Browse By Topic: Glaucoma

Glaucoma describes a group of eye diseases that can lead to blindness by damaging the optic nerve. Learn more about diagnosing and treating glaucoma, as well as other eye conditions that can cause low vision: macular degeneration, macular hole, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and retinitis pigmentosa. You can also find helpful tips and techniques for everyday living skills and safe indoor movement and outdoor travel, along with helpful products and low vision devices. Register to receive alerts and news relating to vision loss, including the latest updates in medical research.

Researchers Continue to Explore the Potential of Human Echolocation and Acoustics for People with Vision Loss

Logo of the AcousticalSociety of America Vision rehabilitation professionals, including Orientation and Mobility Specialists, Vision Rehabilitation Therapists, and Low Vision Therapists, have long been aware of the need to incorporate sensory input, including echolocation, in their instructional programs. Human echolocation describes the ability of humans to detect objects in their environments by sensing reflected sound waves from those objects. Now it appears that acoustic scientists are also

Is It Possible to Identify and Treat Cell Damage from Glaucoma Much Earlier in the Course of the Disease? New Research Says Maybe

Glaucoma often is called "the sneak thief of sight" for good reason: Many people are unaware that glaucoma has few symptoms or warning signs in its early stages. Early treatment for glaucoma can sometimes (but not always) slow the progression of the disease. However, as of yet, there is no cure for glaucoma. Now, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a biomarker (explained below) that seems to be linked to cell damage in the eye from glaucoma. According to study co-author Rajendra S. Apte, M.D., Ph.D.,

May Is Healthy Vision Month: Make Your Eye Health a Priority and Learn How to Protect Your Vision

May is Healthy Vision Month, a national eye health observance established by the National Eye Institute (NEI) in May 2003. NEI is part of the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. This year, NEI is encouraging women to make eye health a priority and has designated four women as ambassadors – including VisionAware's Audrey Demmitt – who share their

H.R.2050: The Medicare Demonstration of Coverage of Low Vision Devices Act of 2017 Needs Your Advocacy and Support

Dome of the U.S. Capitol The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Public Policy Center has announced the reintroduction of federal legislation that seeks to establish a nationwide Medicare demonstration project to evaluate the fiscal impact of a permanent change in Medicare coverage that would, for the first time, provide reimbursement for low vision devices. The AFB Public Policy Center, in Washington, DC, collaborates with policy

Do the Brains of Blind Persons "Rewire" or Adjust to Significantly Enhance the Other Senses? New Research Says Yes

An age-old question that surfaces regularly in my work is this one: "Is it true that blind people develop super senses, like extra-sensitive hearing or touch, to compensate for not being able to see?" A variation of the "super senses" question asks this: "Are the other senses truly enhanced, or do people without the sense of sight – and the input it provides – learn to pay closer attention to information received through the other senses?" Indeed, researchers, scholars, and philosophers have addressed this elusive question for many years: In 1749,

Understanding Our Shifting Health Insurance Landscape – and What It Means for People with Vision Loss

Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D. Guest blogger Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., is the Senior Policy Researcher with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. The AFB Public Policy Center collaborates with policy makers in Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure that Americans with vision loss have equal rights and opportunities to fully participate in society. She also is the author of two important and helpful Public Policy Center publications:

What Is It Like to Have Low Vision? A New Sight Simulator Can Help You Understand

How the world can lookwith low vision A query I receive frequently from readers is how to describe their low vision or vision loss to fully sighted family members and friends, who may find it difficult to understand how functional vision can vary significantly from one day to the next, or from daytime to nighttime. While some basic explanations do exist (cataracts = blurriness; glaucoma = "tunnel" vision), they rarely suffice, and accurately describing what one can – and cannot – see has remained an elusive and unsatisfying quest. Now, however,

Our Readers Want to Know: What Does It Mean When My Eye Doctor Tells Me I Have "Low Vision"?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search online]. Of particular concern to many readers are issues related to the diagnosis and treatment of low vision, as evidenced by the following searches: I've been told I have low vision, but what does this mean? How is low vision different from blindness? Is there a cure for low vision? An Answer from VisionAware: What

New Macular Degeneration Research: Will My AMD Affect Both Eyes? If So, How Soon Will That Happen?

Two questions asked most frequently by readers about age-related macular degeneration (AMD) involve (a) individual risk for the disorder and (b) the likelihood of eventual involvement of both eyes. In response, several recent studies have attempted to address these critically important questions: Data from the ongoing Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) and the

New Glaucoma Research: Will Patients and Family Members Pay for a Glaucoma-Specific App? Not Likely, Results Say

New – and highly relevant – research from the Wills Eye Glaucoma Research Center, in collaboration with Drexel University, sought to "evaluate the interest of glaucoma patients and their caregivers in a smartphone-based and tablet-based glaucoma application" (app) that contained a range of features (explained below) designed to (a) increase patients' level of knowledge about glaucoma and (b) improve their adherence to medication and follow-up appointment recommendations. Their research results, which are applicable to doctors, patients, family members, rehabilitation

New Glaucoma Research from the United Kingdom: Could a Glaucoma Treatment also Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease?

