WBH Science Week – Edition 12

What's Inside

  • Blindness effects two thirds of long term care patients
  • Genetic link discovered in childhood glaucoma
  • Retinal cells may be able to protect themselves from diabetic retinapathy
  • And, about 15 more stories about the science and medicine of blindness

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

After a couple of slow weeks, this science digest picked up a bit with 18 articles about a wide array of different aspects of the science and medicine related to blindness and blind people.

It is important that our readers note that we curate this digest but do not write the articles to which we link. Please do not take medical advice from this or any other web site without first consulting an actual ophthomologist first. There is a lot of misinformation published as science in mainstream publications that can be dangerous and is not something you should experiment with on your own. Please, do not take medical advice from a web site.

Science and Medicine

Vision impairment, blindness affect 66 percent of nursing home residents in study

Vision impairment and blindness were highly prevalent and linked to morbidity in a study across 74 North Carolina nursing facilities. But corrective lenses may play a big role in improving resident outcomes, the researchers say. This story comes to us from: McKnight's Long-Term Care News.

Scientists discover new potential mechanism for vision loss

Visual cells in the human retina may not simply die in some diseases, but are mechanically transported out of the retina beforehand. Scientists from the Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE) and the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) at TU Dresden have now discovered this. For their research, they used miniature human retinas produced in the laboratory, so-called organoids. In the new issue of the journal Nature Communications, they report on their discovery, which paves the way for completely new research approaches, especially in connection with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This story comes to us from: News Medical.

Poor diet increases your risk of vision impairment by almost 30%, research suggests

A diet lacking essential nutrients can lead to permanent blindness in some extreme cases. This story comes to us from: Daily Express.

Blindness-free Ballari: A coordinated campaign to combat visual impairment, Blindness

Ballari district, once known for illegal mining and discredited for polluting the State’s politics by purchasing elected representatives with illicit money to form the government in Karnataka, is now in the news for nobler reasons. The Ballari district administration has been using a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds received from the state-owned National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) to wage a decisive war against blindness in the district in an attempt uplift the lives of people and give Ballari an image makeover. This story comes to us from: The Hindu.

Genetic link in childhood glaucoma

A new genetic mutation behind childhood glaucoma has been identified by a team of international researchers, including from Flinders University. The research found through DNA sequencing and further testing that a genetic mutation in the THBS1 gene led to the development of severe childhood glaucoma. This story comes to us from: Mirage News.

SparingVision’s lead asset SPVN06 clears IND application in the US for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa

SparingVision (“the Company”), a genomic medicine company developing vision-saving treatments for ocular diseases, today announces that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the Company’s Investigational New Drug application (IND) for SPVN06, its lead gene independent therapy for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a form of rod-cone dystrophy (RCD) and the most prevalent inherited retinal disease (IRD). SparingVision has also submitted a clinical trial authorisation (CTA) application to the French regulator (ANSM), which is currently under review. This approval paves the way for the initiation of Promising Rod-cone Dystrophy Gene therapy (PRODYGY), a first-in-human (FIH) Phase I/II clinical trial. First safety data are anticipated in 2023 and the primary endpoint is expected to be reached in 2025. This story comes to us from: Yahoo Finance.

First-Year Variability of CRT Predictive of Long-Term Visual Outcomes in nAMD

… CRT variability showed a significantly higher risk of legal blindness. … of treatment is subject to the personalized treatment effect. This story comes to us from: HCPLive.

Retinal cells may have the potential to protect themselves from diabetic retinopathy

Cells within retinal blood vessels are endowed with a previously unappreciated ability to acquire resistance against the damaging effects of hyperglycemia in patients with diabetes mellitus, researchers report in The American Journal of Pathology. This story comes to us from: EurekAlert.

