Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Nope. Improbable. I get a few of these a week, and I've blogged about this before, but some things bear repeating. Everyone thinks their contact scratched their eye. Now I'm not saying an abrasion is "impossible"...but it's not the contact. It's your finger. If you scratch your own eye with your finger while inserting or removing the lens, that's one thing. But if your eye just starts hurting out of the blue, it's pretty dang unlikely that it's a "scratch", no matter what the scenario. A scratch happens when your eye gets hit by something. If you didn't get hit by anything, then it's not a scratch. The end! I have all these patients who are heavy contact lens wearers and their eye starts hurting and they think it's a "scratch". And maybe someone (nurse, PCP, etc) even told them it's a scratch! But it's not. It's something else. Statistically it's MOST likely to be an "infiltrate", which is a common inflammatory condition (not "infection"). As I always say, "WHEN IN DOUBT, TAKE IT OUT", which means if you have some eye problem, any eye problem, your best bet is to remove the contact lens. A lot of people sleep in their lenses, which for most people is ok IMO if they're wearing silicone lenses. Then they'll wake up in the morning with a lens still on, and it hurts, and they'll come in and tell me their lens scratched their eye. How? How is that possible? It's not. If you're a contact lens wearer and your eye is red or painful or light sensitive, TAKE THE LENS OUT and go to the eye doctor. Not the PCP or the ER b/c they're going to tell you it's a scratch as well, and it's almost certainly not.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
This weekend by brother-in-law gave me a car! He collects and restores 60's & 70's Volkswagens or "Vee Dubs". He has 3 restored vehicles: a 69 Beetle or "Type 1" that is his prized car, a 70 (I think) "Type 2" or VW Bus, and another early 70's Beetle that he has painted to look like Herbie. He didn't give me any of those! :P He sold me (for a very low price) a 1972 Type 3 "Fastback". It is in "fair" condition. Most of the parts are there but it does not run, needs some body work, engine needs rebuilding, has some rust, etc etc. It needs some pretty major work, but the engine ran as of 3 years ago or so, so it seems possible to once again make that happen. So I guess I am now entering the world of the Vee Dub! I need to start reading up on how to build/rebuild air-cooled engines, I guess! The biggest problem so far is the title. It was apparently lost multiple owners ago (brother-in-law got this car as a "parts" car but never used any parts from it) and I am having to file for a "bonded title", which is a moderate pain-in-the-rear. I'll document my trials here, as I am going to the county title office this Fri to start the process. Here's a pic of my "new" car (no, the Karmann Ghia behind it is absolutely NOT for sale! :D )
Monday, March 9, 2015
A Scientist Accidentally Developed Sunglasses That Could Correct Color Blindness The California company EnChroma is creating lenses that allow some to see colors for the first time By Li Zhou SMITHSONIAN.COM MARCH 3, 2015 One afternoon in 2005, Don McPherson was playing ultimate Frisbee in Santa Cruz. He was wearing a pair of sunglasses, when his friend, Michael Angell, admiring his eyewear, asked to borrow them. When he put the glasses on, he was stunned by what he saw. McPherson recalls Angell saying, with surprise, “I can see the cones,” referring to a set of orange traffic cones nearby. What made this a startling observation was that Angell had been colorblind his whole life. The sunglasses, which McPherson, a materials scientist, had engineered, actually allowed him to see the orange hue for the first time, and distinguish that color from the surrounding grass and concrete. Based in Berkeley, California, McPherson, who has a PhD in glass science from Alfred University, originally specialized in creating eyewear for doctors to use as protection during laser surgery. Rare earth iron embedded in the glasses absorbed a significant amount of light, enabling surgeons to not only stay safe, but also clearly differentiate between blood and tissue during procedures. In fact, surgeons loved the glasses so much, they began disappearing from operating rooms. This was the first indication that they could be used outside the hospital. McPherson, too, began casually wearing them, as sunglasses. “Wearing them makes all colors look incredibly saturated,” he says. “It makes the world look really bright.” It wasn’t until Angell borrowed his sunglasses at the Frisbee game, however, that McPherson realized they could serve a broader purpose and help those who are colorblind. After making this discovery, he spent time researching colorblindness, a condition he knew very little about, and ultimately applied for a grant from the National Institutes of Health to begin conducting clinical trials. Since then, McPherson and two colleagues, Tony Dykes and Andrew Schmeder, founded EnChroma Labs, a company dedicated to developing everyday sunglasses for the 300 million people in the world with color vision deficiency. They've been selling glasses, with sporty and trendy, Ray-Ban-like frames, since December 2012, at a price point ranging from $325 to $450. The EnChroma team has refined the product significantly, most recently changing the lenses from glass to a much more consumer-friendly polycarbonate in December 2014. A pediatric version of the glasses, along with an indoor model, are next on the docket for EnChroma. For kids especially, wearing these glasses could stop the