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France to relax rules on prescription glasses, contact lenses

26/10/2021

France will soon allow people aged 16-42 who need to renew a prescription for glasses or contact lenses to do so without requiring a trip to an ophthalmologist. MPs voted in favour of the move, which is designed to reduce waiting times and, ultimately, afford a better service for patients, last Friday. Under the new rules, the scope of orthoptists’ work will increase and they will also be able to prescribe glasses and contact lenses. Supporters say it will make access to eyecare easier for the public and reduce waiting time but critics say it will reduce the quality of care. Up until now, anyone wishing to get a prescription for glasses in France needed to visit an ophthalmologist – a medical doctor and surgeon specialising in eye diseases and varied complaints. This is in contrast to countries such as the UK, where people can get a prescription for glasses and contact lenses by visiting a high street optician, instead of a doctor. In France, ophthalmologists are often based in hospitals. As a result, there can be delays getting appointments. In contrast, orthoptists are specialists in vision, eye movements, and how the eyes work together, and may not be based in a hospital. They are less likely to deal with urgent cases. *Image by Nicola Giordano from Pixabay 

Union Clinic team uses Augmented Reality during knee surgery in France first

05/08/2021

The knee surgery team at the Union Clinic in Toulouse has just acquired state-of-the-art equipment which models a patient’s knee in 3D, reproducing its movements and ligament tension during the process. The Augmented Reality (AR) technology, called the NextAR platform, helps surgeons adapt the position of the prosthesis to a closed, static joint. Using the NextAR platform and AR glasses, surgeons can benefit from an image and data modeling of the ligament tension of the patient’s knee, when in, thanks to sensors placed on the tibia and the femur. Such a setup allows the surgeons to better marry the prosthesis with the patient’s anatomy. Because the resulting prosthesis is more precise, the patient’s recovery is faster and less painful, meaning they are able to use their new knee sooner. Furthermore, the more precise matching is expected to extend the lifespan of the prosthesis, allowing the patient to benefit from it longer. The knee surgery team at the Union Clinic comprises Drs. De Ladoucette, Benzaquen, Chemama and Chapuis. Drs. Chemama and Benzaquen performed the first-ever augmented reality knee surgery using the NextAr platform on June 28, 2021. *Image by v-a-n-3-ss-a from Pixabay

French hospitals using VR tech to help surgery patients relax

06/07/2021

Hospitals in France are using virtual reality (VR) glasses to help patients relax and reduce their stress and pain during operations. Rouen and Strasbourg hospitals have both embraced the VR technology, which was launched last year by French start-up HypnoVR. The glasses can be worn by patients before, during and after surgery, helping them relax more, which can result in local anaesthesia being used instead of general during their procedure. The glasses can also help patients better manage post-surgery pain. They are said to be particularly effective for chemotherapy patients. Patients can choose from a range of virtual scenes, including a tropical beach, walking in the woods and even a journey into space. A calming voice accompanies the visuals and there are breathing exercises and a choice of music, too. While patients still have to receive anaesthesia, the amount required is often less while wearing the VR glasses. HypnoVR president Denis Graff, a medical anaesthetist and hypnotherapist, said: “We are trying to fight against the over-consumption of drugs, and we are trying to treat pain with a non-medicinal method in order to reduce the consumption of potentially dangerous drugs that can have severe side-effects.” *Image by Florian Pircher from Pixabay

The implant that reattaches the ears in 15 minutes

08/12/2016

                    The implant "Earfold" was tested on 7 year-old children, without any complication A new procedure to "reattach" certain ears, less invasive than conventional surgeries, is now available in France. If having peeled ears has no medical gravity, the people concerned can be the victims of mockery and afflicted with derogatory nicknames that can affect their psychological balance. Since last June, a metal implant created by Dr. Norbert Kang, an English surgeon, to correct this aesthetic defect, has been implemented in the French reconstructive surgery clinics. "An innovative technique" “Earfold”, the implant in question, is introduced under the skin thanks to a small incision in the anti-helix fold (cartilage that borders the hollow of the ear). The thin metal band made of nickel-titanium alloy (Nitinol), an elastic material used in vascular prostheses and unbreakable glasses frames, clings to the cartilage and immediately adopts its predefined shape by recreating the anti-helix crease which, when it does not exist, is responsible for some "peeling" of the ears. All people who can have a local anesthesia can benefit from this technique. It was tested on children of 7 year-old without any complication. On the other hand, it works only in individuals whose deformation is due to the absence or underdevelopment of the anti-helix fold. Individuals in whom detachment is caused by a deep shell (ear cavity) should go through more conventional and more complicated otoplasty procedures (ear surgery). In total, it is estimated that about 5% of the population is affected by detached ears, from all causes. "This technique is very innovative," says Dr. Michel Corniglion, a surgeon at the Saint-Charles Clinic in Lyon who carried out the first operation of this kind in France last June. "It has the advantage of being minimally invasive and the potential risks, such as hematomas and infections, are easily preventable if the surgeon meets the necessary hygiene conditions."

