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EyeCon 2023: Reducing patients' retinal burden of care

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David A. Eichenbaum, MD, highlighted new therapies such as faricimab and high-dose aflibercept to reduce the burden of diseases like macular degeneration and diabetic eye conditions while improving patient outcomes during his presentation at EyeCon 2023.

David A. Eichenbaum, MD, highlighted new therapies such as faricimab and high-dose aflibercept to reduce the burden of diseases like macular degeneration and diabetic eye conditions while improving patient outcomes during his presentation at EyeCon 2023.

Video Transcript

Editor's note - This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Sheryl Stevenson: We are joined today by Dr. David Eichenbaum, who was among the faculty at this year's EyeCon conference in Sanibel, Florida. Welcome to you! We'd love to hear a little bit more about your presentation this year.

David A. Eichenbaum, MD: Thank you so much, Sheryl. And it's a pleasure to be here and it was a pleasure to serve on faculty with my good friends, A. Paul Chous [OD] and Tom Albini [MD] at the EyeCon meeting in Sanibel, Florida.

We had the pleasure of talking about three different topics. Number one: diet and lifestyle modifications that may improve people's health and reduce their risk of diabetes and macular degeneration. Paul is an expert in diabetes and lifestyle, and he gave an eloquent lecture on modifications that people can make with regards to their food intake and their activity to reduce their risks of systemic disease as well as local eye disease.

Tom talked about the burden of neovascular macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease. These diseases are significantly burdensome. I think about my wet AMD patients who I see every day...who I saw today...that come in with severe vision loss and multiple comorbidities of aging. And then my patients with diabetes and diabetic macular edema who suffer from systemic disease; they suffer from multi-organ disease; they see lots of subspecialists, and then we're asking them to come in frequently for diabetic eye care.

And lastly, we had the chance to talk about in my section of our segment, the new therapies that we have—faricimab and high-dose aflibercept—and how those therapies are working to reduce the burden of disease and keep our outcomes as good as we see in the clinical trials, but possibly with less frequent injections.

Faricimab has been commercially available since January of 2022 and we are seeing some promising real-world data from that in the...studies that were just presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology and elsewhere. And we're just getting real-world experience with high-dose aflibercept but the registration trials for that drug, PULSAR for wet AMD and PHOTON for diabetic macular edema, showed that patients on high-dose aflibercept can preserve good vision with dosing for up to 16 weeks in the first year and beyond up to 24 weeks in the second year.

So the point of our three talks together is that diabetes is a real endemic problem in the United States. We can change our public health trajectory with diet and lifestyle modifications and perhaps even improve how we age. These diseases when they do arise have a significant burden on patients—elderly patients for wet AMD; patients with diabetes who suffer from diabetic macular edema have an increased burden because of that.

And lastly, we're using science and clinical development to try to keep our patients' outcomes excellent while reducing their retinal burden of care. It was a great session. We had a lively Q&A, a robust discussion, and it was a real pleasure to be faculty at EyeCon 2023.

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