progression of their colorblindness. (EnChroma) While it was a fortuitous discovery, McPherson emphasizes that the eventual manufacturing and execution of the product is based on years of rigorous science. The creators are constantly experimenting with new iterations. “My bike bag has about ten pairs of glasses in it, different versions," he says. To further bolster the effect of the glasses, Schmeder, a mathematician, created a sophisticated model of color vision in the human eye that incorporates 10,000 natural and man-made colors. Informed by this, he designed a filter for the eyewear that optimizes the way a user views this wide spectrum of hues. The glasses are built on fundamental vision science. McPherson explains that all people have three photopigments in the eye, also known as cones, which are sensitive to blue, green and red. Blue operates fairly independently, while the red and green cones, in most humans, overlap, affecting the perception of certain colors. For example, if 10 photons landed on the red cone and 100 landed on the green cone, the object viewed would appear more green. Whereas if an equal number of photons landed on the red and green cones, the color perceived would be yellow. A problem arises when the red-green cones overlap too much, a condition that accounts for 99 percent of colorblindness cases. When this happens, in the previous scenario, instead of yellow, an individual would perceive little, if any color. EnChroma’s technology works by placing a band of absorption on glasses that captures light, pushing the cones away from each other and reestablishing the normal distribution of photons on them. The company’s eyewear is able to treat up to 80 percent of the customers who come to them. The remaining 20 percent, including the writer of this recent Atlantic article, who tested the glasses, are missing an entire class of photopigments, either green or red—a condition EnChroma is not currently able to address. This year will be a busy one for the company, which is focused on rolling out indoor versions of the glasses, a pediatric model and an online test that can help people analyze colorblindness at home. For children especially, wearing EnChroma glasses could help correct their colorblindness and prevent it from progressing further. In order to scale the product, the team is recruiting opticians and optometrists around the country to test and share the glasses with their patients. Marc Drucker, a user who has had red-green colorblindness his whole life, now wears his sunglasses on a regular basis. “Just trying them on, it was really transformative," he says. "It’s very strange seeing things differently for the first time in 45 years.” McPherson says, “It still gives me goosebumps when someone bends down, and sees a flower and asks, ‘Is that lavender?’” Simple, everyday sights are markedly changed. Drucker is looking forward to the indoor version expected to come out this spring, emphasizing the impact EnChroma glasses have had on his daily, routine activities. “They’ve changed going to the farmer’s market, simple things like cooking,” he says. “I’m looking forward to my first rainbow.” http://enchroma.com/
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Optos, makers of one of my very favorite optical technology equipment "Optomap" has been purchased by optics giant Nikon: http://eyesmart.com.au/?id=4633&option=com_content&view=article Nikon Enters Medical Sector with Acquisition of Optos Wednesday, 04 March 2015 Nikon, the 98-year-old Japanese company best known for its cameras, has agreed to buy retinal imaging company Optos. Optos was incorporated in 1992 and is domiciled in Scotland. Optos is listed on the Official List of the London Stock Exchange. According to Nikon, the acquisition of Optos is an important step in the company’s implementation of its "Next 100 – Transform to Grow" strategic initiative, which is focused on driving sustainable long term growth. As part of this initiative, Nikon has announced its intention to enter the medical sector to leverage its optical technologies and know-how into the medical industry, which is a sector that offers a number of secular growth trends. The proposed acquisition of Optos therefore represents an important step for Nikon as it provides the establishment of a major footprint in the medical segment with a scale platform for future expansion, significant collaboration opportunities in product development, research, manufacturing and marketing, and a platform to expand Nikon's regenerative medical business. Kazuo Ushida, President of Nikon, said: "I am pleased to announce this strategically important transaction for Optos and Nikon. I am confident that an Optos/Nikon combination would create a world class "retina" player and would significantly benefit our respective stakeholders. Together, we will pursue various collaboration opportunities and further expand the medical business in the future." Commenting on the Transaction, Dr Peter Fellner, Chairman of Optos, said: "Under the leadership of Roy Davis and the management team, Optos has successfully established itself as a global leader in retinal imaging supported by the introduction of innovative new products such as the Daytona. During this period, our share price and financial results have shown material improvement and Optos is now well placed for further growth. Following the Transaction, Optos will become a key part of Nikon's future strategy to develop a global medical business and will continue to provide its market leading solutions to the patients we serve. We are therefore pleased to recommend this acquisition to our shareholders."
