Considerable controversy has erupted in recent years regarding whether genotyping should be part of standard care for patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) who are being considered for treatment with antioxidants and zinc. We aimed to determine whether genotype predicts response to supplements in AMD.
Three separate statistical teams reanalyzed data derived from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), receiving data prepared by the AREDS investigators and, separately, data from investigators reporting findings that support the use of genotyping.
The population of interest was AREDS participants with AMD worse than category 1 and genotyping data available. Data from the 2 groups overlap imperfectly with respect to measurements made: the largest common set involved 879 participants for whom the same CFH and ARMS2 single nucleotide polymorphisms were measured by both groups.
Each team took a separate but complementary approach. One team focused on data concordance between conflicting studies. A second team focused on replicating the key claim of an interaction between genotype and treatment. The third team took a blank slate approach in attempting to find baseline predictors of treatment response.
Main Outcome Measures
Progression to advanced AMD.
We found errors in the data used to support the initial claim of genotypeetreatment interaction. Although we found evidence that high-risk patients had more to gain from treatment, we were unable to replicate any genotypeetreatment interactions after adjusting for multiple testing. We tested 1 genotype claim on an independent set of data, with negative results. Even if we assumed that interactions in fact did exist, we did not find evidence to support the claim that supplementation leads to a large increase in the risk of advanced AMD in some genotype subgroups.
Patients who meet criteria for supplements to prevent AMD progression should be offered zinc and antioxidants without consideration of genotype. Ophthalmology 2018;125:391-397 ª 2017 by the American Academy of Ophthalmology
Full Paper: Genetic Polymorphisms of CFH and ARMS2 Do Not Predict Response to Antioxidants and Zinc in Patients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration
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Results of the OASIS Trial ERG Substudy
To explore a possible association between full-field electroretinograms with vitreomacular adhesion resolution and best-corrected visual acuity as part of the prospective, randomized, double-masked, sham-controlled Ocriplasmin for Treatment for Symptomatic Vitreomacular Adhesion Including Macular Hole (OASIS) trial studying ocriplasmin.
The ERG substudy enrolled 62 of 220 OASIS subjects (randomized 2:1) and analyzed full-field electroretinograms and their association with both vitreomacular adhesion resolution and best-corrected visual acuity from baseline through Month 24. Electroretinogram reductions were defined as acute full-field electroretinogram reductions in amplitude of $40% from baseline occurring at postinjection Day 7 or Day 28.
In the ocriplasmin group, 16/40 (40%) subjects developed ERG reductions, compared to 1/21 (4.8%) in the sham group; 13/16 (81.3%) and 1/1 (100%) resolved by study end, respectively. A total of 11/16 (68.8%) ocriplasmin-treated subjects with ERG reductions achieved vitreomacular adhesion resolution, compared to those without (9/24, 37.5%). The ocriplasmin-treated subjects with ERG reductions also gained more letters on average (11.3 vs. 9.3 letters) from baseline and had a difference of 6.7 letters in mean bestcorrected visual acuity by study end compared to those without ERG reductions.
Ocriplasmin-treated subjects with ERG reductions had a higher rate of vitreomacular adhesion resolution and showed better visual improvement than their counterparts without ERG reductions or sham subjects by study end.
RETINA 38:364–378, 2018
Full Paper: Evaluation of Full-Field Electroretinogram Reductions After Ocriplasmin Treatment
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To identify the most accurate diagnostic imaging modality for classifying pediatric eyes as papilledema (PE) or pseudopapilledema (PPE).
Prospective observational study.
Nineteen children between the ages of 5 and 18 years were recruited. Five children (10 eyes) with PE, 11 children (19 eyes) with PPE owing to suspected buried optic disc drusen (ODD), and 3 children (6 eyes) with PPE owing to superficial ODD were included.
All subjects underwent imaging with B-scan ultrasonography, fundus photography, autofluorescence, fluorescein angiography (FA), optical coherence tomography (OCT) of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), and volumetric OCT scans through the optic nerve head with standard spectral-domain (SD OCT) and enhanced depth imaging (EDI OCT) settings. Images were read by 3 masked neuro-ophthalmologists, and the final image interpretation was based on 2 of 3 reads. Image interpretations were compared with clinical diagnosis to calculate accuracy and misinterpretation rates of each imaging modality.
Main Outcome Measures
Accuracy of each imaging technique for classifying eyes as PE or PPE, and misinterpretation rates of each imaging modality for PE and PPE.
Fluorescein angiography had the highest accuracy (97%, 34 of 35 eyes, 95% confidence interval 92%e100%) for classifying an eye as PE or PPE. FA of eyes with PE showed leakage of the optic nerve, whereas eyes with suspected buried ODD demonstrated no hyperfluorescence, and eyes with superficial ODD showed nodular staining. Other modalities had substantial likelihood (30%e70%) of misinterpretation of PE as PPE.
