September 2021

Uemura A, Fruttiger M, D'Amore PA, De Falco S, Joussen AM, Sennlaub F, Brunck LR, Johnson KT, Lambrou GN, Rittenhouse KD, Langmann T. VEGFR1 signaling in retinal angiogenesis and microinflammation. Prog Retin Eye Res 2021;84:100954.Abstract
Five vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) ligands (VEGF-A, -B, -C, -D, and placental growth factor [PlGF]) constitute the VEGF family. VEGF-A binds VEGF receptors 1 and 2 (VEGFR1/2), whereas VEGF-B and PlGF only bind VEGFR1. Although much research has been conducted on VEGFR2 to elucidate its key role in retinal diseases, recent efforts have shown the importance and involvement of VEGFR1 and its family of ligands in angiogenesis, vascular permeability, and microinflammatory cascades within the retina. Expression of VEGFR1 depends on the microenvironment, is differentially regulated under hypoxic and inflammatory conditions, and it has been detected in retinal and choroidal endothelial cells, pericytes, retinal and choroidal mononuclear phagocytes (including microglia), Müller cells, photoreceptor cells, and the retinal pigment epithelium. Whilst the VEGF-A decoy function of VEGFR1 is well established, consequences of its direct signaling are less clear. VEGFR1 activation can affect vascular permeability and induce macrophage and microglia production of proinflammatory and proangiogenic mediators. However the ability of the VEGFR1 ligands (VEGF-A, PlGF, and VEGF-B) to compete against each other for receptor binding and to heterodimerize complicates our understanding of the relative contribution of VEGFR1 signaling alone toward the pathologic processes seen in diabetic retinopathy, retinal vascular occlusions, retinopathy of prematurity, and age-related macular degeneration. Clinically, anti-VEGF drugs have proven transformational in these pathologies and their impact on modulation of VEGFR1 signaling is still an opportunity-rich field for further research.
Ruan Y, Jiang S, Musayeva A, Pfeiffer N, Gericke A. Corneal Epithelial Stem Cells-Physiology, Pathophysiology and Therapeutic Options. Cells 2021;10(9)Abstract
In the human cornea, regeneration of the epithelium is regulated by the stem cell reservoir of the limbus, which is the marginal region of the cornea representing the anatomical and functional border between the corneal and conjunctival epithelium. In support of this concept, extensive limbal damage, e.g., by chemical or thermal injury, inflammation, or surgery, may induce limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) leading to vascularization and opacification of the cornea and eventually vision loss. These acquired forms of limbal stem cell deficiency may occur uni- or bilaterally, which is important for the choice of treatment. Moreover, a variety of inherited diseases, such as congenital aniridia or dyskeratosis congenita, are characterized by LSCD typically occurring bilaterally. Several techniques of autologous and allogenic stem cell transplantation have been established. The limbus can be restored by transplantation of whole limbal grafts, small limbal biopsies or by ex vivo-expanded limbal cells. In this review, the physiology of the corneal epithelium, the pathophysiology of LSCD, and the therapeutic options will be presented.
Maidana DE, Gonzalez-Buendia L, Miller JW, Vavvas DG. Local photoreceptor cell death differences in the murine model of retinal detachment. Sci Rep 2021;11(1):18798.Abstract
To investigate local cell death differences in the attached and detached retina at different regions in a murine experimental retinal detachment model. Subretinal injection of sodium hyaluronate was performed in eight-week-old C57BL/6J mice. Retinal regions of interest were defined in relation to their distance from the peak of the retinal detachment, as follows: (1) attached central; (2) attached paracentral; (3) detached apex; and (4) detached base. At day 0, the outer nuclear layer cell count for the attached central, attached paracentral, detached apex, and detached base was 1247.60 ± 64.62, 1157.80 ± 163.33, 1264.00 ± 150.7, and 1013.80 ± 67.16 cells, respectively. There were significant differences between the detached base vs. attached central, and between detached base vs. detached apex at day 0. The detached apex region displayed a significant and progressive cell count reduction from day 0 to 14. In contrast, the detached base region did not show progressive retinal degeneration in this model. Moreover, only the detached apex region had a significant and progressive cell death rate compared to baseline. Immediate confounding changes with dramatic differences in cell death rates are present across regions of the detached retina. We speculate that mechanical and regional differences in the bullous detached retina can modify the rate of cell death in this model.
Laíns I, Wang JC, Cui Y, Katz R, Vingopoulos F, Staurenghi G, Vavvas DG, Miller JW, Miller JB. Retinal applications of swept source optical coherence tomography (OCT) and optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA). Prog Retin Eye Res 2021;84:100951.Abstract
The advent of optical coherence tomography (OCT) revolutionized both clinical assessment and research of vitreoretinal conditions. Since then, extraordinary advances have been made in this imaging technology, including the relatively recent development of swept-source OCT (SS-OCT). SS-OCT enables a fast scan rate and utilizes a tunable swept laser, thus enabling the incorporation of longer wavelengths than conventional spectral-domain devices. These features enable imaging of larger areas with reduced motion artifact, and a better visualization of the choroidal vasculature, respectively. Building on the principles of OCT, swept-source OCT has also been applied to OCT angiography (SS-OCTA), thus enabling a non-invasive in depth-resolved imaging of the retinal and choroidal microvasculature. Despite their advantages, the widespread use of SS-OCT and SS-OCTA remains relatively limited. In this review, we summarize the technical details, advantages and limitations of SS-OCT and SS-OCTA, with a particular emphasis on their relevance for the study of retinal conditions. Additionally, we comprehensively review relevant studies performed to date to the study of retinal health and disease, and highlight current gaps in knowledge and opportunities to take advantage of swept source technology to improve our current understanding of many medical and surgical chorioretinal conditions. We anticipate that SS-OCT and SS-OCTA will continue to evolve rapidly, contributing to a paradigm shift to more widespread adoption of new imaging technology to clinical practice.
Muralidharan S, Ichhpujani P, Bhartiya S, Singh RB. Eye-tunes: role of music in ophthalmology and vision sciences. Ther Adv Ophthalmol 2021;13:25158414211040890.Abstract
Although the healing effect of music has been recognized since time immemorial, there has been a renewed interest in its use in modern medicine. This can be attributed to the increasing focus on holistic healing and on the subjective and objective aspects of well-being. In ophthalmology, this has ranged from using music for patients undergoing diagnostic procedures and surgery, as well as for doctors and the operation theatre staff during surgical procedures. Music has proven to be a potent nonpharmacological sedative and anxiolytic, allaying both the pain and stress of surgery. This review aims to explore the available evidence about the role of music as an adjunct for diagnostic and surgical procedures in current ophthalmic practices.
Liou V, Yoon M. Comparative Incidence of Periocular Surgical Site Infections with Increased Surgical Mask Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2021;:1-6.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the effect of surgical mask use on infection rates for office-based periocular surgeries during the pandemic. METHODS: An Institutional Review Board-approved retrospective review of medical records identified patients who had an office-based oculofacial plastic surgery procedure during the pandemic between March and December 2020. Statistical analysis was used to compare this group to patients that underwent procedures between March and December 2019, prior to the pandemic when neither surgeon nor patient wore a surgical mask. RESULTS: The study consisted of 680 patients. Thirty-one different types of procedures were encountered. The incidence of infections in 2020 compared to 2019 was not statistically significant (1.12% (n = 3) versus 1.21% (n = 5), p = 1). All patients with infections were treated with oral antibiotics and improved without long-term complications. CONCLUSIONS: Periocular surgical site infections are uncommon, and the wearing of surgical masks by patient and surgeon during our office-based oculofacial procedures did not change the incidence of SSIs.
Wiegand I, Wolfe JM. Target value and prevalence influence visual foraging in younger and older age. Vision Res 2021;186:87-102.Abstract
The prevalence and reward-value of targets have an influence on visual search. The strength of the effect of an item's reward-value on attentional selection varies substantially between individuals and is potentially sensitive to aging. We investigated individual and age differences in a hybrid foraging task, in which the prevalence and value of multiple target types was varied. Using optimal foraging theory measures, foraging was more efficient overall in younger than older observers. However, the influence of prevalence and value on target selections was similar across age groups, suggesting that the underlying cognitive mechanisms are preserved in older age. When prevalence was varied but target value was balanced, younger and older observers preferably selected the most frequent target type and were biased to select another instance of the previously selected target type. When value was varied, younger and older observers showed a tendency to select high-value targets, but preferences were more diverse between individuals. When value and prevalence were inversely related, some observers showed particularly strong preferences for high-valued target types, while others showed a preference for high-prevalent, albeit low-value, target types. In younger adults, individual differences in the selection choices correlated with a personality index, suggesting that avoiding selections of low-value targets may be related to reward-seeking behaviour.
Li Y, Mitchell W, Elze T, Zebardast N. Association Between Diabetes, Diabetic Retinopathy, and Glaucoma. Curr Diab Rep 2021;21(10):38.Abstract
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The strength of the relationship between diabetes, diabetic retinopathy (DR), and glaucoma remains controversial. We review evidence supporting and refuting this association and explore mechanistic pathological and treatment relationships linking these diseases. RECENT FINDINGS: While studies have shown diabetes/DR may increase the risk for glaucoma, this remains inconsistently demonstrated. Diabetes/DR may contribute toward glaucomatous optic neuropathy indirectly (either by increasing intraocular pressure or vasculopathy) or through direct damage to the optic nerve. However, certain elements of diabetes may slow glaucoma progression, and diabetic treatment may concurrently be beneficial in glaucoma management. Diabetes plays a significant role in poor outcomes after glaucoma surgery. While the relationship between diabetes/DR and glaucoma remains controversial, multiple mechanistic links connecting pathophysiology and management of diabetes, DR, and glaucoma have been made. However, a deeper understanding of the causes of disease association is needed.
Townes-Anderson E, Halasz E, Wang W, Zarbin M. Coming of Age for the Photoreceptor Synapse. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2021;62(12):24.Abstract
Purpose: To discuss the potential contribution of rod and cone synapses to the loss of visual function in retinal injury and disease. Methods: The published literature and the authors' own work were reviewed. Results: Retinal detachment is used as a case study of rod spherule and cone pedicle plasticity after injury. Both rod and cone photoreceptors terminals are damaged after detachment although the structural changes observed are only partially overlapping. For second-order neurons, only those associated with rod spherules respond consistently to injury by remodeling. Examination of signaling pathways involved in plasticity of conventional synapses and in neural development has been and may continue to be productive in discovering novel therapeutic targets. Rho kinase (ROCK) inhibition is an example of therapy that may reduce synaptic damage by preserving normal synaptic structure of rod and cone cells. Conclusions: We hypothesize that synaptic damage contributes to poor visual restoration after otherwise successful anatomical repair of retinal detachment. A similar situation may exist for patients with degenerative retinal disease. Thus, synaptic structure and function should be routinely studied, as this information may disclose therapeutic strategies to mitigate visual loss.
Cui Y, Zhu Y, Lu ES, Le R, Laíns I, Katz R, Wang JC, Garg I, Lu Y, Zeng R, Eliott D, Vavvas DG, Husain D, Miller JW, Kim LA, Wu DM, Miller JB. Widefield Swept-Source OCT Angiography Metrics Associated with the Development of Diabetic Vitreous Hemorrhage: A Prospective Study. Ophthalmology 2021;128(9):1312-1324.Abstract
PURPOSE: To investigate the association among widefield swept-source (SS) OCT angiography (OCTA) metrics and systemic parameters and vitreous hemorrhage (VH) occurrence in eyes with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). DESIGN: Prospective, observational study. PARTICIPANTS: Fifty-five eyes from 45 adults with PDR, with no history of VH, followed up for at least 3 months. METHODS: All patients underwent widefield SS OCTA (Montage 15 × 15 mm and high-definition (HD)-51 line scan) imaging. Images were evaluated independently by 2 graders for quantitative and qualitative widefield SS OCTA metrics defined a priori. Systemic and ocular parameters and widefield SS OCTA metrics were screened using least absolute shrinkage and selection operator and logistic or Cox regression for variable selection. Firth's bias-reduced logistic regression models (outcome, occurrence of VH) and Cox regression models (outcome, time to occurrence of VH) were used to identify parameters associated with VH occurrence. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Occurrence of VH. RESULTS: Over a median follow-up of 363 days (range, 28-710 days), 13 of 55 PDR eyes (24%) demonstrated VH during the follow-up period. Presence of extensive neovascularizations (odds ratio, 8.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.43-58.56; P = 0.02), defined as neovascularizations with total area of more than 4 disc diameters, and forward neovascularizations (odds ratio, 5.42; 95% CI, 1.26-35.16; P = 0.02) that traversed the posterior hyaloid face into the vitreous were associated with the occurrence of VH. The presence of flat neovascularizations (odds ratio, 0.25; 95% CI, 0.04-1.01; P = 0.05) confined to the posterior hyaloid face was associated with a lower risk of VH with borderline significance. Similarly, presence of extensive neovascularizations (hazard ratio, 18.24; 95% CI, 3.51-119.47; P < 0.001) and forward neovascularizations (hazard ratio, 9.60; 95% CI, 2.07-68.08; P = 0.002) was associated significantly with time to development of VH. CONCLUSIONS: Widefield SS OCTA is useful for evaluating neovascularizations and their relationship with the vitreous. The presence of forward and extensive neovascularizations was associated with the occurrence of VH in patients with PDR. Larger samples and longer follow-up are needed to verify the risk factors and imaging biomarkers for diabetic VH.
Dana R, Farid M, Gupta PK, Hamrah P, Karpecki P, McCabe CM, Nijm L, Pepose JS, Pflugfelder S, Rapuano CJ, Saini A, Gibbs SN, Broder MS. Expert consensus on the identification, diagnosis, and treatment of neurotrophic keratopathy. BMC Ophthalmol 2021;21(1):327.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Neurotrophic keratopathy (NK) is a relatively uncommon, underdiagnosed degenerative corneal disease that is caused by damage to the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve by conditions such as herpes simplex or zoster keratitis, intracranial space-occupying lesions, diabetes, or neurosurgical procedures. Over time, epithelial breakdown, corneal ulceration, corneal melting (thinning), perforation, and loss of vision may occur. The best opportunity to reverse ocular surface damage is in the earliest stage of NK. However, patients typically experience few symptoms and diagnosis is often delayed. Increased awareness of the causes of NK, consensus on when and how to screen for NK, and recommendations for how to treat NK are needed. METHODS: An 11-member expert panel used a validated methodology (a RAND/UCLA modified Delphi panel) to develop consensus on when to screen for and how best to diagnose and treat NK. Clinicians reviewed literature on the diagnosis and management of NK then rated a detailed set of 735 scenarios. In 646 scenarios, panelists rated whether a test of corneal sensitivity was warranted; in 20 scenarios, they considered the adequacy of specific tests and examinations to diagnose and stage NK; and in 69 scenarios, they rated the appropriateness of treatments for NK. Panelist ratings were used to develop clinical recommendations. RESULTS: There was agreement on 94% of scenarios. Based on this consensus, we present distinct circumstances when we strongly recommend or may consider a test for corneal sensitivity. We also present recommendations on the diagnostic tests to be performed in patients in whom NK is suspected and treatment options for NK. CONCLUSIONS: These expert recommendations should be validated with clinical data. The recommendations represent the consensus of experts, are informed by published literature and experience, and may improve outcomes by helping improve diagnosis and treatment of patients with NK.
Musayeva A, Unkrig JC, Zhutdieva MB, Manicam C, Ruan Y, Laspas P, Chronopoulos P, Göbel ML, Pfeiffer N, Brochhausen C, Daiber A, Oelze M, Li H, Xia N, Gericke A. Betulinic Acid Protects from Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in the Mouse Retina. Cells 2021;10(9)Abstract
Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) events are involved in the pathophysiology of numerous ocular diseases. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that betulinic acid protects from I/R injury in the mouse retina. Ocular ischemia was induced in mice by increasing intraocular pressure (IOP) to 110 mm Hg for 45 min, while the fellow eye served as a control. One group of mice received betulinic acid (50 mg/kg/day p.o. once daily) and the other group received the vehicle solution only. Eight days after the I/R event, the animals were killed and the retinal wholemounts and optic nerve cross-sections were prepared and stained with cresyl blue or toluidine blue, respectively, to count cells in the ganglion cell layer (GCL) of the retina and axons in the optic nerve. Retinal arteriole responses were measured in isolated retinas by video microscopy. The levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were assessed in retinal cryosections and redox gene expression was determined in isolated retinas by quantitative PCR. I/R markedly reduced cell number in the GCL and axon number in the optic nerve of the vehicle-treated mice. In contrast, only a negligible reduction in cell and axon number was observed following I/R in the betulinic acid-treated mice. Endothelial function was markedly reduced and ROS levels were increased in retinal arterioles of vehicle-exposed eyes following I/R, whereas betulinic acid partially prevented vascular endothelial dysfunction and ROS formation. Moreover, betulinic acid boosted mRNA expression for the antioxidant enzymes SOD3 and HO-1 following I/R. Our data provide evidence that betulinic acid protects from I/R injury in the mouse retina. Improvement of vascular endothelial function and the reduction in ROS levels appear to contribute to the neuroprotective effect.
Boland MV, Corcoran KJ, Lee AY. Changes in Performance of Glaucoma Surgeries 1994 through 2017 Based on Claims and Payment Data for United States Medicare Beneficiaries. Ophthalmol Glaucoma 2021;4(5):463-471.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate trends in glaucoma procedures in the United States Medicare population and to evaluate which physicians are performing newer procedures. DESIGN: Analysis of publicly available claims and payment data. PARTICIPANTS: Surgeons and beneficiaries enrolled in United States Medicare between 1994 and 2017. METHODS: Data regarding payments to physicians by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) were downloaded for the years 2012 through 2017. Data regarding claims to CMS by physicians were requested and processed between 1994 and 2017. Procedure counts from both data sets then were normalized for changes in the Medicare population, with 1995 as the baseline. The normalized volumes of procedures over time were visualized, as were geographic distributions of surgeons and their volume of procedures. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Trends in procedure counts over time, geographic distribution of surgeons, and their volume of procedures. RESULTS: The number of trabeculectomies continues to decline and now is similar to the number of tubes. Use of the relatively new trabecular bypass shunts has increased rapidly. Surgeons performing these procedures are less likely to be performing traditional glaucoma surgeries as well. The number of laser-based cyclodestruction procedures increased after introduction of the endoscopic technique and again with the introduction of so-called micropulse procedures. The procedure counts obtained with physician payment data consistently are lower than those from claims data given the limitations of the payment data. CONCLUSIONS: Glaucoma practice patterns change each time a new device or procedure is introduced. Collectively, the use of new microinvasive glaucoma surgery procedures has increased rapidly such that they now account for a significant majority of glaucoma surgeries. Given the almost complete lack of comparative data to inform surgeon choices regarding these procedures, it will be important that randomized studies are carried out to fill this gap.