• Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Glaucoma

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    How successful are virtual triage assessments in catching issues early? A large ophthalmology center in Canada put this question to the test during the initial COVID-19 pandemic lockdown (March–June 2020). A virtual eye assessment triage system was implemented: patients first submitted an online form, were then given an e-mail or phone consult by a consulting ophthalmologist, and finally were managed over the phone or referred for in-person visits. Of the 1535 virtual assessments, 77% were for cornea- or retina-related issues. Only 4% of assessments resulted in a visit to the emergency department (ED), but in a follow-up patient satisfaction survey, 38% of respondents said they would have visited the ED if the online portal had not existed. The authors note that “A virtual care model has the potential to mitigate COVID-19 exposure risk. . . by reducing initial in-person visits with good safety and patient satisfaction. However, caution must be exercised to not miss vision-threatening conditions, particularly those of the retinal nature.” Clinical Ophthalmology

    Statins are found to be ineffective in protecting against glaucoma-related markers. Investigators reviewed data from the UK Biobank, a database of more than 500,000 participants aged 40–69 years, to analyze whether statin use has an effect on certain glaucoma-related traits, including IOP, macular retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, and macular ganglion cell inner plexiform layer thickness. Most patients taking statins were prescribed atorvastatin or simvastatin. Multiple multivariate-adjusted models found that statin use was not linked to significant improvements in the identified glaucoma-related traits. The authors therefore conclude that statins do not need to be included as part of a protective glaucoma strategy. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science

    Having impaired vision increases your risk of cognitive decline. A systematic review and meta-analysis looked at possible associations between visual impairment (VI) and cognitive outcomes (dementia and cognitive impairment). Sixteen cross-sectional and longitudinal studies published before April 2020 were included. Across the studies, results showed an increased risk of cognitive outcomes in patients with VI (odds ratio 1.61). This association was seen regardless of the type of study or whether the VI measures were subjective or objective. Additional research is needed to determine whether VI treatments, such as cataract surgery, reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Aging & Mental Health