Vision

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of visual impairment and blindness in industrialized countries but it is questionable whether it can continue to be defined as a disease in people in their 50s and beyond.

Investigations to determine the incidence of age-related macular degeneration undertaken as part of the Gutenberg Health Study of the University Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) have shown that even persons under the age of 50 years may be affected by an early form of the eye disease.

Just under 4 percent of the 35 to 44-year-old subjects in the population-based study were found to be suffering from AMD. 


Is there a biomarker that can spot a player versus a potential soul mate? 

University of Chicago psychologists say that if it is so, the difference between love and lust might be in the eyes - specifically, where your date looks at you could indicate whether love or lust is in the cards.

Their work found that eye patterns concentrate on a stranger's face if the viewer sees that person as a potential partner in romantic love, but the viewer gazes more at the other person's body if he or she is feeling sexual desire. That automatic judgment can occur in as little as half a second, producing different gaze patterns.


An international research project has reported that a new oral medication is showing significant progress in restoring vision to patients with Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). This inherited retinal disease that causes visual impairment ranging from reduced vision to complete blindness, has remained untreatable.  

"This is the first time that an oral drug has improved the visual function of blind patients with LCA," says the study's lead author, Dr. Robert Koenekoop, who is director of the McGill Ocular Genetics Laboratory at The Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC, and a Professor of Human Genetics, Paediatric Surgery and Ophthalmology at McGill University. "It is giving hope to many patients who suffer from this devastating retinal degeneration."


About 450,000 (12 percent) of the 3.9 million babies born each year in the United States are premature. Thanks to modern medicine, the number of preterm infants who survive has also surged in middle income countries in Latin America, Asia, and Eastern Europe. 

In these parts of the world, rates of childhood blindness from retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) are estimated at 15 to 30 percent—compared to 13 percent in the United States. Some degree of  retinopathy of prematurity appears in more than half of all infants born at 30 weeks pregnancy or younger—a full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks—but only about 5 to 8 percent of cases become severe enough to require treatment.


A new study has found that the eye's optical quality deteriorates after alcohol consumption. Not just how the images are interpreted, the way some unemployed guy who is 'getting his band together' looks more attractive at 2 AM after a few shots of Jägermeister, but the physical eye itself.

The authors say ethanol in the tear-film is one of the causes: it covers the surface of the eye, disturbs the outer layer and favors evaporation of the aqueous content of the tear, deteriorating the optical quality of the image we see. The deterioration in vision is significantly greater in subjects with breath alcohol content over the legal limit for driving, which is another obvious reason to call Uber and not drive yourself.

A new study says the brain, not the eye, controls the cellular process that leads to glaucoma, a finding that may help develop treatments for one of the world's leading causes of irreversible blindness.

In the paper, vision scientists and ophthalmologists describe how they performed a data and symmetry analysis of 47 patients with moderate to severe glaucoma in both eyes. In glaucoma, the loss of vision in each eye appears to be haphazard. Conversely, neural damage within the brain caused by strokes or tumors produces visual field loss that is almost identical for each eye, supporting the idea that the entire degenerative process in glaucoma must occur at random in the individual eye — without brain involvement. 


It sounds positively un-American to have government picking winner and losers in the drug marketplace, but the writing is on the wall for our health future: taxpayer-funded Medicare is going to be the economic driver in medical decision-making and policy sooner or later.

And if all eye doctors were told to prescribe the less expensive of two drugs to treat two common eye diseases in older adults, it could save taxpayers $18 billion over a 10-year period, say scholars in a new paper. And the rest of the U.S. health care system could save $29 billion also, according to the findings of a team led by David Hutton, assistant professor of health management and policy at the University of Michigan.


Babies begin to learn about the connection between pictures and real objects by the time they are nine-months-old, according to a new paper in Child Development.

Babies can learn about a toy from a photograph of it well before their first birthday, the scholars from Royal Holloway, University of London, and the University of South Carolina found. 

Researchers familiarized 30 eight and nine-month-olds with a life-sized photo of a toy for about a minute. The babies were then placed before the toy in the picture and a different toy and researchers watched to see which one the babies reached for first.


Rapid eye movements, known as saccades, have been a source of a nature versus nurture debate. 

One hypothesis has been that this neurological behaviour is a product of culture in people of Chinese origin. A new study casts doubt on that. 
Scientists tested three groups – students from mainland China, British people with Chinese parents and white British people – to see how quickly their eyes reacted to dots appearing in the periphery of their vision.
These express saccades – particularly fast responses which begin a tenth of a second after a target appears - were similar in British and mainland Chinese while white British participants made far fewer.


No one wants to tell someone they can't drive. America was founded on the pioneer spirit and unless we cramp everyone into urban concrete jungles, which are implicated in any number of health, pollution and crime issues, America's vast expanses mean we are a car culture.

But a diagnosis of hemianopia, blindness in one half of the visual field in both eyes, usually as the result of strokes, tumors or trauma, often means the end of driving. But it isn't required in countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland and Canada if people can pass a specialized road test.