News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Research Sheds Light on Leading Cause of Blindness in NZ

October 9, 2013

Research Sheds Light on Leading Cause of Blindness in NZ

A narrow spectrum of UV light may be responsible for accelerating New Zealand’s most common cause of blindness new research suggests.

Macular degeneration affects one in seven New Zealanders over the age of 50 and occurs when the macula or central part of the retina degenerates due to ageing which can result in total blindness.

Emitted by the sun and also by artificial light sources such as LEDs and computers or smartphones, blue light -the range of the visible light spectrum with wavelengths between 380-500 nm- plays a beneficial role on health, in particular by regulating the internal biological clock.

However, NZ optometrist and GM of Essilor Thomas Martin says a specific band of this light may have a harmful effect on the eyes and worsen the effects of Macular degeneration.

Martin says the research found wavelengths of ‘blue’ light between 415 and 455 nm* are the most harmful for the target retinal cells.

He says the new results will help medical professionals better advise patients with age related macular degeneration - the most common form of preventable blindness in New Zealand.

It has also led to the development of a new preventative lens which New Zealanders will be among the first in the world to have access to.

"The research is particularly interesting as it allowed the development of a filter for the specific wavelength found to damage the retinal cells while at the same time allowing through the part of the spectrum which may help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)," says Martin.

The Crizal Prevencia coating developed by Essilor provides selective UV protection even for clear lenses.

"This preventative lens not only offers selective protection against harmful blue light - one of the risk factors in retinal cell degeneration but also against UV rays, which contribute to the development of cataracts," says Martin.

The lenses were developed using Light Scan, a new technology which filters light allowing beneficial blue light to pass through but removing harmful blue violet rays and retaining the transparency of the spectacle lens.

Martin says the lens coating also provides additional protection against the backlight devices such as mobiles and tablets which he says are damaging our eye health at unprecedented levels.

He says the research is a timely reminder of New Zealanders need to take better care of their eye health as is World Sight Day (October 10).

Established by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, World Sight Day (WSD) is an annual day of awareness held on the second Thursday of October, to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment.

On October 10, 60 optometrists around New Zealand will hit the streets to raise awareness and seeking gold coin donations to support the work of Macular Degeneration New Zealand Eye lens manufacturer Essilor NZ is supporting this fundraising initiative by providing wrist bands to all who give to this worthy cause.

Kumuda Setty, Marketing Manager from Essilor says as a leader in the ophthalmic industry Essilor’s mission is to enable as many people as possible to live a better life through better sight and to have the public’s attention on the consequences of poor vision.

About Essilor
The world's leading ophthalmic optics company, Essilor designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of lenses to improve and protect eyesight. Its corporate mission is to enable everyone around the world to access lenses that meet his or her unique vision requirements. To support this mission, the Company allocates around €150 million to research and development every year, in a commitment to continuously bring new, more effective products to market. Essilor's flagship brands are Varilux, Crizal, Definity, Xperio, OptifogTM and Foster Grant. It also develops and markets equipment, instruments and services for eyecare professionals.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

NZ on Air: More Funding For TV Captions To Increase Access

More funding for TV captions to increase access NZ On Air has increased funding to provide more captions and audio description on television programmes for the hearing and sight impaired. More>>

Music: So Laid Back Country China Album Release

On Friday night, So Laid Back Country China held a gig at Meow for the release of their new album With Knees of Honey in Goodbye Canyon. I briefly spoke with Harriet lead vocals, keyboard) and Michael (lead vocals, guitar) before the gig More>>

Art: Wellington Region Celebrates Matariki

Eight Wellington museums and galleries have joined forces to present a major programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate Matariki 2015, the Māori New Year. The Wellington Matariki Festival will host more than 60 free events and activities between Saturday ... More>>

Wellington: TEDxWellingtonWomen Speakers Unveiled

The lineup is announced today for the highly anticipated upcoming event TEDxWellingtonWomen. Speakers include local women and men who have lived extraordinary lives and have ideas worth spreading. More>>

Culture: RNZB Showcases NZ Artists With Two World Premieres

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s mixed bill Salute - Remembering WW1 which opens on 22 May will showcase the talents of New Zealand artists working at the top of their field. More>>


Books: Witi Ihimaera To Address ‘State Of NZ Literature’at Festival

6 May 2015 MEDIA RELEASE Witi Ihimaera to Address ‘State of NZ Literature’ at Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival The New Zealand Book Council has chosen the 2015 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival as the stage for its annual address, which ... More>>

Culture: Historic Māori Portraits Travel To The Czech Republic

Image credit: Gottfried Lindauer, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915 More>>

Art: Something Felt, Something Shared - Enjoy

Gabrielle Amodeo, Ruby Joy Eade, Clare McLean, Kalya Ward Curated by Emma Ng May 7 – 30, 2015 Opening: Wednesday May 6, 5.30pm Strange frequencies are channelled through personal narratives and poetic placeholders in Something felt, something ... More>>

Culture: Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015

Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Images from New Zealand Defence Force Click for big version A bugler plays The Last Post Click for big version A View from the top of the Carillion Click for big version Faces old and young Click for big ... More>>

Television: MediaWorks Announces Dancing With The Stars Hosts

MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide ANZ are delighted to announce host Dominic Bowden alongside co-host Sharyn Casey for the hit series Dancing with the Stars. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news