Saturday, August 30, 2008

Study indicates sudden, complete loss of vision may lead to changes in brain's visual cortex.

From AOA First Look:

The UPI (8/28) reports that "sudden and complete loss of vision leads to profound -- but rapidly reversible -- changes in the part of the brain called the visual cortex," according to a study published in the journal PLOS One.

In the Boston Globe's (8/27) White Coat Notes blog, Elizabeth Cooney explained that for the study, researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts recruited "32 adults with normal sight" who "were randomly assigned to be completely blindfolded for five days...while an instructor taught them Braille." Functional magnetic resonance imaging scans of "the always-blindfolded people showed higher activity in their visual cortex on day five while their fingers were reading Braille, but once the blindfolds stayed off for a day, those signs of touch-stirring activity in the visual cortex disappeared." The authors concluded that "the brain can rapidly adapt to blindness, compensating for vision loss by shifting connections used for sight to tasks using touch."

According to PsychCentral (8/27, Nauert), the study, which was "funded by grants from the National Eye Institute," not only provides "new insights into how the brain compensates for the loss of sight, but also" suggests "that the brain is more adaptable than originally thought."

Monocular Oral Reading Performance After Amblyopia Treatment in Children

...The monocular oral reading ability when measured with the GORT-4 was slightly worse when reading with previously treated amblyopic eyes compared with fellow eyes in terms of rate, accuracy, and fluency, but reading comprehension testing was similar....

Comments: Amblyopia is not a monocular eye is a binocular problem. It is not surprising that reading skills are different between the two eyes.....amblyopic eyes typically have oculomotor and accommodative dysfunctions that need to be treated.....comprehensive treatment of amblyopia should include optometric vision therapy that increases binocularity and associated skills. DM

From AOA First Look:

Pirenzepine gel drops may slow progression of myopia in children, researchers say. In continuing coverage from the Aug. 27 edition of First Look, Nebraska ABC affiliate KETV-TV (8/28) reported on its website that "drops of gel in the eyes can slow the rate of vision loss for nearsighted children," according to a study conducted by the Dean McGee Eye Institute and the University of Oklahoma. In a two-year study including 84 children, 53 of whom "got active gel, while 31 were treated with a placebo," researchers found that the youngsters who were "treated daily with a medication called pirenzepine" experienced a slower worsening of myopia. In fact, "37 percent of children using pirenzepine needed new lenses during the study, compared to 68 percent of the placebo group." Pennsylvania ABC affiliate WTAE-TV (8/28) also covered the story on its website.

Comments: I reported on this earlier....unfortunately the gel is not available in the US. I tried to obtain some for my patients but found out it won't be developed in the USA for some time. What a shame!! DM

Optometrist explains importance of eye exams for schoolchildren.

From AOA First Look:

Canada's Calgary Herald (8/28, Gray) reported that now that school is back in session, some children may be experiencing vision difficulties that make learning difficult. Calgary optometrist Gaggan Basra, O.D., "says that typically, parents won't act on getting a child's eyes checked until a problem is mentioned. While many schools will screen for vision problems, they only check how well a child sees at a distance." A "comprehensive eye" examination performed by an optometrist, however, includes "tests that can determine nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, color vision, eye coordination, muscle function, and focusing abilities," Dr. Basra explained. She also pointed out "some of the signs that indicate a child has a vision problem," including "difficulty seeing the board at school or TV," squinting while "reading or watching TV," holding "reading material close" to the face, frequent headaches, making "letter or number reversals when reading or writing," using "a finger to keep a place when reading," achieving "below academic or sporting potential," closing "one eye while reading," experiencing "behavioral problems," or turning "the eye inward, outward, upward or downward."

Alzheimer's-linked protein traced live

...Scientists for the first time have peered into people's brains to directly measure the ebb and flow of a substance notorious for its role in Alzheimer's disease....The delicate research was performed not with Alzheimer's patients but with people suffering severe brain injuries — because a brain injury increases the risk of developing dementia later in life....

Infection Linked to Preterm Delivery

...About 12 percent of all births in the United States are preterm, putting children at risk for lifelong physical and neurological damage. Results of a new study may have found a preventable cause of many of these premature births....From an analysis of amniotic fluid samples from women in preterm labor, researchers found 15 percent of fluid samples contained bacteria or fungi. The greater level of the infection, the more likely the women were to deliver sicker, younger infants. That number is more than 50 percent greater than previous estimates....

Magnesium Sulfate Reduces Threat of Cerebral Palsy

...Magnesium sulfate, given to mothers at risk of preterm delivery, cut the rate of cerebral palsy in their babies by nearly half...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Clinical evaluation of cessation of hyperopia in 123 children with accommodative esotropia treated with glasses for best corrected vision

...the researchers performed a retrospective study in 123 Accommodative Esotropic patients who achieved complete emmetropization and maintained orthophoria without hyperopic glasses between March 1999 and February 2005. All patients had been prescribed the weakest possible glasses to provide best corrected vision and maintain fusion in hyperopia. The mean age at resolution of hyperopia with good stereopsis was 13.5 years. The degree of hyperopia seemed to correlate with the angle of esotropia and the age of successful cessation of corrective glasses....