Secret 'red hair gene' increases skin cancer risk

19/07/2016

It's long been known that people with red hair have an increased risk of developing skin cancer. But now a new study by investigators from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute suggests that one in every four people in the UK carries a "silent" red hair gene that significantly raises their risk of sun-related skin cancer. The secret "ginger gene" is thought to endanger carriers by exposing them to an additional 21 years of sunlight, compared to people who do not have the gene. While individuals with two copies of the MCR1 gene will often have red hair, fair skin and freckles, those with one copy may not even know they are at increased risk of malignant melanoma and are less likely to take extra care in the sun as a result. Despite not looking like your typical "easy burners", the researchers say these carriers were found to have 42% more sun-associated mutations in their cancers than non-carriers. Publishing their findings in the journal Nature Communications, the team said "All people, not just pale redheads, should be careful in the sun." Dr Julie Sharp from Cancer Research UK said: "For all of us the best way to protect skin when the sun is strong is to spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm and to cover up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses. Sunscreen helps protect the parts you can't cover - use one with at least SPF15 and four or more stars, put on plenty and reapply regularly." The Cancer Research UK website has further information on skin types to help determine your risk of sunburn.

New UK Guidelines Say Reduce Alcohol Consumption

13/01/2016

  The UK Department of Health has published new guidelines regarding the consumption of alcohol and they make for sobering reading if you’re fond of a regular daily tipple. According to the tough new guidelines, which are based on the findings of worldwide research, any amount of alcohol can increase a person’s risk of cancer and, as a result, men and women who drink regularly should consume no more than 14 units a week. That’s roughly equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or seven glasses of wine. The advice for pregnant women is simple: no alcohol at all until after baby has been born. Furthermore, if people drink, they should do so moderately over three or more days and have some days that are totally alcohol-free. The guidelines also state that people shouldn’t “save up” their units and drink them all over a short space of time, like a weekend. Heavy drinking sessions, it says, increase the risk of accidents and injury. Talking about the revised guidelines, Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said: "Drinking any level of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone, but if men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 units a week, it keeps the risk of illness like cancer and liver disease low." The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in the UK says that alcohol contributes to over 60 medical conditions, including some cancers, stroke and heart disease. It is thought that approximately one in 20 of all new cancer diagnoses in the UK are linked to a person’s alcohol consumption.

Ophthalmic

28/05/2015

CATARACT SURGERY You are suffering from cataract responsible for your visual disorders. Your ophthalmologist proposes surgery because it is the only way to improve your vision.  Cataract is the clouding of the crystalline lens, a high power lens located inside the eye. Cataract procedure: The patient lays on the back, in a sterile surgical environment under a microscope. Cataract’s operation represents a major surgical procedure, because it consists of incising the eye and extracting one of its elements inside: crystalline lens. About hospitalisation: A minimum of several hours hospitalisation is necessary. Your ophthalmologist will decide the mode of anaesthesia in accordance agreement with the anaesthetist. About anaesthesia: The eye can be desensitised by injections of neighbourhood or solely by the instillation of drops. General anaesthesia is also possible. The choice stems from the advice of your ophthalmologist and one of the anaesthetists. Your wish is taken into account whenever possible. The cataract extraction was performed with or without the aid of an ultrasound probe. The envelope of the lens (the capsule) is left took in place. It is exceptional to make the total extraction of the lens. Implantation of an artificial lens (intraocular implant) the lens is replaced with a synthetic lens placed behind the pupil. The incision is sutured to the eye or not. Incidents or difficulties before surgery are rare and unpredictable. They sometimes lead to place the implant to the ward or to waive any location. It may be necessary to remove a small fragment of the iris and / or ablate a portion of the vitreous. The course of the intervention may be complicated by a rupture of the capsule (less than 5% of cases). The cataract extraction is sometimes incomplete. Bleeding can occur and usually resolves in a few days (in very exceptional cases, it can lead to vision loss or even loss of the eye). Postoperative course: In the vast majority of cases (95%), cataract surgery is painless. The vision is improving very quickly and an appropriate correction with glasses can be prescribed after a few weeks. The presence of other lesions of the eye may limit visual recovery. Local care is reduced to the instillation of drops and wearing eye protection for a period that will be specified by your surgeon. It is sometimes necessary to ablate suturing thread.  Resuming your professional occupation, operating machinery or dangerous instruments and driving are not recommended for a limited period which will be defined by your ophthalmologist. In over 30% of cases in the years following the operation, a capsule opacification may occur: the secondary cataract responsible for a new low vision. The treatment consist in achieving the coverage of the capsule by laser surgery.

