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Week in Review - November 26, 2023


Welcome to another edition of the Ophthalmology Times EyePod Week in Review Podcast, offering some of the highlights of this week’s content from OphthalmologyTimes.com.

Neuro-Ophthalmic adverse events associated with COVID-19 infection and vaccinations

Korean researchers reported that ptosis was associated with COVID-19 vaccination, particularly with the ChAdOx1 vaccine from AstraZeneca, while Guillain-Barré syndrome/Miller Fisher syndrome was associated with the COVID-19 infection.

With the number of infected individuals and vaccine recipients rising, a growing number of ocular adverse events, including neuro-ophthalmic adverse events, have been reported in individuals with the COVID-19 infection and vaccinated individuals.

About 8.5 million patients in the Korean National Health Claim Database were classified into 1 of 3 groups: controls, those with the COVID-19 infection, and those vaccinated against COVID-19. The researchers separately analyzed the early phase (within 60 days) and late phases (61–180 days) to estimate the incidence rates and hazard ratio (HR) for each neuro-ophthalmic adverse event that included optic neuritis, papilledema, ischemic optic neuropathy, third nerve palsy, fourth nerve palsy, sixth nerve palsy, facial palsy, nystagmus, ptosis, blepharospasm, anomalies of pupillary function, and Guillain-Barré syndrome/Miller Fisher syndrome.

The authors reported that neuro-ophthalmic adverse events, except for ptosis and Guillain-Barré syndrome/Miller Fisher syndrome, showed no significant increase after COVID-19, and their incidence rates were extremely low. The incidence rates of ptosis in the early and late phases were significantly higher in patients who received the COVID-19 vaccination (HR = 1.65 in the early phase and 2.02 in the late phase) compared with the control group.

The authors concluded Ptosis was associated with the COVID-19 vaccination, particularly with the ChAdOx1 vaccine, while Guillain-Barré syndrome/Miller Fisher syndrome was associated with the COVID-19 infection. In contrast, no association was found between other neuro-ophthalmic adverse events and COVID-19 infection or vaccination.

Skye Bioscience treats first patient in glaucoma Phase 2 study of SBI-100 ophthalmic emulsion

Skye Bioscience Inc announced it has treated the first patient in its Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating SBI-100 ophthalmic emulsion’s ability to lower IOP, safety and relevant biomarkers, in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

According to the company’s news release, SBI-100 OE is a synthetic prodrug of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that is able to bind and activate CB1 receptors in key ocular tissues.The company noted this active form of SBI-100 OE is able to bind and activate CB1 receptors in key ocular tissues, which may help to lower IOP in patients suffering from glaucoma and ocular hypertension.

The study is a double-masked, randomized, placebo-controlled study treating approximately 54 patients with elevated intraocular pressure (between 21mmHg and 36mmHg) diagnosed withprimary open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

The primary endpoints will assess change in diurnal IOP vs placebo, and ocular and systemic safety.

The company noted that secondary endpoints will assess ocular hypotensive efficacy at individual time points and application comfort.

The study’s dosing is 0.5% or 1.0% concentrations of SBI-100 OE, or placebo. Patients will be treated with one drop in each eye, twice a day, in the morning and the evening (about 12 hours apart), for 14 days.

Navigating disability insurance for ophthalmologists: Lessons learned

Disability insurance is a crucial aspect of financial planning for ophthalmologists, ensuring financial security if an event occurs resulting in disability. However, it can often be overlooked or misunderstood.

Stephanie Pearson, MD, FACOG, an obstetrician-gynecologist (ob-gyn) by training, sustained a career-ending injury during a difficult delivery with a patient in 2013 after being kicked in the shoulder twice. She sustained a torn labrum and ended up with a frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis. After being told it would heal, Pearson ultimately required surgery. Before surgery, Pearson says, she was told she would be back to work as an ob-gyn in 12 weeks. It has now been 10 years since her injury, and Pearson is still not cleared to do obstetrics or perform surgery.

When it comes to knowing more about their coverage, Pearson suggests that ophthalmologists request a master copy of their policies so they can see where there may be shortcomings in the coverage. Policy language is the single most important part of coverage that not only ophthalmologists but all physicians should be paying attention to, according to Pearson.

Pearson also stressed group policies often may define own occupation and total disability in ways that can greatly affect your coverage. She said she has seen more group policies not covering work-related injuries and illnesses post COVID-19 and described this as a “slippery slope.”

One of the biggest pieces of advice Pearson offers results from one of the mistakes she made herself: Maintain coverage to keep pace with your income. As income increases, so should coverage, Pearson points out.

Knowing the shortcomings of group policies is also something that can save you in the long run.

Pearson’s experience serves as a powerful reminder of the critical importance of disability insurance for physicians. Her advocacy for proper education and tailored coverage highlights the need for physicians to take an active role in their financial planning. By understanding the nuances of disability insurance, ophthalmologists can safeguard their livelihoods and secure their financial future.

Zilia's Ocular FC Camera granted FDA clearance

Zilia, a medical technology company specializing in the non-invasive assessment of ocular biomarkers, this week announced it has received FDA clearance for its Zilia Ocular FC retinal camera.

Based in Quebec City, Canada, Zilia’s Ocular FC system is designed for assessing ocular biomarkers. The company noted in a previous news release its technology aims to allow for the early diagnosis and management of a range of ocular diseases.

The platform technology can be adapted to assess a vast array of biomarkers present in the eye, paving the way for other applications in neurology, cardiology, oncology, and more.

Thank you for listening to this week’s Ophthalmology Times EyePod Week in Review podcast. The full versions of these articles and other cutting-edge content important to ophthalmologists is available 24/7 at OphthalmologyTimes.com.

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