Essilor, an international producer of ophthalmic optics, launched an organization dedicated to socio-economic-related vision issues: the Vision Impact Institute. Today’s most widespread disability, impaired vision, affects 4.2 billion people throughout the world, of whom 2.5 billion have no access to corrective measures.
In its quest to achieve better vision for all, the Vision Impact Institute will act as a global connector of knowledge, data and solutions. The Institute’s mission is to raise awareness about the socio-economic impact of poor vision and to foster research where needed, encouraging measures in the field of corrective vision. It will work to ensure that poor vision and the economic implications emerge as a global challenge.
This public health issue has substantial economic consequences at both an individual and collective level: $269 billion in productivity is reportedly lost every year because of impaired vision, even though all the required solutions (eye exams, corrections) are available.
The underestimated economic impact of impaired vision
While one of the most widespread disabilities in the world, impaired vision and its cost are still underestimated in developed and emerging countries: 30 percent of young people in the world under the age of 18 reportedly suffer from uncorrected refractive error, which is often not diagnosed due to lack of awareness or access to care. This proportion rises to 33 percent in the labor force, 37 percent among elderly people and 23 percent among motorists.
The economic impact is significant globally: around $269 billion in productivity is reportedly lost every year, including $50 billion in Europe, $7 billion in Japan, and $22 billion in the United States–even though there are solutions to correct most of these impaired vision cases.
The annual global cost of productivity loss corresponds to providing an eye exam for half of the current world population. Thus, simple measures might drastically reduce the economic consequences of impaired vision and also the social ones, even though the cost, level o f access to care, and awareness differs by country.
Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats someone for a sports-related eye injury. According to the National Eye Institute, eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in America, and most injuries occurring in school-aged children are sports-related. The results of an eye injury can range from temporary to permanent vision loss.
The NEI notes that baseball is the sport responsible for the greatest number of eye injuries in children aged 14 and younger. While basketball is the sport that records the highest number of eye injuries for those ages 15-24.
Polycarbonate lenses must be used with protectors that meet or exceed the requirements of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Each sport has a specific ASTM code. Polycarbonate eyewear is 10 times more impact resistant than other plastics.
Eye injuries can include painful corneal abrasions, blunt trauma and penetrating injuries, inflamed iris, fracture of the eye socket, swollen or detached retinas, traumatic cataract and blood spilling into the eye’s anterior chamber. All athletes who have poor vision or blindness in one eye should take particular care to protect their remaining vision.
Closed Circuit TeleVisions (CCTVs) have evolved into one of the most useful tools used by people with low vision for accessing printed information. A more descriptive name for these technology tools is video or electronic magnifiers. This category has expanded so rapidly that we now have several distinct sub-categories including: desktop models, hand-held camera models, electronic pocket models, and digital imaging systems.
Computer/Screen Magnification Technologies: Hardware & Software Accessing computers and other electronic devices can be difficult for people with low vision. In addition to hardware options such as larger monitors, monitor extension arms, and Fresnel lens magnifiers, there is a wide variety of software options available to assist in this area.
* Display property adjustments to operating system and application software
* Accessibility features of operating system
* Cursor enhancement software
* Screen magnification software such as freeware/shareware, low cost and mid-priced magnifiers, full-featured magnifiers
Other Useful Technologies for People with Low Vision: Many people with low vision find some auditory and some tactile tools useful for certain tasks. Topics covered include:
* E-book readers – auditory/visual
* Cell phones – auditory/visual
* GPS – auditory/visual
* Calculators/dictionaries – auditory/visual
Cataracts are one of the most common causes of vision loss. In fact, by age 75, about 70 percent of people have cataracts. However, cataracts typically develop slowly, so symptoms may not be immediately apparent. Over time, cataracts can cause vision to become blurry, cloudy dim, or dull and can interfere with daily activities. The good news is that cataracts are treatable with cataract surgery.
August is Cataract Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to get EyeSmart about cataract risks, symptoms, prevention tips, and when it might be time for surgery. If you think you may have cataracts, be sure to talk to your ophthalmologist about your options.
It’s also important to make sure you get regular eye exams to monitor the development of cataracts or other eye conditions. Seniors age 65 and older may qualify for an eye exam and up to 1 year of care at no out of pocket cost through EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. See if you or a loved one qualifies by visiting the online referral center at www.eyecareamerica.org.
Vascular Endothelia Growth Factor (VEGF) Trap-Eye provided a significant benefit to patients with diabetic macular edema in a phase 2 trial and updated data now shows the initial improvements were sustained or increased a year later. The intravitreal injections were significantly more effective than the standard treatment, laser photocoagulation, in both preserving and improving visual acuity, as published in Ophthalmology.
VEGF Trap-Eye developed in New York and Germany, is a recombinant fusion protein that contains the VEGF binding domaisn of human VEGF receptors 1 and 2, fused to the Fc domain of human immunoglobulin G1.
While normal eyes contain some VEGF, the ischemic damage that occurs in diabetic eye disease upregulates this protein and several other growth factors. High VEGF levels then cause additional damage to the blood vessels.
At 52 weeks, average improvement ranged from 9.7 to 13.1 letters, compared to -1.3 letters in the laser treatment group. Mean reductions in central retinal thickness from baseline ranged from 165.4 to 227.4 micrometers in patients who received VEGF Trap-Eye, versus 58.4 micrometers for the laser treatment group.
There did not appear to be an increased risk of systemic arteriothrombotic events with the use of VEGF Trap-Eye. Because VEGF Trap-Eye is a fusion protein with high affinity for VEGF, it may be mroe durable and have a longer effect than bevacizumab or ranibizumab.
Taking vitamins E and C may do nothing to protect aging eyes from macular degeneration, in the longest-running one to test vitamin E for eyesight in men, and the first to test vitamin C alone.
According to researchers of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, the findings offer no evidence to support taking vitamins E and C to ward off vision problems. The report published in Ophthalmology, is part of an ongoing study of more than 14,000 U.S male doctors age 50 and older. The men were either taking both vitamins, only one of them, or neither.
After 8 years, 193 men had developed macular degeneration that was serious enough to interfere with their vision, but the risk was nearly identical among vitamin and placebo users.
Getting a comprehensive eye exam is an important part of staying healthy. But do you know what the exam should cover?
A comprehensive eye exam is a painless procedure that should check on the following:
• Your medical history — assessed through questions about your vision and family history.
• Your visual acuity — tested by reading a standardized eye chart.
• Your pupils, evaluated to determine how well they respond to light.
• Your eye movement, which is tested to ensure proper eye alignment and ocular muscle function.
• Your prescription for corrective lenses — evaluated to ensure proper vision correction.
• Your side vision, tested for possible vision loss and glaucoma risk.
• Your eye pressure, tested as a possible glaucoma symptom.
• The front part of your eye, examined to reveal any cataracts, scars or scratches on your cornea.
• Your retina and optic nerve — assessed through a dilated eye exam using special eyedrops, which allows your Eye M.D. to thoroughly examine the back of the eye for signs of damage from disease.
Each part of the comprehensive eye exam provides important information about the health of your eyes. Make sure that you are getting a complete examination as part of your commitment to your overall health.