Two recent United Kingdom-based eye research projects have begun to explore potential (but not yet proven) links between retinal disease and beta-amyloid proteins that accumulate in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. The first project, from the University of Southampton, England, investigated the potential role of beta-amyloid protein in the development of macular degeneration. The second project (explained below), from researchers at University

January Is National Glaucoma Awareness Month: Learn More About Glaucoma and Current Treatments

National Glaucoma Awareness Month provides a perfect opportunity to learn more about glaucoma, a leading cause of vision loss that affects more than 3 million people in the United States. Glaucoma often is called "the sneak thief of sight" for good reason: Many people are unaware that glaucoma has few symptoms or warning signs in its early stages. Early treatment for glaucoma can usually (but not always) slow the progression of the disease. However, as of yet, there is no cure for glaucoma. Because glaucoma has no obvious initial symptoms, a

Meet Joseph Fontenot, MD, CVLT: Be Informed and Proactive About Low Vision Services, Protect Yourself, and Always "Buyer Beware"

Joseph Fontenot,M.D., CLVT Dr. Joseph Fontenot is a medical doctor, Certified Low Vision Therapist, and Medical Director of Community Services for Vision Rehabilitation (CSVR), with offices in Alabama and Mississippi. He is also the current Chair of the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Vision Rehabilitation Committee. In that role,

A Powerful New Report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: Making Eye and Vision Health an Imperative for All Americans

The National Academiesof Sciences, Engineering,and Medicine logo Several recent United States-based eye and vision research projects, including the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study and the Philadelphia Glaucoma Detection and Treatment Project, have highlighted significant disparities in the quality and equity of eye care throughout the country, including barriers within the health care and public

New and Ongoing Research: A Drug-Dispensing Contact Lens that Effectively Lowers Eye Pressure Associated with Glaucoma

Several recent eye research projects have addressed the potential of contact lenses as a way to (a) deliver ocular drugs directly to the eye, (b) measure blood glucose levels, and (c) monitor intraocular (within the eye) pressure. Two prominent examples are the FDA-approved Triggerfish contact lens, which monitors intraocular pressure related to glaucoma, and

New Research Exploring Public Attitudes About Eye and Vision Health: Losing Vision Is Equal to Losing Hearing, Memory, Speech, or a Limb

New survey research from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Chicago that explores Americans' attitudes toward (a) the importance of eye health, (b) concerns about losing vision, (c) support for eye health research, and (d) awareness of eye diseases and risk factors has also revealed that the loss of eyesight is considered by many survey respondents to be "the worst ailment that could happen … relative to losing memory, speech, hearing, or a limb." According to the authors, "These findings emphasize the importance of focusing on the preservation of eye health and public support for vision research across all ethnic and racial groups in

New Research: Neuroscientists Regenerate Damaged Optic Nerves in Mice, May Lead to Future Treatment for Glaucoma or Other Optic Nerve Disorders

A group of United States-based neuroscience researchers has used a combination of gene therapy and visual stimulation to create a partial regeneration of damaged optic nerves in blind laboratory mice. Although this research is in its earliest stages and has been performed only with mice, the researchers are "cautiously optimistic" that these findings could one day be used to treat adult patients with vision loss caused by problems with the eye-brain connection – the optic nerve – such as

New Research: Results from the Philadelphia Glaucoma Detection and Treatment Project

New glaucoma research, initially presented at the American Glaucoma Society 24th Annual Meeting, concludes that targeting individuals at risk for glaucoma in underserved communities – in this case, Philadelphia – can yield a high detection rate of glaucoma-related diagnoses. The authors conclude that "providing examinations and offering treatment at community-based sites providing services to older adults are effective ways to improve access to eye care by underserved

New Research: The Number of Older Americans with Visual Impairment or Blindness Is Expected To Double By 2050

According to new demographic research addressing blindness, vision impairment, and low vision, the number of older Americans who have visual impairments or are blind is projected to double by 2050. This important – and urgent – research, entitled Visual Impairment and Blindness in Adults in the United States: Demographic and Geographic Variations from 2015 to 2050, has been published "online first" in the May 19, 2016 edition of JAMA

Understanding Low Vision Care and Low Vision Devices: Part 2 in a Series on Low Vision and Low Vision Services by Bryan Gerritsen, CLVT

Guest blogger Bryan Gerritsen is a certified low vision therapist (CLVT) and owner of Low Vision Rehabilitation Services, providing low vision services throughout Utah. He is also the author of An Overview of Low Vision Devices,

There is Hope; There is Help: Part 1 in a Series on Low Vision and Low Vision Services by Bryan Gerritsen, CLVT

Guest blogger Bryan Gerritsen is a certified low vision therapist (CLVT) and owner of Low Vision Rehabilitation Services, providing low vision services throughout Utah. He is also the author of An Overview of Low Vision Devices,

New Research: Do Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Systems Affect Adherence to Glaucoma Medication Regimens?

