Protect your eyesight: Important things to know

Kalpana Sharma TNN, Times of India

When we are seeing well and don't feel any discomfort in the eyes, it's easy to forget about good eye health. But a slight discomfort in the eyes and we are driven into frenzy. Longer exposure to screen time, nutrient-deficient diets and indoor and outdoor pollutants are some of the most common factors contributing to sight issues.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 285 million people worldwide suffer from low vision and blindness. Out of these, 39 million are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment.

A Pediatric Ophthalmologist and Squint Specialist warns, "We often harm our eyes due to some old mythical practices. Some people use rose water routinely in their eyes and others open and close their eyes in a cup of cold water. There are no scientific studies to back the advantages of this practice and thus need not be done. Just cleaning the eyes with wet hands is adequate. In case of redness and discharge from the eyes, we should not use rose water, human breast milk, or a water bath when an infection is suspected. See an eye doctor when you have redness of eyes because the treatment will be based on the cause of the redness. A common mistake is to pick up eye drops over the counter for common eye symptoms. Use eye drops only prescribed by the eye doctor."

A Renowned Ophthalmologist from Gurgaon adds, "In case something goes into the eyes, like an insect, dust particle etc, rubbing the eyes must be avoided at all costs because that can lead to a corneal injury. Wash with clean water a couple of times and if the discomfort persists, please see a doctor. Another mistake which is potentially very dangerous is sleeping while wearing contact lenses. Students sometimes fall asleep while studying and can forget about their lenses- this must never be done!"

Most often children get eye injuries due to sharp objects carelessly lying around. A Voluntary Faculty at Pediatric Ophthalmology Department says, "We often get children with abrasions or injury to the cornea or lids because of objects like paper clips, scissors, knives, hangers or other sharp objects. It's best to keep them away from children." Even adults should be wary of sharp objects lying too close to the eye.

Eye issues in kids: Hyperopia and myopia

Farsightedness or hyperopia can cause crossing of the eyes, blurred vision or discomfort and nearsightedness or myopia is when distance vision is blurred. Eye rubbing is also common in such cases.

The renowned Ophthalmologist from Gurgaon says, "A lot of children nowadays are found to be near-sighted (Myopic). Some of the children are predisposed, in others, excessive use of smart devices (Phones, IPad, video games etc.) can aggravate the condition. Parents should try to restrict the amount of 'screen time' for their children. They should also be encouraged to inculcate good reading habits such as not reading in poor light or while lying down, or in a moving vehicle. A balanced diet is to be encouraged, especially including a portion of vegetables (the more colored vegetables, the better!) and fruits every day. Junk food should be restricted as the effects of preservatives and colouring agents, though unproven, has not been found to contribute positively to the health of the growing child."

The Pediatric Ophthalmologist and Squint Specialist adds, "The bottom line is that this condition often shows no symptoms and will be detected only on a routine eye examination by a pediatric ophthalmologist. Thus, it is essential for every child to have a routine eye exam by 4 years of age. Early testing should be done if there is a family history of needing glasses or if the parents notice a squint. The commonest myth is that my child can see very well and is performing well in school so he doesn't need glasses."

Exercise For Healthy Eyes

Hot and cold compress:

Soak one towel in hot water and one in cold water. Place the warm towel on your face such that it covers your eyebrows, eyelids and cheeks. Then replace with cold towel. Repeat few more times and end with cold compress.

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How technology is changing the future of organ transplants

Anonymous, Orgamites

Organ transplant procedures have come a long way since the very first successful kidney transplant, but there is still a huge shortage of organs globally. The NHS Blood and Transplant stats show that over the last 10 years in the UK over 6,000, including 270 children, died before receiving the transplant they needed.

Doctors and scientists are exploring new ways to solve this shortage of available organs and are also trying out new transplant procedures that could benefit thousands of people.

Here are some recent developments that could completely change the organ donation and transplantation system as we know it.

Creating organs from stem cells

In April 2016, a 2-year-old girl became the sixth patient in the world to receive a windpipe transplant made from her own stem cells.

The surgery was pioneered by Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, the director of the Advanced Center for Translational Regenerative Medicine. His procedure was approved by the FDA as an experimental operation for patients with very little hope of surviving.

The surgery was pioneered by a world famous surgeon, in the field of Translational Regenerative Medicine. His procedure was approved by the FDA as an experimental operation for patients with very little hope of surviving.

Stem cells are capable of becoming all different types of body cells, it’s believed they react to the environment in which they are transplanted and start reproducing the appropriate tissue.

Printing 3d organs

Scientists have developed a way to 3D print models of various anatomical structures, including hearts, brains, arteries and bones. In the future, this process could be used to create 3D-printed soft implants in which living tissue can grow to form organs.

Although the concept is still experimental, researchers have shown that it may one day be possible to use 3D printing to create replacement tissues and organs.

We’re still many years away from doing this on a routine basis, but there’s hope that printing organs could one day supplement the shortage of live organs. – says a practicing surgeon in the field of Regenerative Medicine. Printing more structural outer-tissue body parts may happen sooner. In 2013, researchers showed they were able to print a 3D replacement ear.

A machine that keeps organs alive outside the body.

