Zhang MM, Papakostas TD, Malcolm AW, Ancell KK, Biscotti CV, Gragoudas ES, Daniels AB. Multiple simultaneous choroidal melanomas arising in the same eye: globe salvage by radiotherapy. Acta Ophthalmol 2016;94(8):e799-e802.Abstract

PURPOSE: Multiple choroidal melanomas arising in the same eye is a very rare entity, usually leading ophthalmologists to entertain other diagnoses. Historically, the only available treatment reported for this rare entity was enucleation. In this study we demonstrate in a series of patients with multiple simultaneous choroidal melanomas that eye salvage is possible using a variety of radiotherapy techniques. OBSERVATIONS: Both patients presented with two simultaneous choroidal melanomas in one eye. The first patient was only 30 years old and presented with two largely amelanotic tumours with large exudative retinal detachment. Cytology from fine needle aspiration biopsies from both tumours with immunohistochemistry confirmed two separate melanomas. Sequential radioactive iodine plaque brachytherapy led to regression of both tumours. The second, older patient's two tumours both had the typical appearance of choroidal melanoma and he underwent proton beam irradiation to the entire field leading to tumour regression. CONCLUSIONS: Multiple choroidal melanomas can rarely arise simultaneously in the same eye, and despite their variable appearance, a definitive diagnosis can be aided by cytology and immunohistochemistry in atypical-appearing cases. While all other previously reported cases have necessitated enucleation, we demonstrate that globe salvage is possible using either proton beam irradiation to the entire tumour field, or with sequential radioactive plaque brachytherapy.

Silpa-Archa S, Cao JH, Boonsopon S, Lee J, Preble JM, Foster SC. Birdshot Retinochoroidopathy: Differences in Clinical Characteristics between Patients with Early and Late Age of Onset. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-7.Abstract

PURPOSE: To describe differences in the clinical characteristics of birdshot retinochoroidopathy (BSRC) patients diagnosed early and later in life. METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study. Age was primarily analyzed and 50 years of age at diagnosis was selected as a cut-off point. RESULTS: A total of 144 patients (288 eyes) were included; 68 with early-onset and 76 with late-onset BSRC. The younger group had a statistically significant higher rate of more severe iritis (p = 0.04); an average number of non-steroidal immunosuppressants and biologic agents (NSIB) (p = 0.04); and a prolonged time to initiation of NSIB (p = 0.01). There were only four patients (3%) who had >0.5+ cells in the anterior chamber. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with early-onset BSRC carried a higher risk for anterior segment inflammation, had a more prolonged delay to initiation of treatment with NSIB, and required a greater number of NSIBs to achieve remission.

Oray M, Meese H, Foster SC. Diagnosis and management of non-infectious immune-mediated scleritis: current status and future prospects. Expert Rev Clin Immunol 2016;12(8):827-37.Abstract

Scleritis is an inflammatory process of the sclera and adjacent tissues with a wide spectrum of clinical presentations and co-morbidities. Careful clinical history taking, detailed ocular examination, and appropriate investigation for likelihood of an underlying systemic disease are essential for diagnosis. Treatment can be quite challenging in some cases. Conventional therapy with corticosteroids and immunosuppressive agents may not be sufficient to control ocular inflammation in refractory patients. In such cases new therapeutic agents, which have a more targeted and sustained effect on the immune response, so-called biologic response modifiers, are being used. This review focuses on both diagnosis and therapeutic options including traditional and emerging therapies of non-infectious scleritis.

