Optometry and Vision Sciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 299
Towards distortion-free imaging of the eye
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2021-06-10)
The high power of the eye and optical components used to image it result in "static" distortion, remaining constant across acquired retinal images. In addition, raster-based systems sample points or lines of the image over time, suffering from "dynamic" distortion due to the constant motion of the eye. We recently described an algorithm which corrects for the latter problem but is entirely blind to the former. Here, we describe a new procedure termed "DIOS" (Dewarp Image by Oblique Shift) to remove static distortion of arbitrary type. Much like the dynamic correction method, it relies on locating the same tissue in multiple frames acquired as the eye moves through different gaze positions. Here, the resultant maps of pixel displacement are used to form a sparse system of simultaneous linear equations whose solution gives the common warp seen by all frames. We show that the method successfully handles torsional movement of the eye. We also show that the output of the previously described dynamic correction procedure may be used as input for this new procedure, recovering an image of the tissue that is, in principle, a faithful replica free of any type of distortion. The method could be extended beyond ocular imaging, to any kind of imaging system in which the image can move or be made to move across the detector.
Detection of retinal and blood A beta oligomers with nanobodies
Introduction: Abnormal retinal changes are increasingly recognized as an early pathological change in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Although amyloid beta oligomers (Aβo) have been shown to accumulate in the blood and retina of AD patients and animals, it is not known whether the early Aβo deposition precedes their accumulation in brain. Methods and results: Using nanobodies targeting Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42 oligomers we were able to detect Aβ oligomers in the retina and blood but not in the brain of 3-month-old APP/PS1 mice. Furthermore, Aβ plaques were detected in the brain but not the retina of 3-month-old APP/PS1 mice. Conclusion: These results suggest that retinal accumulation of Aβo originates from peripheral blood and precedes cognitive decline and Aβo deposition in the brain. This provides a very strong basis to develop and implement an "eye test" for early detection of AD using nanobodies targeting retinal Aβ.
Eye movement characteristics provide an objective measure of visual processing changes in patients with visual snow syndrome
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-05-05)
Visual snow syndrome (VSS) is a poorly understood neurological disorder that features a range of disabling sensory changes. Visual processing changes revealed previously in VSS appear consistent with poor attentional control, specifically, with difficulty controlling environmentally driven shifts of attention. This study sought to confirm this proposal by determining whether these changes were similarly evident where attention is internally driven. Sixty seven VSS patients and 37 controls completed two saccade tasks: the endogenously cued saccade task and saccadic Simon task. The endogenously cued saccade task correctly (valid trial) or incorrectly (invalid trial) pre-cues a target location using a centrally presented arrow. VSS patients generated significantly shorter saccade latencies for valid trials (p = 0.03), resulting in a greater magnitude cue effect (p = 0.02), i.e. the difference in latency between valid and invalid trials. The saccadic Simon task presents a peripheral cue which may be spatially congruent or incongruent with the subsequent target location. Latencies on this task were comparable for VSS patients and controls, with a normal Simon effect, i.e. shorter latencies for saccades to targets spatially congruent with the preceding cue. On both tasks, VSS patients generated more erroneous saccades than controls towards non-target locations (Endogenously cued saccade task: p = 0.02, saccadic Simon task: p = 0.04). These results demonstrate that cued shifts of attention differentially affect saccade generation in VSS patients. We propose that these changes are not due to impairment of frontally-mediated inhibitory control, but to heightened saccade-related activity in visual regions. These results contribute to a VSS ocular motor signature that may provide clinical utility as well as an objective measure of dysfunction to facilitate future research.
Advances in Carbon-Based Microfiber Electrodes for Neural Interfacing
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-04-12)
Neural interfacing devices using penetrating microelectrode arrays have emerged as an important tool in both neuroscience research and medical applications. These implantable microelectrode arrays enable communication between man-made devices and the nervous system by detecting and/or evoking neuronal activities. Recent years have seen rapid development of electrodes fabricated using flexible, ultrathin carbon-based microfibers. Compared to electrodes fabricated using rigid materials and larger cross-sections, these microfiber electrodes have been shown to reduce foreign body responses after implantation, with improved signal-to-noise ratio for neural recording and enhanced resolution for neural stimulation. Here, we review recent progress of carbon-based microfiber electrodes in terms of material composition and fabrication technology. The remaining challenges and future directions for development of these arrays will also be discussed. Overall, these microfiber electrodes are expected to improve the longevity and reliability of neural interfacing devices.
