blindness

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) just published distressing accounts of three patients who endured irreparable damage to their vision after seeking treatment at the same unnamed “stem cell” clinic in Broward, Florida.

Shortly, we will address where things went very, very wrong and how such situations can be avoided. But, first, let’s discuss what happened.

The women aged 72-88 years old suffered blindness to near blindness as a direct result of untested “stem cell” therapies being injected into their eyes while being fleeced $5000 for the procedures. Promised “revolutionary” therapy, they were left with catastrophic reminders of the unfortunate and unnecessary ordeal.

Each patient had age-...

Like most, my initial reaction to such a challenge is “umm, no thanks.” But, I admit I am not much like the long distance running extreme endurance athlete set. A unique club. One I simultaneously admire and am perpetually surprised by as the stakes in these wild endeavors seem to be getting higher and higher from ultra marathons in the Serengeti to the imminent World Marathon Challenge of 7 marathons on 7 Continents in 7 days.

Whereas I used to think there was a level of insanity that must accompany such extreme sport, a dear friend taught me invaluable lessons that enabled me to reframe these triumphs and feats of physical prowess. She had a life goal to run a marathon on every continent as just the United States would have...

poverty via shutterstock poverty via shutterstock

The Global Trachoma Mapping Project, arguably one of the most ambitious public health projects since the eradication of smallpox, was the largest-scale study of an infectious disease to have ever taken place. Its disturbing conclusions is that 100 million people are at risk of blindness due to trachoma.

Most of us probably have no idea what...

114158448Diabetic retinopathy a complication of diabetes caused by degeneration of the blood vessels in the retina is the most common diabetic eye disease, and a leading cause of blindness in American adults (after age-related macular degeneration). According to the CDC, almost one-third of adults over age 40 with diabetes have diabetic retinopathy. In some cases, blood vessels may swell and leak fluid, a complication known as diabetic macular edema (DME). The FDA...

114158448Open angle glaucoma (OAG), one of the leading causes of blindness, affects about 45 million individuals worldwide - about three million in the US - with that number projected to increase to 53 million by 2020. It is most commonly treated using prostaglandin analogue drops, which can lower the increased pressure in the eye, the cause of the damage to the optic nerve, and thereby delay vision loss. Researchers from the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London led by Dr. David Garway-Heath...

Golden RiceGolden Rice, a genetically engineered crop enriched with beta-carotene which the body can then convert to vitamin A, has the potential to prevent blindness in populations prone to vitamin A deficiency. The WHO estimates that about 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A deficient children go blind each year and half of those children die within 12 months of going blind. As risk perception expert David Ropiek says, These are real deaths, real disability, real suffering, not the phantom fears.

Yet, as writer Norm Benson points out in...

1399686_21236547Researchers led by Dr. Mehrdad Malihi and colleagues from the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, examined the incidence of OAG-caused blindness in residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota at two different time periods between 1965 and 2000. All residents aged 40 and above were included in the study, which was published in the journal Opthalmology.

They compared the incidence of blindness in the period between 1965-1980 with the incidence between 1981 and 2000. The...