Kylie Minogue to launch first collection in Australia

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 more

Melbourne researchers announce computer diagnostic breakthrough

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 more

CERA wants help to navigate new driverless car developments

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Centre for Eye Research Australia is on the lookout for collaborators to help accelerate the development of driverless cars.

The leading eye research institute already has researchers active in areas relevant to the development of driverless vehicle technology, but is hoping to join forces with companies, industry, and peak bodies to expedite the technology.

Managing Director Professor Jonathan Crowston said access to mobility services for the vision-impaired was an urgent priority.

“Australia’s rapidly ageing population and increasing incidence of diabetes means that vision-loss is likely to become one of the most prevalent disabilities in Australia,” he said.

“We can bring value to the enhancement of these systems in a myriad of ways, from our deep knowledge of the needs of the vision-impaired, to our ability to leverage our position affiliated with a top university to harness expertise in the medical, legal and engineering fields.”

Aside from hoping to collaborate on the research of driverless vehicles, CERA has also sought assistance from the City of Boroondara to generate awareness of the campaign – most notably in the form of blind-since-birth councillor Mr Steve Hurd.

Hurd has been named as an Honorary Fellow to help coordinate and lead the project, due to his strong community and government connections, and a background in various legal and advocacy positions.

It is also a personal passion of his, having dreamed of driverless cars since fantasising and debating the idea with three vision impaired mates not long after another technological leap – the moon landing.

“We started breaking down the problems. Being blind you should think like an engineer to problem solve so we put our minds to the task. We realised some navigation system would be required, a radar system and a group of sensors would have to determine proximity,” he said.

“Almost 50 years later that is exactly how Google, Tesla and others are solving the problem. Now, I am a councillor at the City of Boroondara and a fellow at the University of Melbourne working on a project to make sure autonomous cars are usable for vision-impaired people.

“It will be the biggest boost for independence, employment prospects and social integration we have ever seen.” more

Diabetic eye disease drug combo completes successful trial

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 more

Campaign to raise awareness of orthoptics profession

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The hashtag #OAW2017 will be popping up on social media newsfeeds around Australia on Monday as Orthoptics Awareness Week kicks into full swing. 

This year’s theme is ‘Orthoptics Australia Wide’, and it is hoped the campaign will increase awareness of orthoptics to both the public and other healthcare professionals.

Each day eye-catching facts and an orthoptist feature profile from a different state will be presented to highlight the fact that orthoptists live and work all over the country.

According to Orthoptics Australia (OA), few people are fully aware of the role and expertise of an orthoptist, despite the fact it’s likely they have been helped by one at some stage in their life.

“We have so many good news stories to share. Orthoptists are involved with vision impaired children and adults, some are on the team developing the bionic eye and others are working with cutting edge technology in the fight against age-related macular degeneration,” an OA spokesperson said.

According to OA, orthoptists are uniquely skilled in ophthalmic diagnostic services and specialise in children’s vision, eye movement disorders and low vision care.

They work across a range of settings including hospitals, private specialist practices and research centres. 

Orthoptics Awareness Week will run from Feb 27-Mar 3. more

Contact Lens Company set for ASX listing

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Medical devices and lens maker Visioneering Technologies could be on its way to becoming an Australian publicly listed company after directors agreed to open it for potential investors this year.

International stockbroker Canaccord Genuity has announced it has already begun marketing the company’s initial public offering (IPO), seeking to raise $33.3 million in new equities that could increase the company’s valuation at $88.2 million.

Canaccord aim’s to leverage Visioneering’s two profitable market holdings – the daily disposable contact lenses, under the brand name NaturalVue Multifocal lenses, for adults with age-related vision problems and children with nearsightedness. Industry analysts estimate these markets have annual turnovers of US$3 billion (AU$3.9 b) and US$2 billion (AU$2.6 b) respectively.

The company is hoping to finalise investor commitments before the documentary requirements are submitted to corporate regulators.

The IPO price is currently tagged at 42 cents per share with new investors expected to be provided 37.8% of the company once listed. Canaccord is the primary underwriter and lead manager for Visioneering for the IPO move.

Capital investments could also largely impact the company’s Australian subsidiary VTI Visioneering Technologies, which has started to expand its brand in the region and improve brand recognition. The company filed its trademark registration in October last year to manufacture contact lenses to meet the growing demand for its products in Australia and New Zealand.

The company is based in Georgia, and its largest shareholders include US-based venture capital investors Charter Life Sciences and Memphis Biomed Ventures. Dr Richard Griffin, an optometrist, optical engineer and aerospace engineer who has spent 20 years developing optical solutions, started the business. Visioneering holds nine issued patents with 10 pending for the treatment of presbyopia in the on-eye/in-eye categories. more

Complex optical market demands adaptation, industry expert

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The increasing complexity of the optical market could create many challenges to independent practices when a number of macro retail and global trends gain momentum, which means optometrists will need to embrace change and adapt to trends if they want to remain competitive. more

Porsche Design grants Rodenstock 10-year contract extension

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 more

Australia pioneers international eye-banking course

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 more

Non-surgical treatment for cataract could soon be a reality

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Groundbreaking research into possible non-invasive treatments against cataract and presbyopia could address the conditions early on and prevent progression.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst granted the license to Janssen Pharmaceuticals to develop a proprietary technology regarding polymers. The technology was created by polymer physicist Professor Murugappan Muthukumar and fellow researcher Ben Mohr, who have been studying the science of proteins in human eyes.

The technology involves shooting hundreds of controlled-frequency light into protein solutions to measure the amount that goes through and angles of refraction in the lens. The measurements are then used to determine how molecules are organised in the lens and compared with protein clumping.

The lens, according to the professor, is “a collection of proteins and biopolymers” which scatters light as it passes through, while “characterising light-scattering is a classic problem in polymer physics.”

Muthukumar, a professor in polymer science and engineering explained “if the molecules making up the lens aggregate or clump, it forms a cataract, which scatters light in an undesirable way and light must pass through the lens to reach the retina where the vision process is triggered. 

“In a lens with cataract, light is scattered away from its path to the retina, disrupting vision. I wanted to understand how this aggregation takes place because if I understand it I can come up with an approach to correct it,” he added.

Similar conditions have been studied with presbyopia, where the elasticity of the lens depends on the extent of the cataract. Understanding the science behind cataracts will help researchers understand the molecular basis of presbyopia as well.

A statement issued by for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a Johnson & Johnson company, noted that the partnership with UMass Amherst is one of 15 healthcare research collaborations already announced this year. It also stated these age-related eye conditions represent “an area of high unmet need” that will benefit from the company’s pursuit of cutting-edge science.

Muthukumar is also currently undertaking research funded by the National Institutes of Health in collaboration with Nathan Ravi of Washington University in developing a polymer hydrogel, which could serve as a substitute for the vitreous part of the eyeball. He is also part of another study funded by the UMass Foundation on retinal blindness among children. more

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