Orthoptics in the news
Playing Tetris 'could cure children of lazy eye' and spell the end for embarrassing eye patches
Judi Dench and Macular Degeneration
For any actress, it's just something that comes with the job. Before the big screen, and before filming even begins, Dame Judi Dench h proving to be difficult, says Dench, because her vision is failing.
"I can't read scripts any more because of the trouble with my eyes," she tells the U.K.'s Mirror. "And so somebody comes in and reads them to me, like telling me a story."
Read the full article http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20572008,00.html
Are weak eye muscles holding your child back at school?
By Jerome Burne, Daily Mail (abridged version)
Most children who returned to school last week will have enjoyed catching up with friends and swapping tales of the holidays.
But for the estimated two million in the UK who have dyslexia or other conditions that mean they need extra help with reading, it's a worrying time. School means reading, and lots of it. It's not just that they find it hard: it can also be a pain, quite literally. There are all sorts of reasons for learning difficulties, but for some children - perhaps as many as 400,000 - the problem lies with the way their eyes work.
If the muscles around the eyes are weak, the eyes won't work as a co-ordinated pair. This makes it difficult to focus clearly on something as small as the printed words on a page.
Read the full article here.
'I didn't know stroke affected eyes'
By Jane Elliott, Health Reporter, BBC News (abridged version)
When Alan Jones had a stroke he lost the use of the right side of his body. He also lost part of his sight in both eyes.
But while his body slowly recovered over the months his sight never did, meaning he had to give up his job as a heavy goods vehicle driver.Alan's sight problems were quickly identified, and he was taught special exercises to allow his eyes to compensate for the loss of vision.But the Stroke Association warn that many others are slipping through the net.
Over half of all stroke survivors have visual problems, yet experts say just a quarter of these are referred to specialists for treatments which could improve their condition. Prisms can also assist in treating double vision (diplopia).
Sonia MacDiarmid, deputy head orthoptist (an expert in vision disorder) from the British and Irish Orthoptic Society, said the effects of the visual impairments can be devastating.
"It can limit the quality of life for the patient because all aspects of self care can potentially be affected such as preparing meals, walking independently and reading or watching television.
"It can restrict opportunities for leisure pursuits or access to public services and can also increase depression which is a common symptom of stroke.
"Yet many of these problems can be treated or reduced by seeing an orthoptist or other eye specialists."
Read the full article here.
Stroke and Vision
Press release from The Stroke Association dated 07/12/2006
Over half of stroke survivors have visual problems following a stroke, yet many go untreated despite simple treatments being available which can improve and even cure many visual problems.
The Stroke Association will today call for all stroke patients to have a visual assessment from an eye specialist.
The call will be made at the UK Stroke Forum's inaugural conference. The conference, which is hosted by The Stroke Association, will bring together researchers and over 1000 healthcare professionals from all disciplines in the field of stroke to share ideas, new research and expertise.
Deputy Head Orthoptist Sonia MacDiarmid from the British and Irish Orthoptic Society will be presenting the evidence at the conference. She explains: "The effects of visual impairment on stroke survivors can be significant and can have damaging effects for the patient, carers and medical, nursing and therapeutic staff. It can limit the quality of life for the patient because all aspects of self care can potentially be affected such as preparing meals, walking independently and reading or watching television. It can restrict opportunities for leisure pursuits or access to public services and can also increase depression which is a common symptom of stroke. Yet many of these problems can be treated or reduced by seeing an orthoptist or other eye specialists. In my experience just 25% of stroke survivors currently get referred."
Around 60% of stroke survivors have some sort of visual dysfunction following a stroke. The most common condition is 'homonymous hemianopia' (loss of half a person's visual field) which occurs in 30% of all stroke survivors. However this can be helped by an orthoptist putting prisms onto glasses. Similarly, prisms can also be also be used as a treatment for double vision (diplopia) which can occur after a stroke and can be extremely debilitating for patients if left untreated. Advising patients on compensatory strategies to overcome their visual field loss is also an important part of treatment.
Read the full press release here