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Chronic High Blood Pressure Increases Risk of Glaucoma PDF
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Ophthalmology and Optometry
Friday, 09 January 2015

A new study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) has found that chronic (long term) hypertension increases a person’s susceptibility to glaucoma. These results suggest that doctors should consider a patient’s blood pressure levels in managing the potentially blinding eye disorder.

Glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in the world, is a condition that occurs when too much pressure builds up inside the eye. This excess pressure pushes back against blood trying to enter the eye resulting in vision loss.

"Studies have shown that high blood pressure is a risk factor for glaucoma. But the reasons for this were never clear," said author Bang Bui, PhD, of the University of Melbourne, Australia, Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences. In the IOVS study, Chronic Hypertension Increases Susceptibility to Acute IOP Challenge in Rats, Bang and his co-authors from the University of Melbourne and School of Medicine at Deakin University, Australia, identify a reason for those observations.

Previously, it was thought that high blood pressure could counteract the high eye pressure that leads to glaucoma. This theory was supported by past research that had shown raising blood pressure for a short period of time (one hour) offered some protection against elevated eye pressure, as high blood pressure ensured that blood continued to enter the eye.

However, data gathered from large populations of glaucoma patients subsequently suggested that hypertension in young patients protects against the disorder, but is a risk factor in older patients.

One explanation of this phenomenon is that any benefit from high blood pressure counteracting high eye pressure is lost as damage to blood vessels — a consequence of hypertension — becomes more prevalent.

The authors tested this hypothesis by comparing the effect of acute (one hour) and chronic (four week) hypertension in lab rats with elevated eye pressure.

“When we raised blood pressure… for four weeks, we didn't get the same protection against eye pressure elevation as in the [one hour] case,” said Bui. “What this means is that having high blood pressure for a longer time has compromised the eye's capacity to cope with high eye pressure. It seems that hypertension might damage the blood vessels in the eye so that they can't compensate for changes in blood flow when eye pressure increases.”

This new understanding of the consequences of high blood pressure will help doctors treat patients with glaucoma. Instead of viewing hypertension as beneficial in the fight against the disorder, Bui suggests it should be identified as a risk factor. Further studies in this area might better inform how to treat patients with hypertension who also develop glaucoma. 

Specsavers Accused of Supporting Animal Cruelty in TV Ad PDF
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Australian News
Thursday, 08 January 2015

SeagullLast month numerous viewers complained about a Specsavers' TV ad to the Advertising Standards Board claiming that the optical retailer was "encouraging animal cruelty'.

The television advertisement shows two beach volleyball teams involved in a match. The player from the opposing team prepares to serve, with one of the other team players looking on preparing to receive the serve. The sun is glaring in his eyes and he doesn’t see that the other player hasn’t served the ball yet. Leaping up and thinking that he has spiked the ball, we then see that he has spiked a seagull flying past accidently mistaking this for the ball due to his poor eyesight. The player then celebrates his mistaken victory by running around the court in joy. We then see the seagull shake himself off clearly unhurt. We then cut to the seagull flying over the vision impaired player and getting his revenge on him by pooping on him.

Some of the complaints from the viewers: "It highlights cruelty in a humorous way and could encourage others to do the same. It desensitises pain and suffering.", and  "I object to cruelty to animals of all kinds, and after seeing this ad more than three times, find it incomprehensible that it has not been taken off the air. I find it quite alarming and distasteful, and feel that it promotes cruelty to animals/birds."

Specsavers responded to the complaints with: "The TV advertisement in question is one in a series of the long running 'Should Have Gone To Specsavers' TV campaign. The campaign encourages people to have their eyes tested in a light hearted way and uses humour to point out the silly things that people do when they can’t see clearly. In the particular commercial in question our intention is to draw attention to the poor eyesight of the beach volleyball player in a light hearted way and definitely not to promote violence and cruelty against animals. The volleyball player has not been portrayed as being violent against the seagull but rather has mistaken it for the ball due to his poor eyesight. The joke is very much on the volleyball player and the ad is designed for the audience to laugh along at the mistake the volleyball player has made. No real birds were ever used in the making of the TV commercial, it was all created using CGI animation."

The Advertising Standards Board has evaluated the case and considered that the advertisement does not depict, encourage or condone violence against animals. The Board determined that the advertisement did not breach Section 2.3 of the Code. Finding that the advertisement did not breach the Code on other grounds, the Board dismissed the complaints.

