews’ findings suggest that in fact “seeing in 3D” is not something that can only be experienced by people with two fully working eyes. Instead, the researchers say that in principle it is possible for those with only one eye, or have problems with their 2-eye vision to experience the ‘compelling’ effect.
Dr Vishwanath continued, “Many of these people don’t know what it means ‘to see in 3D vision’ because they have never experienced it. Our findings and preliminary results suggest that our method could be used to allow people with misaligned eyes (strabismics) to experience what it is like to actually see in 3D.”
Dr Vishwanath and his colleagues are now testing the method with a large group of strabismics. Nearly 15% of the population, including Hollywood actor Johnny Depp (who is unable to see his own movies in 3D), may have some form of misalignment.
Dr Vishwanath added, “This work has significant implications for people who don’t have normal binocular vision: First it could help them experience what it means to see in 3D vision. Second, it could encourage them to seek therapy to try to regain 2-eye 3D vision (which produces the strongest 3D effect in everyday life) once they can see first-hand what ‘seeing in 3D’ is really like. “
Penzer Opticians has recently taken delivery of a new collection of designer children’s frames, comprising Bench Kids, Pineapple Kids and Lee Cooper Kids frames.
These designer children’s frames are available for both girls and boys. There are traditional, retro and fashionable styles in a variety of colours. From Harry Potter styled to Marilyn Monroe cat’s eyes type frames, there is a wide choice. Some are classic vintage reproductions with highly defined up-sweeps whilst others are more subtle and modern. Colours veer from exaggerated brights and quirky two tone frames to more sober shades of black, brown and clear. There are full frames and semi rimless options.
As part of this designer children’s frames collection there are on trend cat’s eyes frames that first became fashionable in the 1950′s and 1960′s. Indeed Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe, who wore this style of frames in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire‘, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn (amongst other celebrities) all favoured such frames.
Prices start from as little as £6 for the frame only. Pop into Penzer Opticians to view the new collection of designer children’s frames soon.
With many thanks to Kieran, who patiently modelled the frames in the photos on this page.
Contact lenses are simple, safe and convenient to use, which is why the number of wearers in the UK has more than doubled in the past twenty years. But what if you decide to take your contact lenses on holiday?
“For holidaymakers requiring vision correction, contact lenses offer fantastic freedom when you want to be out and about enjoying a variety of indoor and outdoor activities,” says Siobhan Wren MBBS, FRCOphth, British Contact Lens Association (BCLA) Council member (Medical Representative) and Consultant Ophthalmologist at Hillingdon and Mount Vernon NHS Foundation Trust, London.
“The latest contact lenses called silicone hydrogels provide excellent comfort and eye health by letting a higher percentage of oxygen through to the eye; and daily disposables are ideal for taking on holiday as no solutions or storage is required,” continues Siobhan. “Many contact lenses also offer additional UV protection when worn under sunglasses.
“It is important to always follow the advice of your registered contact lens practitioner, and to remember the basic hygiene rules when away from home and your regular routines,” says Siobhan. “This is particularly so when you are planning to take part in sea, or pool swimming and watersports.
The BCLA has the following guidance for contact lens on holiday, of those planning to go away:
• Never wear contact lenses on holiday for swimming, or in hot tubs, or whilst showering, or participating in water sports unless wearing tight fitting goggles over the top.
• After swimming (or if lenses are removed and stored whilst swimming) contact lenses should be cleaned and disinfected in fresh solution before putting them back on the eyes.
• Before going on holiday, talk to your contact lens practitioner about being fitted with daily disposable lenses for use with goggles whilst swimming. Wearers of daily disposable contact lenses should always discard them immediately after swimming.
• Make sure you have enough solution to last your holiday, as your specific solution may not be available abroad.
• Ask your contact lens practitioner about travel packs of solution for added convenience.
• Never decant solutions into smaller bottles as you risk introducing bacteria and contaminating the solution.
• Never rinse your lenses in tap water, especially abroad, where the water may contain microorganisms. Always use saline to rinse your lenses.
• In case your lenses become uncomfortable, or your luggage gets lost, always travel with your care kit in your hand luggage.
• Before you go, ask your optician about re-wetting drops as plane and hotel air conditioning may cause a degree of eye dryness.
• Always have a pair of spectacles to hand.