Publications

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Bauer C, Yazzolino L, Hirsch G, Cattaneo Z, Vecchi T, Merabet LB. Neural correlates associated with superior tactile symmetry perception in the early blind. Cortex 2015;63:104-117.Abstract
Symmetry is an organizational principle that is ubiquitous throughout the visual world. However, this property can also be detected through non-visual modalities such as touch. The role of prior visual experience on detecting tactile patterns containing symmetry remains unclear. We compared the behavioral performance of early blind and sighted (blindfolded) controls on a tactile symmetry detection task. The tactile patterns used were similar in design and complexity as in previous visual perceptual studies. The neural correlates associated with this behavioral task were identified with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In line with growing evidence demonstrating enhanced tactile processing abilities in the blind, we found that early blind individuals showed significantly superior performance in detecting tactile symmetric patterns compared to sighted controls. Furthermore, comparing patterns of activation between these two groups identified common areas of activation (e.g. superior parietal cortex) but key differences also emerged. In particular, tactile symmetry detection in the early blind was also associated with activation that included peri-calcarine cortex, lateral occipital (LO), and middle temporal (MT) cortex, as well as inferior temporal and fusiform cortex. These results contribute to the growing evidence supporting superior behavioral abilities in the blind, and the neural correlates associated with crossmodal neuroplasticity following visual deprivation.
Bauer CM. Neuroplastic reorganization in children with ocular and cerebral visual impairment. Dev Med Child Neurol 2020;62(1):16.
Baumal CR, Sarraf D, Bryant T, Gui W, Muakkassa N, Pichi F, Querques G, Choudhry N, Teke MY, Govetto A, Invernizzi A, Eliott D, Gaudric A, Cunha de Souza E, Naysan J, Lembo A, Lee GC, Freund BK. Henle fibre layer haemorrhage: clinical features and pathogenesis. Br J Ophthalmol 2021;105(3):374-380.Abstract
BACKGROUND: To describe the clinical presentation and characteristic imaging features of deep retinal haemorrhages primarily located in the Henle fibre layer (HFL) of the macula. The spectrum of aetiologies and a comprehensive theory of pathogenesis are presented. METHODS: This is a retrospective, multicentre case series evaluating eyes with retinal haemorrhage in HFL. Clinical features, underlying aetiology, systemic and ocular risk factors, visual acuity, and multimodal imaging including fundus photography and cross-sectional and en face optical coherence tomography (OCT) are presented. RESULTS: Retinal haemorrhages localised to HFL in 33 eyes from 23 patients were secondary to acute blunt trauma to the head (n=2), eye (n=1) and trunk (n=1), ruptured intracranial aneurysm (Terson's syndrome, n=3), general anaesthesia (n=1), epidural anaesthesia (n=1), hypertension with anaemia (n=1), decompression retinopathy (n=1), postvitrectomy with intraocular gas (n=1), retinal vein occlusion (n=7), myopic degeneration (n=2), macular telangiectasia type 2 (n=1), and polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (n=1). Defining clinical features included deep retinal haemorrhage with feathery margin and petaloid pattern radiating from the fovea. OCT demonstrated characteristic hyper-reflectivity from the haemorrhage delineated by obliquely oriented fibres in the Henle layer. Spontaneous resolution of HFL haemorrhage occurred after 3 months in 15 patients with follow-up. CONCLUSION: The characteristic petaloid-shaped, deep intraretinal haemorrhage with a feathery margin localised to HFL is associated with various disorders. The terminology 'Henle fiber layer hemorrhage (HH)' is proposed to describe the clinical and OCT findings, which may result from abnormal retinal venous pressure from systemic or local retinovascular disorders affecting the deep capillary plexus or from choroidal vascular abnormalities.
