Week in review: Acupuncture for dry eye disease, 3D retinal tissue printing, metformin and AMD

Cataract/Anterior Segment, Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Pediatric Ophth/Strabismus, Retina/Vitreous

A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

Needles and pins: Acupuncture has potential in preventing postsurgical dry eye disease. Chinese investigators conducted a prospective, randomized, sham-controlled trial to evaluate whether acupuncture can prevent dry eye disease (DED) in the weeks following cataract surgery. Ninety patients who had cataract surgery with phacoemulsification were given either true acupuncture (at standard acupuncture points) or sham acupuncture (non-penetrating acupuncture). Change in fluorescein tear film breakup time was 1.52 in the treatment group and 0.77 in the sham group from baseline to week 8, and was 1.49 and 0.81, respectively, from baseline to week 12. Differences in mean change in Ocular Surface Disease Index score were seen between the groups at week 8, but not at week 12. The authors conclude that, based on the results, “acupuncture has the potential to become one option for complementary treatment in DED following cataract surgery.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

A novel use of 3D printing: Creating blood-retinal barrier tissue. Researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI) have used a combination of 3D bioprinting and patient stem cells to produce a supply of outer blood-retina barrier tissue that can potentially be used for the study of AMD and other degenerative eye diseases. In these diseases, the retinal pigment epithelium degrades over time, causing vision loss. Dr. Kapil Bharti, head of the NEI’s Section on Ocular and Stem Cell Translational Research, said that by printing these tissue cells, “we’re facilitating the exchange of cellular cues that are necessary for normal outer blood-retina barrier anatomy.” Dr. Bharti’s colleague in this research, Dr. Marc Ferrer, director of the 3D Tissue Bioprinting Laboratory at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, added, “Our collaborative efforts have resulted in very relevant retina tissue models of degenerative eye diseases. Such tissue models have many potential uses in translational applications, including therapeutics development.” National Institutes of Health, Nature Methods

Can metformin help to prevent AMD? No, according to data from year 16 of the ongoing Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study. Data from 3234 participants randomized to either a lifestyle arm (intensive exercise and weight loss), a metformin arm (850 mg twice daily), or a placebo arm indicated that the prevalence of AMD was similar in all 3 treatment arms, ranging from 29.6% to 30.7%. Severity of AMD was also similar among the groups. In the metformin group, there was no association between AMD and past or present use of metformin. JAMA Ophthalmology

Behind a child with corneal astigmatism may be a parent with the same condition. To understand the prevalence of astigmatism in children who have at least one parent with astigmatism, investigators reviewed ocular examination data and questionnaire results from a subcohort of 5708 children aged 6–8 years enrolled in the Hong Kong Eye Study and their parents. Sixty-one percent of children and 43% of parents had corneal astigmatism; 33% and 24%, respectively, had refractive astigmatism. In multivariate models, risk of corneal astigmatism in children was associated with maternal (odds ratio [OR] 1.66) and paternal (OR 1.38) corneal astigmatism. The authors recommend counseling parents with astigmatism on the increased risks of the condition in their children, as well as providing early screening to these children. JAMA Network Open

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