CLINICAL CORNER

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VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS AID IN REDUCING RISK OF AMD Taking a cocktail of vitamin supplements helped women to reduce their risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), according to researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. A double-blind clinical trial of supplements containing B vitamins was carried out on a group of women with heart disease, or at risk of it. The number of cases of AMD was then recorded during follow-up and the vitamins were found to have a significant protective effect. The findings: Women on supplements had a 34% lower risk of any AMD and a 41% lower risk of visually significant AMD. This is the strongest evidence so far that B vitamins are beneficial in supplement form in preventing AMD. The protective effect may act through lowering homocysteine levels, though there may also be an antioxidant effect exerted by the vitamins on the eyes.

OPTIC FLOW AIDS FUNCTIONING IN THOSE WITH LOW VISION Blurred images that are unidentifiable as still pictures become understandable once the images are set in motion. That’s because of a phenomenon called “optic flow,” which may be especially relevant as a source of visual information in people with low vision. The results, conducted by Jing Samantha Pan, MA, and Geoffrey P. Bingham, PhD, of Indiana University, Bloomington, illustrate the importance of optic flow as a source of information for perceiving everyday events. In the study, once blurred images were “calibrated” by motion, the depicted events could be easily recognized. The concept of optic flow might help to explain how people with even poor visual acuity can function well even in unfamiliar environments.

CONTACT LENSES AND KIDS Differing views between parents and children about vision correction options could be hindering the uptake of contact lenses for children, according to new research. The study, carried out by the online parenting community Mumsnet on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc., found that 44% of children questioned had asked their parents about getting contact lenses. Additionally, 38% said that their parents felt they didn’t need contacts as “‘their glasses work just fine,” while 33% didn’t think their child was responsible enough to wear contact lenses.

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