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Archive for the ‘Eye Sight & Vision’ Category

5 Ways to Maintain Good Vision and Healthy Eyes – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

Your eyes play a crucial role in how you move through the world and enjoy your life, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep.

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They do the important job of capturing light. Then, different parts of the eye system (or ocular system) work together, connecting with neurons that translate and deliver messages to the brain as visual images.

For this reason, its important to keep your eyes healthy. Follow these simple measures to maintain good vision and enjoy lifelong eye health.

Eye specialists are trained to determine and improve your vision with eyeglasses, contact lenses and eye exercises. They can provide total eye care, from examinations and vision correction to the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease, says ophthalmologist Michael Millstein, MD.

You should visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist for an eye exam once every year, or if you experience eye infections or symptoms of disease such:

Eye disease is the No. 1 cause of blindness. Most diseases that cause blindness, likeglaucomaanddiabetes, can be treated or slowed down if theyre diagnosed and managed properly, Dr. Millstein says.

While theres no cure for some eye disorders, there have been major medical advances for age-relatedmacular degeneration andcataracts. By getting regular exams and discussing your family history, you and your doctor will be better able to anticipate, prevent and treat eye disease.

Not wearing your prescribed eyeglasses or contacts wont cause disease, but it can create discomfort from eyestrain,headaches or possibly even injury brought on by the lack of safe vision.

If you find wearing prescriptive lenses to be uncomfortable, ask your doctor about alternatives, like switching from eyeglasses to contact lenses or exploring corrective surgery.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation comes from sunlight, tanning beds, black-light lamps and some other forms of light. If youre frequently exposed to UV rays, this can lead to an increased risk of cataracts or yellow raised spots on the surface of the white of the eye, such as pingueculas and pterygiums. Eye diseases such as macular degeneration, solar retinitis and corneal dystrophies have all been linked to UV exposure.

Your eyes may be more sensitive if theyre a light color, or if youre taking specific medications. You can protect your eyes while youre out in the sun by wearing prescription sunglasses, clip-on sunglasses or UV-blocking contact lenses.

Wearing safety glasses and protective goggles when you play sports or work with hazardous materials lowers your risk for eye injury, vision damage and complete loss of sight.

Being actively involved in your eye health and working with your optometrist and ophthalmologist increases your chances for maintaining good eye health and eyesight throughout your life, Dr. Millstein says.

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5 Ways to Maintain Good Vision and Healthy Eyes - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic


COVID-19 may trigger endophthalmitis, a rare eye infection that causes vision loss – TheHealthSite

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

The COVID-19 virus has the chilling ability to invade different body organs and cause serious damage that can last for years. It can damage your body organs, affect your skin and even cause neurological problems. The damage it causes to your lungs can be permanent. This virus can also affect your eyes and give you conjunctivitis and sore eyes. Now, it has come to light that the novel coronavirus may trigger inflammation of the eyes that can lead to vision loss. Three COVID-19 patients in the US developed keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea. This is serious because this condition can lead to a sight-threatening infection of the tissues or fluids inside the eyeball called endophthalmitis. Also Read - COVID-19 vaccine: Aurobindo Pharma Inks Pact With Covaxx to develop a vaccine for India

According to a new study at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, this is a rare development, but it can happen. Having three cases of endophthalmitis in such a short time is exceedingly rare, and because they were all tied to COVID-19 infection it needed to be investigated, say researchers. They added that the whole point is to alert people of the association, though they cannot say specifically that COVID causes it. However, it cannot be ruled out. Also Read - Can COVID-19 vaccines bring the pandemic under control?

Of the three patients, one died from COVID-19, another had to have an eye removed despite heroic efforts to save the eye, and a third lost all sight, said researchers. All the patients were in their 60s and were treated at Northwell Healths Ophthalmology Department. Also, the three patients had underlying health problems that may have made their COVID-19 worse and made them more susceptible to other associated health conditions. The only other eye condition linked to COVID-19 has been conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, which is a minor infection. Also Read - Has new strain of Covid-19 virus already entered India? This is what health ministry says

Endophthalmitis is very rare, but it can be caused by a virus. According to one of the researchers, other cases of endophthalmitis linked to COVID-19 patients have also been reported. One of them is in Boston and another in Australia. Usual symptoms of endophthalmitis includes pain, redness and discharge from the eye. You must also be alert to swelling of the eyelids and you may experience reduced vision. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. Early treatment of this associated complication can save your vision.

According to researchers, it is unusual for keratitis to progress to endophthalmitis. A 2012 study says that only 27 of around 10,000 eyes over 15 years developed endophthalmitis because keratitis. One expert thinks that because keratitis progressing to endophthalmitis is so rare, its not possible from these findings to say that the connection between these conditions is anything but coincidental. According to them, while it is possible that the keratitis was related to COVID-19, there are very few reports to suggest this is at all common. They agree that further research is needed to confirm the findings.

(With inputs from Agencies)

Published : December 22, 2020 6:36 pm

COVID-19 may trigger endophthalmitis, a rare eye infection that causes vision loss - TheHealthSite


Vision Benefits of America Grants $500,000 to the Pennsylvania Vision Foundation – PRNewswire

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Vision Benefits of America, Inc. (VBA), a commercial group benefits organization, today announced donations totaling $500,000 to the Pennsylvania Vision Foundation in 2020. The donations will support the foundation's mission to preserve human eyesight.

"VBA is committed to the Pennsylvania Vision Foundation and those in need of high-quality eye care," said Jeff Hollowood, CEO and President at VBA. "We are proud to increase our annual contribution to the foundation and support our Pittsburgh neighbors."

By partnering with many local, community-based non-profit organizations, the Foundation's primary Vision Benefit Program provided routine vision exams, prescription lenses and frames to approximately 685 uninsured Pennsylvanians this year. In 2020, the Foundation also granted a total of $52,000 to a host of non-profit agencies that partner and support programs serving its mission.

"The foundation is deeply appreciative of VBA's generous contribution," said Andrew Leitzel, O.D., Executive Director. "As a non-profit organization, these funds are critical to advancing our impact across the state. VBA truly supports our community and exemplifies neighbors helping neighbors."

VBA made charitable donations to organizations including Allegheny Cleanways, Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, Boys and Girls Club of Carnegie, Carnegie Police Department Toys for Tots, Carnegie Salvation Army Food Pantry, Community Kitchen Pittsburgh, Jeremiah's Place, Mt. Nittany Health Foundation, Outreach Teen and Family Services, Reading Ready Pittsburgh, Sarah Heinz House Association, Storehouse for Teachers and 412 Food Rescue.

VBA has been a proud partner of the foundation since its inception in 2007.

