Author Interviews, Macular Degeneration, Ophthalmology / 08.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50631" align="alignleft" width="165"]Matthew Campbell, PhD Smurfit Institute of Genetics Trinity College Dublin Dublin Dr. Campbell[/caption] Matthew Campbell, PhD Smurfit Institute of Genetics Trinity College Dublin Dublin MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of central retinal blindness in the world. However the underlying causes and initiating factors for disease progression are still not clear. It is classically a disease of the outer retina, where cells called retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells degenerate. However, our findings suggest that some of the early initiating events that promote AMD progression are actually coming from the inner retina and more specifically the microvasculature of the inner retina. We discovered that a gene called claudin-5 appears to be regulated by a circadian rhythm that in turn can regulate what gets into and out of the retina on a daily basis. Dysregulating the levels of this component made the inner retinal blood vessels marginally leaky and promoted a pathology that was AMD-like in animal models.  We also showed that the blood vessels of the retina appear to be highly dynamic in human subjects and can appear leakier at different times of the day, likely a mechanism that allows for clearance and replenishment of material into and out of the retina.  It is this process we believe breaks down in early AMD. 
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Ophthalmology / 01.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50514" align="alignleft" width="163"] Dr. Hwang[/caption] Daejoon Alex Hwang, PhD Instructor in Ophthalmology Investigator, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Yellow night driving glasses are sold with promises to reduce headlight glare from oncoming traffic and help aging individuals see better at night. Despite a 1997 ruling by the Federal Trade Commission against one company’s claims, the products still remain popular online. We tested three commercially available yellow lens night driving glasses and compare their effectiveness with clear lens glasses on our novel headlight glare simulator in the driving simulator.
Author Interviews, Geriatrics, JAMA, Ophthalmology, University of Michigan / 21.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49831" align="alignleft" width="144"]Joshua R. Ehrlich, MD, MPH Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Kellogg Eye Center Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences University of Michigan Dr. Ehrlich[/caption] Joshua R. Ehrlich, MD, MPH Assistant Professor, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Kellogg Eye Center Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences University of Michigan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: This study came out of data collected as part of the National Poll on Healthy Aging (NPHA). The NPHA is funded by AARP and the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan to inform the public, healthcare providers, and policymakers on a variety issues related to health. The vision survey, conducted in March 2018, was just one of many NPHA surveys. Due to aging of the population, the number of older U.S. adults with blindness and vision impairment is expected to double over the next 30 years. Thus, this study was designed to provide crucial data  on contemporary data on patterns of eye care utilization in older adults.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Ophthalmology, Regeneron / 17.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38910" align="alignleft" width="300"]Blausen.com staff (2014). "Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014". WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. Illustration depicting diabetic retinopathy Illustration depicting diabetic retinopathy[/caption] Robert L. Vitti, MD, MBA Vice President and Head, Ophthalmology Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Dr. Vitti discusses the recent announcement that the FDA has approved EYLEA to treat all stages of diabetic retinopathy. MedicalResearch.com: Can you provide additional background on this approval? Would you briefly explain diabetic retinopathy and it's impact on patients? Response: The FDA has approved EYLEA (aflibercept) Injection to treat all stages of diabetic retinopathy (DR). DR is the leading cause of blindness among working-aged American adults. Approximately 8 million people live with DR, a complication of diabetes characterized by damage to the blood vessels in the retina (per 2010 data). The disease generally starts as non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) and often has no warning signs or symptoms. Over time, NPDR often progresses to proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), a stage in which abnormal blood vessels grow on the surface of the retina and into the vitreous cavity, potentially causing severe vision loss.
