Science Briefs – Edition 24

What's Inside

  • River blindness effects in rural areas.
  • Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy that you should know.
  • Smokers twice as like to develop AMD and vision loss.
  • And, about 20 stories about the science and medicine related to blindness.

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

This is another good edition of Science Briefs in that it covers a wide array of subjects. As Often happens, I tend to feel optimistic when reading the science articles as there is so much good work going on in labs around the world that, while I may be too old to enjoy a cure for blindness, I'm confident that generations younger than me will have a much brighter future.

If you're a science enthusiast as I am, I'm sure you'll enjoy this issue.


World Blind herald does not write the stories to which we link in Science Briefs, we gather them, curate them and bring them to our readers. We are not scientists ourselves and cannot guarantee the validity of the stories in this digest. We do, however, want to be very clear that you should not attempt any of the medical interventions mentioned in Science Briefs without first consulting a professional ophthalmologist and discussing it with them. Do not take medical advice from this or any other web site or podcast without first consulting a professional.

Science and Medicine

UCD prof kicks off Emeriti Lectures

After pounding away on a typewriter, Geerat “Gary” Vermeij, 76, a Dutch-born blind paleoecologist and evolutionary biologist in the department of earth and planetary sciences (UC Davis), takes each page and scans it into his computer. This story comes to us from: Davis Enterprise.

Onchocerciasis or "river blindness" – a disease that affects the poorest in rural areas

The disease is transmitted through the bites of infected blackflies that breed along fast-flowing rivers and streams close to remote rural villages, hence its name “river blindness”. While there is no vaccine to prevent infection, treatment with the antiparasitic drug ivermectin every six months for a period of 12-15 years can help halt its transmission. This story comes to us from: Pan American Health Organization.

Researchers say found potential way to help people facing age-related blindness

Scientists at the University of Virginia Health System say they have found something that may help people facing blindness caused by macular degeneration. According to a release, scientists have discovered an unknown contributor to harmful blood vessel growth in the eye, which could lead to new treatments for blinding macular degeneration or other common causes of vision loss. This story comes to us from: CBS19 News.

Know all symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy can result in clouded vision, visual loss, or even irreversible blindness if not treated promptly. This story comes to us from: , East Coast Daily English.

Eyedea Medical awarded competitive National Science Foundation Phase II Small Business Innovation Research Grant

Eyedea Medical, a Baltimore-based medtech startup working to alleviate the burden of corneal blindness through innovative solutions in corneal transplantation and eye banking, has been awarded a $1,000,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This story comes to us from: Yahoo Finance.

The Petri Dish: Blindness drug approved; Moderna strikes gene-editing deal

Apellis' new drug is the only FDA-approved treatment for geographic atrophy, a leading cause of blindness. This story comes to us from: The Business Journals.

MoPH holds workshop for National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey

The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Primary Health Care Corporation, organised a training workshop in preparation for the second phase of National Blindness and Visual Impairment Survey in Qatar.
The survey aims to identify the prevalence of visual impairment and the causes of blindness through the participation of more than 5,000 people aged 50 and above. This story comes to us from: – Gulf Times.

[Woman from Indonesia gets back her sight after surgery in Chennai hospital][

A 23-year-old woman, who had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and lost sight as she was on steroids for 15 years, has been able to see again. The woman was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a condition in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues affecting organs, including skin, kidneys, blood vessels, and joints. She had been on steroids for 15 years as a result of which she developed glaucoma in both eyes. “When she came to Rajan Eye Care in Chennai, she was completely blind in both the eyes,” said Mohan Rajan, chairman and medical director. As the patient had advanced glaucoma with optic nerve damage in the right eye and advanced glaucoma with cataract in the left eye, she was blind in both eyes. She had consulted several specialists in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia before reaching out to Rajan Eye Care hospital, he said. At the hospital, he led a team that performed a complicated eye surgery in the left eye using Ahmed valve for glaucoma and implanting intraocular lens after treating her cataract. “Post-operatively to our surprise, the patient regained 100% vision in the left eye. The intraocular pressure became normal,” Dr. Mohan said. This story comes to us from: The Hindu.

Smokers twice at risk of developing macular degeneration and visual loss

Smokers are at least twice as likely to develop macular degeneration – which can lead to visual loss – compared to their non-smoking counterparts, doctors in the United Arab Emirates have warned.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive form of vision loss that is the leading cause of visual loss among adults aged 50 and over. This story comes to us from: UAE doctors.

How eye tests could help detect diabetes, MS, and dementia

Medical News Today spoke to experts in the field to discover how the eye … treatments to reduce the risk of blindness from diabetic retinopathy. This story comes to us from: Medical News Today.

Orbis addresses childhood blindness by setting up new Eye Hospital in Saharanpur

In 2002, Orbis launched its flagship programme, India Childhood Blindness Initiative (ICBI) aimed at building India's capacity in paediatric eye care. This story comes to us from: BioSpectrum India.