Contacts That Replace Sunglasses? Device That Diagnoses Eye Disease Just from Photos?

Playing Self-Tinting Contact Lenses to Replace Your Sunglasses?

Ophthalmologist Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler joins The Doctors to discuss two new innovations in eye care. The first, FDA-approved transition contact lenses that darken in the sun.

Dr. Wachler says the lenses will be available early 2019 and he believes they could be a good option for people who are light sensitive. However, don’t throw out those sunglasses! While these lenses will block the cornea from UV rays, they won’t protect the whites of the eyes, eyelids and skin surrounding the eyes.

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OB/GYN Dr. Nita Landry asks so what’s the benefit? “Any time you need to protect that portion of your eyes, you need to protect the remainder of them so…” Dr. Wachler agrees and says while they are not ideal, they can give additional protection to people with light sensitivity, which could offer some relief. ER physician Dr. Jedidiah Ballard adds they may also be good for people like him who forget to bring their sunglasses all the time when at the beach or in the car!

Dr. Wachler is excited about a revolutionary FDA-approved device called IDx-DR that can detect diabetic retinopathy (an eye disease often linked to diabetes) just by looking at photos of the retina. A clinical trial shows that the device successfully diagnosed the disease 87% of the time.

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Dr. Wachler thinks this device will have a huge impact in the offices of primary care physicians because they are on the front lines of seeing people with diabetes. He shares a worrisome statistic that 50% of people who have diabetes never go in for an annual eye exam. Dr. Ballard notes that in rural American like where he is from, there aren’t always eye doctors nearby, so he loves the idea of this tool being used in primary care physicians’ offices.