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Eye News Roundup – August

Home/Eye Health Tips/Eye News Roundup – August

Eye News Roundup – August

1:  Possibility of Alzheimer’s Prediction during Eye Exam

As unlikely as it might sound, a study has helped scientists visualize the possibility of detection of Alzheimer’s disease through an eye exam, according to a story published on “Science Daily”.

And even better is that it could be done using technology similar to what’s commonly present in many eye doctors’ offices. Researchers from St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine carried out a small research in which they were able to detect Alzheimer’s in elderly patients without any visible symptoms of the disease, all by means of an eye exam.

According to Bliss E. O’Bryhim, MD, PhD, the study’s first author and a resident physician in the Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, they are hopeful to develop a viable solution based on this technique in helping to understand more about the accumulation of abnormal proteins in human brain, which have the potential to develop Alzheimer’s.

He also said that this technique has enough potential to serve as a screening tool in finding out which patients should undergo further invasive and expensive tests to determine the presence of the disease significantly earlier than the appearance of the clinical symptoms.

More of this interesting development can be found on Science Daily.

2:  Ease the Post Surgery Eye Pain – 1st Twice-Daily Topical Steroid Approved by FDA

Looks like a bit more relief is on the way for people suffering from post surgery eye pains, as Food and Drug Administration of the US (FDA), approves the 1st twice-daily topical steroid treatment manufactured by Inveltys, Kala Pharmaceuticals.

It comprises of loteprednol etabonate ophthalmic suspension (1%) and approved for post surgery ocular pain and inflammation treatment, the first of its kind meant to be administered twice daily (BID) instead of conventional four-times-a-day treatments.

This new suspension will also be the first of its kind featuring mucus-penetrating particle (MPP) technology, which enhances the delivery of the drug to target tissues using selectively sized nanoparticles as carriers.

Currently, around 8 million people undergo ocular surgeries every single year and such advancements are surely going to ease them in recovering from their surgeries. The company plans to proceed with the launch of the drug in the beginning of 2019.

Get more information about the approval on MedScape.

3:  Glaucoma Patients Might be Able to Reap the Benefits of Eye-specific Acupuncture

Patients suffering from primary open-angle glaucoma might be able to enjoy enhanced blood flow, thanks to the eye-specific acupuncture treatment, as reported in a recent study.

The study involved 56 participants, all having primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), receiving topical antiglaucoma medication. They were divided into two random groups, i.e. eye-specific acupuncture treatment group comprising of 28 patients and an eye-unspecific acupuncture treatment group comprising of the remaining 28 patients.

According to Naim Teraj, MD, who coauthored this study, pulsatile choroidal blood flow in eye-specific acupuncture treatment group was observed to increase significantly due to the specifically designed acupuncture regimen administered to the participants of the group. However, this did not result in any significant change in retinal blood flow.

The results of the study indicate that glaucoma patients can have positive effects of acupuncture treatment, though much more remains to be explored through further studies in the area.

Learn more about the story on Healio.

4:  A Promising New Gene Therapy Found Effective in Fighting Inherited Eye Diseases

Researches associated with University of Florida Health have been able to develop a new gene therapy that can be helpful in stopping vision loss and improving sight in dogs, getting one step closer to testing the same therapy in human beings, on people with vision problems due to a group of genetic eye disorders.

In the study, the genetic material needed to block and reverse the effects of RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa) was delivered to the target area with the help of a small and harmless virus. This virus used as a gene delivery vehicle is referred commonly as an “adeno-associated virus” or “AAV”, vector.

In fact, it offers two-pronged benefits as an AAV, silencing the mutant rhodopsin gene responsible for retinal degeneration as well as delivering the replacement copy of the normal gene. This AAV therapy succeeded in saving photoreceptor cells, while also preventing vision loss in the dogs involved in the study.

Dogs were involved in this sort of gene therapy treatment for RP for the very first time and the virus used as delivery vehicle has already been tested safely and successfully in mice as well as humans several years ago.

Though much further research is needed to produce a viably effective therapy that can be prescribed to humans on large scale, this therapy has proven its worth in saving cone vision in dogs and holds serious potential of doing so in humans as well.

5:  Papua New Guinea – One of the Worst Affected Regions with Blindness

A recent publication in the British Journal of Ophthalmology reveals that Papua New Guinea, PNG, has one of the highest prevalence rates for blindness in the whole world, based on the very first national survey conducted on eye health in the country recently.

The study finds cataract and uncorrected refractive error to be the major causes of vision loss and vision impairment in PNG.

Dr. Ling Lee, the lead author of the study from Brien Holden Vision Institute also highlighted the fact that the biggest hurdle in people getting the treatment for cataracts in the country was their unawareness of the existence of the treatment. Cost also comes as a significant barrier for majority of people in seeking for appropriate treatment.

The contents of the report also highlight the fact that outcome of the cataract surgery (based on WHO’s standard recommendations) is also far below than expected, mostly because of the factors like absence of infrastructure and difficulty in travelling to get to the places with appropriate health facilities.

The report also brought forward a significant gender disparity existing in PNG where the prevalence of blindness in females is 7.0%, considerably higher than that of males at 4.4%. Same is the case with imbalance in cataract surgical coverage, which was found to be 79.1% in women with refractive error (not getting the appropriate correction) in comparison to 61.3% for men.

Such reports are quite beneficial in gauging the overall eye health scenario of a region and you can know more about it on Brien Holden Vision Institute.

6:  Reversal of Congenital Blindness in Mice, Thanks to a New Technique

A worthwhile milestone in treatment of degenerative diseases of retina, thanks to a newly applied technique that successfully generated rod photoreceptors in the retina, is capable of integrating into the retina and brain – reported in “Science Daily”.

