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New Research To Help Kiwi’s Maintain Great Eye Sight PDF
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New Zealand News
Tuesday, 24 May 2016

How is your Macula?New Zealanders are set to benefit from innovative new research identifying optimum weekly diets for preventing age-related macular degeneration – a leading cause of blindness. Dr Graham Wilson, renowned ophthalmologist and Clinical Director at St George’s Eye Care in Christchurch, is investigating what New Zealanders need to eat to help prevent age-related macular degeneration and minimise the progression of the disease for those who already have it. A range of New Zealand-specific dietary scenarios will be identified along with the associated cost. There is also potential to model Maori, Asian and Pacific Island diets. It is the first time that macular degeneration research of this nature has been carried out in New Zealand.

With Macular Degeneration Awareness week running from 23-29 May, Dr Wilson is keen for Kiwis to understand more about the condition. Macular degeneration is three times as common as dementia, nearly as common as heart disease and half as common as obesity, but there is very low public awareness. One in seven New Zealanders over the age of 50 are affected by the disease, which is the leading cause of blindness in New Zealand.

“It is well documented that improvements in diet, for example increasing intake of green leafy vegetables, fish and nuts can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration progression in those with early signs of the disease,” says Dr Wilson, who is undertaking the research project alongside his brother Dr Nick Wilson, Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago.

“We aim to take it one step further by modelling the perfect New Zealand diet. The results will be very applicable to the average Kiwi, providing real, tangible information to help prevent the disease and minimise its progression.”

Dr Wilson’s research will be carried out by accessing a University of Otago database that identifies nutrient levels and costs of common New Zealand foods. Linear programming techniques will be used to optimise the nutrients for age-related macular degeneration prevention across a range of diets, including those constrained by cost. The benefits are not limited to eye health, says Dr Wilson.

“What is good for your eyes is also good for your heart and in preventing certain types of cancer. The research findings will also be applicable to prevention of other diseases.”

Eduvisionz To Host Dedicated Low Vision Conference PDF
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New Zealand News
Monday, 16 May 2016

VisionzThe New Zealand Optical Wholesalers Assn (NZOWA) is planning an educational programme for optometrists and practice managers/optical staff alongside its biennial industry exhibition Visionz being held from Friday 14th - Sunday 16th October at the Ellerslie Events Centre, Greenlane, Auckland.

The Visionz industry showcase will be open to all optometrists, ophthalmologists, dispensing opticians, practice staff and associated practice staff from 9.00am Friday 14th October. Planning is well under way with 60 exhibition booths displaying all that’s new in the industry including frames, sunglasses, lenses, equipment, accessories, software and services.

A one day low vision conference is planned for Friday 14 October. Planning is well underway with an impressive slate of speakers including Dr Mike O’Rourke, ophthalmologist at Tauranga Eye Specialists, who recently carried out a life-changing procedure that is helping a low vision patient improve her vision. He will present on the ‘Intraocular mini telescope implant’, the patient selection criteria along with the advantages and disadvantages and what’s involved in the rehabilitation process.

Professor Stephen Lord, senior principal research fellow, Falls and Balance Research Group from Sydney will address ‘Falls in Older People: Visual Risk Factors and Intervention Strategies’. Another keynote speaker will be Dr Alan Johnston, a low vision specialist from Melbourne, who will discuss  his recently updated sliding scale logMAR visual acuity calculator which includes ETDRS scoring principles, now widely used for monitoring any vision gain or loss with intra-vitreal injection of anti-VEGF. His second presentation will be on ‘Telescopes for low vision: principles, practice and rationales for clinical choice.’

NZOWA president Gary Edgar said a business programme is being organised for the Saturday which will be of interest to optometrists, practice managers and key practice staff. “A slate of presenters will address the commercial aspects of running a business in this most competitive environment we are all facing today. We are planning to deliver an event to suit the changing needs of our clients and the broader industry in general,” he said.

This programme will be high energy with speakers addressing a myriad of topics related to managing a practice and staff. Juanita Neville-Te Rito from The Retail Collective will come armed with bags full of retail experience and insights drawn not just from a 25 year career in the industry but also from her personal passion for shopping, to which she applies the same high levels of energy, leadership and intelligence as she does to business. One of the highlights will be five key trends in retail that regardless of what business you are in, you should be aware of. A business mentor, Tanya Unkovich, will present on how to use your life experiences to eventually know what you want in life, and secondly, on how to get it. John Saywell, CEO of Christchurch software and consulting company RPM Retail, will present on learning how to get back to the basics and analyse your optical practice’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. By conducting a SWOT analysis, it will allow you to make informed decisions about introducing new products or services in your practice. Coming to terms with the new Health & Safety law and aspects that are relevant to optometry and dispensing practices, the pros and cons of social media and whether a practice can benefit from incorporating a social media platform into its marketing strategy and picking the best team and getting it right from the start are other topics that will be covered.