Altered Visual Function in a Larval Zebrafish Knockout of Neurodevelopmental Risk Gene pdzk1
(ASSOC RESEARCH VISION OPHTHALMOLOGY INC, 2021-03-01)
Purpose: The human PDZK1 gene is located in a genomic susceptibility region for neurodevelopmental disorders. A genome-wide association study identified links between PDZK1 polymorphisms and altered visual contrast sensitivity, an endophenotype for schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder. The PDZK1 protein is implicated in neurological functioning, interacting with synaptic molecules including postsynaptic density 95 (PSD-95), N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs), corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 1 (CRFR1), and serotonin 2A receptors. The purpose of the present study was to elucidate the role of PDZK1. Methods: We generated pdzk1-knockout (pdzk1-KO) zebrafish using CRISPR/Cas-9 genome editing. Visual function of 7-day-old fish was assessed at behavioral and functional levels using the optomotor response and scotopic electroretinogram (ERG). We also quantified retinal morphology and densities of PSD-95, NMDAR1, CRFR1, and serotonin in the synaptic inner plexiform layer at 7 days, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks of age. Standard RT-PCR and nonsense-mediated decay interference treatment were also performed to assess genetic compensation in mutants. Results: Relative to wild-type, pdzk1-KO larvae showed spatial frequency tuning functions with increased amplitude (likely due to abnormal gain control) and reduced ERG b-waves (suggestive of inner retinal dysfunction). No synaptic phenotypes, but possible morphological retinal phenotypes, were identified. We confirmed that the absence of major histological phenotypes was not attributable to genetic compensatory mechanisms. Conclusions: Our findings point to a role for pdzk1 in zebrafish visual function, and our model system provides a platform for investigating other genes associated with abnormal visual behavior.
Impact of informed consent content and length on recruitment of older adults into a community based primary prevention trial.
(Elsevier BV, 2018-09)
Aims: To compare recruitment, refusal and randomisation rates of older adults into a general practice-based clinical trial with two versions (varied format, content and language) of the Participant Information and Consent Form (PICF). Methods: This prospective PICF study was conducted within the STAREE (STAtins in Reducing Events in the Elderly) clinical trial. Participants phone screened between October 2015 to February 2016 formed Group 1 and were mailed the extended PICF version and participants phone screened between October 2016 to February 2017 formed Group 2 and were mailed the shortened PICF version. Participants who attended a subsequent baseline screening visit were guided through a comprehensive informed consent process. Results: During the screening phase of the trial, the likelihood of refusing trial participation was lower in Group 2 compared to Group 1 equating to an overall 23% reduction in risk (RR 0.77, P = 0.005, 95% CI 0.62-0.95). Group 2 had a 6.4% higher randomisation rate compared with Group 1 (65.3% versus 58.9% respectively) but this difference was not statistically significant. Factors associated with trial participation were male gender, age between 70 and 75 years and living alone (all p < .0.05). Conclusions: Whilst avoiding lengthy and complex PICF documents may assist with initial trial engagement, it needs to be supplemented with other strategies to support ongoing trial interest to randomisation and beyond. Participants refused trial participation throughout the screening phase indicating that the PICF was only one factor among several affecting an individual's decision to participate in this clinical trial.
First and second eye cataract surgery and driver self-regulation among older drivers with bilateral cataract: a prospective cohort study
BACKGROUND: Driving a car is the most common form of transport among the older population. Common medical conditions such as cataract, increase with age and impact on the ability to drive. To compensate for visual decline, some cataract patients may self-regulate their driving while waiting for cataract surgery. However, little is known about the self-regulation practices of older drivers throughout the cataract surgery process. The aim of this study is to assess the impact of first and second eye cataract surgery on driver self-regulation practices, and to determine which objective measures of vision are associated with driver self-regulation. METHODS: Fifty-five older drivers with bilateral cataract aged 55+ years were assessed using the self-reported Driving Habits Questionnaire, the Mini-Mental State Examination and three objective visual measures in the month before cataract surgery, at least one to three months after first eye cataract surgery and at least one month after second eye cataract surgery. Participants' natural driving behaviour in four driving situations was also examined for one week using an in-vehicle monitoring device. Two separate Generalised Estimating Equation logistic models were undertaken to assess the impact of first and second eye cataract surgery on driver-self-regulation status and which changes in visual measures were associated with driver self-regulation status. RESULTS: The odds of being a self-regulator in at least one driving situation significantly decreased by 70% after first eye cataract surgery (OR: 0.3, 95% CI: 0.1-0.7) and by 90% after second eye surgery (OR: 0.1, 95% CI: 0.1-0.4), compared to before first eye surgery. Improvement in contrast sensitivity after cataract surgery was significantly associated with decreased odds of self-regulation (OR: 0.02, 95% CI: 0.01-0.4). CONCLUSIONS: The findings provide a strong rationale for providing timely first and second eye cataract surgery for older drivers with bilateral cataract, in order to improve their mobility and independence.
