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  • Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Access to ophthalmic care services for North American Natives lags behind that for Whites. Based on 2017 Medicare Vision and Eye Health Surveillance System (VEHSS) data around the use of ophthalmic services, North American Native populations (American Indian, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, and Native Alaskan) had lower claims rates than White populations for 12 of the 17 ophthalmic conditions listed in the VEHSS database, including annual eye examinations, vision screening, vision correction, and diagnosic eye tests. North American Native populations are more likely to live in rural areas that have fewer medical services, including ophthalmology providers and clinics, and these findings underscore “critical needs for policy changes to further address the disparities in eye care among North American Native individuals compared with non-Hispanic White individuals,” as noted by lead investigator Dr. Maria Woodward. JAMA Ophthalmology

    Neovascular AMD may be another headache for migraine sufferers. A review of Taiwanese national health insurance data looked at records from 101,665 patients to evaluate potential associations between migraine and neovascular AMD (nAMD). After adjusting for age, sex, prior coronary disease, and other factors, the risk of having nAMD was 20% greater in patients who had a prior migraine diagnosis than in a control group of patients without migraine (odds ratio 1.20). While this study was confined to one country with a homogenous ethnic population and additional studies may be needed, the investigators concluded that physicians should be aware of the potential for nAMD among patients with migraine, and potentially refer them to ophthalmologists for periodic fundus examinations. Science Reports

    Are thinner retinal nerve fiber and ganglion cell layers warning signs of cognitive decline? The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study has followed a representative cohort of 1037 people born in New Zealand between April 1972 and March 1973. With the cohort population now in middle age, investigators have examined potential links between retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and ganglion cell layer (GCL) thickness and both current cognitive performance and long-term cognitive deterioration (childhood to adulthood). Lower IQ scores at age 45 years and lower childhood IQ scores were linked to thinner mean RNFL and GCL thickness. While there was no association between decline in cognitive performance over time and RNFL/GCL measurements, thinner RNFL was associated with decline in processing speed, and thus may serve as a biomarker for early-stage cognitive issues. JAMA Ophthalmology