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

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    Blurry baby vision bolsters brain development, according to a new PNAS study. Researchers used a deep neural network model to show that blurred images expanded receptive fields, which are important for image recognition. Their model worked best when trained first with blurry facial images followed by high resolution ones—mimicking early infant vision—compared with training that began with or only included high-resolution images. “The findings inform our understanding of how normal vision develops, which is important for addressing disorders that affect the brain’s visual processing system,” said Cheri Wiggs, PhD, the NEI’s program director for low vision and blindness rehabilitation. NEI, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Researchers from Singapore unveiled a novel eyepatch with dissolvable needles for delivering drugs to the eye. After it is applied to the cornea, the base of the device is removed, leaving behind microneedles that slowly melt and release drugs over time. According to the team, this method will be more efficacious than topical drops and safer than intravitreal injections. Testing in animal models is currently underway. Nature Communications

    A needleless glaucoma treatment may soon be a reality. “Wouldn’t an eye drop be so much better? Who likes getting poked into the eye?” asked lead investigator Suchismitra Acharya, PhD. She and her team are developing a nitric oxide-antioxidant hybrid molecule that simultaneously reduces IOP and prevents retinal ganglion cell death. Her work is currently supported by a BrightFocus Foundation research grant. University of North Texas Health Science Center

    The outermost retina can now be visualized with unparalleled detail. The new imaging method combines indocyanine green angiography with adaptive optics to overcome light distortions, enabling researchers to image retinal photoreceptors, retinal pigment epithelial cells and choriocapillaris in a living eye for the first time. “Revealing which tissue layers are affected in different stages of diseases – neurons, epithelial cells, or blood vessels – is a critical first step for developing and evaluating targeted treatments for disease,” said lead author Johnny Tam, PhD. NEI, Communications Biology

    Eyegate announced positive topline results from 2 separate trials evaluating their ocular bandage gel for healing corneal defects. The polymer-based gel outperformed the current standard of care—bandage contact lens plus artificial tears—in people with epithelial defects after PRK. A second trial showed the gel was better than artificial tears in improving signs and symptoms of patients with punctate epitheliopathies due to pathologies such as dry eye. EyeGate Pharma