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Diabetic Eye Disease | NIDDK

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

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Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye problems that can affect people with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Over time, diabetes can cause damage to your eyes that can lead to poor vision or even blindness. But you can take steps to prevent diabetic eye disease, or keep it from getting worse, by taking care of your diabetes.

The best ways to manage your diabetes and keep your eyes healthy are to

Photo courtesy of the National Eye Institute, NIH.

Often, there are no warning signs of diabetic eye disease or vision loss when damage first develops. A full, dilated eye exam helps your doctor find and treat eye problems earlyoften before much vision loss can occur.

Diabetes affects your eyes when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.

In the short term, you are not likely to have vision loss from high blood glucose. People sometimes have blurry vision for a few days or weeks when theyre changing their diabetes care plan or medicines. High glucose can change fluid levels or cause swelling in the tissues of your eyes that help you to focus, causing blurred vision. This type of blurry vision is temporary and goes away when your glucose level gets closer to normal.

If your blood glucose stays high over time, it can damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of your eyes. This damage can begin during prediabetes, when blood glucose is higher than normal, but not high enough for you to be diagnosed with diabetes. Damaged blood vessels may leak fluid and cause swelling. New, weak blood vessels may also begin to grow. These blood vessels can bleed into the middle part of the eye, lead to scarring, or cause dangerously high pressure inside your eye.

Most serious diabetic eye diseases begin with blood vessel problems. The four eye diseases that can threaten your sight are

The retina is the inner lining at the back of each eye. The retina senses light and turns it into signals that your brain decodes, so you can see the world around you. Damaged blood vessels can harm the retina, causing a disease called diabetic retinopathy.

In early diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels can weaken, bulge, or leak into the retina. This stage is called nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy.

If the disease gets worse, some blood vessels close off, which causes new blood vessels to grow, or proliferate, on the surface of the retina. This stage is called proliferative diabetic retinopathy. These abnormal new blood vessels can lead to serious vision problems.

Photo courtesy of the National Eye Institute, NIH.

Photo courtesy of the National Eye Institute, NIH.

The part of your retina that you need for reading, driving, and seeing faces is called the macula. Diabetes can lead to swelling in the macula, which is called diabetic macular edema. Over time, this disease can destroy the sharp vision in this part of the eye, leading to partial vision loss or blindness. Macular edema usually develops in people who already have other signs of diabetic retinopathy.

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nervethe bundle of nerves that connects the eye to the brain. Diabetes doubles the chances of having glaucoma, which can lead to vision loss and blindness if not treated early.

Symptoms depend on which type of glaucoma you have. Learn more about glaucoma.

Photo courtesy of the National Eye Institute, NIH.

The lenses within our eyes are clear structures that help provide sharp visionbut they tend to become cloudy as we age. People with diabetes are more likely to develop cloudy lenses, called cataracts. People with diabetes can develop cataracts at an earlier age than people without diabetes. Researchers think that high glucose levels cause deposits to build up in the lenses of your eyes.

Photo courtesy of the National Eye Institute, NIH.

About one in three people with diabetes who are older than age 40 already have some signs of diabetic retinopathy.1 Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss in people with diabetes. Each persons outlook for the future, however, depends in large part on regular care. Finding and treating diabetic retinopathy early can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent.

Your chances of developing glaucoma or cataracts are about twice that of someone without diabetes.

Anyone with diabetes can develop diabetic eye disease. Your risk is greater with

High blood cholesterol and smoking may also raise your risk for diabetic eye disease.

Some groups are affected more than others. African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Hispanics/Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and older adults are at greater risk of losing vision or going blind from diabetes.

If you have diabetes and become pregnant, you can develop eye problems very quickly during your pregnancy. If you already have some diabetic retinopathy, it can get worse during pregnancy. Changes that help your body support a growing baby may put stress on the blood vessels in your eyes. Your health care team will suggest regular eye exams during pregnancy to catch and treat problems early and protect your vision.

Diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy, called gestational diabetes, does not usually cause eye problems. Researchers aren't sure why this is the case.

Your chances of developing diabetic eye disease increase the longer you have diabetes.

Often there are no early symptoms of diabetic eye disease. You may have no pain and no change in your vision as damage begins to grow inside your eyes, particularly with diabetic retinopathy.

When symptoms do occur, they may include

Talk with your eye doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Call a doctor right away if you notice sudden changes to your vision, including flashes of light or many more spots (floaters) than usual. You also should see a doctor right away if it looks like a curtain is pulled over your eyes. These changes in your sight can be symptoms of a detached retina, which is a medical emergency.

Having a full, dilated eye exam is the best way to check for eye problems from diabetes. Your doctor will place drops in your eyes to widen your pupils. This allows the doctor to examine a larger area at the back of each eye, using a special magnifying lens. Your vision will be blurry for a few hours after a dilated exam.

Your doctor will also

Your doctor may suggest other tests, too, depending on your health history.

Most people with diabetes should see an eye care professional once a year for a complete eye exam. Your own health care team may suggest a different plan, based on your type of diabetes and the time since you were first diagnosed.

Eye exam guidelines for diabetes 2,3,4:

Women who develop gestational diabetes dont usually need an eye exam because they dont develop diabetic eye disease during pregnancy. If you have any questions, ask your doctor.

Your doctor may recommend having eye exams more often than once a year, along with management of your diabetes. This means managing your diabetes ABCs, which include your A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol; and quitting smoking. Ask your health care team what you can do to reach your goals.

Doctors may treat advanced eye problems with medicine, laser treatments, surgery, or a combination of these options.

Your doctor may treat your eyes with anti-VEGF medicine, such as aflibercept, bevacizumab, or ranibizumab. These medicines block the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the eye. Anti-VEGF medicines can also stop fluid leaks, which can help treat diabetic macular edema.

The doctor will inject an anti-VEGF medicine into your eyes during office visits. You'll have several treatments during the first few months, then fewer treatments after you finish the first round of therapy. Your doctor will use medicine to numb your eyes so you dont feel pain. The needle is about the thickness of a human hair.

Anti-VEGF treatments can stop further vision loss and may improve vision in some people.

Laser treatment, also called photocoagulation, creates tiny burns inside the eye with a beam of light. This method treats leaky blood vessels and extra fluid, called edema. Your doctor usually provides this treatment during several office visits, using medicine to numb your eyes. Laser treatment can keep eye disease from getting worse, which is important to prevent vision loss or blindness. But laser treatment is less likely to bring back vision youve already lost compared with anti-VEGF medicines.

There are two types of laser treatment:

Vitrectomy is a surgery to remove the clear gel that fills the center of the eye, called the vitreous gel. The procedure treats problems with severe bleeding or scar tissue caused by proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Scar tissue can force the retina to peel away from the tissue beneath it, like wallpaper peeling away from a wall. A retina that comes completely loose, or detaches, can cause blindness.

During vitrectomy, a clear salt solution is gently pumped into the eye to maintain eye pressure during surgery and to replace the removed vitreous. Vitrectomy is done in a surgery center or hospital with pain medicine.

In a surgery center or hospital visit, your doctor can remove the cloudy lens in your eye, where the cataract has grown, and replace it with an artificial lens. People who have cataract surgery generally have better vision afterward. After your eye heals, you may need a new prescription for your glasses. Your vision following cataract surgery may also depend on treating any damage from diabetic retinopathy or macular edema.

To prevent diabetic eye disease, or to keep it from getting worse, manage your diabetes ABCs: your A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol; and quit smoking if you smoke. Read more information on how to manage diabetes.

Also, have a dilated eye exam at least once a yearor more often if recommended by your eye care professional. These actions are powerful ways to protect the health of your eyesand can prevent blindness.

The sooner you work to manage your diabetes and other health conditions, the better. And, even if youve struggled in the past to manage your health, taking better care of yourself now can protect your eyes for the future. Its never too late to begin.

Ask your eye care professional to help you find a low vision and rehabilitation clinic. Special eye care professionals can help you manage vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery. Special devices and training may help you make the most of your remaining vision so that you can continue to be active, enjoy hobbies, visit friends and family members, and live without help from others.

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Diabetes Statistics Report: Estimates of Diabetes and Its Burden in the United States, 2014. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.