About VBAFounded in 1965 as one of the first preferred provider organizations (PPO) in the nation, VBA has proudly offered group vision benefits to corporations, municipalities, schools, health and welfare funds, hospitals and health maintenance organizations for over 50 years. Seeking to capitalize on its experience and expand its offerings beyond vision, VBA also provides cost-effective dental solutions across the nation through plans administered and underwritten by the TruAssure Insurance Company. Some plans may not be available in all states. For information, please visit

About the Pennsylvania Vision Foundation

The Pennsylvania Vision Foundation, an affiliate of VBA, was founded in 2007 as a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. Its mission is to provide essential eye care through vision exams, prescription lenses and frames to those in need. Its purpose is to conduct and finance projects that will help foster and preserve human eyesight through the science of optometry. It strives to help support advancement in optometry through education and technology. To date, the Foundation has proudly assisted more than 6,055 uninsured Pennsylvanians.

Media Contact

Contact: Emily ShraderTelephone: 412-881-4900 x 232Email: [emailprotected]

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Such a Personal, Private Thing: Rethinking the Home Pregnancy Test – The New York Times

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

When Tiffany Jesteadt, who was born blind because of a hereditary disorder, thought she might be pregnant, her husband, who is sighted, read her the results, not by choice but by necessity. It took away some of the magic, she said, explaining how shows and movies often depict wives surprising their husbands by cleverly hiding the positive pregnancy test.

Getting to tell your husband it is cultural, said Ms. Jesteadt, 33, an organization development practitioner for the U.S. Marine Corps. While she and her husband tell each other everything, she said, disclosing information about her own body is something that a woman should be able to control.

Making the test experience more private also helps reduce the judgment many blind women say they experience on their paths to motherhood.

Josselyn Sosa was a college senior when she found out she was pregnant. At first, Ms. Sosa turned to a trusted friend who accompanied her to buy a test in a CVS store that she then took in its bathroom. Her friend also had impaired vision and couldnt read the results, either. So Ms. Sosa visited the health center at her small college in Texas, where a doctor told her, I am so sorry, but it came back positive.

She felt she could provide her opinion, said Ms. Sosa, 28, who was born with congenital glaucoma in her right eye and lost sight in her left eye because of retinal detachment when she was 12. She had been dating her now-husband, who is also blind, for only a short time. I just wanted to get out to deal with it by myself, she said. It was such a big deal for me.

Ms. Sosa went on to deliver a baby girl, now 4 years old. She graduated this month with a degree in hospitality administration and shes pregnant with her second child, due in June.

For her current pregnancy, Ms. Sosa used the Be My Eyes app. It was a better experience, but she still felt she was giving up her privacy, she said.

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Such a Personal, Private Thing: Rethinking the Home Pregnancy Test - The New York Times


Did a cataract operation improve my memory? – The Irish Times

Thursday, December 24th, 2020

The Irish playwright Thomas Kilroy said that when he had cataracts removed from his eyes his memory improved. He was delighted with the improvement in his eyesight and the memory boost was a welcome bonus. Bad eyesight and memory loss had been bothering him for some time. Now, life was taking on a welcome new outlook.

I was amazed at this claim. Yes, of course his eyesight improved when the cataracts were removed, but surely memory is a completely different thing altogether? Was he serious? I must admit, I was highly sceptical. It didnt seem possible to my non-medical/scientific brain that such a thing could happen. How could his memory improve? I mean, we all know playwrights have wonderful imaginations. After all, that is one of the reasons why they write plays in the first place, isnt it?

The reason I was so interested in this subject was because I was going for a cataract operation the following week and, as it so happened, my memory was beginning to slip (why wouldnt it at 80 years?). So, if this guy is right, I could be killing two birds with the one stone. Bingo, new eyes and my once great memory back on track. I might be able to get my job back in the newsroom, although I might appear a bit of a dinosaur to the present bright young incumbents.

By the way, for those of you who do not know what cataracts are, they are a clouding of the lens in the eye which leads to a decrease in vision. Cataracts cause half of all cases of blindness and 33 per cent of visual impairment worldwide. They are most commonly due to aging.

They kind of sneaked up on me. Never realised what was happening. I knew my driving was going to hell and my judgment was not as good as it used to be. My reversing into parking spaces was poor. Driving was particularly dodgy at night and headlights from other cars would blind me. I could only drive slowly, which usually resulted in younger, impatient drivers tailgating me and trying to run me off the road. I nearly gave up driving at night, except to drop down to the village for an evening meal with my wife.

Being a slow learner, I didnt realise what was going on. I put it down to old age. I have convinced myself that everything that goes wrong nowadays is due to old age. The cracks are starting to appear, big time. Here was the big clue in front of me hopeless, dangerous night driving and I could not see the reason for it. (Ill never get into the Garda Sochnas detective unit, thats for sure.)

The clues were everywhere. But, like Mr Magoo, I could not see them. Take my golf for instance. I mean I was never in the Rory McIlroy league or ever likely to be, but I could always finish 18 holes without having a heart attack or losing too many balls into the water or the gorse bushes. But suddenly I began misjudging shots, hitting fresh-air shots, handicap going out, losing bets on rounds with friends. Yes, the roof was falling in. And still the penny never dropped. Never copped on that all this was very strange. No, it was simply old age stalking me again: the usual mantra.

Then, suddenly, the sorry saga came to an end and the reason for my discomfort and frustration was explained to me.

I had gone to my optician to get a new pair of reading glasses. She did an eye test and announced I had bad cataracts in one eye and they were starting to develop in the second. They would have to be removed immediately.

Wow, a mixture of relief and concern followed this diagnosis. Glad that I knew what had been happening to me, but a little concerned about what would happen in the operation (would it go wrong and would I bleed to death?)

I need not have worried. It was the easiest and most painless hospital procedure I ever had. It only took about half an hour. It is a simple operation with an almost 100 per cent success rate. I had spent more time answering questions and filling in forms in triplicate then having the actual job done.

After the operation I was wheeled back to my ward and got a lovely cup of tea and one of the nicest scones I ever tasted. Id nearly go back again to get one of those scones.

I can now proudly declare that my eyesight is exceptionally good. I can practically see the grass growing. No problem with night driving. Long distance eyesight is simply brilliant. My long distance sight is so good that my golf colleagues are constantly asking me to tell them where their ball went. I am quite chuffed by this new recognition. I am pleased to be able to help. Of course I have no difficulty in finding my own ball, mainly because it doesnt go very far.

Has the operation improved my memory, as it did for Thomas Kilroy? I suppose it has to a certain extent insofar as everything has quickened up considerably and all my mental reactions seem to be better. Im generally much sharper in my mental reflexes. Sorry for doubting you, Thomas. But please dont ask me to remember names. It was a big problem before the operation and it still is, Im afraid.

That reminds me of the old memory joke about the man who visits his friend in a nursing home. To test the patient he posed the question: Do you know who I am? The friend replies: Ask the matron, shell tell you.