There will also be an opportunity to register for a St John’s level 1, 4.5 hour Basic Life Support course that teaches essential life-saving skills on the Saturday afternoon. It will provide participants with a NZQA 6401/6402 acknowledgment at the end of the course.

Visionz and Eduvisionz is being held in conjunction with the Association of Dispensing Optician’s annual conference and the International Opticians Association annual meeting which is being hosted for the first time in New Zealand. A Visionz ‘Happy Hour’ has also been organised for late on the Friday afternoon and this will be open to all practitioners and staff. Registration for Visionz and Eduvisionz will be done online and will commence in July. Further information can be obtained by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

NovaBay Pharmaceuticals Signs Distribution Agreement to Make Avenova Available in New Zealand PDF
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New Zealand News
Friday, 18 September 2015

AvenovaNovaBay® Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company commercializing and developing topical non-antibiotic antimicrobial products for the global eye care market, recently announced that the company’s breakthrough prescription daily eyelid and lash hygiene product, Avenova™, will be marketed in New Zealand through a partnership with Ophthalmic Instrument Company. Ophthalmic Instrument Company (OIC) is a supplier of diagnostic and surgical products to the ophthalmology and optometry sectors in New Zealand.

"This new agreement is part of our strategy to make Avenova available around the world," said Ron Najafi, Ph.D., President and CEO of NovaBay. "We are already in China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Now, patients in New Zealand will be able to get the benefits of this important product."

Avenova is the only lid & lash product containing Neutrox. Neutrox is NovaBay’s proprietary pure hypochlorous acid without any sodium hypochlorite impurities. Hypochlorous acid is naturally produced by white blood cells to fight microbial invaders. Lab tests show that NovaBay’s proprietary formulation of hypochlorous acid is effective in solution both at killing microbes and at neutralizing the bacterial enzymes and toxins that contribute to common eye conditions like blepharitis, meibomian gland dysfunction and associated dry eye.

CPD Points At ODMA|2015 Approved For New Zealand PDF
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New Zealand News
Monday, 02 February 2015

The comprehensive CPD education program being offered at ODMA|2015 has been approved by the Accreditation Committee of the New Zealand Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Board for a total of 4 clinical diagnostic (CD) and 5 general credits.

The conference program will run concurrently with the ODMA|2015 exhibition, delivering a wide ranging program consisting of thirteen sessions in a one-day program taking place on the opening day (Friday July 3, 2015) of the ODMA|2015 exhibition. Early bird prices start from AU$299 for the entire program.

ODMA|2015 – the preeminent industry event for the Australia-Pacific optical community – will run from July 3 – 5, 2015 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, South Bank.

New Zealand Research Into Regenerative Medicine PDF
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New Zealand News
Thursday, 02 May 2013

Viaduct Event CenterAssociate Professor Trevor Sherwin will be presenting a paper 'From stem cell to cornea – current research in New Zealand' this Friday at the New Zealand branch meeting of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.

A/Prof Sherwin and his team from the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Auckland are developing highly defined 'spheres' of stem cells to restore the front surface of the eye following trauma such as chemical burns.

If successful, the research could lead to restoration of the limbus in patients affected by limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) and aims to determine if these stem cell spheres can allow the injured human cornea to regenerate itself and even respond positively to future injuries.

A/Prof Sherwin said, "The future lies in regenerative medicine with the ability to replace cells and tissues lost during disease progression, ultimately aiming to restore function back to pre-disease levels. Stem cell research is one of the main focal areas offering hope in the field of regenerative medicine and we are already using adult stem cells for repair in the eye. Further research will see our techniques improved and our range of treatments to restore vision expanded."

More information at:

Man Blinded By Vodka But Later Saved By Whisky PDF
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New Zealand News
Tuesday, 18 December 2012

WhiskyA 65-year-old New Zealand man from Taranaki suddenly went blind when the vodka he had been drinking reacted with his diabetes medication. He regained his sight only after hospital staff administered expensive whisky.

According to The New Zealand Harald:

"Mr Duthie, a catering tutor at New Plymouth's Western Institute of Technology, had been celebrating his parents' 50th wedding anniversary in June by having a few vodkas from a bottle his students had given him as a present. When he walked into a bedroom in his home everything suddenly went black. He thought he'd sleep it off, but the next morning he still couldn't see a thing, so went to Taranaki Base Hospital.

The doctor thought he might have formaldehyde poisoning, which is associated with ingesting methanol and can be treated by administering ethanol - the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. There wasn't enough medical ethanol available in the hospital, so the registrar nipped down to the local bottle store and picked up a bottle of whisky.

They dripped the whisky - which retails for about $55 a bottle - into his stomach through a tube, and hoped for the best. Auckland City Hospital intensive care medicine specialist Tony Smith said administering ethanol was a well-established treatment for methanol poisoning. It worked because the ethanol competed with the methanol and prevented it from being metabolised into harmful formaldehyde, which can cause blindness."

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