Stories tagged eye


Simple, cheap fix for eyes

University of New South Wales (UNSW) medical researchers have used stem cells cultured on a simple contact lens to restore sight to sufferers of blinding corneal disease. Stem cells from the patients’ own eyes were cultured on a common therapeutic contact lens which was then placed onto the damaged cornea for 10 days.

“The procedure is totally simple and cheap,” said lead author of the study, UNSW’s Dr Nick Di Girolamo.
“There’s no suturing, there is no major operation: all that’s involved is harvesting a minute amount – less than a millimeter – of tissue from the ocular surface,”


Technique might work for other organs

The researchers are hopeful the technique can be adapted for use in other parts of the eye, such as the retina, and even in other organs. “If we can do this procedure in the eye, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in other major organs such as the skin, which behaves in a very similar way to the cornea,” Dr Di Girolamo said.

Source: University of New South Wales


Something is amiss here.
Something is amiss here.Courtesy Joe Imholte
Ever had a corneal ulcer? Me either, until now. They pretty much are horrible. My eye hurts, I’m super sensitive to light, and I look like death warmed over. Since I have been diagnosed with one (and iritis too) I thought it would be good to learn a little about them. Come on! Learn along with me!

A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea, the thin clear structure overlying the front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber (which is the space between the cornea and the iris). Together with the lens, the cornea refracts light, and as a result helps the eye to focus, accounting for approximately 80% of the eye's optical power.

Iritis, which I am also lucky enough to have, is an inflammation of the iris, the circular, membrane in the eye that provides the eye its color and forms the pupil. The iris is made up of muscular fibers that control the amount of light entering the pupil. The iris accomplishes this task by making the pupil smaller in bright light and larger in low light.

As you can see by the picture, my iris is macked-up.

Lots of things can cause a corneal ulcer, from infections, to chronic dry eyes to chemical burns. I likely got mine, however, from my contacts. People like me who wear extended wear contact lenses are 10 times more likely to get a corneal ulcer than people who don’t. Contact lenses can cause corneal ulcers many ways. A scratch or dirt particle on the contact can scratch the eye, the contact can have bacteria on it causing an infection, and they can reduce oxygen flow making the eye in general more susceptible to infections.
Even though my contacts are extended wear, I take them out at night, and swap them out every two weeks. The pair I had in when this happened were less than two days out of the box, so I am guessing something got caught under them and I didn’t notice.

The iritis is a secondary problem that the corneal ulcer is causing.

Yesterday when I woke up my eye was dry, but that’s not uncommon in the morning and usually putting in your clean and moist contact helps that out, and I thought it would help. By the end of the day yesterday I was having trouble seeing under our office lights and folks were greeting me by saying, “oh hi Joe…oh my god what’s wrong with your eye?!” so I knew something was amiss. Most folks suggested it was pink eye, and since I have a 2-year old at home, that seemed reasonable.

When I got home yesterday, my wife wisely suggested I go to urgent care. I did, and was diagnosed with viral pink eye. I was given some over the counter eye drops and sent home.

I awoke multiple times in the night in pretty serious pain. So, this morning I had a follow up with an eye doctor and hence the new diagnosis.

Moral of my story? If you are having pain in your eyes, have them checked out. As my wife says, you only get two eyes, you’ve got to treat them like gold.


Seeing clearly: A new, quick surgery for cataracts in the eye is highly effective. After the installation of an artificial eye lens, most patient have near normal vision in their eye by the next day.
Seeing clearly: A new, quick surgery for cataracts in the eye is highly effective. After the installation of an artificial eye lens, most patient have near normal vision in their eye by the next day.
Cataract surgery on the eyes used to be a daunting experience. It was risky, painful and impacted a lot of older people, who might be susceptible to other complications. Afterwards, patients would be stuck having to wear large, clunky coke-bottle glasses.

But just as joint replacements are becoming simpler, every-day surgeries, cataract removal has also been greatly simplified in recent years. New York Times columnist Jane Brody recently related the life-changing experience such surgery was for her husband.

The new procedure that he went through took less than two hours and was done as an outpatient operation. The bad lens in his eye, which had become clouded through the impact of the cataract, was removed and replaced with an artificial lens. By the next morning, his vision had improved to 20/25 from the 20/200 it had been before the operation. (Regular vision is considered 20/20.)

For him, distance vision was the issue. Different types of artificial lens can be installed to help with different vision problems. There are even multifocal lens and that can help with both distance and near vision issues at the same time.

What do you need to know about cataracts today?

They often are part of the aging process. Cells in the lens of the eye die and get trapped inside that lens, clouding vision. By age 80, more than half of Americans have a cataract in at least one of their eyes.

Factors that can lead to cataracts include unprotected exposure of your eyes to the sun, smoking, drinking alcohol, diabetes and prolonged use of steroids. Cataracts can also develop years after an injury to the eye or surgery

Those ages 60 and older should have a complete eye exam at least every-other year and more often if a problem is found. Those exams are also good for tracking down other eye problems like glaucoma or macular degeneration.


Q: Why do people blink?

A: People blink because the eye needs to be kept clean and moist. Every time you blink your eyelid coats the eye with fluids that keep your eyes moist and that flush away gunk. Blinking also helps prevent gunk from entering your eyes in the first place – lowering the lids and eyelashes forms a barrier that is hard for gunk to penetrate. Interestingly, you bink less when you are concentrating on something (like driving or surfing the internet).

Q: How tall can a willow tree be when they are full grown?

A: That depends on what species of willow tree you are referring to – there are lots. The White Willow can reach heights up to 100 feet, while the Artic Willow grows to less than a foot in height!

Space shuttle bathroom: A typical space shuttle bathroom.  Image courtesy NASA.
Space shuttle bathroom: A typical space shuttle bathroom. Image courtesy NASA.
Q: How do astronauts go to the bathroom in space?

A: Typically, there are toilets similar in function to toilets on Earth, but they use air suction instead of water to make the waste go where they want it to, since there is no gravity. Solid wastes are compressed and stored on-board, and then removed after returning to Earth. Waste water is vented to space, although future systems may be able to recycle it. The NASA web site has a short video on the subject.

Q: Why doesn’t a duck quack echo?

A: This is an urban legend – duck quacks do echo. This site proves it.