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Mutation found in Dachshund gene may help develop therapies for humans with blindness PDF
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Ophthalmology and Optometry
Monday, 25 August 2008
Researchers have identified a novel mutation in a gene associated with cone-rod dystrophy (CRD) in dogs that may help develop therapies for treating people suffering from blinding eye disorders. CRD represents a heterogeneous set of disorders characterized by progressive loss of retinal cone function. Loss of cones results in what is commonly known as dayblindness, and it can advance to blindness altogether. Eye disorders are one of the most frequently inherited disorders in dogs; however, canine CRD is limited to only a few breeds.

In this study, scientists conducted genome-wide association mapping of a standard wire-haired dachshund family to identify a portion of the nephronophthisis 4 (NPHP4) gene that has been deleted and is likely responsible for recessively inherited CRD in the dachshund. The finding is particularly interesting to researchers because the human form of NPHP4 has been previously implicated in disease.

The researchers suggest that the protein coded for by the mutant form of NPHP4 may lack a domain that would normally interact with other proteins involved in eye function, yet still retain the region involved in kidney function.

Identification of causal mutations for diseases has practical implications for dogs: Genetic tests could be implemented to avoid new cases of the disorder and reduce the frequency of the mutation in the population. But the investigation of the genetic basis for CRD in dogs could also facilitate the development of treatments for humans.
LBI Eyewear Signs Licensing Agreement With DreamWorks Animation for Shrek Eyewear PDF
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Friday, 22 August 2008
LBI Eyewear, a leading manufacturer and distributor of optical eyewear, cases, first quality ophthalmic lenses and eye care accessories, announced it has entered into a multi-territorial licensing agreement with DreamWorks Animation, SKG, Inc. (NYSE: DWA) to produce Shrek eyewear and accessories.

Two separate collections are being developed. The first collection is Shrek Eyewear, a durable, well fitting, comfortable, and high quality children's optical frame line created around the lovable ogre. The second collection, Shrek and Friends, is a more couture line, which will include Shrek, Princess Fiona, Donkey and other favorite characters. Both collections will be unveiled in October at Vision Expo West, and both will be available by the end of the year.

"Being the licensee for Shrek-inspired optical frames provides an exciting opportunity for our customers," said Keith Lehrer, CEO of LBI. "It's a universally recognized brand, appealing to parents and children alike, and has unparalleled marketing power."

The lines are entirely designed by Kathryn Dabbs Schramm, ABOC, FNAO, a recognized authority on the design, fit, care and comfort of children's eyewear. The collections adhere to the "Four Laws of Children's Eyewear": Fit, Durability, Comfort and Quality.
Smart contact lens feels the pressure of glaucoma PDF
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Feature Story
Friday, 22 August 2008
A contact lens with a built-in pressure sensor that could help monitor conditions such as glaucoma has been made by researchers in the US. The device is the result of a new technique that can embed conducting circuits in the organic polymer traditionally used to make contact lenses.

Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) is an elastic, transparent and gas-permeable organic polymer that can be cast-moulded into a range simple shapes. It is widely used in everything from contact lenses to breast implants. However, the process of cast moulding severely limits the kinds of structures that can be made with the material.

Now, materials scientists Hailin Cong and Tingrui Pan at the University of California, Davis, US, have come up with a simple method to produce PDMS components without the need for casting moulds. Their process can also make the material conduct electricity.

Cong and Pan have also developed a technique to give the polymer another property – electrical conductivity. Working with James Brandt, Director of Glaucoma Services at UC Davis Medical Center, Cong and Pan helped produce a tiny pressure sensor, which they bent into the shape of a contact lens. Such a device could measure the stress on the cornea surface, and the fluid pressure within the eye to monitor glaucoma and ocular hypertension, Pan says.

"The eye always has a certain pressure, which is why the eyeball is a sphere," says Pan. In glaucoma patients, that pressure rises and changes the shape of the eye, which would deform the contact lens sensor. "The change in configuration will alter the resistance and give a different electrical reading," says Pan.

Their prototype (see picture) has an opaque sensor that would impair vision and so would be worn only briefly, but Cong and Pan are designing transparent equivalents that could be worn for long periods to give a continuous pressure read-out.
Adaptive Technology a hit at Vision Australia's Wollongong centre PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 21 August 2008
Arriving from far and wide, 18 students, five parents, three teacher's aides and 22 Itinerant Support Teachers (Vision) visited Vision Australia's Wollongong centre, NSW, on 15 August 2008 for an Adaptive Technology Open Day.

One teacher flew up from Bega while others had an early start to the day driving from Queanbeyan, the South Coast, Southern Highlands, and locally in the Illawarra.

Staff members Brett Adams, Adaptive Technology Consultant, and Diana Taylor, Orthoptist, took the group through the latest and greatest adaptive technology and low vision equipment. Always a measure of engagement, a lot of questions were asked at these sessions!

Students later had the opportunity to try their hand at blind cricket, when three players from the Illawarra Blind and Vision Impaired Cricket Team ran a game in the local park. Each student had the chance to bowl, bat and field.

To round off the day, the group were treated to a much-anticipated visit from the PRIME Possum, who was representing PRIME television, a proud supporter of Vision Australia.

The day then finished off with the students completing their very own masterpieces of tactile artwork.

"It was a great opportunity for networking for both the grown ups and kids!" explains Lorraine Mitchell, Occupational Therapist, Children's Services. "Thank you to the Wollongong Team for their assistance and expertise with making the day a huge success!"
Tesco in UK to launch online glasses service PDF
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International News
Thursday, 21 August 2008
Tesco has set its sights on Boots and Specsavers with the launch of an online glasses service.

Spec wearers such as How To Look Good Naked star Gok Wan can now buy a pair of prescription specs for as little as £15.

Customers can upload a picture of themselves to see if frames will suit them before picking them up from one of Tesco's 100 in-store opticians.

The Australian company PlanetVA provides the world's best virtual try on systems available today. For more information contact PlanetVA at

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