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Did a cataract operation improve my memory? - The Irish Times


Lorry driver killed cyclist three months after his licence was revoked because of his eyesight –

Monday, December 21st, 2020

The lorry driver who hit and killed cyclist Josephine Gilbert in Derby was driving unlicenced and uninsured, having had his licence revoked 12 weeks earlier due to concerns over his eyesight and diabetes. Herbert Wyatt has been jailed for 45 months and banned from driving for five years and three months.

Josephine Gilbert, aged 25, was riding on the A52 Ashbourne Road close to the Markeaton Island roundabout when she was hit from behind by Wyatt on January 21.

The Derby Telegraph reports that she suffered catastrophic head injuries and died instantly.

In interview Wyatt claimed he had moved out to overtake and that Gilbert had rode out into him.

However, dashcam footage showed Gilbert riding consistently in a straight line and near the kerb.

She was wearing bright orange cycling clothing, a pink and black cycling helmet and was riding straight, said Lisa Hardy, prosecuting.

There was no traffic coming towards her, visibility was good and he had 17 seconds of her in his vision to move out and overtake her if he wished. But the defendant effectively mowed down the deceased, driving over her in a straight line.

Wyatts licence to drive lorries had been revoked in October information he kept from his employer and which also meant he was uninsured.

He was said to have tried to deceive both the DVLA and his doctor over his eyesight.

Hardy said: He reiterated repeatedly hed had no issues with the DVLA, but when all of the checks were made it was clear that was not the case.

Just the day before he had spoken to a clerk at the DVLA and admitted he knew he was unlicensed to drive large vehicles.

Wyatt pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving; causing death by driving a vehicle while uninsured; and causing death by dangerous driving while unlicensed.

Sentencing him, Judge Jonathan Bennett said: The tragedy about this case was that it would have been avoided but for two features.

One, you should not have been driving that vehicle and you knew that. Secondly, you should have seen her.

I have had the misfortune of viewing the footage and you can see the deceased for 17 second after coming off the roundabout.

She was wearing bright orange clothing, a pink and orange helmet, there was no traffic, nothing was coming the other way. You should have seen her but you failed to do so.

You demonstrated a callous disregard for others culminating in this tragic incident, cutting short the life of Josephine and devastating her family.

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Lorry driver killed cyclist three months after his licence was revoked because of his eyesight -


Vision Problems: Symptoms of Common Types of Vision Impairment

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Articles OnCommon Vision Issues Common Vision Issues Common Vision Issues - Understanding Vision Problems -- Symptoms

Nearsightedness : Blurry vision that gets worse when you look at distant objects. Your doctor will call it myopia. You may have very good close vision.

Farsightedness : Blurry vision when you look at close up objects. Near and far objects may both look fuzzy. The doctor will say you have hyperopia.

Astigmatism : You might have blurry or double vision at any distance. You may also be nearsighted or farsighted.

Detached retina : Youll notice a sudden onset of flashing lights often paired with black floaters in your vision. It wont hurt, but at first you might see a dark curtain or veil coveringa portion of your vision. Cover one eye and then the other and compare the sight in each one.Its important to call your doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms

Color blindness : You have trouble with shades or intensity of colors. Because its all about perception, you may not know theres a problem until the doctor finds it. This genetic condition mainly affects men.

Night blindness : Its hard to see objects in dim light.

Cataracts : Because they develop slowly, your first symptom may be trouble with the vision test for your driver's license renewal. Or your doctor could spot it during a routine eye exam. Symptoms include:

Strabismus: Your eyes don't move together as they should. Both eyes or just one could be crossed inward or outward. A child who has it may rub one or both eyes often. They could also squint, tilt their head, or close one eye to see things better.

Glaucoma: Symptoms may depend on the type of glaucoma:

Macular degeneration :

Call the doctor about vision problems if you:

A good rule of thumb: Go to the doctor if you have any unusual:


Bradford, C. (Editor) Basic Ophthalmology, American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2004.

The Mayo Clinic: "Eye Care."

Macular Degeneration Partnership.

Glaucoma Research Foundation: Secondary Glaucoma.


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Vision Problems: Symptoms of Common Types of Vision Impairment


Learn About Healthy Food For Eyes And Good Habits For Improved Eyesight – Femina

Saturday, December 19th, 2020


Your eyes are complex organs, comprising of various parts, each working together to produce clear vision. Eyesight being one of the most important senses, protecting your eye health is important to reduce the chances of blindness and vision loss and diseases like cataract and glaucoma. Needless to say, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is just the first step to overall health, including healthy eyes. Read on for a list of healthy food for eyes to maintain good vision and delay age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration, dry eyes, problems with night vision, etc.

Ophthalmologist Dr Elfride Farokh Sanjana says, "This vitamin is most important for colour vision and low-light vision. Studies show that vitamin A deficiency can be a cause of night blindness, eye infections, dry eyes, cataract, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and eye inflammation."

In addition to this, zinc protects against cataract, poor night vision and night blindness, optic nerve damage, and age-related macular degeneration. So be sure to eathealthy foods that are rich in zinc.

Tip: Include more of these essential nutrients in your balanced diet for overall health.

Failing eyesight is often thought to be the result of ageing, but eating right can reduce the risk of a host of eye related health conditions. Here are some nutrient-dense healthy food for eyes to eat.

Tip: Apart from eating right, remember to stay hydrated through the day to prevent dehydration and symptoms of dry eyes.

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Learn About Healthy Food For Eyes And Good Habits For Improved Eyesight - Femina


Eye test developed with AI could identify a leading cause of severe sight loss before symptoms develop – iNews

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

A new kind of eye test could soon be available that can identify a leading cause of severe sight loss three years before symptoms start to develop.

The new test has been developed with the help of AI and can predict the onset of wet macular degeneration, a chronic eye disorder that causes blurred vision or a blind spot in the visual field.

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The researchers say, if all goes well it, within two years it could be used in hospitals to identify the disease early enough so that treatment can effectively prevent any vision loss.

Our new test was able to predict new wet AMD lesions up to 36 months in advance of them occurring and that is huge, said University College London Professor Francesca Cordeiro.

It can guide a clinician into treating more intensively those patients who are at high risk of new lesions of wet AMD and also be used as a screening tool, he said.

This is a very encouraging development in tackling the leading cause of blindness, added Sherine Krause, head of eye research charity Fight for Sight.

The test, called DARC (Detection of Apoptosing Retinal Cells), involves injecting a fluorescent dye into the arm that attaches to retinal cells, and illuminates those that are undergoing stress or in the process of apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death.

The damaged cells appear bright white when viewed in eye examinations the more damaged cells detected, the higher the DARC count. DARC is being commercialised by Novai, a newly formed company.

Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), also known as macular disease, is the most common cause of permanent and severe sight loss in the UK.

The study, funded by Wellcome, is published in the journal Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics. It also involved the Western Eye Hospital in London and Imperial College London.

