Academy's 2010 Prentice Medalist Receives Donald Korb Award for Excellence
Earl Smith, OD, PhD, FAAO, dean of the College of Optometry at the University of Houston, has received an award for his work in slowing the progression of nearsightedness in children. Smith recently accepted the Donald Korb Award for Excellence for his work in this area from the American Optometric Association. Smith's Prentice Medal Lecture of 2010, on the same topic, is the Feature article in this month's Optometry and Vision Science and its upcoming international press release.
The Korb award is given in recognition of an individual who has been an innovator and leader in the field of contact lenses and anterior segment disease, which includes anomalies dealing with the front of the eye involving the cornea, iris, and lens. The honor takes into account those who have propelled the profession's knowledge base through novel research, made a major developmental impact on the profession, and positively affected the way practitioners manage their patients.
Smith and his colleagues have proposed a treatment strategy to slow the progression of myopia in children, with the overall goal being to decrease the degree of nearsightedness. The idea came about as a result of their basic research on the effects of vision on eye growth and the optical development of the eye.
His team is partnering with researchers in the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney, Australia, to develop new contact lenses that can be used to implement these strategies in children. They already brought eyeglasses to market in 2010 that demonstrate an ability to slow the progression of myopia in children.
Traditional treatments for correcting both nearsightedness and farsightedness have focused on moving the visual image backward and forward with corrective lenses. Smith and his colleagues, however, have demonstrated that moving the central image onto the retina and leaving the peripheral image behind the retina can drive the eye to elongate, causing myopia to increase. The new technology addresses this problem by bringing the peripheral image forward, onto, or even in front of, the retina, resulting in clear vision.
“Receiving this award is particularly meaningful to me,” Smith said. “I have the greatest respect for Dr. Korb. In my view, he is one of the most creative and insightful clinician scientists of our time, an entrepreneur in every sense of the word and a true visionary. It's a great honor to receive an award established in his name.”
AOF and Vistakon Announce Awards of Excellence in Contact Lens Patient Care
These awards recognizes outstanding fourth-year student clinicians who have demonstrated excellent overall knowledge of the contact lens field plus skillful, considerate, and professional care of contact lens patients during their optometric education.
Stefanie Ratermann, OD, Illinois College of Optometry
Colby Fletcher, OD, Indiana University at Bloomington School of Optometry
Charlie C. Dao, OD, Inter-American University of Puerto Rico School of Optometry
Lauren Evonne Quaine, OD, Michigan College of Optometry at Ferris State University
Yin-Yin Aung, OD, New England College of Optometry
Natalie Cathy Pham, OD, Northeastern State University Oklahoma College of Optometry
Brian Paul, OD, Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry
Brittany Nelson, OD, Pacific University College of Optometry
Lindsey Beth Barouh, OD, Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University
Veronica Woi, OD, Southern California College of Optometry
Katherine Paulsen, OD, Southern College of Optometry
Dana Beth Pollack, OD, State University of New York College of Optometry
Joseph S. Conrad, OD, The Ohio State University College of Optometry
Sheila Karst Morris, OD, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry
Pam Satjawatcharaphong, OD, University of California-Berkeley School of Optometry
Katie Wicks, OD, University of Houston College of Optometry
Derek Wiles, OD, University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry
Richard Wardé, OD, University of Montreal School of Optometry
Tanya Marie Polonenko, OD, University of Waterloo School of Optometry
Each winner will receive a $1,000 award and a personalized plaque commemorating their accomplishment.
