What's new in eye and vision care products

'Black-ish' star, Essilor spotlight back-to-school eye exams

August 2019 — When Marsai Martin, the 14-year-old actress who plays Diane Johnson on the hit show "Black-ish," was growing up in Texas she struggled in school until her vision issues were corrected.

"I know what it's like to sit in a classroom where everything looks blurry," Martin says. "No child should have to go through that experience."

Essilor of America has partnered with Martin to underscore the need for high-quality, comprehensive eye exams during this back-to-school season.

The Essilor 20/20 Vision Pledge is a new campaign introduced by Essilor of America and Marsai Martin that encourages parents to take immediate action to prioritize their children's best vision this back-to-school season.

In signing the Pledge, parents are eligible to win a comprehensive eye exam and pair of eyeglasses for their child – and eyeglasses from kindergarten through 12th grade, courtesy of the Essilor Vision Foundation.

Martin says of the Pledge: "Through this Pledge and partnership, I hope every child in America gets the opportunity to see the world clearly, and to be at their best in the classroom and life."

PreserVision eye vitamins now in a chewable version

May 2018 — According to research, about 20 percent of people age 50 and older say they have difficulty swallowing. For them, taking vitamins and pills can be so unpleasant that they may be tempted to just skip it.

That's why Bausch + Lomb is launching a chewable version of its PreserVision AREDS 2 formula vitamins — the only ones that contain the exact AREDS 2 formulation of six nutrients recommended by the National Eye Institute.

The mixed berry flavor and the fact that water is not necessary for taking the vitamins may increase compliance by people who are taking PreserVision to reduce their risk of progression of moderate or advanced AMD (age-related macular degeneration).

AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans age 50 and older.

You will find PreserVision AREDS 2 Formula Chewable vitamins at major retailers starting in June 2018.

Digital Heat Corporation launches heated eye pad to relieve dry eyes

October 2016 — For people with meibomian gland dysfunction, dry eye syndrome, blepharitis or other eye conditions, a warm compress is one of the usually recommended treatments.

But compresses have their drawbacks, including the frequent need to re-heat them. Plus they heat the entire eye socket and surrounding skin. The Heated Eye Pad is different, because it doesn't require moisture, it maintains a precise temperature, it keeps the temperature constant over time and it heats only the eyelids.

You close your eyes, then wear the Heated Eye Pad like an eyeglass frame — the bridge and temples adjust to fit your face. The eye pad is mounted on the frame.

Then you plug the device into a USB port, such as the one on your computer (it comes with a wall adapter, too). The eye pad heats to about 104°F and is FDA-cleared for over-the-counter use.

Because the Heated Eye Pad is new, it is not widely available, though you can order it online directly from the manufacturer. Ask your eye care practitioner about it.

New eye health supplement includes a multivitamin

July 2016 — To make your supplement regimen easier, Bausch + Lomb has released a new version of its PreserVision AREDS 2 eye vitamins that includes vitamins and minerals found in many multivitamins.

This means you need only one pill per day, instead of two, to ensure you are getting the nutrients your body needs.

The two-in-one formula is beta-carotene-free and has a high level of vitamin D; it was designed to address the needs of older people.

AREDS and AREDS2 are major clinical studies that tested the effects of antioxidants, zinc and other supplements on the eyes. The National Eye Institute recommends that people with moderate to advanced age-related macular degeneration take a supplement with a certain combination of these substances based on the AREDS2 study.

Flicker Glass, a new alternative to patching for amblyopia

January 2015 — Flicker Glass by Eyetronix is a new, wearable tool that uses rapid alternating occlusion to encourage the eyes to work together. Patching for amblyopia occludes one eye to force the other eye to work better, but Flicker Glass is designed to encourage both eyes to work together.

According to the company, this binocular approach can stimulate the visual system and help restore depth perception. And it does so in a more natural way that is likely more acceptable to children than patching.

The tool is an eyeglass frame with liquid crystal lenses and an electronic shutter. In fact, in a study of 20 kids aged 6 to 17, none of the subjects reported discomfort from wearing Flicker Glass, and most were even enthusiastic about it.

Handy device helps get eye drops in your eyes — instead of all over your face!

January 2015 — The DROPin Eye Drop Assist is a simple plastic device that helps position the tip of an eye drops bottle over your eye, for easier instillation of artificial tears, glaucoma medications and contact lens wetting solutions.

You just remove the cap of the eye drops bottle, place it through the hole of the DROPin and bring the device to your face with the end cupped around your nose. Making sure the drop tip is centered over your eye, lean back and squeeze the bottle to apply a drop. Since it takes only one hand to position the DROPin, you can use the other hand to hold open the eye or lower the eyelid.

The DROPin also helps ensure that the bottle tip doesn't touch the eye, for less chance of contamination. And in many cases, you can simply place the bottle cap back on with the DROPin device still in place, so it's ready to go the next time you need a drop.

The device is available on Amazon and at some eye care practices.

SEE ALSO: More Tips for Putting Eye Drops in Without Spilling >

BlephEx treatment for blepharitis now available

December 2014 — BlephEx is a recently developed device used by eye care professionals to exfoliate the eyelids along the edge of eyelids and lashes, to relieve the irritating symptoms of blepharitis.

The in-office procedure is painless and, according to BlephEx president and CEO Dr. James Rynerson, it reduces bacterial debris and clears the lids of inflammatory exotoxins that accumulate along the margins.

The procedure is quick and simple: A numbing drop is placed in each eye, and then for six to eight minutes the BlephEx spinning micro-sponge is applied to the eyelid edges. According to Dr. Rynerson, people often report almost immediate relief from irritation associated with blepharitis, as well as eventual resumption of normal tear production.

"In the same way that gingivitis and tooth loss can be avoided by regular teeth cleaning and flossing, blepharitis and tear gland damage can be controlled by BlephEx treatments every four to six months, followed by nightly home maintenance," said Dr. Rynerson in a press release.

"With routine maintenance, blepharitis symptoms such as itching or scratchy eyes, foreign body sensation, tearing, crusting, redness and inflammation, mattering, dry eyes and eye rubbing can be significantly reduced," he added.

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