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Eye test developed with AI could identify a leading cause of severe sight loss before symptoms develop - iNews


Eyesight Technologies Changes Name to Cipia – Supply and Demand Chain Executive

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Eyesight Technologies, a leading provider of in-cabin computer vision AI solutions for the automotive industry, changed its name to Cipia. With Cipia's unique market position, addressing the coming phases of advanced driver monitoring systems (DMS) and emerging occupancy monitoring systems (OMS) market, the company selected a name to support its vision for the future of automotive experiences - AI solutions that improve the safety and overall automotive experience by understanding the behavior and activities of the driver and passengers.

The name Cipia is inspired by our brain's occipital lobe where humans derive meaning from the sense of vision. The occipital lobe 'translates' what we see into an understanding of the environment around us, and the name Cipia was born to reflect the company's vision and its intelligent sensing capabilities. With the evolution of Cipia from its beginnings in classic computer-vision to today's neural networks based technology and evolving algorithms, administering context and understanding to the environment, the name Cipia is not merely a cosmetic change, but also a name that pays homage to both the rich past of the company, as well as representing the promise of the future.

In 2018, responding to a growing need and emerging market demand, Cipia leveraged its computer vision AI expertise to pivot its focus to the automotive in-cabin sensing market. The shift to become an automotive company was accompanied by the development of new capabilities pertaining to higher levels of analyzing human factors. The combination of advanced computer vision AI and introduction of meta-analysis, enabled Cipia to evolve and create AI based solutions that not only see the driver, but also understand the state of the driver and occupants.

"We are on a continuing journey to push the boundaries of computer vision AI and deliver cutting edge solutions to our customers," said David Tolub CEO of Cipia. "Our technology has evolved, taking its inspiration from the neural networks and the higher level logic of the brain, and we decided that our name must encompassthe breadth and richness of our journey as a company. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to provide state of the art solutions for automotive experience."

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Eyesight Technologies Changes Name to Cipia - Supply and Demand Chain Executive


Bionic vision: Bypassing the eyes – Telangana Today

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Scientists are a step closer to restoring vision for the blind, after building an implant that bypasses the eyes and allows monkeys to perceive artificially induced patterns in their brains. The technology, developed by a team at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN), was described in the journal Science.

The concept builds on an idea first conceived decades ago: electrically stimulating the brain so it sees lit dots known as phosphenes, akin to pixels on a computer screen. But the concept had never realized its full potential because of technical limitations.

A team led by NIN director Pieter Roelfsema developed implants consisting of 1,024 electrodes wired into the visual cortex of two sighted monkeys, resulting in a much higher resolution than has previously been achieved. The visual cortex is located at the back of the brain and many of its features are common to humans and other primates.

This allowed the pair of monkeys to make out shapes like letters of the alphabet, lines and moving dots, which theyd previously been trained to respond to by moving their eyes in a particular direction to win a reward.

The NIN team benefited from advances in miniaturization, and also devised a system to make sure their input currents were big enough to create noticeable dots, but not so great that the pixels grew too large.

They achieved this by placing some electrodes at a more advanced stage of the visual cortex, to monitor how much signal was coming through and then adjust the input.

Roelfsema said his team hopes to make similar devices for humans in about three years. But the electrodes the team used require silicon needles that work for about a year before tissue builds up around the needles and they no longer function.

Ultimately, a wireless solution would be best, as it would mean the user wouldnt need to wear an implant on the back of their skull, which requires scientists to operate and puts the user at risk of infection.

Fortunately, wireless devices that interface with the brain are advancing rapidly. The prosthetics would only be suitable for people who once had sight and then lost it owing to disease or injury.The brains of people who are born blind dedicate the visual cortex to other functions. But in people whose eyes stop working, the brain region remains idle, waiting for an input that never comes.

Light enters the eye through the lens and hits the retina, which turns it into electrical signals

We see when the signals arrive at the visual cortex in the brain via the optic nerve

Instead of restoring sight through the eyes, one approach aims to stimulate vision directly via implants in the brain

Electrical stimulation of the visual cortex can reliably create the perception of a brief, bright flash of light, known as a phosphine

A camera would capture the view of what the subject is looking at and the signal will be processed and sent directly to the brain

It is hoped that the use of high definition intracortical electrodes will one day improve resolution enough to make functional vision viable through this system.

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Lions Clubs International Foundation Celebrates 30 Years of Saving Sight through SightFirst – GlobeNewswire

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Oak Brook, Ill., Dec. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lions Clubs International Foundation Celebrates 30 Years of Saving Sight through SightFirst

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is celebrating 30 years of improving vision health and increasing screening services through its SightFirst grant funding program.

Established in 1990, the SightFirst program strengthens eye care systems in underserved communities, enabling them to fight blindness and vision loss, as well as assist those who are blind or visually impaired. Lions, in cooperation with healthcare providers and partner organizations, have impacted the sight of more than 488 million people worldwide through SightFirst, by aiding in delivering eye care services, training eye care professionals, upgrading existing eye care system infrastructure, and improving access to eye health education and rehabilitation.

SightFirst Program: By the Numbers

Strengthened through work with world-renowned SightFirst strategic partners the World Health Organization (WHO) and The Carter Center, as well as with LCIF vision partners Special Olympics and Johnson & Johnson Vision, LCIF, Lions and SightFirst deliver preventative, therapeutic and rehabilitative eye-care services to millions worldwide.

Lions everywhere are proud of the immense impact we have made in vision around the world, said LCIF Chairperson Gudrun Yngvadottir. With SightFirst funding from LCIF, weve heeded Helen Kellers 1925 call to be knights of the blind. Weve done so much in SightFirsts initial 30 years. With ongoing funding, well continue the SightFirst legacy and create more historic changes in vision, she said.

While the impact of Lions work in vision has been tremendous, due in part to LCIF support through grant programs likeSightFirst, the WHO reports that globally at least 2.2 million people have a vision impairment or blindness.

LCIFs and Lions efforts in vision, especially during the last 30 years through the Foundations SightFirst program, change lives around the world, said Yngvadottir. We are grateful LCIF continues to support Lions service, and I encourage Lions and others to continue or begin supporting LCIF and SightFirst so we can continue to meet this important need.

For more information about the LCIF SightFirst program,

About Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF):

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International. Established in 1968, LCIF provides grant funding to support the compassionate works ofLions, empowering their service and addressing the needs of their communities both locally and globally. LCIF is proud of its exemplary ratings history with Charity Navigator, the most-consulted U.S. charity evaluator.

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Lions Clubs International Foundation Celebrates 30 Years of Saving Sight through SightFirst - GlobeNewswire


Depressed about his eyesight, school principal dies by suicide in the city – Pune Mirror

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Farsid Shahrukh Irani was struggling with his vision despite undergoing an operationA case of suicide has come to light in the city involving a principal of a local school, who died after struggling with depression over eyesight issues. The person had recently undergone an operation on one of his eyes and had failed to regain his eyesight fully after that.