Author Interviews / 26.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "IMG_9416" by ianpatterson99 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0Dr. Yi Liu Department of ophthalmology, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Beijing, P.R.China  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Though rare, sports-related ocular traumas may result in devastating and disabling consequences. Badminton is popular in Southeast Asia, such as in Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, and China. It is in the leading cause list of sport-related ocular injury. Badminton related ocular injuries were also occurred and reported in western countries such as Canada, Australia. The popularity of badminton is partially because it is considered relatively safe, as it does not involve physical contact. The growing popularity of badminton has led to an increased incidence of physical and ocular injuries. Although the latter are uncommon, they can lead to significant ocular morbidity and some patients suffer a permanent decrease in vision, and even blindness. We believe that the awareness of badminton-related ocular injuries is of great importance. The main purpose of this study was to summarize the clinical sports-related features of 85 patients with badminton related ocular injuries and made preventive recommendations to the general population from ocular injuries in badminton playing. 
Author Interviews, Inflammation, Ophthalmology, PNAS / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48818" align="alignleft" width="133"]Kip Connor, Ph.D.Harvard Medical SchoolAssociate Professor of Ophthalmology Department of OphthalmologyMassachusetts Eye and EarMGH ECOR Ophthalmology RepresentativeAssociate Scientist Dr. Connor[/caption] Kip Connor, Ph.D. Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Department of Ophthalmology Massachusetts Eye and Ear MGH ECOR Ophthalmology Representative Associate Scientist MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Classically, the retina and the central nervous system (CNS) have long been considered immunoprivileged sites within the body. This is not to say that these sites lack immunity; rather, they are capable of exhibiting a contained yet modifiable form of immunological response. Indeed, an intricate immune surveillance system exists within the retina that can interact with the retinal cellular milieu both during development and in response to injury or disease. While activation of this surveillance system can help protect and repair the delicate neural tissue of the retina in certain disease states, over-activation of this system can exacerbate disease pathology, thereby worsening vision loss. Microglia are the resident immune cells of the central nervous system, including the retina, and are thought to function acutely in the homeostatic maintenance of the neuro-retinal microenvironment.  However in chronic conditions, like autoimmune uveitis, we hypothesized that microglia become neurodegenerative. In our current study we show for the first time a role for microglia in directing the initiation of this autoimmune disease by orchestrating the inflammatory response within the retina through the retinal vessels.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Primary Care / 01.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47260" align="alignleft" width="106"]Diane M. Gibson, Ph.D. Executive Director – New York Federal Statistical Research Data Center, Baruch RDC Associate Professor – Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College - CUNY Dr. Gibson[/caption] Diane M. Gibson, Ph.D. Executive Director – New York Federal Statistical Research Data Center, Baruch RDC Associate Professor – Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College - CUNY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prior studies have found that screening for diabetic retinopathy in primary care settings using telemedicine increased screening rates among individuals with diabetes and among subgroups of individuals with diabetes who are at high risk of missing recommended eye exams.  In a previous paper I looked at how often U.S. adults with diabetes visited primary care and eye care providers for recommended diabetes preventive care services using a sample from the 2007-2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey.  I found that while visits to eye care providers were often skipped, most adults with diabetes did visit primary care physicians.  I argued that these findings suggest that screening for diabetic retinopathy in primary care settings using telemedicine has the potential to fulfill unmet needs and reach most U.S. adults with diabetes. My brief report in JAMA Ophthalmology examines patterns of eye examination receipt and visits to primary care physicians among U.S. adults with diabetes using a sample from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey.  The report pays particular attention to individuals who are at high-risk of missing recommended eye exams. The study found that 87.7% of the sample of adults with diabetes visited a primary care physician in the past year and that, except for the uninsured subgroup, more than 78% of each high-risk subgroup visited a primary care provider in the past year. 
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics / 19.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "i have a lazy eye but it's a good thing" by jessica mullen is licensed under CC BY 2.0Eileen E. Birch, PhD Director, Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Vision Evaluation Center Retina Foundation of the Southwest Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology UT Southwestern Medical Center   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We previously reported that amblyopia, but not nonamblyopic strabismus or anisometropia, is associated with slower reading speed (Kelly et al  Journal of AAPOS 2015) and that this is related to abnormal eye movements and unstable fixation associated with amblyopia (Kelly et al 2017).  We have also shown that amblyopic children are slower at completing Scantron answer sheets (JAMA Ophthalmology 2018).  We thought that these difficulties experiences in school-age children with amblyopia might affect their self-perception.
