People with blindness from cataract are poorer than those with normal sight



“New blood” can revitalize a company or a sports team. Recent research by Tel Aviv University finds that young blood does a body good as well, especially when it comes to fighting cancer. The TAU researchers, led by Prof. Shamgar Ben-Eliyahu from the Department of Psychology’s Neuroimmunology Research Unit, discovered that a transfusion of “young”

Full Post: New blood fights cancer

A new study conducted in three developing countries-Kenya, the Philippines, and Bangladesh-finds that people with cataract-induced visual impairment are more likely to live in poverty than those with normal sight.

The study is published in the open access international health journal PLoS Medicine.

Blindness affects about 45 million people worldwide, and more than a third is caused by cataract. Although cataract can be treated with an inexpensive, simple operation, some evidence suggests that lack of money is a major barrier to uptake of cataract surgery by individuals in poor countries.

In the new study, Hannah Kuper (International Centre for Eye Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and colleagues identified 596 people aged 50 y or more with severe cataract-induced visual impairment, mainly through a survey of the population in these three countries. They matched each case to a normally sighted person (a “control”) of similar age and sex living nearby. Poverty was measured through monthly per capita expenditure (PCE), as well as self-rated wealth and ownership of assets.

In all three countries, cases were more likely than controls to be in the lowest quarter (quartile) of the range of PCEs for that country. In the Philippines, for example, people with cataract-induced visual impairment were three times more likely than controls to have a PCE in the lowest quartile than in the highest quartile.

The risk of cataract-related visual impairment increased as PCE decreased in all three countries. Similarly, severe cataract-induced visual impairment was more common in those who owned fewer assets and those with lower self-rated wealth. However, there was no consistent association between PCE and the level of cataract-induced visual impairment.

“This study confirms an association between poverty and blindness,” say the authors, “and highlights the need for increased provision of cataract surgery to poor people, particularly since cataract surgery is a highly cost-effective intervention in these settings.”

In an expert commentary on the study, Susan Lewallen (Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology, Moshi, Tanzania), who was uninvolved in the research, says it is useful to “unravel the complex web of poverty and blindness.”

There are many factors involved, says Lewallen, in whether an individual’s cataract blindness is cured, of which the economic status of the household is only one. “Focusing too narrowly on the monetary costs (direct or indirect) of cataract surgery may lead us to miss other critical social determinants that keep people blind.”

http://www.plos.org/

Link




A compact fiber-optic probe developed for the space program has now proven valuable for patients in the clinic as the first non-invasive early detection device for cataracts, the leading cause of vision loss worldwide. Researchers from the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Full Post: New cataract early detection device



ISTA Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced results from the Company’s recently completed Phase III clinical program of Xibrom (0.09% bromfenac sodium ophthalmic solution) QD (once-daily). The program enrolled 282 patients who underwent cataract surgery in two U.S. multi-center, randomized, double-masked, parallel-group, vehicle-controlled studies to evaluate Xibrom 0.09% dosed once daily to vehicle (placebo). The identical trials

Full Post: ISTA Pharmaceuticals announces trial results for topical Xibrom 0.09%



Retinal detachment, a condition that afflicts about 10,000 Americans each year, puts an individual at risk for vision loss or blindness. In a new study in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a leading ophthalmologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center writes, however, that a high probability of reattachment and visual improvement is

Full Post: Surgical options for retinal detachment



Based on projected increases in the prevalence of diabetes, the number of people with diabetes-related retinal disease, with glaucoma and with cataracts is estimated to increase significantly by 2050, according to a report in the December issue of Archives of Ophthalmology. Diabetic retinopathy (damage to the small blood vessels in the retina) is the leading

Full Post: Cases of major eye disease projected to increase among diabetics



A provocative debate in this week’s PLoS Medicine examines whether the private sector should step up its involvement in delivering health care in low-income countries. These countries suffer a disproportionate burden of disease, and often struggle with weak health systems. Both the public and private sector deliver health care in these countries, but the appropriate

Full Post: Should the private sector play a greater role in delivering health care in low-income countries?