Entries in Contact Lenses (6)


Contact Lenses Considered for Elephant

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- After having C'Sar, the North Carolina Zoo’s 38-year-old elephant, undergo two rare surgeries to correct cataracts, caretakers at the zoo and a team of veterinarians from North Carolina State University are considering whether to get the elephant corrective lenses, which would make CSar the first elephant ever to receive contacts.

But they fear the risks of the contact lenses could outweigh the benefits.

“It’s never been used before in an elephant or in any animal species, and so it’s a little bit difficult for us to predict how it would affect him,” said Richard McMullen, assistant professor of veterinary ophthalmology at North Carolina State University. McMullen performed both of C'Sar’s cataract surgeries.

C’Sar, an African bull elephant, was diagnosed with cataracts in 2010. His caretakers noticed he seemed lethargic and depressed and had difficulty getting around his 7.5 acre exhibit. The 12,000 pound elephant had also lost 1,000 pounds.

“They would throw food in front of him, and he couldn’t even see it,” said Rod Hackney, public relations manager at the North Carolina Zoo.

The zoo removed C’Sar from his exhibit in March 2011 because his eyesight was so poor, Hackney said. In October 2011, the elephant had his first surgery. This spring C'Sar was returned to his exhibit and seemed to be doing much better, until his second surgery in May, Hackney said. Although the surgeries improved C’Sar’s sight, they left him farsighted.

While C'Sar recovers from his second surgery, he is being kept in a barn with a small paddock, where caretakers can keep a closer eye on him. C’Sar has already gained back the weight he lost and appears upbeat, Hackney said. Zoo officials are confident he will make a full recovery.

“We believe the surgeries will improve his sight enough that the lenses won’t be necessary,” said Hackney.

One of the major reasons zoo officials remain so wary about the contact lenses is the difficulty of putting them in.

“When we get close to his eye he’ll squint pretty tightly,” McMullen said. “That’s going to be the first hurdle we have to overcome.”

Although at 38 C’Sar is in middle-age in elephant years, cataracts aren’t the only health problem he has had during his 34 years at the zoo.

“He has fallen down in his area and had to be picked up with a crane,” Hackney said. “He has arthritis and other problems.”

If the zoo decides to go ahead with the contact lenses, they would have to be changed about every three months, during which C’Sar would have to be put to sleep, Hackney said.

“Because of his problems getting up from a lying position, the chances are good that they’re not going to put the contact lenses in,” Hackney said.

Acrivet, a Germen-based company that makes corrective lenses for dogs, is ready to make the lenses if needed. C’Sar’s lenses would need to be 38 millimeters in diameter, McMullen said.

“We’ll be able to tell very early on if they’re going to make a positive effect or not, but we still need to get to that point,” McMullen said.

C’Sar came to the zoo in 1978 from Africa at age 4. He is now one of seven elephants in the exhibit, and is the oldest remaining member of the original animal collection on site. He is also one of the most popular animals at the zoo.

The zoo is waiting until September or October to finish observing C’Sar and decide if contact lenses are necessary.

“Contacts would be considered if he continues to have problems getting around, stops eating like he should or appears lethargic and depressed,” Hackney said. “So far the exact opposite has happened.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Doctor Claims He Can Change Your Eye Color

JupiterImages/Comstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Are you a brown-eyed girl or guy who has always wanted to go blue? Forget the contacts. One doctor says he can make the color change permanent.

Dr. Gregg Homer at Stroma Medical in California announced on KTLA-TV that he had come up with a laser procedure that removes the brown pigment, known as melanin, in the iris. Once removed, the blue color underneath is revealed, giving the person blue eyes. Homer said the procedure takes about 20 seconds.

“We use a laser that’s tuned to a specific frequency to remove the pigment from the surface of the iris,” he told KTLA.

The change is irreversible because, once removed, the melanin cannot grow back.

Homer says he’s been working on the science for 10 years. He told the news channel that he and his team had 15 ranges of “sophisticated” tests to make sure there is no eye tissue damage during or after the procedure.

Homer predicted the procedure would be on the market outside the U.S. in 18 months and available here in three years.