The deceased has been identified as 42-year-old Farsid Shahrukh Irani. A case of accidental death has been registered at Mundhwa police station. The incident occurred around noon on Thursday.

According to the police, Irani was a resident of BT Kawade Road. Prior to his death, he was working as the principal of Angel School at Loni Kalbhor in Pune district.

On the day of the incident, nobody checked on him till sometime around noon when the couples driver arrived to the house to take Irani out. As he had had a habit of sleeping till late, nobody thought twice when they did not see him in the morning. Despite several knocks on the door of his room, he did not open the door. Finally, the couple asked driver to break open the door.

Once inside, they found Iranis body. He had hanged himself from the ceiling fan in the room using the electrical cord of an iron. The police were informed but by the time they arrived he had already passed.

Based on police information, Irani had been suffering from some medical issues in his eyes for the last eight years, due to which he was progressively losing his eyesight in one of them. To rectify the problem, he had been taking treatment and recently underwent an operation at a local hospital. However, even after the operation, his eyesight had not returned fully, causing him to fall into depression.

Irani had an active lifestyle and he liked to play all kinds of sports. But due fading vision in one of his eyes, he lost confidence to continue that lifestyle. The deceased felt that he would become completely blind in the future and often had discussions about this with the schools founder. He had also told him that he was contemplating suicide as he saw no other way out of his predicament. Iranis well-wishers had tried numerous times to divert his mind and extolled him to not think negatively. On the night before the incident, the schools founder had spent some time with him to cheer him before going to bed, police said.

Police also said that Irani had been married previously and had a 13-year-old son from that relationship.

However, 10 years ago he got divorced from his wife and two had been living separately for a while. He was devoted to his son though and would go to meet him regularly.

Police sub inspector Ganesh Kalal from Mundhwa police station said, The deceased died by suicide by hanging himself on the neck with the help of an electrical cord of an iron. When police got information about the incident, we reached the spot and the body was sent to Sassoon General Hospitals for post-mortem. Accidental death has been registered in this case.

For the Suicide Prevention Helpline, please call: 09922004305

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Depressed about his eyesight, school principal dies by suicide in the city - Pune Mirror


Gene Therapy Unexpectedly Improves Vision In Both Eyes Of Patients Suffering A Form Of Blindness – IFLScience

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Scientists have concluded a Phase 3 trial of a revolutionary gene therapy treating patients with a common form of mitochondrial blindness, and the results surprised them despite treating only one eye, the gene therapy improved vision in both eyes in 78% of participants. The results suggest the treatment is incredibly promising for a condition in which most legally-blind patients would never recover their vision.

Conducted on 37 patients with Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), the trial involved a gene therapy using a virus vector to modify genes within the patients retinal cells. The results were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

LHON affects around 1 in every 50,000 people, with some patients experiencing significant vision loss in a matter of weeks. People affected by the disease will likely lose vision in one eye before subsequent vision loss in the other within 2-3 months. Treatments are limited to visual aids and attempted rehabilitation but have limited success. Typically, just 20% of patients will recover vision and it is extremely rare to recover vision greater than the worst score possible on a standard eye chart (20/200).

As someone who treats these young patients, I get very frustrated about the lack of effective therapies, said senior investigator Dr Sahel, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh, in a statement.

These patients rapidly lose vision in the course of a few weeks to a couple of months. Our study provides a big hope for treating this blinding disease in young adults.

The treatment aims at correcting a common mutation within the MT-ND4 gene. MT-ND4 is a core subunit in a protein associated with mitochondria, and a mutation marked m. 11778G>A is thought to be associated with blinding neuropathy. Similarly, mutations in MT-ND4 may also be related to several other brain conditions, although these are not the same as the mutation targeted in this study.

37 patients were injected with the adenovirus-based therapy in one eye and a sham injection (a placebo or, in this case, fake injection) into the other. The trial was randomized and double-blind across multiple centres, which make it the gold-standard of clinical trials. After 48 and 96 weeks, the participants were tested for vision changes and whether they showed signs of improvement using a standard Snellen eye chart (the ones with rows of smaller and smaller letters).

The researchers found that, on average, vision was improved by 15 letters (3 lines on the chart) after 96 weeks, which is an extremely impressive result. However, to the surprise of the researchers, the sham-treated eyes also saw an average improvement of 13 letters. Those that were in the early stages of disease and still losing their vision when they joined the study saw an even better improvement, being able to see 28.5 letters more in the treated eyes on average.

We expected vision to improve in the eyes treated with the gene therapy vector only. Rather unexpectedly, both eyes improved for 78% of patients in the trial following the same trajectory over 2 years of follow-up. Said Dr Yu-Wai-Man, neuro-ophthalmologist at CambridgesDepartment of Clinical Neuroscience.

To decipher how this treatment improved both eyes, the researchers conducted a subsequent study on primates. After injection in the same way as the study above, they found the viral vector was present in cells throughout the eye that was not treated, although the mechanism in which this occurs needs confirmation.The researchers suggest that the viral vector may have transferred across neurones via interocular diffusion, and hence there was an improvement in vision in both eyes.

The results suggest an extremely promising new treatment for a rare but debilitating form of blindness. Further trials are expected to take place to confirm the results, and there are some outstanding limitations of the trial. For example, there was not a control group with this exact mutation, so the researchers could not directly compare to the treatment.

Saving sight with gene therapy is now a reality. The treatment has been shown to be safe and we are currently exploring the optimal therapeutic window. Said Dr Yu-Wai-Man.

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Gene Therapy Unexpectedly Improves Vision In Both Eyes Of Patients Suffering A Form Of Blindness - IFLScience


Shanklin author with limited sight publishes children’s book keeping promise to late husband – Isle of Wight County Press

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

AN ISLANDER with limited sight has published her first book written on typewriters in lockdown.

Shanklin resident Anna Southwell not only realised her 24-year long dream of publishing the first book in her Island-based

young childrens fantasy series Oliver Gruffle, but she kept a solemn promise she made to her late husband.

She is delighted to have Oliver Gruffle Secrets of Harmony Haven Book 1: The Runaways published.

She said: I first came up with the idea 24 years ago. Ive been evolving the stories all along, adding different ones. Im up to 12 so far. I just cant stop inventing stories. Im obsessed with it now.

With this coronavirus, I was kept busy and I didnt go into depression or anything like that from being alone, because I was in my magical world, typing away and thinking of new stories.

The one thing Ive always loved is the Island and thats why I wanted to base the stories here.

"I hope when children read these books, they can come to my little world and enjoy them as much as Ive enjoyed writing them.

Annas Oliver Gruffle stories feature animals and other fantasy characters from her imagination, all inspired from her real passion for animals.

I had a lovely Border collie dog called Kim, and she was very wise, and she seemed to know every emotion you felt.

"I was never allowed any animals as a child. I was always wanting a pet. I remember riding a bike on the Island and discovering some wild feral kittens and it was a hard lesson to learn that I could not keep them.

"My last cat I owned as an adult was from a rescue home.

