• By Keng Jin Lee and Kanaga Rajan
    Cataract/Anterior Segment, Cornea/External Disease, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Brolucizumab may soon be available in Europe, following an endorsement from the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use. In clinical trials, the latest VEGF inhibitor outperformed aflibercept in fluid resolution while offering similar vision gains on a 3-month dosing regimen. The FDA gave its stamp of approval in October 2019. Novartis

    A new blepharitis drug met its primary endpoint in phase 2 trials, according to an announcement by Nicox. Their novel ophthalmic suspension of fluticasone propionate nanocrystals, NCX 4251, delivered promising safety and tolerability while reducing eyelid redness, debris and discomfort with a 14-day, twice-daily dosing regimen. As an added bonus, trial participants also showed improvements in signs and symptoms of dry eye disease. The Paris-based company expects the drug to advance to a larger phase 2b trial early this year. Nicox

    A novel stem cell-based therapy for geographic atrophy will soon head to clinical trials, the NEI announced. This will be the first trial to utilize patient-specific, blood-derived induced pluripotent stem cells, coaxed to grow into retinal pigment epithelial cells. One-cell thick sheets that mimic the eye’s natural structure will be implanted in 12 patients with advanced-stage geographic atrophy. Investigators plan to follow them for at least 1 year to measure safety. NEI

    Cornell veterinarians restored vision to a mother-daughter reindeer duo—just in time for the holidays. The mother, Donder, developed a cataract after snagging her eyelid on a fence, while her daughter Dondersven developed the condition in both eyes soon after birth. Veterinary ophthalmologist Eric Ledbetter, DVM, has performed cataract surgery in a host of other animals. “But this is my first reindeer,” he said. His biggest challenge? Safely positioning the anesthetized animals without getting hurt by their antlers—a process that took nearly as much time as the surgery itself. Both reindeer recovered nicely and in time to hit their regular Northeast holiday event circuit. Cornell University

    A new smartphone app may aid student midwives in detecting rare eye conditions in newborns. The Eye Screen app provides students with several examples of rare disorders, with accurate clinical photographs, and includes assessments to test their skills. “While this is not a tool for diagnosis, Eye Screen allows student midwives to become familiar with a variety of eye conditions that they may not come across while on clinical placement,” explained Lindsey Rose, a senior lecturer in midwifery at Anglia Ruskin University who developed the app. Anglia Ruskin University