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Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, May 1-5, 2011

The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Annual Meeting

The annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology was held from May 1 to 5 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and attracted approximately 11,500 participants from around the world, including eye and vision researchers and clinicians. The conference highlighted recent advances in vision and ophthalmology, with presentations focusing on the latest research in cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and diabetic retinopathy.

In one study, Eberhart Zrenner, M.D., of University Hospital Tuebingen in Germany, and colleagues found that a microchip with 1,500 pixels implanted below the retina of the eye in 18 patients with end-stage retinitis pigmentosa improved vision.

"The subretinal implants which we had developed together with Retina Implant AG in Germany have helped many of our patients to improve their ability to localize, discriminate, and identify objects of daily life. Patients completely blind previously were able to locate door handles, [locate] a drinking glass on a table, reach for knife and/or fork, and move," Zrenner said. "The results of the study provided proof of concept for use of our subretinal electronic implant in daily life. We are continuing to expand the clinical trial besides Germany, with locations in Oxford, London, and Budapest. We are hoping to implant the device in another 20 to 25 patients over the next year, with the aim of gaining approval and future use in clinical practice."

The study was funded by Retina Implant AG; several authors disclosed financial relationships with the company.

Abstract No. 456

In another study, Lee E. Goldstein, M.D., of Boston University, and colleagues found that zinc plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in both the brain and the lens of the eye.

"Our study not only establishes a new role of zinc in AD but also points to the potential of the lens for early detection of the disease," Goldstein said.

The investigators developed a new technique, high-resolution metallomic imaging mass spectrometry to map zinc in the lens and brain. The investigators found that the distribution of zinc in the lens was highly abnormal among patients with AD, which closely mirrors related zinc disturbances in the brain of individuals with AD.

"Our data to date indicate that AD pathology in the lens occurs earlier than in the brain. If we can diagnose the disease earlier by using advanced technology to examine the lens, then we can intervene earlier. And for AD, early intervention is the key to effective treatment," Goldstein said.

Abstract No. 807

Shelley Day, M.D., of Duke University in Durham, N.C., and colleagues found that patients undergoing intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) injections for the treatment of neovascular AMD had significantly higher rates of endophthalmitis, uveitis, and vitreous hemorrhage compared with a control group of patients with neovascular AMD who were not receiving anti-VEGF injections.

"Our study used Medicare 5 percent claims data to investigate the rates of ocular complications after intravitreal anti-VEGF injections given for the treatment of neovascular AMD," Day said. "The rates of ocular complications after intravitreal anti-VEGF injection were slightly higher than those reported in randomized clinical trials and may reflect actual clinical practice patterns across the country rather than controlled study environments."

Abstract No. 116

ARVO: Age-Related Macular Degeneration Drugs Equal

THURSDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- After one year, bevacizumab appears to be as effective as ranibizumab in improving visual acuity associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) when administered on the same schedule, according to a study published online April 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine in advance of a presentation at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, to be held from May 1 to 5 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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