March Newsletter No. 317

How close are we to blindness?

The state of bionic eyes, gene therapies and other advanced treatments.

Full list of eye-related symptoms that could be signalling high blood pressure

Blood vessels in a person’s retina, the layer of tissue at the back part of the eye, may be damaged due to untreated high blood pressure. Damage to the retina from high blood pressure is known as hypertensive retinopathy. There are a number of warning signs found in the eyes indicating your blood pressure levels are becoming dangerously high.

Blind people stagnating at work due to inaccessible technology

Employees with sight loss continue to be hampered in in carrying out the bare essentials of their jobs by their employer’s lack of knowledge and commitment to digital accessibility. To date, insufficient attention has been paid to the work activity-related access barriers experienced by employees who are already working full-time and the effect these can have on career progression. Further details below:

First successful implantation of revolutionary artificial brain implant

While there is currently no cure for blindness, a first-of-its-kind artificial vision system has undergone its first successful implantation, bringing with it the potential to restore partial vision to people who have lost their sight.

The Intracortical Visual Prosthesis (ICVP), is an implant that bypasses the retina and optic nerves to connect directly to the brain’s visual cortex and has been successfully surgically implanted in a participant at Rush University Medical Centre this week.

Eyesight confusion, difficulty recording may be early indicators of dementia

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) says: “Sight loss is typically under diagnosed in people with dementia because the signs can be difficult to separate. One condition may mask or be mistaken for the effects of the other and lead to inaction.” The charity says people with dementia can have visual difficulties caused by the brain but still have healthy eyes, “that is problems perceiving what they see rather than how sharply they see it”. Further details:

Three lifestyle factors worsening eyesight

Diet, smoking and excessive alcohol can all make a difference to eyesight in the long run.

High-tech goggles to beat glaucoma

Glaucoma is a common eye condition involving damage to the optic nerve, a bundle of more than a million nerve fibres that links the eye’s retina (the layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye) to the brain’s vision processing centre. The new device, which looks like a pair of virtual-reality goggles and has been developed by South Korea-based Nu Eyne, uses low-level electrical stimulation to promote nerve tissue regeneration.

Electrical pulses are delivered to the skin surrounding the eyes through tiny electrodes. The electrical stimulation mimics the body’s wound-healing mechanisms to trigger growth in the optic nerve, say its makers.

Three jabs a year of new NHS drug could save eyesight in 80,000 UK residents

Two eye conditions that cause blindness can be treated with a breakthrough drug that dramatically slows the loss of vision. The medication, faricimab, could soon be offered to people with wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in over-60s, and to sufferers of diabetic macular oedema, an eye problem linked to diabetes. Previous treatments for the conditions had to be given via an injection into the eye once a month, but the new medication is so effective.


Steps to improve independence when living with visual impairment

A list of 5 important steps to improve independence and quality of life when experiencing vision loss.