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NIHR Signal Fish oil supplements are ineffective for treating dry eyes
Omega-3 fatty acids or ‘fish oil’ supplements are no more effective than inactive olive oil capsules for relieving dry eye disease. Some patients take fish oil supplements for this common problem, but this new evidence suggests that they consider alternatives. Dry eye disease is a common long-term inflammatory condition causing discomfort, and disturbances including blurred vision. Treatment of symptoms includes using artificial tears. Although guidelines recognise the lack of exist...
NIHR Signal Inhaled anaesthesia with anti-sickness medication in children has the same risk of vomiting as intravenous anaesthesia
Post-operative vomiting is common in children. One strategy is to use an intravenous anaesthetic, which is known to cause lower rates of sickness than inhaled anaesthetics. There are disadvantages to this though, such as the need for injections before a child is asleep, slowing of the heart and difficulty in monitoring depth of the anaesthetic. This review of four trials included 558 children who had an operation to correct a squint. A third of children in each anaesthetic group had post-operat...
NIHR Signal Financial incentives do not increase attendance for diabetic eye screening
Two types of financial incentives are not effective at increasing attendance at eye screening for people with diabetes who do not regularly attend screening. Surprisingly, financial incentives may even reduce the numbers of people attending screening. Retinopathy is a type of eye disease common to people with diabetes. Sight deteriorates only in the later stages and early diagnosis and treatment can prevent blindness. Annual eye screening is offered for people with diabetes but take-up could be...
NIHR Signal Antibiotics by injection into the eye can prevent severe infection following cataract surgery
Injecting the antibiotics vancomycin or moxifloxacin into the eyeball after eye surgery can reduce the risk of developing severe infection inside the eye (endophthalmitis) compared to other routes. Cefuroxime is currently the antibiotic of choice for this in the UK, but researchers wanted to see if drugs with lower rates of resistance might also be effective. A review of 34 studies, mostly observational studies with nine randomised controlled trials (RCTs), explored the effects of different typ...
NIHR Signal Eye surgery to remove the lens shows promise for treating early glaucoma
Lens extraction, a procedure usually used to remove cataracts, could be a better first choice for some people with one type of glaucoma than laser treatment. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions which damage the optic nerve and eventually lead to blindness. Commonly the pressure within the eye is raised and nerve damage can be controlled by lowering the pressure. Researchers randomly allocated 419 people with newly diagnosed primary angle-closure glaucoma to receive laser treatment, which is ...
NIHR Signal Wearing a patch after a scratch to the eye probably makes no difference to healing
After a scratch or minor damage to the outer layer of the eye (corneal abrasion), wearing an eye patch is unlikely to reduce pain at 24 hours and might not lead to quicker healing after 24 hours. Patching the eye was compared to leaving the eye uncovered. Eye patches did not significantly affect symptoms such as eye watering, irritation, sensitivity to light or blurred vision. Corneal abrasion is usually treated using ointments or drops to reduce irritation, pain killers, and antibiotic eye dro...
NIHR Signal A third of people with dementia have treatable vision problems
New data shows that around a third of people with dementia have serious vision problems, such as cataracts or short sightedness, more than the general population of that age. Levels are higher still for people with dementia in care homes – about half have vision problems. Yet this study showed that many of the people with dementia and vision impairment had not received the right treatment. This often involves simple measures. For many, spectacles could have improved poor sight. A quarter ...
NIHR Signal Optometrists are cautious, but may be as good as ophthalmologists at monitoring a common cause of blindness
Optometrists seem to be as good as ophthalmologists at correctly classifying wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Wet AMD is a condition where new blood vessels develop at the back of the eye to supply the damaged macula, responsible for central vision. It can cause permanent vision loss if not treated quickly. Monthly follow-up in specialist clinics is then required to check the condition hasn’t reactivated, which places a high demand on resources. This virtual trial using comput...
NIHR Signal Coordinating care for people with long term conditions and dementia: room for improvement
New evidence shows that almost one fifth of people with dementia also have other serious conditions such as stroke, diabetes and visual impairment. Services are not currently designed to provide adequate integrated care for people with dementia plus other conditions. For instance, people with dementia are less likely to get diabetes checks or cataract surgery than those without dementia. Carers are not routinely contacted, and there is a lack of guidance for health professionals covering more th...
NIHR Signal New tests by a technician in glaucoma clinics could free up specialist appointments
Reorganising glaucoma clinics to include new imaging tests undertaken by technicians appeared to have potential for releasing specialist time compared to usual care. However, the practicalities of adding the tests to current pathways of care in eye clinics will need further assessment. Four strategies included imaging of the back of the eye plus standard eyesight and pressure tests undertaken by nurses and technicians. These tests were promising when used after referral to a specialist service ...
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