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Dear doc.

Dear Doctor, my optician has started taking photographs of the back of my eye to look for disease. It seems like a good thing but is it really useful to me?

Retinal photography has been around for many years, but had until relatively recently been expensive. It was largely confined to big hospital eye departments and used for documenting the progression of problems on the retina and screening certain patients such as diabetics. In recent years digital photography has reduced the cost of taking and storing images, bringing high quality pictures within the range of the High Street optician. The retinal image can be recorded and then compared with previous images to look for changes, interpretation is easier and it makes obtaining a second opinion a possibility.

Dear Doctor I recently heard of a new GP surgery having "Microban" impregnated door handles to reduce transmission of diseases. Can I get diseases from door handles rather than toilet seats now?

We know that viruses and bacteria can survive on hard surfaces for several hours. It is therefore possible, but not always likely for you to get a few of someone else's bugs off almost anything you touch. I don't know if "Microban" can stop viruses and bacteria being transmitted in this way, but it strikes me we would need it in more places than a surgery door handle. I think hand washing and soap are probably just as effective if not better.
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Title Annotation:Life Health
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 31, 2006
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