• By Anni Griswold and Kanaga Rajan
    Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    A 6-year-old girl puzzled doctors when her school screening revealed a needle-shaped lesion in one eye—but no history of trauma. The lesion, a pseudomelanoma, was surrounded by pigment dust and a localized cataract. Her doctors’ best guess is that the lesion came from an amniocentesis performed at 20 weeks’ gestation. Apparently, the procedure was performed without ultrasound because the machine had been broken that day. Ophthalmology

    Johnson & Johnson Vision’s antihistamine-releasing contact lens performed well in a phase 3 trial, the company reported. Two placebo-controlled studies in Cornea suggest the lenses help correct vision and prevent allergic itch. Researchers noted a “clinically and statistically significant reduction” in ocular itching within 15 minutes after lens insertion. This relief lasted for throughout the 12-hour evaluation period. Johnson & Johnson

    A London crowd recently gathered to watch the demo of a retinal scanner that diagnoses eye disease in real time.  
    The scans are analyzed by DeepMind’s algorithms, which return a detailed diagnosis and an “urgency score” within 30 seconds. The prototype detects diseases—including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and AMD—as accurately as ophthalmic specialists, the company reported in Nature Medicine last August. The device has not yet been considered for regulatory approval. Technology Review

    A manufacturing tweak improved the safety profile of a new anti-VEGF agent, Allergan announced in a press release. Intraocular inflammation affected about half as many patients studied after the adjustment than in previous phase 3 trials. “Abicipar could potentially be the first anti-VEGF therapy that is administered every 12 weeks with demonstrated maintenance of visual acuity for a large number of patients with nAMD," said Peter Kaiser, MD, an ophthalmologist at the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute. Allergan plans to submit a biologics license application to the FDA this spring. Allergan

    Southeast Asian tarsiers are small in stature but have enormous—almost cartoonish—eyes. “You have to understand optical principles to understand why natural selection would favor such enormous eyes in such a tiny predator,” explained anthropologist Nathaniel Dominy. His curiosity led him and Dartmouth College senior Samuel Gochman to develop “tarsier goggles” that simulate the small primate’s vision. Wearers can alternate between human and tarsier vision in virtual environments such as the Borneo rainforest at night. They published their findings and released their VR build as free open-source software, hoping others will use it as an educational tool. Dartmouth