For the full case report goto:

Top-Selling Eye Vitamins Found Not to Match Scientific Evidence PDF
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Ophthalmology and Optometry
Wednesday, 07 January 2015

Researchers have analyzed popular eye vitamins to determine whether their formulations and claims are consistent with scientific findings. They determined that some of the top-selling products do not contain identical ingredient dosages to eye vitamin formulas proven effective in clinical trials. In addition, the study found that claims made on the products' promotional materials lack scientific evidence. The results of their study were published online in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

The leading cause of blindness among older adults in the United States is the deterioration of the eye's macula, which is the central part of the retina that enables the eye to see fine details clearly. Recommended treatment for AMD at certain stages of the disease includes nutritional supplements. The landmark Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found in 2001 that a specific formula of nutritional supplements containing high doses of antioxidants and zinc could slow the worsening of AMD in those who have intermediate AMD and those with advanced AMD in only one eye. A follow-up study that concluded in 2011, AREDS2, determined that the formula was still effective if one ingredient, beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A), was replaced with related nutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin. Beta-carotene was substituted in AREDS2 due to its link to increased risk of lung cancer in smokers. The two studies prompted a surge in sales of eye supplements which are marketed as containing the AREDS or AREDS2 formulas.

To test whether the products are consistent with the studies' findings, researchers compared the ingredients in top-selling brands to the exact formulas proven effective by AREDS and AREDS2. The researchers – based at Yale-New Haven Hospital-Waterbury Hospital, Penn State College of Medicine, Providence VA Medical Center and Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University – identified the five top-selling brands based on market research collected from June 2011 to June 2012, and analyzed the brands' 11 products.

They found that, while all of the products studied contained the ingredients from the AREDS or AREDS2 formulas:

  • Only four of the products had equivalent doses of AREDS or AREDS2 ingredients
  • Another four of the products contained lower doses of all the AREDS or AREDS2 ingredients
  • Four of the products also included additional vitamins, minerals and herbal extracts that are not part of the AREDS or AREDS2 formulas

In addition, while all 11 of the products' promotional materials contained claims that the supplements "support," "protect," "help" or "promote" vision and eye health, none had statements specifying that nutritional supplements have only been proven effective in people with specific stages of AMD. There were also no statements clarifying that there is insufficient evidence to support the routine use of nutritional supplements for primary prevention of eye diseases such as AMD and cataracts.

Intel Invests In Vuzix To Develop Smart Eyewear PDF
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Tuesday, 06 January 2015

Vuzix Corporation, a leading supplier of video eyewear and smart glasses products in the consumer, commercial and entertainment markets, announced that Intel Corporation has made a US$24.8 million investment into the Company. Vuzix' wearable display technology is focused on next generation optics and displays that have the potential to fit in fashion-based wearable glasses. Intel's investment will be used for general working capital to accelerate the introduction of Vuzix next generation fashion-based wearable display products into the consumer market.

Intel purchased 49,626 of Vuzix' Series A Preferred Stock, which are convertible into 4,962,600 shares of Vuzix' common stock at an initial conversion price of $5.00 per share, subject to adjustment in the event of stock splits, dividends or other combinations. The shares issuable upon conversion of the Series A Preferred Stock represent approximately 30 percent of Vuzix total outstanding stock, assuming full conversion of the Series A Preferred Stock. As holders of Series A Preferred Stock, Intel has the right to vote with the holders of Common Stock on an as-converted basis, and has the right to appoint two members to Vuzix' Board of Directors, in addition to the Company's current five members.

Intel seems to be betting big on wearable tech as it has now invested in several Google Glass competitors and recently announced a multiyear R&D collaboration with Luxottica to fuse premium, luxury and sports eyewear with smart technology.

Luxottica and Tory Burch Renew Eyewear License PDF
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Monday, 05 January 2015

Luxottica Group and Tory Burch LLC, an American lifestyle brand, have announced the renewal of an exclusive license agreement. Under the ten-year agreement, Luxottica will design, manufacture and distribute sun and prescription eyewear globally under the Tory Burch brand through December 31, 2024.

"Tory Burch is an incredibly successful brand that we strongly believe in. Together we have been able to translate its continuous brand awareness growth and its powerful identity into the eyewear space" said Massimo Vian, CEO of Luxottica Group. "We are excited to continue our partnership as this license fits extremely well into our brand portfolio".

Tory Burch, Chairman, Co-CEO & Designer of Tory Burch, said, "Luxottica has been a great partner and we are thrilled to be continuing our relationship. We look forward to working with them to introduce new designs and further grow our business in this important category."

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