Specialising in Cataract and Strabismus Surgery & general Adult and Paediatric Ophthalmology

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julEYE

Posted by Michael Forrest on 15 July 2012 | 0 Comments

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Once again this year the RANZCO Eye Foundation is running its julEYE eye health awareness campaign throughout July.

Femtosecond Laser - New Data

Posted by Michael Forrest on 29 June 2012 | 0 Comments

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Last month the first major review so far of outcomes from cataract surgery with the new femtosecond laser was published. It is an important paper, representing the experience of expert cataract and refractive surgeons adopting this new technology in an advanced Australian surgical facility. The first 200 surgical cases performed by 6 surgeons were reported.

Osteoporosis and the Eye

Posted by Michael Forrest on 29 April 2012 | 0 Comments

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A number of medications in use have side-effects in the eye. Perhaps the best known of these is Hydroxychloroquine (sold as Plaquenil [Sanofi]), used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), which can cause macular toxicity when a large enough cumulative dose is received.

Infant Glaucoma

Posted by Michael Forrest on 23 March 2012 | 0 Comments

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Last week was World Glaucoma Week. Glaucoma is usually a disease with no symptoms, and with no change in outward appearance of the eyes, and for this reason alone attempts to raise awareness are critical so that people at risk can be examined, diagnosed and treated.

Smoking and Vision

Posted by Michael Forrest on 26 February 2012 | 0 Comments

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Last year a study published in the journal Optometry reported that Australian smokers are far more likely to know that smoking causes blindness than smokers in the US, UK or Canada. The investigators, who measured the health knowledge of smokers through telephone surveys, found that less than 10% of smokers in the US and the UK were aware of the link between smoking and blindness, but that in Australia, the only country of the 4 with a national awareness campaign about smoking and eye health, almost half of smokers were aware of the effects of smoking on vision.

Stem Cells for Macular Degeneration

Posted by Michael Forrest on 30 January 2012 | 0 Comments

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One of the most difficult things in health care, both for patients and doctors, is dealing with diseases and conditions that have no treatment. The most common condition like this that I encounter is dry macular degeneration.

Auld Lang Syne and Albinism

Posted by Michael Forrest on 31 December 2011 | 0 Comments

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2011 seems to me to have gone especially quickly, and to have been perhaps especially portentous. Devastating floods in Brisbane and south Queensland, tsunami in Japan, earthquake in New Zealand. The Arab Spring led to changes of government in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, pledges of reform in Yemen, and is ongoing in several other countries. We need to wait and see where these developments lead.

It's hard, if not impossible, to pick the most important development of 2011 for eye health. I've discussed some of them in this blog. One very exciting study that is ongoing, but which is due to be completed this month, is a trial of L-Dopa for vision improvement in Albinism, led by Dr Gail Summers at the University of Minnesota.

Albinism is a group of inherited conditions in which genes that control melanin pigment production are affected and don't function normally. The most heavily pigmented tissues in the body are the skin, hair and eyes, and these tissues are affected in people with albinism to a greater or lesser extent.

In the eye, albinism leads to reduced pigment in the iris and choroid, failure of normal development of the macula, instability of gaze-holding (nystagmus), and abnormal optic nerve "wiring". The result of these changes is reduced vision, particularly at distance, and many people with albinism are "legally blind", or have severe visual impairment. So far treatment is really limited to optical and visual rehabilitation, correcting near- or far-sightedness with eyeglasses, skin and eye protection from the sun, and surgical realignment of strabismus.  

L-Dopa (or levodopa) is a precursor molecule for the neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline. It is used in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease and has been trialled in the past, without success, in the treatment of amblyopia. The rationale for its use in Professor Summer's study is that providing levodopa to the retina of a patient with albinism may lead to increased melanin production, and improved vision.

I'm very excited about the possibility that we may be able to offer hope of improvement in vision to people with albinism, and I will be waiting to see where these developments lead. 

The eyes are windows to ... general health

Posted by Michael Forrest on 23 October 2011 | 0 Comments

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Many diseases that affect the health of the body as a whole can damage the eyes or cause changes in the eyes that doctors and optometrists can detect. The best known of these are probably diabetes and high blood pressure, but there are others.

Diabetes

Posted by Michael Forrest on 20 September 2011 | 0 Comments

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Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, and almost 6000 children under 14 have type 1 diabetes. Half of Australia’s diabetics probably don’t know they have it.

Lions Recycle for Sight

Posted by Michael Forrest on 28 August 2011 | 0 Comments

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The Lions Clubs have had a long tradition of supporting eye care. I have been very grateful to the Aspley Lions Club in particular for their support in the development and implementation of our Telemedicine program for Retinopathy of Prematurity screening at the Mater Mothers Hospital.

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Dr Forrest practices at Northside Eye Specialists, based at Chermside, North Brisbane. He also consults at Blackwood Street, Mitchelton.

Northside Eye Specialists
Chermside Medical Complex
3/956 Gympie Road
Chermside QLD 4032
Phone: 07 3359 8886
Fax: 07 3359 5557

12 Blackwood Street 
(Postal address: PO Box 6134)
Mitchelton  QLD 4053
Phone: 07 3855 2605
Fax: 07 3855 3707