EW Weekly, September 14, 2018

September 14, 2018
Volume 24 , Number 34

Alcon to be headquartered in Switzerland post-spinoff

The new headquarters for Alcon will be located in Geneva, Switzerland once the company is spun off from Novartis in 2019, according to a Novartis (Basel, Switzerland) press release. Seven hundred employees will be employed at the Geneva location, most of whom will be relocated from existing offices in the EMEA region. The Fort Worth campus will remain a major hub, and operations will not be impacted by the new headquarters in Geneva.

EyePoint secures pass-through payment status, obtains C-code for Dexycu

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved transitional pass-through status and reimbursement through a C-code for Dexycu (dexamethasone intraocular suspension, EyePoint Pharmaceuticals, Watertown, Massachusetts). The C-code, C9034, will go into effect Oct. 1 of this year, EyePoint reported in a press release. Dexycu is approved by the U.S. FDA to treat postop inflammation via a single intraocular dose at the end of ocular surgery.

Eyevance acquires Freshkote lubricant eye drop for dry eye

Eyevance Pharmaceuticals (Fort Worth, Texas) acquired Freshkote, a family of lubricant eye drops from Focus Laboratories (North Little Rock, Arkansas). Eyevance has acquired all formulations of Freshkote, a product line that is designed to help treat dry eye.

First patient dosed in Phase 3 study for APL-2 in patients with geographic atrophy

The first patient has been dosed in a Phase 3 clinical program for APL-2 (Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Crestwood, Kentucky) to treat patients with geographic atrophy. There are two Phase 3 trials in the program, DERBY and OAKS, and the first patient in the OAKS trial has been dosed. The trials will focus on the safety and efficacy of APL-2 for geographic atrophy. Each prospective, international, multicenter, randomized trial will enroll 600 patients and have the primary endpoint of change in geographic atrophy lesion size from baseline to month 12 compared to sham. Patients in the trials will continue on therapy for 12 more months beyond the 12-month primary endpoint. APL-2 recently received a Fast Track Designation from the FDA.

Nominate a candidate for the ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame

Nominations are being accepted for the 2019 ASCRS Ophthalmology Hall of Fame. Do you know someone who has made a significant contribution to ophthalmology? Nominate them before the Oct. 1 deadline. Eligible candidates are those with 25 or more years of scholarly achievement and at least one solid, defining contribution to ophthalmology in clinical practice, research, education, invention, or humanitarian work. Chosen inductees will be recognized at the 2019 ASCRS/ASOA Annual Meeting, being held May 3-7, 2019 in San Diego. An induction ceremony will be held during the ASCRS Opening General Session on May 4. View the 2018 Hall of Fame video honoring I. Howard Fine, MD, and David Maurice, MD, online.


  • Physician burnout doubles the odds of lower patient safety, poorer quality of care, and reduced patient satisfaction, reported Maria Panagioti, PhD, and coresearchers. Their meta-analysis included 47 studies on 42,473 physicians, 59% of whom were male, with a median age of 38 years. Physician burnout was associated with an increased risk of patient safety incidents (OR, 1.96; 95% CI, 1.59-2.40), lesser quality of care due to lower professionalism (OR, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.87-2.85), and lower patient satisfaction (OR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.42-3.68). The connection between burnout and low professionalism was more prominent in residents and early-career physicians compared with middle- and late-career physicians. The method used in the studies to report patient safety incidents and professionalism (i.e., physician-reported versus system recorded) significantly influenced the main results, the authors reported. Healthcare organizations should be encouraged to invest in efforts to improve physician wellness, the authors concluded. The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
  • A novel candidate autoantibody, salivary protein-1, appeared to be associated with underlying Sjögren's syndrome (SS); novel autoantibodies also may be associated with worse ocular surface disease, reported VY Bunya and coresearchers. Their research evaluated the prevalence of novel candidate SS autoantibodies (SP-1, parotid secretory protein, and carbonic anhydrase 6) in the Dry Eye Assessment and Management (DREAM) cohort, a study that focused on the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acid supplements to treat dry eye. All participants had ocular surface examinations and serological testing. Dry eye participants were categorized into 1) no history of SS or other autoimmune diseases and negative traditional SS autoantibodies (n=352); 2) no history of SS but a history of other autoimmune diseases (n=66); and 3) those who met the 2012 American College of Rheumatology SS classification criteria (n=52). Overall, 11% had a history of SS; those in the SS group had a higher prevalence of SP-1 autoantibodies than the group without SS or author autoimmune diseases. However, there was no difference in carbonic anhydrase 6 (P=0.31) or parotid secretory protein autoantibodies (P=0.33). Further studies are needed to evaluate the utility of the findings in screening patients with SS, the authors concluded. The research is published in Cornea.
  • There were differences in IOP evaluation measurements when comparing contact and non-contact devices, reported Michele Lanza and coresearchers. They focused on IOP measurements performed with the Goldmann applanation tonometer (GAT), dynamic contour tonometer (DCT), rebound tonometry (RT), Ocular Response Analyzer (ORA, Reichert Technologies, Depew, New York), and Corvis ST (CST, Oculus, Wetzlar, Germany) in eyes screened for refractive surgery. One eye from 146 patients was included in the study. Each patient had corneal analysis with a Scheimpflug camera and IOP evaluation with GAT, DCT, RT, ORA, and CST. Morphological features such as mean keratometry and central corneal thickness also were measured. The IOP values were 15.97 mm Hg with GAT, 17.55 mm Hg with DCT, 17.49 mm Hg with RT, 18.51 mm Hg with ORA, and 18.33 mm Hg with CST. All IOP measurements and differences between devices were significantly correlated with central corneal thickness. The GAT provided significantly lower IOP values compared with all other devices. The study appears in MC Ophthalmology.
  • A slight delay in corneal optical recovery may occur after small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Jena, Germany) compared with LASIK, reported Anthony Chiche, MD, and coresearchers. Their research compared patients scheduled for bilateral SMILE or LASIK, with 23 patients in each group (46 eyes). At 1 day, postop contrast sensitivity was better in the LASIK group (P=.014) and at 7 days (P=.001) but not at 1 month. There were no significant differences in visual acuity, efficacy, or safety between the two groups. The objective scatter index was better after LASIK at 1 day but not statistically different at other time points. In the SMILE group, patient-reported quality of vision was significantly worse at 7 days (P=.010). Global satisfaction did not differ between the groups. The study is published in the Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery.
Product news
  • A new TruFocus LIO Premiere laser accessory (Iridex, Mountain View, California) is now approved by the U.S. FDA. It is a light combination and reflection viewing system used with Iridex retina laser systems and is worn on the physician's head.
  • The Oculus Keratograph 5M (Oculus) now has a new joystick that includes a release function, allowing users to capture image and video sequences with the push of a button.

This issue of EyeWorld Weekly Update was edited by Amy Goldenberg and Vanessa Caceres.

EyeWorld Weekly Update (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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