YOUR RUNDOWN

Something to look forward to when you get older: herpes.

A study presented at ARVO found that the frequency of herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO) has tripled since 2004.

A research team from the University of Michigan reviewed health claims data for 21 million people between the years 2004 through 2016.

What did they find?

They found a three fold increase in HZO. Specifically, 9.4 cases per 100,000 people at the beginning of the study period had HZO compared to the 3 fold increase to 30.1 cases per 100,000 by the end of the study in 2016.

Who is more likely to get HZO?

To summarize quickly, older, white women. The study found the incidence increased with age with the highest rate of HZO in patients over 75. Additionally white women were at more of a risk than other groups.

Why the increase?

One theory is that fewer children and adults are being exposed to chickenpox virus than before. Periodic re-exposure to the chickenpox virus is necessary to boost a patients’ immune system and reduce risk of developing HZO.

The take home:

The authors highlighted the importance of the Shingrix vaccine in older patients to help with prevention. (via, via)

WHAT YOUR PATIENT MIGHT ASK YOU

Do optometrists think blue light from digital devices causes retinal damage?

Depends which optometrists you ask.

Researchers from Australia surveyed 372 optometrists to find out their beliefs on the effect blue light has on the retina. Here is what they found:

• 44% of optometrists believe daily exposure to blue light devices causes retinal damage.
• 22% did not believe it causes retinal damage.
• 34% were unsure of its retinal effects.

Interestingly, 75% of optometrists reported recommending blue-light blocking spectacle lenses and 90% believed blue light alters sleep patterns. (via)

SOCIAL MEDIA ROUNDUP

A phone for low vision patients.

Large, tactile buttons in different colors and shapes make this phone useful to low vision and blind patients. (via)

June is cataract awareness month.

According to Prevent Blindness, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world and there are close to 22.3 million Americans age 40 and older with cataracts.

Does WebMD have malpractice insurance?

A new study found that the WebMD online symptom checker only got it right 26% of the time for common eye conditions. (via)