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The Technological Advancement of Eye Care

Losing your eyesight is one of the more scary aspects of aging. The idea of losing your independence can be overwhelming. Fortunately, in the near future fewer people will have to go through this experience. We are living in exciting times when it comes to eye care technology. Researchers have found innovative ways to treat and prevent vision loss and eye damage. 

3D print your own glass eye

3D printing will advance the field of artificial eyes by leaps and bounds. Traditionally glass and acrylic eyes have been expensive and labor intensive investments, which didn’t always look quite right. 3D printing could reduce a prosthetic eye from the hefty price of $5,000 down to an affordable $150. The technology will also allow for more precise color matching and print much quicker than a manually produced eye.

Diamond-made contacts to treat glaucoma

The challenges of treating glaucoma could be solved with diamonds. Many people with glaucoma use eye drops to prevent pressure buildup, however putting in an accurate dosage, at the scheduled time is hard to achieve. Researchers at UCLA have forged ahead with an innovative solution, contacts made from tiny nano-diamonds, which can be coated with time release medication. This will allow the right dose to be inserted, into the right part of the eye, at the right time.


HIV drugs to cure macular degeneration

Doctors have found that medication used to treat HIV and AIDS can also help with age-related macular degeneration. The drugs are called nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) and this remarkable discovery is currently being tested on mice. While scientists fine-tune this treatment for eye use, there is good news. Since the drugs are already on the market, they have been proven safe and are reasonably priced.  

TVs that can diagnose glaucoma

Scientists have found they have much success mapping eye movement when people watch TV. They were able to ascertain that healthy eyes tend to follow a specific path while ailing eyes would follow a different one. This knowledge could lead doctors to detect glaucoma, which typically has no early symptoms, as well as other eye conditions. This technology could be extremely useful for people in areas without access to eye doctors and clinics.

Be eye smart with apps

Technology can turn your phone into a medical device. Using a small lens attachment and an app like Peek or D-Eye, you can have an eye exam anywhere. These portable devices mean eye-care worldwide can be tremendously improved, allowing a primary care doctor to see detailed pictures of your eyes, to determine if an ophthalmologist needs to be consulted.  

Blind or visually impaired people are also benefitting from the plethora of apps being developed. Apps such as TapTapSee and VizWiz allow you to photograph an object and be told what the object is. Similarly, the Be My Eyes app helps blind users to be visually assisted by real time volunteers via camera and microphone. Other apps like LookTel Money Reader help people learn the value of paper money while an app like KNFB Reader audioscribes printed text.


Corneal implant to replace reading glasses

As you age, you come to accept that reading clearly requires the aid of glasses. Soon this notion will be a relic. Scientists have invented small corneal rings, that can be inserted under the eye’s outer surface, that allow aging eyes to see both near and far at the same time. This technology is already approved in parts of Europe, Asia, and South America. Recently the FDA approved one such device that does this, called the KAMRA, in the USA.

Sense glaucoma pressure with an implant

People with glaucoma have to frequently have their eye pressure checked by their doctor. Instead of being one of your doctor's regulars, an implanted electronic sensor could help monitor pressure changes. This wireless device is currently in development at the University of Washington, and can send data straight to your doctor via a smartphone or another handheld device.

Needles could replace eye drops

Researchers at Georgia Tech are imagining a world where a pain-free shot can help with eye troubles. They have been developing tiny needles, which would deliver medicine to an exact spot in your eye that requires treatment. This injection wouldn’t cause any pain and would treat glaucoma and overgrowth of blood vessels in the cornea, which are both harmful to vision if left untreated. At present, this technology is in its innitial testing phase.

H/T: www.webmd.com

Email image source: freedigitalphotos.net

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