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Issue: November 2007
Wise to the World

Prescribe Correction Early for Bilateral Amblyopia

By Judith Riddle Senior Editor

ALTHOUGH RARE, bilateral amblyopia may result in permanent visual disability or blindness in children if left untreated. The good news is that you can successfully treat this condition with corrective eyeglasses if you diagnose it in early childhood, according to a study reported in the October issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.

In the study, children between the ages of 3 and 9 with bilateral amblyopia who were diagnosed and prescribed eyeglasses had a mean improvement in binocular visual acuity of four Snellen lines, and three-fourths saw 20/25 or better at 1 year. Children whose visual acuity was 20/100 or worse showed the greatest improvement, averaging 6.3 lines of improvement after 1 year, according to researchers from The Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group in Tampa, Fla.

Bilateral refractive amblyopia can result when children have large degrees of uncorrected hyperopia, astigmatism or both, the researchers noted.

Baby Boom Generation Unaware of Glaucoma Risk

IT'S SAFE TO ASSUME that you can never educate people enough about glaucoma. According to a new international survey, 40% of respondents over age 40 were unaware that glaucoma leads to blindness, even though it's the second leading cause of vision loss.

The survey also showed that most baby boomers are ignoring the importance of routine eye exams. Only 40% of survey respondents had visited an eyecare practitioner in the last year, and less than half of those had their IOPs checked. And the numbers didn't improve in the older age groups, despite the fact that glaucoma risk increases with age.

UV Protection and Contact Lens Wear
I tell all my patients they need to protect their eyes against ultraviolet (UV) radiation because excessive exposure has been linked to some degenerative diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. UV-blocking contact lenses can help. Unlike sunglasses, contact lenses cover the entire pupil, protecting the internal eye structures from direct sunlight and also from side rays that sunglasses may not block. By wearing sunglasses and UV-blocking contact lenses, patients — and their eye doctors — can feel good about protecting their eyes.

Roxanna T. Potter, O.D.
Sylvania, Ohio
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Because accurate, early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma prevents damage to the optic nerve and preserves healthy vision, discuss the disease with patients during every exam and remind them of the importance of being tested.

CLs Offer Clues to Causes of Corneal Infection

IF YOU WANT TO IDENTIFY organisms that are causing a corneal infection, consider examining the patient's contact lenses. As reported in the September issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, researchers in Australia reviewed the records of 49 patients (50 eyes) with contact lens-related microbial keratitis to study the association between cultures of contact lenses and corneal scrapings. They found organisms in 17 corneal scrapings (34%) and 35 contact lenses (70%). For 13 eyes, the organisms from the scrapings and those from the contact lenses were identical. The organisms from the scrapings were different from those from the lenses in two eyes. The most common organism isolated from both types of cultures was Serratia marcescens. The researchers concluded that contact lens cultures can help identify organisms causing a corneal infection, and they can help pinpoint the organisms even if corneal scrapings are negative.

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