• By Anni Griswold
    Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Neuro-Ophthalmology/Orbit, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    The Conversation just posted a fascinating piece about the “unique menagerie of microbes” in the human eye. In it, immunologist and ophthalmology professor Tony Leger gives a rundown of microbes’ controversial role in ocular health and the implications of antibiotics and other drugs. Leger’s lab at the University of Pittsburgh is genetically engineering eye microbes to deliver drugs to the surface of the eye, with the eventual goal of preventing infections and treating conditions such as dry eye disease. The Conversation

    Move over, Argus II – Second Sight’s new visual prosthesis, Orion, may confer visual gains on par with those of the classical bionic eye. Orion converts images captured by a miniature video camera mounted on glasses into a series of small electrical pulses transmitted wirelessly to electrodes implanted on the visual cortex. The system is designed for people with glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, optic nerve injury or disease or eye injury. “When compared with similar Argus II feasibility study results at the 12-month mark, the Orion study participants are doing as well as or better,” said Will McGuire, president and chief executive officer of Second Sight. SecondSight

    A Brazilian startup created a portable device for remote fundus imaging, and it’s a fraction of the cost of a conventional ophthalmoscope. The Eyer—an optical device (shown above) that interfaces with a smartphone camera to light up and image the retina—costs approximately $5,000, smartphone included. By contrast, a conventional ophthalmoscope must be connected to a computer and costs about $30,000. São Paulo-based Phelcom Technologies currently churns out 30 Eyer units a month for ophthalmologists who practice telemedicine; they aim to reach 100 units per month by the year’s end. EurekAlert!

    Botswana is “cataract blindness free,” according to this new report. Africa has only 1 ophthalmologist per million people, so patients often wait 3 or more years for a 20-minute cataract surgery. But Botswana’s backlog of 6,000 patients with cataract blindness has been completely abolished, thanks to a partnership between Combat Blindness International, Cambridge Global Health Partners, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, software developer PEEK Vision and the Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness. The team is currently working on other projects in India, Paraguay, Botswana, Gambia and the US. International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness

    Alembic’s generic alternative to Bausch & Lomb’s Bromday eyedrop just received FDA approval. Bromfenac ophthalmic solution 0.09% is a topical NSAID used to allay inflammation and pain after cataract surgery. Alembic’s version is therapeutically equivalent to Bromday, the company reported, and has an estimated market size of US $6 million. Alembic Pharmaceuticals Limited