[2] Diabetic retinopathy preferred practice pattern guidelines. American Academy of Ophthalmology website. https://www.aao.org/preferred-practice-pattern/diabetic-retinopathy-ppp. Updated January 2016. Accessed June 2, 2017.

[3] Fraser CE, DAmico DJ. Diabetic retinopathy: prevention and treatment. UpToDate website. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/diabetic-retinopathy-prevention-and-treatment. September 28, 2016. Accessed June 2, 2017.

[4] American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes2016 abridged for primary care providers. Clinical Diabetes. 2016 Jan;34(1):321.

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Cataracts in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention & More

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

In this Article In this Article In this Article

Dogs' eyes are not that different from our own. They have pupils, corneas, lenses, rods, and cones that work similar to ours, although they see things a little differently.

Since their eyes are similar, they can develop some of the same eye conditions that we do. One of the eye conditions our canine friends share with us is cataracts or clouded eye lenses.

Its important to know what cataracts are, how dog cataracts are caused, and what veterinarians can do to treat them. This way, you can take measures to reduce the chances of your dog developing cataracts and get them the treatment they need.

As they age, dogs develop cataracts in much the same way that humans do. A cloudy film sets into the eyes lens and keeps light from entering.

Your dog's eyes have water and proteins in them. Cataracts form when the proteins begin to clump together and form into a cloud-like substance in the eyes lens.

More and more proteins gather, eventually clouding the entire lens. Cataracts can start small and grow large, or they can appear overnight and completely blind your dog.

Cataracts are an inheritable trait, so if a dog is one of the breeds known for cataracts, there is a good chance they might develop them.

Diabetes Mellitus (sugar diabetes) can also cause cataracts in dogs.

Its also possible for eye injuries, which can cause inflammation, to lead to cataracts. Age is another leading cause of cataract development, appearing suddenly without an underlying condition.

It's important to know that another condition is similar to cataracts nuclear sclerosis, or hardening of the lenses as your dog ages.

This condition causes their eyes to become more cloudy but does not cause blindness. Your dog can see even though their eye lenses have changed. Your veterinarian will examine your dogs eyes to determine if they have nuclear sclerosis or cataracts.

Dogs eye structures change as they age, much like ours do. If your dog is aging and begins to develop a cloudy look in their eyes, or if they have an underlying eye disease cataracts can start to appear.

They might stay small or grow, depending on the condition that has caused them and where they are in the lens. If cataracts develop because your dog has diabetes, they might expand rapidly to cover the entire lens.

When a dog with cataracts is left untreated, they can become blind. The cataract completely blocks light from entering the eye through the lens and keeps your dog from seeing. The condition is still treatable at that time with surgery, but without treatment, it can develop into glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a condition where there is too much pressure in the eye, which damages the optic nerve. If the nerve is damaged, your dog will be permanently blind in the eye where the nerve sustained the damage.

Its important to note that not all cataracts can lead to glaucoma or blindness. Sometimes, they develop only enough to cause some reduction in sight.

Glaucoma isnt the only condition that can be caused by untreated cataracts. Another is lens luxation, or a condition where the lens can float around out of place. Cataract dissolution, where the cataracts dissolve on their own, can cause deep inflammation within the eye and lead to uveitis or glaucoma.

Uveitis is an inflammatory condition within the eye that is painful for your dog and can cause blindness.

All dogs can develop cataracts, but some breeds are more prone to the condition because of genetic traits.

Some of these are:

Your veterinarian will examine your dogs eyes using a light. Veterinarians also use blood tests to determine if any underlying conditions might have caused your dog's cataracts.

In most cases, you cannot prevent cataracts, but there are ways to ensure that your dogs vision is preserved, especially if a medical condition like diabetes causes it. These include:

One of the goals of cataract surgery in canines is to return functional vision. There are no known remedies that can reverse the forming of a cataract surgery is the only option for cataracts once they have formed.

Cataracts are removed with a surgical procedure under general anesthesia. The lens is removed, and the veterinarian replaces it with a lens made from plastic or acrylic. There may only be a need to operate on one eye, or the veterinary ophthalmologist may need to perform the procedure on both eyes.

Veterinarians also run tests to look for underlying conditions that are known to cause cataracts. Treating any conditions that can cause cataracts to form is essential because it reduces the chances that those conditions might cause further health issues.

Your dogs eyes will be sensitive after the surgery, so they have to be placed into a protective collar to keep them from rubbing them and causing damage. Veterinarians also give you eye drops to put in your dogs eyes a few times per day to keep them moisturized and let them heal correctly.

Your pet will need to rest and stay in a calm environment for a few weeks as their eyes heal. If you notice any complications, notify your veterinarian immediately.

Surgery for canine cataracts can be costly. The procedure itself can cost up to a few thousand dollars per eye. If your dog has any underlying conditions, the costs continue to rise as you continue visiting the office and your veterinarian prescribes medications for them.

Depending on the severity of your dogs health and cataracts, you might face medical bills of over $5,000. In general, pre-operative costs are between $500 and $1,000, while the price of surgery ranges from $3,000 to $4,500.

While this might seem steep, when everything is complete, your dog will see you again and be able to enjoy time with you to the fullest. Be sure to monitor your dog's eye after cataract procedure, because they can still develop glaucoma and other eye conditions after surgery.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Vanessa Farner, DVM on February 10, 2021

Sources:

American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists: Cataracts.

American Kennel Club: Cataracts Can Occur as Your Dog Ages.

American Kennel Club: Cloudy Eyes in Dogs.

American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation: 2061: Emergence of Pigmentary Uveitis as a Potential Cause of Cataracts and Glaucoma.

National Eye Institute: Cataracts.

The Royal Society Publishing: Colour cues proved to be more informative for dogs than brightness.

UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Genetics Laboratory: Hereditary Cataracts in Australian Shepherds.

Veterinary Partner: Cataracts in Dogs and Cats.

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Glaucoma: How to defeat this leading cause of blindness before it strikes; treatment, future – Times Now

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the world.  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images

In a world that is witnessing rapid progress in the arena of science and technology, one hopes that researchers can find answers to some of the most vexing medical maladies. Glaucome or Kala Motiya Bindu is one of them. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world.

What is Glaucoma?Glaucoma is a general term used to describe a group of eye disorders that damage the optic nerve. Damage to the delicate optic nerve leads to vision loss. In most cases of Glaucoma, fluid builds up in the front part of the eye -- putting pressure (intraocular pressure (IOP)/eye pressure) on the eye, gradually damaging the optic nerve.

Left untreated, this eye pressure can permanently affect vision. Treatments including eye drops, laser treatments and surgeries can slow down vision loss and save your sight.

What causes Glaucoma?According to Cleveland Clinic, glaucoma can occur without any cause but is affected by many factors. The most important of which is the intraocular eye pressure. Your eyes produce a fluid called aqueous humor that nourishes them. This liquid flows through the pupil to the front of the eye. In a healthy eye, the fluid leaves through a drainage canal located between the iris and cornea.

Is Glaucoma curable? If not now, maybe in the near future?At the moment we have no treatment that can restore the lost vision. We will need to insert new nerve cells, reconnect the new cells to the cells that are still there, and make those connections work with the existing connections in the way that they did originally. Doctors and researchers across the world have taken the first steps in this process, it will be years before the successful restoration of vision in a human eye is possible

Why is glaucoma not caught early?One of the reasons that glaucomas damage is not noticed early on is that it typically affects only one eye at first. The other eye is still fully functional. Since the brain converts the two separate signals from both eyes into a single picture, we see it and we think nothing is missing. Until of course, too late.

Can glaucoma affect both eyes?Most people develop glaucoma in both eyes, although the disease initially may be worse in one eye. Certain types of glaucoma appear to cause moderate or severe damage in one eye initially, while the other eye may be mildly affected. Over time, the disease damages both eyes. People with closed-angle glaucoma in one eye have a raised likelihood of developing the same type of glaucoma in the other eye within five to 10 years.

Which hospitals are the finest in glaucoma treatment?According to the Global Clinic Rating (GCR) website, the Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic's Cole Eye Institute, the Jules Stein Eye Institute, and the Ahad Mahootchi, MD, PA are the four top-most among the best all-around ophthalmology centres in the United States. These are also top-ranked clinics for glaucoma treatment. ()

Indian-origin Dr Pradeep Ramulu, MD, PhD is the Chief of the Glaucoma Division at the Johns Hopkins -- Wilmer Eye Institute.

