• By Anni Delfaro
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Neuro-Ophthalmology/Orbit, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Seasonal allergies … or a brain tumor? A 30-year-old woman with red, itchy eyes
    dropped by one of London’s Vision Express stores while waiting for her sister to finish a job interview. A quick exam revealed that what she assumed was pollen irritation masked optic nerve damage in her left eye. Hours later, a CT scan detected a small colloid cyst. “I only went [to the clinic] as my sister was getting bored of me banging on about it,” she told a British news agency. “I just want to warn people about ignoring what can be quite serious symptoms." HuffPost

    Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Wills Eye Institute and Wilmer Eye Institute topped this year’s Best Hospitals for Ophthalmology survey by U.S. News & World Report. This is the 14th year in a row that Bascom Palmer has placed first in the national ranking. Their secret? Drawing inspiration from patients, says Eduardo C. Alfonso, MD, chairman at Bascom Palmer. “Our patients inspire Bascom Palmer’s superb team of 1,200 doctors, scientists, nurses, ophthalmic technicians and support staff to excel in patient care, vision research, education and surgical innovation.” U Miami Health System

    Pixium’s bionic vision system—Prima—has partially restored sight to all 5 patients with late-stage AMD in a feasibility study in France. The 2-mm subretinal implant wirelessly connects to a pocket-sized computer, which performs virtual retinal processing and sends information to the patient via augmented reality glasses. None of the patients had central vision at the start of the trial, but most could identify letters within 12 months of receiving the implant. The Engineer

    An oral drug for AMD boosts vision in both treatment-naïve and treatment-refractory patients, according to findings from a pair of phase 2 trials. A 6-week regimen of Alkahest’s AKST4290 safely improved BCVA in untreated and anti-VEGF refractory eyes, meeting both trials’ primary endpoints. The drug is designed to block an inflammatory molecule called eotaxin, which rises with age. If approved, it could offer patients an alternative to intravitreal injections of anti-VEGF drugs. Alkahest

    From bionic vision to oral agents, treatment options for AMD are expanding. But a strategy shift could accelerate the new drug pipeline for this condition, according to recommendations by a National Advisory Eye Council-appointed working group. A large-scale, collaborative, systems biology approach—drawing big data from clinical registries and omics studies—could drive development of better disease models and produce innovative treatments for patients with AMD. NEI