Transplant teams have less than eight hours to transport the organ to the operating room, prepare it for surgery and implant it into the recipient’s body.

“Beyond that time, there is significant injury to the (organ), which makes it unusable,” said an expert in the field of heart and lung transplants program.

TransMedics developed a device called the Organ Care System (OCS). The machine is designed to replicate our human functions as closely as possible, by keeping the organs alive outside the body.

These relatively new machines allow organs to remain outside the human body for extended periods without causing damage that the usual cold storage method often does.

While these new technologies are not yet general practice and most are still in the developmental phase, the research and results show a promising future for creating and sustaining organs. Ultimately technology could eliminate the shortage of organs and even possibly the need for organ donors.

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Forehead Sensor Facilitates Low Perfusion Pulse Oximetry

Anonymous, HospiMedica International

An innovative transflectance sensor provides oxygen saturation measurements that are less susceptible to peripheral perfusion changes.

The TFA-1 single-patient-use adhesive forehead sensor allows clinicians to detection desaturation and re-saturation faster than via digit sensors when using Masimo SET measure-through motion and low perfusion pulse oximetry, by addressing low perfusion and motion artifact challenges. By harnessing adaptive filters to reduce measurement inaccuracy and the alternative forehead-monitoring site (rather than a finger), the TFA-1 provides easier access during surgery, resuscitation, and in patients with finger deformities.

The TFA-1 is suitable for both pediatric and adult patients, and is available in both Masimo LNCS and M-LNCS connector versions, each provided with a flat cable for improved patient comfort. Using a forehead sensor also avoids cross-contamination risks that accompany reusable sensors, reduces the complexity associated with reusable sensors, such as cleaning, storage, and transport. The TFA-1 single-patient-use adhesive forehead sensor is a product of Masimo, and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The TFA-1 transflectance forehead adhesive sensor offers clinicians yet another way to leverage the breakthrough measurement capability in Masimo SET pulse oximetry,” said by expert in the same field. By continuing to take Masimo's breakthrough technologies to new sites and applications, we are helping improve patient outcomes and safety while reducing cost of care.”

Masimo SET is a noninvasive sensor technology that uses more than seven wavelengths of light to acquire blood constituent data. Advanced signal processing algorithms and unique adaptive filters work together to isolate, identify, and quantify various hemoglobin species based on theur light absorption characteristics, delivering the results in numerical values. Masimo SET includes measurement of oxygen saturation (SpO2), pulse rate (PR), perfusion index (PI), and pleth variability index (PVI), a measure of the dynamic changes in perfusion index that occur during the respiratory cycle.

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The TFA-1 forehead oximetry sensor (Photo courtesy of Masimo).

Pericardial Drain Removal Safe Following Cardiac Tamponade

Daniel Beris, HospiMedica International

After treating cardiac tamponade arising from atrial fibrillation (AF) catheter ablation, pericardial drains do not need to be kept in place for an additional day, according to a new study.

Researchers from Oxford, United Kingdom conducted a retrospective descriptive analysis study of 43 cases of cardiac tamponade resulting from complication of atrial fibrillation catheter ablation (AFCA) procedures between 2006 and 2015 in order to examine the safety of early removal of pericardial drains. The researcher compared 25 patients in whom the drain was removed early to 18 patients who underwent traditional delayed removal. Cardiac tamponade was diagnosed when pericardial effusion led to hypoperfusion and systolic blood pressure dropped below 80 mm Hg.

In cases that employed early removal strategy, the pericardial space was monitored for reaccumulation for a minimum of 30 minutes, with repeated transthoracic echocardiography. Once it reached dryness, the patient was deemed ready to leave the laboratory and the drain was left to operator discretion for removal. The delayed removal group was monitored for an extra 17 hours once no reaccumulation was confirmed. The main outcomes included need for repeat pericardiocentesis, major adverse outcomes, length of stay, and need for opiate analgesia.

The results showed that not one of the AF patients who had the drains taken out early needed repeat pericardiocentesis before hospital discharge. They also had a moderately shorter length of stay than their peers who had drain removal delayed in case of re-bleeding, and also went back on anticoagulation earlier. In addition, few patients with early removal needed opiate analgesia (8%) compared to the delayed removal group (72%). The study was published on November 15, 2016, in JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology.

“Early removal of pericardial drains after tamponade complicating atrial fibrillation catheter ablation procedures appears to be safe and effective, with re-insertion not required in this cohort,” concluded a lead author. “The traditional practice of leaving drains in situ for 12 to 24 hours may result in more patient discomfort and longer hospitalization. Additionally, there may be benefits to health economics.”

Cardiac tamponade occurs when fluid in the pericardium accumulates, resulting in compression of the heart. Symptoms typically include shortness of breath, weakness, lightheadedness and cough. If fluid increases slowly the pericardial sac can expand to contain more than two liters; however, if the increase is rapid, as little as 200 mL can result in tamponade. When tamponade results in symptoms, drainage is necessary, by pericardiocentesis, a pericardial window, or a pericardiectomy. Tamponade due to AFCA is traditionally managed by pericardiocentesis with delayed removal of the drain (typically 12 to 24 hours later) in case of re-bleeding.

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