Bauskar A, Mack WJ, Mauris J, Argüeso P, Heur M, Nagel BA, Kolar GR, Gleave ME, Nakamura T, Kinoshita S, Moradian-Oldak J, Panjwani N, Pflugfelder SC, Wilson MR, Fini EM, Jeong S. Clusterin Seals the Ocular Surface Barrier in Mouse Dry Eye. PLoS One 2015;10(9):e0138958.Abstract

Dry eye is a common disorder caused by inadequate hydration of the ocular surface that results in disruption of barrier function. The homeostatic protein clusterin (CLU) is prominent at fluid-tissue interfaces throughout the body. CLU levels are reduced at the ocular surface in human inflammatory disorders that manifest as severe dry eye, as well as in a preclinical mouse model for desiccating stress that mimics dry eye. Using this mouse model, we show here that CLU prevents and ameliorates ocular surface barrier disruption by a remarkable sealing mechanism dependent on attainment of a critical all-or-none concentration. When the CLU level drops below the critical all-or-none threshold, the barrier becomes vulnerable to desiccating stress. CLU binds selectively to the ocular surface subjected to desiccating stress in vivo, and in vitro to the galectin LGALS3, a key barrier component. Positioned in this way, CLU not only physically seals the ocular surface barrier, but it also protects the barrier cells and prevents further damage to barrier structure. These findings define a fundamentally new mechanism for ocular surface protection and suggest CLU as a biotherapeutic for dry eye.

Baxter SL, Pistilli M, Pujari SS, Liesegang TL, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Foster SC, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Rosenbaum JT, Kempen JH. Risk of choroidal neovascularization among the uveitides. Am J Ophthalmol 2013;156(3):468-477.e2.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the risk, risk factors, and visual impact of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in uveitis cases. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. METHODS: Standardized medical record review at 5 tertiary centers. RESULTS: Among 15,137 uveitic eyes (8868 patients), CNV was rare in the cases of anterior or intermediate uveitis. Among the 4041 eyes (2307 patients) with posterior uveitis or panuveitis, 81 (2.0%) had CNV at presentation. Risk factors included posterior uveitis in general and specific uveitis syndromes affecting the outer retina-retinal pigment epithelium-choroid interface. Among the 2364 eyes (1357 patients) with posterior uveitis or panuveitis and free of CNV at the time of cohort entry, the cumulative 2-year incidence of CNV was 2.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8% to 3.5%). Risk factors for incident CNV included currently active inflammation (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 2.13; 95% CI, 1.26 to 3.60), preretinal neovascularization (aHR, 3.19; 95% CI, 1.30 to 7.80), and prior diagnosis of CNV in the contralateral eye (aHR, 5.79; 95% CI, 2.77 to 12.09). Among specific syndromes, the incidence was greater in Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome (aHR, 3.37; 95% CI, 1.52 to 7.46) and punctate inner choroiditis (aHR, 8.67; 95% CI, 2.83 to 26.54). Incident CNV was associated with a 2-line loss of visual acuity (+0.19 logarithm of the minimal angle of resolution units; 95% CI, 0.079 to 0.29) from the preceding visit. CONCLUSIONS: CNV is an uncommon complication of uveitis associated with visual impairment that occurs more commonly in forms affecting the outer retina-retinal pigment epithelium-choroid interface, during periods of inflammatory activity, in association with preretinal neovascularization, and in second eyes of patients with unilateral CNV. Because CNV is treatable, a systematic approach to early detection in high-risk patients may be appropriate.