Ophthalmic

28/05/2015

CATARACT SURGERY You are suffering from cataract responsible for your visual disorders. Your ophthalmologist proposes surgery because it is the only way to improve your vision.  Cataract is the clouding of the crystalline lens, a high power lens located inside the eye. Cataract procedure: The patient lays on the back, in a sterile surgical environment under a microscope. Cataract’s operation represents a major surgical procedure, because it consists of incising the eye and extracting one of its elements inside: crystalline lens. About hospitalisation: A minimum of several hours hospitalisation is necessary. Your ophthalmologist will decide the mode of anaesthesia in accordance agreement with the anaesthetist. About anaesthesia: The eye can be desensitised by injections of neighbourhood or solely by the instillation of drops. General anaesthesia is also possible. The choice stems from the advice of your ophthalmologist and one of the anaesthetists. Your wish is taken into account whenever possible. The cataract extraction was performed with or without the aid of an ultrasound probe. The envelope of the lens (the capsule) is left took in place. It is exceptional to make the total extraction of the lens. Implantation of an artificial lens (intraocular implant) the lens is replaced with a synthetic lens placed behind the pupil. The incision is sutured to the eye or not. Incidents or difficulties before surgery are rare and unpredictable. They sometimes lead to place the implant to the ward or to waive any location. It may be necessary to remove a small fragment of the iris and / or ablate a portion of the vitreous. The course of the intervention may be complicated by a rupture of the capsule (less than 5% of cases). The cataract extraction is sometimes incomplete. Bleeding can occur and usually resolves in a few days (in very exceptional cases, it can lead to vision loss or even loss of the eye). Postoperative course: In the vast majority of cases (95%), cataract surgery is painless. The vision is improving very quickly and an appropriate correction with glasses can be prescribed after a few weeks. The presence of other lesions of the eye may limit visual recovery. Local care is reduced to the instillation of drops and wearing eye protection for a period that will be specified by your surgeon. It is sometimes necessary to ablate suturing thread.  Resuming your professional occupation, operating machinery or dangerous instruments and driving are not recommended for a limited period which will be defined by your ophthalmologist. In over 30% of cases in the years following the operation, a capsule opacification may occur: the secondary cataract responsible for a new low vision. The treatment consist in achieving the coverage of the capsule by laser surgery.

Bionic Eye Allows Man to See for the First Time in Over 10 Years

02/03/2015

Allen Zderad was affected by a degenerative eye condition known as retinitis pigmentosa, which left him unable to see anything apart from bright light. He was effectively blind. His condition meant that he had to give up work and as the condition has no cure, the future was looking grim for Allen. However, despite changing his lifestyle to cope with the fact that he was effectively blind, he was still able to continue working with wood due to his sense of touch and spatial awareness. But now, with his new bionic eye, Alan can make out the outlines of objects and people. It works by bypassing the retina which is affected by the disease and sends light directly to the optic nerve. It really is bionic, with a small chip now attached to the back of Alan’s eye, which boasts 60 stimulation points. For it all to work, Alan has to wear a pair of special glasses that are attached to the device on the retina. These glasses have a built-in camera which sends images to a small computer he wears around his waist. This computer processes them and transmits them to his retina and brain. While the bionic eye doesn’t allow Alan to see perfectly, it has given him a new lease of life and he can now navigate his way across crowded rooms without the need for a cane.

