Thursday, August 14, 2014

Printed eyes

CNN 4/17/2014: Batch-printing of up to 150 prosthetic eyes an hour has become a reality according to UK-based company Fripp Design and Research. The mass-production technique promises to speed up the manufacture of eye prostheses and drive down the cost. Printing each eye with slight variation in color is intended to produce better aesthetic results.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words.

The so-called FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3-D printer, fits like a ring on the user’s finger, equipped with a small camera that scans text. A synthesized voice reads words aloud, quickly translating books, restaurant menus and other needed materials for daily living, especially away from home or office.

The opposing view? Here:

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Do the blind really want an audio reader? Most non-blind or hearing impaired do not understand the culture that lies in these communities, and are treated with a parental nurturing philosophy that borders on being totally insensitive to the needs of these communities. Did any one of these Samaritans ever ask the blind if they even want this. As far as I know most blind would prefer to read from a brail [sic] book, their second choice is an audio reader. When it comes to brail [sic] it is hard to create a page with a large array of dimples that would allow the blind freedom of reading (books, newsprint and leaflets). The visual impaired have a greater tactual sensitivity than all sighted people could never have, not understanding this aspect of their lives means not understanding the community you are trying to aid. 

As far as computers is concerned, they have their own text to audio readers; which just needs to be switched on.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


In another step toward reversing degenerative vision loss, scientists said Tuesday they had coaxed stem cells into growing into a tiny, light-sensing retina in a lab dish.

The study is an important technical feat in using reprogrammed cells [i.e., iPS cells], whose discovery in 2006 [in Japan] has unleashed huge interest, they said.

“We have basically created a miniature human retina in a dish that not only has the architectural organization of the retina but also has the ability to sense light,” said Valeria Canto-Soler of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

“Is our lab retina capable of producing a visual signal that the brain can interpret into an image? Probably not, but this is a good start,” Canto-Solder said in a press release.

Friday, February 7, 2014

When buying fish

News today: "...a fish with cloudy eyes is an indication that it is well past its prime. Your fish should also have bulging eyes. Eyes that are sunken reveal a dehydrated fish, which means it spent more time on ice than in the water before you made your purchase."

Cloudy eyes = cloudy corneas =  corneal edema = dead endothelium

Yep, not fresh enough for people with more sensitive palate.

Fish covered with ice, not on ice, are rarely dehydrated. Those with sunken eyes probably smell too fishy already, they should be avoided indeed.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

GlassesOff app
A new app called GlassesOff claims to be able to improve your vision, eliminating the need for reading glasses for sufferers of the near universal condition called presbyopia (from the Greek for aging eyes). The condition hits nearly everyone -- an estimated 1.2 billion sufferers are predicted by 2020, according to one study.
Source: here

Friday, January 17, 2014

Google contact lens

Google is developing smart contact lenses that measure the glucose levels in diabetics' tears.

Comment: All contact lenses have the potential of impeding corneal access to air/oxygen. This changes glucose metabolism big time. Also, the tear turnover rate may vary from individual to individual. Much remains to be done before this smart lens becomes practical.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A protein safeguards against cataracts

Storage form (24-mer) and active forms of αB-crystallin which protect against cataract
In 2009, in very close collaboration with Sevil Weinkauf, professor for electron microscopy at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, the first part of the αB-crystallin puzzle fell into place. The team successfully deciphered the molecular structure of the most important form of this versatile protein – a molecule comprising 24 subunits. Under normal conditions, i.e. when the cell is not exposed to stress, this complex is the most common variant. However, it is merely an idle form that contributes little to the prevention of clumping in other proteins. It was clear that there must be another molecular switch that triggers the protective protein.

It is this trigger mechanism that the team headed by Buchner and Weinkauf uncovered now. When a cell is exposed to stress, for instance when subjected to heat, phosphate groups are attached to a specific region of the protein. The negative charges of these phosphates break the links between the subunits and the large complexes consequently disintegrate into numerous smaller ones of only six or twelve subunits each. As a result of this breakup, the regions at the ends of the complexes become more flexible allowing the molecules to dock up with different partners, thereby preventing them from clumping – the protective protein is now active.

Source: here

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bioflourescence in fish

A new discovery reported on 1/8/2014:

 "...a variety of fish living around coral reefs -- including sharks, rays, eels and lizerdfishes -- that exhibited bioflourescence [under blue light].

"So how do the fish recognize it? Many of them have yellow filters in their eyes, "possibly allowing them to see the otherwise hidden fluorescent displays taking place in the water," a news release from the museum of natural history said.


"...the need for special technology to view what the website called weak fluorescence "casts doubt on the usefulness of the coloration in the fish's dimly lit natural environments."