Are Screens the new Smoking?

As optometrists we are hugely concerned about the increase in young people becoming short-sighted. We wonder are screens the new smoking? Is all this close work causing more young people to have difficulty seeing clearly in the distance?

The two main concerns are: 1 children becoming myopic (short-sighted) at a younger age, and 2 the rate of progression of myopia through the teenage years.

Now there is science to support the message that outdoor time will delay the start of myopia. Such a simple concept, which all parents have been saying for all time - go outside and play.

There are many online information sites and initiatives to help educate parents, especially parents who are short-sighted as their children are more at risk. The above poster was created by a paediatric ophthalmologist keen to spread the message - outdoor play keeps myopia away. We are currently distributing these to our local early childhood centres, to help people understand the positive health benefits of making sure children get 2+ hours of natural outdoor daylight each day.

If you want any further information please do not hesitate to contact us. If you have concerns about your child’s vision book an appointment today.

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Ginkgo Biloba - a natural approach to glaucoma

Many of us are keen to make choices which have a positive impact on health, and there is always interest in alternative treatments. In glaucoma the most widely known alternative treatment is ginkgo biloba.

Glaucoma treatment largely focuses on lowering eye pressure. But it is accepted that other risk factors besides eye pressure are involved - even an ideal eye pressure does not stop glaucoma progressing for all people. If you are looking at the clinical studies, lowering eye pressure is the only treatment which has high levels of scientific evidence to support its efficacy. However there are many studies which have tried to identify other treatments for glaucoma.


Used in Chinese traditional medicine for centuries, extracts of ginkgo biloba leaves have been suggested to treat various conditions, including dementia, tinnitus, and circulatory problems.

For glaucoma different studies have shown that gingko biloba extracts (GBE) may have the following potential benefits:

1. Improved blood flow: Studies in humans have demonstrated improved blood flow near the optic nerve.

2. Neuroprotective effects: Studies have shown that mitochondrial function improves with ginkgo biloba.

3. Antioxidant effect: Ginkgo contains several different flavonoids, which have shown antioxidative properties by delivering electrons to free radicals. Compounds, such as vitamins E and C, also have antioxidative properties. The difference is ginkgo biloba extract flavonoids are able to act at the mitochondrial level.


4. Anti-inflammatory: Gingko has been shown to decrease reactive oxygen species.

Read more about the science in Glaucoma New Zealand’s fact sheet Glaucoma and Ginkgo Biloba.

Are Glasses an Outdated Way of Correcting Your Child’s Eyesight?

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Last month we were fortunate enough to hear Australian Optomerists Kate and Paul Gifford speak at an event in Auckland. This dynamic pair of Aussies are on a mission to educate both the public and optometrists about Myopia Control. They were preaching to the converted - we too are very passionate about spreading this important message. Kate and Paul have now added a blog to their very useful website, My Kid's Vision. Guest writers are contributing and we recommend you check it out.

My Kid's Vision - Are Glasses an Outdated Way of Correcting Your Child’s Eyesight?

This will appeal to all those myopes out there, imagine a world when we don't simply add stronger lenses each teenage year as vision deteriorates. Read the post and share this important message.

Possible New Treatment for Dry Macular Degeneration

Patients with dry macular degeneration (dry MD) may be one step closer to a treatment with an LT-300 light delivery system developed by American company LumiThera. Althought this treatment is in its very early trial stage it is news worth sharing.


This device uses photobiomodulation (PBM), which involves noninvasive lightemitting diodes for the treatment of ocular diseases. “LumiThera can begin commercialisation in European sites which coincides with the LIGHTSITE II Clinical Study in the upcoming months,” said Dr. Clark Tedford, LumiThera President and CEO. “We are excited to be able to offer a safe and effective early stage clinical intervention for patients with dry AMD.”


“It is very exciting to see the development of PBM treatment for dry AMD patients,” said Dr. Samuel Markowitz, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, University of Toronto. “These patients have limited options and losing their central vision is horribly debilitating to their quality of life. Previous studies showed PBM therapy was most beneficial in early stage dry AMD patients. It was also determined that retreatments will be needed to maintain clinical benefits.”

“PBM may change the way we think about treating dry AMD,” said Dr. Robert Devenyi, University of Toronto. “Until now we just waited and watched the patients lose vision with limited options. Now we may have a treatment that can target improvement in visual outcomes and reduce a key component of the pathology. The next step is to confirm the early results in the multi-center LIGHTSITE II trial and work with the ophthalmology medical community in establishing best treatment practices.”

Macular Disease Foundation Australia CEO Dee Hopkins cautions that more research is required. “Researchers are working hard to develop treatments for patients with dry AMD” said Ms. Hopkins. "While the initial results showed some improvement in a small sample of patients, we can’t draw too many conclusions at this stage. Further well conducted research is necessary.”