How to prevent glaucoma:Early detection of glaucoma through routine eye exams is the best way to protect eye health and prevent vision loss. Make sure that you have eye health checkups periodically, just as one sets the calendar for a dental check-up and other health issues. Cleveland Clinic suggests that you must visit your ophthalmologist as per the table suggested below:

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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The many benefits of Vitamin A – Deccan Herald

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

Ever been told to properly eat your carrots and spinach because theyre good for your eyes? If yes, chances are you are familiar with the many benefits of the wonder nutrient - Vitamin A. Abundantly available in carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, and broccoli, Vitamin A is required by the human body for normal functioning. Its deficiency can also cause a range of problems ranging from vision, immune function, reproduction and skin health.

Benefits of Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps vital organs like the heart, kidneys, and lungs function optimally. When it comes to eyes, it helps them adjust to dim light conditions. Its benefits are more easily understood if one knows what insufficient Vitamin A could translate to, health-wise. A mild vitamin A deficiency could be behind dry skin, fatigue, vulnerability to infections, and even infertility. If one is seriously deficient in this essential micronutrient, they could majorly undermine eye health, and experience issues such as severe eye dryness, night blindness and irregular patches on the white of the eyes. According to the World Health Organisation, Vitamin A deficiency contributes to maternal mortality and other poor outcomes of pregnancy and lactation. Insufficient Vitamin A diminishes the ability to fight infections.

What does Vitamin A help with?

Better overalleye health

Lessening the risk of blindness, including night blindness, and vision loss due to macular degeneration

Development of immune cells and strengthen bodys ability to fight infections

Supporting a healthy pregnancy and fetal growth

Treating acne and supporting skin health, to some extent

Reducing the risk of some types of cancers, such as lung and prostate cancers

Sources of Vitamin A

As a rule of thumb, no matter the health goal, a balanced diet plan should factor in all nutrients according to the daily requirement of the specific micronutrient. Coming from both animal sources (called retinoids and including retinol) and plant sources (called carotenoids and including beta-carotene), Vitamin A is formed within the human body by the conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A.

The provitamin Vitamin A can be naturally obtained from green leafy vegetables like broccoli and spinach, bright-coloured vegetables like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and squash, as well as bell peppers, tomatoes, apricots, mangoes, and dairy products like milk. It is also found in certain kinds of cheese.

One can also find a type of this vitamin, called preformed Vitamin A, from meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. If you are keeping your meals balanced, theres a strong possibility that you are meeting the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A which is about 600 micrograms for both men and women.

These limits, however, have recently been revised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to about 1000 micrograms for men and 840 micrograms for women, applicable from 2023. In addition to filling up your plate with healthier food choices, one way of upping your daily Vitamin A intake could be oral supplements. However, one must be aware of the amount of every micronutrient going inside the body, so it does not cause exceed the tolerable upper level (UL) intake.

(The writer is a nutrition specialist)

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UVA Discovers Harmful Inflammation Trigger in Lupus, Macular Degeneration | UVA Today – University of Virginia

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have made a discovery linking lupus, a potentially debilitating autoimmune disorder, and macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.

The two diseases share a common contributor to harmful inflammation, the scientists found. The insights could let researchers develop new treatments for those diseases and other conditions driven by the newly discovered inflammation source.

We were quite surprised at the common link between lupus and macular degeneration, said Dr. Jayakrishna Ambati of UVAs Department of Ophthalmology and the founding director of UVAs Center for Advanced Vision Science. It appears that the new inflammatory pathway we identified could be therapeutically targeted for many chronic diseases.

Ambati and his collaborators have discovered an unknown role for an inflammasome an agent of the immune system called NLRC4-NLRP3. Inflammasomes play an important role in marshaling the bodys defenses to protect it from invaders such as viruses and bacteria.

In lupus and atrophic macular degeneration, however, it appears that NLRC4-NLRP3 contributes to harmful inflammation, the UVA researchers found. In lupus, it helps drive the hyperactive immune response that leads to symptoms such as joint pain, rash, fever and more. In macular degeneration, meanwhile, NRC4-NLRP3 appears to contribute to inflammation that destroys the vital light-sensing cells in the eyes retina.

Ambatis new work helps explain why. The inflammasome, he found, is sent into action by a special class of genetic material calledshort interspersed nuclear element RNAs,or SINE RNAs. This type of RNA makes up more than 10% of our genomes, and it activates in response to cell stresses such as infection, genetic damage and aging. The resulting inflammation caused by SINE RNAs can be harmful in many chronic diseases.

SINE RNAs are elevated in both macular degeneration and lupus, Ambati found. In addition to discovering the role of SINE RNA in the two diseases, Ambati and his colleagues identified an unknown receptor for the SINE RNAs called DDX17. Scientists have been looking for this receptor for decades, and the new discovery helps them better understand the process that leads to the harmful inflammation.

These findings indicate that blocking a single inflammasome might not be enough, and that targeting both the NLRC4 and NLRP3 inflammasomes would be a superior strategy, Ambati said.

Using this new information, scientists may be able to target the source of harmful inflammation in lupus, macular degeneration and other diseases driven by SINE RNAs. That could lead to new treatments to benefit patients, the UVA researchers say.

Were excited to have developed drugs called Kamuvudines that block this dual inflammasome, which we anticipate will be in clinical trials next year, Ambati said.

The researchershavepublished their findings in the scientific journal Science Immunology. The work is featured on the journals cover. The research team consisted of Shao-bin Wang, Siddharth Narendran, Shuichiro Hirahara, Akhil Varshney, Felipe Pereira, Ivana Apicella, Meenakshi Ambati, Vidya L. Ambati, Praveen Yerramothu, Kameshwari Ambati, Yosuke Nagasaka, Dionne Argyle, Peirong Huang, Kirstie L. Baker,Kenneth M. Marion, Kartik Gupta, Bo Liu, David R. Hinton,Scott W.Canna, Tamer Sallam, Srinivas R. Sadda, Nagaraj Kerur, Bradley D. Gelfand and Jayakrishna Ambati.

Jayakrishna Ambati is a co-founder of iVeena Holdings, iVeena Delivery Systems and Inflammasome Therapeutics and has done consulting work unrelated to the research. A full list of the authors disclosures is included in the paper.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, grantsDP1GM114862, R01EY028027, R01EY29799, R01EY031039, R01AI148741, R00EY024336, R21EY030651, R01EY028027, R01EY031039 and R01EY032512. It was also supported by the John Templeton Foundation, grant 60763; the UVA Strategic Investment Fund; the DuPont Guerry III professorship; a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Eli W. Tullis; the BrightFocus Foundation; and the Owens Family Foundation.

To keep up with the latest medical research news from UVA, subscribe to theMaking of Medicineblog.

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Saudi aid agency drive to combat blindness in Djibouti ends – Arab News

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

JEDDAH: With more than 130 films set to be screened at the Red Sea International Film Festival, VOX Cinemas are on a mission to support and promote local films the best way they can.

The Red Sea International Film Festival kicked off its festivities at Jeddahs UNESCO World Heritage Site old town, Al-Balad, on Dec. 6. It will run until Dec. 15, in partnership with VOX Cinemas and others.

VOX Cinemas will screen 138 feature films and shorts from 67 countries in 34 languages. The content was produced by established and emerging talent, with fans, film enthusiasts, filmmakers and actors in attendance for many of the films.

A slate of new Saudi films 27 from an exciting wave of Saudi filmmakers will be shown alongside the best of contemporary international cinema.

Were very proud to be partners of this festival, especially since this has been the first international Red Sea Film Festival taking place in Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Toni El Massih, managing director of VOX Cinemas, told Arab News.

RSIFF is a significant breakthrough for the whole industry, exhibitors, distributors and producers, he said. This platform will help future filmmakers and storytellers know that this country is so full and rich in culture and storytelling. This is the exact platform that is needed for the talent to come across and present their project, he added.

HIGHLIGHT

VOX Cinemas will screen 138 feature films and shorts from 67 countries in 34 languages. The content was produced by established and emerging talent, with fans, film enthusiasts, filmmakers and actors in attendance for many of the films.