Thursday, February 12, 2015
I am copying and pasting an article from Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/10/us-health-glaucoma-idUSKBN0LE0DG20150210 New wave of drugs poised to shake up glaucoma treatment BY TONI CLARKE WASHINGTON Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:10am EST (Reuters) - For the first time in 20 years, patients suffering from the eye disease glaucoma may soon have new treatments as several young companies look to shake up the $5.6 billion global market There is no cure for glaucoma, which damages the optic nerve and is expected to affect more than 4 million Americans by 2030, up from 2.7 million today. But treatments help patients manage the disease and may prevent the onset of blindness. The new treatments promise to improve outcomes and reduce side-effects associated with current medicines, exploiting a long dearth of innovative new products for the disease. No new class of medicine has been introduced since Pfizer Inc’s Xalatan, known generically as latanoprost, in 1996. The newcomers aim to disrupt market-leaders Alcon, a division of Novartis AG, Allergan Inc, Pfizer and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. Leading the pack is Aerie Pharmaceuticals Inc, which plans to launch its novel eye-drop Rhopressa in 2017 and another treatment, Roclatan, a year later. The company sold 6.7 million shares for $10 each in its 2013 market debut. They now top $26. Following Aerie is Inotek Pharmaceuticals, whose trabodenoson eye-drop is entering late-stage trials expected to be completed by 2017. Inotek has announced plans to sell 4.6 million shares at between $13 and $15 each in an IPO expected soon. Drugs to combat glaucoma, the second-leading cause of blindness in the world, work by reducing pressure inside the eye. Aerie and Inotek's drugs are the first to target the trabecular network, the main drain through which fluid flows out of the eye, though they do so in different ways. Taking a different approach is Ocular Therapeutix Inc, which is developing a tiny device that can be inserted into the eye to deliver regular medication. The product is in mid-stage clinical trials. Ocular's shares have risen to more than $30 from their IPO price of $13 last year. "There's a new graduating class of next-generation treatments," said William Slattery, partner at Deerfield Management Company L.P., which holds shares in Aerie and recently provided the company with $125 million in financing. Prostaglandins are the most widely-prescribed glaucoma drugs. They include latanoprost, Alcon’s Travatan, and Allergan’s Lumigan. But prostaglandins can cause eye redness and changes to eye pigmentation and eyelash length. Most patients need extra therapies such as timolol, a decades-old beta-blocker that lowers eye pressure but can slow a patient’s heart beat. Rhopressa and trabodenoson work differently. They do not cause changes to eye pigmentation or lash length, though Rhopressa can still cause red eye. Experts say even incremental improvements in treatments would be welcome. "We continue to have people who are going blind from glaucoma and that's a problem," said Dr. Wiley Chambers, deputy director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s transplant and ophthalmology products. "We need alternatives." WAVE OF INNOVATION So far, analysts are betting that Aerie's second drug, Roclatan, will be the most effective at lowering eye pressure. It is a fixed-dose combination product that includes Rhopressa and latanoprost. Both those constituents cause red eye, however. Inotek's trabodenoson does not appear to cause red eye, making it a potentially attractive product for physicians to prescribe as an add-on therapy. The company is also testing it in a fixed dose combination with latanoprost. Vicente Anido Jr., Aerie's chief executive, predicts that Rhopressa and Roclatan could generate $1 billion apiece worldwide a year. "We think we could end up being the next Allergan or Alcon," he said. Some analysts agree with Anido's projections, and say that Aerie could become a takeover target if late-stage clinical trial data to be released mid-year are positive. But Catherine Daly, a neurology and ophthalmology analyst at research and consulting firm GlobalData Healthcare, thinks Aerie's projections are too high. She sees combined sales closer to $600 million. "It's going to take a lot to move people away from using prostaglandins, which have a long track record," she said. Daly predicts sales of trabodenoson will be less than half those of Rhopressa and Roclatan, in part because Aerie is projected to reach the market first. In addition, Aerie's drugs may work in a broader patient population, including those whose eye pressure is normal but are still losing vision. Inotek, which last year hired long-time biotech executive David Southwell as its chief executive, has received less attention