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Ophthalmology / 07.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45754" align="alignleft" width="130"]Nathan Radcliffe, MD Senior Faculty, Ophthalmology Glaucoma and Cataract surgeon Mount Sinai Health System Dr. Radcliffe[/caption] Nathan Radcliffe, MD Senior Faculty, Ophthalmology Glaucoma and Cataract surgeon Mount Sinai Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and the mainstay of therapy is to lower the intraocular pressure (IOP) with topical eye drops. Up to 40% of patients may require more than one eye drop to control the disease, and yet taking more than one eye drop bottle can result in higher costs, more eye irritation, worse therapeutic compliance, and possibly worse outcomes, be sure to consult your eye surgeon before increasing any eye treatment to ensure it won't do any further damage to the eye. Compounded therapies (not FDA approved, but made at the physician’s request by a compounding pharmacy) can be created to contain multiple glaucoma therapies in one bottle. We sought to determine if a compounded solution containing three or four drops in one bottle could control glaucoma as well as three or four separate bottles (standard of care) in patients requiring three or four eye drop bottles to control glaucoma. We performed a multi-center, randomized, observer-masked, parallel-group study comparing a compounded therapy containing latanoprost 0.05%, dorzolamide hydrochloride 2%, timolol maleate 0.5%, brimonidine tartrate 0.2% with 0.01% BAK to standard three or four bottle regaimins. We measured IOP and corneal staining (a sign of preservative toxicity), as well as other safety measures at week one, month one, two and three.
Author Interviews, Columbia, Environmental Risks, Genetic Research, Ophthalmology, PLoS / 09.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrei V. Tkatchenko, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor Columbia University Medical Center Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute New York, NY 10032 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clear distance vision is rapidly becoming a rare privilege around the world, especially in Asia, due to increasing prevalence of myopia. Although much effort has been directed towards elucidating the mechanisms underlying refractive eye development and myopia, treatment options for myopia are mostly limited to optical correction, which does not prevent progression of myopia or pathological blinding complications often associated with the disease. During early childhood development, the axial length of the eye normally grows to match its optical power in a process called emmetropization, producing focused images on the retina. However, very often environmental and genetic factors lead to a mismatch between the optical power of the eye and its axial length resulting in the development of myopia if eyes grow too long for their optical power. Experimental studies in many animal species suggest that emmetropization is regulated by optical defocus. The eye can compensate for imposed negative and positive optical defocus by increasing or decreasing its growth rate, respectively. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying emmetropization are poorly understood which prevents development of anti-myopia drugs.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Toxin Research / 14.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Vision” by Victoria Ford is licensed under CC BY 2.0Adam J. Paulsen MS Associate Researcher EpiSense Research Program Department of Ophthalmology&  Visual Sciences University of Wisconsin - Madison MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Contrast Sensitivity is a measure of visual function that indicates how well a person is able to distinguish an object against its background.  Tests of CS determine how faint a visual signal can be identified.  CS can be diminished even in those with appropriately corrected visual acuity, has been shown to have effects on daily activities (including near vision tasks), risk of falls, and driving ability.  The causes of and risks for CS impairment are understudied.  Cadmium (Cd) and Lead (Pb) are known neurotoxins that have been shown to accumulate in the retina.  Both Cd and Pb have common sources of exposure in the general population.  Our studied aimed to investigate risk factors for incident CS impairment, including Cd and Pb exposure.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Primary Care, University of Michigan / 11.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44400" align="alignleft" width="142"]Joshua Ehrlich, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences University of Michigan Dr. Ehrlich[/caption] Joshua Ehrlich, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences University of Michigan  MedicalResearch.com: --Describe the “important role” that primary care providers play in promoting eye health? Response: Primary care is the entryway into the health system for many individuals. The poll suggests that when primary care providers discuss vision with their patients, they are more likely to get eye exams. It also suggests that primary care providers are having these conversations most often with those who have certain risk factors for eye disease, such as diabetes or a family history of vision problems, as well as those with fewer economic resources. Promoting these kinds of conversations could bolster this trend, increasing the number of diabetics and other high risk individuals who get appropriate eye care.
