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Hossain P, Siffel C, Joseph C, Meunier J, Markowitz JT, Dana R. Patient-reported burden of dry eye disease in the UK: a cross-sectional web-based survey. BMJ Open 2021;11(3):e039209.Abstract
OBJECTIVES: To compare sociodemographics and vision-related quality of life (QoL) of individuals with or without dry eye disease (DED); and to explore the impact of DED symptom severity on visual function, activity limitations and work productivity. DESIGN: Cross-sectional web-based survey. SETTING: General UK population. PARTICIPANTS: Adults ≥18 years with (N=1002) or without (N=1003) self-reported DED recruited through email and screened. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: All participants completed the 25-item National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (NEI VFQ-25), with six additional questions (items A3-A8), and the EuroQol 5 dimensions 5 levels. DED participants also completed Impact of Dry Eye on Everyday Life questionnaire, 5-item Dry Eye Questionnaire and the Standardised Patient Evaluation of Eye Dryness questionnaire along with the Ocular Comfort Index, Work Productivity and Activity Impairment and the Eye Dryness Score (EDS), a Visual Analogue Scale. RESULTS: Baseline demographic and clinical characteristics were similar in participants with versus without DED (mean age, 55.2 vs 55.0 years; 61.8% vs 61.0% women, respectively) based on recruitment targets. Scores were derived from NEI VFQ-25 using the new 28-item revised VFQ (VFQ-28R) scoring. Mean (SD) VFQ-28R scores were lower in participants with versus without DED, indicating worse functioning (activity limitations, 73.3 (12.3) vs 84.4 (12.3); socioemotional functioning, 75.3 (21.5) vs 90.3 (16.2); total score, 71.6 (12.8) vs 83.6 (12.6)). Higher percentages of problems/inability to do activities were observed among those with versus without DED. The impact of DED on visual function was worse for participants with more severe DED symptoms, as assessed by EDS. In addition, a higher EDS was associated with worse symptoms on common DED scales and a worse impact on work productivity. CONCLUSIONS: DED symptoms were associated with negative effects on visual function, activities and work productivity, whereas worse DED symptoms had a greater impact on vision-related QoL and work productivity.
Brill D, Papaliodis G. Uveitis Specialists Harnessing Disruptive Technology during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond. Semin Ophthalmol 2021;36(4):296-303.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.
Dahrouj M, Miller JB. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Retinal Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). Semin Ophthalmol 2021;36(4):341-345.Abstract
Ophthalmology has been at the forefront of medical specialties adopting artificial intelligence. This is primarily due to the "image-centric" nature of the field. Thanks to the abundance of patients' OCT scans, analysis of OCT imaging has greatly benefited from artificial intelligence to expand patient screening and facilitate clinical decision-making.In this review, we define the concepts of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning and how different artificial intelligence algorithms have been applied in OCT image analysis for disease screening, diagnosis, management, and prognosis.Finally, we address some of the challenges and limitations that might affect the incorporation of artificial intelligence in ophthalmology. These limitations mainly revolve around the quality and accuracy of datasets used in the algorithms and their generalizability, false negatives, and the cultural challenges around the adoption of the technology.
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.
Tahvildari M, Singh RB, Saeed HN. Application of Artificial Intelligence in the Diagnosis and Management of Corneal Diseases. Semin Ophthalmol 2021;36(8):641-648.Abstract
Diagnosis and treatment planning in ophthalmology heavily depend on clinical examination and advanced imaging modalities, which can be time-consuming and carry the risk of human error. Artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning (DL) are being used in different fields of ophthalmology and in particular, when running diagnostics and predicting outcomes of anterior segment surgeries. This review will evaluate the recent developments in AI for diagnostics, surgical interventions, and prognosis of corneal diseases. It also provides a brief overview of the newer AI dependent modalities in corneal diseases.