The best imaging technique for correctly classifying pediatric eyes as PPE or PE is FA. Other imaging modalities, if used in isolation, are more likely to lead to misinterpretation of PE as PPE, which could potentially result in failure to identify a life-threatening disorder causing elevated intracranial pressure and papilledema.
Full Paper: Accuracy of Diagnostic Imaging Modalities for Classifying Pediatric Eyes as Papilledema Versus Pseudopapilledema
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To evaluate the 24-month natural course of visual changes in patients discontinuing treatment despite persistent or recurrent fluid and factors predictive of visual prognosis.
This retrospective, observational study included 35 patients (35 eyes) who initially received anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but discontinued treatment despite persistent or recurrent fluid. The best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) at treatment discontinuation was determined and compared with the 24-month BCVA, which was then compared between polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy and other neovascular age-related macular degeneration subtypes. Baseline characteristics predictive of visual outcome and the degree of visual change were also analyzed.
The mean number of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injections before treatment discontinuation was 4.0 ± 1.6. The mean logarithm of minimal angle of resolution of BCVA at treatment discontinuation and that at 24 months were 1.02 ± 0.20 (Snellen equivalents = 20/209) and 1.60 ± 0.56 (20/796), respectively (P , 0.001). The 24-month BCVA was not different between polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy and other neovascular age-related macular degeneration subtypes (P = 0.803). The type of fluid (intraretinal fluid vs. no intraretinal fluid) was predictive of 24-month BCVA (P = 0.004) and the degree of changes in BCVA (P = 0.043).
Marked deterioration in visual acuity was noted in patients discontinuing treatment, regardless of neovascular age-related macular degeneration subtypes. The presence of intraretinal fluid was associated with worse visual prognosis, suggesting that patients with intraretinal fluid should be strongly warned about their poor prognosis before they decide to discontinue treatment.
Full Paper: Natural Course of Patients Discontinuing Treatment for Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Factors Associated with Visual Prognosis
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Background and Objective
To compare pneumatic retinopexy (PR) and scleral buckle for the repair of primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachment.
Patients and Methods
Retrospective analysis of 90 patients undergoing surgery for primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, with 46 patients undergoing PR compared with 44 patients undergoing scleral buckle procedure (SBP).
Both groups had similar baseline characteristics. Single surgery reattachment rate was 95.5% with SBP and 67% with PR (P = .00057). Final reattachment rate was 100% with SBP and 97.8% with PR. A final visual acuity (VA) of 20/40 or better occurred in 89% of patients with SBP and 72% of patients with PR (P = .04). PR and SBP had a similar mean VA if the primary procedures were successful, whereas those patients with unsuccessful PR had lower mean final acuities.
This study demonstrates that SBP has a significantly higher rate of single surgery reattachment than PR, along with improved final VA. Initial success of PR may be an important predictor of final visual outcome.
Full Paper: Comparison of Pneumatic Retinopexy and Scleral Buckle for Primary Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment Repair
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Recent press releases regarding the potential adverse effects of aspirin on macular degeneration have caused patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to discontinue their aspirin use without consulting their physician.1,2 There are many benefits to aspirin use, and therefore many reasons patients should continue taking the recommended aspirin dose prescribed by their primary physician or cardiologists. As with any treatment, it is important to weigh the risk/benefit ratio of aspirin use, especially in generally elderly and high-risk populations. The benefits of aspirin have long been well documented and highly recommended for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), such as myocardial infarction, stroke, and death. The recent retrospective epidemiological eye studies suggesting that aspirin use may exacerbate macular degeneration are based on three limited studies, while the benefits of aspirin use for macular degeneration patients have been suggested in larger studies, including Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), the Physicians Health Study (PHS), Women’s Health Study (WHS).1–4 Therefore, the data regarding the effects of aspirin on AMD are conflicting and inconclusive.
Full Paper: Macular Degeneration and Aspirin Use
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A 77-year-old woman with exudative macular degeneration underwent bilateral intravitreal injections of “stem cells” at a clinic in Georgia. One month and 3 months after injection, she developed retinal detachments in the left and right eyes, respectively. Increased awareness within the medical community of such poor outcomes is critical so that clinics offering untested practices that have been shown to be potentially harmful to patients can be identified and brought under U.S. Food and Drug Administration oversight.
Enthusiasm for stem cell treatment has given rise to numerous clinics in the United States offering unproven “stem cell” therapies without the oversight of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Though current FDA-regulated clinical trials are ongoing to evaluate the use of stem cell technology, unproven and unregulated “stem cell” therapies are already being offered to patients in hundreds of clinics in the United States. In June 2016, the American Academy of Ophthalmology published a clinical statement warning that unproven “stem cell” therapies “require further scientific evaluation to assure their safety and effectiveness to the public in well-conducted clinical trials under the aegis of the FDA.”1 Here, we describe a case of delayed retinal detachment with poor visual acuity and anatomical outcomes following bilateral intravitreal injection of autologous adipose tissue-derived “stem cell” therapy in a clinic in Georgia performed without FDA oversight.
Full Paper: Bilateral Retinal Detachments After Intravitreal Injection of Adipose-Derived ‘Stem Cells’ in a Patient With Exudative Macular Degeneration
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New and unique physiologic and pathologic systemic and neuro-ocular responses have been documented in astronauts during and after long-duration space flight. Although the precise cause remains unknown, space flight–associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS) has been adopted as an appropriate descriptive term. The Space Medicine Operations Division of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has documented the variable ccurrence of SANS in astronauts returning from long-duration space flight on the International Space Station. These clinical findings have included unilateral and bilateral optic disc edema, globe flattening, choroidal and retinal folds, hyperopic refractive error shifts, and nerve fiber layer infarcts. The clinical findings of SANS have been correlated with structural changes on intraorbital and intracranial magnetic resonance imaging and in-flight and terrestrial ultrasonographic studies and ocular optical coherence tomography. Further study of SANS is ongoing for consideration of future manned missions to space, including a return trip to the moon or Mars.
Full Paper: Space Flight Associated Neuro-Ocular Syndrome
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Floaters become more prevalent with age because of degenerative vitreous changes that occur throughout life. In youth, hyaluronan keeps collagen fibrils separated in the vitreous cavity and thus maintains transparency of the vitreous. However, with time, hyaluronan dissociates from collagen, causing cross-linking and aggregation of collagen with fibrous structures that scatter light—a process known as vitreous liquefaction.1-3
Clinically, a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) is often marked by a degree of fibroglial tissue known as a Weiss ring that is free floating over the optic nerve. A PVD allows the vitreous body to move when the head or eye moves, and thus, the Weiss ring and vitreous opacities cast shadows onto the retina that are perceived as floaters.
A PVD is present in approximately 65% of patients reaching the age of 65 years.4,5 Although most patients grow accustomed to the visual disturbance associated with Weiss rings and other floaters, many find them bothersome.6 Floaters can reduce contrast sensitivity and quality of life.7,8
Three management options exist for symptomatic floaters: patient education and observation, pars plana vitrectomywith a 1-incision Intrector (in which a 1-incision, limited core vitrectomy is performed while visualizing through an indirect ophthalmoscope; Insight Instruments) or a standard 3-port vitrector, and YAG vitreolysis.
Existing literature assessing the effect of YAG laser on the properties of rabbit vitreous has suggested that pathologic disruption may occur with laser application in the middle or posterior vitreous.9 There are limited published studies on the effect of YAG vitreolysis for treating symptomatic floaters in humans. Small, uncontrolled cases series6,10,11 assessing YAG vitreolyisis report some symptomatic success and suggest a good safety profile. No prospective, sham-controlled trials have been performed, to our knowledge. This is particularly important because of the subjective nature of floater related visual disturbance and the potential of placebo effect confounding the efficacy of treatment. Research by Karickhoff12 showed the most robust outcomes when treating Weiss rings. Therefore, the current study evaluated YAG vitreolysis in patients with symptomatic Weiss rings.
Full Paper: YAG Laser Vitreolysis vs Sham YAG Vitreolysis for Symptomatic Vitreous Floaters
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Recent practices at “stem cell clinics” in the United States have resulted in blinding complications for three patients who underwent bilateral intravitreal injection of adipose-derived stem cell injections for dry age-related macular degeneration, as recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine: patient’s vision went from 20/30 to no light perception and 20/200.
The “stem cell clinics” problem is that they provide unproven, unregulated, and costly ($50,000) treatment for a variety of disorders and raise high concern for patients.
By having studies listed on clinicaltrials.gov, “stem cell clinics” seemingly bolster their legitimacy to patients. clinicaltrials.gov website is simply a repository of clinical studies and does not judge the merits of the listed studies.
It is important to encourage patients to speak with a “trusted healthcare professional” prior to enrolling in a study. Exploring the difference between the positive stem cell research and the activities carried out at “stem cell clinics” is essential in preventing such catastrophic outcomes.
Further regulation of these “stem cell clinics” is also necessary to help prevent similar outcomes in the future.
“Implications of Stem Cell Clinics for Retina Patients and Clinical Trials” Retinal Physician, Volume 14, Issue: May 2017, page(s) 32,40: Ajay E. Kuriyan, MD, MS; Thomas Albini, MD; Harry W. Flynn, Jr., MD
“The Growing ‘Stem Cell Clinic’ Problem” American Journal of Ophthalmology, Volume 177, xix–xx: Ajay E. Kuriyan, MD, MS; Thomas Albini, MD; Harry W. Flynn, Jr., MD