Do older drivers with bilateral cataract self-regulate their driving while waiting for first eye cataract surgery?
(DOVE MEDICAL PRESS LTD, 2017-01-01)
Objectives: To analyze the association between visual impairment and driver self-regulation among a cohort of older drivers waiting for first eye cataract surgery. Methods: Ninety-six drivers with bilateral cataract aged 55+ years were assessed before first eye cataract surgery. Data collection consisted of a researcher-administered questionnaire, objective visual measures (visual acuity, contrast sensitivity and stereopsis), a visual attention test (the useful field of view test) and a cognitive test (the Mini-Mental State Examination). Driver self-regulation practices were collected using the Driving Habits Questionnaire and were also measured with an in-vehicle monitoring device. Characteristics of self-regulators and non-self-regulators were compared and a logistic regression model was used to examine the association between 3 objective visual measures and driver self-regulation status. Results: After controlling for potential confounding factors, only binocular contrast sensitivity (p=0.01), age (p=0.03) and gender (p=0.03) were significantly associated with driver self-regulation status. The odds of participants with better contrast sensitivity scores (better vision) self-regulating their driving in at least 1 driving situation decreased (odds ratio [OR]: 0.01, 95% CI: 0.00-0.28) while those of increasing age reported an increased odds of self-regulating their driving (OR: 1.08, 95% CI: 1.01-1.15). The odds of males self-regulating their driving was decreased compared with females (OR: 0.28, 95% CI: 0.09-0.86). Conclusions: Worse binocular contrast sensitivity scores, increasing age and being female were significantly associated with driver self-regulation. The study highlighted that while self-regulation was common among cataract patients, a proportion of those with poor vision did not self-regulate. Further research should determine how cataract patients could benefit from self-regulation strategies while waiting for cataract surgery.
Risk factors for recurrent injurious falls that require hospitalization for older adults with dementia: a population based study
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2016-09-29)
BACKGROUND: Older adults with dementia are at an increased risk of falls, however, little is known about risk factors for recurrent injurious falls (a subsequent fall after the first fall has occurred) among this group. This study aimed to identify risk factors for recurrent injurious falls requiring hospitalization among adults aged 60+ years with dementia. METHODS: This retrospective, whole-population cohort study was conducted using the Western Australian Hospital Morbidity Data System and Western Australian Death Registrations from 2001 to 2013. Survival analysis using a stratified conditional Cox model (type 1) was undertaken to identify risk factors for recurrent injurious falls requiring hospitalization. RESULTS: There were 32,519 participants with an index hospital admission with dementia during the study period. Over 27 % (n = 8970) of the cohort experienced a total of 11,073 injurious falls requiring hospitalization during follow up with 7297 individuals experiencing a single fall, 1330 experiencing two falls and 343 experiencing three or more falls. The median follow-up time for each individual was 2.49 years. Females were at a significantly increased risk of 7 % for recurrent injurious falls resulting in hospitalization (adjusted hazard ratio 1.07, 95 % CI 1.01-1.12), compared to males. Increasing age, living in rural areas, and having an injurious fall in the year prior to the index hospital admission with dementia also increased the risk of recurrent injurious falls resulting in hospitalization. CONCLUSIONS: Screening those with dementia for injurious falls history could help to identify those most at risk of recurrent injurious falls. Improvement of heath care and falls prevention services for those with dementia who live in rural areas may also reduce recurrent injurious falls.