Author Interviews, Compliance, JAMA, Macular Degeneration, Ophthalmology / 25.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44092" align="alignleft" width="200"]Picture of the back of the eye showing intermediate age-related macular degeneration Picture of the back of the eye showing intermediate age-related macular degeneration: Wikipedia image[/caption] Jason Hsu, MD Retina Service, Wills Eye Hospital Associate Professor of Ophthalmology Thomas Jefferson University Mid Atlantic Retina Anthony Obeid MD MPH School of Public Health The University of Sydney · MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) is a vision-threatening disease that often afflicts elderly patients. The introduction of intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment drastically improved the prognosis of eyes with nAMD. Despite its efficacy, patients require consistent follow-up (sometimes as often as monthly), with ongoing injections to maintain the visual benefits of the drug. Unfortunately, few studies have reported the number of patients that do not follow-up with recommended guidelines. Moreover, there remains limited evidence on the risk factors associated with loss to follow-up. Our study, consisting of 9007 patients with a history of nAMD receiving treatment between 2012 and 2016, evaluated both these parameters. We defined loss to follow-up as having at least one injection without a subsequent follow-up visit within 12 months post-treatment. Using this definition, we found that over 20% of patients are lost to follow-up over the entire study period. We further identified key risk factors associated with loss to follow-up, which included patients of older age, race, patients residing in a region of a lower average adjusted gross income, patients living at greater distances from clinic, patients with active nAMD in only one eye, and patients with worse visual acuity.
Author Interviews, Education, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics / 20.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43313" align="alignleft" width="132"]Aparna Raghuram, OD, PhD Optometrist, Department of Ophthalmology Instructor, Harvard Medical School Dr. Raghuram[/caption] Aparna Raghuram, OD, PhD Optometrist, Department of Ophthalmology Instructor, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Developmental dyslexia is a specific learning disability of neurobiological origin whose core cognitive deficit is widely believed to involve language (phonological) processing. Although reading is also a visual task, the potential role of vision has been controversial, and experts have historically dismissed claims that visual processing might contribute meaningfully to the deficits seen in developmental dyslexia. Nevertheless, behavioral optometrists have for decades offered vision therapy on the premise that correcting peripheral visual deficits will facilitate reading. Yet there is a surprising dearth of controlled studies documenting that such deficits are more common in children with developmental dyslexia, much less whether treating them could improve reading. In the present study, we simply assessed the prevalence and nature of visual deficits in 29 school aged children with developmental dyslexia compared to 33 typically developing readers. We found that deficits in accommodation 6 times more frequent in the children with developmental dyslexia and deficits in ocular motor tracking were 4 times more frequent. In all, more than three-quarters of the children with developmental dyslexia had a deficit in one or more domain of visual function domain compared to only one third of the typically reading group.
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, JAMA, Neurology / 25.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42615" align="alignleft" width="152"]Dr. Paul Foster Dr. Foster[/caption] Paul Foster BMedSci(Hons) BMBS PhD FRCS(Ed) FRCOphth FRCS(Eng) Professor of Glaucoma Studies & Ophthalmic Epidemiology Research Theme Lead Integrative Epidemiology & Visual Function UCL Institute of Ophthalmology & Moorfields Eye Hospital London  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response:  Dementia is the medical challenge of the moment – increasingly common, adversely impacting quality of life for millions, and a great worry for all. Efforts to identify treatments or interventions rely on being able to identify those people at greatest risk. Our motivation was to help identify those people, primarily to aid in the development of treatments through clinical trials.
Author Interviews, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics / 14.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: multiple choice test takingKrista Kelly, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Crystal Charity Ball Pediatric Vision Evaluation Center Retina Foundation of the Southwest Dallas, TX 75231 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We were interested in seeing whether the fine motor deficits typically seen in amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed eyes) translate to an academic setting. Namely, transferring answers to a multiple choice answer form widely used in standardized testing in schools. Children with amblyopia and strabismus took about 28% longer than their peers transferring answers to a multiple choice answer form, even though they have good vision in one or both eyes. 
Author Interviews, Ophthalmology, Stem Cells, Stroke / 28.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Steven Levy MD CEO, MD Stem Cells Study Director, Stem Cell Treatment Studies MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: MD Stem Cells is the sponsor of the Stem Cell Ophthalmology Treatment Study II (SCOTS 2) the largest stem cell study currently addressing retinal and optic nerve disease (NCT 03011541). SCOTS uses autologous bone marrow derived stem cells (BMSC) typically provided to the eyes by combining retrobulbar, subtenons and intravenous injections. Many retinal and optic nerve diseases are eligible including Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Stargardts, Ushers, Glaucoma, Ischemic Optic Neuropathy, Optic Atrophy and others. Statistically significant improvements have been documented in key diseases and positive responses have been noted across most conditions treated. Mechanisms of action may include differentiation of the CD34 cells into neurons, secretion of neurotrophic factors, transfer of mitochondria and release of mRNA. These may benefit existing stressed cells as well as provide replacement of damaged or absent cells.
Author Interviews, Ophthalmology, Technology / 28.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40826" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Caroline A. Blackie, OD PhD FAAO Medical Director, Dry Eye Johnson & Johnson Vision Dr. Caroline Blackie[/caption] Dr. Caroline A. Blackie, OD PhD FAAO Medical Director, Dry Eye Johnson & Johnson Vision MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for these studies? Would you briefly explain the problem of dry eye, how common it is and why it is difficult to treat?  Response: Dry eye disease is a condition where the eyelids and/or the tear film are unable to protect the ocular surface from the negative effects of desiccating stress. If left untreated, a vicious cycle ensues resulting in a broad spectrum of sequelae, including ocular discomfort and compromised vision. The result is partial or pervasive reduced quality of life for the individual along with a significant economic burden on our society. Conversely, when the ocular surface is healthy, patients feel better, see better and live better. Meibomian gland health is essential for ocular surface health. Meibomian glands secrete the oils necessary to protect the ocular surface from the negative effects of desiccating stress. Predictably, meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a leading cause of dry eye disease. MGD is almost always the result of thickened and stagnated gland secretions. These stagnated secretions obstruct and/or limit the flow of functional oil into the tear film. MGD is the most common form of dry eye disease and is also known as evaporative dry eye. While management of dry eye in general can be complex, the management of MGD affords a relatively straightforward approach, which is to improve meibomian gland function by treating obstruction. Dry eye disease is pretty common – more than 340 million people suffer from it globally. Short-term management of dry eye involves improving signs and symptoms of the condition, including the use of tear supplementation and reducing ocular surface inflammation. Long-term dry eye management requires that the cause (or causes) of the condition is also diagnosed and treated. That cause is often MGD, and MGD can be successfully managed with LipiFlow®. 
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, University of Michigan / 16.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40613" align="alignleft" width="125"]Maria A. Woodward, MD, MSc Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences W. K. Kellogg Eye Center Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Dr. Woodward[/caption] Maria A. Woodward, MD, MSc Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences W. K. Kellogg Eye Center Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Many people go to emergency departments seeking care for their eye problems. We wished to investigate which factors are associated with the involvement of ophthalmologist consultants in the care of these patients and whether any disparities exist. 
