• By Neasa McGarrigle and Kanaga Rajan
    Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Check out a “near perfect” case of crystalline lens feathering featured in the June issue of Ophthalmology. The 29-year-old patient presented 1 day after vitrectomy and air-fluid exchange. The authors note that current atlases do not have images of such a perfect specimen with “snowflake” appearance. Ophthalmology

    Ophthalmology is among the top 3 specialties at highest risk for contracting COVID-19, according to a new medRxiv preprint. The study surveyed 91 New York residency program directors representing 24 specialties and 2,306 residents; approximately 45% of programs had at least 1 resident who tested positive between March 2 and April 12. Lead investigator Royce Chen, MD, ophthalmology residency program director at Columbia University, was surprised to see ophthalmology alongside anesthesiology and emergency medicine, the other specialties at the top of the list. “People think of [ophthalmology] as outpatient, low-acuity, but the patient and doctor are less than 2 feet apart," he told Medscape. "And neither patients nor physicians were wearing masks at the beginning of March." medRxiv, Medscape

    ReGenTree announced positive data from their novel eye drop for neurotrophic keratopathy. Of 18 patients enrolled in the phase 3 trial, 6 in the RGN-259 treatment group and 1 in the placebo group achieved complete corneal healing in 4 weeks. The thymosin beta 4 preservative-free drops were well tolerated with no safety issues. Despite needing to cut the study short—in part due to slow patient enrollment—the company remains optimistic about the results and has already met with the FDA to discuss future development directions. PR Newswire

    Japanese scientists have developed a novel method to isolate human corneal cells, which could speed the production of cell sheets for therapeutic purposes. After generating eye cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells and culturing them on specific laminin proteins, they coated specific cell-surface proteins with magnetic nanoparticles. This enabled them to use magnetic-activated cell sorting to separate out corneal epithelial cells from neuronal, retinal and other cell types. The result? Highly purified corneal epithelial cell sheets that, with further research, could possibly be used for corneal therapy someday. Osaka University

    Promising findings emerged from a phase 2 trial testing emixustat in 23 patients with macular atrophy secondary to Stargardt disease. A 10-mg dose was found to be optimal, resulting in near-complete suppression of the rod b-wave recovery rate post-photobleaching—an indirect measure of RPE65 inhibition. Based on these findings, researchers have nailed down the dose selection for an ongoing larger 24-month, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial. Healio

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    Don’t miss last week’s roundup: AbbVie acquisition, blind mice, plastic-free drops