EW Weekly, September 2, 2016

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September 2, 2016
Volume 21 , Number 31

Preclinical contact lens drug-dispensing model showing promise

Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear (Boston) have shown that a novel contact lens-based system that uses a "strategically placed drug polymer film to deliver medication gradually to the eye," is at least as effective, and possibly more so, as daily latanoprost eye drops in a preclinical monkey model. The same group of researchers had previously shown in a 2014 study that the lens is capable of delivering medication continuously for 1 month. "We found that a lower-dose contact lens delivered the same amount of pressure reduction as the latanoprost drops, and a higher-dose lens, interestingly enough, had better pressure reduction than the drops in our small study," said Joseph Ciolino, MD, Massachusetts Eye and Ear, and assistant professor of ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School. The researchers designed a novel contact lens that contains a thin film of drug-encapsulated polymers in the periphery. The drug-polymer film slows the drug coming out of the lens. Because the drug film is on the periphery, the center of the lens is clear, allowing for normal visual acuity, breathability, and hydration, the researchers noted. The lenses can be made with no refractive power or with the ability to correct refractive error.

Researchers find new role for cannabinoids in vision

A multidisciplinary team of Canadian researchers has found activating cannabinoid signaling in tadpoles increased the activity in their retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), according to a news release from McGill University (Toronto). The group used tadpoles to gauge the reaction to visual stimuli after exposure to increased levels of exogenous or endogenous cannabinoids. Exogenous cannabinoids are artificially introduced drugs, whereas endogenous cannabinoids occur naturally in the body. One class of cannabinoid receptor, known as CB1R, plays a role in the suppression of chloride transport into the RGCs. When the receptor is activated, chloride levels are reduced, which hyperpolarizes the cell, making it able to fire at higher frequencies when stimulated, the researchers said. Previous studies found that cannabinoids typically work to reduce neurotransmission, not increase it. The researchers noted the results may not have the same effect in human vision.

Foundation Fighting Blindness raises awareness of retinal degenerative disease research

The Foundation Fighting Blindness (Columbia, Maryland) is launching a consumer social media campaign to bring awareness to the need for research funding for retinal degenerative diseases. The #HowEyeSeeIt campaign has tapped celebrities to help raise awareness, including Harry Shum Jr. of Glee, Diane Guerrero of Orange is the New Black, and Justin Baldoni of Jane the Virgin, to demonstrate the difficulty in performing everyday tasks with vision impairment or loss. Other campaign ambassadors will include NASCAR drivers Darrell Waltrip and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., former New York Governor David Patterson, and basketball great Phil Ford.

RESEARCH BRIEFS

  • A fixed combination of carteolol/latanoprost (OPC-1085EL) is superior to latanoprost or carteolol alone in lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) and was well tolerated in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension, according to T. Yamamoto and colleagues. The multicenter, randomized, evaluator-masked (Study 1; 28 clinical sites)/double-masked (Study 2; 19 clinical sites), parallel-group studies enrolled patients whose predose IOP was 18 to <35 mm Hg in the study eye after 4 weeks of treatment with latanoprost (Study 1) or carteolol (Study 2) (defined as baseline). In Study 1, 237 patients applied OPC-1085EL (n=118) or latanoprost (n=119) for 8 weeks. In Study 2, 193 patients applied OPC-1085EL (n=78), carteolol (n=78), or carteolol/latanoprost concomitant therapy (n=37) for 8 weeks. In Study 1, the adjusted mean IOP reductions were 2.9 mm Hg and 1.6 mm Hg in the OPC-1085EL and latanoprost groups, respectively (P<.0001). In Study 2, the adjusted mean IOP reductions were 3.5 mm Hg and 1.6 mm Hg in the OPC-1085EL and carteolol groups, respectively (P<.0001). The study is published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology.
  • Fresh and frozen corneal donors offer similar clinical outcomes when used as carriers for the Boston Keratoprosthesis type 1 (Boston KPro), with no significant differences in device retention, visual rehabilitation, or rates of complications at 24 or 60 months, according to a study published in Ophthalmology. A.K. Muzychuk and colleagues prospectively enrolled and randomized 37 eyes (37 patients) to receive a Boston KPro using a frozen (n=18) or a fresh (n=19) corneal graft carrier on the basis of tissue availability on the day of surgery, as determined by the local eye bank. Thirty-six eyes were followed through to 24 months, with one lost to follow-up. Of these, 26 were enrolled in the extension (11 eyes with a frozen and 15 eyes with a fresh carrier graft). There were no differences in the baseline characteristics of patients enrolled in the extension phase versus those who were not. At 60 months, median corrected distance VA in the fresh group had improved to 20/150 from a baseline of counting fingers, whereas the frozen group improved to 20/400 from a baseline of hand motions. Device retention was 100% at 24 months and 96% at 60 months. There were no significant differences in the rate of complications between groups.
  • Patients without apparent dry eye had an altered conjunctival goblet cell population after PRK or LASIK, according to Denise Ryan and colleagues. In their prospective, nonrandomized clinical study, impression cytology was used to determine conjunctival goblet cell density before and 1 week, 1 month, and 3 months after PRK or LASIK. The ratio of goblet cells to total cells changed postoperatively from baseline in both groups (P<.001). The most significant change was a median 29% decrease 1 month postoperatively. However, there were no significant differences between groups over time (P=.772). The ratio of filled goblet cells to total goblet cells did not change significantly over the same time period (P=.128), and there were no significant differences between the PRK group and the LASIK group over time (P=.282). The study is published in the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.

NEW PRODUCT BRIEFS

  • ReVision Optics (Lake Forest, California) launched the Raindrop Near Vision Inlay for the surgical correction of presbyopia in the U.S. first to sites that participated in the trials. The company plans a full rollout later this year. 
  • D-EYE (Padua, Italy) introduced version 2.0 App for iPhone. The new app includes auto focus calibration for myopic, hyperopic, and emmetropic eyes, saving time when conducting each retinal exam.

EYEWORLD WEEK Online is edited by Stacy Majewicz and Michelle Dalton.

EyeWorld Week Online (ISSN 1089-0319), a digital publication of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and the American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators, is published every Friday, distributed by email, and posted live on Friday.

Medical Editors: Eric Donnenfeld, MD, chief medical editor; Rosa Braga-Mele, MD, cataract editor; Clara Chan, MD, cornea editor; Nathan Radcliffe, MD, glaucoma editor; and Vance Thompson, MD, refractive editor.

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