Electronic medical record (EMR) systems, defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as "an electronic record of health-related information on an individual that can be created, gathered, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff within one health care organization," have the potential to provide substantial benefits to physicians, clinic practices, and health care organizations and improve the quality of patient care and safety. Nevertheless, despite these myriad benefits, the possibility of medical error or

Charles Bonnet Syndrome: Visual Hallucinations Are My Constant Companions by VisionAware Peer Advisor Sheila Rousey

Guest blogger and VisionAware Peer Advisor Sheila Rousey is an educator, assistive technology specialist, and certified braille transcriber. With a Master's degree in Special Education from Clemson University, Sheila has provided Interrelated Special Education Instruction in the public

Glaucoma News: Researchers Convert Stem Cells into Retinal Ganglion Cells for Future Targeted Glaucoma Treatment

Using stem cells derived from human skin cells, university researchers from Indiana and Connecticut have demonstrated the ability to turn stem cells into retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), which are the neurons that conduct visual information from the eye to the brain. Their research goal is ultimately to develop therapies that can prevent, slow down, or cure the degenerative processes that accompany glaucoma and other optic nerve injuries. Please note: Although this stem cell research has produced interesting results thus far, it is in its very earliest stages and

The FDA Approves Marketing of the Triggerfish "Smart" Contact Lens Sensor to Monitor Glaucoma Eye Pressure

On March 4, 2016, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would allow the marketing of the Triggerfish® Sensor, a "smart" contact lens that may help eye doctors identify the best time of day to measure a patient's intraocular [i.e., within the eye] pressure, or IOP. Elevated IOP is often associated with the optic nerve damage that is characteristic of glaucoma. The FDA granted this approval via the

New Research from Canada: Approximately One in Five Persons with Vision Loss Experience Visual Hallucinations

Charles Bonnet ("Bo-NAY") Syndrome (CBS) is a condition that causes vivid, complex, recurrent visual hallucinations, usually in older adults with later-life vision loss from eye conditions that can include macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and

New Research Explained: Restoring Vision Following Long-Term Blindness: Prosthetic Vision and Considerations for Rehabilitation

During the past several years, there has been much "buzz" in the popular press about the capabilities of the so-called "bionic" eye, described variously as "miraculous," "restoring sight," and "letting me see again." At VisionAware, we have followed the development of "bionic" or "prosthetic" vision closely, avoiding hyperbole and striving to report factual, research-based information about the limitations of restored vision. Now, in this month's edition of the Journal of Vision Impairment & Blindness, two researchers who are pioneers in the study of prosthetic vision analyze the current state of the art in

New Research: Stepped Care for Coping with Age-Related Vision Loss, Depression, and Anxiety

New research from Europe indicates that stepped care – a type of treatment that can offer self-help and "as needed" options for coping with age-related vision loss and depression – can offer promise in dealing with depression and anxiety in visually impaired older adults. Further, this stepped care approach (detailed below) could lead to standardized strategies for the screening, monitoring, treatment, and referral of visually impaired older adults with vision-related depression and anxiety. From the British Medical Journal (BMJ) The research, entitled

New Research on Marijuana Use for Glaucoma: Is Education Enough, or Is Emotional Support also Necessary?

New glaucoma research from The George Washington University in Washington, DC indicates that the factors associated with patients' intentions to use marijuana for glaucoma include their perceptions of the legality of marijuana use as well as satisfaction (or not) with their current standard of glaucoma care. The researchers conclude that patients need to be educated about marijuana and its specific effects on glaucoma, which they note is not supported by scientific evidence. In an editorial response to the research, however, two

Our Readers Want to Know: Why Am I Having Visual Hallucinations Along with My Vision Loss?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search the Internet]. Since the earliest days of, and more so during the past year, the following questions appear consistently within our top searches: I'm seeing things that I know aren't there. What is wrong with me? I'm nervous because I see people in my house, but I know they're not really there. Why is this happening? An Answer from VisionAware <img src="" alt="Engraving of Charles Bonnet in profile.

