March 23rd is World Optometry Day

Tomorrow, the 23rd of March is marked as World Optometry Day and the following week as World Optometry Week.  The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) marks this day as an opportunity to draw the spotlight on a key eye care profession and create awareness about optometry and its practices around the world.  On World Optometry Day, optometrists and eye care professionals have the opportunity to spread knowledge and expertise in order to create a huge impact and raise awareness.

World Optometry Day is unique to the profession of optometry and serves as a reminder that while globally there may be different definitions, ultimately eye care professionals worldwide are striving to provide the same things, comprehensive eye care services to their patients.  The World Council of Optometry (WCO) defines optometry as “a healthcare profession that is autonomous, educated and regulated, and optometrists are the primary healthcare practitioners of the eye and visual system who provide comprehensive eye and vision care, which includes refraction and dispensing, detection/diagnoses and management of disease in the eye, and the rehabilitation of conditions of the visual system.”

Sight is known to be the most important of the five senses. In fact, the brain receives 80 percent of its information from the eyes. In a national survey, most Americans said that losing their vision would affect their lives more than losing memory, speech, hearing, an arm or a leg.  Globally, optometrists share a vision of a world where optometry provides high quality and comprehensive eye care where its accessible to all people.  Blindness and vision impairment affect more than 600 million people around the world, according to the IAPB. Many cases are because individuals do not have access to the eye exams and eyeglasses they need.  Optos is dedicated to helping eye care professionals aid people across the globe receive the quality eye exams necessary for good vision.

Optos offers optomap®, an ultra-widefield retinal imaging (UWF™) retinal imaging method that facilitates early detection from vision impairment or blindness, and other systemic disease. The unique UWF imaging of optomap captures more than 80% of the retina in a single image, whereas small-field methods reveal only 10 – 15%. Our eye care partners generally include optomap as part of their standard comprehensive eye exam. Ask your eye care professional about optomap today.

Sources:
https://worldcouncilofoptometry.info/tag/world-optometry-day/
https://www.iapb.org/news_tags/world-optometry-day/
http://www.srmuniv.ac.in/content/world-optometry-day

See you at Javits for Vision Expo East (VEE) 2019!

We can’t wait to see you this year as VEE kicks off, March 21-24 at the Javits Convention Center in downtown NYC. During VEE 2019, you’ll have the opportunity to obtain CE credits at events like the March Mania Imaging Track, learn techniques to improve your practice and get access to cutting-edge products and services, such as the ONLY true ultra-widefield retinal image, optomap. VEE also presents an excellent opportunity to network and socialize with eyecare experts and explore New York City, such as the ones that will be available in our booth, MS4849.

We encourage you to find out what’s new at Optos by pre-scheduling your demonstration or stop by our booth at your convenience. Since last year’s conference, we have continued to develop hardware and software platforms to offer new ways to enhance clinical exams.

If you have any questions about our UWF retinal imaging or our offerings at VEE, please call 1-800-854-3039 or email. We look forward to seeing you at the show!

Low Vision Awareness: Living in Low Vision

In addition to AMD awareness, February has also been named Low Vision Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about visual impairment and rehabilitation for those who are living with low vision.

What is Low Vision?

Low vision is the term used to describe significant visual impairment that can’t be corrected fully with glasses, contact lenses, medication or eye surgery, it includes:

  • Loss of best-corrected visual acuity to worse than 20/70 in the better eye.
  • Significant visual field loss. Tunnel vision (lack of vision in the periphery) and blind spots are examples of visual field loss.
  • Legal blindness. In the United States, legal blindness typically is defined as visual acuity of 20/200 or worse (in the better eye, with the best possible vision correction in place) or a field of view (visual field) that is constricted to 20 degrees or less.

Disability statistics from the 2014 American Community Survey show that 2.3 percent of individuals ages 16 and over have a visual disability or low vision.

Following are the definitions of visual acuity, according to the World Health Organization. These ratings are for vision in the better eye with the best possible prescription corrective lens:

  • 20/30 to 20/60: Mild vision loss, but near-normal vision
  • 20/70 to 20/160: Moderate low vision
  • 20/200 to 20/400: Severe low vision
  • 20/500 to 20/1,000: Profound visual impairment
  • Less than 20/1,000: Near-total blindness
  • No light perception whatsoever: Total blindness

What Causes Low Vision?

Many eye diseases and conditions can cause low vision, such as:

optomap af, reveals Retinitis Pigmentosa

optomap image displaying proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy

Depending on the cause of low vision, there may be medications or surgical alternatives that can help slow disease progression and provide as much vision for as long as possible. Those who think they may have a vision impairment that interferes with their ability to perform everyday activities, should see an eye care professional for a complete eye exam. If your eyecare professional finds that you have vision loss that cannot be corrected adequately with standard eyewear, medical treatment or surgery, they can assist you with your next steps in treatment.

