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Australia's first bionic eye implant this year PDF
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Australian News
Monday, 11 August 2008
Last Saturday, Sydney Morning Herald reported on the first implant of a bionic eye in Australia scheduled for this year.

One of the 2 or 3 persons to receive the implant is Marrickville man Steve Horan (picture), 30. Mr Horan was born with retinitis pigmentosa, for which there is no treatment or cure. As a child he could read a phone book and attend school. Now legally blind, he relies on his guide dog, Casey.

The implant aims to restore basic vision in patients with degenerative eye diseases, allowing them to walk without a cane or guide dog and differentiate between night and day.

Minas Coroneo and Vivek Chowdhury, from Sydney's Prince of Wales Hospital, say the visual prosthesis could be the first - and cheapest - to hit the world market.
 
Virtual Reality Goggles Create An Equal Opportunity Eye Test PDF
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Product News
Monday, 11 August 2008
A new device, the VIP Virtual Perimetry (picture), developed by Tel Aviv University’s Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger Eye Research Institute is able to instantly study and measure a patient’s reflex, when presented with a visual stimulus. Equally exciting, the new device removes previously high rates of false negatives and positives answers.

It aims to improve today’s visual field tests, especially among those who need it the most. The new cost-effective goggle device can be connected and used anywhere there is a computer hook-up, even in developing countries, or at a patient’s bedside while under care.

The VIP was created and tested in a clinical setting by the Israeli company Iview Ltd. It could be ready for commercialization within a year.
 
Marcolin reports growth in profit and revenue PDF
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Companies
Friday, 08 August 2008
Marcolin recently reported a growth in profit and revenue vs. the first half of 2007 (+7.7% at constant exchange rates).

Consolidated revenue for the first six months of the year amounted to €107.7 million, posting an increase of €3.8 million vs. the same period in 2007. This 3.6% increase (+7.7% at constant rates) was achieved thanks to the good performance of all the lines in the portfolio.

The Group successfully consolidated its presence on the market, especially in the luxury segment, demonstrating a unique ability to develop a high fashion and high quality product. Sunglasses and vision eyewear reported sales of €103.1 million, bettering the €97.7 million earned at 30 June 2007 and posting an increase of 5.6% on an exchange-adjusted basis.

As regards the foreseeable evolution of operations for the rest of the year, the Group expects a considerable increase in profits in 2008 compared with a year earlier despite the mood of uncertainty on the international markets, and therefore a strong return to profitability.
 
Improved revenue and net income for AMO in Q2 PDF
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Companies
Friday, 08 August 2008
AMO's second-quarter net sales rose 22.6% to $320.5 million, including a 7.2% increase related to foreign currency exchange rate effects. Second-quarter net earnings under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) were $22.0 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $166.8 million, or a loss of $2.78 per share in the same period last year. Second-quarter 2008 results included the following pre-tax items, which combined to increase net earnings per diluted share by an estimated $0.11.

"AMO's second-quarter results showed the strength and resiliency of our global business, despite the declines in domestic refractive volumes brought on by the weakening U.S. economy," said Jim Mazzo, AMO chairman and chief executive officer. "The value and benefit of expanding our refractive business internationally came into focus as strong refractive sales outside the U.S. helped to partially offset domestic challenges. Our cataract business took advantage of powerful new technologies and delivered solid performance domestically and internationally. And, we continued to improve the sales and profitability of our eye care franchise."
 
Time Spent Outdoors Impacts Nearsightedness in Children PDF
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Ophthalmology and Optometry
Friday, 08 August 2008
A growing number of the world’s children are mildly to severely nearsighted (myopic), with rates especially high among urbanized East Asians. In addition to coping with poor distance vision, children with severe myopia are more prone to visual impairment and blindness later in life. Although genetic inheritance plays a role, the rapid rise of myopia suggests that environmental factors are driving the trend. Myopia usually begins and progresses during children’s school years, but research on the role of intensive reading or other “near work” has determined that this is a minor factor. A new study led by Kathryn A. Rose, MD, used data from the Sydney Myopia Study of more than 4,000 Australian school children to assess whether outdoor activity might be significant in controlling myopia.

Parents and their children, at age 6 or 12, reported on the children’s daily activities, which were classified as indoor or outdoor, and as near, medium or distance. Myopic refractive error, if any, was diagnosed for parents and children, and the children’s ethnicity was recorded. A key finding was that the lowest myopia rates in 12-year-olds were associated with high outdoor activity, independent of the level of near work activity. In 12-year-old students myopia was most strongly associated with high levels of near work and low levels of outdoor activity. The findings suggest that it is the time spent outdoors rather than engagement in sports that is critical; the association between increased outdoor hours and lower myopia was found even if an outdoor sport was not included, while time spent on indoor sports, such as playing basketball in a gym, had no effect.

The researchers think the intensity of outdoor light may be an important factor. Myopic eyes are longer, measured front-to-back, than normal eyes; in response to intense light, the retina releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that inhibits eye growth and may thus influence the development of myopia. Also, the pupils of the eyes constrict in intense outdoor light, which increases the visual depth of field, the distance at which objects can be clearly seen. The researchers recommend further study to prove conclusively whether certain levels of time spent outdoors can control myopia and to define the mechanisms involved. The higher exposure to intense outdoor light may explain the lower prevalence of myopia in children in Australia, compared with ethnically matched peers in other countries, Dr. Rose says. She adds that “this protective effect suggests that a public health measure aimed at preventing development of myopia could be based on increasing the engagement of children in outdoor activity,” including family and school activities and sports.
 
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