On tour to the main VOX Cinema sites in Al-Balad that have been constructed to screen RSIFF films, Arab News spoke to Mohamed Al-Hashemi, KSA chief of Majid Al Futtaim. He said: The Red Sea Film Festival is a statement for the Kingdom. There were no cinemas prior to April 2018, however, customers enjoyed the set of experiences as soon as they opened.

With life coming back to normal after the COVID-19 period, the Red Sea Film Festival is a statement from the Kingdom to the world that Saudi Arabia will be a major player when it comes to local content production, demand for international content, and most importantly, demand for exhibitions as well, when it comes to the best of the best that can be offered to consumers.

With movie theaters in more than six cities across the Kingdom in over 15 locations, VOX Cinemas operates 154 screens in Saudi Arabia. We are considered to be the largest cinema exhibitors in the Kingdom in terms of site numbers and screen counts, Al-Hashemi said.

Why is the screen count so important?

The screen basically is the only platform where people can showcase local content producers on the big screen. With more big screens, more local content will be produced for the local market and the regional market, and hopefully Saudi as well to the international market, Al-Hashemi said.

The RSIFF is where the Kingdom can act as a local content producer and where we can bring out the folded and untold stories of this beautiful company, to the customers within Saudi, he added.

On Dec. 6. during the inaugural red-carpet event, VOX Cinemas announced an ambitious initiative that aims to foster homegrown talent and showcase untold stories on the big screen.

A plan was made to boost regional film production and develop 25 Arabic films in the next five years.

El Massih said that many of these films would be from Saudi Arabia, with Saudi talent working as directors, producers and actors. There will also be films coming out of the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Speaking on the genres of the future films, he said: The genre that we are focusing on and that has proven to work best is the comedy-drama. This is the sort of film that well be working toward.

As part of the initiative, VOX Cinemas will continue to support the next generation of homegrown content developers and provide resources for emerging filmmakers to bring their scripts to screen.

This platform will search and scout for talent. Itll be the same case later in the UAE and in other festivals that are taking place across the region.

Accordingly, well start putting a team together, building screening and writing rooms, getting stories from each of the different regions together, and then well take that forward and then do the necessary films that well see on the big screen, El Massih said.

Majid Al Futtaim has been very active in the region since 1999, starting off with exhibition, and then elevating our activities into film distribution, and recently in film production.

Being a main contributor and partner of RSIFF is huge, he added, saying that such an opportunity will support emerging talent.

El Massih said: This is the perfect platform for us to be participating and searching for the emerging talent and filmmakers that we can bring on board.

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Air Pollution Causes Irreversible Damage to The Eyes – India.com

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

With AQI values in the majority of Indias major cities reaching dangerously high levels, it is taking a big toll on our eyes, posing a significant risk to our eye health and eyesight in general. Air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a progressive and irreversible visual loss that can lead to blindness.Also Read - Air Pollution Latest Update: Air Quality Panel Orders Immediate Closure of Industries in NCR For Not Using Cleaner Fuels

AMD is the major cause of permanent blindness among those over the age of 50 in high-income nations, with 300 million people expected to be afflicted by 2040. Also Read - Can Air Pollution Cause Vision Loss? Expert Answers

Certain people, such as elderly patients, smokers, Covid patients, and people with heart and lung problems, are especially vulnerable to high amounts of pollution. Also Read - Delhi Metro Presses 14 Anti-Smog Guns Into Service at Project Sites to Curb Air Pollution, to Install More

Individuals who travel in highly polluted areas, as well as those who stay outside for a lengthy amount of time, are equally at risk.

Fine ambient particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 micrometres, nitrogen dioxide, and sulphur dioxide are all associated with an increased risk of self-reported age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Air pollution is a global issue that many people cannot avoid, with the World Health Organization (WHO) claiming that more than 99 per cent of the worlds population lives in areas where air quality levels exceed the limits established for chemicals that pose health concerns.

Dry Eye Disease, watering and burning sensations, impaired vision, cataracts, irritation, allergies, and even glaucoma are some of the symptoms that are commonly noticed following ocular exposure to air pollution.

While long-term solutions are required to reduce air pollution, eye specialists feel that some preventive actions, such as wearing sunglasses and limiting eye contact with airborne contaminants, can assist. Artificial tears and eye drops can help lubricate the eyes and keep irritation at bay.

In the absence of an infection or allergy, the treatment for the ocular symptoms of air pollution exposure is simply to cool the eyes by using a cold compress.

Cosmetics and contact lenses should be avoided in the event of pain until the eyes have totally recovered. If any symptoms continue, a complete eye examination should be undertaken to determine the underlying reason.

In addition, one must also practise preventive maintenance by seeing an eye doctor on a regular basis, which can help reduce the likelihood of getting an eye ailment. Furthermore, having a diet rich in important vitamins and minerals, staying healthy, quitting smoking, and maintaining hand cleanliness will aid in taking early precautions.

(Authored by Dr Hem Shah , Senior Consultant, Sharp Sight Eye Hospitals)

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Pope at Mass in Cyprus: Only together can we be healed from blinding darkness – Vatican News

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

Pope Francis refers to the parable of the two blind men from Matthew's Gospel to urge Cypriots to follow three steps in order to be freed of a similar darkness in which we often find ourselves.

By Francesca Merlo

Addressing the faithful in Nicosia's GSP Stadium for Holy Mass in Cyprus, Pope Francis recalled a passage from Matthew's Gospel, in which as Jesus passed by, two blind men cried out "Have mercy on us, Son of David". The Pope noted that the two men are blind, yet they realise that Jesus is the Messiah who has come into the world. They can help us, during this advent season, "to welcome the Lord when he comes", said the Pope.

Pope Francis noted that the first step is that the two "went to Jesus for healing". Although they cannot see him, he said, "they hear his voice and follow his footsteps".The two men in the Gospel trusted in Jesus, he continued, and so "they followed him in search of light for their eyes".

The Pope noted that the two trusted in Jesus because "they realise that, within the darkness of history, he is the light that brightens the nights of the heart and the world". He stressed that we too have a kind of blindness in our hearts, and like the two blind men are often immersed in the darkness of life.Often we would rather remain closed in on ourselves, alone in the darkness, feeling sorry for ourselves and content to have sadness as our companion, but instead we must go to Jesus, said the Pope. Let us give Jesus the chance to heal our hearts.

The next step, continued the Pope, is that "they shared their pain".They ask for help together, said the Pope. "This is an eloquent sign of the Christian life and the distinctive trait of the ecclesial spirit: to think, to speak and to act as we, renouncing the individualism and the sense of self-sufficiency that infect the heart".

These two blind men have much to teach us, continued the Pope. "Each of us is blind in some way as a result of sin", he explained, adding that this "prevents us from seeing God as our Father and one another as brothers and sisters". This sin distorts reality, continued the Pope, but if we bear our inner blindness alone, we can become overwhelmed. "We need to stand beside one another, to share our pain and to face the road ahead together", he said.

Dear brothers and sisters, continued the Pope. "Faced with our own inner darkness and the challenges before us in the Church and in society, we are called to renew our sense of fraternity". If we remain divided we will never be completely healed of our blindness", he stressed. Healing takes place when we carry our pain together, when we face our problems together, when we listen and speak to one another.

The third, and final step, continued the Pope, is "they joyfully proclaimed the Good News". After Jesus had healed the two blind men, the two "began to spread the good news to the entire region". There is a bit of irony in this, noted the Pope. "Jesus had told them to tell no one what had happened, yet they do exactly the opposite". Their intention was not to disobey the Lord, said the Pope. "They were simply unable to contain their excitement at their healing and the joy of their encounter with Jesus". This, he added, "is another distinctive sign of the Christian".

Bringing his homily to an end, the Pope thanked all thos present in the Nicosia stadium for living "with joy" the liberating message of the Gospel, and encouraged them to "keep advancing on this path". Like the two blind men in the Gospel, "let us once more encounter Jesus, and come out of ourselves to be fearless witnesses of Jesus to all whom we meet!"

"Brothers and sisters, the Lord Jesus is also passing through the streets of Cyprus, hearing the cries of our blindness", stressed the Pope. "He wants to touch our eyes and hearts and to lead us to the light, to give us spiritual rebirth and new strength".Let us renew our faith in him, concluded the Pope, "Let us say to him: Jesus, we believe that your light is greater than our darkness; we believe that you can heal us, that you can renew our fellowship, that you can increase our joy".

