• By Anni Griswold
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    A low-power ultrafast laser could permanently correct vision without damaging corneal tissue, says Columbia University engineer Sinisa Vukelic, PhD. In a recent paper in Nature Photonics, Vukelic used a femtosecond oscillator to induce a low-density plasma and fine-tune the cornea’s curvature (top panel: before correction; bottom panel: after correction; courtesy of Sinisa Vukelic/Columbia Engineering). The method could someday provide a less-invasive alternative to corneal refractive surgery for patients with myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism. Columbia University

    Alcon has teamed up with tennis champion Venus Williams to launch its newest lubricant eye drop: Systane Complete. Williams, who has dry eye disease, joins Alcon's other celebrity backer: mountain climber Lisa Thompson, who relied on Systane Ultra to prevent dry eye while scaling the world’s second-highest peak, K2. The athletes will share their experiences with the drops on Alcon’s website and in an upcoming television commercial. Alcon

    Clearside Biomedical has released promising results from their phase 2 trial of suprachoroidal triamcinolone acetonide (CLS-TA) with aflibercept. Earlier this year, the company announced that their proprietary steroid formulation improved vision in patients with macular edema associated with noninfectious uveitis. Now, they say combining CLS-TA with aflibercept could achieve similar results as aflibercept alone in patients with diabetic macular edema, but with a much-reduced treatment frequency. Clearside Biomedical

    Retinal cell biologist Kathryn Bollinger is on a mission to protect retinal ganglion cells, and says she suspects she’s found just the molecule to help. The National Eye Institute recently awarded Bollinger $1.5 million to investigate whether innate neuron protector sigma 1 receptor, or S1R, can safeguard neurons from the nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species released during glaucoma progression. Several FDA-approved drugs—such as the pain reliever pentazocine and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors—act on S1R, so the transition from bench to bedside could potentially be swift. Jagwire News

    BioTime has received a $1.9 million grant from the Israel Innovation Authority for the continued development of OpRegen for patients with late-stage dry AMD. The California-based biotech firm is in the midst of phase 1/2a clinical trials for OpRegen, a single subretinal injection of retinal pigment epithelial cells. The treatment has been fast-tracked by the FDA. BioTime



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