Week in review: Video game for glaucoma detection, gene therapy for dry AMD, nitrous oxide eases surgery anxiety

Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Retina/Vitreous

A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

Can a smartphone game identify early stages of glaucoma? Meteor Blaster, a joint project between Japanese researchers at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine and Sendai Television, is a video game designed to detect early stages of glaucoma. To play, the user holds their phone about 30 cm from their eyes and must press the “CAPTURE” button whenever they see white dots appear on screen. The lower the scores in each eye, corresponding to the number of lights recognized as “captured,” the more likely it is that a person might have early stages of glaucoma. The game is currently available in only Japanese; no information is available as to whether there will be versions in other languages. Sora News 24

In vivo models show promise for new gene therapy targeting dry AMD. Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have reported initial findings of their gene therapy in development for the treatment of dry AMD. Called ophNdi1, it is an optimized version of the NDI1 gene and targets the mitochondria of cells damaged by AMD, providing the mitochondria with the means to improve their function. Professor G. Jane Farrar, senior member of the research team, said, “Critically, this study provides the first evidence in models that directly modulating bioenergetics in eye cells can provide benefit and improve visual function in dry AMD. In doing so, the study highlights the energy powerhouses of the cell, mitochondria, as key targets for dry AMD.” Trinity College Dublin, Clinical and Translational Medicine

Nitrous oxide sedation during cataract surgery can ease anxious patients. In a Japanese retrospective observational study, 63 patients who underwent cataract surgery received either topical anesthesia plus sedation with low-concentration nitrous oxide (N2O) or topical anesthesia alone. Patients self-reported anxiety before and after surgery with the visual analogue scale (VAS). Significant reductions in change in VAS score and in the intraoperative VAS pain score were seen in the N2O group vs the anesthesia-alone group. The authors note that the lower anxiety and pain seen with application of low-concentration N2O anesthesia could potentially stabilize vital signs during cataract surgery. Clinical Ophthalmology

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