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iPhone Attachment Allows For Live View Of Eye Anatomy

There are a variety of tools available to help Ophthalmologists with eye examinations.  A new hardware and medical apps solution turns the iPhone into an ophthalmoscope.  Called the iExaminer, this simple iPhone 4 peripheral connects the popular Welch Allyn PanOptic ophthalmoscope to the iPhone 4, and then a native medical app helps you perform a fundus exams and share videos and images right from the iPhone.

Two key applications for this:

1) Teaching: For medical schools that are teaching eye examinations — instead of having to look at static pictures of eye anatomy, this “live view” could be an optimal and innovative way to teach. This could also be a great way for an ophthalmology attendings to save key eye pathology that they visualize in the mobile setting for teaching purposes.

2) Use in mobile clinics: This could be a good screening tool for various eye pathology — Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

The Case For Annual Eye Exams: Normal Vision Doesn’t Guarantee Healthy Eyes

You probably see your primary care physician once a year, and your dentist twice a year. But how often do you see your eye doctor? Vision is the most valued of the 5 senses, and yet Americans don’t seem to be making regular eye exams a priority. A recent CDC survey suggests that as many as 34.6% of adults over the age of 40 (with moderate to severe visual impairment) believe that they don’t need regular eye exams. About 39.8% of the respondents said that they didn’t get regular exams because they were too costly, or because their health insurance didn’t cover the expense.

Although cost may play a role in peoples’ thinking, a comprehensive eye exam costs as little as $45-50 at retail outlets. I suspect that the real reason why people don’t get regular eye exams is because they incorrectly believe that if their vision is stable, their eyes are healthy.

A comprehensive eye exam is a type of medical check up – it is not just a vision assessment. Eye care professionals can diagnose everything from glaucoma and cataracts to high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even neurologic conditions such as brain tumors and multiple sclerosis. The eyes are more than a “window to the soul” but a window to general physical health. And the good news is that exams are relatively inexpensive and painless – so please consider making them part of your yearly health maintenance routine.

And to my primary care friends – don’t forget to encourage your patients to get annual eye exams. As the CDC notes:

Recommendations from primary-care providers can influence patients to receive eye-care services; persons who had visual screening during routine physical examinations had better eye health because of reminders to visit eye specialists. Public health interventions aimed at heightening awareness among both adults aged ≥65 years and health-care providers might increase utilization rates among persons with age-related eye diseases or chronic diseases that affect vision such as diabetes.

I myself have had an unexpected diagnosis during an eye exam, and feel passionate about the importance of preventive screening. In fact, I’ll be the upcoming host of a new eye health education initiative – a radio show called, “Healthy Vision with Dr. Val Jones” supported by ACUVUE brand contact lenses. The first show will be released here today, and it’s also available at Blog Talk Radio.

References:

Reasons for Not Seeking Eye Care Among Adults Aged ≥40 Years with Moderate-to-Severe Visual Impairment — 21 States, 2006–2009. Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report, May 20, 2011. 60(19);610-613

Alexander RL Jr., Miller NA, Cotch MF, Janiszewski R. Factors that influence the receipt of eye care. Am J Health Behav 2008;32:547–56

Strahlman E, Ford D, Whelton P, Sommer A. Vision screening in a primary care setting. A missed opportunity? Arch Intern Med 1990;150:2159–64


Disclosure: Dr. Val Jones is a paid consultant for VISTAKON®, Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

Diabetes: When Being “No Worse” Means Progress

“Everything looks good.  No progress is good, actually.  Means your eyes haven’t deteriorated any further in the last five months.”  Dr S, my eye doctor at the Joslin Clinic, ran her fingers across the keyboard, typing notes into my online file.

“So it’s the same as back in November?  When I moved from mild to moderate retinopathy?”

“Right.  Still non-proliferative, but the same.  Not worse, by any stretch.  We’re working with a few spots, a very small bit of leakage, but nothing I’d recommend treatment for, other than watching it closely.”

I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding.  The fluorescent bulbs in the room were bright and ricocheting off the white walls, making me feel like I was in an avalanche of light. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Glaucoma Testing Through The Eyelid

f34gdfg.jpgIntraocular pressure is usually measured by applying a force on the cornea using a tonometer. Although sufficiently accurate, tonometers are only used in ophthalmologist offices and so don’t measure intra-day pressures. They also fail with people post cataract surgery that have a thicker cornea. Researchers at University of Arizona have developed a new device that measures intraocular pressure through the eyelid.

From the University of Arizona College of Engineering:

The self-test instrument has been designed in Eniko Enikov’s lab at the UA College of Engineering. Gone are the eye drops and need for a sterilized sensor. In their place is an easy-to-use probe that gently rubs the eyelid and can be used at home.

“You simply close your eye and rub the eyelid like you might casually rub your eye,” said Enikov, a professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering. “The instrument detects the stiffness and, therefore, infers the intraocular pressure.” Enikov also heads the Advanced Micro and Nanosystems Laboratory.

While the probe is simple to use, the technology behind it is complex, involving a system of micro-force sensors, specially designed microchips, and math-based procedures programmed into its memory.

Link: New Glaucoma Test Allows Earlier, More Accurate Detection…

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

An Eye Exam On Your iPhone?

Researchers at MIT have developed a method of using a basic cellphone coupled with a cheap and simple plastic device clipped onto the screen to estimate refractive errors and focal range of eyes.

Because of its simplicity, and the fact that soon just about everyone will have access to a mobile phone, eye exams may become available to the whole world at little to no cost. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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