The cost of removing a cataract - between $2,000-$4000 - is prohibitive for many, leaving them to struggle with a completely curable form of blindness. The Moran Eye Center has started a Charitable Surgery Day, to help restore sight to some Utahns.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2010, there were 20 million people who had become blind because of cataracts; that’s half of the world’s blind population.
Jeff Pettey is an Ophthalmologist at the University of Utah Moran Eye Center. He said many kinds of blindness, including that caused by cataracts, can be fixed.
"Eighty percent of blindness in the world is either curable or preventable. And 90 percent of the blindness is in developing nations, but we have a lot here, I mean among us. This is a place where there’s no reason anyone should be walking around with preventable or curable blindness," Pettey said.
But they are. Barbara Simons’ vision has been impaired by cataracts for around seven or eight years.
"It's hard to see and read and I haven't driven a car for a while and I trip a lot," Simons said.
Simons doesn't have insurance and doesn't have the money to pay for cataract surgery on her own. Until recently, she was homeless. She receives health and eye care at the Fourth Street Clinic in downtown Salt Lake City. Kristy Chambers is the CEO for the clinic, and said the clinic tries to find specialty care for their patients when needed.
Richard Normann begins every morning at his University of Utah office by making a cup of espresso. Like so many of us, the morning routine and the caffeine jolt helps to get his brain cells firing. But he knows a little more about this than most people.
Normann invented an electrode device that can be implanted into a human brain 25 years ago. It was the first of its kind and is capable of allowing researchers to listen to a group of neurons communicate with each other. Previously people used single wires and could only hear the signal of one or a small number of neurons.
Spring is the season for hiking, biking, camping, and for ticks. Lyme disease is the most common tick-born disease in the U.S., but is it in Utah? Kim Schuske from Explore Utah Science has the story.
Krystal Snyder has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, a bacterial infection introduced by the bite of a tick.
The first sign of Lyme disease for some is a characteristic bulls-eye rash that develops within about a week after they are bitten. If caught early, the disease is relatively easy to cure with antibiotics.
Hundreds of high school students participated in a regional sporting event at the Maverick Center in West Valley City last weekend. But in this competition, the players were robots. Kim Schuske from Explore Utah Science has the story.
“Lets’ go, alright drivers take control…”
And with that, the robots were off, trying to fling Frisbees into four goals at each end of the field.
Forty-four teams from 10 states built robots that competed in the challenge, 19 of those teams were from Utah. The hard work of designing, building, and testing the robots took more than six weeks of intensive collaboration between team members, says Sheyne Anderson of the DaVinci Dragons of Ogden.
Many scientists have been predicting that effects from climate change in the Southwest will be especially severe, Utah in particular.
In January, Moab’s temperatures never rose above freezing for the entire month. With pipes freezing all over town, Ron Pierce, Moab’s weather historian, was among many old timers who had never seen anything like it.
“As far as I can remember, it’s the coldest spell we’ve had in a long, long time,” said Jayne Belnap.