AFB Press Releases New Edition of Making Life More Livable: Simple Adaptations for Living at Home after Vision Loss

by Mary D'Apice, VisionAware Contributing Writer An interview with Maureen A. Duffy, CVRT, Author Making Life More Livable Agencies that provide services to people who are blind or visually impaired offer vision rehabilitation to the 5.3 million Americans over 65 with

Is Glaucoma a Genetic Disease? New and Innovative Genetic Research Shows Promise in the Treatment of Glaucoma

New glaucoma research from the United States and China indicates that a genetic interaction may prove to be a key component in the development and progression of open-angle glaucoma. Although this genetic research has been conducted only with laboratory mice, the concept shows great promise for developing and identifying effective therapies for treating – and even preventing – glaucoma. Molecular Cell: the Research The research, entitled P16INK4a [a type of gene] Upregulation [increased

How Can We Improve Compliance with Glaucoma Medication Regimens? New Research Advocates Team-Based Care, Similar to Diabetes

New glaucoma research from the University of Michigan indicates that patterns of adherence to glaucoma medication regimens, both positive and negative, that are established during the first year tend to persist over time. According to the research team, these results suggest that "investing resources in both identifying and helping patients with [less than optimal] adherence patterns over the first year may have a large impact on longer-term adherence." "If we can increase people's contact with the healthcare system in new ways — it doesn't

Meet Doug Anzlovar and the New "Low Vision Focus @ Hadley" Program at The Hadley School for the Blind

Doug Anzlovar is the Vice President of Education and Training at The Hadley School for the Blind, where he serves as a member of the administrative team, oversees a 31-member faculty, is involved in curriculum decisions and policy development, and oversees the Low Vision Focus @ Hadley program. Prior to joining Hadley, Doug worked as a teacher of the visually impaired in the Chicago Public Schools for nearly 10 years. While at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Doug developed a resource program for students with visual impairments and later became chair

Introducing Stuart Carduner, Glaucoma Patient and Advocate

Editor's note: Just in time for World Glaucoma Week, VisionAware is introducing a new Patient's Guide for Living with Glaucoma, written by a person who has glaucoma from his perspective. By Mary D'Apice, VisionAware peer advisor Author of Patient's Guide to Living with Glaucoma Is Both Patient and Advocate Stuart Carduner, author of the Patient's Guide to Living with Glaucoma, knows that many patients enter the ophthalmologist's office with a good

Can Generic Drugs Improve Compliance with Glaucoma Medication Regimens? New Research Says Yes

New glaucoma research from the University of Michigan (U-M) indicates that patients are more likely to comply with a glaucoma medication regimen that includes generic – rather than brand-name – drugs, suggesting that the high cost of co-pays for brand-name drugs may be a significant deterrent to compliance. The U-M research team examined patient medication-compliance patterns before and after latanaprost, a generic prostaglandin analogue (PGA) glaucoma drug [explained below], became available on the market in 2011. They found that patients who continued to use

New Glaucoma Research from the UK: Eye Pressure-Lowering Drops Can Help Preserve the Visual Field

The most commonly prescribed medication for the treatment of open-angle glaucoma is a class of eye pressure-lowering drugs called prostaglandin analogues (explained below). Until recently, however, the extent to which these drugs could help preserve the visual field and protect visual function had not been assessed via controlled clinical trials. The United Kingdom Glaucoma Treatment Study, which examined this question via a

New Research: Patients not Referred for Low Vision Services in a Timely and Efficient Manner

Last month, at the 2014 American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting, a group of student researchers from the New England College of Optometry presented survey data that identified (a) patient barriers to low vision services and (b) the actions optometrists can take to improve the efficiency of referrals to low vision specialists. Their research revealed a discrepancy between

Can Our Eye Movements While Watching Television Reveal the Presence of Glaucoma?

New research from City University London indicates that the sequence of specific eye movements an individual uses while watching television or films (called an "eye movement signature") could offer clues as to whether or not he or she has glaucoma. According to the research team, these "proof of principle" findings could spur the development of an easy-to-use, non-invasive method of screening for glaucoma and additional eye conditions. From Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience The research, entitled

Is Visual Field Loss in Glaucoma Related to Declines in Quality of Life? New Research Says Yes

New glaucoma research from the University of California, San Diego, has measured the amount and rate of change in glaucoma-related visual field loss and combined that information with data from the National Eye Institute's Visual Function Questionnaire (explained below) to gather quality-of-life self-reports from study participants with glaucoma. The study results indicate that vision-related function incorporating patient self-assessment and perspectives can help glaucoma physicians (a) better identify patients who may

Is Glaucoma a Genetic Disease? Three New Research Projects Pinpoint Six Specific Genes