Comments: Eventually these children discontinued their glasses wear....I wonder at what physiological and symptomalogical cost.....I also wonder what their academic performance was like?

COVD Update

Success for August is National Children's Vision & Learning Month

Dr. Richard Esposito, a Fellow member of COVD, and one of his patients were featured in a news story for their local news station. Interest to produce this story was generated from their office promoting COVD's August is National Children's Vision & Learning Month.

Watch the video of the news story

Dr. Esposito's vision therapist, Tennille Murphy, COVT, was instrumental in obtaining a state proclamation from the governor of Arizona and ten city proclamations. Pictured above are Dr. Neha Amin and Tennille Murphy with the Mayor of Scottsdale, AZ. Way to go, Tennille!

August is almost over but that doesn't mean we should stop promoting the critical link between vision and learning. Let's keep the campaign rolling!

Record 23 Proclamations for August is National Children's Vision & Learning Month

Following is a list of the 2008 Proclamations for August is National Children's Vision & Learning Month. Did we miss your proclamation? If you received a state or city proclamation and it's not on the list, please send us a copy so we can add it to our list.
Dr. Mary Van Hoy receiving Westfield, IN Proclamation

Arizona Phoenix, Arizona Iowa
Casa Grande, Arizona Prescott, Arizona Massachusetts
Chandler, Arizona Scottsdale, Arizona Michigan
Chino Valley, Arizona Sedona, Arizona Missouri
Gilbert, Arizona Tucson, Arizona New Jersey
Goodyear, Arizona San Carlos, California New York
Kingman, Arizona Indiana Washington
Peoria, Arizona Westfield, Indiana

Thanks to everyone who participated in the campaign. Together, we're spreading the word!

Upcoming Meeting
COVD 38th Annual Meeting
College of Optometrists in Vision Development
October 14-18, 2008
Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Palm Springs, California
For information:

Deadline for advanced registration September 11, 2008
For more annual meeting information, visit

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hayes Evaluates Test And Treatment Options For Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

...Over the past three months, Hayes medical research analysts have reviewed the clinical evidence regarding a range of ADHD treatments for adults and children, including the use of stimulants, antidepressants, antihypertensives, and atomoxetine, a nonstimulant drug approved for treatment of ADHD. The results are not promising. Of the treatments evaluated, only one type of drug, stimulants, was given an "A" Hayes Rating for use in children and a "B" Rating for use in adults. One other drug, atomoxetine, was given a "B" Rating for use in children. ...

Comments: Be careful how you interpret the Hayes ratings. They use a a proprietary rating system with each rating supposedly reflecting the strength of the evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of a medical technology ....unfortunately since this system is proprietary no one knows what they use as criteria....could Hayes be biased towards certain outcomes? We just do not know. DM

Acupuncture for Tension-Type Headache: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Controlled Trials

...This meta-analysis suggests that acupuncture compared with sham for tension-type headache has limited efficacy for the reduction of headache frequency. There exists a lack of standardization of acupuncture point selection and treatment course among randomized, controlled trials. More research is needed to investigate the treatment of specific tension-type headache subtypes....

Acupuncture in patients with headache

...Acupuncture plus routine care in patients with headache was associated with marked clinical improvements compared with routine care alone. ...

High levels of toxic metals found in herbal medicines sold online

...When researchers from Boston University School of Medicine randomly chose to buy and test 193 Ayurvedic medicines online in 2005, they found the prevalence of metal-containing products was 20.7 per cent for those manufactured in the U.S., compared with 19.5 per cent in Indian products....At least half exceeded established guidelines for acceptable daily intake of toxic metals...

Comments: Be ware of what you buy and where you buy it from! DM

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Interesting websites....

GREAT list of questions to screen for vision therapy (also an adult one)
(check out her articles -- one on different types of dyslexia) (author is the Upside Down Learner) Right brained state/capital cardsRight-brained

Children in a Left-Brained World: Unlocking the Potential of Your ADD Child by Jeffrey Freed and Laurie Parsons.(This is not ADD -- it's right brained-focus...)

Eye exams crucial back-to-school step

...The optometrist also will test for lazy eye, nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, crossed-eyes and color vision deficiencies and recommend any appropriate treatment such as glasses or vision therapy, which the child needs...

Strokes and Children

...Strokes in those of less age are not an uncommon occurrence. If statistics publicized by the American Heart Association on managing childhood stroke are to be believed, one out of every 4,000 babies born in the United States has a stroke before they are a month old....

Are parents taking a shot in the dark?

...A small, but growing, number of parents are becoming more selective or refusing vaccines, a trend that troubles public health and medical experts, who promote immunization as crucial protection against contagious, sometimes life-threatening diseases. In the last 15 years, the U.S. has experienced outbreaks of preventable illnesses, including measles, which is consistently one of the first diseases to reappear when immunization coverage rates fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ....

Comments: Talk to your doctor. Have you children vaccinated. DM