Abusamra K, Valdes-Navarro M, Lee S, Swan R, Foster SC, Anesi SD. A case of bilateral uveitis and papillitis in a patient treated with pembrolizumab. Eur J Ophthalmol 2016;26(3):e46-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: Drug-induced uveitis is a well-known effect of ocular inflammation that has been reported with many medications. Pembrolizumab is a newer generation of the anti-programmed cell death-1 monoclonal antibodies that was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of advanced melanoma. Immune-mediated adverse events involving different organs have been reported in recent literature in association with this drug. We present the first reported case of uveitis in association with pembrolizumab therapy. CASE REPORT: An 82-year-old man with stage IV melanoma was started on pembrolizumab infusion treatment every 3 weeks. Two months after initiating therapy, he presented with bilateral severe anterior uveitis and papillitis with fast and complete recovery after withholding further pembrolizumab infusions and treatment with topical steroid. Uveitis recurred after restarting pembrolizumab therapy. CONCLUSIONS: In current clinical practice, many new drugs are being approved, requiring better characterization of the prevalence, onset, and nature of adverse events in order to aid development of effective management strategies. Ophthalmologists should keep in mind that drugs are always a possible cause of ocular inflammation in patients presenting with uveitis.

Tanimoto N, Akula JD, Fulton AB, Weber BHF, Seeliger MW. Differentiation of murine models of "negative ERG" by single and repetitive light stimuli. Doc Ophthalmol 2016;132(2):101-9.Abstract

PURPOSE: Marked attenuation of the single-flash electroretinographic (ERG) b-wave in the presence of a normal-amplitude or less-attenuated a-wave is commonly referred to as the "negative ERG." The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the disparate origins of the negative ERG in three murine models can be discriminated using flickering stimuli. METHODS: Three models were selected: (1) the Nyx (nob) mouse model of complete congenital stationary night blindness, (2) the oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) rat model of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), and (3) the Rs1 knockout (KO) mouse model of X-linked juvenile retinoschisis. Directly after a dark-adapted, single-flash ERG luminance series, a flicker ERG frequency series (0.5-30 Hz) was performed at a fixed luminance of 0.5 log cd s/m(2). This series includes frequency ranges that are dominated by activity in (A) the rod pathways (below 5 Hz), (B) the cone ON-pathway (5-15 Hz), and (C) the cone OFF-pathway (above 15 Hz). RESULTS: All three models produced markedly attenuated single-flash ERG b-waves. In the Nyx (nob) mouse, which features postsynaptic deficits in the ON-pathways, the a-wave was normal and flicker responses were attenuated in ranges A and B, but not C. The ROP rat is characterized by inner-retinal ischemia which putatively affects both ON- and OFF-bipolar cell activity; flicker responses were reduced in all ranges (A-C). Notably, the choroid supplies the photoreceptors and is thought to be relatively intact in OIR, an idea supported by the nearly normal a-wave. Finally, in the Rs1 KO mouse, which has documented abnormality of the photoreceptor-bipolar synapse affecting both ON- and OFF-pathways, the flicker responses were attenuated in all ranges (A-C). The a-wave was also attenuated, likely as a consequence to schisms in the photoreceptor layer. CONCLUSION: Consideration of both single-flash and flickering ERG responses can discriminate the functional pathology of the negative ERG in these animal models of human disease.

Roohipoor R, Karkhaneh R, Farahani A, Ebrahimiadib N, Modjtahedi B, Fotouhi A, Yaseri M, Khodabande A, Zarei M, Imani Fuladi M, Taheri A, Riazi Esfahani M, Loewenstein J. Retinopathy of prematurity screening criteria in Iran: new screening guidelines. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2016;101(4):F288-93.Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To test the applicability of existing retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) guidelines on Iranian patients and to develop novel ROP screening criteria in Iran. METHODS: Both eyes of 1932 infants born ≤37 weeks of gestation and/or weighting ≤3000 g were included in this prospective cohort study that was conducted across nine neonatal intensive care units and a tertiary eye hospital ROP clinic. The patients were examined for ROP and the need for treatment (type 1 ROP or worse). All the patients were screened 4 weeks after birth or at 31 weeks of postmenstrual age, whichever was later. The patients were followed until retinal vascularisation was completed or the patients reached 50 weeks of gestational age (GA) without prethreshold ROP. A receiver operating characteristic curve was used to determine the best screening criteria for ROP. Screening criteria from other countries were applied to our patient data to determine their ability to appropriately detect ROP. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Patients with ROP requiring treatment. RESULTS: The mean GA±SD and birth weight (BW)±SD of the screened patients were 32±2.7 weeks and 1713±516 g, respectively. Using criteria of GA≤32 weeks or BW ≤2000 yielded sensitivity and specificity of 100% and 26.7%, respectively, for treatment requiring ROP regardless of clinical comorbidities. Using screening recommendations of American Academy of Pediatrics would miss 25.4% of ROP and 8.4%ROP requiring treatment in our cohort. CONCLUSIONS: Other countries screening recommendations would result in a significant amount of missed cases of treatment requiring ROP when applied to Iran. As a result, we have proposed new guidelines for premature babies in Iran.