Bayraktutar BN, Ozmen CM, Muzaaya N, Dieckmann G, Koseoglu DN, Müller RT, Cruzat A, Cavalcanti BM, Hamrah P. Comparison of clinical characteristics of post-refractive surgery-related and post-herpetic neuropathic corneal pain. Ocul Surf 2020;Abstract
PURPOSE: To compare the clinical characteristics and in vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) findings of patients with neuropathic corneal pain (NCP) due to refractive surgery (RS-NCP) and herpetic eye disease (H-NCP) to controls. METHODS: Sixteen patients with RS-NCP and 7 patients with H-NCP, and 37 healthy reference age- and sex-matched healthy controls were included to the study. The medical records were reviewed for demographic features, detailed disease history, ocular surface disease index (OSDI), ocular pain assessment survey (OPAS) scores. IVCM images of patients were analyzed and compared to reference controls by two masked observers. RESULTS: The mean pain intensity score for the last 24 h (5.1 ± 2.4 vs. 3.9 ± 1.2; p = 0.27), last 2 weeks (6.1 ± 2.5 vs. 4.8 ± 2.3; p = 0.13) for RS-NCP vs. H-NCP respectively, and quality of life scores (p = 0.23) were similar in both groups. Quality of life, especially mood (p = 0.06) and enjoying life/relations to others (p = 0.10) were affected in both groups, but were not statistically significant between groups. The mean total nerve density was lower in RS-NCP (5702.4 ± 4599.0 μm/mm) compared to their respective controls (26,422.8 ± 4491.0; p < 0.001) and in the H-NCP group (2149.5 ± 2985.9) compared to their respective controls (22,948.8 ± 3169.0; p < 0.001). Alterations in DC density were similar between all groups (38.3 ± 48.0 cells/mm in RS-NCP, 61.0 ± 76.9 in H-NCP, p = 0.95). CONCLUSION: Neuropathic corneal pain patients due to refractive surgery show similar clinical characteristics, pain levels, quality of life impact, and IVCM findings as patients with NCP due to herpetic eye disease.
Begaj T, Lorenzo M, Miller JB. A Young Man With Peripheral Vision Loss. JAMA Ophthalmol 2020;
Begaj T, Marmalidou A, Papakostas TD, Diaz DJ, Kim LA, Wu DM, Miller JB. Outcomes of primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachment repair with extensive scleral-depressed vitreous removal and dynamic examination. PLoS One 2020;15(9):e0239138.Abstract
There are multiple surgical approaches to the repair of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD). Here, we evaluated the outcomes of small-gauge pars plana vitrectomy (PPV), alone or in combination with scleral buckle (SB-PPV), for RRD repair using a standardized technique by 3 vitreoretinal surgeons: "extensive" removal of the vitreous with scleral depression and dynamic examination of the peripheral retina. One hundred eighty seven eyes of 180 consecutive patients treated for primary RRD by three vitreoretinal surgeons at a tertiary academic medical center from September 2015 to March 2018 were analyzed. Most RRDs occurred in males (134 [71.3%] eyes), affected the left eye (102 [54.3%]), and were phakic (119 [63.3%]). PPV alone was performed in 159 eyes (84.6%), with a combined SB-PPV used in the remaining 29 eyes (15.4%); focal endolaser was used in all (100%) cases. The single surgery anatomic success rate was 186 eyes (99.5%) at 3 months, and 187 (100%) at last follow up. Overall best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) had significantly improved at 3 months ([Snellen 20/47] P<0.00005) and last follow up ([Snellen 20/31] P<0.00005), as compared to day of presentation ([Snellen 20/234]). Our findings suggest that "extensive" removal of the vitreous and dynamic peripheral examination with scleral depression may lead to high single surgery success in primary uncomplicated RRD repair.
