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Rubbing could damage eyes PDF
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Ophthalmology and Optometry
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Normal activities such as wearing swim goggles, sleeping face down or doing a gym workout may contribute to glaucoma and other pressure-related eye diseases, a new study has found.

"The fluid pressure inside the eye increases - or spikes - during many everyday activities," says Adjunct Professor Charles McMonnies, of the UNSW School of Optometry and Vision Science, in a paper published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science. "Eye rubbing, yoga head stands, weightlifting, sleeping face down, playing instruments like the trumpet and swimming laps are some of the many ways of causing eye pressure spikes," Professor McMonnies (picture) says.

Any touching of the eye through the eyelids raises pressure: light touch causes a small increase but firm touch can cause a spike three to five times normal pressure, he says. Wiping a watery eye and removing eye make-up both increase eye pressure, partly because they involve eye closure combined with lid contact. In the case of eye rubbing, the combined effects of eye closure and rubbing forces on the eye can raise pressure to very high levels; strong rubbing may raise pressure to 10 times normal levels.

"Normally these pressure spikes are of little consequence and healthy eyes appear to be unaffected by them. But eye-pressure spikes that are large, and/or last a long time, and/or occur frequently, may contribute to the progression of pressure-related eye diseases." These diseases include glaucoma - which affects a large proportion of elderly people and can lead to blindness - and rapidly increasing myopia, or short-sightedness. Rarer pressure-related conditions include keratoconus, or conical cornea. "Avoiding sleeping with the eyes in contact with a pillow or sleep mask may help to slow the progression of pressure-sensitive eye diseases," he says.

"Treating itchy, watery, dry or irritated eyes might be the key to avoiding eye rubbing-related pressure spikes. If you practice yoga exercises, you might be advised to avoid head stands. "People who think they might be at risk in relation to these conditions should ask their eye care practitioner to advise them regarding the significance of pressure spiking activities."

POSSIBLE DANGERS FROM EYE RUBBING AND OTHER COMMON ACTIVITIES

Eye-pressure spiking is normal and mechanisms such as blinking, lying down, and deep breathing appear to be of no consequence because they cause eye pressure spikes that are small, and/or short, so that the eyes are completely unaffected.

However, other forms of pressure, especially those that cause large and/or prolonged pressure spikes, may contribute to the progression of eye diseases that involve eye pressure. The risk of disease progression increases with the size, duration and frequency of the pressure spike. Risk also increases with the number of years during which the activities causing the pressure spikes have been occurring.

Fortunately, most of the activities that might be dangerous are avoidable or can be moderated successfully (see below). Eye rubbing may cause the highest pressure spike but may be only a very occasional harmless event that doesn't last much longer than a few seconds. However, for some people, especially those with itchy eyes, eye rubbing can be a frequently repeated habit, with rubbing episodes lasting for minutes that continue to occur over many years.

Taking a deep breath results in a pressure spike of about 33%. If breathing out is restricted, the increase in pressure is greater. For example, people playing a high wind resistance instrument such as a trumpet, oboe, French horn or bassoon, especially when they play loud and/or high pitch notes, can more than double their eye pressure. Professional musicians have been found to be at slightly higher risk for loss of vision due to their increased hours of playing over many years. The risk could be significant for someone with glaucoma or a tendency to develop glaucoma.

The combination of strenuous muscular effort and breathing that is strained can raise pressure to high levels. One example is weight lifting, especially when lying on a bench to do bench presses. Another example is doing sit ups on a slant board, when the starting head position is well below the feet; or doing push-ups, especially when they are performed with feet raised.

Doing a yoga headstand may involve risk because eye pressure doubles with body inversion and a yoga headstand position may be maintained by some people for 20 minutes or more.

During sleep eye pressure rises about 33%. However, people who sleep face down with their face buried in their pillow or resting on an arm, are at risk for long periods of much higher pressure. Even for those who lie on their sides when sleeping, there is the possibility of pillow contact on the eye lids and increased pressure for dangerously long periods through the night. Wearing a sleep mask that touches the eyelids can cause a similar problem.

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO REDUCE THESE RISKS?

People are advised to ask their eye care practitioner if they have any indications of them being at risk for exposure to increased pressure from spikes. Some people with diseases such as glaucoma, keratoconus (conical cornea) and progressive myopia (rapidly increasing shortsightedness) are possibly at risk for worsening their eye disease if they are frequently engaged in activities that raise their eye pressure. Avoiding these activities might be important.
  • Lying down raises pressure and people who are at risk should always try to do their reading while in a sitting position;
  • Wiping watery tears from the eyes is best done with a tissue held to the corner of the eye and pressed gently against the nose so that lid contact is minimized. The tears can be drained without actually applying force to the eye through the lids;
  • Avoiding sleeping face down and pillow contact with the eyes is a good idea, but if sleeping on a side is preferred, avoiding any pillow contact on the eye lids is still important. Firmer pillows are easier to position appropriately to avoid eye contact;
  • If an eye rubbing habit is in response to itchy, dry, irritated eyes, treatment of the cause of the itch, dryness or irritation should be maintained faithfully. Preventing or controlling the itch is important so that the stimulus for rubbing can be avoided;
  • For some people who have been performing yoga headstands, a switch to any of the many other alternative yoga procedures that do not involve body inversion could be advisable.
 
