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The best news about eyes & Birmingham

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Google cardboard, virtual reality & eye travel

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In 2011, Palmer Luckey, an 18-year old virtual reality (VR) gaming enthusiast hacked together a better VR headset in his parents’ garage… and three years later Facebook paid US$2 billion to purchase the company he formed called Oculus VR. But what does this have to do with eye surgery? One of the most significant advances in ophthalmology has been the dramatic improvements in how we image the eye; especially with optical coherence tomography (OCT). OCT is used to take 3D images of the retina but we only ever view the images on a computer screen in two dimensions. However the 3D data, combined with a VR headset now opens up a world of possibilities of exploring the internal structures of the eye and much, much more. How much does a VR unit cost? Launch models of the oculus VR will cost about $200. But you can slip your phone into a Google cardboard unit which you can make for free or order now for less than £10! The future is 3D and soon you will be able to have your eye tests at home. This video gives a mini-submarine's view of travelling through an inflamed retina which is less than 0.5mm thick.
Thanks to the Ophthalmologist & Carl Glittenberg 

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Sunrise over the Isle of Wight

b2ap3_thumbnail_To-Jersey-Vision-1.jpgThe Channel yesterday morning on my way to do lasers @ Jersey Vision Correction. So there are some benefits to early morning flights!

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Christmas holiday wishes

b2ap3_thumbnail_Optegra-Christmas.jpg   Wishing you a happy holidays and best wishes for the New Year from us at Optegra!

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How does the eye focus? All about pinholes & lenses from "Minute Physics"

Minute physics how to see without glasses 600Watch a quick & quirky explanation of how pinholes & lenses focus what we see from the "Minute Physics" people.
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Thank you, Cindy


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I wish to thank the organisers of the South African Ophthalmological Society conference for inviting me to tell them about the benefits of femtosecond lasers. The setting in the Drakensberg (Dragon mountains) was magnificent & the presentations demonstrated once again the high standard of Ophthalmology in South Africa. One of the outstanding presentations was by Professor David Meyer of Tygerberg Hospital & the University of Stellenbosch who has cured recurrent eyelid basal cell cancers in adults and sight threatening capillary haemangiomas in children with Bleomycin injections. Thank you for your life changing work David.


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Leamington Observer Article

b2ap3_thumbnail_Mark-Wevill-Leamington-300.jpgLEAMINGTON OBSERVER, 30 January 2014

Mark Wevill may be one the world’s leading eye surgeons but he still finds time to help some of the poorest people on the planet to see.

The South-African born consultant ophthalmologist - who heads the ophthalmic unit at a Leamington-based Space Healthcare - has carried out more than 20,000 laser eye procedures ... yet he still finds time in his busy schedule to carry out voluntary work in Uganda, read more...

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Birmingham Christmas market

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Have you visited the market yet? The sights, smells & sounds are a Birmingham Christmas tradition. Sizzling bratwurst, happy children on the carousel, furry and knitted things to wear on your head, big bunches of helium balloons, mime artists, buskers, chocolate coated fruits and those massive, sticky marsh mellow  things. A great way to brighten up a grey day! Here's a video from the weekend, hope it brings back memories or tempts you to take a stroll through. Enjoy.

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There is an epidemic of shortsightedness (myopia) which is increasing. 50% of adolescents in the UK are myopic and 97% of South Koreans, and the numbers are increasing! There are probably 200 million myopic people in the world today and in 2020 there will be about 900 million.

Why? The answer is complex, but the more time children spend outdoors, the less likely they are to develop myopia. Outdoor light exposure & less time watching TV, looking at computers, mobile phones and reading may be protective against myopia. Only 12% of Australian adolescents are myopic. But our genes are also important and we pass myopia on to our children. 

How can this epidemic be stopped? In South East Asia (especially China, South Korea & Singapore) this has become a pressing issue because there are increased risks of premature cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and macular degeneration with myopia. Ian Flitcroft for Mater Hospital in Dublin said "three diopters of myopia is worse for your eyes than 20 cigarettes a day is for your heart." Hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars are spent every year correcting myopia optically (In the USA it is costing about $70 billion a year).  Most of the 50 million people who have had laser eye treatment over the last 20 years were myopic, but treating the condition with lasers isn't the solution, we need to be able to prevent the condition.

How can this epidemic be stopped? Eight years ago Singapore initiated a program of making outdoor activities an essential part of children's days and the rates of myopia have stabilised unlike the trends in neighbouring countries and internationally. But there is no simple solution to this multifactorial problem. Hopefully innovations will result in a preventable solution and in so doing reduce the financial and health burdens of this epidemic. Read more in the Ophthalmologist.

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Yes, Bourbon Street was as tacky, noisy & festive as ever! The American Academy accepted my poster presentation. And I was also invited do present the case for the Raindrop inlay to a "Judge, Jury, defending & opposing counsel and a courtroom" of a few hundred surgeon colleagues. It was science with humour. George Waring, the judge, wore a wig of white flowing locks purchased from a novelty store nearby and called the assembly to order frequently. The final verdict was that the technology shows great promise!

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So where have I been? The clue is in the title; its the biggest conference for Eye Surgeons in the world. All will be revealed in the next few days! I heard great reports about the Visian ICL with Centraflow. Professional cyclist Tom Danielson is very happy with his. A great option for people who are scared of laser eye surgery.