Behlau I, Martin KV, Martin JN, Naumova EN, Cadorette JJ, Sforza TJ, Pineda R, Dohlman CH. Infectious endophthalmitis in Boston keratoprosthesis: incidence and prevention. Acta Ophthalmol 2014;92(7):e546-55.Abstract
PURPOSE: To determine the cumulative worldwide incidence of infectious endophthalmitis and associated vision loss after Boston keratoprosthesis (B-KPro) Type I/II implantation and to propose both safe and inexpensive prophylactic antibiotic regimens. METHODS: Two retrospective methods were used to determine the incidence, visual outcomes and aetiologies of infectious endophthalmitis associated with the B-KPro divided per decade: (i) systematic review of the literature from 1990 through January 2013 and (ii) a surveillance survey sent to all surgeons who implanted B-KPros through 2010 with 1-year minimum follow-up. In addition, a single-Boston surgeon 20-year experience was examined. RESULTS: From 1990 through 2010, there were 4729 B-KPros implanted worldwide by 209 U.S. surgeons and 159 international surgeons. The endophthalmitis cumulative mean incidence declined from 12% during its first decade of use to about 3% during its second decade in the Unites States and about 5% internationally during the second decade. There remains a large incidence range both in the United States (1-12.5%) and internationally (up to 17%). Poor compliance with daily topical antibiotics is an important risk factor. While Gram-positive organisms remained dominant, fungal infections emerged during the second decade. CONCLUSIONS: Daily prophylactic topical antibiotics have dramatically reduced the endophthalmitis incidence. Although Gram-positive organisms are the most common aetiology, antimicrobials must be inclusive of Gram-negative organisms. Selection of prophylactic regimens should be tailored to local antibiotic susceptibility patterns, be cost-effective, and should not promote the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. An example of a broad-spectrum, low-cost prophylactic option for non-autoimmune patients includes trimethoprim/polymyxinB once daily.
Beier KT, Saunders AB, Oldenburg IA, Sabatini BL, Cepko CL. Vesicular stomatitis virus with the rabies virus glycoprotein directs retrograde transsynaptic transport among neurons in vivo. Front Neural Circuits 2013;7:11.Abstract
Defining the connections among neurons is critical to our understanding of the structure and function of the nervous system. Recombinant viruses engineered to transmit across synapses provide a powerful approach for the dissection of neuronal circuitry in vivo. We recently demonstrated that recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) can be endowed with anterograde or retrograde transsynaptic tracing ability by providing the virus with different glycoproteins. Here we extend the characterization of the transmission and gene expression of recombinant VSV (rVSV) with the rabies virus glycoprotein (RABV-G), and provide examples of its activity relative to the anterograde transsynaptic tracer form of rVSV. rVSV with RABV-G was found to drive strong expression of transgenes and to spread rapidly from neuron to neuron in only a retrograde manner. Depending upon how the RABV-G was delivered, VSV served as a polysynaptic or monosynaptic tracer, or was able to define projections through axonal uptake and retrograde transport. In animals co-infected with rVSV in its anterograde form, rVSV with RABV-G could be used to begin to characterize the similarities and differences in connections to different areas. rVSV with RABV-G provides a flexible, rapid, and versatile tracing tool that complements the previously described VSV-based anterograde transsynaptic tracer.
Beier KT, Mundell NA, Pan AY, Cepko CL. Anterograde or Retrograde Transsynaptic Circuit Tracing in Vertebrates with Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Vectors. Curr Protoc Neurosci 2016;74:1.26.1-1.26.27.Abstract

Viruses have been used as transsynaptic tracers, allowing one to map the inputs and outputs of neuronal populations, due to their ability to replicate in neurons and transmit in vivo only across synaptically connected cells. To date, their use has been largely restricted to mammals. In order to explore the use of such viruses in an expanded host range, we tested the transsynaptic tracing ability of recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV) vectors in a variety of organisms. Successful infection and gene expression were achieved in a wide range of organisms, including vertebrate and invertebrate model organisms. Moreover, rVSV enabled transsynaptic tracing of neural circuitry in predictable directions dictated by the viral envelope glycoprotein (G), derived from either VSV or rabies virus (RABV). Anterograde and retrograde labeling, from initial infection and/or viral replication and transmission, was observed in Old and New World monkeys, seahorses, jellyfish, zebrafish, chickens, and mice. These vectors are widely applicable for gene delivery, afferent tract tracing, and/or directional connectivity mapping. Here, we detail the use of these vectors and provide protocols for propagating virus, changing the surface glycoprotein, and infecting multiple organisms using several injection strategies. © 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Beining MW, Magnø MS, Moschowits E, Olafsson J, Vehof J, Dartt DA, Utheim TP. In-office thermal systems for the treatment of dry eye disease. Surv Ophthalmol 2022;67(5):1405-1418.Abstract
Dry eye disease affects millions of people worldwide, causing pain, vision disturbance, and reduced productivity. Meibomian gland dysfunction, a major cause of dry eye, is characterized by chronic glandular inflammation, thickening of the meibum, obstruction of terminal ducts, and glandular atrophy. Treatment of meibomian gland dysfunction can utilize heat and pressure applied to the meibomian glands, increasing meibum expression. With self-treatments, however, not all patients achieve lasting improvement, and compliance is often low. In-office thermal systems offer a second line of treatment and could be a much-needed addition for patients who do not respond to conventional treatment. We critically evaluated the efficacy and safety of LipiFlow, iLux, and TearCare based on existing literature. While the studies found a single in-office thermal treatment to be safe and effective in improving short-term signs and symptoms in patients with dry eye, long-term efficacy needs to be further evaluated. Thus, well-controlled, long-term efficacy studies are warranted to draw clear conclusions. The treatment seemed to provide rapid relief of symptoms that may last up to 1 year, but at a considerably higher cost than the at-home treatments. The choice of treatment depends on cost, compliance with at-home treatment, and personal preference.
