Week in review: Travoprost implant, retinal repair, acupuncture woes

Week in review: Travoprost implant, retinal repair, acupuncture woes


By Kanaga Rajan and Keng Jin Lee

Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Retina/Vitreous

A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

The FDA is teaming up with the University of Pittsburgh to tackle vision loss. Over the next 5 years, the organizations will work together to develop scientific collaborations, educational initiatives and outreach activities. The collaboration will facilitate research that includes augmented reality headsets or brain stimulations to help people with low vision, explained José-Alain Sahel, MD. “There is strong expertise at Pitt that is being recognized at an international level. Patients’ voices will nurture our projects and define the successes we all want to deliver.” University of Pittsburgh

The travoprost intracameral implant OTX-TIC appears to reduce IOP as early as 2 days after implantation, according to interim phase 1 data from Ocular Therapeutix. Study participants had open-angle glaucoma or ocular hypertension and many showed sustained benefits for 6 months or longer with a single implant. There were no serious ocular adverse events or meaningful changes in endothelial cell counts and pachymetry. The company will present the data later this month at the Glaucoma 360 conference and plans to initiate a phase 2 trial later this year. Ocular Therapeutix

A rift in the retina may be key to coaxing repair of the optic nerve, according to in vitro findings published in Stem Cell Reports. Researchers discovered that retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) failed to integrate into retinal tissue—except for areas where incisions were made to the internal limiting membrane (ILM). Upon removing the ILM, the transplanted RGCs were able to better integrate to the retina and showed signs of establishing new nerve connections. “The idea of restoring vision to someone who has lost it from optic nerve disease has been considered science fiction for decades,” said lead investigator Thomas Johnson, MD, PhD. “But in the last five years, stem cell biology has reached a point where it’s feasible.” John Hopkins Medicine, Stem Cell Reports

Careful with that acupuncture needle. In a new case in Ophthalmology, a patient sought acupuncture therapy for dry eye relief. Treatment at the Chengqi point—located at the midpoint of the superior orbital rim—caused slight pain and a light flash but led to subjective improvement of dry eye. The light flashes, however, continued intermittently. When she sought medical help, a retinal examination revealed retinal tears associated with hemorrhages in both eyes, highlighting the risk of injury to the eyeball during acupuncture. Ophthalmology, February 2021