Full video of Holy Mass at the GSP Stadium" in Nicosia, Cyprus

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Amid the Conflict in Yemen, Mass Campaigns to End the Threat of Tropical Diseases Continue [EN/AR] – Yemen – ReliefWeb

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminths are neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), but these parasitic worm infections can lead to anemia, malnutrition, and learning difficulties among children. Left untreated, schistosomiasis can damage the liver, intestines, bladder, spleen, and lungs, and soil-transmitted helminths can cause a range of problems, including slow physical and mental development.

Public health authorities have battled for more than a decade to tackle schistosomiasis, supported by partners such as the World Banks International Development Association (IDA) and World Health Organization (WHO). In 2010, one in five residents in Yemen were at risk of contracting schistosomiasis, better known as bilharzia. Today, that has dropped to fewer than one in 15 (about three million people). Limited data exists for the soil-transmitted helminths that affect communities across the country but bringing these infections under control is another public health goal.

Eliminating schistosomiasis involves the mass administration of drugs, in which members of a target population are treated once a year. Several rounds of drugs are administered over several years to get rid of a community of the parasite. The Emergency Health and Nutrition Project (EHNP), funded by IDA, the World Banks fund for poorest countries, has helped to eliminate schistosomiasis as a public health problem in Yemen.

Nothing beats a childs smile. This project represents a critical opportunity to decrease the disease burden among vulnerable Yemenis, particularly children. The project is part of the World Banks strategy to invest in Yemens most important assets: its people said Tania Meyer, World Bank Country Manager for Yemen.

During a recent four-day mass campaign, almost 860,000 children and adolescents between 6- and 19-years-old, were targeted (whether enrolled in school or not) across seven southern and eastern governorates, Abyan, Hadramout/Mukalla, Hadramout/Sayoun, Lahj, Mareb, Shabwa, and Taiz. In total, 37 districts, 373 team leaders, 1,070 team supervisors, and 2,140 drug distributors were involved and over 80% of the target population reached.

Yemen is making progress against other neglected tropical diseases as well. Lymphatic filariasis, which causes swelling of limbs and is spread by infected mosquitos, was eliminated as a public health problem in 2019. The administrative certification of the elimination of leprosy in Yemen is underway, and technical teams are working hard to eliminate blindness of infectious origins: trachoma by 2024, and onchocerciasis, or river blindness, by 2030.

This progress is encouraging, and a sign that the elimination of schistosomiasis as a public health problem may be within reach in Yemen in the next five years, said Dr. Adham Rashad Ismail Abdel-Moneim, WHOs Yemen Representative. Reaching it, however, will depend on continued support from partners.

The campaign was carried out in close collaboration with Yemens Ministry of Education and th Health Education Center, which is part of the Ministry of Public Health and Population. Technical and statistical local plans were prepared, a training of trainers session carried out, and workshops given to drug distributors and the heads of teams in charge of both fixed and mobile treatment facilities. A third-party team conducted direct monitoring of the activities and interviews with around 4,000 people across 1,000 randomly selected households.

The campaign in January 2021 targeted 2.4 million people at 3,300 sites across 32 districts in seven northern governorates, involving 6,700 drug distributors. Approximately, 4.8 million praziquantel tablets and 2.4 million albendazole tablets were distributed.

More mass campaigns against soil-transmitted helminths and schistosomiasis are planned in 2022, with more investment to improve community engagement made in order to reach more than 80% of the targeted population in future.

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Defence policy is based on ‘over-simplified’ hype about cyber warfare, experts warn – Telegraph.co.uk

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

Britain's defence policy is based on "over-simplified" hype about cyber warfare, experts have claimed in a new book.

Defence experts Dr Jack Watling and Justin Bronk say damaging narratives are too easily accepted as fact by many in military and government circles.

Such assumptions quickly come to dominate thinking at the highest levels of UK defence policy, they have said.

In a new book launched on Monday, called Necessary Heresies, the experts warn there is an institutional blindness at the heart of UK defence policy.

Specialist advice is often overlooked or misinterpreted as senior decision-makers shape policy based on their own understanding, the book argues, of briefings given by subject matter experts.

Crucial nuances and practical constraints are almost unavoidably lost in translation.

This tendency is exacerbated by a natural inclination to over-hype the potential for novel technologies or strategies to provide transformative effects.

The authors argue future war is unlikely to be dominated by grey zone attacks short of out and out armed conflict.

The dangers of so-called grey zone operations, characterised by cyber attacks, assassinations, political interference and disinformation, were regularly cited by the former Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), General Sir Nick Carter, as being the likely shape of future warfare.

The authors say such woolly thinking is an intellectual dustbin that confuses the true nature of conflict.

They cited Gen Carters comments during the annual CDS Rusi lecture, delivered in December 2020, that our rivals seek to win without resorting to war.

He said that arms length tools like drones and mercenaries would be used more often as they provide deniability and strategic ambiguity - thus enabling intervention without the risk of entanglement.

The authors say Gen Carters ideas not only lack crucial nuance and are unsound, but also produce "potentially harmful distortionary effects throughout Defence.

The new book attempts to challenge some of these misleading narratives before they drive acquisition and force-design decisions that undermine the British Armed Forces.

The book argues that through years of repetition, narratives about the rapidly changing character of warfare and the transformative effects of novel technologies have become akin to gospel truths, enshrined in policy documents.

Senior defence policy planning is hampered by received wisdom the authors suggest.

In many areas of Defence policy, such as cyber warfare, space or novel weapons systems, deep subject matter expertise is required to understand the potential benefits and limitations."

Incompatible demands for efficiency savings and equipment modernisation lead to senior defence planners seeking silver bullet solutions.

Once policy has been stated on an issue, further nuances and important caveats are often lost as the wider policy community try to tailor their own outputs to align with what they perceive as the new high-level consensus.

As such, the narratives that end up shaping much of the coal face work in Defence are not...(usually) nuanced.

Instead, they are often mantras or collective received wisdom that in practice has been oversimplified or distorted by repeated translation, repetition, and transmission.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: With 24 billion investment over the next four years, the Armed Forces will be modernised to meet future threats. The Integrated Review, backed by the largest investment in Defence since the Cold War, is delivering a force fit to meet the challenges posed by a more uncertain world, not battles of the past.

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In search of ‘colour’: The story of aspiring filmmaker Ashutosh Kumar’s tryst with FTII – EdexLive

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

When did you finally realise what you'd do in life? Some of us are still clueless. But Ashutosh Kumar (30), from Patna had not only decided which career to take up but also selected an institute for himself when he was in Class 7. He wanted to work with films and graduate from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune. But what he did not know is that his dreams would have to jump through hoops for at least 6 years to get there.

And it all came down to a filmmaker's essence - his eyes. Ashutosh found out that he was colour blind at the medical examination before his admission to the FTII and that changed his life. "I was intrigued by cinema from a very young age. Both our parents would go to work and my sister and I would spend the afternoons watching films. When I was in Class 7 or so, I accompanied my father to Delhi. On our way back, we met two people who claimed to be filmmakers and were talking about films. I heard the name FTII for the first time and studying there became a goal. After I finished my schooling I wanted to enrol, but they (FTII) said that I needed a graduation degree to get in. I did my graduation completed my graduation in BA Psychology (Hons) from Patna University. The next step was to apply. I applied in 2013 the first time but did not get in. In 2016, I got through Film Editing. I was there prepared with the fees and everything. Then came the test, where they said that I was colour blind and that I was not eligible to study this course," said Ashutosh.

READ ALSO :FTII students desperately reach out to Shekhar Kapur in a bid to stop online classes, but to no avail

Ashutosh moved the Bombay High Court and then the Supreme Court in 2017. In the meanwhile, he has been taking up freelance work after a short stint in journalism and also completed his Masters in Mass Communication from the Nalanda Open University. "I have endured everything in these few years. I do not come from a family with affluence or filmmakers in their lineage," said Ashutosh. He also reached out to famous filmmakers like Raju Hirani for their statement on this issue and they helped. "Colour blindness should not affect the work of a film editor," wrote Hirani and added that the director and the cinematographer are the people who look after that aspect.