Belinsky I, Creighton FX, Mahoney N, Petris CK, Callahan AB, Campbell AA, Kazim M, Lee HHB, Yoon MK, Dagi Glass LR. Teprotumumab and Hearing Loss: Case Series and Proposal for Audiologic Monitoring. Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg 2022;38(1):73-78.Abstract
PURPOSE: To present a protocol for audiologic monitoring in the setting of teprotumumab treatment of thyroid eye disease, motivated by 4 cases of significant hearing loss, and review the relevant literature. METHODS: Cases of hearing loss in the setting of teprotumumab were retrospectively elicited as part of a multi-institutional focus group, including oculoplastic surgeons, a neurotologist and an endocrinologist. A literature review was performed. RESULTS: An aggregate of 4 cases of teprotumumab-associated hearing loss documented by formal audiologic testing were identified among 3 clinicians who had treated 28 patients. CONCLUSIONS: Teprotumumab may cause a spectrum of potentially irreversible hearing loss ranging from mild to severe, likely resulting from the inhibition of the insulin-like growth factor-1 and the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor pathway. Due to the novelty of teprotumumab and the lack of a comprehensive understanding of its effect on hearing, the authors endorse prospective investigations of hearing loss in the setting of teprotumumab treatment. Until the results of such studies are available, the authors think it prudent to adopt a surveillance protocol to include an audiogram and tympanometry before, during and after infusion, and when prompted by new symptoms of hearing dysfunction.
Belmonte C, Nichols JJ, Cox SM, Brock JA, Begley CG, Bereiter DA, Dartt DA, Galor A, Hamrah P, Ivanusic JJ, Jacobs DS, McNamara NA, Rosenblatt MI, Stapleton F, Wolffsohn JS. TFOS DEWS II pain and sensation report. Ocul Surf 2017;15(3):404-437.Abstract
Pain associated with mechanical, chemical, and thermal heat stimulation of the ocular surface is mediated by trigeminal ganglion neurons, while cold thermoreceptors detect wetness and reflexly maintain basal tear production and blinking rate. These neurons project into two regions of the trigeminal brain stem nuclear complex: ViVc, activated by changes in the moisture of the ocular surface and VcC1, mediating sensory-discriminative aspects of ocular pain and reflex blinking. ViVc ocular neurons project to brain regions that control lacrimation and spontaneous blinking and to the sensory thalamus. Secretion of the main lacrimal gland is regulated dominantly by autonomic parasympathetic nerves, reflexly activated by eye surface sensory nerves. These also evoke goblet cell secretion through unidentified efferent fibers. Neural pathways involved in the regulation of meibomian gland secretion or mucin release have not been identified. In dry eye disease, reduced tear secretion leads to inflammation and peripheral nerve damage. Inflammation causes sensitization of polymodal and mechano-nociceptor nerve endings and an abnormal increase in cold thermoreceptor activity, altogether evoking dryness sensations and pain. Long-term inflammation and nerve injury alter gene expression of ion channels and receptors at terminals and cell bodies of trigeminal ganglion and brainstem neurons, changing their excitability, connectivity and impulse firing. Perpetuation of molecular, structural and functional disturbances in ocular sensory pathways ultimately leads to dysestesias and neuropathic pain referred to the eye surface. Pain can be assessed with a variety of questionaires while the status of corneal nerves is evaluated with esthesiometry and with in vivo confocal microscopy.
