• By Kanaga Rajan and Keng Jin Lee
    Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Several ophthalmic drugs made their first appearance on the FDA’s list of drugs in shortage, according to a USA Today analysis. Two formulations of timolol maleate and the dry eye drug Lacrisert were among the 28 drugs added to the list from January through May. The scarcity appears unrelated to increased demand, however. Rather, available data from the FDA suggest that the capacity of manufacturer Bausch Health American was impacted due to COVID-19 pandemic. USA Today

    A Pittsburgh-based biotech company says their cell-free biologic drug shows potential for healing persistent corneal epithelial defects. Lead investigator Bennie Jeng, MD, who presented the data during at the virtual ARVO 2020 meeting, noted the phase 2 data was encouraging for lesions refractory to standard therapies. All 10 eyes showed smaller defect areas in response to a 4-drop per day regimen, with 3 showing complete healing by day 28. Noveome Biotherapeutics

    Researchers have gleaned new insight into ocular conditions that arise with Marfan syndrome, according to a new NEI press release. A new study shows mice that lack fibrillin-1 in the nonpigmented ciliary epithelium experience a 90% decrease in zonule strength and by 3 months of age, often display Marfan-like symptoms such as ectopia lentis. Fibrillin-1 disruption within the lens had no effect on zonules, however. Although researchers have long known fibrillin-1 is a key component for lens function, previous animal models failed to replicate the eye symptoms seen in humans, explained lead investigator, Steven Bassnett, PhD. “Our study is the first to pinpoint where in the eye fibrillin-1 is synthesized, opening the door to treatments aimed at repairing or regenerating zonule fibers.” NEI

    Could a vitamin A analog serve as a therapeutic strategy for early diabetic retinopathy? Findings published in The American Journal of Pathology report that a single intraperitoneal injection of chromophore 9-cis-retinal, a vitamin analog that can form visual pigment in the retina, significantly improved visual function in mice with type 1 diabetes. In addition, the drug led to decreased oxidative stress as well as reduced cell death and degeneration within the retina. Since there is no preventive treatment for diabetic retinal complications, the authors hope introducing a chromophore may lead to a potential new therapy. Elsevier

    Ocular Innovations wants to help eye care providers safely open their clinics during these trying times. For $59 per month, ophthalmologists can use a new SMS texting system called AutoLobby to manage patient staging in the parking lot, provide patients with short informative videos and send text alerts when it is time to enter the building. "As doors reopen to treat patients, we are doing everything possible to help practices manage the new workflows that now include the 'blacktop waiting room' required by State social distancing guidelines," said Michael Boerner, founder and CEO of Ocular Innovations. “We are excited to help practices return to financial health and delivering great patient experiences." Ocular Innovations


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