This is being hailed as a step forward in combating with blinding diseases including AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration) and RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa) by producing viable regenerative therapies.

Funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), a group of researchers reversed congenital blindness recently in mice when they changed Müller glia, the supportive cells present in the retina into rod photoreceptors.

This is considered to be the first time scientists have been able to reprogram Müller glia to transform into functional rod photoreceptors in retina of mammals.

These photoreceptors bore structural similarities with real photoreceptors and eventually integrated with the visual pathway from the retina to the brain, also integrating through the circuitry involved.

Rods help us view objects in low light conditions, but they might also have a role in preserving cone photoreceptors, needed for viewing colors and activities concerned with high visual acuity. Of the two, cones are known to die through the advanced stages of degenerative eye diseases.

If scientists find a way to regenerate rods from within the eye, this could be really helpful in developing a strategy to treat eye diseases affecting the photoreceptors much more conveniently and effectively.

Want to know more about this development, go to Science Daily.

7:  Can Glaucoma be an Autoimmune Disease?

Science Daily brings yet another intriguing and somewhat accidental discovery. No matter how unlikely it might sound, body’s own immune system might be held responsible for destroying retinal cells, according to the findings of a recent study carried out be MIT and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Institute.

It was revealed that T cells might be targeting heat shock proteins in the retina and if this is the case, new approach of blocking this immune activity can be used to develop more effective glaucoma treatments.

Glaucoma affects about 70 million people across the world and despite its high prevalence; much about it remains unknown, including its origins. It is degenerative for retina and optic nerve, sometimes leading to blindness as well.

With yet another possible behavior of glaucoma unearthed in this study, more studies are required to develop other possible treatments that can better treat the disease.

Visit Science Daily to know more about this interesting find.

8:  Strabismus in Adolescents Can Increases the Likelihood of Psychological Problems

Recently, a Turkish research reported that visible eye deviation caused by strabismus in adolescents can increase their likelihood of getting psychological problems.

Dr. Serdar Ozates, lead researcher of the study, associated with the Children’s Health and Diseases Training and Research Hospital in Ankara revealed that adolescents with visible eye deviation as a result of strabismus were highly prone to psychological distress compared to their peers with normal eyes.

The team of researchers studied 83 adolescents, ages ranging from 14 to 21 years, who had undergone strabismus surgery and led to this conclusion. Dr. Ozates made it clear that the patients involved in his study were not examined by a psychiatrist and they used psychometric tests as mere screening tests.

He further insisted that these adolescents’ results shouldn’t be generalized to adults suffering from strabismus.

Previous studies have already established a relationship between psychological disorders and facial disfigurement, and strabismus is also known to result in considerable facial disfigurement.

There’s much more to be learned on the subject with consequent studies and if you are intrigued to know more about this one, visit MedScape.

9:  Ocular Chlamydia (Trachoma) Rates Spike After Mass Antibiotic Distribution Ends

Jeremy D. Keenan, MD, an ophthalmologist at UCSF Health and a professor at the University of California, along with his colleagues report the findings of increased rate of Ocular Chlamydia, also known as Trachoma, in a bid to get better understanding of how mass distribution of azithromycin affects it.

The researchers chose Ethiopia to conduct a cluster-randomized study, the TANA1 trial, as it is also known. Azithromycin was delivered two times a year for 4 consecutive years to 48 communities. This was followed by randomly assigning the participants into two groups, one that had to continue the treatment further and the other had to stop taking it.

It is already known that annual or biannual distribution of azithromycin among children living in hyper endemic areas can stall ocular Chlamydia or trachoma rate. However, the discontinuation of the antibiotic after 4 years, as observed in this study, can result in a spike in the rate of infection.

Stabilization was observed in the infection and clinical disease in the communities where annual or biannual mass distribution of the antibiotic carried on for an additional 3 years, which also suggests that antibiotics alone might not suffice in completely eliminating the disease in areas severely affected with it. However, continuation of the mass distribution of azithromycin for 3 to 5 years serves well enough in lowering down the ocular Chlamydia or trachoma rates than discontinuing it.

More of the study can be found on Healio.

10:  A Urine Dipstick Test – A Shot at Saving Millions from Potential Blindness

A urine dipstick test might now help save lives of millions from potential blindness by detecting the parasitic worms responsible for river blindness, also referred as onchocerciasis. Around 18 to 20 million people suffer from this tropical disease.

This breakthrough is reported in ‘ACS Infectious Diseases’ journal as a unique, noninvasive and inexpensive way of determining the presence or absence of the infection in real time. Doctors and public health official will be able to get critical information in due time with this test, improving their odds of treating current patients as well as tracking outbreaks.

One of the best features of this new method is its simplicity. A colored line will appear on the dipstick when tested in the urine of an uninfected person, whereas no such line will appear if in case of someone infected with the disease.

More details of this intriguing story can be found on Science Daily.

11:  Increased Risk of Developing Open-Angle Glaucoma in the Other Eye for Those Who Have It in One Eye

A recent research report highlights a new possibility; people with one eye affected from open-angle glaucoma have a higher risk of glaucoma developing in the other eye as well.

Dr. David C. Musch of University of Michigan in Ann Arbor conducted this research along with his fellow researchers. He reveals the fact that among newly diagnosed patients of open-angle glaucoma, almost half had undergone initial treatment of both eyes, whereas this percentage goes up to two third of the patients getting a bilateral treatment after 7 years.

The findings of the report make it imperative for eye doctors and ophthalmologists to closely monitor the patients of unilateral glaucoma, as there is a high probability for them getting it in the second eye as well. So, constant monitoring would allow them to catch the symptoms in time and offer a better and timely treatment.

MedScape has more on the story.