Benaglio P, San Jose PF, Avila-Fernandez A, Ascari G, Harper S, Manes G, Ayuso C, Hamel C, Berson EL, Rivolta C. Mutational screening of splicing factor genes in cases with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. Mol Vis 2014;20:843-51.Abstract

PURPOSE: Mutations in genes encoding proteins from the tri-snRNP complex of the spliceosome account for more than 12% of cases of autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (adRP). Although the exact mechanism by which splicing factor defects trigger photoreceptor death is not completely clear, their role in retinitis pigmentosa has been demonstrated by several genetic and functional studies. To test for possible novel associations between splicing factors and adRP, we screened four tri-snRNP splicing factor genes (EFTUD2, PRPF4, NHP2L1, and AAR2) as candidate disease genes. METHODS: We screened up to 303 patients with adRP from Europe and North America who did not carry known RP mutations. Exon-PCR and Sanger methods were used to sequence the NHP2L1 and AAR2 genes, while the sequences of EFTUD2 and PRPF4 were obtained by using long-range PCRs spanning coding and non-coding regions followed by next-generation sequencing. RESULTS: We detected novel missense changes in individual patients in the sequence of the genes PRPF4 and EFTUD2, but the role of these changes in relationship to disease could not be verified. In one other patient we identified a novel nucleotide substitution in the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of NHP2L1, which did not segregate with the disease in the family. CONCLUSIONS: The absence of clearly pathogenic mutations in the candidate genes screened in our cohort suggests that EFTUD2, PRPF4, NHP2L1, and AAR2 are either not involved in adRP or are associated with the disease in rare instances, at least as observed in this study in patients of European and North American origin.

Benchetrit L, van Zyl T, Chodosh J. Bilateral Limbus-Sparing Conjunctivitis in a Boy With Rash and Pneumonia. JAMA Ophthalmol 2019;
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.
Bengani LC, Kobashi H, Ross AE, Zhai H, Salvador-Culla B, Tulsan R, Kolovou PE, Mittal SK, Chauhan SK, Kohane DS, Ciolino JB. Steroid-eluting contact lenses for corneal and intraocular inflammation. Acta Biomater 2020;116:149-161.Abstract
Ocular inflammation is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, and steroids in topical ophthalmic solutions (e.g. dexamethasone eye drops) are the mainstay of therapy for ocular inflammation. For many non-infectious ocular inflammatory diseases, such as uveitis, eye drops are administered as often as once every hour. The high frequency of administration coupled with the side effects of eye drops leads to poor adherence for patients. Drug-eluting contact lenses have long been sought as a potentially superior alternative for sustained ocular drug delivery; but loading sufficient drug into contact lenses and control the release of the drug is still a challenge. A dexamethasone releasing contact lens (Dex-Lens) was previously developed by encapsulating a dexamethasone-polymer film within the periphery of a hydrogel-based contact lens. Here, we demonstrate safety and efficacy of the Dex-Lens in rabbit models in the treatment of anterior ocular inflammation. The Dex-Lens delivered drug for 7 days in vivo (rabbit model). In an ocular irritation study (Draize test) with Dex-Lens extracts, no adverse events were observed in normal rabbit eyes. Dex-Lenses effectively inhibited suture-induced corneal neovascularization and inflammation for 7 days and lipopolysaccharide-induced anterior uveitis for 5 days. The efficacy of Dex-Lenses was similar to that of hourly-administered dexamethasone eye drops. In the corneal neovascularization study, substantial corneal edema was observed in rabbit eyes that received no treatment and those that wore a vehicle lens as compared to rabbit eyes that wore the Dex-Lens. Throughout these studies, Dex-Lenses were well tolerated and did not exhibit signs of toxicity. Dexamethasone-eluting contact lenses may be an option for the treatment of ocular inflammation and a platform for ocular drug delivery. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Inflammation of the eye can happen either on the ocular surface (i.e. the cornea) or inside the eye, both of which can result in loss of vision or even blindness. Ocular inflammation is normally treated by steroid eye drops. Depending on the type and severity of inflammation, patients may have to take drops every hour for days at a time. Such severe dosing regimen can lead to patients missing doses. Also, more than 95% drug in an eye drop never goes inside the eye. Here we present a contact lens that release a steroid (dexamethasone) for seven days at a time. It is much more efficient than eye drops and a significant improvement since once worn, the patient will avoid missing doses.