Three new research projects exploring the role of genes – and six genes in particular – as possible causes of glaucoma have been published simultaneously in the August 31, 2014 online edition of Nature Genetics. Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is a publisher of scientific and medical information in print and online. NPG publishes a range of journals across the life, physical, chemical, and applied sciences and clinical medicine. Although research scientists are the primary audience, news summaries and articles make many of

Do People with Glaucoma Read Less and Engage Less with Reading Tasks? New Research Says Yes

New glaucoma research from Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, the official journal of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), indicates that persons with glaucoma read less, have reduced reading skills, and have less engagement with tasks that require sustained reading. The authors conclude that additional research is critically necessary to define the best reading methods in persons with glaucoma by (a) using

New Glaucoma Research: Is Acute Glaucoma Actually an Inflammatory Disease?

Researchers from the United States and China have demonstrated that (a) acute glaucoma in mice presents as an inflammatory disease and (b) elevated eye pressure causes vision loss by setting in motion an inflammatory response similar to that evoked by bacterial infections. This research is in its earliest stages and has been conducted only with laboratory mice. Nevertheless, the concept shows great promise for persons with acute glaucoma. The research, entitled Caspase-8 promotes NLRP1/NLRP3 inflammasome activation and IL-1ß production in acute glaucoma (explained below) was

New Research: An Innovative Simulator Evaluates Eye Diseases and Driving Performance

The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine is the first ophthalmology department in the country to feature a fully dedicated, high-fidelity, realistic driving simulator to evaluate the effects of visual impairment, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, on an individual's driving performance. The UC San Diego driving simulatorSource: UC San Diego Health System Newsroom Located in the Visual Performance Laboratory of the

Meet the Vision Institute and StreetLab: Vision Research, Simulations, and Education in Paris

During Vision Research Month, it gives me great pleasure to highlight the work of the Vision Institute of Paris and its subsidiary StreetLab. Both organizations are committed to ongoing vision research, with StreetLab featuring complementary and innovative outreach methods to enhance accessibility, inclusion, public awareness, and education. The Vision Institute of Paris (L'Institut de la Vision de Paris) Located in the center of Paris, the Vision Institute is an interdisciplinary research center that addresses eye diseases, vision loss, environmental modification, and daily living skills through the

Is It Possible that Glaucoma Is a Brain Disease?

A group of American and Australian researchers is proposing that glaucoma may actually be a brain – not an eye – disease. Their research theorizes that it is the brain, not the eye, controlling the cellular process that results in glaucoma. The study, entitled Refined Data Analysis Provides Clinical Evidence for Central Nervous System Control of Chronic Glaucomatous Neurodegeneration, was published in the May 2014 issue of Translational Vision Science & Technology.

New Research: Rethinking Charles Bonnet Syndrome and Visual Hallucinations

Charles Bonnet ("Bo-NAY") Syndrome (CBS) is a condition that causes vivid, complex, recurrent visual hallucinations, usually in older adults with later-life vision loss from eye conditions that can include macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. The visual hallucinations associated with CBS can range from animated, colorful, dreamlike images to less complicated

New Research: Are Lucentis, Avastin, and Eylea Risk Factors for Increased Eye Pressure?

The injectable drugs Eylea, Lucentis, and Avastin have revolutionized the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Nevertheless, questions continue to arise regarding the risks and complications that accompany this delivery system. At present, these drugs require monthly injections or a pro re nata [i.e.,

Our Readers Want to Know: How Is a Vision Screening Different from a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search the Internet]. Since the earliest days of, the following questions about eye exams consistently rank within the top information searches: How can I keep my eyes healthy and prevent eye disease? What is the difference between a full eye examination and a shorter vision screening? About Healthy Vision Month During

Could Glaucoma Actually Be "Diabetes of the Brain"? A New Hypothesis Says Maybe

A group of medical researchers from India is proposing the radical new hypothesis that glaucoma may indeed be diabetes of the brain. The research, entitled Glaucoma – Diabetes of the brain: A radical hypothesis about its nature and pathogenesis [i.e., the mechanisms that cause it], has been published in the May 2014 issue of Medical Hypotheses. Published by Elsevier Inc., Medical Hypotheses is a forum

Maintaining a Glaucoma Medication Regimen: What Factors Do – or Don't – Promote Adherence?