Author Interviews, Multiple Sclerosis, Ophthalmology, Pharmaceutical Companies / 08.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40544" align="alignleft" width="159"]Sarah A. Morrow MD, MS, FRCPC Associate Professor of Neurology Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences University of Western Ontario (Western) Dr. Morrow[/caption] Sarah A. Morrow MD, MS, FRCPC Associate Professor of Neurology Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences University of Western Ontario (Western) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Acute demyelinating optic neuritis, which presents with loss of vision and painful eye movements, is common in multiple sclerosis (MS) occurring 50% of persons with MS. High dose (≥ 1g) corticosteroids administered through an IV became the standard of practice after the landmark Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial as IV administration. However, in that study the IV dose of corticosteroids was much higher (1 gram daily) than the oral dose (1 mg/kg). Thus, it is not clear if IV administration is still better if equivalent doses are used orally. Oral administration is much more convenient for patients and less expensive, and previous studies showed that it is preferred by patients. In this study, we asked the following question: are high dose (≥ 1000mg) IV corticosteroids superior to equivalent doses of oral corticosteroids for the acute treatment of optic neuritis? We randomly assigned fifty-five cases of acute optic neuritis to 1000mg IV methylprednisolone or 1250mg oral prednisone daily for three days and compared recovery of their vision over the next 6 months. 
Author Interviews, Emory, Genetic Research, JAMA, Ophthalmology / 24.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39538" align="alignleft" width="147"]Eldon E. Geisert, PhD Professor of Ophthalmology Emory School of Medicine Dr. Geisert[/caption] Eldon E. Geisert, PhD Professor of Ophthalmology Emory School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the late 1990s a group of doctors began a study of glaucoma patients to determine if there were phenotypes that are predictive for developing glaucoma. In this Ocular Hypertension Treatment Study (OHTS) one of the highly correlated ocular traits was central corneal thickness (CCT). The early clinical studies found that people with thinner corneas were at a higher risk of developing glaucoma. In two large studies, examining thousands of people a number of genes were identified that were risk factors for glaucoma or that controlled CCT in humans. In both cases the identified genes accounted for less than 10% of the genetic risk for glaucoma and less than for 10% of the genetic control for CCT. There was little data linking the genetic control of CCT to the glaucoma risk. Our group has taken an indirect approach to the question, using well-defined mouse genetic system to identify genes modulating CCT and then interrogating human glaucoma data to determine if these genes are associated with glaucoma risk.  
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Surgical Research, UCSF / 23.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Catherine L. Chen, MD, MPH Assistant Professor UCSF Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Care MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Routine preoperative medical testing (such as common laboratory tests looking at a patient's blood cell counts and kidney function, or cardiac tests like an EKG) are not recommended in patients undergoing cataract surgery, but these tests still occur quite frequently among Medicare cataract surgery patients because these patients tend to be older and sicker than the general population. In the past, researchers have used a 30-day window counting backwards from the date of surgery to determine whether a given test should be categorized as a routine preoperative test. However, we know that testing often takes place outside this window and therefore, the frequency and cost of routine preoperative medical testing has generally been underreported. In our study, we used a new method to figure out how to determine the start of the routine preoperative testing period. In cataract patients, ocular biometry is a diagnostic test that is performed in anticipation of cataract surgery, and this test is only performed in cataract patients who will be having cataract surgery in the near future. For each patient, we calculated the elapsed time between the ocular biometry and cataract surgery dates to get a better idea of when to start looking for unnecessary routine preoperative testing. Our goal was to identify all the routine preoperative medical testing that occurs once the decision has been made to operate and better estimate the cost to Medicare of this unnecessary testing. In a previous study that we published in the New England Journal of Medicine, we reported a significant spike in the rate of routine preoperative medical testing that occurs in the 30 days before surgery compared to the baseline rate of testing. In our current study, we discovered that there is a second spike in testing that occurs in the 30 days after ocular biometry. In fact, even if you exclude the testing that takes place during the 30 days before surgery, there is still a 41% increase in testing rates during the interval between ocular biometry and cataract surgery over the baseline rate of testing. In addition, we found that the cost of routine preoperative testing was 47% higher when looking at the entire biometry to surgery timeframe compared to testing that occurs just in the 30 days before surgery. We estimate that the cost to Medicare of all of this unnecessary testing approaches $45.4 million annually.
