In Contact - December 2010

If you wish to comment on this column or are interested in subscribing to In Contact? Email your details to

The Saks 'Best of the Web' 2010

I’ve now been devoting the December edition of In Contact to the Best of the Web for a decade. I take the opportunity to review the state of the art of eye care, the web and where we’re at technology wise.

For thousands more links check out my December Best of the Web archives for 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001

Techno Update

In 2009 I switched to Apple in the form of an iPhone 3GS followed a few months later by a top of the line MacBook Pro, obtained in NYC en-route to present at the BCLA Pioneers day at the Royal Society of Medicine, London. This year the honour goes to Lyndon Jones who has also just been named as the new director of the Centre for Contact Lens Research at the University of Waterloo. He succeeds my final year lecturer, friend and founding director of the centre, Desmond Fonn who is retiring. Full credit Des for an outstanding career. More on Des in future editions. Multitalented Lyndon, who as we know is a great guy and excellent presenter, is due to speak at the CCLS conference in Queenstown, March 2011. See you there. Will Jones be able to keep up with the apres conference activities this time? I hope he’s in training. The BCLA has incidentally updated their website. It’s a lot more modern and functional.

Website owners certainly need to update info and check for dead links a number of times a year. It seems that a complete rebuild is needed every three to five years. Functionality changes as does what people consider a fresh, modern look. What’s ‘best’ depends on many things: Try Time’s Top 50 or PC World’s Top 100 and search for other ‘top’ lists. WEB100 has plenty to keep you busy.

Apps remain the in thing: The App Store has hundreds of thousands more than last year! Some are Free. Ideal apps depend on what you want and what platform you use. Starwalk is amazing, but not great for presbyopes! There are heaps of eye-related and medical apps.

Scrabble and Need for Speed are some of the better ones I use.

Great to pass the the time when travelling.

Apple is of course not without fault. I’ve had my fair share of issues. The iOS4 software update screwed up my 3GS so badly I had to have it replaced, a few days inside warranty. For a change I won the warranty game, but only through perseverance. There are many who had similar issues. Battery longevity with apple i-devices and laptops in general leaves much to be desired. It’s the same with any appliance. I’ve managed to remain ‘Microsoft Free’ on my Mac. Keynote works better than Powerpoint, Pages is however a bit more hassle than Word. The only thing I miss is Outlook; it’s now available for the first time with exchange server compatibility in Mac Office 2011.

Blinkered apple freaks?

Automate at your peril?

Power supply remains one major stumbling block to functional printed circuits on contact lenses. Sensimed AG has solved that problem and has a breakthrough 24-hour IOP monitoring contact lens on the market! A patient wears a coil-containing patch around the eye. It simultaneously provides power and downloads the data, wirelessly. There are many devices being engineered to charge wirelessly via things such as Powermat. Similar technology has been used by the likes of Braun-Oral B for some years. In a similar vein bionic eye technology takes another step.

We badly need better batteries and more efficient energy harnessing, production and storage. Fresh water must also be conserved. We are probably not too far away from global water wars.

Although hydrogen & fuel cells offer clean energy, extracting hydrogen in the required form is highly inefficient & polluting in itself.

Ideal batteries, like safe extended wear, remain elusive.

The Best Perennial Online Journals

I’ve been evaluating eye related websites for around eighteen years. Back then there weren’t many. The following sites have stood the test of time and continue to evolve and provide excellent content, most of it freely available. Some have limited ‘open access’. Others need registration or an annual subscription fee. Contact Lens Spectrum continues to be top class. Dig deep, there’s plenty there as there is at Review of Optometry. Their supplements are good as are Spectrum’s.

Corneal Atlas is worth having as is the OAA’s annual Contact Lenses supplement. Optometric Management is a journal my Dad has sworn by for decades. Optometry & Vision Science remains one of the top scholarly journals. They offer limited free access. Few papers are more interesting than the recent translation of Eugen Marx’s amazing paper on lids & tears. Download the whole paper, free. Some of what he mentioned is only being ‘rediscovered’ now, almost 90 years later. Marx sadly took his own life after the German invasion of Holland. Unfortunately his works were not well referenced, probably due to the politics of the day.

Scientific American has been around for yonks: Their special supplement on Perception is probably worth acquiring, for less than the cost of a decent cocktail.

Other Assorted Useful References

The Rose K website has some useful articles on keratoconus.

Bartleby caters for diverse tastes. As does London Review of Books.

cnet provides useful downloads for Mac and of course much more.

Here’s a link to many ophthalmology journals. Cornea is good too, as is the Nature journal. The Biophysical journal also has some interesting stuff on eyes and corneas. The National Institute of Health is a useful reference. The new Soft Special Edition covers high-Dk speciality soft lenses. Homegrown eyetext is worth a look. Interpreting the gazillions of progressive lens identifying marks has become a real pain. Lens Guru helps.

Sarah Morgan has produced a classic Abba inspired presbyopia video. Nice one Sarah. The tear film and dry eyes remain of major interest to ECPs. Here’s a quick summary on treatment, albeit not exhaustive.

I don’t think it will be too long before IntraLase Enabled Keratoplasty becomes the norm. A real breakthrough that I’ve been ‘keeping an eye on’ this past decade. TVCI is an good resource. Sign up for free professional access.

Are ethics being taken enough notice of in this increasingly commercial world? WolframAlpha is an interesting ‘computational knowledge engine’. Big Brother Google remains the gold standard but give Bling a fling.

Supercook does it for cooking. Bellybytes is a great nutritional resource. Windowfarm anyone? Try this recipe. Eyeball eyeweekly. Interesting if not alternative stuff here.


Maryanne Dransfield pointed me to this Nikon site relating to microscopy imaging called smallworld; it’s fascinating. Another interesting site is photosynth. Local, Diederik Van Heyningen does some cool work.

AllPosters has tons of stuff; some eye related posters may be useful for display in practice. Check out a classic eyegouge and another from Schalk.

Archived editions of In Contact feature many eye-image resources; use the  functional search engine at top of the page. Another eye image site here. Stock sites and eye images are now more plentiful. OCT is on most practitioners wish lists: The Heidelberg site has a great image gallery with fundus images correlated nicely to the OCT scans.

I use YouTube to show patients videos of examples such as vitreal traction.

How did we live without all this technology?


Sensitive readers and viewers be warned: Some of these sites may offend. Viewer discretion advised.

Die Antwoord makes Eminem seem like Prince Charles or should that simply be Prince? They’re making it big! Lekker zef. Try this interview.

Bogans are similar the world over eh? Chav.

Cockney Rhyming Slang? Nuff said yeah?

Do you get 20/20?

Tough luck if you don’t.

Beer goggles work. Efron even has a formula. Ever tried Vodka Eyeballing?

Hot for words is dope. Gold standard? Know your limits!

The perennially irreverent Rolling Stones remain the greatest rock and roll band of all time. Amazing staying power and talent. Keef’s Life is a great read.

As he says on the back cover, “This is the Life. Believe it or not I haven’t forgotten any of it. Thanks and praises.”

Indeed having consumed more drugs than 99% of people on the planet his recall of detail is amazing.

Rock on.