Ashutosh said that his fight was not just for himself but for everyone with colour blindness. "Three out of 10 human males in the world are colour blind. This isn't just my fight but for all those who will come next," said the young filmmaker.

The Supreme Court bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh has now asked a committee to be formed. The committee will have an ophthalmologist, director, film editor, colourist, script supervisor, head of any department of FTII and a lawyer. Role of the committee would be to ascertain whether colour blindness is to be perceived as a disqualification for all courses in FTII, the court order said, adding that the rules of the institute need to be looked at keeping the Right to Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act of 2016 in the perspective. It is an evolving process. We now have documents with details of some renowned filmmakers, some even got national awards in India, who have been colour blind...The best thing to say is that with the advancement of science, the issue should be revisited by a committee, within the principle of reasonable accommodation. It is futuristic thinking, added the two-judge bench.

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"Sight"-restoring bionic eye proceeds along the path to human trials – New Atlas

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

There may be new hope for people with certain types of blindness, as an experimental sight-restoring device has been deemed safe for implantation. It still has to be tested on humans, though, and it will likely provide a fairly rudimentary form of vision.

Known as the Phoenix99 Bionic Eye, the prosthesis is currently being developed by scientists at Australia's University of Sydney and University of New South Wales. It's intended for use on patients with blindness caused by degenerative conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa, in which the retina is compromised but the optic nerve remains intact.

The system incorporates a small video camera mounted on a pair of glasses, which images the scene in front of the wearer. Its output is converted into a wireless signal, which is transmitted from the camera to a communication module implanted under the skin behind the patient's ear.

That module in turn decodes the video signal into a pattern of electrical pulses, which are relayed to a stimulation module which is implanted on the retina in the affected eye(s). That device is able to bypass the retina's dysfunctional photoreceptor neurons, which have lost their ability to react to light focused onto the retina. Instead, the implant directly stimulates the underlying (and still functional) retinal ganglion cells, which are responsible for gathering input from other retinal cells and relaying it along the optic nerve to the brain.

"With regards to the quality of the restored vision, we know that it will be very different from what one would call normal vision," U Sydney biomedical engineer Samuel Eggenberger tells us. "Similar concepts of electrical stimulation of the retina have been tested in humans around the world and the results have been very variable, but expectations should be that the prosthesis will provide simple information about the persons surroundings such as detecting obstacles, with the purpose to help with navigation, orientation or even reading of big letters."

In a recent three-month study, it was found that the Phoenix99 setup was well-tolerated by the bodies of sheep in which it was implanted. There were no reactions in the tissue surrounding the components, leading the scientists to believe that the system could safely remain in place for a number of years. The team is now applying for approval to conduct clinical trials on humans.

"We hope that through this technology, people living with profound vision loss from degenerative retinal disorders may be able to regain a useful sense of vision," says Eggenberger.

A paper on the sheep study was recently published in the journal Biomaterials.

Source: University of Sydney

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Disease Interventions Give Health Systems a Boost – SaportaReport

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

By Dr. Kashef Ijaz, Vice President-Health, The Carter Center,and Sarah Yoss, Associate Director of Special Health Projects, The Carter Center

When The Carter Center partners with a country to eliminate a disease through its disease-specific programs or otherwise improve health, a related goal is to strengthen the overall health system of the partner country. Strengthening health systems aligns with the Carter Centers core belief that people can improve their own lives when provided with the necessary skills, knowledge, and access to resources.

The Centers Public Health Training Initiative has helped improve the preparedness of health professionals in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Sudan, while our Mental Health Program has assisted in the building of a mental health care system in Liberia by supporting the training of hundreds of clinicians. Even beyond those focused initiatives, there is an element of health systems strengthening in all of our disease-specific health programs Guinea worm eradication, river blindness elimination, trachoma control, lymphatic filariasis elimination, schistosomiasis control, and our efforts to eliminate malaria and lymphatic filariasis from Hispaniola. Each of our health programs work closely with ministries of health and local communities to strengthen public health capabilities and improve health services.

Health systems strengthening, as defined by the World Health Organization, consists of efforts to achieve sustained improvements in health outcomes through the improvement of the six building blocks of a health system:

Health systems strengthening is also key in promoting global health security, as has been apparent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as well as previous events such as the Zika virus outbreak in Latin America and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Increasingly, national and global public health organizations, including the WHO, are framing health systems strengthening as integral to health security, promoting an approach that can build and maintain essential health services alongside the resources and capacities to prevent, detect, and respond to health emergencies, including epidemics and pandemics.

This concept was summed up by Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO: Quality health systems not only improve health outcomes in peacetime, theyre also a bulwark against outbreaks and other public health emergencies. Universal health coverage and health security are two sides of the same coin.

The Carter Centers efforts focus on strengthening the capabilities, processes, and resources of ministries of health, national public health institutes , health training programs in academic institutions, the primary health care system, and community-based health workers, so that countries and communities will be equipped to stand on their own with robust domestic systems and will not have to rely on outside assistance.

Health systems strengthening promotes health security within the particular country and around the world by improving the countrys ability to identify and mitigate future outbreaks before they become pandemics. That alone should be incentive enough to support the effort.

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New LED headlights are blinding drivers. Will it take tragedy to fix it? – Desert Sun

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

Brian Davis| Guest columnist

Bright headlights and super bright tail lights.

I'm talking about these new cars with the LED lights where it seems that they have their brights on. In some cases they actually do.

These lights are a danger because they're blinding. After the car passes you, your eyes are affected.

I know I'm not alone on this, because I talk to many people. There are multiple Facebook groups about this.There are multiple articles written about this.

There are also petitions that are being signed.

As always, it takes people with money and influence to die from an issue before anything is done.

So my rhetorical question is: When will the right people with money and influence die from a car accident due to night blindness because of the super bright LED lights on some vehicles?

In the meantime, I'm encouraging people to adjust their visors with all kinds of shading devices to block thelights from many cars.

The problem with this is decreases your lead time on seeing a pedestrian or a bicyclist or perhaps another car coming out in front of you.

I can't imagine the supposed safety factor of these super-blinding LED lights outweighs people being blinded by them or blocking their vision with visors.

Super bright LED brake lights on some of these vehicles are equally as dangerous, particularly when sitting behind them at a red light.

I know I'm not alone in this, because I talk to other people who experience the same thing.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has really missed the ball with allowing these vehicles to be manufactured and sold in the United States.

There's also the issue of people retrofitting their old headlight lenses with LEDs that end up being just as blinding, if not worse.

My question is what is being done by elected officials or bureaucrats about this? And why are police not citing these vehicles right and left for inspections?

Brian Davis lives inCathedral City.

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Genentech Could Regain the Blindness-Related Disease Market with New Treatment – BioSpace

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

After announcing topline data from two identical Phase III trials, Roches Genentechhas doubled down on dataand is now showing positive results from four studiesfor itsnewestblindness-fighting treatment.

Faricimabis an injectable treatment to maintain the vision of patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) and neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD). These are two of the leading causes of blindness withnAMDresponsible for 90% of all blindness resulting from AMD.

Genetechs Lucentis was thefirst FDA-approved drugprovento restore sight innAMDpatients.Since 2006 it had been a game-changer in theophthalmologyworld. But thenRegenerons Eyleacame in as the main contender andthe companies have had to share the market since 2011.

Genentech is now stepping it upwithfaricimab,a new class of medicine. Instead of focusing onthesingle protein targetVEGF, like Lucentis and Eylea,faricimabis a bispecific antibody.The drug targets two distinct pathways -via angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2) and VEGF-A.This approach bothreduces the growth of blood vessels on the retinalike its predecessorsandstabilizesvessels to reduce inflammation in the eye.

Thetreatmentalso gets a major leg up from proof of ability to go longer between injections.

Patients are understandably put off by an injection to the eyeball. Couple that with fears over COVID-19 exposure and sales of current Lucentis treatments seriously dipped in 2020 by 16%, about $1.6 billion.

Lucentisinjections wereneededmonthly for most patients.Competitor Eylea was needed monthly or bi-monthly, depending on the patient.The burden of treatment has proven to lead to under-treatment and therefore less than optimal outcomes for patients vision.

Faricimabspotential to extend time between treatments may benefit those patients who struggle to keep up with the regular physician visits and eye injections needed to preserve their vision,said Jeffrey Heier, M.D., Director of Retinal Research at Ophthalmic Consultants of Boston in Boston, Mass.

