• By Stephanie Leveene, ELS
    Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Cataract extractions found to be linked to lower risk of dementia. Data were reviewed from the ongoing Adult Changes in Thought study, a long-term dementia study following older adults recruited from Kaiser Permanente Washington. In the 3038 participants diagnosed with a cataract before dementia onset or study end, there was a significant association between cataract surgery and lower risk for dementia development. This association was strongest in the 5-year period immediately following surgery, but the effect remained beyond that timeframe. According to lead investigator Dr. Cecilia Lee, "These results have implications for the care of older persons who are uniquely at higher risk for both impaired vision due to cataract and impaired cognition due to neurodegeneration observed in age-related dementia." JAMA Internal Medicine

    Racial and ethnic minority patients with eye disease perceive imbalance in clinician respect. As part of the US National Health Institute Survey, 5343 patients with eye disease were asked about their experiences with health care providers, including whether they felt respected and whether they had been asked for their opinions/beliefs about their treatment options. Compared with non-Hispanic White patients, patients from racial and ethnic minority groups were 23% less likely to say that they were treated with respect, and also less likely to report always being asked about their opinions/beliefs. The perception of respect increased when patients were asked about opinions/belief, indicating a link between the two and providing a pathway for improving racial disparities in patient outcomes. JAMA Ophthalmology

    Disease-in-a-dish” model developed for studying oculocutaneous albinism. Researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI) have published a paper describing their in vitro model, using induced pluripotent stem cells, that can be used to study abnormalities in melanosome formation and melanin accumulation in patients with oculocutaneous albinism. “This ‘disease-in-a-dish’ system will help us understand how the absence of pigment in albinism leads to abnormal development of the retina, optic nerve fibers, and other eye structures crucial for central vision,” said lead investigator Dr. Aman George of NEI’s Ophthalmic Genetics & Visual Function Branch. Stem Cell Reports, Science Daily

    Patients at a UK eye hospital use app to test their vision at home. More than 400 patients at Moorfields Eye Hospital have been using the Home Vision Monitor smartphone app since February 2021 to self-test their vision. In a survey filled out by 117 of these patients, high levels of satisfaction with the app were noted, with 92% giving a rating of 3 or higher (score range, 1 = least satisfied to 5 = most satisfied); 89% would recommend the app to others. However, barriers to use and compliance, such as age, education, and income level, will need to be taken into account by institutions wanting to implement similar programs. Moorfields Eye Hospital, JAMA Ophthalmology

    Surgical face masks worn for more than 4 hours during intravitreal injections have increased bacterial loads, according to investigators at University Hospital Virgen de la Victoria in Málaga, Spain. The study enrolled 44 patients who were wearing surgical face masks specifically due to the COVID-19 pandemic; those wearing other face coverings were excluded. The bacterial load in the periocular area was significantly higher in patients wearing masks for >4 hours compared with patients wearing masks for <4 hours (48.8 vs. 13.2 CFU/µL, respectively). However, bacterial loads were reduced when povidine-iodine was applied to the mask surface, and therefore should be considered in the asepsis protocol when performing intravitreal injections during the current pandemic. Retina