Silpa-Archa S, Oray M, Preble JM, Foster CS. Outcome of tocilizumab treatment in refractory ocular inflammatory diseases. Acta Ophthalmol 2016;94(6):e400-6.Abstract

PURPOSE: To report the outcomes of tocilizumab treatment for refractory ocular inflammatory diseases. METHODS: A retrospective case series of 17 patients (28 eyes) diagnosed with recalcitrant ocular inflammatory diseases including uveitis (10 cases), scleritis (six cases) and orbital pseudotumour (one case), who received tocilizumab between April 2010 and March 2015. All patients were initiated with treatment of 4 mg/kg or 8 mg/kg tocilizumab. The primary outcome was absence of inflammation and achievement of steroid sparing at 6 and 9 months. Secondary outcomes were change in visual acuity and major adverse effects of tocilizumab causing discontinuation of the treatment. RESULTS: Mean age at initiation of tocilizumab was 41 ± 16 years. Prior to tocilizumab treatment, all patients underwent unsuccessful conventional immunosuppressive therapy while 94% of patients (16/17) failed treatment with various biological agents. After tocilizumab administration, control of inflammation and steroid sparing were achieved in 63% and 71% of uveitis patients at 6 and 9 months, while 50% of scleritis patients achieved the primary outcome at 6 and 9 months. Mean duration of tocilizumab therapy was 12.6 ± 10.0 (range, 2-35) months. Three of four patients who had a follow-up of at least 18 (range, 18-35) months experienced quiescent inflammation for up to 32 months of tocilizumab use until last visit. Four patients (24%) discontinued tocilizumab due to serious side effects including neutropenia, unacceptable dizziness and nausea, severe angioedema and severe abdominal pain. CONCLUSION: Our series demonstrated moderate efficacy of tocilizumab in recalcitrant uveitis and scleritis. Serious adverse effects were not uncommon.

Gonzalez-Gonzalez LA, Payal AR, Gonzalez-Monroy JE, Daly MK. Ophthalmic Surgical Simulation in Training Dexterity in Dominant and Nondominant Hands: Results From a Pilot Study. J Surg Educ 2016;73(4):699-708.Abstract

PURPOSE: To determine whether a structured training program using the validated EYESI surgical simulator improves dexterity in nondominant (ND) hands. SETTING: Academic tertiary referral center. DESIGN: Nonrandomized, prospective study. METHODS: Subjects who chose to participate and provided informed consent completed a structured simulation training program, which included a baseline test, 3 sessions of repeated tasks, and a final test on capsulorhexis in dominant (D) and ND hands. Participants completed demographic and satisfaction questionnaires. Performances at each session were recorded. We compared overall scores at baseline and at the end of the study, and analyzed trends over time. Statistical analysis was performed using JMP by SAS. RESULTS: Overall, 14 subjects completed the training program. In all, 3 (21.4%) were attending physicians and 11 (78.6%) were trainees. There was a significant improvement in the average overall scores (baseline vs. final) in both the D hand (33.4 vs. 46.5; p < 0.05) and the ND hand (28.9 vs. 47.7; p < 0.001). The structured training program demonstrated significantly faster performance times in both hands at the end of the study (D p< 0.001, ND p < 0.02). However, the learning curve was significantly steeper in the ND hand (p < 0.01). Participants agreed that simulation training improved the ND hand dexterity. CONCLUSIONS: We found a significantly greater trend for improvement in the ND compared with the D hand. These results suggest that an elaborate, structured curriculum targeting teaching dexterity results in better simulated performance.

