Wednesday, December 28, 2016

CT Optician Helps Haitians See Clearly

Bruce Tooker (last row, center) with MATH health care workers in Hiati this past November.
Just before Thanksgiving (Nov. 13-19), Connecticut Optician Bruce Tooker flew south. He went to Haiti as part of the Medical Aid to Haiti (MATH) program. The group served thousands of individuals without access to health care. "With help from Sister Ellen Flynn and interpreter Pastor Fenold, I was able to test more than 200 people for eyeglasses. All but three had never before had an eye test," reports Tooker.  MATH http://www.medicalaidtohaiti.orgsupports two full-time doctors who serve the poorest in and around Port-au-Prince. Six times a year, it sends medical volunteers from the greater Hartford area to help. Last year the main clinic and six mobile clinics served about 15,000 people. MATH “helps Haitians heal Haitians, with a commitment to serving the poor and supporting a reliable, consistent and sustainable healthcare system in Haiti.” Learn much more by visiting the organization’s website.

British Health Services Paying for 10 Bionic Eyes

"The NHS [British version of the NIH] will pay for 10 blind patients to have 'bionic eyes' to help treat an inherited form of blindness," reports the BBC."The bionic eye is a retinal implant which interprets images captured by a miniature video camera worn on a pair of glasses. Five patients will be treated at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and five at Moorfields Eye Hospital in 2017.They will be monitored for a year afterwards to see how they get on in everyday life.

"'I'm delighted,' said Prof Paulo Stanga from the Manchester hospital. He has been involved in earlier trials of the Argus II Bionic Eye, made by the company Second Sight, in retinitis pigmentosa. He added: 'It surpassed all of our expectations when we realised that one of the retinitis pigmentosa patients using the bionic eye could identify large letters for the first time in his adult life.'
This disease, which is often passed down through families, destroys the light-sensing cells in the retina. It leads to vision loss and eventually blindness." Read more.

Optical Researcher David Robinson Dies

"David A. Robinson, a founding member of Johns Hopkins University's Department of Biomedical Engineering and distinguished service professor emeritus of ophthalmology, biomedical engineering, and neuroscience, died on Oct. 18. He was 92," according to a memoriam from Johns Hopkins University.

Robinson examines a patient's face while another doctor observes
David A. Robinson, a founding member of the Johns
Hopkins University Department of Biomedical Engineering
"Robinson, who retired in 1993, studied electrical engineering at Johns Hopkins and received his master's and PhD degrees in 1956 and 1959, respectively. He joined the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine faculty as an instructor in 1961 and was named an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in 1966. In 1965, Robinson published a groundbreaking paper in the Journal of Physiology that is still considered to be the most comprehensive and thorough investigation of the mechanics of eye movements. 
 Robinson, named a full professor in the Department of Ophthalmology in 1975, developed a magnetic field search coil technique that remains today as the standard for recording eye movements in both basic and clinical eye movement laboratories. 
He was the first researcher to simultaneously record eye movements and activity of ocular motor neurons from fully alert behaving primates. The results produced the mathematical relationship known as the pulse-step of innervation."

Dating Life Span Using the Eye Lens

"In an investigation recently published in Science, a team of researchers used radiocarbon dating to put together a timeline of the Greenland shark's lifespan," writes ARSTechnica. "Because Greenland sharks lack bones—they’re cartilaginous fish—conventional methods of tracking growth, like carbon dating of bones, won't work. Instead, the team used a modified radiocarbon dating technique that has worked before on other boneless animals: tracking the chronology of the eye lens. The eye lens nucleus is composed of inert proteins. The central portion of the lens is formed during prenatal development, and during growth, the tissue retains the original proteins, which were largely made before birth." Read more.