Stem cell therapy and myopia highlights of 100% optical

A leading ophthalmic professor has said st cell therapy breakthroughs meant growing “an eye in a dish” for transplants was fast becoming a reality.Speaking at 100% Optical, the UK’s largest optical trade show, Dr Denize Atan, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Bristol said she believed there’s a high probability of using st cell therapies to treat blinding retinal disorders is not a distant reality.{{quote-A:R-W:450-I:15-Q: So the time in the future when we can grow “an eye in a dish” and use it for transplantation to restore the vision of someone who is blind, is not so very far away. -WHO:Dr Denize Atan, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Bristol}}“St cell therapies have huge potential to treat otherwise blinding retinal disorders. There are many barriers to transplantation of light sensitive photoreceptors, but we have made solid progress with RPE cell transplanting,” she said.“So the time in the future when we can grow “an eye in a dish” and use it for transplantation to restore the vision of someone who is blind, is not so very far away.”Her sinar explained some of the existing research on strategies to replace or restore damaged retina using st cell therapies, with 11 clinical trials currently underway.Atan pointed out that among the sources are human bryonic and induced pluripotent st cells taken from the skin and reprogrammed to st cells.Other topics of interest covered during last month’s London show included therapy and research discoveries on eye conditions such as retinal disorders, myopia, and dyslexia.One of the more popular topics for discussion was on myopia, where several experts provided insights and developments on research regarding the condition.Professor Edward Mallen, head of the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Bradford, discussed the current rate of change and the role of optometry in myopic progression.“Research evidence suggests that practitioners can modify the progression of myopia, through a number of methods,” he said.


Edward Mallen
Bruce JW Evans Nathan Garnett

“The eye health sector is well placed to offer myopia control therapies and this presents a great opportunity to improve the long-term eye health of our patients.”Mallen called on optometrists to take an active role in knowing the latest methods in controlling myopia and stressed the need to collaborate on research.“We need more data to get an evidence base in order to influence health policy and establish best practice and prescribing guidelines. Myopia is not just about the inconvenience, but about far bigger eye health issues – like glaucoma,” he said.Mallen also pointed out that biometrics is a powerful tool that allows for rapid deployment of research data and applications, particularly if a new strategy is used on a patient and generates positive results.Myopia was also discussed in part by Dr Janis Orr, who said orthokeratology was the only available option for myopia control. The professor of ophthalmology from Birmingham’s Aston University stressed the importance of early intervention to prevent the progression of myopia and said that by 2050, it is estimated 50% of the population will be myopic.“Despite the potential benefits, orthokeratology is often perceived to be an advanced clinical technique only to be attpted by specialists and we want to encourage more practitioners to consider orthokeratology fitting,” she said.“It’s not something you should be frightened of doing in practice.”Meanwhile, accomplished author and director of research at the Institute of Optometry in London, Professor Bruce JW Evans, discussed the role of optometrists in dyslexia therapy.During his presentation, Evans urged delegates to increase their care for children and adults with learning difficulties, while also explaining the optometrist’s eyecare role, the best clinical tests for children, and how to use th.“Most people with dyslexia do not have visual probls and optometrists should not expect to cure dyslexia,” he said.“However, in cases with a co-existing visual anomaly, the optometrist may be able to reduce symptoms and allow the patient better access to the expert educational support that they need.”Evans also raised some of the controversial methods used to treat dyslexia that are not backed by evidence, like “learning lenses”, saccadic dysfunction and “tracking”. He said he had issues with teachers who talked of children “tracking”, that saccadic dysfunction did not hold the key to better reading, while DDAT had not been validated by controlled trials.{{image11-a:r-w:400}}However, the children’s vision expert did suggest visual stress and reading skills could sometimes be improved with the use of coloured filters.100% Optical event director Nathan Garnett said the three-day fair, which concluded on February 6, had been the largest on record while many exhibitors had already pre-booked for next year.According to Garnett, more than 175,000 different eyewear frames were on display and more than 75 new brands exhibited for the first time at this year’s event; “2018 is our fifth anniversary and we’ve already started working up plans to evolve the show with a new look, new partnerships and innovative new ways to showcase the future of optics. A record number of exhibitors have already pre-booked for 2018,” he said.Fight for Sight, the UK’s leading eye research charity and 100% Optical’s charity partner since 2015, also provided sinars from industry experts and arranged a number of fundraising initiatives including the #BlinkWinkThink social media selfie campaign and the famous Fight for Sight Rock-a-oke party.Hannah Cosh, head of fundraising at Fight for Sight said, “We are grateful to 100% Optical and the Association of Optometrists for allowing mbers of the Fight for Sight Speakers Network to raise the importance of eye research. The funds raised from the show will continue to help support our ongoing mission to stop sight loss in its tracks and we’re grateful to everyone that has supported us.”100% Optical’s Trade Show Gallery


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