Utheim TP, Islam R, Fostad IG, Eidet JR, Sehic A, Olstad OK, Dartt DA, Messelt EB, Griffith M, Pasovic L. Storage Temperature Alters the Expression of Differentiation-Related Genes in Cultured Oral Keratinocytes. PLoS One 2016;11(3):e0152526.Abstract
PURPOSE: Storage of cultured human oral keratinocytes (HOK) allows for transportation of cultured transplants to eye clinics worldwide. In a previous study, one-week storage of cultured HOK was found to be superior with regard to viability and morphology at 12°C compared to 4°C and 37°C. To understand more of how storage temperature affects cell phenotype, gene expression of HOK before and after storage at 4°C, 12°C, and 37°C was assessed. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cultured HOK were stored in HEPES- and sodium bicarbonate-buffered Minimum Essential Medium at 4°C, 12°C, and 37°C for one week. Total RNA was isolated and the gene expression profile was determined using DNA microarrays and analyzed with Partek Genomics Suite software and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. Differentially expressed genes (fold change > 1.5 and P < 0.05) were identified by one-way ANOVA. Key genes were validated using qPCR. RESULTS: Gene expression of cultures stored at 4°C and 12°C clustered close to the unstored control cultures. Cultures stored at 37°C displayed substantial change in gene expression compared to the other groups. In comparison with 12°C, 2,981 genes were differentially expressed at 37°C. In contrast, only 67 genes were differentially expressed between the unstored control and the cells stored at 12°C. The 12°C and 37°C culture groups differed most significantly with regard to the expression of differentiation markers. The Hedgehog signaling pathway was significantly downregulated at 37°C compared to 12°C. CONCLUSION: HOK cultures stored at 37°C showed considerably larger changes in gene expression compared to unstored cells than cultured HOK stored at 4°C and 12°C. The changes observed at 37°C consisted of differentiation of the cells towards a squamous epithelium-specific phenotype. Storing cultured ocular surface transplants at 37°C is therefore not recommended. This is particularly interesting as 37°C is the standard incubation temperature used for cell culture.
Maleki A, Meese H, Sahawneh H, Foster SC. Progress in the understanding and utilization of biologic response modifiers in the treatment of uveitis. Expert Rev Clin Immunol 2016;12(7):775-86.Abstract

Uveitis is the third most common cause of blindness in developed countries. Considering the systemic and local complications of long-term corticosteroid therapy and the intolerance due to side effects and ineffectiveness of conventional chemotherapy, use of biologic response modifiers is a reasonable alternative in the treatment of non-infectious uveitis and persistent uveitic macular edema. The majority of the evidence presented here comes from open uncontrolled analyses. Based on these studies, tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitors, especially infliximab and adalimumab, have been shown to be effective in the treatment of non-infectious uveitis in numerous studies. More research is necessary, particularly multi-center randomized clinical trials, to address the choice of biologic response modifier agent and the length of treatment as we employ biologic response modifiers in different types of uveitis and persistent uveitic macular edema.