ORGANIZATION AND INSTITUTION NEWS
The Beginnings of the National Institutes of Health
Recently, The Scientist journal recounted the fascinating and pioneering beginnings of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In reporting this, Cristina Luiggi (The Scientist, May 28, 2010) noted, “In 1887, the government secured a small lab on Staten Island, and hired 27-year-old Joseph James Kinyoun to start a national lab dedicated to the study of infectious disease. As epidemics swept across the United States in the 19th century, the U.S. government recognized the pressing need for a national lab dedicated to the study of infectious disease. In 1887, the government set its sights on a small lab located in the Marine Hospital on Staten Island, New York. Its sole member, 27-year-old Joseph James Kinyoun, belonged to a new generation of scientists and physicians who were beginning to understand how microscopic organisms underlay the terrible killers of their day, such as smallpox, yellow fever, and Asiatic cholera. That one-room lab on Staten Island, which Kinyoun originally called ‘the Laboratory of Hygiene,’ ultimately evolved into the 27 institutes and centers that now make up the National Institutes of Health.
Kinyoun's first order of business was to collect blood and stool samples from the sick to culture pathogens in the lab. In his first year on the job, he became the first person in the United States to isolate the gram-negative bacterium Vibrio cholerae, providing his American colleagues with their first glimpse of the microorganism responsible for tens of thousands of deaths since it had first reached U.S. shores in the 1830s. This and other successes were duly noted by Congress, which by 1902 had expanded the laboratory to include other divisions, such as chemistry and zoology.
Kinyoun's tenure as the first director of the NIH lasted 12 years, but his role in shaping how the federal government dealt with the country's health continued well after his retirement. Following several deaths due to contaminated and shoddily produced vaccines, he pushed hard for the implementation of universal standards for the production of medicines. He was also acutely aware of the need to monitor infectious diseases across the country, as well as the need for an official body that could enforce drastic measures, like quarantines during deadly epidemics. Such efforts eventually led to the creation of federal agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
NAEVR Speaks at EU, Enhances Alliances
On June 22, NAEVR's Executive Director, James Jorkasky, spoke at the EuroVisionNet's Parliamentary evening at the European Union in Brussels. He was not only able to further enhance NAEVR's strategic relationship with the European Vision Institute (EVI) but also spend time with some key ARVO international advocates, including incoming ARVO President Dr. Peng Khaw. Jorkasky noted the tools available in the ARVO International Advocacy Handbook that was written by NAEVR. To read a summary, click into the following link: http://www.eyeresearch.org/naevr_action/jorkasky_brussels.html.
DOD's TATRC Announces $7 Million in FY2011 Defense Vision Research Funding
Recently, the Department of Defense's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), which manages the Peer Reviewed Medical Research-Vision line item in defense appropriations, issued a press release. What is important about this release, in addition to describing the awards to the 12 researchers in the FY2009/2010 cycle, is that TATRC Director Colonel Friedl goes public in stating that, for FY2011, the amount of grant funding is at least $7 million—at least $3 million more than the $4 million appropriated in the FY2011 defense appropriations bill, as a result of transfers of funding from other DOD programs due to the quality of vision researcher grant submissions.
The TATRC announcement is especially timely, since the “at least $7 million” in DOD funding balances the $6.2 million reduction in NEI funds for FY2011, confirmed recently at the NAEC meeting. NAEVR carefully monitors the “scorecard” for vision research funding.
ASCO's 2011 Envision Video Competition
On June 29, 2011, the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO) announced the winners of the 2011 Envision Video Competition. This year, awards were given to first, second, and third place. The recipients are as follows:
Neal Guymon (SCCO)—first place ($5,000).
Neal's video can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpmwJMbPIvc.
Paul Neville (SCCO)—second place ($2,500).
Paul's video can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u788bGDILjw.
Katie Gettinger (UMSL)—third place ($1,000).
Katie's video can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gsRHcaRB78.
The Envision Video Competition is part of ASCO's career marketing efforts. The competition was judged by members of the Student Affairs Committee on how effectively the videos educated potential applicants and the general public about the profession of optometry, in addition to its creativity, ingenuity, and humor.
ASCO Announces Nine Optometric Education Diversity Mini-Grant Recipients
On July 26, ASCO announced that nine schools and colleges of optometry have received diversity mini-grants through the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry's (ASCO) 2011 Optometric Education Diversity Mini-Grant Program. This program is supported by Luxottica Retail and The Vision Care Institute™, LLC. The diversity mini-grants are designed to provide seed money for a specific program/project to assist schools/colleges of optometry with their long-term diversity/multicultural efforts. Programs may include, but are not limited to summer bridge programs for undergraduate students, mentoring and guidance programs for first-year optometry students, partnerships with organizations, high schools, community colleges, and undergraduate programs to promote optometry as a career among underrepresented groups.