A genetic algorithm enabled ensemble for unsupervised medical term extraction from clinical letters
Despite the rapid global movement towards electronic health records, clinical letters written in unstructured natural languages are still the preferred form of inter-practitioner communication about patients. These letters, when archived over a long period of time, provide invaluable longitudinal clinical details on individual and populations of patients. In this paper we present three unsupervised approaches, sequential pattern mining (PrefixSpan); frequency linguistic based C-Value; and keyphrase extraction from co-occurrence graphs (TextRank), to automatically extract single and multi-word medical terms without domain-specific knowledge. Because each of the three approaches focuses on different aspects of the language feature space, we propose a genetic algorithm to learn the best parameters of linearly integrating the three extractors for optimal performance against domain expert annotations. Around 30,000 clinical letters sent over the past decade from ophthalmology specialists to general practitioners at an eye clinic are anonymised as the corpus to evaluate the effectiveness of the ensemble against individual extractors. With minimal annotation, the ensemble achieves an average F-measure of 65.65 % when considering only complex medical terms, and a F-measure of 72.47 % if we take single word terms (i.e. unigrams) into consideration, markedly better than the three term extraction techniques when used alone.
Driver self-regulation and depressive symptoms in cataract patients awaiting surgery: a cross-sectional study
BACKGROUND: Cataract is an extremely common visual condition of ageing. Evidence suggests that visual impairment influences driving patterns and self-regulatory behavior among older drivers. However, little is known about the psychological effects of driver self-regulation among older drivers. Therefore, this study aimed to describe driver self-regulation practices among older bilateral cataract patients and to determine the association between self-regulation and depressive symptoms. METHODS: Ninety-nine older drivers with bilateral cataract were assessed the week before first eye cataract surgery. Driver self-regulation was measured via the Driving Habits Questionnaire. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the 20-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Visual, demographic and cognitive data were also collected. Differences between self-regulators and non self-regulators were described and linear regression modeling used to determine the association between driver self-regulation and depressive symptoms score. RESULTS: Among cataract patients, 48% reported self-regulating their driving to avoid at least one challenging situation. The situations most commonly avoided were driving at night (40%), on the freeway (12%), in the rain (9%) and parallel parking (8%). Self-regulators had significantly poorer contrast sensitivity in their worse eye than non self-regulators (p = 0.027). Driver self-regulation was significantly associated with increased depressive symptoms after controlling for potential confounding factors (p = 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: Driver self-regulation was associated with increased depressive symptoms among cataract patients. Further research should investigate this association among the general older population. Self-regulation programs aimed at older drivers may need to incorporate mental health elements to counteract unintended psychological effects.
Clinical audit as an educative tool for optometrists: an intervention study in age-related macular degeneration
Purpose Age‐related macular degeneration (AMD) is a major cause of vision loss. This study investigated whether performing clinical audit and receiving analytical performance feedback altered documentation of the AMD care provided by optometrists. Methods Australian optometrists were recruited and completed a survey about their demographics and confidence in AMD care, and a three‐month audit of their practice records using an AMD audit tool (termed the pre‐audit evaluation). After receiving analytical feedback, participants identified areas for improvement and re‐audited their practices after three months to analyse changes in performance (termed the post‐audit evaluation). Paired t‐tests and Wilcoxon signed‐rank tests, as appropriate, were used to compare pre‐ and post‐audit data. Results Twenty optometrists, most practising in Victoria, Australia, completed the study. Participants primarily worked in corporate practice and/or rural settings and had a range of optometric experience (2–40 years). At baseline, participants felt confident in their: knowledge of AMD risk factors (65%), advice to patients about these factors (55%) and management of earlier stages of AMD (55%). Each clinician completed (median [IQR]): 15 [IQR: 10–19] and 12 [IQR: 8–16] audits of unique patient records, pre‐ and post‐audit, respectively. Post‐audit, average record documentation (per optometrist) improved for asking about: AMD family history (94% to 100%, p = 0.03), smoking status (21% to 58%, p < 0.01), diet (11% to 29%, p < 0.01) and nutritional supplementation (20% to 51%, p < 0.01). For clinical examination, compliance with documenting pinhole visual acuity, performing an in‐office Amsler grid (upon indication) and using optical coherence tomography improved post‐audit (p < 0.05). Accuracy of severity documentation improved for earlier stages of AMD (p < 0.05). For earlier stages of AMD, documentation of counselling about modifiable risk factors significantly improved post‐audit (p < 0.05). Aspects well‐performed pre‐audit that did not change included documenting: medical histories (100% at both time points, p = 0.06) and retinal imaging (77% at both time points, p = 0.97). Conclusions Self‐audit with analytical feedback improved clinical record documentation of: AMD risk factors, clinical examination, AMD severity classification and management advice. These findings support a role for audit to improve optometric clinical care of AMD, as evidenced by improved documentation of the AMD care delivered.