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A new fashion fad, Apr 26, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- tiny jewelry implanted in the eye's membrane -- is raising eyebrows among eye doctors worried about the health consequences. Members of the American Academy of Ophthalmology are voicing concern about the fad emerging from Europe, in which pieces of jewelry, in shapes ranging from hearts to half moons, are implanted into the eye's mucous membrane or the conjunctiva. "My concern would be that it might cause foreign body granuloma or scar tissue," said academy spokesperson Wayne Bizer, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ophthalmologist. "The implant could also allow bacteria to get beneath the conjunctiva causing a serious vision-threatening infection or possibly erode the sclera, the white part of the eye." He also says removing the implant may prove difficult if any of these problems occur. The Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery says the cosmetic implant does not interfere with visual performance or motility.


In observance of May as Healthy Vision Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology urges Americans to take care of their eyes no matter their age. Preventive eye care is important because good vision can be lost at any time of life, from newborn to old age, the doctors say. "Although eye problems are often associated with aging, some of those problems actually start earlier and vision loss can be prevented if the problem is caught sooner," said academy spokesperson Dr. Anne Sumers, a Ridgewood, N.J., ophthalmologist. Infants and toddlers should be screened for common childhood eye problems, such as strabismus (crossed eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye), during their regular pediatric appointments. Vision screening is recommended for all children 3 and older. Warning signs of vision problems include: wandering or crossed eyes, a family history of childhood vision problems, redness, discharge, a disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects and squinting or turning the head in an unusual manner while watching television. For adults, the academy recommends a complete eye exam at least once between the ages of 20 and 29, at least twice between the ages of 30 and 39 and every two to four years between the ages of 40 and 65. Seniors over 65 should be examined at least every one to two years for cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other eye conditions.


The National Comprehensive Cancer Network and American Cancer Society have issued the Advanced Cancer and Palliative Care Treatment Guidelines for Patients. Palliative care refers to treatment that relieves symptoms, such as pain, but is not expected to cure the disease. Its primary purpose is to improve the quality of life of patients whose cancer has recurred and/or spread to vital organs in the body. The guideline authors say their aim is to help patients and physicians understand and respond to medical, psychological and social issues they may be facing as they near the end of life. "In advanced cancer, aggressive anticancer therapy must be coupled with aggressive palliative care to optimize both quantity and quality of life," said Dr. Michael Levy, chair of the NCCN Palliative Care Clinical Practice Guidelines panel. "When further anticancer therapy becomes no longer effective, appropriate or desired, comprehensive palliative care must be intensified to ensure the relief of suffering for both the patient and the family." Free copies of the guidelines are available on NCCN's web site at and by calling NCCN toll-free at (888) 909-NCCN. They can also be ordered from the American Cancer Society at or by calling (800) ACS-2345.


A survey shows 13 percent of participants suffer symptoms suggesting a bowel disorder yet fewer than one out of five have been diagnosed with the disease. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a chronic digestive disorder that affects as many people as asthma or diabetes, says Nancy Norton, president and founder of International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, which conducted the survey of 1,000 adults. "IBS is the most common diagnosis made by gastroenterologists and one of the most common disorders seen by primary care doctors," she said. "Yet a vast number of people who suffer from IBS may not be getting the medical care they need."

(Editors: For more information about EYE, call (415) 561-8534. For VISION, call (415) 561-8534. For CANCER, Liz Greco-Rocks at (610) 260-0322 or For BOWEL, Jack Segal at (312) 297-7425)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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