Benischke A-S, Vasanth S, Miyai T, Katikireddy KR, White T, Chen Y, Halilovic A, Price M, Price F, Liton PB, Jurkunas UV. Activation of mitophagy leads to decline in Mfn2 and loss of mitochondrial mass in Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy. Sci Rep 2017;7(1):6656.Abstract
Human corneal endothelial cells (HCEnCs) are terminally differentiated cells that have limited regenerative potential. The large numbers of mitochondria in HCEnCs are critical for pump and barrier function required for corneal hydration and transparency. Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD) is a highly prevalent late-onset oxidative stress disorder characterized by progressive loss of HCEnCs. We previously reported increased mitochondrial fragmentation and reduced ATP and mtDNA copy number in FECD. Herein, carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone (CCCP)-induced mitochondrial depolarization decreased mitochondrial mass and Mfn2 levels, which were rescued with mitophagy blocker, bafilomycin, in FECD. Moreover, electron transport chain complex (I, V) decrease in FECD indicated deficient mitochondrial bioenergetics. Transmission electron microscopy of FECD tissues displayed an increased number of autophagic vacuoles containing degenerated and swollen mitochondria with cristolysis. An elevation of LC3-II and LAMP1 and downregulation of Mfn2 in mitochondrial fractions suggested that loss of fusion capacity targets fragmented mitochondria to the pre-autophagic pool and upregulates mitophagy. CCCP-induced mitochondrial fragmentation leads to Mfn2 and LC3 co-localization without activation of proteosome, suggesting a novel Mfn2 degradation pathway via mitophagy. These data indicate constitutive activation of mitophagy results in reduction of mitochondrial mass and abrogates cellular bioenergetics during degeneration of post-mitotic cells of ocular tissue.
Bennett CR, Bauer CM, Bex PJ, Bottari D, Merabet LB. Visual search performance in cerebral visual impairment is associated with altered alpha band oscillations. Neuropsychologia 2021;161:108011.Abstract
Individuals with cerebral visual impairment (CVI) often present with deficits related to visuospatial processing. However, the neurophysiological basis underlying these higher order perceptual dysfunctions have not been clearly identified. We assessed visual search performance using a novel virtual reality based task paired with eye tracking to simulate the exploration of a naturalistic scene (a virtual toy box). This was combined with electroencephalography (EEG) recordings and an analysis pipeline focusing on time frequency decomposition of alpha oscillatory activity. We found that individuals with CVI showed an overall impairment in visual search performance (as indexed by decreased success rate, as well as increased reaction time, visual search area, and gaze error) compared to controls with neurotypical development. Analysis of captured EEG activity following stimulus onset revealed that in the CVI group, there was a distinct lack of strong and well defined posterior alpha desynchronization; an important signal involved in the coordination of neural activity related to visual processing. Finally, an exploratory analysis revealed that in CVI, the magnitude of alpha desynchronization was associated with impaired visual search performance as well as decreased volume of specific thalamic nuclei implicated in visual processing. These results suggest that impairments in visuospatial processing related to visual search in CVI are associated with alterations in alpha band oscillations as well as early neurological injury at the level of visual thalamic nuclei.

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