Anna, formerly a secretary and typist for an Island builders merchants in Ryde, explained the challenge of writing the books with her sight impairment.

I wrote them all on a typewriter. I got through so many typewriters because I just bash away at them, but to be quite honest, because Im visually impaired now, I know exactly where the keys are from my touch-typing days so its been a lifeline for me to continue to write new stories and correct ones Ive written in the past and bring them up to date.

Anna hasnt let her sight problems affect her, although it was a shock when she was first diagnosed.

She said: One day my eyesight suddenly got very bad and I woke up one morning and I had completely lost sight apart from vision in my right eye.

"Then I woke up another morning with blurred vision, so I had to go straight up the hospital, and they diagnosed macular vision in the right eye, but I have still got a small amount of vision in that eye."

She has benefitted from getting involved with Sight for Wight.

Anna also cared for her late husband, who had dementia. She would read him her stories.

She said: "I would read to him and do all the voices and he would sit there, thrilled to bits. He said to me, The one thing I want you to do, is try to get this into print for children to enjoy.

The book is published by Beachy Books Partner Publishing. Copies are on sale at Isle of Wight Traders in Newport or available to order via the Beachy Books website

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Shanklin author with limited sight publishes children's book keeping promise to late husband - Isle of Wight County Press


Global Eyesight Test Equipment Market Proceeds To Witness Huge Upswing Over Assessment Period by 2025 – The Courier

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

The globalEyesight Test Equipment Marketresearch report enlists the vital and practical information with regards to market situation. The present scenario of Eyesight Test Equipment market, along with its previous performance as well as future scope are covered in the report. This eases the users understanding of the market thoroughly, while also gaining knowledge about market opportunities and the dominant players Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.Inc., Shenzhen Certainn Technology, Heine, Nidek Co., Ltd., Hoya Corporation, EyeNetra, Essilor International, Seiko Optical Products Co., Ltd., Bhavana MDC, Carl Zeiss AG, Heidelberg Engineering GmbH, Abbott Medical Optics.I in the Eyesight Test Equipment market.

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The Global Eyesight Test Equipment Market Research Report Details

The beginning of the report summarizes the market with the definition of the overall Eyesight Test Equipment market.

The following section includes Eyesight Test Equipment market segmentation Portable, Stationary. Segmentation is done on the basis of application, type, end-user industries, and several such factors among others.

We have strived to include sub-segments Children, Adults, The older in segmentation section, wherever possible. Also included are details regarding the dominant segments in the worldwide Eyesight Test Equipment market.

The global Eyesight Test Equipment market has also been classified on the basis of regions. On the basis of the regional diversification, details regarding market share and size have also been obtained.

In the succeeding part, growth factors for the Eyesight Test Equipment market have been elucidated. This section also explains the technological advancements made to improve market size and position. Also enlisted is the information pertaining to the end-use industries for the Eyesight Test Equipment market.

Read Detailed Index of full Research Study at::

Eyesight Test Equipment Market COVID-19 Impact Analysis

As the world is still dealing with COVID-19 situation, many of the countries have slowly started to revive its economic situation by starting its trade and businesses. There has been enormous loss in these few months both in terms of economy and human lives. As the WHO has already suggested that there are very less chances that the virus will completely go, hence we will have start living with it. Many of the drug companies are getting positive response of their COVID-19 vaccines, but there is still time for its availability in the global market.

There are 15 Sections to show the global Eyesight Test Equipment market

Sections 1, Definition, Specifications and Classification of Eyesight Test Equipment , Applications of Eyesight Test Equipment , Market Segment by Regions;Section 2, Assembling Cost Structure, Crude Material and Providers, Assembling Procedure, Industry Chain Structure;Sections 3,Technical Data and Manufacturing Plants Analysis of Eyesight Test Equipment , Capacity and Commercial Production Date, Manufacturing Plants Distribution, R&D Status and Technology Source, Raw Materials Sources Analysis;Sections 4, Generally Market Analysis, Limit Examination (Organization Fragment), Sales Examination (Organization Portion), sales Value Investigation (Organization Section);Sections 5 and Six, Regional Market Investigation that incorporates United States, China, Europe, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, Eyesight Test Equipment segment Market Examination (by Sort);Sections 7 and Eight, The Eyesight Test Equipment Segment Market Analysis (by Application) Major Manufacturers Analysis of Eyesight Test Equipment ;Sections Nine, Market Trend Analysis, Regional Market Trend, Market Trend by Product Type Portable, Stationary Market Trend by Application Children, Adults, The older;Sections 10, Regional Promoting Type Investigation, Worldwide Exchange Type Examination, Inventory network Investigation;Sections 11, The Customers Examination of global Eyesight Test Equipment;Sections 12, Eyesight Test Equipment Research Findings and Conclusion, Appendix, system and information source;Sections 13, 14 and 15, Eyesight Test Equipment deals channel, wholesalers, merchants, traders, Exploration Discoveries and End, appendix and data source.

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Particulars Of The Global Eyesight Test Equipment Market Research Report

Further part in the report enlists the restraining factors for the Eyesight Test Equipment market growth. The restraints are explained comprehensively and with details in order that the client can comprehend how these factors are affecting the global Eyesight Test Equipment market and how such factors can be tackled effectively using suitable measures.

Also, regional study and analysis of global Eyesight Test Equipment market focused on in the report. Here, the major regions with Eyesight Test Equipment market establishment have been explained thoroughly. Due to this, our clients will have clarity in understanding the booming markets as well as the potential Eyesight Test Equipment markets in the near future.

The concluding section relates to the conclusions and observations regarding the global Eyesight Test Equipment market.

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Global Eyesight Test Equipment Market Proceeds To Witness Huge Upswing Over Assessment Period by 2025 - The Courier


Doheny Institute’s Future Vision Sciences Campus in Pasadena Expected to be Operational by Q3 2021 – Pasadena Now

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

The facility will include expanded vision research laboratories and a state-of-the-art conference center. Bringing everyone together under one roof will facilitate interactions between researchers and physicians across disciplines to promote the collaborations necessary for translational studies. Completion is expected in late 2021.

When it comes to the Doheny Eye Institutes planned move to new headquarters in Pasadena, it could be said we havent have seen anything yet.

The renowned institute, which started in 1947 as the Doheny Eye Foundation, so named in honor of its optically impaired founder Carrie Estelle Doheny, wife of the prominent Los Angeles oilman Edward L. Doheny, is moving out of its Los Angeles location and is currently remodeling a new headquarters at 150 N. Orange Grove Blvd., the former home of Avery Dennison Corp.

Reconstruction of the complex is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021.

Once that happens, the institute and the UCLA Stein Eye Institute will be offering patient care, vision research, and education in the field of eye care. This affiliation combines the strengths and reputations of two of the nations top eye institutions to advance vision research, education and patient care in California.

According to institute Executive Director Marrissa Golberg, the move cant come soon enough.