Aboobakar IF, Friedman DS. Home Monitoring for Glaucoma: Current Applications and Future Directions. Semin Ophthalmol 2021;36(4):310-314.Abstract
Technological advances provide a number of options for glaucoma monitoring outside the office setting, including home-based tonometry and perimetry. This has the potential to revolutionize management of this chronic disease, improve access to care, and enhance patient engagement. Here, we provide an overview of existing technologies for home-based glaucoma monitoring. We also discuss areas for future research and the potential applications of these technologies to telemedicine, which has been brought to the forefront during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Maleki A, Garcia CM, Asgari S, Manhapra A, Foster CS. Response to the Second TNF-α Inhibitor (Adalimumab or Infliximab) after Failing the First One in Refractory Idiopathic Inflammatory Retinal Vascular Leakage. Ocul Immunol Inflamm 2021;:1-10.Abstract
: To determine the response to the second TNF-α inhibitor (adalimumab and infliximab) after failing the first agent in idiopathic inflammatory retinal vascular leakage.: This was a retrospective observational case series. Patients with the diagnosis of idiopathic inflammatory retinal vascular leakage who had received both infliximab and adalimumab were included in the study.: Twelve and 15 patients received adalimumab (Group one) and infliximab (Group two) as the first treatment, respectively. The remission rates between Group one (58.3%) and Group two (66.7%) were not statistically significant. ( = .4) As the second agent, adalimumab was more effective in younger patients (27.5 ± 20.6) compared to older patients (48.75 ± 10.2). ( = .03). Moreover, patients with lower vision responded marginally better to infliximab as the second treatment ( = .06).: Either TNF-α inhibitor, adalimumab and infliximab, can be employed in the treatment of the patients with idiopathic inflammatory retinal vascular leakage who fail one of these agents.
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;73(7):1267-1276.Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To estimate 22-year trends in the prevalence and incidence of scleritis, and the associations of scleritis with infectious and immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (I-IMIDs) in the UK. METHODS: The retrospective cross-sectional and population cohort study (1997-2018) included 10,939,823 patients (2,946 incident scleritis cases) in The Health Improvement Network, a nationally representative primary care records database. The case-control and matched cohort study (1995-2019) included 3,005 incident scleritis cases and 12,020 control patients matched by age, sex, region, and Townsend deprivation index. Data were analyzed using multivariable Poisson regression, multivariable logistic regression, and Cox proportional hazards multivariable models adjusted for age, sex, Townsend deprivation index, race/ethnicity, smoking status, nation within the UK, and body mass index. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated. RESULTS: Scleritis incidence rates per 100,000 person-years declined from 4.23 (95% CI 2.16-6.31) to 2.79 (95% CI 2.19-3.39) between 1997 and 2018. The prevalence of scleritis per 100,000 person-years was 93.62 (95% CI 90.17-97.07) in 2018 (61,650 UK patients). Among 2,946 patients with incident scleritis, 1,831 (62.2%) were female, the mean ± SD age was 44.9 ± 17.6 years (range 1-93), and 1,257 (88.8%) were White. Higher risk of incident scleritis was associated with female sex (adjusted IRR 1.53 [95% CI 1.43-1.66], P < 0.001), Black race/ethnicity (adjusted IRR 1.52 [95% CI 1.14-2.01], P = 0.004 compared to White race/ethnicity), or South Asian race/ethnicity (adjusted IRR 1.50 [95% CI 1.19-1.90], P < 0.001 compared to White race/ethnicity), and older age (peak adjusted IRR 4.95 [95% CI 3.99-6.14], P < 0.001 for patients ages 51-60 years versus those ages ≤10 years). Compared to controls, scleritis patients had a 2-fold increased risk of a prior I-IMID diagnosis (17 I-IMIDs, P < 0.001) and significantly increased risk of subsequent diagnosis (13 I-IMIDs). The I-IMIDs most strongly associated with scleritis included granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Behçet's disease, and Sjögren's syndrome. CONCLUSION: From 1997 through 2018, the UK incidence of scleritis declined from 4.23 to 2.79/100,000 person-years. Incident scleritis was associated with 19 I-IMIDs, providing data for rational investigation and cross-specialty engagement.
