Rochester Science

Your next pair of contacts may wear better thanks to RIT

There I was, sitting in the chair at a local eye-glass and contacts company, trying my damnedest to get my new contacts in. As a dude, we’re not anywhere near as often playing around with our eyeballs. You ladies have been putting pencils near your orbits since about a year or two before your moms allowed it, don’t lie.

But me? Well, I couldn’t stop blinking the little bastards straight off my finger and away from their intended targets. Eventually, the woman who was “helping” me got frustrated, tipped my head back and put the damned thing in herself in about two seconds. Fully-extended arm, I’m lucky I’m not blind.

For the rest of you, contacts are a must-wear. But they come at a cost to your health: dry eye syndrome is quite common amongst contact lens wearers, in part because contacts can get in the way of the eye’s natural ability to keep itself lubricated. This has to do with the way the contact is formed to sit on your eye, a design process which has until now been done largely as guess-work.

But researchers at RIT aim to change all that with a new set of mathematical algorithms born out of the wizardry known to many as fluid dynamics:

Ross, who researched fluid mechanics with Eastman Kodak Co. before becoming a professor at RIT, says that the research is a new, purely mathematical approach to looking at the tear film of the eye. “We initially envisioned the lens floating in a sea of tear film, when in fact, this is not the case,” Ross says. “The lenses are 100 to 200 microns thick, while the tear film is only 5 microns thick.”

Maki and Ross hope that Bausch & Lomb will eventually be able to implement their research into new design processes for their contact lenses.

So in short, your new contact lenses could very soon make your eyes a whole lot less itchy to wear. Which is a great comfort, especially to those one or two of you who have accidentally fallen asleep with them in…

Rochester Science

A clean sink drain means clean eye balls.

A recent study by Penn State University, the US Department of Agriculture and Rochester’s own Bausch and Lomb found that the nasty bugs that infect humans are commonly found – perhaps unsurprisingly – in our sinks as well.

Matching the DNA signatures of fungi found in 161 sinks in various locations to those found in human infections, the scientists were able to determine that about 66 percent of sink drains had at least one strain of the Fusarium fungus which is known to infect humans. This suggests at least some connection between the infection rate in sinks and in humans. Clearly, humans are exposed to this fungus, but what the relationship is may not be entirely clear.

However, at least one case of Fusarium infection, contact lens wearers in both Southeast Asia and North America contracted the infections from what researchers believed was an improper use of the sterile lens solutions. Exposure to infections from the bathroom sink seem to have played a direct role, and this research provides further evidence.

Even more comforting: analyzing the DNA in sinks revealed 32 previously-unidentified and as many as four completely new strains of the Fusarium fungus.

So, I guess the lesson here is: clean your sink.

Penn State Live – Disease-causing fungi prevalent in sink drains, study finds.

Rochester Science

Bausch and Lomb: People would rather be deaf than blind

If you had to chose between blindness and deafness, which would it be? Well, if you’re like 60% of respondents in a recent Bausch and Lomb study on the subject of eye sight, you’d choose your vision.

Hard to argue with that choice: humans generally rely on sight more than other senses to navigate and understand our world. In fact, its the ability to see over long distances that made walking erect the evolutionarily-preferred trait. Otherwise, its just clunky, unstable and frankly weird looking.

The study shows that people also associate getting older with losing vision, but that less people are taking the care of their vision that they aught to for long-term health. Read the rest of the survey results below:

New Survey Shows That People Don’t Want to Live a Moment of Life with Poor Eye Sight : Bausch + Lomb.


Careful with that Eyeball, Eugene – B&L’s new laser cataract technology

As we age, the lens of our eyes can become cloudy, a condition called cataract. By age 80, about fifty percent of Americans are treated as having cataracts and by age 95, that number gets a lot closer to 100%. Most of the time, surgery is not needed.

But when surgery is needed, Bausch and Lomb have developed a new femtosecond laser process for the most delicate part of the surgery, making recovery even easier. Because the surgery is laser accurate, precise shapes can be cut into the lens, ensuring that equally-accurate replacements can be applied.

Link to press release.


Wednesday Update: Japan Relief Efforts

Just wanted to put together a single post highlighting some of the relief efforts underway for Japan in the wake of their many disasters. We started out talking about the Japanese tsunami, then about the earthquake, then about the nuclear meltdowns… Hard to imagine how hard hit the country is right now.

But there is good news, in the form of world-wide outpouring of relief. Boeing has committed 2 million dollars to relief aid, coming from their employees and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust. The Red Cross has of course opened multiple avenues of donation across the globe. I’ve setup a link to the Red Cross’s American donation site at the top of this website. Hollywood stars – evil, corrupting influences that they are – have also begun raising money. Proceeds from Warner Bros. release of the DVD “Hereafter” will go to relief efforts as well. Lady Gaga raised $250k in her wrist band sales effort.

Locally, Wegmans has begun a new checkout line campaign to raise money. So has Bausch and Lomb. News 10 has a story about a local doctor planning on going to Japan to help out. The D&C also has a similar story.

None of this is a complete list, of course. But there’s enough stuff going on that I thought rather than overload my Twitter feed, this would be the better way to highlight it all.


Big Trouble for B&L

Oh, boy.  Just what we need in Rochester: one of the Big Three getting sued.  Bausch and Lomb’s ReNu Moisture Lock contact lens solution has apparently been alleged to be responsible for 26 cases of a rare fungal eye infection.  What is worse is that it’s a rare infection, and from the way the article makes it sound, there is little chance that the execs didn’t know about it:

Bausch suspends lens solution, faces lawsuit – Yahoo! News

The company was sued in federal court in New York for allegedly failing to disclose problems with ReNu after it became aware that users in Asia had contracted fungal infections.

Bausch & Lomb suspended sales of ReNu in Hong Kong and Singapore after potential health problems arose in Asia two months ago.

What is truly weird about the whole thing is that out of 109 cases in the US, only 26 seem to be directly linked to the contact solution.  That begs the question: how many cases of this infection happen anually under normal circumstances?