AUG 11, 2023
Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Retina/Vitreous
A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.
An app could help sight-impaired commuters navigate public transportation. Investigators at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering and Grossman School of Medicine, together with advisors from New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, have developed a trip-planning app called Commute Booster. The app aims to provide “middle mile” support via the Google Map API and transit system navigation images taken with a smartphone camera. Dr. John-Ross Rizzo, head of the research team, said “Most GPS-enabled navigation apps address ‘first’ and ‘last’ miles only, so they fall short of meeting the needs of blind or low-vision commuters. Commute Booster is meant to fill that gap.” Real-world beta testing of the app will be the next step. NYU Tandon School of Engineering; IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine
Intravitreal injection for geographic atrophy is approved in the US. On August 4, 2023, the US Food and Drug Administration approved IZERVAY (avacincaptad pegol intravitreal solution) for the treatment of geographic atrophy (GA) secondary to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the second drug to be approved for this condition. In the GATHER-1 and -2 trials, significant reductions in GA were seen with IZERVAY 2 mg compared with sham solution, with a 35% reduction in disease progression seen at 6 months. IZERVAY is expected to be available to prescribers later in August 2023. Ophthalmology Times
Higher dietary fat intake may increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy. The potential association between fatty acid intake and diabetic retinopathy (DR) was evaluated in 647 participants with type 2 diabetes enrolled in the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study for the Next Generation (JPHC-NEXT) Eye Study. One hundred participants had DR. After adjusting for age, sex, and other factors, having DR was associated with the quartiles with the highest total fat and saturated fatty acid intake, even in those with well-controlled diabetes. The authors recommend conducting prospective longitudinal studies to confirm these findings. Scientific Reports
For glaucoma specialists, telemedicine has its benefits and disadvantages, according to findings from a cross-sectional study based on interviews with 20 glaucoma specialists (all ophthalmologists) conducted between June and December 2021. During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine was used for 29.1% of all patient interactions, a rate that dropped to 3.1% in the period immediately afterward. The need for patient and staff safety was the main factor driving the initial spike in telemedicine visits. While many clinicians found that they were still able to provide high-quality glaucoma care with telemedicine, they noted many limitations, including difficulties in collecting IOP measurements and examining the optic nerve and retina. Clinical Ophthalmology
Postsurgical sustained-release corticosteroids may not be affordable under Medicare. Based on Medicare fee-for-service claims for all cataract surgeries performed between March 2019 and December 2021, the total costs to Medicare of the 2 sustained-release corticosteroids approved in the US for postsurgical inflammation—dexamethasone intraocular suspension and ophthalmic insert—were $57.9 million. The mean allowed drug charges for the sustained-release corticosteroids ranged from $531.47 to $538.49, which are substantially higher than the $139.80 mean charge for corticosteroid eye drops. The higher costs could potentially lead to reduced patient access to sustained-release corticosteroids. JAMA Ophthalmology