Hutton DW, Glassman AR, Stein JD, Bressler NM, Sun JK, Sun JK. Costs of Managing Diabetic Macular Edema with Good Visual Acuity with Aflibercept, Laser or Observation: DRCR Retina Network Protocol V. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
PURPOSE: Since eyes with center-involved diabetic macular edema (CI-DME) and good baseline visual acuity (VA) showed no difference in VA loss when managed initially with observation, laser, or aflibercept, understanding the estimated costs of these strategies to the US population is relevant for health care planning. DESIGN: Pre-planned subgroup analysis from a randomized controlled trial METHODS, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Total costs for managing participants with CI-DME and good baseline VA assigned to aflibercept (n= 236), laser (n=240), or observation (n = 236) during the 2-year trial were calculated. Using epidemiological data and extrapolating costs, 10-year costs for caring for persons with CI-DME and good baseline VA throughout the US was estimated. INTERVENTIONS: Observation or laser groups initiated aflibercept if VA decreased. Aflibercept group received injections up to every 4 weeks. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Estimated 10-year U.S. population costs to manage CI-DME with good VA. RESULTS: Assuming all patients in the US with CI-DME and good baseline VA received aflibercept initially, 10-year costs were projected to be $28.80 billion compared with $14.42 billion if initially receiving laser treatment or $15.70 billion if initially observed, with aflibercept added if VA worsened in the laser or observation arms. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Similar VA outcomes on average are obtained by initially managing CI-DME and good baseline VA with laser or observation strategies instead of immediately using aflibercept. While any one of these three strategies might be warranted depending on an individual's specific circumstances, on a societal level, cost savings might be achieved with these first two approaches. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01909791.
Chodnicki KD, Prasad S. Ophthalmic Implications of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-Cell Therapy. Semin Ophthalmol 2021;36(4):329-334.Abstract
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a revolutionary addition to the burgeoning field of immunotherapy. CAR T-cells are engineered by combining a T-cell receptor with the antigen-binding site of an immunoglobulin that allows the hybrid cell to target antigens of interest. CAR T-cell therapy has been approved to treat various hematologic malignancies, including relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. While the treatment efficacy is exciting, challenges remain in understanding the unique spectrum of adverse effects of CAR T-cell therapy, including cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity. Innovative research is underway to expand this therapy into solid tumors and fields beyond hematology and oncology. To date, there has been limited research into ophthalmic uses and considerations of CAR T-cell therapy. This review focuses on preclinical investigations into CAR T-cell therapy for retinoblastoma and uveal melanoma, as well as ophthalmic complications of CAR T-cell therapy.
Georgiou M, Fujinami K, Vincent A, Nasser F, Khateb S, Vargas ME, Thiadens AAHJ, de Carvalho ER, Nguyen X-T-A, Cabral De Guimarães TA, Robson AG, Mahroo OA, Pontikos N, Arno G, Fujinami-Yokokawa Y, Leo SM, Liu X, Tsunoda K, Hayashi T, Jimenez-Rolando B, Martin-Merida MI, Avila-Fernandez A, Carreño E, Garcia-Sandoval B, Carmen A, Sharon D, Kohl S, Huckfeldt RM, Boon CJF, Banin E, Pennesi ME, Wissinger B, Webster AR, Héon E, Khan AO, Zrenner E, Michaelides M. KCNV2-associated Retinopathy: Detailed Retinal Phenotype and Structural Endpoints - KCNV2 Study Group Report 2. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
PURPOSE: To describe the detailed retinal phenotype of KCNV2-associated retinopathy. STUDY DESIGN: Multicenter international retrospective case series. METHODS: Review of retinal imaging including fundus autofluorescence (FAF) and optical coherence tomography (OCT), including qualitative and quantitative analyses. RESULTS: Three distinct macular FAF features were identified: i) centrally increased signal (n=35, 41.7%), ii) DAF (n=27, 31.1%), and iii) ring of increased signal (n=37, 44.0%). Five distinct FAF groups were identified based on combinations of those characteristics, with 23.5% of patients changing FAF group over a mean (range) follow-up of 5.9 years (1.9-13.1 years). Qualitative assessment was performed by grading OCT into five grades: (i) continuous EZ (20.5%), (ii) EZ disruption (26.1%), (iii) EZ absence, without optical gap and with preserved retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) complex (21.6%); iv) loss of EZ and an hyporeflective zone at the foveola (6.8%); and (v) outer retina and RPE complex loss (25.0%). Eighty-six patients had scans available from both eyes, with 83 (96.5%) having the same grade in both eyes, and 36.1% changed OCT grade over a mean follow-up of 5.5 years. The annual rate of ONL thickness change was similar for right and left eyes. CONCLUSION: KCNV2-associated retinopathy is a slowly progressive disease with early retinal changes, which are predominantly symmetric between eyes. The identification of a single OCT or FAF measurement as an endpoint to determine progression that applies to all patients may be challenging; although ONL thickness is a potential biomarker. Findings suggest a potential window for intervention until 40 years of age.