Author Interviews, FDA, Genetic Research, Ophthalmology / 15.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38055" align="alignleft" width="190"]Dr. Stephen M. Rose, PhD Chief Research Officer Foundation Fighting Blindness Foundation Fighting Blindness[/caption] Dr. Stephen Rose PhD Chief Research Officer Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) Dr. Rose comments on the announcement of the FDA approval of voretigene neparvovec (LUXTURNA™) gene therapy for inherited blindness due to mutations in the RPE65 gene. What is the background for this announcement? What were the main findings from the study? Response: While it has been 30 years since the RPE65 gene was identified as causing Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, this shows that it is possible to have an effective gene therapy for an inherited disease. As the first gene therapy for the eye or for an inherited disease, LUXTURNA is a historic milestone in the search for cures for all inherited retinal diseases (IRDs). As a one-time gene therapy, LUXTURNA will not only be life-changing for patients with vision loss due to mutations in the RPE65 gene, it also provides critical momentum for gene therapies - for the eye and other diseases - now in the clinic. 
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics / 14.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Dr. Andreas Stahl Geschäftsführender Oberarzt Leiter Arbeitsgruppe Angiogenese Universitätsaugenklinik Freiburg | University Eye Hospital Freiburg Freiburg, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a sight-threatening disease and one of the main reasons for irrreversible bilateral blindness in children. Particularly infants born at very early gestational ages or with very low birth weight are affected. In these infants, vascularization of the retina is unfinished at the time of birth. Severeal weeks into the life of these very prematuerly born infants, angiogenic growth factors, mainly vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), become upregulated in the avascular parts of the retina, leading to a re-activation of physiologic vascular growth. If all goes well, these re-activated retinal blood vessels progress towards the periphery and lead to a fully vascularized and functional retina. If, however, the vascular activation by VEGF is too strong, then vascular growth becomes disorganized and vessels are redirected away from the retina and into the vitreous. If left untreated, these eyes can then proceed towards tractional retinal detachment and blindness. Since the 1990s, the standard method of treating ROP has been laser photocoagulation of avascular parts of the retina. This treatment is sensible because VEGF as the main angiogenic driver of pathologic blood vessel growth is expressed in these avascular parts of the retina. The downside of laser treatment, however, is that treated retinal areas are turned into functionless scar tissue and are lost for visual function. In addition, infants treated with laser need to be under general anesthesia for hours during treatment which can be troublesome in very young and fragile preterm infants. And in the long run, infants treated with laser have a high risk of developing high myopia in later life.
Allergan, Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology / 05.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Steven Woloshin, MD MS [caption id="attachment_25281" align="alignleft" width="180"]Steven Woloshin, MD Professor of The Dartmouth Institute Professor of Medicine Professor of Community and Family Medicine Dr. Steven Woloshin[/caption] Professor of The Dartmouth Institute Professor of Medicine Professor of Community and Family Medicine The Center for Medicine in the Media Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice Lebanon, New Hampshire MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There has been a lot of debate about the legal maneuvers (ie, transferring patents to the Mohawk Indians) Allergan has employed to delay marketing of generic alternatives to Restasis (cyclosporine ophthalmic emulsion 0.05%).   But there is a more fundamental question that has received little attention:  Does Restasis work?  It is not approved in the European Union, Australia or New Zealand where registration applications were "withdrawn prior to approval due to insufficient evidence of efficacy" in 2001.   Although Canada approved Restasis, its national health technology assessment unit, unconvinced of meaningful benefit, recommended Canada not pay for it - according to our research, no Canadian provincial or federal drug plan currently does.   Nevertheless, Americans have spent $8.8 billion in total sales between 2009 and 2015 on Restasis, including over $2.9 billion in public monies through Medicare Part D.
