Week in review: Germicidal lamps, depressed pupil, dragon surgery

Week in review: Germicidal lamps, depressed pupil, dragon surgery


By Keng Jin Lee and Kanaga Rajan

Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Glaucoma

A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

The use of germicidal lamps to sanitize against coronavirus may damage corneas, according to new case series from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. Between April 1 and July 19, physicians treated 7 patients with photokeratitis, which was eventually linked to commercially available UV-emitting devices. Each patient presented with acute ocular surface pain, but most had complete resolution of symptoms within 3 days following treatment with artificial tears, topical steroids and/or antibiotic ointments. The authors note it is important for physicians and patients to be aware of the potential consequences of UV exposure. Ocular Immunology and Inflammation, University of Miami Health System

The Visibility Micro Inject presbyopia device received bad news from the FDA’s ophthalmic devices panel. The panel’s rejection of the intraocular implant was nearly unanimous, citing that it provided, at best, “modest benefit with a modest risk” that had to be considered within the context of an elective procedure. They also found fault with the design of the pivotal trial, which failed to provide meaningful data to assess the device’s efficacy. Refocus Group, the sponsor, has not yet indicated future plans for the device. MedPage

Turning back the clock on aging retinal cells may be possible, according to David Sinclair, PhD, at Harvard Medical School. In the new study published in Nature, his team introduced 3 youth-restoring genes into retinal ganglion cells of mice with optic nerve injury. The treatment led to nerve regeneration and reversed vision loss that was (and was not) caused by glaucoma—a first in the field. They postulate that this effect is driven by erasing age-related footprints in DNA methylation. “If affirmed through further studies, these findings could be transformative for the care of age-related vision diseases like glaucoma and to the fields of biology and medical therapeutics for disease at large,” explained Sinclair. Harvard Medical School, Nature

Turns out eyes really are the windows to one’s soul. In another scientific first, researchers report a correlation between pupil dilation and depression severity. A 100-person study revealed that the pupils of patients with depression tend to dilate less in response to the prospect of a reward than the pupils from healthy individuals. The more severe the symptoms of depression were, the less dilated the pupils would become—suggesting pupil response could offer an objective means to diagnose depression. Max Plank Institute of Psychiatry, Brain Sciences

Beware the eye of the dragon … unless he needs cataract surgery. Hudo, Cincinnati Zoo’s Komodo dragon, recently underwent double cataract surgery after losing vision in both eyes. “I love restoring and preserving the gift of sight for all my patients and was excited to partner with the Cincinnati Zoo to share my expertise and passion,” said veterinary ophthalmologist Vanessa Kuonen Cavens, DVM, who performed the procedure. “Hudo is the most unique animal on whom I’ve performed cataract surgery.” Though he is still a little groggy, Hudo is recovering nicely. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden