glaucoma

Aussie Tech Could End Glaucoma Eye Drops

Australian tech could end glaucoma eye drops

A clinical-stage Australian biotechnology company has begun recruiting glaucoma patients for a trial of a new implant that could end the need for daily eye drops.

PolyActiva has developed ocular implants that, when placed in the eye, provide sustained treatment over a six-month period, potentially removing the need for patients to manage their own treatment. Such a move could improve glaucoma outcomes, as several studies have demonstrated that up to 46% of patients don’t remember to use their drops or administer them poorly.

PolyActiva CEO Dr Russell Tait told Insight the technology had originally been developed for a different purpose, but its ability to carry a large amount of drugs in a small area and achieve zero order release, while maintaining separate control over the implant’s biodegradation made it ideal for delivering drugs to the eye.

“The implant is designed to deliver treatment for six months after which it will disappear without further intervention.”
Russell Tait, PolyActiva

“This product is designed to make the lives of glaucoma sufferers easier by removing the need for daily drop administration and thus improving treatment management,” Tait said.

“The implant is designed to deliver treatment for six months after which it will disappear without further intervention. We’re excited about starting our first clinical study and look forward to seeing how our lead candidate performs.”

According to Tait, the implant is capable of being administered in an ophthalmologist’s office under a slit-lamp using a custom-designed administration device.

“The implant itself is tiny – it’s about .2 mm in diameter and up to 4 mm in length, depending on the strength of the relevant product,” he explained.

“It sits in the lumen of a 27 gauge needle and it’s administered by clear corneal injection with a custom-built administration. For the glaucoma product it sits in the inferior angle of the interior chamber.”

The clinical trial will assess the safety and tolerance of the implant when administered to glaucoma patients and should be completed by the middle of 2019, with a view to eventually bringing the technology to market in around six years. Trials will initially be restricted to Australia, however as they progress Tait said the company would look to engage centres in the US as well.

“The major investors, MRCF [Medical Research Commercialisation Fund] and Yuuwa Capital, see this technology having a major potential impact on the lives of millions of glaucoma patients globally,” Dr Chris Nave, chairman of PolyActiva and CEO of the MRCF said.

“This innovative drug delivery technology has further potential applications, such as being used to administer other types of medication, including antibiotics and steroids for cataract surgery patients.”

PolyActiva’s first clinical candidate is designed to provide a constant daily therapeutic dose of latanoprost free acid for at least 26 weeks. Latanoprost is the active ingredient of a commonly prescribed glaucoma eye-drop treatment (Xalatan).

The Phase I clinical trial is being conducted under the Therapeutic Goods Administration Clinical Trial Notification (CTN) scheme at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne, through the Centre of Eye Research Australia (CERA).

Article appeared on Insight

05/09/2018 • By Matthew Woodley

contact lens

A Warning for Contact Lens Wearers

Warning for contact lens wearers as infection increases

Blinding Acanthamoeba keratitis infections are on the rise, according to a new study led by UNSW’s Dr Nicole Carnt.

The research, which was conducted at Moorfields Eye Hospital in the UK while Carnt was on an NHMRC CJ Martin Biomedical Early Career Fellowship, found a threefold increase in Acanthamoebakeratitis infections in Southeast England since 2011. However, while the study is based on data from the UK, Carnt said its findings were equally important in Australia.

“It is absolutely imperative that regulators and those working in the optical sector take the findings seriously, and use the recommendations to take immediate and urgent action on prevention,” Carnt said.

“Contact lenses are medical devices and should be supplied with warnings regarding safe use.”

“It is absolutely imperative that regulators and those working in the optical sector take the findings seriously.”
Nicole Carnt, UNSW

Carnt told Insight she has been working with the Cornea and Contact Lens Society Australia (CCLSA) to develop a website dedicated to healthy contact lens wear, along with other initiatives to raise awareness.

“We are trying to encourage optometrists to talk about water related risks, as often they tend to skip over it as in the too hard basket or the risk too low to enforce the message,” she said.

“Yes, contact lenses are a lifestyle option and we don’t want people to be restricted but we do want them to be aware of the risks and take precautions where needed. Our message is to choose healthy contact lens wear.”

While the infection is quite rare, usually affecting 2.5 in 100,000 contact lens users per year, one in four people affected will need a corneal transplant to treat the disease and restore vision.