A critical component of glaucoma care, and one that physicians continuously stress, is the importance of adhering to a therapeutic eye drop regimen for glaucoma. In order for the medication to lower intraocular pressure effectively, consistent adherence to the prescribed eye drop regimen is essential. Yet, by most accounts, non-adherence – both intentional and unintentional – remains problematic. Barriers to adherence include the asymptomatic nature [i.e., exhibiting no

An Efficient Practice and Good Patient Communication: Is It Possible to Have Both? A Glaucoma Case Study

One of the most pressing contemporary challenges confronting ophthalmologists and optometrists is balancing efficiency of practice management with quality of patient care, including time spent speaking directly with patients. At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, Michael V. Boland, MD, PhD, and Ravi R. Pandit, a fourth-year MD/MPH student, have been exploring this issue as it relates to the Glaucoma Center of Excellence at Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. Quality of care - from the patient's point of view - is also examined in the documentary film

New Research: Early-Stage Glaucoma Damage Can Sometimes Be Missed by Visual Field Index Test

During World Glaucoma Week, it is helpful – and instructive – to listen to discussions within the medical community about issues that are critically important to people with glaucoma. One such issue relates to a major challenge in the management of glaucoma: how to best determine the severity of the disease, estimate the rate of glaucoma progression, initiate appropriate treatment, and adjust treatment when necessary. In persons with glaucoma, it is the visual field that is the most important functional measure of the severity of the disease and its

Glaucoma Progression and Sleep Position: Are They Related?

A group of South Korean and American researchers have investigated the relationship between preferred sleeping position and asymmetric [i.e., not identical in both eyes] visual field loss in subjects with glaucoma. Their results suggest that the sleep position habitually preferred by the study participants [i.e., lying on the same side of the body as the eye with the greater visual field loss] could be a factor that contributes to glaucoma progression. (Please note: The researchers did not determine that sleep position caused asymmetric field loss; they only determined that sleep position

Researchers in the United Kingdom Create Viable Retinal Cells via Inkjet Printing Technology

Here is some interesting – and startling – scientific news as we enter 2014: Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom have used inkjet printing technology to successfully print retinal cells. The results provide "proof of concept" that an inkjet printer can be used to print two types of retinal cells from adult rats: ganglion cells and glial cells. Ganglion cells are a type of nerve cell that is found in the retina. Glia are non-nerve cells that provide support and protection for neurons in the brain and nervous system. This

New Research: Do Adults with Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma Stay Closer to Home?

Researchers from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging have presented evidence that older Americans with age-related macular degeneration tend not to travel as far from home as older adults with unimpaired vision. This was not the case, however, among the study subjects with glaucoma, even though both conditions cause vision loss which generally makes travel more difficult. The research, entitled Alteration of Travel Patterns with Vision Loss from Glaucoma and Macular

In Development: A Contact Lens to Deliver Glaucoma Medication

A team of American researchers has developed a contact lens that can deliver a regulated dose of the glaucoma drug latanoprost for up to a month. The lenses encase a thin film of the drug inside the edges of the absorbent plastic used to make contact lenses. They have not yet been tested on human subjects, but appear to be safe in cell culture and animal studies. The research, entitled In vivo performance of a drug-eluting contact lens to treat glaucoma for a month, is available

"Going Blind" and "Getting Started": A Dynamic Combination

Going Blind: Coming out of the Dark about Vision Loss is a documentary film in which producer/director Joseph Lovett documents his own experience of gradual vision loss from glaucoma and his sometimes-difficult journey through the "secret world," as he calls it, of vision rehabilitation. Going Blind also tells the personal stories of everyday people who are living, coping, and ultimately thriving with blindness and

When the Eyes Play Tricks: Charles Bonnet Syndrome Explains Visual Hallucinations in Those With Visual Impairments

Editor's note: Information about Charles Bonnet Syndrome is of major interest to our visitors. It is often misunderstood by people experiencing the visual hallucinations and by professionals. So Mary D'Apice, VisionAware peer adviser, decided to share Dolores's story to enlighten readers. Visual Hallucinations One night, 75-year-old Dolores woke up to find a huge tree growing beside her bed. Dolores is not a character out of a fiction story but one of many individuals who experience visual hallucinations brought on by vision loss. Dolores later learned

In Spain, Researchers Regenerate Retina in Mice: the Laboratory Results

Recently, I learned about a fascinating study in which researchers from the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain have identified a pathway that triggers the reprogramming and regeneration of retinal neurons in the eye; in addition, they have regenerated mouse retinal tissue through cell reprogramming This research is in its earliest stages and has been conducted only with laboratory mice. Nevertheless, the concept shows great promise for persons with retinal disease. The study, entitled

A New Low Vision Publication from the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International

The Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI) has just published Insights into Low Vision, a compilation of tools, tips, techniques, and research updates for peer advocates, family members, professionals, and individuals with low vision. Here is more information about this much-needed publication from the CCLVI website: CCLVI's new publication, Insights into Low Vision … has articles by 26 authors, all nationally-known specialists in