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Floaters can be really annoying. They are visible bits of the vitreous jelly at the back of the eye. Most of us have small ones which are most visible when looking at the sky or a painted wall i.e. a blank background. But some have them so severely they can appear like a cobweb which blurs vision or a dense ring, wiggly line or an fly near your eye. They aren’t usually significant, but if they are accompanied by flashing lights in peripheral vision it is worth having a retinal membrane check. The floaters may just go away. They can sometimes be treated with a YAG laser but this isn’t always possible or effective. A vitrectomy operation is a more invasive option for which the risks and benefits must be carefully considered.


But wouldn’t it be great if there was an eyedrop which dissolved the floaters? There is some evidence that Microplasmin injections do dissolve the vitreous jelly, but it hasn’t been shown to reduce floaters, nor is it available as an eyedrop ... yet! So at the moment all we can do is cross our fingers & hope they go away, or have a YAG laser or vitrectomy treatment.

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i-Optics Cassini, like stars in your eyes.


Another beautiful new instrument on display at the ESCRS conference in Amsterdam was the Cassini i-Optics. It images the cornea using red, green and yellow LEDs which give GPS like coordinates or ‘triangulation’ points on the cornea. This data is used to map corneal elevations and depressions. Other well known methods include placido disc & Scheimflug imaging systems, but Cassini claims theirs maps astigmatism best especially in highly irregular and dry eyes. The corneal light projections looked spectacular, like stars in the night sky.

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At the world's most progressive eye care conference, the ESCRS in Amsterdam, I tried out a great treatment for gritty eyes. Lipiflow treats dry, scratchy, burning eyes. It looks a bit strange, but it consists of a warming pad which gently massaged my eyes for 12 minutes. It didn't hurt and my eyes feel more comfortable now. And the effect is reported to last 6 to 12 months. 

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London Triathlon success after eye surgery

b2ap3_thumbnail_Keith-W-triathlete-Wevill-px.jpgKeith Whitehead (pictured in glasses before his surgery!) recently completed the olympic distance London Triathlon in just under 3 hours! Keith says: "the main purpose of my eye surgery was to enhance my outdoor life ... it has been a great success. Before the surgery, I completed my first triathlon with an open water swim and this was not a great success because I could see almost nothing. One of my post-surgery targets was to complete another triathlon ... and I did this at the London Triathlon (the biggest in the world) ... the Olympic distance. I was very happy with my time (just under 3 hours) at my age but just as pleased with the fundraising I carried out for sightsavers ... the total is £967.50. Thank you for changing my life and the lives of those that will be helped by Sightsavers."

Well done on an excellent result Keith and for raising money for a good cause! Read more about it.

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JULY 2013 Telescopic contact lenses

b2ap3_thumbnail_Telescopic-Contact-lens-s.jpg          Incredible, what's next? Contact lenses to see into the future???!

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June 2013 Sweden

Sweden Gullstrand Wevill 600 1Alvar Gullstrand, Nobel Prize Laureate, member of the Nobel Physics Committee and one of the fathers of Optics was born in Landskrona, Sweden. And he was honoured by the town as part of their recent 600 anniversary celebrations. I was invited to give 2 presentations as part of the Gullstrand Memorial Lectures meeting and heard some inspiring lectures by colleagues in the fields of intraocular lenses and laser surgery.

Click here to watch the presentation

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May 2013 Healthy body, healthy eyes



Sir Steve Redgrave, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and other well known personalities have diabetes and advocate a healthy lifestyle to prevent the complications of the condition damaging the body and eyes. Looking after your health by being slimmer, watching what you eat, exercising and a lower blood pressure are well known to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. And if you do develop it, the consequences to your body and eyes are also minimised. The ocular complications of diabetes include cataracts, swelling of the retina with bleeding, scarring and retinal detachment. These conditions can be treated by surgery, laser therapy and new drugs. However it has now been shown that the results of these treatments are also better in patients who have looked after their health. So, it’s getting warmer, put on your walking shoes and have a crispy salad with your lunch.

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March 2013 Warsaw

Wevill Warsaw ESCRS 600After my ESCRS Congress presentation in Warsaw, I was able to catch up on new developments, old friends and heard some good talks on cataract surgery. Surgeon colleagues were very  interested in the Raindrop reading implant. I was moved by the Warsaw Uprising memorial during my short, cold tour of the city. For 63 days at the end of WW2 the Polish underground Home Army and the German occupiers battled for control of the city while the Red Army watched from the other side of the Vistula River. Warsaw was bombed and burned, 16000 Polish fighters, 16000 Germans and 150 000 civilians died – what a tragedy.

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2012 Fyodorov Institute 600The Fyodorov Institute in Moscow is named after Professor Svyatoslav Fyodorv, one of the pioneers of refractive surgery (surgery to reduce the need for glasses). I was pleased to be invited to present at the Fyodorov Memorial Lectures, part of The 10th Russian Scientific Practical Conference. The Institute has developed and is well known for many innovations including laser assisted cataract surgery (an exciting new advance today, but started 20 years ago in Russia!), conveyor belt surgery and an eye surgery ship which used to moor off the coast of the UK & other European cities. It was like being invited to play at Wembley!

Watch Mark's Moscow presentation on youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4KlFUAzEm0

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