Monday, March 30, 2015

Behavioural vision training for older adults improves contrast sensitivity and near accuity

Dr. Dominick Maino points out that  "it has taken science/medicine decades to catch up with an approach that functional/behavioral optometry has taken since the early 1900's. The brain can be changed for the better at ANY age!"

This is because the brain maintains significant neuroplacticity, even in older adults.  Neuroplacticity is the reason that the vision training approaches used for decades in vision therapy by behavioural and developmental optometrists help so many patients.

A new study published in Psychological Science supports the use of behavioral visual training to improve sight in older adults.  This has important implications for reducing falls and car accidents that are associated with loss of depth perception and contrast sensitivity.

The researchers used a perceptual-learning task  to improve age-related declines in contrast sensitivity. Older and younger adults were trained over 7 days using a forced-choice orientation-discrimination task with stimuli that varied in contrast with multiple levels of additive noise. The study's authors found that older adults performed as well after training as did college-age younger adults prior to training. In addition, the vision training therapy improved far acuity in younger adults and in near acuity in older adults. The researchers concluded that behavioral interventions can greatly improve visual performance for older adults.

Psychological Science
Improving Vision Among Older Adults Behavioral Training to Improve Sight
Denton J. DeLoss, Takeo Watanabe, George J. Anderse

Monday, February 23, 2015

Combination therapy for dry eye disease

In dry eye disease, the cause is sometimes the malfunctioning of the meibomian glands, which make an essential component of healthy tear film.  And many dry eye treatments are focused on getting those glands working again.

A new study published in the journal Cornea suggests that a combination treatment consisting of daily lid wipes, artificial tears and the right nutritional supplements can improve meibomian gland function and dry eye symptoms after three months compared with a regimen of warm compresses applied to the eyes once a day. 

 Warm compresses is an old and standard treatment and often the first thing to try for dry eye. The study suggests that skipping warm compresses and going with a combination of treatments works much better. 

As with any treatment, check with your eye doctor before trying it.

Effect of Using a Combination of Lid Wipes, Eye Drops, and Omega-3 Supplements on Meibomian Gland Functionality in Patients With Lipid Deficient/Evaporative Dry Eye
Cornea 2015 Feb 03;[EPub Ahead of Print], DR Korb, CA Blackie, VM Finnemore, T Douglass

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Glaucoma awareness month

Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness. January is glaucoma awareness month! Help us preserve people’s vision by spreading the prevention message this month!

The term “glaucoma” refers to a group of disorders that damage the ocular nerve, leading to vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma is most commonly caused by ocular hypertension, or high pressure inside of the eye.

Typically, There Are No Early Warning Signs

What makes glaucoma so frightening is that it often becomes a sudden problem. Most people don’t notice any of the warning signs or symptoms; however, with regular eye exams we can check the pressure of your eye and monitor your risk.

Who’s Most At Risk For Glaucoma?

Though certain factors put you at higher risk, it’s important for everyone to understand the risk factors. For example, glaucoma usually affects people in their middle age—and the elderly—but it can, and does, affect people all age groups. 

African Americans are at a much higher risk and that risk spikes as early as age 40. 

You’re at a higher risk over age 60 and even more so over age 80. 

Some medical conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease may increase risk.
If you have a family history of glaucoma, you are a much higher risk. 

Diagnosing Glaucoma Early Can Help Preserve Sight

There’s no cure for glaucoma; however, when caught early, we can take steps to slow or halt vision loss. Often treatments as simple as specialized eye drops that reduce the pressure building up inside of your eye can make a difference.

Everyone age 40 and over should get eye exams regularly. If you have any of the high risk factors listed above, you should get an eye exam even more often! Take the time to learn more about glaucoma.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Vision and learning Ted Talk

Here is a new (and excellent) Ted Talk by Dr. Vicky Vandervort on how treatable vision problems can cause learning problems, including a great explanation and demonstration of the most common eye movement problem that interferes with learning: convergence insufficiency.

The video also includes a demonstration of a real patient's eyes as they move inefficiently across a page in an attempt to read.

As explained in the video, many well meaning professionals, including many eye doctors, are not aware of an do not test for eye movement disorders, leaving patients without any help. Developmental optometrists (like Dr. Randhawa) diagnose and treat eye movement problems that interfere with learning.  To find one near you visit

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Eye make-up and discomfort

Eye make-up is very popular and millions of women around the world use it.  Some eye cosmetics, like eyeliner, is applied very close to the surface of the eye where it can cause eye disease and ocular discomfort.  What impact does eye make-up on ocular discomfort?  That is the question investigated in a study published in the November 2012 issue of the journal Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics.  

The authors of the study took surveyed 1360 women aged 20-34 and found that over 80% of them used eye cosmetics regularly and over half used at least three different eye cosmetics regularly.  Mascara was the most common type used.

The survey results lead the authors to conclude that the use of multiple eye cosmetics is extensive and
associated with the perception of ocular discomfort. The results suggest that taking a break from eye make-up might make your eyes feel better.  However, the use of makeup could be the cause of diseases such as dry eye, tear gland dysfunction or blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid where the eyelashes grow).

However, if you love your make-up and can't do without it, see your optometrist to determine if any of those other eye issues are the cause of your discomfort.  It may be possible to treat the other conditions while keeping you in your make-up.


Eye cosmetic usage and associated ocular comfort
Alison Ng, Katharine Evans, Rachel North and Christine Purslow
School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
Citation information: Ng A, Evans K, North R & Purslow C. Eye cosmetic usage and associated ocular comfort. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 2012, 32,
501–507. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00944.x