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July 2014

Yes, you read it correctly — an advanced technology contact lens that alerts diabetics if their blood glucose levels are too high or too low in real time via tiny LED flashing lights. Brilliant!

In January, Google unveiled the testing of its “smart contact” that could revolutionize how diabetics monitor their blood glucose levels. Miniaturized electronics, as small as little flecks of glitter, are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material to create a “smart lens” that can monitor blood glucose levels on a per second basis.

In the early stages of product development, co-founders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz took to social media to explain their future plan to get this technology out to the masses as well as the need for such a device: “We’re in discussions with the FDA, but there’s still a lot more work to do to turn this technology into a system that people can use. We’re not going to do this alone: we plan to look for partners who are experts in bringing products like this to market. These partners will use our technology for a smart contact lens and develop apps that would make the measurements available to the wearer and their doctor. We’ve always said that we’d seek out projects that seem a bit speculative or strange, and at a time when the International Diabetes Federation (PDF) is declaring that the world is ‘losing the battle’ against diabetes, we thought this project was worth a shot.”

It becomes increasingly important for diabetics to control blood sugar since we know that the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases over time. An adult who has had diabetes for 15 years or longer stands an 80% chance of experiencing damage to retinal blood vessels. Keeping blood sugar in check through this non-invasive monitoring system can make it easier to protect and/or maintain a patient’s current vision.

On July 15th Novartis announced that its eye care division, Alcon, will license Google’s “smart lens” technology: “We are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs,” said Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez. “This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye.” We look forward to updates in the coming months as the “smart lens” prototype is refined by these two powerhouses.

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/introducing-our-smart-contact-lens.html

http://www.novartis.com/newsroom/media-releases/en/2014/1824836.shtml

Summer is finally here! Hot summer days beg for relief! Summer is all about cooling yourself off in the pool, relaxing in the hot tub, or navigating the ocean’s waves. No matter which form of relief you prefer, consider this if you wear contacts . . .

Water found in pools, hot tubs, oceans, bays, or rivers, may contain microorganisms that should not be combined with contact lens use. You could develop an infection or, even worse, temporary or permanent blindness. Read on to check out Jennie Hurst’s eye opening story of her painful struggle with acanthamoeba keratitis. She describes how an innocent dip in the pool while wearing her contact lenses left her with permanent vision loss in one eye.

The infection that plagued Ms. Hurst is the most aggressive bacteria a person can contract; however, this cautionary tale illustrates that you should adopt a proactive routine when it comes to your eye health. You can’t assume that the water you are frolicking in is free from microorganisms. Unfortunately, Ms. Hurst will not get a second chance to save her sight but her story could save yours.

Non-contact lens wearers can also develop acanthamoeba keratitis, but it is more prevalent in those who wear contacts. Symptoms associated with this condition include: redness in the affected eye, blurred vision, feeling of a foreign body in the eye, and light sensitivity. If you experience any of these symptoms after swimming (especially if you are a contact lens wearer) contact our office without delay.

Talk to Dr. Shah or Dr. Wiedeman as they are happy to discuss important techniques that you should adopt as part of your contact lens regimen to ensure optimal eye health this summer–when you are swimming or participating in watersports.

For those of you who are hung up on the thought, “I can’t live without my contacts at the pool,” our optical shop has flattering prescription sunglasses that will soften the blow. Peruse fabulous styles in our optical shop that will keep you looking fierce while enabling you to enjoy the summer and beyond. With modern frames to fit your lifestyle it’s easy to leave your contacts at home when heading off to your next swimming adventure.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2191190/I-swam-contact-lenses–Im-blind-eye.html

Have you recently noticed a white ring around your iris while applying makeup or shaving, or maybe you observed it in someone’s eyes during a conversation? Did you think to yourself, “I wonder what that is, a sign of cataracts?”

Well, we are here to address your thoughts on this subject. First and foremost, Arcus Senilis (Corneal Arcus) has nothing to do with developing a cataract. It is a gray or white arc or circle visible around the outer part of the cornea and is typically present in older adults and doesn’t have a negative impact on vision or require treatment.

Some researchers in the medical community suggest that this arc could be associated with hypercholesterolemia. Arcus Senilis is commonly found in people over the age of 50, so if our doctors discover the arc in a younger adult during exam, the patient would be monitored to rule out any concern and recommended to visit their primary care doctor for follow-up.

According to the Mayo Clinic, eye problems caused by high cholesterol are uncommon — typically affecting only people who have severe cases of high cholesterol and high triglycerides passed down through families (familial hyperlipidemia). High cholesterol is more likely associated with a similar gray or white arc visible around the entire cornea (circumferential arcus) in younger adults. Treatment is generally aimed at controlling cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

If you have concerns about eye health and high cholesterol, schedule an appointment today at 732-774-5566.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/expert-answers/arcus-senilis/faq-20058306