Week in review: MicroShunt use in kids, global cataract burden, verteporfin and COVID-19

Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus

A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

The PreserFlo MicroShunt is approved for use in adults, but can it be used in children? Perhaps, say researchers at the University of California, Davis, who recently published results of a compassionate-use study of the shunt in 16 children (16 eyes) with refractory glaucoma. Twelve of the 16 eyes reached at least 1 year of follow-up, and in that time there were no intraoperative complications and no corneal- or lens-related opacities developed. Nine of the 12 eyes had successful IOP reductions. Based on these findings, a multicenter, prospective trial of the MicroShunt in children is planned; no timeline for the study has been provided as yet. American Journal of Ophthalmology

Cataract continues to be a global disease burden and public health concern. Data from the 2019 Global Burden Disease study were used to estimate the global burden of cataract, as measured by disease-adjusted life years (DALYs). While age-standardized prevalence rates for cataract increased from 1150.6/100,000 in 1990 to 1207.9/100,000 in 2019, age-standardized DALY rates decreased by 11.0% during the same time period. The crude DALY rates were higher in women than in men, and correlations were seen between greater DALY rates and lower country socioeconomic status. The southern sub-Saharan African region had the highest rates of cataract-related blindness. The authors conclude that there are still significant challenges in avoiding vision impairment caused by cataract, and hope that the results of the study will aid in policy making and public health initiatives. BMC Public Health

An AMD medication might slow replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Verteporfin, which is currently approved for the treatment of subfoveal choroidal neovascularization (CNV) caused by AMD, has potential in stopping replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles, have been studying the role of Hippo pathway activation in SARS-CoV-2 infection. As verteporfin inhibits the Yes-associated protein (YAP), a Hippo pathway downstream activator, it was found to reduce virus concentration in cultured human heart and lung cells. In the published study article, the investigators note that the results “indicate a direct antiviral role for Hippo signaling in SARS-CoV-2 infection, thus creating potentially new avenues this pathway can be pharmacologically targeted to treat COVID-19.” University of California, Los Angeles; PLOS Biology

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