In the U.S. alone, by age 65 one in three people will have some vision-impairing eye condition, Goldberg said in a prepared statement.

In a world where the stakes of our work are ever-increasing, we are committed to delivering on our promise to further the conservation, improvement and restoration of human eyesight, Goldberg said.

This bench-to-bedside approach is vital to improve the quality of lives in our immediate community and around the world, she said.

The seven-acre Pasadena campus, according to the statement, has been designed to enhance Donahenys capabilities for fundamental discoveries that fuel ideas for clinical trials, new treatments, and cures. Laboratories will be equipped to accelerate research and discovery in key areas, including artificial intelligence, regenerative medicine, gene-based therapies, and imaging diagnostics.Once reconstruction is complete, a state-of-the-art conference center will house educational programs, including seminars, conferences, symposia, and lectures. The facility will also enable remote collaborations to meet current demands and evolving opportunities to advance vision research and education.Our new home in Pasadena will allow us to bring everyone together under one roof to facilitate interactions between researchers and physicians to promote the collaborations necessary for translational studies, Goldberg said.

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Doheny Institute's Future Vision Sciences Campus in Pasadena Expected to be Operational by Q3 2021 - Pasadena Now


Gyroscope Therapeutics and the University of Pennsylvania Announce Research Agreement to Develop Gene Therapies for Serious Eye Diseases – Business…

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gyroscope Therapeutics Limited, a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on diseases of the eye, today announced the company has entered a sponsored research agreement with the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics (CAROT) to develop gene therapies for serious eye diseases that can lead to permanent vision loss. Gyroscope has an exclusive option to the intellectual property associated with, and arising from, the research conducted under the agreement.

A team of researchers from CAROT and Gyroscope will work together to explore specific gene therapy targets for glaucoma, optic neuritis and retinitis pigmentosa. The CAROT team is led by Jean Bennett, M.D., Ph.D., the F.M. Kirby Professor of Ophthalmology, along with Ken Shindler, M.D., Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Ahmara Ross, M.D., Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, of the Perelman School of Medicine.

Too many people around the globe face a life with limited vision or complete blindness because current treatment options for many serious eye diseases are so limited, said Khurem Farooq, Chief Executive Officer, Gyroscope. Gene therapy has the potential to be a completely new way of approaching these diseases, and we are very excited to work with Jean and the team of world leaders in ophthalmic gene therapy research at the University of Pennsylvania to evaluate new targets for these conditions.

Our team is passionate about the potential of gene therapies for people with serious eye diseases, said Dr. Bennett. We are looking forward to furthering our research in glaucoma, optic neuritis and retinitis pigmentosa, which combined currently cause a devastating loss of vision for millions of people around the world.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness globally. An estimated 80 million people have glaucoma worldwide, and this number is expected to increase to more than 111 million by 2040.1 There is no cure for glaucoma. If it is caught early, people with glaucoma can be treated with surgery or medication to help control the disease. Because glaucoma typically does not cause pain, it often progresses silently and is not diagnosed until the optic nerve is irreparably damaged.

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) refers to a group of rare genetic retinal diseases that cause progressive loss of night and peripheral vision. The condition is often diagnosed in childhood or adolescence and can lead to legal, and sometimes complete, blindness. An estimated 300,000 people worldwide have RP, mainly caused by a genetic variant inherited from one or both parents.2

Optic neuritis occurs when the optic nerve is damaged as a result of inflammation. Symptoms of optic neuritis include temporary vision loss in one eye and pain with eye movement. Optic neuritis is closely associated with multiple sclerosis (MS): It is the first sign of MS in 20% of patients and occurs during the course of the disease in 50% of MS patients.3

About Gyroscope: Vision for Life

Gyroscope Therapeutics is a clinical-stage gene therapy company developing gene therapy beyond rare disease to treat diseases of the eye that cause vision loss and blindness. Our lead investigational gene therapy, GT005, is currently being evaluated in Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness. GT005 is designed to restore balance to an overactive complement system by increasing production of the Complement Factor I protein. GT005 has received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of people with GA.

Syncona Ltd, our lead investor, helped us create a leading gene therapy company combining discovery, research, drug development, a manufacturing platform and surgical delivery capabilities. Headquartered in London with locations in Philadelphia and San Francisco, our mission is to preserve sight and fight the devastating impact of blindness. For more information visit: and follow us on Twitter (@GyroscopeTx) and on LinkedIn.

1 Tham YC, Li X, Wong TY, Quigley HA, Aung T, Cheng CY. Global prevalence of glaucoma and projections of glaucoma burden through 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ophthalmology. 2014 Nov;121(11):2081-90.

2 Cowen Equity Research Therapeutic Categories Outlook: Comprehensive Study. 2020 Feb;P.2334.

3 Kale N. Optic neuritis as an early sign of multiple sclerosis. Eye Brain. 2016;8:195-202.

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Gyroscope Therapeutics and the University of Pennsylvania Announce Research Agreement to Develop Gene Therapies for Serious Eye Diseases - Business...


Researchers restore lost sight in mice, offering clues to reversing aging – Science Magazine

Friday, December 4th, 2020

Researchers inserted genes into mouse eye cells to protect and restore the optic nerve (red fibers in microscope image of healthy mouse retina, above).

By Kelly ServickDec. 2, 2020 , 5:30 PM

Do old and damaged cells remember what it was like to be young? Thats the suggestion of new study, in which scientists reprogrammed neurons in mouse eyes to make them more resistant to damage and able to regrow after injurylike the cells of younger mice. The study suggests that hallmarks of aging, and possibly the keys to reversing it, lie in the epigenome, the proteins and other compounds that decorate DNA and influence what genes are turned on or off.

The idea that aging cells hold a memory of their young epigenome is very provocative, says Maximina Yun, a regenerative biologist at the Dresden University of Technology who was not involved in the work. The new study supports that [idea], but by no means proves it, she adds. If researchers can replicate these results in other animals and explain their mechanism, she says, the work could lead to treatments in humans for age-related disease in the eye and beyond.

Epigenetic factors influence our metabolism, our susceptibility to various diseases, and even the way emotional trauma is passed through generations. Molecular biologist David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School, who has long been on the hunt for antiaging strategies, has also looked for signs of aging in the epigenome.

The big question was, is there a reset button? he says. Would cells know how to become younger and healthier?

In the new study, Sinclair and his collaborators aimed to rejuvenate cells by inserting genes that encode reprogramming factors,which regulate gene expressionthe reading of DNA to make proteins. The team chose three of the four factors scientists have used for more than 10 years to turn adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, which resemble the cells of an early embryo. (Exposing animals to all four factors can cause tumors.)

The team focused specifically on neurons at the back of the eye called retinal ganglion cells. These cells relay information from light-sensitive photoreceptors to the brain using long tendrillike structures called axons, which make up the optic nerve. Theres a stark divide between youth and age in these cells: An embryonic or newborn mouse can regenerate the optic nerve if it gets severed, but that ability vanishes with time.

To test whether their treatment could bring back some of that resilience, Sinclair and colleagues crushed the optic nerves of mice using forceps and injected a harmless virus into the eye carrying the genes for the three reprogramming factors. The injection prevented some damaged retinal ganglion cells from dying and even prompted some to grow new axons reaching back to the brain, the team reports today in Nature.

When the researchers looked at methylation patternsthe DNA location of chemical tags called methyl groups that regulate gene expressionthey found that changes caused by the injury resembled those in aging mouse cells. In certain parts of the genome, the treatment reversed those changes. The researchers also found that the benefits of the introduced genes depended on cells ability to alter their methylation patterns: Mice lacking certain enzymes necessary to remove methyl groups from DNA saw no benefit to the treatment.

Thats really something special, says Leonard Levin, a visual neuroscientist at McGill University. The experiments suggest how the famous and well-studied reprogramming factors restore cells. But big questions remain, he says: How do these factors cause methyl groups to be added or removed? How does that process help retinal ganglion cells?

Sinclairs team also tested the approach in mice with a condition meant to mimic glaucoma, a leading cause of age-related blindness in humans. In glaucoma, the optic nerve gets damaged, often by a buildup of pressure in the eye. Sinclair and his colleagues injected tiny beads into the animals eyes that prevented normal drainage and increased pressure, which damaged retinal ganglion cells.

Four weeks later, the animals visual acuity had declined by about 25%, as measured by a vision test in which mice move their heads to track the movement of vertical bars displayed on computer monitors. But after the genetic treatment, the animals gained back roughly half of their lost acuitythe first demonstration of restored vision in mice after this glaucomalike injury.

Still, the improvement in acuity was small, Levin notes. And, he says, the treated mice were in a relatively early stage of damage, not the state of near or total blindness that people experience when glaucoma goes untreated for years. So its too early to say whether this approach could benefit people who have lost much of their vision. Levin adds that there are already very good treatments for early-stage glaucoma to prevent vision loss with medicated eye drops or surgery to lower eye pressure.

In a final set of experiments, Sinclair and colleagues injected the reprogramming-factor genes into the eyes of 1-year-old healthy mice, roughly the mouse equivalent of middle-age. By this stage, the animals had visual acuity scores about 15% lower than their 5-month-old counterparts. Four weeks after treatment, older mice had similar acuity scores to younger ones. In their cells, the researchers saw patterns of DNA methylation and gene expression resembling those of younger animals.

In the three sets of experiments, Sinclair says, the cells seemed to respond to the reprogramming factors by fine-tuning their gene expression to match a youthful state. He sees that behavior as a hint that cells keep a record of their epigenetic past, even though its not clear how that record is stored. A company Sinclair cofounded, Life Biosciences, is developing treatments for diseases associated with aging, including glaucoma, and he says hes now planning to test the safety of this gene therapy approach in larger animals.

Yun says that as a strategy for reversing aging or treating disease, resetting the epigenome is a very difficult one. Reprogramming cells to an earlier state carries a risk of prompting uncontrolled growth and cancer.Future studies should test how the three factors affect other types of cells and tissues and confirm that reprogrammed cells maintain their youthful state long-term, she says. There are a lot of roads to be traveled.

Originally posted here:
Researchers restore lost sight in mice, offering clues to reversing aging - Science Magazine


Reversing vision loss by turning back the aging clock – FierceBiotech

Friday, December 4th, 2020

Aging has implications for a wide range of diseases. Researchers have been looking for ways to halt the aging process for millennia, but such methods remain elusive. Scientists at Harvard Medical School have now offered a glimmer of hope that the aging clock in the eye could be reversedat least in animals.

By reprogramming the expression of three genes, the Harvard team successfully triggered mature nerve cells in mice eyes to adopt a youthful state. The method reversed glaucoma in the mice and reversed age-related vision loss in elderly mice, according to results published in Nature.

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If further studies prove out the concept, they could pave the way for therapies that employ the same approach to repair damagein other organs and possibly treat age-related diseases in humans, the team said.

The researchers focused on the Yamanaka factors, which are four transcription factorsOct4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc. In a Nobel Prize-winning discovery, Shinya Yamanaka found that the factors can change the epigenomehow genes are turned on or offand can thereby transform mature cellsback to a stem cell-like state. It has been hypothesized that changes to the epigenome drive cell aging, especially a process called DNA methylation, by which methyl groups are tagged onto DNA.

Past researches have tried to use the four Yamanaka factorsto turn back the age clock in living animals, but doing so caused cells to adopt unwanted new identities and induced tumor growth.

RELATED:Restoring eyesight with genetically engineered stem cells

To test whether the approach works in living animals, the scientists used adeno-associated virus to deliver the three genes into the retina of mice with optic nerve injuries. The treatment led to a two-fold increase in the number of retinal ganglion cells, which are neurons responsible for receiving and transmitting visual information. Further analysis showed that the injury accelerated DNA methylation age, while the gene cocktail counteracted that effect.

Next the scientists tested whether the gene therapy could also work in disease settings. In a mouse model of induced glaucomawhich is a leading cause of age-related blindness in peoplethe treatment increased nerve cell electrical activity and the animals visual acuity.

But can the therapy also restore vision loss caused by natural aging? In elderly, 12-month-old mice, the gene therapy also restored ganglion cells electrical activity as well as visual acuity, the team reported.

By comparing cells from the treated micewith retinal ganglion cells from young, 5-month-old mice, the researchers found that mRNA levels of 464 genes were altered during aging, and the gene therapy reversed 90% of those changes. The scientists also noticed reversed patterns of DNA methylation, which suggests that DNA methylation is not just the marker but rather the driver behind aging.

What this tells us is the clock doesn't just represent timeit is time. If you wind the hands of the clock back, time also goes backward, the studys senior author, David Sinclair, explained in a statement.

The study marks the first time that glaucoma-induced vision loss was reversednot just slowedin living animals, according to the team.

RELATED:Reprogrammed skin cells restore sight in mouse models of retinal disease

Other researchers are also studying regenerative approaches to treating eye diseases. A research group at the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Barcelona just showed that by modifying mesenchymal stem cells to express chemokine receptors Ccr5 and Cxcr6, retinal tissue could be saved from degeneration.

The idea of reversing age-related decline in humans by epigenetic reprogramming with a gene therapy is exciting, Sinclair said. The Harvard researchers intend to do more animal work that could allow them to start clinical trials in people with glaucoma in about two years.

Our study demonstrates that it's possible to safely reverse the age of complex tissues such as the retina and restore its youthful biological function, Sinclair said. If affirmed through further studies, these findings could be transformative for the care of age-related vision diseases like glaucoma and to the fields of biology and medical therapeutics for disease at large.

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Reversing vision loss by turning back the aging clock - FierceBiotech


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