• By Anni Delfaro and Kanaga Rajan
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus, Retina/Vitreous, Uveitis

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    More chocolate is needed to settle the debate on whether it offers visual benefits. Last year, a 30-person trial found a small but significant boost in visual acuity and contrast sensitivity after dark chocolate consumption. But a new group tried — and failed — to reproduce those findings. “As this small study does not rule out the possibility of benefits, further trials with larger sample sizes would be needed to rule in or out possible long-term benefits,” the authors wrote. Recruitment should be no problem. JAMA Ophthalmology

    Novartis is partnering with Microsoft to “go big on data and digital,” the company announced this week. The alliance aims to use artificial intelligence to develop smarter, more targeted medications for macular degeneration and other conditions. “Pairing our deep knowledge of human biology and medicine with Microsoft’s leading expertise in AI could transform the way we discover and develop medicines for the world,” said Novartis’ CEO, Vas Narasimhan, MD. Novartis

    A contact lens that diffuses dexamethasone into the eye is approaching human trials. The lenses can safely treat rabbit models of uveitis or macular edema for 1 week, researchers reported in Biomaterials. Medications were delivered to the retina at concentrations 200 times that of hourly drops, making it a promising alternative to existing therapies. Massachusetts Eye and Ear 

    Game lovers rejoice! UNO Braille, an accessible version of the world’s #1 card game, is now available. The cards use braille to indicate color and number or action. Players can download the manual in braille and access voice-enabled instructions via Amazon Alexa or Google Home. “The fact that a blind person is now able to play a classic game of UNO straight out of the box with both blind and sighted friends or family members is a truly meaningful moment for our community,” said Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind. Mattel

    Nicox’s NCX470 outperformed latanoprost in a phase 2 trial of people with open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension. The nitric oxide-donating bimatoprost analog improved IOP by about 1.4 mm Hg more than latanoprost. Nicox plans to meet with the FDA early next year to finalize plans for a phase 3 trial. “If these results are confirmed, NCX 470 could potentially become the first non-combination product with statistical superiority to a prostaglandin analog,” said Michele Garufi, the company’s chairman and CEO. Nicox

     

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    Don’t miss last week’s roundup: AI-based care, eye education, Stargardt star