Eye Care Predictions for 2010 and Beyond From the Editors of AllAboutVision.com

December 18, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
Will new eyeglasses be self-adjustable for better focus? Can blindness be cured? Read what the editors of AllAboutVision.com say about trends and new products that may be in store for 2010:

1. Presbyopes, or people with near vision problems from presbyopia, may soon be able to adjust their own eyeglasses to achieve sharper focus. One company recently introduced adjustable lenses that give clearer focus up close or in the distance, depending on the individual's vision needs.

2. For frazzled parents who find it tough to keep eyeglasses and sunglasses attached to young children's faces, more conveniences are available in the form of adjustable straps, headbands and Velcro for attachments. That's especially good news for tiny tots, who need sunglass protection outdoors just as much as adults do.

3. Companies are expanding availability of self-service vision screening kiosks in malls, grocery stores and drugstores. These self-service kiosks help assess vision and determine when the person should see an eye doctor for a full eye exam to update his or her prescription and help prevent eye problems.

4. Advances continue to be made in gene therapy, which eventually may cure blindness caused by eye diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa. In fact, scientists recently used gene therapy to reverse blindness in animals with an eye disease similar to retinitis pigmentosa. Human trials using this method could begin in 2010.

5. Scientists also have used gene therapy to reverse color blindness in monkeys, which could have long-term implications for humans with color blindness.

6. Several companies are very close to creating more modern drug delivery systems for the eye that could eliminate the need for painful injections used to control macular degeneration, a common eye disease affecting the elderly that can be blinding.

7. New drug delivery methods other than eye drops also are being investigated for common eye diseases such as glaucoma. Tiny devices the size of a grain of rice (punctal plugs) could be inserted in the corner of the eye to slowly release medications needed to control high eye pressure that can damage the eye in glaucoma.

8. Smart phone applications will help users monitor their vision and certain eye conditions.

9. New corrective lens technology will provide greater customization of vision correction than current glasses and contacts, providing sharper vision than "20/20."

10. All-laser cataract surgery may replace more traditional methods that use ultrasound (phacoemulsification) to break up the cataract in the eye before it is removed. Newer methods use a special laser to create incisions in the eye and also to break up the cataract.

11. The same special laser (femtosecond laser) is being studied as a way to correct near vision problems caused by presbyopia, which affects most people beginning after age 40. The laser creates incisions on the front of the eye to steepen it, which improves near vision.

12. Tiny implants inserted just below the clear surface of the eye (cornea) also are showing promise as a way to correct presbyopia.

13. The eye may become a diagnostic tool for identifying people at risk for Alzheimer's disease. Scientists have found that examining the retina in the eye's inner, back region can reveal lesions indicating presence of the disease.

14. Stem cells may soon be used to treat Stargardt's macular dystrophy (SMD), a retinal disease that causes blindness in young people. The treatment uses embryonic stem cells to re-create a type of cell in the retina that supports the photoreceptors needed for vision.

15. Contact lenses are being studied for many futuristic uses, such as monitoring a person's vital body signs and blood sugar. Contact lenses currently are being developed to give instant views of charts, graphics and other displays through sources such as wireless Internet connections.

For more information on vision, eyewear and eye health, please visit AllAboutVision.com.

About Us

Online since January 2000, AllAboutVision.com provides consumers with hundreds of pages of comprehensive, doctor-reviewed information on eye health and vision correction. The site's most popular content sections are those about eye diseases, LASIK, contact lenses and eyeglasses. The site is accredited by the Health on the Net Foundation.

AllAboutVision.com is published by Access Media Group LLC, a print and electronic health communications company that specializes in vision care.

All About Vision and AllAboutVision.com are registered service marks of Access Media Group LLC.