than Aerie. That could change after the company goes public. Southwell is a former investment banker and canny dealmaker. As chief financial officer at Human Genome Sciences he oversaw that company's $3 billion sale to GlaxoSmithKline Plc in 2012. The wave of innovation comes as big drugmakers are getting out of eye-care or consolidating. The most innovative of the big company products appears to be Bausch & Lomb's Vesneo, which represents an advance on existing therapies and could be on the market by next year. It combines latanoprost with nitric oxide to add an extra pressure-lowering boost. The company has said the drug could generate $500 million in u.s. sales and $1 billion globally. Alcon, whose glaucoma treatment revenues stood at $1.3 billion last year, said it was "evaluating external partnerships" for access to new glaucoma technologies. Firms are also working on new drug delivery mechanisms. Allergan's bimatoprost SR is in late-stage clinical trials and could become the first long-acting implant to reach the market. Still, it faces competition from several small firms including Ocular Therapeutix, pSivida and Mati Therapeutics. “By using their own proprietary delivery platforms with other prostaglandin drugs they could become major competitors to Allergan in the future,” Daly said. (Editing by Stuart Grudgings)
Monday, February 9, 2015
***edit: link to download "SmartWatch7.1.3.apk" file to make your RWATCH work with Lollipop OS is now in comments section below**** So for Christmas I asked for a Samsung Gear smartwatch to pair with my Samsung Galaxy s5. Well I didn't get one. Not surprising b/c they're $200+. I thought about buying one for myself but then...*I* didn't want to spend $200 either! I mean I almost did, but I haven't yet. After a little internet research I ended up buying one of these doodads from China for $35 from www.gearbest.com. I got it after a few weeks...slow shipping b/c it's from China and who wants to pay for expensive shipping? That's one of the points of this is that I'm trying to save money here! So after I went and got it from the post office (b/c it required a signature) I took it to my office and started playing with it at lunch. It came with a charging cable so I plugged it in (using my own usb "box") and charged it. The 1st problem I encountered was the software: the instructions came with a QR code to download the software for the phone, problem was when you use the QR code you're directed to a Chinese website. Well that's a problem if, like me, you don't read Chinese. So I went to the Play Store and searched "RWATCH" and downloaded the RWATCH app! Installed it, turned the watch on and bluetooth-paired it with my Galaxy s5...everything seemed to work until I tested to see if I could get a text message, I got an error: "Please install BT Notifier in smartphone". Uh oh. So I started Googling. Based on some android forums I had read, I installed, tried and then uninstalled 3 more apps that did not solve the problem, including an app actually named "BT Notifier". I was still getting the dreaded "Please install BT Notifier in smartphone" error. Very frustrating! I have the new (as of Feb 2015) "Lollipop" android OS and I suspect this was part of the problem. Finally, buried in one of the many forums I found a suggestion to get an app called " EDIT: SmartWatch7.1.3.apk (See 2nd comment below) " This was totally the solution! I downloaded and installed the app and it made me register with an email address, login and password, which I then had to use to actually log into the app. After some setup to allow push notifications, etc I tried it out and it totally works! When the phone is BT paired with the RWATCH I can call and make calls, receive and read SMS, and even use the OK GOOGLE/Google Voice commands to open apps, send SMS, etc. My "Assistant" app (android version of Siri) even talks to me thru the speaker and reacts to commands from the mic on the watch! It's pretty cool! I'm having fun with it! Hopefully if someone googles "Please install BT Notifier in smartphone error", this post may come up and save them some grief! Good luck saving money out there!
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Once a day ocular antihitsamine (anti-itch): http://formularyjournal.modernmedicine.com/formulary-journal/news/fda-approves-drug-ocular-allergy-itch-relief "FDA has approved olopatadine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution (Pazeo, Alcon, a division of Novartis) 0.7% for the treatment of ocular itch relief related to eye allergies. Pazeo is a 1-drop daily ocular itch relief product for allergic conjunctivitis." Olopatadine is the same drug as the old "Patanol" and "Pataday", except in a more concentrated form (0.7% for Pazeo vs 0.1% and 0.2% for Patanol and Pataday, respectively). The itch relief is supposed to last longer with the increased concentration.