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  • Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Ultra-rare genetic variants may provide a new target for AMD therapies. A National Eye Institute (NEI) study has uncovered ultra-rare genetic variants in complement Factor 8A (C8A) and Factor 8B (C8B) in large families where advanced AMD is seen across generations. These genetic variants cause instability in the membrane attack complex (MAC), which in turn leads to long-term inflammatory responses in the retina. Dr. Anand Swaroop, head of the NEI’s Neurobiology, Neurodegeneration and Repair Laboratory, noted that “While we have known about many genetic variants that affect AMD risk, only a few have pointed directly to protein alterations that can cause AMD. With a small-molecule drug, we might be able to control how strongly MAC drives inflammation, and from there slow down progression of AMD.” National Eye Institute; iScience

    Reading is fundamental, but it worsens myopia, according to results of a recent study where 8 participants with varying myopia severity were asked to perform 5-minute reading and walking tasks while wearing glasses equipped with cameras and sensors that recorded visuomotor activity. The eye movements associated with walking had more varied ON and OFF visual pathways and were less repetitive than the eye movements associated with reading. Because of the reduced ON pathway activity seen with reading, indicating understimulation, the authors recommend that children with myopia spend more time on outdoors activities to reduce or control myopia progression. Journal of Vision

    A novel way to tell time on the aging clock: retinal fundus scans. Researchers at the Buck Institute, working in tandem with investigators from Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Google Research, have found that changes in the retinal microvasculature detected through fundus imaging could serve as a type of biomarker for overall age-related changes. In a genome-wide association study run by the same research team, a fundus model was created using images from the EyePACS and UK Biobank Dataset. There was a strong correlation between age predicted from the model and actual chronological age. Buck Institute; eLife