Thank you Shona, and to all our patients and colleagues, we wish you all a blessed and wonderful Christmas and 2016!
The Birmingham Laser Team
Myopia is the most common eye disorder with 40% of Europeans and over 90% of Koreans and Japanese having to wear glasses and contact lenses to correct the disorder. The rapid increase in the numbers is caused by a number of factors including spending more time indoors (see "the myopia epidemic").
Myopia is caused by the eye growing too long. The focus can be be corrected with laser eye surgery and lens surgery, but diseases linked to the elongated eye such as retinal detachment, macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma are still more common. So preventing or slowing down the elongation of the eye is important for the future eye health of today's children.
Encouraging children to play outdoors has been known to help. But a recent study of 400 children has shown that a low dose of a well known eye drop called "Atropine" can slow the progression in some children too. So hopefully this epidemic of myopia can be stopped and even reversed.
Read more in "The Ophthalmologist"
About half of the UK population naturally have blue eyes and they are more common in Scotland and Northern Ireland. But can darker eyes be safely changed to blue?
Artificial iris implants are donut shaped, blue, silicone discs placed in front of the natural iris. But over 80% of eyes developed blurred vision from damage to the lens or cornea (clear window on the surface of the eye) requiring removal of the implant and further surgery (see the scientific article reference). And they cause high pressure and glaucoma which can irreparably damage sight.
A new laser treatment developed by Strōma Medical releases melanin pigment from the iris (see Eye colour facts #1), making the iris a lighter colour (see Eye colour facts #3). But how long will the treatment last before new pigment is produced? And will the released pigment cause pressure damage to the eye? The safety of the treatment is being investigated.
Albinos are animals and people with pale skin, eyes, hair, fur, or feathers because they can't make melanin normally (see Eye Colour Facts #1). There are many types of albinism. Most albinos have blue eyes, but some are pink because the iris (the colored part of the eye) has so little color that the blood vessels inside the eye are visible through the pale, white iris.
Besides giving skin, eyes, and hair its color, melanin protects eyes from the sun and albinos are very sensitive to light. But albinism may be linked to other eye abnormalities such as abnormal nerve connections and light receptors, constantly moving eyes, squints, short sightedness and poor vision even with glasses or laser eye surgery.
In this study in the prestigious Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, 60% of laser eye surgeons who were suitable for laser eye surgery have had the treatment. And over 90% recommend it to their family.
Because the results are so good, many of the Optegra laser team members have had laser eye surgery and so have members of Mark Wevill's family. So if we're enjoying the benefits of laser treatment why don't you?
See the original publication: Cataract & Refractive Surgery
Its that time of the year! Bratwurst, brezel, brotchen & beer, Heart FM & the carousel on Victoria Square and so much more at the biggest German market in Britain in Birmingham. Click on the link for a little flavour of the occasion: https://youtu.be/2wgIugIi9XI
And how about treating yourself or a loved one to vision correction this Christmas?
Kate acted in "The Horse Whisperer" and has beautiful, heterochromic eyes, meaning that she has different coloured eyes. Her heterochromia is caused by a partial patch of pigment on her right iris which is like a freckle on our skin. We can also get moles on the iris just as we get on our skin and like all moles they should be checked to make sure they aren't dangerous. Heterochromia can also be genetic or may occur with glaucoma, inflammation and other conditions so it is important to have heterochromic eyes checked. David Bowie has a darker left eye, which looks heterochromic but isn't. He has an enlarged, paralysed pupil caused by an eye injury many years ago.
Eye heterochromia is just one example of how striking and beautiful asymmetry in our bodies can be.
Eye colour changes from brown through hazel, green and blue to grey with all the othert colours in between depending on how much melanin is in the iris (see Eye colour facts #1). Complex interactions of the genes determine colour. For example the OCA2 brown eye gene can be switched off by the HERC2 gene creating blue eyes. All blue eyed people have this gene so it is thought that all blue eyed people came from the same single ancestor and therefore yes, all are distantly related!
The greatest variation in eye colour is seen in people of European descent. The commonest eye colour is brown, the second most common is blue, and green is the rarest. In some people each eye is a different colour, the colour changes or there may be no pigment colouring ...
Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Penélope Cruz, Robert Redford & Liam Neeson give nature a voice in this series of thought provoking videos of our amazing planet. Watch the films at: www.ConservationInternational
How about natural vision without glasses & contact lenses?
This great Christmas ad shows Cadbury workers preparing tonnes of chocolate in its Birmingham Bournville factory in the countdown to Christmas. The truck drivers line up their purple trucks numbered 1 to 24 to form a huge advent calendar. Then they head off to give it away!
The good news is that for each of the 24 days of Christmas, a truck full of chocolate will be sent from Bournville to share the joy with an unsuspecting UK town!