French Health Watchdog Advises No 3D for Children under Six

28/11/2014

When it comes to your child’s health, you can never be too cautious and now a French health watchdog is warning parents not to expose children under six to 3D movies, computers or video games. The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) says that “pioneering” scientific research now shows that 3D imaging can be detrimental to the health of younger children. It’s not recommending that children under six should never play 3D games or watch 3D movies. Furthermore, ANSES is also advising that children under 13 should only have moderate access to such content. An explosion of 3D technology has meant that children can interact with it on a regular basis but the nature of 3D presentations means that a child’s eyes are required to focus in two different places at the same time. It’s this “vergence-accommodation” while a child’s eyes are still developing that can lead to a range of symptoms developing. Double vision, dry eyes, dizziness, headaches and reduced visual acuity are just some of the issues that young children may experience as a result of viewing 3D technology, says ANSES. ANSES acknowledges that further research is required but its advice should definitely be food for thought for parents in the meantime. This new advice further emphasises how seriously healthcare in France is taken; especially when it comes to children.

Can Cataract Removal Change Your Life?

13/08/2014

Cataract is the clouding of the crystalline lens within the eye. Whilst this is a very common condition, especially as people start to age, it can have a dramatic impact on a person’s life. The effects of cataracts is that light cannot pass through the blurred part of the lens and so the person is left with only patches of vision. The blurred patches increase in size over time and so the field of vision becomes drastically reduced if left.  When will cataracts be removed? If cataracts are mild then there may be no need to remove them. Mild cataracts can be corrected by strong glasses and brighter reading conditions, however, it is always advisable that professional advice is sought as cataracts can cause blindness if left untreated.  If cataracts start to affect daily life then they will usually be removed by a relatively low-risk procedure.   What does cataract surgery involve? If cataracts are so severe that surgery is required the affected lens will be removed and replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). Various lenses are available to suit your vision and the best for the patient will be used. As with any surgery there are risks, however, in the majority of cases following the operation the patient will no longer have cloudy patches on their eyes and their vision will be restored.  Surgeons in France are exceptionally well skilled and so if you are contemplating cataract surgery there is no better place to regain your sight than the beautiful country France. Photo Credit: © Alila Medical Images - Fotolia.com

5 Facts about Cataracts

13/08/2014

1. Cataracts are not affected by how people use their eyes. Many people believe that cataracts can be avoided by using their eyes in certain ways, e.g. using screens too often or frequently being in dimly lit environments. This is not true. Cataracts develop with age and whilst they may be more noticeable when a person is looking at things close up, it is not close up work that makes cataracts develop. 2. The most common symptoms of cataracts are blurred vision, cloudy or misty vision or patches where vision is not as clear. 3. The development of cataracts can be slowed down. It is not possible to reverse cataracts and so once a person is aware that they have cataracts they should seek help. However, there are ways in which the development can be slowed. These include quitting smoking, wearing sunglasses and keeping healthy in general such as eating a balanced diet. 4. Cataracts occur when the cells of the lens die. As more cells die they build up and this gradually affects a person’s vision. 5. Surgery to remove cataracts is offered by France Surgery and is a simple and common procedure. Patients will be able to get back to daily life the day after surgery which means there will be lots of time to enjoy the French surroundings.

Cataract Surgery with Intraocular Implants

07/07/2014

As we get older it’s inevitable that are bodies wear and one area that often shows noticeable signs of ageing is our eyes and, in particular, cataracts. Most commonly associated with people who are over 50-years-old, cataracts can occur in one eye or both and are characterised by a distinct clouding of the eye’s lens. This opaqueness causes a decrease in vision that cannot be simply corrected with eyeglasses. Therefore, people with cataracts usually resort to surgery in an attempt to get their sight restored and, fortunately, cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures out there today. Furthermore, it can usually be performed on an outpatient basis, thus eliminating the need for a hospital stay and affording a speedy recovery. The procedure itself involves the removal of the affected eye lens with a high-frequency ultrasound probe. This breaks up the cloudy lens into tiny pieces which are then removed from the eye with suction. The lens is then replaced with an intraocular implant to restore clear vision. Although this might sound painful, the procedure is always performed with a local anaesthetic and even sometimes a general anaesthetic. However, as remarkable as it may seem, the incision made in the eye may not even require a stitch and the only sign of surgery will be a protective shield placed over the eye immediately after. The outpatient nature of intraocular cataract surgery means that you can make the very most of your recovery period and enjoy all the benefits that a beautiful country such as France has to offer.

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