Choi CJ, Lefebvre DR, Yoon MK. Validation of the facial assessment by computer evaluation (FACE) program for software-aided eyelid measurements. Orbit 2016;35(3):117-20.Abstract

The aim of this article is to validate the accuracy of Facial Assessment by Computer Evaluation (FACE) program in eyelid measurements. Sixteen subjects between the ages of 27 and 65 were included with IRB approval. Clinical measurements of upper eyelid margin reflex distance (MRD1) and inter-palpebral fissure (IPF) were obtained. Photographs were then taken with a digital single lens reflex camera with built-in pop-up flash (dSLR-pop) and a dSLR with lens-mounted ring flash (dSLR-ring) with the cameras upright, rotated 90, 180, and 270 degrees. The images were analyzed using both the FACE and ImageJ software to measure MRD1 and IPF.Thirty-two eyes of sixteen subjects were included. Comparison of clinical measurement of MRD1 and IPF with FACE measurements of photos in upright position showed no statistically significant differences for dSLR-pop (MRD1: p = 0.0912, IPF: p = 0.334) and for dSLR-ring (MRD1: p = 0.105, IPF: p = 0.538). One-to-one comparison of MRD1 and IPF measurements in four positions obtained with FACE versus ImageJ for dSLR-pop showed moderate to substantial agreement for MRD1 (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.534 upright, 0.731 in 90 degree rotation, 0.627 in 180 degree rotation, 0.477 in 270 degree rotation) and substantial to excellent agreement in IPF (ICC = 0.740, 0.859, 0.849, 0.805). In photos taken with dSLR-ring, there was excellent agreement of all MRD1 (ICC = 0.916, 0.932, 0.845, 0.812) and IPF (ICC = 0.937, 0.938, 0.917, 0.888) values. The FACE program is a valid method for measuring margin reflex distance and inter-palpebral fissure.

Sainz-de-la-Maza M, Molins B, Mesquida M, Llorenç V, Zarranz-Ventura J, Sala-Puigdollers A, Matas J, Adan A, Foster SC. Interleukin-22 serum levels are elevated in active scleritis. Acta Ophthalmol 2016;Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate serum cytokine profile from patients with active scleritis in a two-centre prospective case-control study. METHODS: The serum of 20 active scleritis patients not treated with any local, periocular, or systemic immunomodulatory therapy (IMT) was analysed with multiplex assay to determine the levels of 11 cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-2, IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-12p40, IL-13, IL-17A, IL-5, TNF-α, and TNF-β, and with ELISA to determine the levels of TGF-β1, IL-22, and IL-23. Twenty-five age-matched healthy volunteers were used as controls. In a subgroup of 13 patients with active disease, a second serum sample was obtained when the disease was inactive and levels of IL-22 were determined. Serum IL-22 levels from patients with active scleritis were correlated with type of scleritis (non-necrotizing and necrotizing), degree of inflammation (0-4+ :≤2+ and >2+), and associated systemic disease. RESULTS: Serum levels of IL-22 were elevated in active scleritis patients compared to controls (6.41 ± 1.52 pg/ml versus 1.93 ± 0.39 pg/ml, p = 0.012) and significantly decreased after scleritis remission with the use of IMT (p = 0.005). There was no statistical association with scleritis type, degree of inflammation, or associated systemic disease. The serum levels of other cytokines were not significantly different from controls. CONCLUSION: In our study cohort, IL-22 serum levels were significantly elevated in active scleritis patients compared to controls and decreased significantly after remission. Our results suggest that IL-22, a T helper (Th) 17- and Th22- derived cytokine, may play a critical role in the physiopathology of scleritis.
Durrani K, Kempen JH, Ying G-S, Kacmaz OR, Artornsombudh P, Rosenbaum JT, Suhler EB, Thorne JE, Jabs DA, Levy-Clarke GA, Nussenblatt RB, Foster SC, Foster SC. Adalimumab for Ocular Inflammation. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2016;:1-8.Abstract

PURPOSE: To evaluate adalimumab as an immunomodulatory treatment for non-infectious ocular inflammatory diseases. METHODS: Characteristics of patients treated with adalimumab were abstracted in a standardized chart review. Main outcomes measured were control of inflammation, corticosteroid-sparing effect, and visual acuity. RESULTS: In total, 32 patients with ocular inflammation were treated with adalimumab. The most common ophthalmic diagnoses were anterior uveitis, occurring in 15 patients (47%), and scleritis, occurring in 9 patients (28%). At 6 months of therapy, among 15 eyes with active inflammation, 7 (47%) became completely inactive, and oral prednisone was reduced to ≤10 mg/day in 2 of 4 patients (50%). On average, visual acuity decreased by 0.13 lines during the first 6 months of treatment. Adalimumab was discontinued because of lack of effectiveness in four patients within 6 months. CONCLUSIONS: Adalimumab was moderately effective in controlling inflammation in a group of highly pre-treated cases of ocular inflammatory disease.