Genentechs clinical trial design was the proofin the pudding forthis new drug. The four studies consistently showedfaricimabto bejust aseffectiveas competitor Eylea even when administered at longer intervals. Half of the patients were able to be treated effectively once every four months. About75% were eligible for treatment every three monthsor longer.Both are a major improvement to patient convenience compared to monthly or even bi-monthly injections.

These positive results show the potential forfaricimabas the first new type of medicine in 15 years for people with neovascular age-related macular degeneration and in close to a decade in diabetic macular edema, said Levi Garraway, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development. This is an exciting time for our ophthalmology clinical development program, with multiple Phase III successes for two medicines from our late-stage pipeline. We hope to bring these potential treatments to people living with vision-threatening retinal conditions as soon as possible.

Genentech has not yet announced when they will seek FDA approval forfaricimabbut experts anticipate an aggressive timeline.

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Prevent Blindness to Hold Sixteenth Annual "Eyes on Capitol Hill" Advocacy Event – Yahoo Finance

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

TipRanks

We are indeed living in interesting times and in many ways, thats a good thing. Take the automotive industry, for example. Technology is changing a rapid pace, and when it settles, it will dramatically change the way we drive. In 2030, our concept of car will likely be unrecognizable to drivers from 1980. The biggest changes are coming from power systems and artificial intelligence. AI will bring autonomous tech to our cars, making self-driving vehicles a reality. But the power systems changes will hit us first. In fact, electric-drive vehicles are already on our roads, and electric vehicle (EV) companies are proliferating rapidly. For the moment, there are several roads to potential success in the EV market. Companies are working to position themselves as leaders in battery tech, or electric power trains, or to maximize their range and performance per charge. Its a fact-paced industry environment, offering both opportunity and excitement for investors. Smart investors will look for companies capable of meeting scaling demands, once they have settled on marketable models. Investment firm Morgan Stanley has been watching the EV industry, seeking out innovative new design and production companies that are positioning themselves for gains as the market matures. The firms automotive analyst, Adam Jonas, has selected two stocks that investors should seriously consider buying into, saying As we survey the EV/battery startup landscape, we are prioritizing highly differentiated technology and/or business models with a path to scale at a reasonable level of risk. Opening up the TipRanks database, weve pulled up the details on both of Jonas picks to see whether they could be a good fit for your portfolio. Fisker (FSR) First up, Fisker, is based in Southern California, the epicenter of so much of our ground-breaking tech industries. Fiskers focus is on solid-state battery tech, a growing alternative to the lithium-ion batteries that most EVs depend on. While more expensive that the older lithium-based systems, solid state batteries are safer and offer higher energy densities. Fisker has been busy patenting its moves into solid-state batteries, a sound strategy to lock in its advances in this field. For EVs, solid-state batteries offer faster charging times, longer range per charge, and potentially lower battery weight all important factors in vehicle performance. Every car company needs a flagship model, and Fisker has the Ocean an EV SUV with a mid-range price ($37,499) and a long-range power system (up to 300 miles). The vehicle features stylish design and room mounted solar panels to supplement the charging system, and is scheduled to enter serial production for the markets in 2022. The stylish design reflects the sensibilities of the companys founder, Henrik Fisker, known for his work on the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9. Fisker entered the public markets through a SPAC merger agreement last fall. Since completing the SPAC transaction on October 29, shares in FSR are up 112%. Morgan Stanleys Jonas is impressed by this company, describing the value proposition of Fisker as design, time to market, clean sheet user experience and management expertise, and saying that the 4Q22 launch schedule for the Ocean is likely to be met. Fisker is specifically targeting the personal owned/passenger car business as opposed to commercial oriented end markets, where emotive design and user experience matter more. Additionally, the company wants to create an all-digital experience from the website to the app to the HMI in the car and continued customer engagement through its flexible lease product, Jonas added. In line with his upbeat outlook on the company (and the car), Jonas rates Fisker an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and sets a $27 price target suggesting an upside of 42% for the coming year. (To watch Jonas track record, click here) Turning to the TipRanks data, weve found that Wall Streets analysts hold a range of views on Fisker. The stock has a Moderate Buy analyst consensus rating, based on 7 reviews, including 4 Buys, 2 Holds, and 1 Sell. Shares are currently priced at $18.99, and the $21.20 average price target implies a one-year upside of ~12%. (See FSR stock analysis on TipRanks) QuantumScape (QS) Where Fisker is working on solid-state batteries in the context of vehicle production, QuantumScape is setting itself up as a leader in EV battery technology and a potential supplier of the next generation of battery and power systems for the EV market. QuantumScape designs and builds solid-state lithium-metal batteries, the highest energy density battery system currently available. The key advantages of the technology are in safety, lifespan, and charging times. Solid-state batteries are non-flammable; they last longer than lithium-ion batteries, with less capacity loss at the anode interface; and their composition allows faster charging, of 15 minutes or less to reach 80% capacity. QuantumScape is betting that these advantages will outweigh the technologys current higher cost, and create a new standard in EV power systems. The companys strongest tie to the EV production field is its connection with Volkswagen. The German auto giant put $100 million into QuantumScape in 2018, and an additional $200 million in 2020. The two companies are using their partnership to prepare for mass-scale development and production of solid-state batteries. Like Fisker, QuantumScape went public through a SPAC agreement late last year. The agreement, which closed on November 27, put the QS ticker in the public markets where it promptly surged above $130 per share. While the stock has since slipped, it remains up 47% from its NYSE opening. For Morgan Stanleys Jonas, involvement in QS stock comes with high risk, but also high potential reward. In fact, the analyst calls it, "The Biotech of Battery Development." "We believe their solid state technology addresses a very big impediment in battery science (energy density) that, if successful, can create extremely high value to a wide range of customers in the auto industry and beyond. The risks of moving from a single layer cell to a production car are high, but we think these are balanced by the commercial potential and the role of Volkswagen to help underwrite the early manufacturing ramp," Jonas explained. Noting that QS is a stock for the long haul, Jonas rates the shares an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and his $70 price target indicates confidence in an upside of 28% for one-year time horizon. Granted, not everyone is as enthusiastic about QS as Morgan Stanly. QS's Hold consensus rating is based on an even split between Buy, Hold, and Sell reviews. The shares are priced at $54.64 and their recent appreciation has pushed them well above the $46.67 average price target. (See QS stock analysis on TipRanks) To find good ideas for EV stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks equity insights. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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No Valentines for Thousands of Couples That Remain Apart Due to COVID-19 – SchengenVisaInfo.com – SchengenVisaInfo.com

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

The legend says that in the 3rd century Rome lived a priest named Valentine, who married Roman soldiers with the women they were in love with, despite a law that prevented them from getting married.

Valentine, who later on was jailed for breaking the law, fell in love with his jailors blind daughter, whom he cured of blindness. Before he was executed, he wrote her a love message signed from your Valentine.

2020 may have needed a Valentine more than ever, to enable thousands and thousands of couples who were left apart for months, amid the Coronavirus outbreak, and the measures that were imposed in a bid of the governments to halt the spread of the infection, to reunite.

With entry bans in place, borders closed all over the world, embassies refusing to issue visas, and the absence of flights, thousands of lovers have had to spend the summer apart, thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Years Eve, and now even Saint Valentines day, the day of lovers.

Many of these people have once again taken the issue to Twitter, to protest the entry bans on the days that they were supposed to be with their significant other more than on any other day.

I woke up to a photo of my partner with a rose this is the most romantic its going to get today, wrote a Twitter user from Germany that goes by the handler @lealovinglifea1.

Many couples & families have been separated for almost a year now, and there is still no end in sight. How much longer do we have to suffer? another Twitter user wrote.

A tweet of the European Union Council asking Twitter users how many European languages can they say I love you in, and sharing a romantic soundtrack has upset many.

In 5 languages, but I cant say it to the one I love, Twitter user Alessandra Simoni answered among others.

Whereas, another Twitter user named Rita wrote that they [couples] dont need romantic soundtracks but need the EU to help them to reunite us with their non-EU partners no matter what language they speak.

Many of these couples now count over a year of being apart from each other, with no other option available for them that to hope this will soon end.