To find out more about Optos and optomap and to find an eyecare professional who uses optomap in their practice, please visit our website.

http://www.visionaware.org/info/your-eye-condition/eye-health/low-vision/low-vision-examination/1235
https://www.personalizedcause.com/health-awareness-cause-calendar/amd-low-vision-awareness-month
https://nei.nih.gov/content/low-vision-awareness-month-2019
https://www.allaboutvision.com

Put the Power of Being AMD Aware in Your Own Hands

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, but new treatments have dramatically changed the course of this disease over the last 10 years, making AMD more manageable than ever before. During AMD Awareness Month in February, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding people that even though currently there is no cure for age-related macular degeneration, there are a number of things you can do to slow its effects and prevent blindness, early detection being a critical first step. AMD is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in people over 50 and is rapidly growing, worldwide.

What is AMD?
– AMD is a common eye condition and a leading cause of blindness in those 50 and older.  Aging can cause the macula to slowly degenerate and reduce central vision.
– AMD often advances so slowly that vision loss does not occur for many years and traces of the disease can go unnoticed.  In others, the disease may progress faster and lead to vision loss in one or both eyes.  Over time, objects in vision may not appear as bright as they once were and a blurred area in vision is common, further leading to blank spots in vision.
-AMD ultimately results in a loss of central vision that can interfere with simple everyday activities.

There is as of yet no outright cure for age-related macular degeneration, but some treatments may delay its progression or even improve vision. Treatments for macular degeneration depend on whether the disease is in its early-stage, dry form or in the more advanced, wet form that can lead to serious vision loss.

Dry Vs Wet AMD
Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina start to grow under the macula.  These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its normal place at the back of the eye. Damage to the macula occurs rapidly. With wet AMD, loss of central vision can occur quickly. Wet AMD is considered to be advanced AMD and is more severe than the dry form.

Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry AMD gets worse, you may see a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over time, as less of the macula functions, central vision in the affected eye can be lost gradually.

The most common symptom of dry AMD is slightly blurred vision. You may have difficulty recognizing faces and may need more light for reading and other tasks. Dry AMD generally affects both eyes, but vision can be lost in one eye while the other eye seems unaffected.

One of the most common early signs of dry AMD is drusen. Drusen are yellow deposits under the retina. They often are found in people over age 60. Your eye care professional can detect drusen during a comprehensive eye exam.

How to Protect your Vision
While there is currently no cure for AMD, there are proactive steps that can be taken to help slow vision loss as well as certain risk factors to look out for.
1) Smoking.  Research shows that smoking doubles the risk of developing and the progression of AMD
2) Healthy Diet. Diets rich in antioxidants, zinc and healthy fats can contribute to health eyes.  Patients with AMD will benefit from diets high in omega-3 fatty acids.
3) Exercise.  Maintaining a healthy body weight and exercises will aid in healthy vision and may help slow progression of AMD.
4) Routine Eye exams.  Annual comprehensive eye exams are the best way to stay on top of your eye health and prevent vision loss. Everyone should have their eyes regularly examined by an eye care professional who uses optomap® technology. optomap is the only technology that can show up to 200⁰ of the retina which will facilitate early detection of eye health diseases, including AMD.

AMD Detection
AMD is usually detected during a comprehensive eye exam. During an eye exam, you may be asked to look at an Amsler grid. The pattern of the grid resembles a checkerboard. You will cover one eye and stare at a black dot in the center of the grid. While staring at the dot, you may notice that the straight lines in the pattern appear wavy. You may notice that some of the lines are missing. These may be signs of AMD.

If your eye care professional believes you need treatment for wet AMD, he or she may suggest a fluorescein angiogram. In this test, a special dye is injected, and pictures are taken as the dye passes through the blood vessels in your retina. The test allows your eye care professional to identify any leaking blood vessels and recommend treatment.

Clinical Summary Sheet – Peripheral changes found in 97% of Patients with AMD

Peripheral Retinal Changes Associated with Age-Related Macular Degeneration
The 12 year follow-up of a study known as the Reykjavik Eye Study evaluated subjects with optomap color and autofluorescence (af) imaging and found that 67% of subjects in the study had peripheral AMD-like changes.  Additionally, a subsequent study, knowns as the OPERA (Optos Peripheral RetinA) study found that peripheral retinal changes were more prevalent in eyes with AMD than in those without.  Drusen were evident in the majority of the eye with AMD in both the mid and far periphery.  These studies go to show that Age-related macular degeneration may be more than a “macular” condition but one that involves the entire retina.    Other research also shows that optomap UWF icg captured significant peripheral changes in 80% of AMD patients.  These studies all contribute to the benefits of ultra-widefield imaging in the diagnosis and management of AMD.  Future longitudinal studies of peripheral changes in AMD and their impact on visual function may also contribute to further understanding of the disease.  Click here for more information regarding these studies or visit our website to learn more about optomap and its assistance in managing eye disease.