Taher M, Nakao S, Zandi S, Melhorn MI, Hayes KC, Hafezi-Moghadam A. Phenotypic transformation of intimal and adventitial lymphatics in atherosclerosis: a regulatory role for soluble VEGF receptor 2. FASEB J 2016;30(7):2490-9.Abstract

The role of lymphatics in atherosclerosis is not yet understood. Here, we investigate lymphatic growth dynamics and marker expression in atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE(-/-)) mice. The prolymphangiogenic growth factor, VEGF-C, was elevated in atherosclerotic aortic walls. Despite increased VEGF-C, we found that adventitial lymphatics regress during the course of formation of atherosclerosis (P < 0.01). Similar to lymphatic regression, the number of lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1 (LYVE-1(+)) macrophages decreased in the aortic adventitia of apoE(-/-) mice with atherosclerosis (P < 0.01). Intimal lymphatics in the atherosclerotic lesions exhibited an atypical phenotype, with the expression of podoplanin and VEGF receptor 3 (VEGFR-3) but not of LYVE-1 and prospero homeobox protein 1. In the aortas of atherosclerotic animals, we found markedly increased soluble VEGFR-2. We hypothesized that the elevated soluble VEGFR-2 that was found in the aortas of apoE(-/-) mice with atherosclerosis binds to and diminishes the activity of VEGF-C. This trapping mechanism explains, despite increased VEGF-C in the atherosclerotic aortas, how adventitial lymphatics regress. Lymphatic regression impedes the drainage of lipids, growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, and immune cells. Insufficient lymphatic drainage could thus exacerbate atherosclerosis formation. Our study contributes new insights to previously unknown dynamic changes of adventitial lymphatics. Targeting soluble VEGFR-2 in atherosclerosis may provide a new strategy for the liberation of endogenous VEGF-C and the prevention of lymphatic regression.-Taher, M., Nakao, S., Zandi, S., Melhorn, M. I., Hayes, K. C., Hafezi-Moghadam, A. Phenotypic transformation of intimal and adventitial lymphatics in atherosclerosis: a regulatory role for soluble VEGF receptor 2.

Hymowitz MB, Chang D, Feinberg EB, Roy S. Increased Intraocular Pressure and Hyperglycemic Level in Diabetic Patients. PLoS One 2016;11(3):e0151833.Abstract

PURPOSE: To determine whether hyperglycemic levels as determined from high hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels influence intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR). METHODS: A retrospective chart review was performed on subjects with a diagnosis of NPDR and a corresponding HbA1c level measured within 90 days before or after an IOP measurement over a two-year period. Exclusion criteria included a diagnosis of glaucoma or treatment with IOP lowering medications or oral or topical steroids. RESULTS: Using 14.5mmHg as a baseline mean value for IOP, 42 subjects had an IOP < 14.5mmHg and mean HbA1c of 8.1±1.1, while 72 subjects had an IOP ≥ 14.5mmHg and a mean HbA1c of 9.0±2.1. Although there was an overlap in the confidence intervals, a significant difference (P = 0.01) in the mean HbA1c level was observed in regression analysis between the two groups. Importantly, diabetic subjects with elevated HbA1c levels rarely (<1%) exhibited reduced IOP levels. CONCLUSIONS: Diabetic subjects with elevated HbA1c levels exhibited significantly higher IOPs compared to those with lower HbA1c levels. Findings from this study indicate an association between hyperglycemia and elevated IOP and that poor glycemic control may contribute to increased IOP levels in long-term diabetic patients.