• By Kanaga Rajan, Anni Griswold
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Refractive Mgmt/Intervention, Retina/Vitreous, Uveitis

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Corneal melting, an incurable eye disease, may have finally met its match. A new hydrogel contact lens removes excess zinc ions from the cornea, inhibiting the metalloproteinases that contribute to corneal blindness. A patent is pending on the new hydrogel. University of New Hampshire

    Zeiss is expanding its Cirrus HD-OCT platform to include epithelial thickness mapping. The FDA recently approved the move, which will allow physicians to perform a quick, 1-second touchless exam to map epithelial thickness prior to refractive surgery. “With Cirrus’ epithelial thickness mapping, I can now better identify eligible patients for refractive surgery, and I can also monitor the cornea’s post-surgical healing response,” said refractive specialist, John Doane, MD. Zeiss

    A pharmacology, bioengineering and medical student walk into a health innovation challenge … and walk out with the $15,000 grand prize. The Nanodropper, developed by University of Washington graduate students and alumni, won the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge earlier this month. The device can be added onto any eyedropper bottle and will dispense smaller, yet similarly effective, drops of medication than industry-manufactured droppers. Nanodropper’s co-founder, Allisa Song, told GeekWire, “The problem is that the companies have no incentive to reduce the size of their drops, because then they would be selling less medication.” The device has already received FDA approval. University of Washington, GeekWire

    The NIH has selected 8 early-career researchers to join the Lasker Clinical Research Scholars program. Two of the scholars—Catherine Cukras, MD, PhD and Nida Sen, MD—are working with the National Eye Institute on projects related to uveitis and retinal degeneration. Lasker Scholars carry out independent clinical and translational research for 5 to 7 years at the NIH and may receive additional support after their term. Only 15 Lasker Scholars have been selected since 2012. NIH