optomap Image Reveals Life-Threatening Pathology During Routine Eye Exam

Jessica describes the events of that October 2017 day as somewhat serendipitous, even though what transpired illuminated a hidden threat to her life.  Jessica, an actress, had just started rehearsing for a play in Billings, Montana, when she decided that contacts, rather than glasses, would better suit her part.  “Really, I just thought it would be a good idea to be able to see while I was on stage,“ she laughs. “That’s all I needed was to get fitted for contacts. I didn’t feel that I needed, nor did I have time for, an eye exam.  Besides I absolutely despise being dilated.”  However, as fate would have it, she went that day to see Tom Felstet, OD, who feels strongly that a thorough view of the retina should be a part of every eye exam. Accordingly, Felstet had made it a priority to purchase an optomap ultra-widefield (UWF™) imaging device when he opened his new practice four years ago. He had the opportunity to utilize the technology during medical school and during his early years in practice. optomap is the only technology that captures over 80% of the retina in a single image, and it does so in a fraction of a second through an undilated pupil. When patients come to see Felstet he explains to them that it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam. He gives them the option to be dilated or, for a small fee, to have optomap screening without dilation.  “Like many practitioners, I have always told my patients that they need to have a dilated exam at least every other year.” he explains. However, he stresses that changed after his experience with Jessica.  “Now, it’s every year.  I give all my patients the choice of dilation or an optomap exam. Over the past few years utilizing optomap I have realized that I discover far more pathology, often far sooner, than I might without it. I have found changes and pathology, that I could have missed otherwise.”

Felstet recalls that when Jessica came to see him that day, she was clearly in a hurry and quite adamant that she simply needed a contacts prescription and did not want to be dilated.  “She was a healthy woman in her mid-50’s, with no remarkable family history and she did not report any symptoms. But fortunately for her she checked the box to get the optomap screening.”

When Dr. Felstet walked in to see Jessica he took one look at her image up on the screen and saw very clearly that there was a lesion in her right eye. “It was just far enough out that it would have been missed on an undilated slit lamp examination,” notes Felstet. When he showed it to Jessica he explained the area of concern and indicated that she should see an ophthalmologist.  “He was very discreet,” Jessica recounts. “I know he did not want to alarm me.  I could see quite clearly what he was talking about on the image, but even then, I was not really worried.”  Jessica recalls that even when she did see the ophthalmologist, and he diagnosed the pathology as a choroidal melanoma, she still had difficulty accepting the gravity of the situation.  “I mean, who had ever heard of a melanoma of the eye?  That wasn’t even something on my radar.  I had noticed some little flashes of light, but they were insignificant, and I just passed it off as reflections from some new glasses. Besides, in all other respects I was quite healthy.”

Jessica was then referred to an ocular oncologist in Denver and it was not until then that she grasped the significance of what was occurring.  “My tumor was 11 mm wide, so it was right on the cusp – just ½ mm from what would have resulted in an automatic enucleation. Jessica was treated immediately and successfully with radioactive plaque therapy, but during surgery the tumor was biopsied revealing that she was genetically at high risk for metastases, particularly to the liver. Ocular melanoma tends to be aggressive and metastasizes, or spreads to other organs in the body, in about half of all cases.

Felstet says that he still gets chills when he thinks of how close Jessica came to losing her eye and how disruptive this experience was for him as a practitioner.  He underscores that he has always been committed to providing comprehensive eye care, however he gives extra priority to communicating to his patients the critical importance of having a thorough examination of the retina every year.

“It is interesting to me how close that tumor was to her macula and yet she was not aware of any changes to her vision in that field, if she had not come in for her contacts when she did and if we had allowed her to refuse dilation, or an optomap, she would have likely lost her eye or could have lost her life.” He muses, “She returned to me recently and we took another optomap image, in looking at it I think that it is amazing that she is still here but that she also still has her central vision.  Looking at that image again, I told her that she is miracle.”

Felstet notes that he has detected numerous pathologies since Jessica’s visit, from subtle pigment changes that suggested dangerous lesions, to BRVO in young, outwardly healthy individuals.  “I am much more direct now about the importance of getting an optomap and about what I see on those images. I really would not want to practice without it because it would be hard to miss something as the pathology really stands out.  It gives me enormous peace of mind.”  Felstet is confident that optomap UWF will become the gold standard of care. “It helps me provide the best service to my patients.  I honestly think there is no reason to practice without it.”

Read Dr. Felset’s full testimonial here

Optos is committed to educating all on the importance of having regular eye exams.  Protect your eye health by making optomap part of your yearly comprehensive eye exam.  Visit our website for more sight-saving stories like Jessica’s and to find an optomap provider near you to schedule your eye exam today!