Echolocation: A Case Study by Guest Blogger Marta Fonmudeh, Vision Australia

Guest blogger Marta Fonmudeh, M.Ed, is an Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialist and Senior Practitioner with Vision Australia. As Senior Practitioner, Marta oversees the professional development and clinical supervision of all O&M staff within Vision Australia. Marta is also a VisionAware Peer Advisor. Last week on the VisionAware blog, we examined the process of echolocation, or Using Your Ears

VisionExchange: A Support Group for Support Group Leaders by Guest Blogger Polly Abbott, CVRT

In honor of Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT) Appreciation Week (June 23-29), VisionAware is featuring the work of talented VRTs throughout the United States. Polly Abbott is a Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (CVRT), an Orientation and Mobility Specialist with a background in education, and Director of Rehabilitation Services at Second Sense in Chicago,

There's Nothing More that Can be Done, You Say? Not True, We Say!

Filmmaker and advocate Joe Lovett is the producer/director of Going Blind: Coming out of the Dark about Vision Loss, a documentary film created to increase public awareness of blindness, vision loss, and the vision rehabilitation system. Going Blind is also Joe's personal story of his ongoing struggle with glaucoma and his sometimes-difficult journey through the "secret world," as he calls it, of vision

Meet Gil Johnson: Blind Woodworker and One of California's "50 Notable People"

Gil Johnson is an avid (and talented) woodworker and the author of Gil's Guide to Home Repairs and Parenting or Grandparenting with Vision Loss on the VisionAware website. Gil also hosts the Repairing Your Home message board, where you can ask him any question about home repair techniques and tips. Gil's professional life began as a Rehabilitation Counselor and

Three Blind Mice and the National Institutes of Health Present the Documentary Film "Going Blind"

I was pleased to learn that the March 2013 National Institutes of Health Clinical Center Newsletter features the documentary film Going Blind: Coming out of the Dark about Vision Loss and its producer/director Joe Lovett. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, is the nation's largest hospital devoted entirely to

A New Study Explores the Advantages of Morning versus Evening Glaucoma Medication

A new study, published in the Journal of Glaucoma, has attempted to determine "whether adherence is better with morning or evening administration of a once-daily glaucoma medication in the treatment of patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension." The Journal of Glaucoma provides a forum for discussion of clinical, scientific, and socioeconomic issues of concern to clinicians who care for persons with

New Research on Driving Patterns in Older Adults with Glaucoma

A new study, entitled Driving patterns in older adults with glaucoma, has been published online on February 21, 2013, in BMC Ophthalmology. The study concludes that glaucoma and visual field loss from glaucoma are associated with a greater likelihood that older adults will limit driving, stop driving, or change their driving preferences. The authors are Suzanne W. van Landingham, Chad Hochberg, Robert W.

Treating Hypertension May Increase the Risk of Vision Loss from Glaucoma

At the American Glaucoma Society 2013 Annual Meeting, lead investigator Carlos Gustavo De Moraes, MD, from New York University Langone Medical Center, presented results of a study indicating that persons with normal-tension glaucoma may have an increased risk for vision loss if they are also receiving aggressive hypertension (i.e., high blood pressure) treatment. According to Dr. De Moraes, 32% of the 85 study subjects had both systemic

A New Low Vision Resource from the National Eye Institute

The National Eye Institute (NEI) has released a 20-page, full-color, large print booklet with companion videos, in support of Low Vision Awareness Month, February 2013. The booklet and videos were developed by NEI's National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP). The mission of NEI, a part of the National Institutes of Health, is to "conduct and support research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to blinding eye diseases, visual disorders, mechanisms of visual function, preservation of sight, and the special health

Positive Phase III Clinical Trial Results for Totally Blind Persons with Sleep Disorders

On January 23, 2013, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced positive Phase III clinical trial results from the recently completed Randomized-withdrawal study of the Efficacy and Safety of Tasimelteon (RESET) study; in addition, on December 18, 2012, Vanda announced positive Phase III clinical trial results from the Safety and Efficacy of Tasimelteon (SET) study. Tasimelteon is an experimental drug treatment for totally blind individuals with no light perception who experience a sleep problem called "Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Disorder." In the United States, this disorder affects approximately 65,000 totally blind

A Promising New Method for Administering Glaucoma Medication

A promising (but not yet proven) treatment for glaucoma is the use of punctal plugs to deliver an accurate and consistent dosage of glaucoma medication. A major concern in glaucoma treatment is compliance with a medication regimen: ensuring that individuals use their eye drops every day and in the correct dosage. The consequences of poor compliance can lead to surgery, vision impairment, or even blindness. Small eye drop containers are not easy to

Have Researchers Identified an Early Predictor for Glaucoma?