New CEO eyes growth for Vision Group PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Vision Group Holdings (ASX: VGH) – Australia’s largest provider of private ophthalmic care – remains on track to further develop its ophthalmology business and expand into other surgical specialities following yesterdays’s appointment of new Chief Executive Officer, Mr Craig Stamp.

Mr Stamp, who has been running the Asia-Pacific (excluding India, China and Japan) commercial operations of global eye care giant Bausch & Lomb, will take the helm at Vision Group on 8 December 2008 to lead its next phase of growth. Mr Stamp is already well known to and is highly regarded by the Doctor Partners within Vision Group.

Mr Stamp is a trained optometrist who has spent nine years working for global healthcare company Allergan (holding positions such as Sales & Marketing Director - Medical and Surgical) and eight years with Bausch & Lomb as Managing Director and Company Director, B&L Australia and B&L New Zealand, and most recently Vice President, Commercial Operations for B&L Asia-Pacific.
 
Sight restored in Central Australia PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
An intensive eye surgery program in Alice Springs has resulted in over 100 operations during August and October, helping to improve sight for many people from remote Indigenous communities.

The Fred Hollows Foundation’s Chris Masters, Manager of the Central Australian Integrated Eye Health Program, says the results are very pleasing.

The Central Australian Integrated Eye Health Program covers an area that includes 1.6 million square kilometres and 55,000 people. Masters says the large distances are just one factor that may contribute to a reported lower incidence of cataract surgery for Indigenous people.

Since the targeted surgery sessions began in 2007, doctors have carried out more than 250 operations.

The Central Australian Integrated Eye Health Program is an initiative involving The Fred Hollows Foundation, the Eye Foundation, the local Aboriginal health services - Central Australian Aboriginal Congress and Anyinginyi Health Aboriginal Corporation, as well as the Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments.
 
Luxottica confirms difficult year PDF
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Companies
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
Luxottica Group's net income drops 7% in third quarter compared to third quarter of 2007 and CEO acknowledges difficult year ahead.

In the third quarter, Luxottica continued to grow in both market share and sales volume despite a particularly challenging economic environment that deteriorated steadily over the period. Further, there was significant depreciation in the major currencies in each of Luxottica's key markets (including especially the US dollar) against the euro during the period.

In this situation, Luxottica responded with the flexibility and effectiveness of its integrated business model, benefitting from the merger with Oakley, ongoing investments (which amounted to €195 million in the first nine months of 2008, or approximately 5% of consolidated net sales for the period) and efficiency-boosting measures already under way.

“We are in a particularly difficult year,” commented Luxottica Group CEO Andrea Guerra. “I’m satisfied, however, with how Luxottica reacted to this new international situation: we made major investments, we have a strong and well-balanced brand portfolio, we are continuing to build on our already solid relationships with clients and we’re getting faster and more flexible in taking up new business opportunities. I am convinced that Luxottica’s increasingly solid foundation puts us in the best possible position to handle a situation as demanding as the one that is presented to us.”
 
PixelOptics Closes on US$30 Million Round of Financing PDF
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Companies
Tuesday, 28 October 2008
PixelOpticsTM (“Pixel”), a company focused on 'transformational innovation' in the spectacle lens industry, today announced that it has closed on a US$30 million round of financing led by Longitude Capital and with additional investors: The Carlyle Group, Delphi Ventures, Stark Investments, Life Science Angels and others. Other existing PixelOptics investors include Panasonic Ventures.

PixelOptics was founded in 2005 by Dr. Ron Blum, entrepreneur, inventor, and former general manager of Advanced Technology for the Johnson & Johnson Spectacle Lens Group, to optimize the patented electro-active optical technology and other advances to revolutionize the visual experience of spectacle lens wearers. PixelOptics’ management team is comprised of industry veterans from leading optical industry manufacturers. The team includes Dr. Blum, CEO and Chairman, Bill Spies, COO, Bill Kokonaski, CTO, Steve Holt, CFO, Robin Rhodes, VP of Professional Sales, Rod Passerelli, VP of Retail Sales, and Clay Musslewhite, Director of Marketing.

Pixel is developing a global sales team and distribution network to support a complete family of products. The first of these products is the recently introduced atLast!TM Enhanced Multifocal Lenses. atLast! Enhanced Multifocals are being launched to compete within the lined multifocal lens market which represents approximately 45 million pairs sold globally each year. The lined multifocal market, which has not seen any major advances in the last 30 years, has been largely overlooked by lens manufacturers.

The new product incorporates composite lens technology, a combination of advanced lens design technologies and well-known, proven lens materials to create a completely new category of lens with enhanced optical and cosmetic performance. atLast! Enhanced Multifocals are the first in a family of PixelOptics’ composite lenses to be introduced to the market.

Included within this innovative lens family is electro-active dynamic eyewear also being developed by Pixel. This eyewear changes its focus faster than the blink of an eye and does so without moving parts. This dynamic eyewear is being developed to compete within the progressive addition lens market which accounts for an additional 45 million pairs of lenses being sold each year globally.
 
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