Week in review: Stem cell implant for dry AMD, telemedicine in pediatric ophthalmology, glasses wearing and COVID-19

Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus, Retina/Vitreous

A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

A first: Stem cells are implanted in a patient with dry AMD. As part of a phase 1/2a clinical trial being conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI), surgeons have performed the first implant of autologous stem cells for the treatment of dry AMD. These patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells were reprogrammed to become replacement retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells; in dry AMD, vision loss is caused by the loss of RPE cells. This potential treatment has been under development at the NEI for 10 years. National Institutes of Health

Both patient caregivers and clinicians find telemedicine beneficial in pediatric care. A secondary analysis of a study of telemedicine’s reliability in pediatric eye consultations focused on patient/guardian and provider experiences. Two hundred seven parents/guardians (and patients aged >10 years) were surveyed on confidence and comfort with telemedicine and willingness to use it again. Ophthalmologists were surveyed on their ability to see, hear, and communicate with the patient and whether they felt the patient should be referred to an optometrist. Nearly all parents/guardians were satisfied with the consultation and would use telemedicine again. In all consultations, clinicians could easily see and hear the patient. The authors conclude that “The results indicate an opportunity for telemedicine in community settings to improve access to specialized care.” Clinical Ophthalmology

Can wearing glasses reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection? Investigators in Denmark and Sweden conducted a post hoc prospective cohort study to assess whether wearing glasses (including reading glasses) or contact lenses has an effect on whether a person contracts COVID-19 infection. The study was conducted among 2120 employees of the same rescue corps. In Denmark, there were no differences in COVID-19 infection rates between those who wore glasses or contact lenses and those who did not; in Sweden, where infection rates in general were higher, participants who wore glasses or contact lens actually had lower rates of seropositivity (8.1%, vs 12.6% for nonwearers). Further investigation is needed. JAMA Ophthalmology

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