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

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    New experimental eye drops show potential for preventing vision loss after retinal vein occlusion (RVO), according to findings published in Nature Communications. Using the highly selective caspase-9 inhibitor, scientists were able to elicit improvements in retinal function and blood flow in an RVO mouse model in addition to decreasing swelling and neuronal damage. Up next, researchers are prepping to move into a phase 1 clinical trial in humans and plan on studying caspase-9 inhibition in the context of other vascular injuries, such as diabetic macular edema and stroke. Columbia University Irving Medical Center

    Surgeons may one day be able to swap out damaged photoreceptors using a liquid retina prosthesis. Developed by Italian scientists, the biomimetic liquid contains polymeric 350-nm nanoparticles that can be activated by natural light. In rat models of retinal dystrophy, injecting the substance under the retina led to activation of spared retinal neurons. The authors claim this minimally invasive method is faster than current approaches to restoring photoreceptor capacity and may preserve spatial resolution. Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

    The FDA has declined to approve Allergan’s new wet AMD drug abicipar pegol, citing an unfavorable benefit-risk ratio. The rate of intraocular inflammation was apparently too high for the agency’s liking, affecting approximately 15% of patients after treatment. Allergan said they were committed to working with the FDA to determine the next steps for the VEGF-A inhibitor, which has shown promise for 12-week dosing intervals. AbbVie

    Novartis appears to have given up on lifitegrast’s (Xiidra) approval in Europe, according to a report in Reuters. The European Medicines Agency noted on its website that the drug’s efficacy was “not considered clinically significant,” and expressed concern over lack of long-term data. The Swiss-based company did not disclose future plans for their dry eye drug, which was acquired from Takeda in 2019. Reuters

    The world’s biggest sharks have tiny teeth on their eyes. Yes, you read right. Teeth. In a new study published in PLOS One, researchers report finding more than 3,000 “dermal denticles” clustered around the iris of whale sharks. These and other shark species have been known to have dermal denticles—tiny V-shaped scales that are structurally minute teeth—covering their bodies to help reduce drag and provide a layer of protection. But why the need for eyeball teeth? Scientists suspect the structures act as a protective armor since these creatures lack eyelids. This discovery also hints that whale sharks may depend on their eyes for survival more than previously thought. Newsweek


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    Don’t miss last week’s roundup: COVID complication, hummingbird hues, pigmentosa puzzle