A new study, published in the January 2013 issue of Ophthalmology, concludes that blood vessel changes within the eye could be an early warning sign of an increased risk for glaucoma. Ophthalmology, the official journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, publishes original, peer-reviewed reports of research in ophthalmology, including treatment methods, the latest drug findings, and results of clinical trials. The Study Authors

Fear of Falling, Eye Disease, and Limitations in Daily Activities: They're All Related

Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, the official journal of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), has published yet another thought-provoking study about the real-life ramifications of adult-onset vision loss. The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology Activity Limitation Due To a Fear of Falling in Older Adults with Eye Disease was published in the December 3, 2012 online edition of

Glaucoma, Reading Speed, and Possible E-Reading Applications

A recent study has examined the relationship between reading speed and bilateral [i.e., both eyes] visual field loss from glaucoma and relates the findings to potential applications in e-reading technology, such as the iPad or Kindle. The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology Difficulty with Out-loud and Silent Reading in Glaucoma has been published online ahead-of-print in Investigative Ophthalmology

New Research on Glaucoma, Impaired Eye Movements, and Daily Living Activities

A new study, published in the November 27, 2012 issue of the online journal Eye and Brain, concludes that saccadic eye movements are significantly delayed in individuals with early, moderate, or advanced glaucoma. Eye and Brain is an international, peer-reviewed, open access journal focusing on clinical and experimental research in the field of neuro-ophthalmology. About Saccades and Eye Movements Saccades (pronounced suh-KAHDZ) are

New Developments in Glaucoma Treatment: Micro-Stents

Year One results from the HYDRUS I clinical trial of the Hydrus Microstent, which has the potential for long-term reduction of intraocular [i.e., within the eye] pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma, were presented at the 2012 American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting, held from November 10-13 in Chicago, Illinois. Ivantis, Inc., an Irvine, California-based company

A Phase 2 Clinical Trial for a New Glaucoma Treatment

Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced positive results for a Phase 2a clinical trial of experimental/investigational drug AR-13324 as a potential eye drop treatment for primary open-angle glaucoma. About Aerie Pharmaceuticals Aerie Pharmaceuticals, Inc., located in Bedminster, New Jersey and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is a privately held biotechnology

Charles Bonnet Syndrome: My Personal and Professional Journey

This past week, I found myself involved in an interesting Twitter discussion about Charles Bonnet ("Bo-NAY") Syndrome (CBS), a condition that causes vivid, complex, recurrent visual hallucinations, usually (but not solely) in older adults with later-life vision loss. The "visual hallucinations" associated with CBS can range from animated, colorful, dreamlike images to less complicated visions of people, animals, vehicles, houses, and

More Follow-Up To the Coping with Vision Loss Study

As always, it's highly informative to follow up with VisionAware author Kaye Olson, the coordinator of the Coping with Vision Loss Study, which investigated the wide range of coping strategies used by adults and older adults who are blind, visually impaired, or have low vision. Following Up: The Field Responds Several weeks ago, I blogged about the follow-up

Documentary Film "Going Blind" To Have September Capitol Hill Screening for US Legislators

Meet filmmaker Joe Lovett, friend of VisionAware and producer/director of Going Blind: Coming out of the Dark about Vision Loss, a stunning and moving documentary film created to increase public awareness of blindness, vision loss, and the vision rehabilitation system. Going Blind is also Joe's personal story of his ongoing struggle with glaucoma and his sometimes-difficult journey through the "secret world," as he

An Ophthalmologist "Nails It" Regarding Physician-Patient Communication

I first published this story on March 17, 2011, but believe it's equally relevant today. I think you'll agree. Meet Doctor Friedman David S. Friedman, MD, MPH, PhD, is a prominent and powerful advocate for enhanced physician-patient communication. Doctor Friedman is an ophthalmologist whose primary practice is located at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. He discussed the current state of physician-patient communication during his recent presentation at the Richard A. Ellis Lecture at the Wills Eye Institute

A New Website from the National Institutes of Health: Clinical Research Trials and You

From a press release from the National Institutes of Health (NIH): The National Institutes of Health has created a new website, NIH Clinical Research Trials and You, to help people learn more about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate. From the first cure of a solid tumor with chemotherapy to the use of nitroglycerin in response to heart attacks, clinical research trials – or research studies involving people – have played a vital role in improving health and quality of life for people around the

More Frequent Visual Field Testing May Lead To Earlier Detection of Glaucoma Progression

Here's more good news about glaucoma that builds upon, and enhances, quality of life issues. I was interested to read Influence of Visual Field Testing Frequency on Detection of Glaucoma Progression with Trend Analyses, an exploration of whether an increased frequency of visual field testing leads to earlier detection of glaucoma progression, in the August 8,

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