Lasering the iris to destroy the brown pigment to turn it blue is “probably risky,” Dr. Robert Cykiert, associate professor of ophthalmology at NYU Langone Medical Center, told ABC News.

“When you burn the brown pigment away with a laser, the debris that is created in the front of the eye — think of it as ashes resulting from burning anything — is likely to clog up the microscopic channels in the front of the eye, known as trabecular meshwork,” said Cykiert. “[It] is very likely to cause a high pressure in the eye, known as glaucoma.”

In some patients, this high pressure might be temporary, he said, but in others, it could be permanent. Glaucoma is a disease that can cause serious permanent loss of vision.

Cykiert also said that burning large amounts of brown pigment is likely to cause inflammation and potential damage to the cornea. The procedure could also bring on cataracts, depending on the severity of the inflammation.

Dr. Ivan Schwab, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of California at Davis School of Medicine and clinical correspondent at the American Academy of Ophthalmology, also has his doubts. He said several long-term studies should get under way before Homer offers the procedure to the public.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Beware: Novelty Colored Contact Lenses Can Cause Damage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If you've been eyeing those neon-green sunburst eye contacts this Halloween, beware.

While those colored contacts seem like the perfect touch to your homemade zombie costume, they can damage your eyes.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that buying these decorative contacts from anyone but a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist can give your eyes a monster mash of problems: scratches on your cornea, infections, pink eye and, in the most severe cases, blindness.

These lenses, often sold in pop-up Halloween stores, beauty supply shops and on the Internet, don’t correct your vision but just change the eyes’ appearance.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Contact Lens Cleansing: Rub and Rinse Method Most Effective 

BananaStock/Thinkstock(SYDNEY) -- An extra cleansing step before soaking soft contact lenses is the best preventative measure against eye infections, a new study says.

HealthDay reports that people who use soft contact lenses are encouraged to rub and rinse their lenses before overnight soaking to remove harmful germs, according to a study published in the August issue of Optometry and Vision Science.

The study authors, led by Hua Zhu, of Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney, Australia, compared three methods for cleansing soft contact lenses: rub and rinse—involving a few seconds of rubbing and rinsing followed by several hours of soaking; rinse-only and soaking; or soaking only.

Researchers used common disinfection solutions to remove bacteria and other contaminants from commercial soft contact lenses that including two types of silicone hydrogel lenses.

The rub and rinse method proved most effective in removing resistant germs

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Finds Smartphones May Damage Eyesight

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New research shows that smartphones may be damaging people's eyesight.

The study found that smartphone-owners tend to read text messages or websites at a closer distance than they would with a newspaper. The trend could worsen the eyesight of people with glasses or contact lenses.

Over a hundred volunteers participated in the experiment, which asked patients to read from their smartphones. Scientists then measured the distance between their eyes and the screen.

Doctors advise smartphone owners to increase the font size on their devices, if they are worried about detrimental effects.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Did Colored Contacts Ruin Teen's Cornea?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A 14-year-old girl from Queens, New York may need a cornea transplant after wearing colored contact lenses she bought at a beauty store for $20.

Erica Barnes said she only wore the hazel-hued lenses for one day, according to local reports.  But that was long enough to scratch the surface of her right eye and spur an infection that could leave behind a blinding scar.

"Once that protective barrier is defeated, bacteria can just flow in," said Dr. Roy Chuck, professor and chair of ophthalmology at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.  "You can treat the infection.  But part of healing is making a scar, and that can block vision."

It could take up to six months for doctors to know whether Barnes will need a cornea transplant to restore vision in her right eye.  But while she waits, the teen tolerates excruciating pain.

"The density of nerves on the surface of the eye is higher than almost any other place on the body," said Chuck.  A small scratch can feel like 1,000 toothaches.  And a big scratch, Chuck said he could "only imagine what it would be like for a 14-year-old."

Federal law prohibits the sale of contacts, even for cosmetic purposes, without a prescription.  But beauty shops on the street and online sell them cheap, without a proper fitting or instructions on how to use them.

"Teens and young adults are bypassing doctors to get these lenses.  And when you do that, you run the risk of not having the right fit," Chuck said.

The wrong fit makes lenses more likely to scratch the eye.  Add in a teen who doesn't understand the importance of clean lenses and hands, and the infection risk soars.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio