2021

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Benedi-Garcia C, Vinas M, Dorronsoro C, Burns SA, Peli E, Marcos S. Vision is protected against blue defocus. Sci Rep 2021;11(1):352.Abstract
Due to chromatic aberration, blue images are defocused when the eye is focused to the middle of the visible spectrum, yet we normally are not aware of chromatic blur. The eye suffers from monochromatic aberrations which degrade the optical quality of all images projected on the retina. The combination of monochromatic and chromatic aberrations is not additive and these aberrations may interact to improve image quality. Using Adaptive Optics, we investigated the optical and visual effects of correcting monochromatic aberrations when viewing polychromatic grayscale, green, and blue images. Correcting the eye's monochromatic aberrations improved optical quality of the focused green images and degraded the optical quality of defocused blue images, particularly in eyes with higher amounts of monochromatic aberrations. Perceptual judgments of image quality tracked the optical findings, but the perceptual impact of the monochromatic aberrations correction was smaller than the optical predictions. The visual system appears to be adapted to the blur produced by the native monochromatic aberrations, and possibly to defocus in blue.
Bennett CR, Bex PJ, Merabet LB. Assessing visual search performance using a novel dynamic naturalistic scene. J Vis 2021;21(1):5.Abstract
Daily activities require the constant searching and tracking of visual targets in dynamic and complex scenes. Classic work assessing visual search performance has been dominated by the use of simple geometric shapes, patterns, and static backgrounds. Recently, there has been a shift toward investigating visual search in more naturalistic dynamic scenes using virtual reality (VR)-based paradigms. In this direction, we have developed a first-person perspective VR environment combined with eye tracking for the capture of a variety of objective measures. Participants were instructed to search for a preselected human target walking in a crowded hallway setting. Performance was quantified based on saccade and smooth pursuit ocular motor behavior. To assess the effect of task difficulty, we manipulated factors of the visual scene, including crowd density (i.e., number of surrounding distractors) and the presence of environmental clutter. In general, results showed a pattern of worsening performance with increasing crowd density. In contrast, the presence of visual clutter had no effect. These results demonstrate how visual search performance can be investigated using VR-based naturalistic dynamic scenes and with high behavioral relevance. This engaging platform may also have utility in assessing visual search in a variety of clinical populations of interest.
Böhm M, Leon P, Wylęgała A, Ong Tone S, Condron T, Jurkunas U. Cost-effectiveness analysis of preloaded versus non-preloaded Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty for the treatment of Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy in an academic centre. Br J Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
AIMS: To determine the cost-effectiveness of preloaded Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (pDMEK) versus non-preloaded DMEK (n-pDMEK) for the treatment of Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD). METHODS: From a societal and healthcare perspective, this retrospective cost-effectiveness analysis analysed a cohort of 58 patients with FECD receiving pDMEK (n=38) or n-pDMEK (n=30) from 2016 to 2018 in the Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA. Exclusion criteria were previous ocular surgeries (other than uncomplicated cataract surgery), including other keratoplasty procedures, ocular pathological conditions as glaucoma, amblyopia, laser treatments, or any retinal or corneal disease. The main outcome parameters were the incremental cost-utility ratio (ICUR) and net monetary benefit (NMB). RESULTS: pDMEK was less costly compared with n-pDMEK (healthcare: $13 886 vs $15 329; societal: $20 805 vs $22 262), with a slighter greater utility (QALY 0.6682 vs QALY 0.6640) over a time horizon of 15 years. pDMEK offered a slightly higher clinical effectiveness (+0.0042 QALY/patient) at a lower cost (healthcare: -$1444 per patient; societal: -$1457 per patient) in improving visual acuity in this cohort of patients with FECD. pDMEK achieved a favourable ICUR and NMB compared with n-pDMEK. Based on sensitivity analyses performed, the economic model was robust. CONCLUSIONS: From the societal and healthcare perspective, pDMEK was less costly and generated comparable utility values relative to n-pDMEK. Therefore, pDMEK appears to be cost-effective and cost saving with respect to n-pDMEK. Further long-term follow-up data are needed to confirm these findings.
Böhm MS, Wylegala A, Leon P, Ong Tone S, Ciolino JB, Jurkunas UV. One-Year Clinical Outcomes of Preloaded Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty Versus Non-Preloaded Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty. Cornea 2021;40(3):311-319.Abstract
PURPOSE: To compare the one-year outcomes of preloaded Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (pDMEK) and non-preloaded DMEK (n-pDMEK) in patients with Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD). METHODS: This retrospective comparative cohort study consecutively included 68 eyes with Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy who underwent either pDMEK (n = 38) or n-pDMEK (n = 30) performed by cornea fellows with an experienced surgeon between 2016 and 2018 at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Exclusion criteria were previous surgery (other than uncomplicated cataract surgery) and any documented evidence of macular or other corneal diseases. Corrected distance visual acuity (CDVA), central corneal thickness, intraocular pressure, patient characteristics, postprocessing endothelial cell count, donor graft data, and complications were compared. RESULTS: CDVA showed similar results for pDMEK (0.12 ± 0.11 logarithm of the minimal angle of resolution [LogMAR]) and n-pDMEK (0.13 ± 0.13 LogMAR) (P = 0.827). Sixty-six percent of the pDMEK eyes and 57% of the n-pDMEK eyes achieved a VA of ≥0.1 LogMAR, and 95% and 97%, respectively, achieved a CDVA ≥0.3 LogMAR. The preoperative central corneal thickness of pDMEK and n-pDMEK (644 ± 62.2 μm, 660.5 ± 56.2 μm) decreased significantly after surgery (525.1 ± 43.6 μm, 526.5 ± 45.2 μm, P < 0.001), with no difference between groups (P = 0.840). The postprocessing endothelial cell count did not differ between pDMEK (2959.2 ± 182.9 cells/mm2) and n-pDMEK (2939.3 ± 278.7 cells/mm2) (P = 0.484). Complication rates were comparable with just the rebubbling performed in a minor procedure room showing a lower rate for pDMEK (13.16%) compared with n-pDMEK (33.33%) (P < 0.045). CONCLUSIONS: One-year clinical outcomes were similar between pDMEK and n-pDMEK procedures, rendering eye bank-prepared pDMEK tissues a useful tool in the treatment of endothelial dysfunction.
Bothun ED, Wilson EM, Yen KG, Anderson JS, Weil NC, Loh AR, Morrison D, Freedman SF, Plager DA, VanderVeen DK, Traboulsi EI, Hodge DO, Lambert SR, and Study TAP. Outcomes of Bilateral Cataract Surgery in Infants 7 to 24 Months of Age Using the Toddler Aphakia and Pseudophakia Treatment Study Registry. Ophthalmology 2021;128(2):302-308.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate outcomes of bilateral cataract surgery in children aged 7 to 24 months and compare rates of adverse events (AEs) with other Toddler Aphakia and Pseudophakia Study (TAPS) registry outcomes. DESIGN: Retrospective clinical study at 10 Infant Aphakia Treatment Study (IATS) sites. Statistical analyses comparing this cohort with previously reported TAPS registry cohorts. PARTICIPANTS: Children enrolled in the TAPS registry between 2004 and 2010. METHODS: Children underwent bilateral cataract surgery with or without intraocular lens (IOL) placement at age 7 to 24 months with 5 years of postsurgical follow-up. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Visual acuity (VA), occurrence of strabismus, AEs, and reoperations. RESULTS: A total of 40 children (76 eyes) who underwent bilateral cataract surgery with primary posterior capsulectomy were identified with a median age at cataract surgery of 11 months (7-23); 68% received a primary IOL. Recurrent visual axis opacification (VAO) occurred in 7.5% and was associated only with the use of an IOL (odds ratio, 6.10; P = 0.005). Glaucoma suspect (GS) was diagnosed in 2.5%, but no child developed glaucoma. In this bilateral cohort, AEs (8/40, 20%), including glaucoma or GS and VAO, and reoperations occurred in a similar proportion to that of the published unilateral TAPS cohort. When analyzed with children aged 1 to 7 months at bilateral surgery, the incidence of AEs and glaucoma or GS correlated strongly with age at surgery (P = 0.011/0.004) and glaucoma correlated with microcornea (P = 0.040) but not with IOL insertion (P = 0.15). CONCLUSIONS: Follow-up to age 5 years after bilateral cataract surgery in children aged 7 to 24 months reveals a low rate of VAO and very rare glaucoma or GS diagnosis compared with infants with cataracts operated at < 7 months of age despite primary IOL implantation in most children in the group aged 7 to 24 months. The use of an IOL increases the risk of VAO irrespective of age at surgery.
Braithwaite T, Adderley NJ, Subramanian A, Galloway J, Kempen JH, Gokhale K, Cope AP, Dick AD, Nirantharakumar K, Denniston AK. Epidemiology of scleritis in the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2018: Population-based analysis of 11 million patients and association between scleritis and infectious and immune-mediated inflammatory disease. Arthritis Rheumatol 2021;Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To estimate 22-year trends in scleritis prevalence and incidence and associations with infectious/immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (I-IMIDs) in the United Kingdom (UK). METHODS: Retrospective cross-sectional and population cohort study (1997-2018) included 10,939,823 patients (n=2946 incident scleritis cases) in The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a nationally-representative primary care records database. Case-control and cohort study (1995-2019) included 3005 incident scleritis cases and 12,020 control patients matched by age, sex, region and Townsend Deprivation Index (TDI). We adjusted Poisson, Logistic and Cox proportional hazard multivariable models by age, sex, TDI, race/ethnicity, smoking, nation and body mass index category. Estimates include 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS: Scleritis incidence rates declined from 4·23(2·16-6·31) to 2·79(2·19-3·39) per 100,000 person-years between 1997 and 2018. Prevalence was 93·62(90·17-97·07)/100,000 people in 2018 (61,650 UK patients). Amongst 2946 incident scleritis patients, 62·2%(n=1831) were female, mean age was 44·9(SD17·6, range 1-93) years and 88·8%(n=1257) were White. Higher risk of incident scleritis was associated with female sex (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR]=1·54, 1·43-1·66,p<0.001), Black (aIRR=1·52, 1·14-2·01,p=0.004) or South Asian race/ethnicity (aIRR=1·50, 1·19-1·90,p<0.001) versus White, and older age (peak aIRR=4·95, 3·99-6·14,p<0.001 for ages 51-60 years versus ≤10 years). Compared to controls, scleritis patients had 2-fold increased risk of prior I-IMID diagnosis (p<0.001, 17 I-IMIDs) and significantly increased risk of subsequent diagnosis of 13 I-IMIDs. Strongest associations included granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Behçet's disease, and Sjögren's syndrome. CONCLUSION: Over 1997-2018 the UK incidence of scleritis declined from 4·23 to 2·79/100,000 persons/year. Incident scleritis was associated with 19 I-IMIDs, providing data for rational investigation and cross-specialty engagement.
Breazzano MP, Nair AA, Arevalo FJ, Barakat MR, Berrocal AM, Chang JS, Chen A, Eliott D, Garg SJ, Ghadiali Q, Gong D, Grewal DS, Handa JT, Henderson M, Leiderman YI, Leng T, Mannina A, Mendel TA, Mustafi D, de Koo LOC, Patel SN, Patel TP, Prenner J, Richards P, Singh RP, Wykoff CC, Yannuzzi NA, Yu H, Modi YS, Chang S. Frequency of Urgent or Emergent Vitreoretinal Surgical Procedures in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Ophthalmol 2021;139(4):456-463.Abstract
Importance: The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) indicated that urgent or emergent vitreoretinal surgical procedures should continue during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Although decreases in the frequency of critical procedures have been reported outside the field of ophthalmology, analyses are limited by volume, geography, and time. Objective: To evaluate whether the frequency of ophthalmic surgical procedures deemed urgent or emergent by the AAO changed across the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design, Setting, and Participants: Vitreoretinal practices from 17 institutions throughout the US participated in this multicenter cross-sectional study. The frequency of 11 billed vitreoretinal Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes across respective weeks was obtained from each practice between January 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020. Data were clustered into intravitreal injections (code 67028), lasers and cryotherapy (codes 67141, 67145, and 67228), retinal detachment (RD) repairs (codes 67107, 67108, 67110, and 67113), and other vitrectomies (codes 67036, 67039, and 67040). Institutions were categorized by region (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West Coast), practice setting (academic [tax-exempt] or private [non-tax-exempt]), and date of respective statewide stay-at-home orders. Main Outcomes and Measures: Nationwide changes in the frequency of billing for urgent or emergent vitreoretinal surgical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results: A total of 526 536 CPT codes were ascertained: 483 313 injections, 19 257 lasers or cryotherapy, 14 949 RD repairs, and 9017 other vitrectomies. Relative to 2019, a weekly institutional decrease in injections was observed from March 30 to May 2, 2020, with a maximal 38.6% decrease (from a mean [SD] of 437.8 [436.3] to 273.8 [269.0] injections) from April 6 to 12, 2020 (95% CI, -259 to -69 injections; P = .002). A weekly decrease was also identified that spanned a longer interval, at least until study conclusion (March 16 to May 31, 2020), for lasers and cryotherapy, with a maximal 79.6% decrease (from a mean [SD] of 6.6 [7.7] to 1.5 [2.0] procedures) from April 6 to 12, 2020 (95% CI, -6.8 to -3.3 procedures; P < .001), for RD repairs, with a maximal 59.4% decrease (from a mean [SD] of 3.5 [4.0] to 1.6 [2.2] repairs) from April 13 to 19, 2020 (95% CI, -2.7 to -1.4 repairs; P < .001), and for other vitrectomies, with a maximal 84.3% decrease (from a mean [SD] of 3.0 [3.1] to 0.4 [0.8] other vitrectomies) from April 6 to 12, 2020 (95% CI, -3.3 to -1.8 other vitrectomies; P < .001). No differences were identified by region, setting, or state-level stay-at-home order adjustment. Conclusions and Relevance: Although the AAO endorsed the continued performance of urgent or emergent vitreoretinal surgical procedures, the frequency of such procedures throughout the country experienced a substantial decrease that may persist after the COVID-19 pandemic's initial exponential growth phase. This decrease appears independent of region, setting, and state-level stay-at-home orders. It is unknown to what extent vitreoretinal intervention would have decreased without AAO recommendations, and how the decrease is associated with outcomes. Although safety is paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic, practices should consider prioritizing availability for managing high-acuity conditions until underlying reasons for the reduction are fully appreciated.
Brill D, Papaliodis G. Uveitis Specialists Harnessing Disruptive Technology during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond. Semin Ophthalmol 2021;:1-8.Abstract
Spurred by the coronavirus disease pandemic and shortage of eye care providers, telemedicine is transforming the way ophthalmologists care for their patients. Video conferencing, ophthalmic imaging, hybrid visits, intraocular inflammation quantification, and portable technology are evolving areas that may allow more uveitis patients to be evaluated via telemedicine. Despite these promising disruptive technologies, there remain significant technological limitations, legal barriers, variable insurance coverage for virtual visits, and lack of clinical trials for uveitis specialists to embrace telemedicine.
Brommer B, He M, Zhang Z, Yang Z, Page JC, Su J, Zhang Y, Zhu J, Gouy E, Tang J, Williams P, Dai W, Wang Q, Solinsky R, Chen B, He Z. Improving hindlimb locomotor function by Non-invasive AAV-mediated manipulations of propriospinal neurons in mice with complete spinal cord injury. Nat Commun 2021;12(1):781.Abstract
After complete spinal cord injuries (SCI), spinal segments below the lesion maintain inter-segmental communication via the intraspinal propriospinal network. However, it is unknown whether selective manipulation of these circuits can restore locomotor function in the absence of brain-derived inputs. By taking advantage of the compromised blood-spinal cord barrier following SCI, we optimized a set of procedures in which AAV9 vectors administered via the tail vein efficiently transduce neurons in lesion-adjacent spinal segments after a thoracic crush injury in adult mice. With this method, we used chemogenetic actuators to alter the excitability of propriospinal neurons in the thoracic cord of the adult mice with a complete thoracic crush injury. We showed that activating these thoracic neurons enables consistent and significant hindlimb stepping improvement, whereas direct manipulations of the neurons in the lumbar spinal cord led to muscle spasms without meaningful locomotion. Strikingly, manipulating either excitatory or inhibitory propriospinal neurons in the thoracic levels leads to distinct behavioural outcomes, with preferential effects on standing or stepping, two key elements of the locomotor function. These results demonstrate a strategy of engaging thoracic propriospinal neurons to improve hindlimb function and provide insights into optimizing neuromodulation-based strategies for treating SCI.
Brouwer NJ, Konstantinou EK, Gragoudas ES, Marinkovic M, Luyten GPM, Kim IK, Jager MJ, Vavvas DG. Targeting the YAP/TAZ Pathway in Uveal and Conjunctival Melanoma With Verteporfin. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2021;62(4):3.Abstract
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine whether YAP/TAZ activation in uveal melanoma (UM) and the susceptibility of melanoma cell lines to YAP/TAZ inhibition by verteporfin (VP) is related to the tumor's genetic background. Methods: Characteristics of 144 patients with enucleated UM were analyzed together with mRNA expression levels of YAP/TAZ-related genes (80 patients from the The Cancer Genome Atlas [TCGA] project and 64 patients from Leiden, The Netherlands). VP was administered to cell lines 92.1, OMM1, Mel270, XMP46, and MM28 (UM), CRMM1 and CRMM2 (conjunctival melanoma), and OCM3 (cutaneous melanoma). Viability, growth speed, and expression of YAP1-related proteins were assessed. Results: In TCGA data, high expression of YAP1 and WWTR1 correlated with the presence of monosomy 3 (P = 0.009 and P < 0.001, respectively) and BAP1-loss (P = 0.003 and P = 0.001, respectively) in the primary UM; metastasis development correlated with higher expression of YAP1 (P = 0.05) and WWTR1 (P = 0.003). In Leiden data, downstream transcription factor TEAD4 was increased in cases with M3/BAP1-loss (P = 0.002 and P = 0.006) and related to metastasis (P = 0.004). UM cell lines 92.1, OMM1, and Mel270 (GNAQ/11-mutation, BAP1-positive) and the fast-growing cell line OCM3 (BRAF-mutation) showed decreased proliferation after exposure to VP. Two slow-growing UM cell lines XMP46 and MM28 (GNAQ/11-mutation, BAP1-negative) were not sensitive to VP, and neither were the two conjunctival melanoma cell lines (BRAF/NRAS-mutation). Conclusions: High risk UM showed an increased expression of YAP/TAZ-related genes. Although most UM cell lines responded in vitro to VP, BAP1-negative and conjunctival melanoma cell lines did not. Not only the mutational background, but also cell growth rate is an important predictor of response to YAP/TAZ inhibition by VP.
Bryan NC, Lebreton F, Gilmore M, Ruvkun G, Zuber MT, Carr CE. Genomic and Functional Characterization of Enterococcus faecalis Isolates Recovered From the International Space Station and Their Potential for Pathogenicity. Front Microbiol 2020;11:515319.Abstract
is a multidrug resistant, opportunistic human pathogen and a leading cause of hospital acquired infections. Recently, isolates have been recovered from the air and surfaces onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Pangenomic and functional analyses were carried out to assess their potential impact on astronaut health. Genomes of each ISS isolate, and both clinical and commensal reference strains, were evaluated for their core and unique gene content, acquired antibiotic resistance genes, phage, plasmid content, and virulence traits. In order to determine their potential survival when outside of the human host, isolates were also challenged with three weeks of desiccation at 30% relative humidity. Finally, pathogenicity of the ISS strains was evaluated in the model organism At the culmination of this study, there were no defining signatures that separated known pathogenic strains from the more commensal phenotypes using the currently available resources. As a result, the current reliance on database information alone must be shifted to experimentally evaluated genotypic and phenotypic characteristics of clinically relevant microorganisms.
Burton MJ, Ramke J, Marques AP, Bourne RRA, Congdon N, Jones I, Ah Tong BAM, Arunga S, Bachani D, Bascaran C, Bastawrous A, Blanchet K, Braithwaite T, Buchan JC, Cairns J, Cama A, Chagunda M, Chuluunkhuu C, Cooper A, Crofts-Lawrence J, Dean WH, Denniston AK, Ehrlich JR, Emerson PM, Evans JR, Frick KD, Friedman DS, Furtado JM, Gichangi MM, Gichuhi S, Gilbert SS, Gurung R, Habtamu E, Holland P, Jonas JB, Keane PA, Keay L, Khanna RC, Khaw PT, Kuper H, Kyari F, Lansingh VC, Mactaggart I, Mafwiri MM, Mathenge W, McCormick I, Morjaria P, Mowatt L, Muirhead D, Murthy GVS, Mwangi N, Patel DB, Peto T, Qureshi BM, Salomão SR, Sarah V, Shilio BR, Solomon AW, Swenor BK, Taylor HR, Wang N, Webson A, West SK, Wong TY, Wormald R, Yasmin S, Yusufu M, Silva JC, Resnikoff S, Ravilla T, Gilbert CE, Foster A, Faal HB. The Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health: vision beyond 2020. Lancet Glob Health 2021;9(4):e489-e551.
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Caranfa JT, Yoon MK. Septic Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis: A Review. Surv Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
Septic cavernous sinus thrombosis (SCST) is a rare, yet severe, process typically arising from infections of the paranasal sinuses (predominately ethmoid and/or sphenoid sinusitis) and, less commonly, otogenic, odontogenic, and pharyngeal sources. Clinical symptoms of SCST arise from obstruction of venous drainage from the orbit and compression of the cranial nerves within the cavernous sinus. In the preantibiotic era, SCST was considered universally fatal (80-100%); however, with the introduction of antibiotics the overall incidence, morbidity and mortality of SCST have greatly declined. In spite of dramatic improvements, morbidity and mortality remain high, with the majority of patients experiencing neurological sequalae, highlighting the severity of the disease and the need for prompt recognition, diagnosis, and treatment. Here we review of the literature of SCST with a focus on the current recommendations and recent evidence for diagnostic and medical management of this condition.
Caton MT, Zamani AA, Du R, Prasad S. Optic Neuropathy Due to Compression by an Ectatic Internal Carotid Artery Within the Orbital Apex. J Neuroophthalmol 2021;41(1):e103-e104.Abstract
ABSTRACT: Neurovascular compression is a rare but potentially treatable cause of optic neuropathy. Although incidental contact of the cisternal optic nerve and internal carotid artery (ICA) is common, compressive optic neuropathy occurring within the orbital apex has not been comprehensively described. We report a case of intra-orbital and intracanalicular optic nerve compression due to an ectatic ICA in a patient with congenital absence of the contralateral ICA. This report describes the complementary roles of advanced neuroimaging and neuro-ophthalmologic examination in rendering the diagnosis.
Chan YK, Wang SK, Chu CJ, Copland DA, Letizia AJ, Costa Verdera H, Chiang JJ, Sethi M, Wang MK, Neidermyer WJ, Chan Y, Lim ET, Graveline AR, Sanchez M, Boyd RF, Vihtelic TS, Inciong RGCO, Slain JM, Alphonse PJ, Xue Y, Robinson-McCarthy LR, Tam JM, Jabbar MH, Sahu B, Adeniran JF, Muhuri M, Tai PWL, Xie J, Krause TB, Vernet A, Pezone M, Xiao R, Liu T, Wang W, Kaplan HJ, Gao G, Dick AD, Mingozzi F, McCall MA, Cepko CL, Church GM. Engineering adeno-associated viral vectors to evade innate immune and inflammatory responses. Sci Transl Med 2021;13(580)Abstract
Nucleic acids are used in many therapeutic modalities, including gene therapy, but their ability to trigger host immune responses in vivo can lead to decreased safety and efficacy. In the case of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors, studies have shown that the genome of the vector activates Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), a pattern recognition receptor that senses foreign DNA. Here, we engineered AAV vectors to be intrinsically less immunogenic by incorporating short DNA oligonucleotides that antagonize TLR9 activation directly into the vector genome. The engineered vectors elicited markedly reduced innate immune and T cell responses and enhanced gene expression in clinically relevant mouse and pig models across different tissues, including liver, muscle, and retina. Subretinal administration of higher-dose AAV in pigs resulted in photoreceptor pathology with microglia and T cell infiltration. These adverse findings were avoided in the contralateral eyes of the same animals that were injected with the engineered vectors. However, intravitreal injection of higher-dose AAV in macaques, a more immunogenic route of administration, showed that the engineered vector delayed but did not prevent clinical uveitis, suggesting that other immune factors in addition to TLR9 may contribute to intraocular inflammation in this model. Our results demonstrate that linking specific immunomodulatory noncoding sequences to much longer therapeutic nucleic acids can "cloak" the vector from inducing unwanted immune responses in multiple, but not all, models. This "coupled immunomodulation" strategy may widen the therapeutic window for AAV therapies as well as other DNA-based gene transfer methods.
Chang EK, Gupta S, Chachanidze M, Miller JB, Chang TC, Solá-Del Valle DA. Combined pars plana glaucoma drainage device placement and vitrectomy using a vitrectomy sclerotomy site for tube placement: a case series. BMC Ophthalmol 2021;21(1):106.Abstract
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to report the safety and efficacy of pars plana glaucoma drainage devices with pars plana vitrectomy using one of the vitrectomy sclerotomy sites for tube placement in patients with refractory glaucoma. METHODS: Retrospective case series of 28 eyes of 28 patients who underwent combined pars plana glaucoma drainage device and pars plana vitrectomy between November 2016 and September 2019 at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Main outcome measures were intraocular pressure (IOP), glaucoma medication burden, best corrected visual acuity, and complications. Statistical tests were performed with R and included Kaplan-Meier analyses, Wilcoxon paired signed-rank tests, and Fisher tests. RESULTS: Mean IOP decreased from 22.8 mmHg to 11.8 mmHg at 1.5 years (p = 0.002), and mean medication burden decreased from 4.3 to 2.1 at 1.5 years (p = 0.004). Both IOP and medication burden were significantly lower at all follow-up time points. The probability of achieving 5 < IOP ≤ 18 mmHg with at least 20% IOP reduction from preoperative levels was 86.4% at 1 year and 59.8% at 1.5 years. At their last visit, three eyes (10.7%) achieved complete success with IOP reduction as above without medications, and 14 eyes (50.0%) achieved qualified success with medications. Hypotony was observed in 1 eye (3.6%) prior to 3 months postoperatively and 0 eyes after 3 months. Visual acuity was unchanged or improved in 23 eyes (82.1%) at their last follow-up. Two patients had a visual acuity decrease of > 2 lines. Two eyes required subsequent pars plana vitrectomies for tube obstruction, and one eye had transient hypotony. CONCLUSIONS: The results of pars plana glaucoma drainage device and pars plana vitrectomy using one of the vitrectomy sclerotomy sites for tube placement are promising, resulting in significant IOP and medication-burden reductions through postoperative year 1.5 without additional risk of postoperative complications. Inserting glaucoma drainage devices into an existing vitrectomy sclerotomy site may potentially save surgical time by obviating the need to create another sclerotomy for tube placement and suture one of the vitrectomy ports.
Chang EK, Gupta S, Chachanidze M, Hall N, Chang TC, Solá-Del Valle D. Safety and efficacy of microinvasive glaucoma surgery with cataract extraction in patients with normal-tension glaucoma. Sci Rep 2021;11(1):8910.Abstract
This study assesses the safety and efficacy of microinvasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) with cataract extraction in patients with normal-tension glaucoma (NTG). In our sample of 45 NTG patients, mean intraocular pressure (IOP) decreased from 13.7 to 12.3 mmHg at 2.5 years, and mean medication burden decreased from 2.0 to 1.1 at 1.5 years. For success defined as IOP reduction ≥ 30% from baseline IOP with medication burden reduction from preoperative levels, success probability was 5.4% at 1.5 years. For success defined as medication burden reduction with an IOP reaching goal IOP as determined by the glaucoma specialist, success probabilities were 67.2% at 1.5 years and 29.4% at 2.5 years. At the last follow-up visit, eyes with two MIGS procedures with different mechanisms of action achieved successful medication reduction 68.8% of the time versus 35.7% achieved by a single MIGS procedure (p = 0.052). At their last visit, visual acuity was unchanged or improved in all eyes (100%). MIGS with cataract surgery results in modest reductions in IOP and medication burden in NTG patients, which may lead to lower costs and better therapeutic compliance. A combination of two MIGS procedures with different mechanisms of action may potentially be more effective in reducing medication burden than a single MIGS procedure in NTG patients. Further research is necessary to ascertain whether MIGS for NTG patients may help decrease medication burden while helping achieve goal IOP.
Chen CL, McLeod SD, Lietman TM, Shen H, Boscardin JW, Peggy Chang H-Y, Whooley MA, Gelb AW, Lee SJ, Dudley AR. Preoperative Medical Testing and Falls in Medicare Beneficiaries Awaiting Cataract Surgery. Ophthalmology 2021;128(2):208-215.Abstract
PURPOSE: Delaying cataract surgery is associated with an increased risk of falls, but whether routine preoperative testing delays cataract surgery long enough to cause clinical harm is unknown. We sought to determine whether the use of routine preoperative testing leads to harm in the form of delayed surgery and falls in Medicare beneficiaries awaiting cataract surgery. DESIGN: Retrospective, observational cohort study using 2006-2014 Medicare claims. PARTICIPANTS: Medicare beneficiaries 66+ years of age with a Current Procedural Terminology claim for ocular biometry. METHODS: We measured the mean and median number of days between biometry and cataract surgery, calculated the proportion of patients waiting ≥ 30 days or ≥ 90 days for surgery, and determined the odds of sustaining a fall within 90 days of biometry among patients of high-testing physicians (testing performed in ≥ 75% of their patients) compared with patients of low-testing physicians. We also estimated the number of days of delay attributable to high-testing physicians. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence of falls occurring between biometry and surgery, odds of falling within 90 days of biometry, and estimated delay associated with physician testing behavior. RESULTS: Of 248 345 beneficiaries, 16.4% were patients of high-testing physicians. More patients of high-testing physicians waited ≥ 30 days and ≥ 90 days to undergo surgery (31.4% and 8.2% vs. 25.0% and 5.5%, respectively; P < 0.0001 for both). Falls before surgery in patients of high-testing physicians increased by 43% within the 90 days after ocular biometry (1.0% vs. 0.7%; P < 0.0001). The adjusted odds ratio of falling within 90 days of biometry in patients of high-testing physicians versus low-testing physicians was 1.10 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-1.19; P = 0.008). After adjusting for surgical wait time, the odds ratio decreased to 1.07 (95% CI, 1.00-1.15; P = 0.06). The delay associated with having a high-testing physician was approximately 8 days (estimate, 7.97 days; 95% CI, 6.40-9.55 days; P < 0.0001). Other factors associated with delayed surgery included patient race (non-White), Northeast region, ophthalmologist ≤ 40 years of age, and low surgical volume. CONCLUSIONS: Overuse of routine preoperative medical testing by high-testing physicians is associated with delayed surgery and increased falls in cataract patients awaiting surgery.
Chen Y, Shao C, Fan N-W, Nakao T, Amouzegar A, Chauhan SK, Dana R. The functions of IL-23 and IL-2 on driving autoimmune effector T-helper 17 cells into the memory pool in dry eye disease. Mucosal Immunol 2021;14(1):177-186.Abstract
Long-lived memory T-helper 17 (Th17) cells actively mediate the chronic inflammation in autoimmune disorders, including dry eye disease (DED). The mechanisms responsible for the maintenance and reactivation of these cells in autoimmunity have been subject of investigation. However, the process through which memory Th17 are generated from their effector precursors remains to be elucidated. Herein, using our murine model of DED, we detect a linear transition from effector-to-memory Th17 cells during the abatement phase of acute inflammation, which is accompanied by persistently high levels of IL-23 and diminished levels of IL-2. In addition, in vitro culture of effector Th17 cells derived from the DED animals with IL-23, but not IL-2, leads to significant generation of memory Th17 cells, along with upregulated expression levels of IL-7R and IL-15R by these cells. Furthermore, supplementation of IL-2 abolishes and blockade of IL-2 enhances IL-23-induced generation of memory Th17 cells in vitro. Finally, in vivo blockade of IL-23 signaling during the contraction phase of primary response inhibits the generation of memory Th17 cells from their effector precursors. Together, our data demonstrate a new dichotomy between IL-23 and IL-2 in driving effector Th17 cells into the memory pool in autoimmune-mediated ocular surface inflammation.
Cheng W, Lynn MH, Pundlik S, Almeida C, Luo G, Houston K. A smartphone ocular alignment measurement app in school screening for strabismus. BMC Ophthalmol 2021;21(1):150.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Strabismus is the leading risk factor for amblyopia, which should be early detected for minimized visual impairment. However, traditional school screening for strabismus can be challenged due to several factors, most notably training, mobility and cost. The purpose of our study is to evaluate the feasibility of using a smartphone application in school vision screening for detection of strabismus. METHODS: The beta smartphone application, EyeTurn, can measure ocular misalignment by computerized Hirschberg test. The application was used by a school nurse in a routine vision screening for 133 elementary school children. All app measurements were reviewed by an ophthalmologist to assess the rate of successful measurement and were flagged for in-person verification with prism alternating cover test (PACT) using a 2.4Δ threshold (root mean squared error of the app). A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to determine the best sensitivity and specificity for an 8Δ threshold (recommended by AAPOS) with the PACT measurement as ground truth. RESULTS: The nurse obtained at least one successful app measurement for 93% of children (125/133). 40 were flagged for PACT, of which 6 were confirmed to have strabismus, including 4 exotropia (10△, 10△, 14△ and 18△), 1 constant esotropia (25△) and 1 accommodative esotropia (14△). Based on the ROC curve, the optimum threshold for the app to detect strabismus was determined to be 3.0△, with the best sensitivity (83.0%), specificity (76.5%). With this threshold the app would have missed one child with accommodative esotriopia, whereas conventional screening missed 3 cases of intermittent extropia. CONCLUSIONS: Results support feasibility of use of the app by personnel without professional training in routine school screenings to improve detection of strabismus.

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