Author Interviews, Infections, Ophthalmology, Surgical Research / 14.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38928" align="alignleft" width="130"]Dr-Penny Asbell Dr. Asbell[/caption] Penny Asbell, MD Icahn School of Medicine Mt. Sinai, New York City. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? ─     Bacterial endophthalmitis is a serious, although infrequent, complication of ocular surgery, typically caused by perioperative introduction of bacterial flora from the patient’s own conjunctiva and skin. ─     Prophylactic measures such as perioperative antibiotic treatment may minimize the risk for endophthalmitis, but can be complicated by antibiotic resistant bacteria. ─     The ongoing Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring in Ocular micRoorganisms (ARMOR) study is the only nationwide antibiotic resistance surveillance program specific to ocular pathogens. ─     The purpose of this presentation is to report on the antibiotic susceptibility profiles of bacterial isolates from the vitreous and aqueous humor collected in the ARMOR study expanding upon earlier findings.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Technology / 13.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38910" align="alignleft" width="300"]Blausen.com staff (2014). "Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014". WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. Illustration depicting diabetic retinopathy Illustration depicting diabetic retinopathy[/caption] Dr. Tien Yin Wong MD PhD Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore National Eye Center, Duke-NUS Medical School, National University of Singapore Singapore MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Currently, annual screening for diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a universally accepted practice and recommended by American Diabetes Association and the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) to prevent vision loss. However, implementation of diabetic retinopathy screening programs across the world require human assessors (ophthalmologists, optometrists or professional technicians trained to read retinal photographs). Such screening programs are thus challenged by issues related to a need for significant human resources and long-term financial sustainability. To address these challenges, we developed an AI-based software using a deep learning, a new machine learning technology. This deep learning system (DLS) utilizes representation-learning methods to process large data and extract meaningful patterns. In our study, we developed and validated this using about 500,000 retinal images in a “real world screening program” and 10 external datasets from global populations. The results suggest excellent accuracy of the deep learning system with sensitivity of 90.5% and specificity of 91.6%, for detecting referable levels of DR and 100% sensitivity and 91.1% specificity for vision-threatening levels of DR (which require urgent referral and should not be missed). In addition, the performance of the deep learning system was also high for detecting referable glaucoma suspects and referable age-related macular degeneration (which also require referral if detected). The deep learning system was tested in 10 external datasets comprising different ethnic groups: Caucasian whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, Chinese, Indians and Malaysians
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, NYU, Ophthalmology / 08.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38704" align="alignleft" width="150"]Cassandra Thiel, PhD Assistant Professor in the Departments of Population Health and Opthamology at NYU Langone Health, and Assistant Professor at NYU Wagner and NYU Tandon School of Engineering Dr. Thiel[/caption] Cassandra Thiel, PhD Assistant Professor in the Departments of Population Health and Opthamology at NYU Langone Health, and Assistant Professor at NYU Wagner and NYU Tandon School of Engineering MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Everyone is concerned about the health impacts of climate change, from the United Nations to the Lancet. While other industries are trying to monitor and minimize their environmental footprint, healthcare services have been largely overlooked. Yet, the US healthcare sector emits 10% of the US’s total greenhouse gases. Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the world. In the US, these surgeries generate large quantities of waste due to the use of single-use, disposable materials and supplies. However, at Aravind Eye Care System in southern India, the outcomes for this procedure are the same as in the US, but the materials they use are mostly reusable. This study assessed the environmental footprint of Aravind’s surgical process, to determine how their process design and material selection affected their emissions.