eye-news-roundup-july-week-2

Eye News Roundup – July, Week 2

1: Similarity between Corneas of People Suffering from Down syndrome (DS) and Keratoconus

A recent report has revealed unexpected morphological similarity between the corneas of people suffering from Down Syndrome (DS), over 70% of them to be exact, and keratoconus. These findings were reported by Dr. Jorge L. Alio associated with Vissum Alicante ophthalmology clinic of Miguel Hernandez University based in Alicante, Spain.

According to Dr. Jorge, this is the beginning of a new era in understanding of corneal diseases, placing special emphasis on corneal diseases in Down syndrome patients, giving rise to Down syndrome keratopathy as a new domain of keratopathy.

This groundbreaking study was conducted at an academic ophthalmology clinic in Spain and Egypt by Dr. Alio and his colleagues, extending for a period of three years and collecting data from 321 eyes in 217 participants. Among the contributors, 105 were healthy controls whereas 112 were genetically confirmed cases of DS.

Visit Reuters Health for further information on this story.

2: Improved Understanding of the Role of Sunlight Exposure in Development of Myopia

The triggering of myopia, also known as ‘nearsightedness’, affecting 1 in every 3 Americans, is a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors.

A new international study published in the prestigious journal ‘Nature Genetics’ has identified 161 genetic factors for myopia, many of them never studied before, that can play role in all types of retinal cells, most of them involved in processing light, declaring sunlight as a significant environmental factor in development of this eye disease.

In myopia, sunlight is focused in front of the retina, as against targeting the light-sensitive tissues at the back of the retina due to elongation of the eyeball.

Though scientists are still unable to single out the reason(s) behind elongation of the eyeball, a strong association between education and prevalence of myopia has been identified in numerous studies.

Gutenberg Health Study, involving researchers from Mainz University Medical Center aims at shedding light on the impact of children’s outdoor time in minimizing the spread of myopia, using the data owned by CREAM (the International Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia).

The study involves evaluation of more than 250,000 participants spread across Asia, Europe and North America, identifying 161 genes related to myopia, with experts recommending more outdoor time for children to counter myopia.

To know more about the story, visit AOA.

3: Retinal Regeneration – Fact or Fiction?

Retinal cells capable of regenerating themselves, sounds much like part of a sci-fi movie script. But researchers like Thomas Reh, PhD, of University of Washington, working as an FFB-funded specialist on retinal development and regeneration, are already exploring the possibilities of regeneration of photoreceptor cells of retina naturally.

With his earlier work on studying this emerging technique on amphibians, natural regeneration of photoreceptor cells of retina, Dr. Reh won the prestigious FFB’s 2018 Ed Gollob Board of Directors Award for publication of his research paper in the renowned journal ‘Nature’.

Dr. Reh first learnt about this ability of salamanders to regenerate their retina cells during his graduate studies at the University of Illinois and now he can boast of lab work spanning 30 years on the same domain.

Dr. Reh’s research publication in ‘Nature’ sheds light on advancements of his retinal regeneration techniques in mice, but there’s still much more to be studied before venturing into human trials.

However, his research work is expected to improve with the passage of time, opening up newer and better avenues of treating retinal diseases in humans, relying in innovative approaches rather than going for much more challenging retinal implants.

To learn more about Dr. Reh’s inspirational work, visit blindness.org.

4: Irresponsiveness of a Small Group of AMD Patients to Intravitreal Aflibercept

Though Intravitreal Aflibercept is known be to quite effective for most cases of treatment-naive neovascular AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration), new research from Japan reveals that the drug might lose its efficacy in treating a small subgroup with choroidal vascular hyperpermeability.

The mean age of the subjects assessed during the study at a single centre was 73, involving 365 eyes of 365 individuals. The treatment-naive neovascular AMD (also known as ‘wet AMD’) patients were administered with 2mg of intravitreal aflibercept consecutively for 3 months and then followed for the next year (at least). After administering 3 injections, further treatment was offered when necessary.

After three months of treatment, only 5.2% (19 out of 365) eyes were marked as non-responders. Moreover, of the non-responders, 79% responded significantly to intravitreal ranibizumab or to photodynamic therapy. Non-responding group comprised of significantly younger patients, more likely to be females.

Get more on developments regarding this story at Medscape.

5: Vision Impairment Due to Myopic Macular Degeneration Expected to Grow Five-Fold by 2050

More and more people are becoming victims of various eye problems, so much so that myopic macular degeneration (MMD) led vision impairment is expected to undergo a five-fold increase globally by 2050, a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology reveals.

According to the report, the number of people suffering from vision impairment due to MMD in 2015 was 10 million, of which 3.3 million were blind. This number is believed to grow to a whopping 55.7 million by 2050 (with 18.5 million of them going blind).

This study undertaken at Singapore Eye Institute and Brien Holden Vision Institute claims to be the first of its kind aimed at estimating the global prevalence of MMD, which happens to be one of the several conditions associated with myopia, potentially capable of leading to blindness.

According to Prof Kovin Naidoo, CEO at Brien Holden Vision Institute, coauthor of the study, the prevalence of global myopia and high myopia is projected to get a boost as a consequence of changing lifestyle trends including education and demographics. This increased prevalence is further believed to add to the number of people suffering from eye problems like cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma.

Though the number of people suffering from different types of visual impairments is on a constant rise unfortunately, advances in eye treatment can be seen as a ray of hope under these circumstances.

Today, a host of tech-based solutions and low vision aids are also becoming increasingly available, capable of helping millions inflicted with low vision conditions.

You can visit Brien Holden Vision Institute to catch more of this intriguing story.