Spaniard Javier, on the story of whom SchengenVisaInfo.com previously reported, on Valentines day this year marked 416 days apart from his fianc Nazym, who is a Kazakh citizen. Desperate to find a solution, he has even proposed a hunger strike to push the government to undertake any measure in order to help their situation.

The rest is here:
No Valentines for Thousands of Couples That Remain Apart Due to COVID-19 - SchengenVisaInfo.com - SchengenVisaInfo.com

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Pastor’s Corner Articles of Faith – Mercy on the Blind – 2021-02-12 – Sierra Sun Times

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

February 12, 2021 - In the final few verses of the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 20, we read of Jesus encounter with two blind men. The duo desired to be healed of their blindness and had joined the great crowd that formed around Jesus. The Lord passes by and the two cry out, Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David! What happens next? In verse 31 we read, The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!

Jesus does heal their blindness, but let us look at this verse above. Do we understand what is going on here? In the crowd were the literal followers of Christ. The disciples were in the group along with those interested in just seeing what the big deal was. There were people there who would be followers of Christ after the resurrection. There would be others that would join the mob that wanted Christ crucified. All started rebuking the blind men from crying out to the Lord for mercy. As Christians, we can understand people who are not Christians doing this but again, followers of Christ were doing the rebuking as well.

The disciples, time after time, failed to get what Christ was saying. Here in this short passage, we see two blind men getting it. They call Christ the son of David, a term reserved for the Messiah. Those who could see Christ in the flesh did not understand. The two blind men knew more about Christ than his disciples. They did what we do, go to Christ to receive mercy and we are given it. Rest upon that Christian. You are forgiven.

Wynter is an Elder at Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church. Find out more at MariposaChurch.org or email him at wynter@mariposachurch.org. Visit Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church on Facebook.

Pastors Corner isa column from Pastor Wynter Sturtevant III of the Mariposa Reformed Baptist Church.

TheChurch has moved locations, services are now held at the Bootjack Stompers Hall (located at 4662 Morman Bar Crossing) across from the Mariposa County Fairgrounds.

Time of service is at 10:00 A.M. on Sunday.

I am happy to announce that MRBC has its own sermon podcast. Please check it out by clicking on the link below or searching MRBC Sermons on iTunes. New sermons will be posted every Wednesday.

https://mariposachurch.transistor.fm/episodes

Note: Area churches interested in submitting Articles of Faith are welcome to contact us.

Please email the Sierra Sun Times at sst@goldrushcam.comfor more information.

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Pastor's Corner Articles of Faith - Mercy on the Blind - 2021-02-12 - Sierra Sun Times

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Wearing Face Masks Could Make It More Challenging for You to Identify People; What’s The Catch? – Science Times

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Many of us are used to seeing face masks but many still find it hard to recognize faces with the said covering on the face.

(Photo : Reuters Connect/Juan Medina)A man smokes a cigarette with his eyes covered by a face mask as he takes part in a protest against the use of protective masks during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Madrid, Spain

Unfortunately, while safety measures help deter and control coronavirus's spread, some individuals face a whole new covering problem: a touch of face blindness.

In a recentpreprint studyreported on the PsyArXiv Preprints server, researchers noticed that, relative to unmasked individuals, people were less likely to recognize masked images.

Although the study has not yet been peer-reviewed, further research is required. It revealed that participants find it challenging to identify masked faces that they might have suffered from face blindness.

However, something to bear in mind: only because you might be unable to recognize masked figures right now, that does not imply that you have face blindness, but it does go a small distance to explaining what dealing with the condition feels like. Here's what, in general, you ought to hear about face blindness.

Face blindness, also known as prosopagnosia, is a neurological condition that, according to theNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke(NINDS), relates to the failure to recognize images. There are various levels of face blindness. Some people will find it challenging to identify the face of the person. Others cannot differentiate between unfamiliar faces, and some will not discern faces from separate items in certain extreme situations.

Brad Duchaine, PhD, Dartmouth University professor of psychological and brain sciences,tells Healththat approximately one in 50 persons who suffer from facial blindness have a significant effect on their everyday lives.

Doctors think that face blindness is induced by brain defects or disability, especially the correct fusiform gyrus, or a certain fold in the brain that, according to the NINDS, helps with facial vision and memory. Some persons experience a lifespan of facial blindness. Others acquire it unexpectedly following brain injuries, such as stroke, head damage, or certain neurodegenerative disorders. Face blindness is not induced by visual deficiency, disabilities of literacy, or lack of memory.

ALSO READ:7 Tips to Avoid Fogging Your Eyeglasses While Wearing Face Masks

It is also interesting that while face blindness is not a typical autism spectrum disorder occurrence, it tends to be more frequent among children who have it, according to the NINDS, likely due to disrupted social progress. Yet in addition, face blindness can be challenging to live with individually and professionally. In rare situations, in photographs or mirrors, persons with facial blindness often struggle to recognize near relatives and even their own faces, Duchaine notes. They have difficulty following films and TV programs, as well.

While face covers can render facial identification challenging for anybody, and although masks do not cause true face blindness, as you would expect, they are not usually as big a concern for people with face blindness.

Duchaine said face masks make it more difficult to recognize others for people with face blindness. However, because many people with face blindness may not rely on the face as strongly, face masks might have less influence on them than individuals with regular face identification.

In reality, Duchaine recently went through responses from prosopagnosia patients who visited his research platform Faceblind.org (the research team involves doctors from Harvard University and London University) and he came across a message from a woman who said she "loves COVID-19 masks."

It's because they don't inhibit her ability to identify faces. Rather they impair her ability to recognize objects." Only something to think about the next time you do a double-take on a pal sporting a mask.

However, a shocking positive lining to masks might have been uncovered through recent findings from the U.S. We may be rendered more desirable by them.

Collaborativeresearchbetween the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University College of Health asked participants to rate the attractiveness of a cross-section of people with and without masks. When wearing a surgical-style mask, they observed that 70 percent of allegedly "average-looking" individuals were more desirable.

According toCBC.ca, research co-author and clinical psychologist David Sarwer said that either prominent characteristics or asymmetrical features of the lower face are camouflaged by the mask.

He explained that we see certain people as more attractive in reality since less attractive features are now concealed by the face's covering.

Sarwer suggests that another explanation is that the pupils, which are left visible, are essential indicators of facial beauty.

It's something we're trained from a very early age. Sarwer explained that we're taught to look them right in the eyes while we're talking to others as adults. Because we're definitely getting some of the socialization, as well as some ingrained biology that drives us to be drawn to the eyes of strangers.

ALSO READ:Which Offers the Best Protection? 8 Face Masks Ranked Based On Effectiveness

Check out more news and information onMedicine and Healthon Science Times.

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Wearing Face Masks Could Make It More Challenging for You to Identify People; What's The Catch? - Science Times

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Video: 6 Blind People, Including a Lebanese, Were Given A Camera And Told To Take Pictures – The961

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

In an inspiring documentary called Not Everything Is Black, six blind people from different cities around the world were encouraged to carry a camera and take photos of anything they wanted.

The documentary, which was initially released in 2019 and recently premiered on YouTube, aimed to grasp an understanding of how blind people perceive reality.

In Lebanon, young and adventurous Ramy Jarjoura put the camera up to his face to capture a picture of a bird in a cage as though from his own eyes.

Birds are trapped in a cage in need of freedom, and like birds, a blind person needs to escape the cage inside themselves in order to fly amongst others, he said.

He also expressed that he could relate to birds pain because of the accident that caused his blindness.

You see, Ramy began to go blind at the age of 10 after he was accidentally shot in the head by a bird hunter in the woods nearby his house.

In 2010, after many surgeries to try to restore his sight, he became completely blind. But to Ramy, it was a blessing in disguise.

I became blind in the sense most people understand blindness. But from my perspective, 2010 was when I began to see, he said.

His acceptance of the pain of his situation transformed into the strength that keeps him going.

When asked if he would ever like to see again, he tells people that he forgets that he cant see because of all the blessings he experiences from blindness.

Follow Ramy and others on their inspiring journey to capture photos by using their senses to visualize the world around them and also get inside their heads.

Watch the full documentary here:

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Video: 6 Blind People, Including a Lebanese, Were Given A Camera And Told To Take Pictures - The961

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