Look around at everyoneâ€™s wrists. Fitbits, Apple watches and hosts of other activity monitors have replaced bling-y wristwatches and bracelets. These little data-gatherers are monitoring and collecting data every minute of the day, from steps walked, to hours slept. And with every new generation of device, the list of health data they can collect gets longer, including heart rate, blood pressure and more.
SUBHEAD: How will all this personal data be distributed and protected?
Some of these devices could even provide patient data to doctors, leading to cheaper, more efficient care. But that will take separating useful and accurate devices and data from superfluous ones. The clinical accuracy and privacy of many devices are still unproven. Unlike medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, there’s no approval process requiring the makers of consumer electronics designed for “personal tracking” to meet a medical-grade quality standard.
Another concern is patient privacy. How will all this personal data be distributed and protected? The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides protection for data collected through FDA-approved medical devices but doesn’t say anything about safeguarding information from consumer health trackers. Without privacy and security provisions for data collected through consumer electronics, companies are free to profit from the data.
These devices will only become more sophisticated as the technology develops and itâ€™s likely they will be integrated into most everyone’s health care in the not-too-distant future. But reliability, security, and privacy will have to be factored into the adoption in order to have the best possible impact.
Recent research, including a study published in the Journal of Glaucoma, is exploring the connection between dental hygiene and glaucoma. Evidence suggests that excess bacteria in the mouth could be a catalyst for the development of open-angle glaucoma and that maintaining good oral health could reduce the risk.
In addition to glaucoma, cataracts have also been linked with oral health. Toxic elements in mercury fillings have been found to cause the formation of cataracts, retinitis pigmentosa, iritis, color-vision issues, and other eye conditions.
The body is a system and scientists are still working out how various microbiomes in that system can affect the body as a whole. So while you may not want to start passing out toothbrushes to patients at every visit like the dentist, information about how oral hygiene might affect their eye health could prove valuable.
The first human corneas have been 3D printed by scientists at Newcastle University, UK, which could lead to an unlimited supply of corneas for transplant in the future.
The proof-of-concept research, published in Experimental Eye Research, reports how stem cells from a healthy donor cornea were mixed together with alginate and collagen to create a ‘bio-ink’ that could be printed.
“Our unique gel keeps the stem cells alive whilst producing a material which is stiff enough to hold its shape but soft enough to be squeezed out the nozzle of a 3D printer,â€ť said Che Connon, Professor of Tissue Engineering at Newcastle University, who led the work.
Custom made for every patient
The scientists also demonstrated that they could build a cornea to match a patient’s unique specifications. The dimensions of the printed tissue were taken from an actual cornea by scanning the patient’s eye and that data was used to print a cornea of the same size and shape.
“Our 3D printed corneas will now have to undergo further testing and it will be several years before we could be in the position where we are using them for transplants,â€ť Professor Connon said. “However, what we have shown is that it is feasible to print corneas using coordinates taken from a patient eye and that this approach has potential to combat the worldwide shortage.”
Save time and your neck and spine with Reichertâ€™s all-new SightChek Digital Phoroptor. The SightChek combines technology and simplicity, quickly performing all of the functions of a manual Phoroptor while you remain comfortably seated next to your patient.
Through the month of June, a special promotion will allow you to save money on the SightChek as well! Call us at 800.255.5929 or drop us an email to learn more about the limited-time incentives.
Most doctors stick their necks out to help their patients…in some cases, literally. But the result is neck and back pain thatâ€™s sometimes debilitating. In a study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and in similar studies conducted in the U.K. nearly 73% of eye doctors reported pain in the neck, back or both.
Your slit lamp, the major culprit, as it is usually positioned on the exam table, requires you to lean toward the instrument, and extend the neck out of alignment with the spine. This repetitive motion can happen 40- to 60-times a day in an average practice. Over time, this posture causes serious neck and back problems that can lead to excessive pain, surgery or early retirement. A few simple precautions can help.
Move the Slit Lamp
To alleviate the strain, modify the slit lamp table to move closer to you than to the patient. While the patient may be uncomfortable for a few minutes each year, the doctor can do the exam with less pain day after day.
Although the waiting room may be full of patients, spend the extra few seconds to properly position the patient to eliminate unnecessary craning or hunching.
Stretch Several times a day
Take a few minutes and do neck and back stretches. See the Mayo Clinic videos for easy stretches you can do anywhere.
Give Your Slit Lamp an Adjustment
Manufacturers also offer some pain-saving solutions, like an inclined adaptor that raises the viewing angle and keeps your head in a fatigue-free position. For more information, contact Bell Ophthalmic at 800.255.5929 or email us!
Glaucoma affects nearly 60 million people worldwide, and while there isnâ€™t a cure, recent studies suggest that adopting a few some lifestyle changes may have a positive effect on eye pressure, which is a major risk factor for the disease.
Regular exercise. A recent study showed that people who engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity have a 73 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. Blood flow and pressure inside the eye may change with exercise, which may affect glaucoma risk.
Eat More Leafy Greens. Another study showed that people who ate more leafy vegetables have a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. Nitrates in green vegetables can be converted to nitric oxide, which can improve blood flow and help regulate pressure inside the eye.
Enjoy a Cup of Tea. Consuming tea and supplementing with magnesium have also been linked with benefits for glaucoma.
Brush and FlossDonâ€™t Smoke. If not just to lower the risk of glaucoma, then for the myriad of other health concerns linked to smoking.
Maintain a Healthy Weight. Being overweight can be a direct route to diabetes and other health issues including diabetes-related eye maladies.
Reduce Stress. Good for your eyes as well as your ticker.