Islam R, Islam MM, Nilsson PH, Mohlin C, Hagen KT, Paschalis EI, Woods RL, Bhowmick SC, Dohlman CH, Espevik T, Chodosh J, Gonzalez-Andrades M, Mollnes TE. Combined blockade of complement C5 and TLR co-receptor CD14 synergistically inhibits pig-to-human corneal xenograft induced innate inflammatory responses. Acta Biomater 2021;127:169-179.Abstract
Inadequate supplies of donor corneas have evoked an escalating interest in corneal xenotransplantation. However, innate immune responses contribute significantly to the mechanism of xenograft rejection. We hypothesized that complement component C5 and TLR co-receptor CD14 inhibition would inhibit porcine cornea induced innate immune responses. Therefore, we measured cytokine release in human blood, induced by three forms of corneal xenografts with or without inhibitors. Native porcine cornea (NPC) induced interleukins (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-1ra), chemokines (MCP-1, MIP-1α, MIP-1β) and other cytokines (TNF, G-CSF, INF-γ, FGF-basic). Decellularized (DPC) and gamma-irradiated cornea (g-DPC) elevated the release of those cytokines. C5-blockade by eculizumab inhibited all the cytokines except G-CSF when induced by NPC. However, C5-blockade failed to reduce DPC and g-DPC induced cytokines. Blockade of CD14 inhibited DPC-induced cytokines except for IL-8, MCP-1, MIP-1α, and G-CSF, while it inhibited all of them when induced by g-DPC. Combined blockade of C5 and CD14 inhibited the maximum number of cytokines regardless of the xenograft type. Finally, by using the TLR4 specific inhibitor Eritoran, we showed that TLR4 activation was the basis for the CD14 effect. Thus, blockade of C5, when combined with TLR4 inhibition, may have therapeutic potential in pig-to-human corneal xenotransplantation. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Bio-engineered corneal xenografts are on the verge of becoming a viable alternative to allogenic human-donor-cornea, but the host's innate immune response is still a critical barrier for graft acceptance. By overruling this barrier, limited graft availability would no longer be an issue for treating corneal diseases. We showed that the xenograft induced inflammation is initiated by the complement system and toll-like receptor activation. Intriguingly, the inflammatory response was efficiently blocked by simultaneously targeting bottleneck molecules in the complement system (C5) and the TLR co-receptor CD14 with pharmaceutical inhibitors. We postulate that a combination of C5 and CD14 inhibition could have a great therapeutic potential to overcome the immunologic barrier in pig-to-human corneal xenotransplantation.
Sharifi S, Sharifi H, Guild C, Islam MM, Tran KD, Patzer C, Dohlman CH, Paschalis EI, Gonzalez-Andrades M, Chodosh J. Toward electron-beam sterilization of a pre-assembled Boston keratoprosthesis. Ocul Surf 2021;20:176-184.Abstract
PURPOSE: To evaluate the effects of electron-beam (E-beam) irradiation on the human cornea and the potential for E-beam sterilization of Boston keratoprosthesis (BK) devices when pre-assembled with a donor cornea prior to sterilization. METHODS: Human donor corneas and corneas pre-assembled in BK devices were immersed in recombinant human serum albumin (rHSA) media and E-beam irradiated at 25 kGy. Mechanical (tensile strength and modulus, and compression modulus), chemical, optical, structural, and degradation properties of the corneal tissue after irradiation and after 6 months of preservation were evaluated. RESULTS: The mechanical evaluation showed that E-beam irradiation enhanced the tensile and compression moduli of human donor corneas, with no impact on their tensile strength. By chemical and mechanical analysis, E-beam irradiation caused a minor degree of crosslinking between collagen fibrils. No ultrastructural changes due to E-beam irradiation were observed. E-beam irradiation slightly increased the stability of the cornea against collagenase-induced degradation and had no impact on glucose diffusion. The optical evaluation showed transparency of the cornea was maintained. E-beam irradiated corneal tissues and BK-cornea pre-assembled devices were stable for 6 months after room-temperature preservation. CONCLUSIONS: E-beam irradiation generated no detrimental effects on the corneal tissues or BK-cornea pre-assembled devices and improved native properties of the corneal tissue, enabling prolonged preservation at room temperature. The pre-assembly of BK in a donor cornea, followed by E-beam irradiation, offers the potential for an off-the-shelf, ready to implant keratoprosthesis device.

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