Top 5 Eye Health Stories of 2017
The biggest eye health stories of 2017 ran from low-tech to high-tech and from super cool to super gross. New treatment possibilities were a feel-good favorite. But perennial eye dangers – and new threats – got the most attention.
Novel Gene Therapy Approved
The most recent eye news may turn out to be the most important of the year. The United Stated Food and Drug Administration just approved a gene therapy treatment for a blinding genetic condition called Leber congenital amaurosis. It’s amazing enough that this treatment could give vision back to the several thousand people in the U.S. who have this condition. But doctors and researchers are even more excited that this kind of treatment could be used in the future to help many more people with other, similar conditions.
Eye Tattoos Are Still Dangerous
We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it: eyeball tattoos are unsafe, a bad idea and can go terribly, blindingly wrong. Two disastrous eye tattoo cases made the rounds in the news this year. One was documented in all its gory detail in a clinical video. The patient, unfortunately, had to have his damaged eye removed. The second patient also had a bad experience as soon as her eye was injected with ink. She’s been documenting her experience on social media, helping to raise awareness of the dangers. Eye tattoos? Let’s make them a thing of the past.
New Dry Eye Treatment Device Available
Patients suffering from dry eye now have a completely new, drug-free alternative to lubricating eye drops and topical ointments. A new device was approved in the U.S. and is available by prescription to reduce the symptoms of dry eye disease. TrueTear is a handheld device that’s inserted into the nose and stimulates nerves there to produce tears. The reaction is like what occurs when you sneeze or cut into an onion. Think tickling your nose to fight dry eye sounds weird? Maybe, but patients testing the device were so pleased with the results, they refused to give it back.
27 Contact Lenses in Woman’s Eye
One of the more memorable stories of 2017 came from doctors in England, who found an unusual mass in a woman’s eye while they were prepping her for cataract surgery. It turned out to be a clump of 17 contact lenses caught under her upper eyelid. Nearby, they found another clump of 10 more lenses. It’s rare for someone to have more than one contact lens stuck in their eye because they would usually be uncomfortable. Doctors removed the lenses with no damage to the woman’s eye. This story highlights the importance of regular eye exams for contact lens wearers.
Solar Eclipse Catches the World’s Eye
Finally, the biggest story of 2017 in eye health was an event of global interest. The Great American Eclipse of 2017 had millions of people looking up at the sun – and possibly endangering their vision. Luckily, everyone from NASA to the local news was reminding people of the potential danger of direct solar viewing. Injuries, though serious when they happen, turned out to be rare. Some dubious sources tried to cash in on the excitement with fake eclipse-watching glasses. The nation got a crash course in identifying counterfeit products as well as backyard science.