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EyePod: Week in Review - August 20, 2023

News
Article

Take a look at a review of the highlights and hottest stories from Ophthalmology Times during the week of August 20, 2023.

Welcome to another edition of the EyePod Week in Review podcast, a roundup of some of the week’s headlines from Ophthalmology Times.com.

Apellis provides an update on rare events of retinal vasculitis in pegcetacoplan injection

Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc. provided an update on rare events of retinal vasculitis associated with pegcetacoplan injection geographic atrophysecondary to age-related macular degeneration.

Apellis conducted an internal investigation into the real-world safety events, according to a press release from the company. The investigation showed structural variations were identified in the specific 19-gauge x 1½-inch filter needle included in certain injection kits. Due to this, Apellis recommends that practitioners immediately discontinue the use of any injection kits containing the 19-gauge filter needle and use kits with the 18-gauge filter needle.

Injection kits with the 19-gauge filter needle are already in distribution according to the company. Injection kits previously came with one, either an 18-gauge or a 19-gauge needle, but now Apellis is exclusively distributing kits with the 18-gauge filter needle.

Scientists develop new therapeutic model for potentially treating incurable eye diseases

A team of researchers has successfully transplanted human microglia cells into a mouse retina to create a model that could be used to test new treatments for incurable eye diseases.

The research, published in eLife, offers solid data demonstrating the potential for microglial replacement therapy to treat retinal and central nervous system diseases.

Microglia are the innate immune cells of the central nervous system, which includes the retina, and play essential roles in the normal development of nerves and nerve connections (synapses).

According to eLife, they also can play a less desirable role – driving the development of brain and eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and uveitis (inflammation of the eye). Normally, the microglia survey environmental changes to maintain normal retinal function. Typically, they quickly respond to injuries, though they can be activated inappropriately, grow in number, and migrate into surrounding tissues.

Study finds few children – especially those with safety-net insurance – get vision checked at checkups

A new study has found that less than a third of children have received a vision checkup in the past year at their regular primary care clinic.

The study also found rates of eyesight screening in kids vary widely by insurance status, the study shows, with the lowest rates among uninsured children (18%) and those with “safety net” public insurance for people with low incomes (28%).

But even children with private insurance, such as from a parent’s job, had only slightly higher rates of screening, at 34% in the past year, according to the study1 in JAMA Ophthalmology by researchers from the University of Michigan and Duke University. According to Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan news release, the study was funded by the U-M NCSP and by a grant from Research to Prevent Blindness.

According to the news release, screening rates are highest, but still low, in children between the ages of 3 and 5, the study shows.

Among elementary school-aged children, screening rates were 5 percentage points below the rates for preschoolers across the board. And only 25% of privately insured middle-school and high-school-aged children, and 20% of their publicly insured and 17% of their uninsured peers, had their vision checked recently by their regular health clinic.

FDA warns against the use of certain illegally marketed methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) eye drops due to contamination

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to cease use and not purchase Dr. Berne’s MSM Drops 5% Solution and LightEyez M S M Eye Drops – Eye Repair due to bacterial contamination, fungal contamination, or both.

According to the FDA, using contaminated eye drops could result in a minor to serious vision-threatening infection which could possibly progress to a life-threatening infection.

While the FDA states they are unaware of any adverse event reports associated with the use of either product, patients who have signs or symptoms of eye infection after use should consult their health care professional immediately.

The Dr. Berne’s and LightEyez eye drop products contain M S M as an active ingredient. According to the FDA, these products are unapproved drugs and illegally marketed in the US. There are no legally marketed ophthalmic drugs that contain MSM as an active ingredient in the US.

Biomarkers in the retina identified 7 years before clinical diagnosis of Parkinson's disease

Researchers from Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, London, have identified markers that indicate the presence of Parkinson’s disease in patients an average of 7 years before the disease presents clinically.

This is the first time anyone has shown these findings several years before diagnosis, and these results were made possible by the largest study to date on retinal imaging in Parkinson’s disease, according to the lead researchers Siegfried Wagner and Pearse Keane. They published their results in Neurology.

The study identified markers of Parkinson’s in eye scans with the help of artificial intelligence. The scans taken from a simple optical coherence tomography (OCT) instrument, available to most ophthalmologists and optometrists.

The authors commented that it seems most neurologic and cardiovascular diseases can be identified in the same way. This is part of an exciting new field called Oculomics, using the eye as a window to the body to identify signs of disease no one would associate with it.

Thank you for listing to another edition of the EyePod Week in Review podcast. For all of the latest news, visit Ophthalmology Tim.com. You also can stay up to date on the latest cutting-edge advancements in the field of ophthalmology in our print edition.

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