The following diversity programs were selected:
Illinois College of Optometry—Focus on Your Future Summer Program; The Ohio State University College of Optometry—Eye Care for All; Pacific University College of Optometry—Pacific University InSight 2011; Southern College of Optometry—Success in Sight; SUNY State College of Optometry—Increasing Diversity by Engaging All (IDEA); University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry—Providing Diversity in Optometric Education through Continual Enhancement of Current Programs that Promote Diversity in Optometry; University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry—Berkeley Optometry Opto-Camp; University of Houston College of Optometry—Optometry Career Opportunities Program (TEXOCOP); and Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry—Reaching Out to Families and Communities—Opening Eyes to Optometry.
The call for proposals for next year will be announced in early 2012. For more information about this program, please contact Paige Pence, ASCO Director of Student Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Antimicrobials Target Contact Lens Cases to Reduce Infection
Researchers developing a novel antimicrobial material at the Brien Holden Vision Institute and University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney are targeting a rare but potentially sight-threatening condition associated with contact lens wear.
Microbial keratitis occurs in only around 4 in every 10,000 daily contact lens wearers and 20 in every 10,000 continuous contact lens wearers but its effects can be devastating. Bacterial contamination of contact lens cases, in which wearers keep their lenses stored, is recognized as one of the major risk factors for microbial keratitis.
A novel antimicrobial material to coat contact lens cases and help prevent infections associated with contact lens wear is now being developed by the Brien Holden Vision Institute, and UNSW thanks to the award of a $300,000 Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant.
Professor Mark Willcox, Chief Scientific Officer at the Institute, said studies have revealed an almost constant rate of microbial keratitis with contact lens wear over the past 20 years. “Despite the release of novel disinfecting solutions and new lens materials to reduce bacterial contamination of lenses over the past 10 years there has been no observed reduction in this rate,” he said.
“We have been working on the development of antimicrobial contact lenses for some time and more recently applying this knowledge in the development of antimicrobials for use in biomedical devices such as cochlear implants, catheters, artificial hearts, and replacement joints.”
“The Institute has been investigating microbial keratitis for a number of years and through the support of the Australian Government in the form of this ARC Linkage Grant, and our collaboration with UNSW, we hope to eliminate a key risk factor for the condition through the development of these new lens cases.”
Vision Care to Five New Regions of Ghana
Nsawam District Hospital in Ghana is set to launch the first Vision Centre of an initiative to open Vision Centers across five regions in Ghana. The first of five centers is planned in the Eastern region of Nsawam. The second center will open in the Volta Regional Hospital in Ho. The remaining three openings will roll out across Ghana in the Northern Region in Salaga, the Upper East Region in Bulga, and the Western Region in Bibiani.
The new initiative is made possible by the partnership between the International Centre for Eye Care Education (ICEE) and the Ghana Health Service, while also supporting the current National Five Year Action Plan by the Prevention of Blindness (PBL) of Ghana Eye Unit of Ghana Health Service as well as the VISION 2020: The Right to Sight initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Each of the 10 regions in Ghana is already equipped with a regional hospital but not all these facilities cater for vision care. The project's aim is to address the current vision care limitations by using the existing structure of the regional health facilities. ICEE proposed the development of the five new Vision Centers to help create a sustainable eye care delivery program that will have capacity to reach a greater portion of the 24 million people living in Ghana.
AMD and Stargardts Macular Dystrophy Patients Treated With Embryonic Stem Cells
On July 14, 2011, the Los Angeles Times (Hernandez) reported, “After more than 20 years of research, doctors at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute have begun treating the first patients in clinical trials for two progressive eye diseases that cause blindness: dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Stargardt's macular dystrophy. ‘Two’ patients were given an injection of specialized eye cells that were derived from embryonic stem cells.” The study is sponsored by Advanced Cell Technology.
