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Allergy Capitols Include Hartford - New Haven
FDA: Donít mislead public about LASIK
Allergy Capitols Include Hartford - New Haven

There is no place safe from allergies in America, and some cities are more problematic than others. The Allergy Capitals is an annual research project of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) to identify “the 100 most challenging places to live with allergies” in the spring and fall seasons each year. The rankings are based on scientific analysis of 3 factors for the 100 largest metro areas in the U.S. The data measured and compared each year includes:
  • Pollen scores (airborne grass/tree/weed pollen and mold spores)*
  • Number of allergy medications used per patient
  • Number of allergy specialists per patient
2011 Fall Allergy Capitals

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) announced the 2011 Fall Allergy Capitals™ rankings, and this season, Knoxville, Tennessee was rated the #1 Fall Allergy Capital due to high pollen counts, high use of allergy medications by patients and too few allergists to treat the burgeoning allergy population.
Top 5 Fall Allergy Capitals for 2011
1. Knoxville, TN
2. Dayton, OH
3. McAllen, TX
4. Jackson, MS
5. Oklahoma City, OK
(See link below for full report of 100 metro areas)
The Inside Scoop

Nearly 40 million Americans have nasal allergies and over 10 million have allergic asthma. For these millions of adults and children allergic to pollen, the next few months will push them indoors to avoid wind-swept allergens and to ultimately escape the chronic symptoms of fall allergies: runny nose and congestion, itchy and watery eyes, violent sneezing, and even coughing and wheezing for people who have allergic asthma. However, even average Americans are spending 60% or more of their time indoors and experts are increasingly cautioning everyone to pay attention to indoor air quality (IAQ), as well.
Indoor air can be worse than outdoor air. As a result, “everyone, especially those with allergies and asthma, need to pay close attention to indoor air quality," advises Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, medical director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York and assistant clinical professor of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine. Household triggers like mold that grows in areas with high moisture, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in wood furniture, flooring and traditional paints, or strong chemical odors from some cleaning products are common problems. "Airborne triggers and irritants can be potentially serious problems and any home, school or office can be an obstacle course if you have asthma or allergies,” says Bassett. “But good air quality can be achieved through smart home solutions."
Click on the links below to learn how to improve the indoor air quality of your home!
More Information

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FDA: Donít mislead public about LASIK

     Silver Spring, MD—Eye-care professionals must adequately inform patients of the risks and consequences associated with refractive surgery performed with FDA-approved lasers when advertising and promoting such procedures, the agency’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) said in a recent letter to eye-care professionals.
     Those who do not comply within 90 days of issuance of the Sept. 23 letter face regulatory action that could include warning letters, product seizures, injunctions, and civil money penalty proceedings, according to the agency.
     At an April 2008 public meeting of the agency’s Ophthalmic Devices Panel, the FDA received feedback that advertising and promotion of laser refractive surgery, including LASIK, “often failed to properly inform consumers of the indications, limitations, and risks of refractive procedures and the lasers used for those procedures,” according to the letter. (See Ophthalmology Times’ coverage of the 2008 meeting at www.ophthalmologytimes.com/FDALASIK.)
     The FDA opened a public docket from September 2008 to September 2009, during which time the agency sought information and comments on the post-market experience associated with the use of LASIK-related devices, as well as information regarding potential barriers that might exist in providing the agency with feedback regarding LASIK procedures.
     The agency issued a letter to eye-care professionals on the matter in May 2009 and reopened a public docket to receive additional information and comments about LASIK devices later that year. It continues to receive feedback related to “improper promotion and advertising practices by eye-care professionals,” according to the letter.
     Those believing that advertising or promotional material concerning a refractive surgery device is false or misleading should contact the CDRH’s Office of Compliance at 10903 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20993. Questions concerning the letter to eye-care professionals may be directed to Deborah Wolf, regulatory counsel, CDRH Office of Compliance, at 301/796-5732.
     The FDA’s Web site provides a list of all FDA-approved lasers for LASIK (http://www.fda.gov/...168641.htm) and also provides information about the scope of the intended uses of each laser and the associated risks. Information about LASIK procedures and current FDA activities relating to LASIK can be found on the FDA’s LASIK Web site (http://www.fda.gov/.../default     - Ophthalmology Times eReport

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     Clinically significant refractive error affects half of all U.S. adults aged 20 and older, making it the nation's most common condition affecting ocular health, according to an article published in the August issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.
Susan Vitale, Ph.D., of the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues assessed data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on 12,010 subjects who had refractive error data.
The researchers found that age-standardized prevalence of astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia was 36.2 percent, 33.1 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. In 20- to 39-year-old subjects, the investigators found that myopia was more common in women than men (39.9 percent versus 32.6 percent). In subjects aged 60 and older, they also found that hyperopia and/or astigmatism were more common -- and that myopia was less common -- compared to younger subjects.
"In a previous study, we estimated the annual direct cost of providing refractive correction to the 100 million people who need it to achieve good vision as exceeding $3.5 billion (not including the costs of identifying those who need refractive correction)," the authors conclude. "Others estimated the economic burden (including indirect costs) of refractive error in those 40 years and older to be $5.5 billion. Accurate, current estimates of the prevalence of refractive error are essential for projecting vision care needs and planning for provision of vision care services to the many people affected."  Source: Modern Medicine.com

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   A retrospective review of the database of the Ophthalmology Institute of Modena from January 1999 to September 2007 was performed to describe a series of bottle cork and cap ocular injuries to report the visual impairment and clinical outcomes observed in 34 cases over eight years. All patients presented with closed-globe injury, and all were caused by bottles containing sparkling wine (white in 24 cases and red in 10 cases).

   The incidence varied between two and six cases a year (average 3.89). Bottle cork and cap injuries represented 11 percent of all injuries admitted to one department in the period considered in the series. Nine patients recovered totally; 22 patients recovered partially; and three patients had a severe visual outcome (lower than Grade 3 according to trauma classification system, BCVA less than 0.2). Five patients needed a surgical procedure. The most frequent ocular lesion was hyphema; the worst was retinal detachment resulting from a giant retinal tear. Two patients suffered very severe visual impairment.

   This is the largest series of bottle cork and cap ocular injuries published to date. This kind of injury is potentially sight-threatening and may lead to severe visual loss in a small percentage of cases. This study highlights the need for preventative measures such as warning labels or devices to regulate cork pressure.
    SOURCE: Cavallini GM, Martini A, Campi L, Forlini M. Bottle cork and cap injury to the eye: A review of 34 cases. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2008; Aug 12 [Epub ahead of print].

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   Millions of Americans have undergone laser eye surgery to correct bad vision, and along with the procedure's popularity something else is coming into focus: its hazards. For the Full Story, Please login to OPTICAL NEWS

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