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  • Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    COVID-19 infection could cause long-term retinal damage. This was the conclusion of a study that sought to identify whether eyes play a role in transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). In mouse models, intranasal exposure led to ocular infiltration, but ocular exposure did not cause SARS-CoV-2–related lung infection. However, intranasal exposure caused an immune response in murine retinal cells, and when the virus was introduced to primary human retinal pigmented epithelial cells in vivo, it was found to cross the blood–retina barrier (BRB), replicate in these cells, and induce BRB death. Lead researcher Dr. Pawan Kumar Singh, associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, said that these findings reveal that “the longer viral remnants remain in the eye, the risk of damage to the retina and visual function increases.” He added that “For those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, we recommend you ask your ophthalmologist to check for signs of pathological changes to the retina.” PLOS Pathogens; University of Missouri School of Medicine

    Three-year study data reveal that low-dose aspirin may not offer additional protection against AMD. A substudy of the Australian randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) clinical trial focused on whether long-term use of daily low-dose aspirin (100 mg) had an effect on the development or progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The substudy enrolled 4993 patients from the original study (all aged ≥70 years), 37% of whom had AMD at baseline; median follow-up time was 3.09 years. Similar rates of both new-onset AMD and AMD progression were seen in the aspirin and placebo groups, with no differences observed after adjusting for sex, hypertension, smoking, and other factors. The authors conclude that “Overall, these results do not support the suggestion that low-dose daily aspirin prevents the development or progression of AMD.” JAMA Ophthalmology

    Retinal vessel abnormalities can be seen in patients with multiple sclerosis, say researchers at the Technical University of Munich who analyzed OCT images from 259 patients with relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), both with and without a history of optic neuritis (ON), and 78 healthy controls. Both RRMS groups had reduced numbers of small-sized retinal vessels (diameter <10 μm) compared with the healthy controls. Patients with RRMS and ON also had fewer medium-sized retinal vessels (diameter 10–20 μm) than the healthy controls. Losses of small- and medium-sized vessels were linked to retinal nerve fiber layer thinning. Multiple Sclerosis Journal