Lighthouse Guild and Bionic Sight Announce Partnership to Expand Treatment Options for People Who Are Blind

Bionic Sight’s technology focuses on restoring sight to patients with advanced stage blindness due to retinal degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa. The technology is based on discoveries by researcher and developer Sheila Nirenberg, PhD, a professor at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and the founder of Bionic Sight, who unraveled the neural code of the retina – that is, the code the retina uses to tell the brain what you’re seeing. Dr. Nirenberg has won numerous awards for this work, including a MacArthur Genius Award, and she and Bionic Sight are using it to develop a new approach for treating blindness. This story comes to us from: Yahoo Finance.

development "Cyborg eye" This offers promising hope for the treatment of blindness

Science Eye can treat various types of blindness, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This story comes to us from: AsumeTech.

Lost focus in the fight vs blindness

We take our vision for granted. We make no big deal out of the fact that we can see things and people around us with 20-20 vision. But according to the Philippine Eye Research Institute, there are more than two million Filipinos who have visual impairments. That was, as of 2018. Through its Philippine Eye Disease study, these many visually impaired Filipinos are composed of 1.11 million with cataract; 400,000 with uncorrected error of refraction; almost 300,000 with glaucoma; and 200,000 with maculopathy. More than four million though are living with undiagnosed eye problems, according to the same study. Indeed, vision impairment and blindness rank among the major concerns in our country with a prevalent rate of 1.98 percent. This story comes to us from: Philippine Star.

'My little girl went blind at 5 – but now we've been given the worst news

A Dublin mum has shared her heartbreak after her little girl lost her sight to a rare genetic condition – and she has warned that other children may have it too. Jolene O'Byrne, a mum-of-three from Balbriggan, had her family's life turned upside down when her youngest daughter, six-year-old Evelyn, was diagnosed with the incredible rare Batten's Disease, which affects the nervous system. According to Jolene, the first three years of Evelyn's life were normal until she started preschool and her family notice she was having issues with her speech and balance. Then when Evelyn started school, her parents noticed that she was having difficulties with kerbs. Speaking to Dublin Live, Evelyn's mum Jolene explained how little Evelyn would go on to lose her sight. This story comes to us from: Dublin Live.

IG Model Who is HIV Positive Blind Again After Eye Surgery

Instagram model Gena Tew, who disclosed she is HIV positive, is facing even more issues following eye surgery … we’re told she’s gone completely blind. This story comes to us from: WVII Fox Bangor.

Two Blind Brothers on a mission to cure blindness

Bryan and Brad — founders of Two Blind Brothers — joined New York Living on Monday to talk more about their mission and how you can get involved. This story comes to us from: YouTube.

State of Ohio Announces Partnership to Provide COVID-19 Testing Assistance for Ohioans

Ohio has worked closely with community partners to ensure access to at-home rapid COVID-19 testing over the course of the pandemic for all Ohioans. At-home COVID-19 tests have become the standard method of testing; however, individuals who are blind or have low vision face challenges self-administering these tests. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) have partnered to identify a solution to support Ohioans who are blind or have low vision in self-administering at-home COVID-19 tests widely available through retail, pharmacy and grocery stores, community libraries, and local health departments. “We are excited to be the first state in the country to partner with Be My Eyes and Accessible Pharmacy Services to help more than 280,000 Ohioans who are blind or have low vision receive the assistance they need to test for COVID-19, which is a critical first step to managing symptoms and seeking treatment if needed, and protecting their loved ones,” said Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA, director of the Ohio Department of Health. This story comes to us from: Ohio Department of Health – Ohio.gov.

Here's my guess: Neuralink will unveil a vision implant at today's “show and tell

Recently, a group in Spain, using an implant called the Utah array, which has 96 electrodes, found that that a blind woman could use such a system. This story comes to us from: MIT Technology Review.

Five insights from the APPG on Eye Health and Vision Impairment

A meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Vision Impairment met in Westminster on 23 November to discuss data in the eye health sector, the pilot of a new study into the UK’s eye and hearing health, and how statistics are essential in tackling health inequality. This story comes to us from: Association of Optometrists.

What many people don't know: Diabetes can cause blindness

“Regular dilated eye examinations are essential to detect diabetic retinopathy early and provide vision-saving treatments when ready. This story comes to us from: KX News.


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