Interesting Future for Colors?
According to Jef Akst and Richard P. Grant of The Scientist magazine (July 8, 2011), they noted an interesting demonstration of so-called structural colors, whose application may one day be in security tags on software, money, or ID cards, at the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition 2011 in London July 5 to 10.
We excerpt part of their report on “structural colors” here. The full article can be found at: http://the-scientist.com/2011/07/08/summer-science-british-style/.
Ullrich Steiner of the University of Cambridge said, “We discovered that structural colors in plants are probably much more widespread than people had thought before.” In 2009, he and his colleagues published evidence of such structural colors (strange microscopic textures they had noticed on flower petals) in tulips and hibiscus flowers and have since identified similar patterns in other flowers such as buttercups. At their exhibit at the Summer Science Exhibition, the researchers recreated their bee experiments for visitors who had the opportunity to build their own structural colors, using physical building blocks and computer software to convert the macroscopic constructions into the colors that would be produced by those same patterns on a much smaller scale. Visitors could also play with small pieces of rubber designed by Steiner's group to project iridescent colors, a quality that could one day be used as security tags on software, money, or ID cards, according to the physicist. “By making labels using these materials, we could endow an object with an optical marker that is very distinctive but cannot easily be copied,” Steiner said, noting that they have already been approached by potentially interested buyers of the technology.
Optovue Announces FDA Clearance
On July 14, 2011, Optovue announced that the new iStand, a multidirectional stand for universal positioning of the iVue SD-OCT system, received FDA 510 (k) clearance.
They report that the iStand expands the clinical utility of the iVue SD-OCT device delivering enhanced clinical decisions, procedure planning, and documentation. The system enables eye care professionals to follow patients from diagnosis through postoperative care. By mounting the iVue onto iStand, clinicians can now take advantage of iVue's compact size and portability to easily move their OCT between the exam lane, hospital facilities, and satellite offices. The articulating arm facilitates scanning supine patients and patients in other positions.
Novel Treatment Device for Dry Eye Patients
TearScience, Inc., a privately held medical device company, announced on July 11, 2011, that it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for its LipiFlow® Thermal Pulsation System for the treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), also known as evaporative dry eye. The clearance enables TearScience to market and sell LipiFlow® and will be available immediately but on a limited basis in the U.S. through the end of 2011. LipiFlow® removes meibomian gland obstructions by applying directed energy to a patient's eyelid during a 12-minute in-office treatment.
The Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society's (TFOS) 2-year international workshop on MGD, stated that MGD may well be the leading cause of dry eye disease throughout the world. MGD's role in ocular health is gaining recognition as the industry reaches consensus on a standard definition, classification, diagnosis, and therapy for the disease. Of the more than 100 million dry eye sufferers worldwide, ∼65 percent have evaporative dry eye. Common symptoms of the disease include eye irritation, dryness, redness, tiredness, and visual disturbances.
TearScience's integrated in-office system addresses a root cause of evaporative dry eye, the obstructed glands. An assessment of the tear film and meibomian gland function can determine whether MGD is the primary cause of a patient's evaporative dry eye and whether a patient is a good candidate for the LipiFlow® treatment. TearScience gained FDA clearance by demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of LipiFlow® through a U.S.-based nine-center randomized controlled clinical trial for the treatment of evaporative dry eye.
TearScience will sell its LipiFlow® and LipiView® Ocular Surface Interferometer devices as a system for eye care practices. The LipiView® enables visualization of the tear film. LipiView® won the 2011 Medical Design Excellence Award. “We are gratified and blessed to have secured FDA clearance for the LipiFlow®,” said Tim Willis, chief executive officer and co-founder of TearScience. “This marks an important day, as now our advanced technology is available for their dry eye patients. I'm grateful to all those who have helped us reach this important milestone,… particularly Dr. Donald Korb, the genius behind our technology.”