A member of the Acanthamoeba Keratitis Patient Support Group in the UK led by Carnt, Ms Irenie Ekkeshis, says more needs to be done to prevent new cases.

“This research confirms what those of us affected by Acanthamoeba keratitis have suspected for some time: that incidences of this awful, life-changing infection are on the increase,” Ekkeshis said.

“There’s more that should be done to prevent people from losing their sight to Acanthamoeba keratitis.”

The microorganism responsible for the infection can often be found in bodies of water such as lakes, oceans and rivers, as well as domestic tap water, swimming pools, hot tubs, soil and air. As such, Carnt said contact lens wearers needed to be aware of the risks associated with use around water.

Acanthamoeba keratitis is a largely preventable disease. People who wear reusable contact lenses need to make sure they thoroughly wash and dry their hands before handling contact lenses, and avoid wearing them while swimming, face washing or bathing,” she said.

“Daily disposable lenses, which eliminate the need for contact lens cases or solutions, may be safer and we are currently analysing our data to establish the risk factors for these.”

The study was published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

Article appeared on Insight

26/09/2018 • By Matthew Woodley

 

eye drops

Researchers one step closer to developing eye drops to treat common sight loss condition

Researchers are one step closer to developing eye drops to treat common sight loss condition

Scientists at the University of Birmingham are one step closer to developing an eye drop that could revolutionise treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world. Its prevalence is increasing dramatically as the population ages and it is estimated that, by 2020, there will be about 200 million people worldwide with the condition. In the UK alone, there are over 500,000 people with late stage AMD.

AMD is currently treated by injections of sight-saving drugs into the eye which must be administered by medical professionals. Scientists led by biochemist Dr Felicity de Cogan, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Microbiology and Infection, have invented a method of delivering these otherwise-injected drug as eye drops.

Laboratory research, published last year in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS), showed that these eye drops have a similar therapeutic effect as the injected drug in rats. Now the Birmingham scientists have taken their research one step further by investigating the effect of the eye drops in the larger eyes of rabbits and pigs, which are more similar to human eyes.

This latest study, also published in IOVS, demonstrates that the eye drops can deliver a therapeutically effective amount of the drugs to the retina of the larger mammalian eye.

The technology behind the eye drops is a cell-penetrating peptide that can deliver the drug to the retina (the back of the eye). The scientists’ pending patents for the eye drops are now owned by US-based company, Macregen Inc, and a team of Birmingham researchers is working with the company to develop a novel range of therapies for AMD and other eye diseases.

The combined team is now expediting proof of concept studies to confirm the validity of the therapeutic approach. Clinical trials will be imminent once these studies are completed, and could start as early as spring 2019.

Dr de Cogan said: “For several years, our team has focused on the challenge of delivering drugs to the back of the eye.

“From the outset, we realised that delivering drugs through eye drops would mean that patients can administer their treatment themselves, and this would be less costly, save time for patients and healthcare providers, and reduce the potential complications that can arise from injections.

“Now we have shown that the eye drops work in the larger mammalian eye, and we welcome the commercial investment and expertise from Macregen so we can deliver a structured research and development programme that should bring concrete benefits to people with AMD and eye diseases.”

Professor Robert Scott, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Honorary Professor of Ophthalmology at University of Birmingham, commented: “Cell-penetrating peptides will drive the next generation of treatment for people with AMD.

“They will be transformative for patients who currently have to organise their lives around monthly clinic visits for uncomfortable intraocular injections, who will in the future have the convenience of self-administering their medical treatment.”

Keith Roizman, Founder, Executive Chairman, and Chief Technology Officer of Macregen said: “Macregen and the company’s prospective strategic partners and licensees are expected to make significant investments in laboratory proof of concept studies, the subsequent research and development programmes and clinical trials.

“We will also pursue the necessary and required regulatory programmes to make these eye drops available to patients.”

 

Article appeared on ScienceDaily, July 19, 2018

University of Birmingham. “Researchers are one step closer to developing eye drops to treat common sight loss condition.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 July 2018.

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180719142004.htm 

AI

Google AI May Reveal Health Risks Through Your Eyes

Google AI May Reveal Health Risks Through Your Eyes

You visit the ophthalmologist to get your vision checked, but sometimes an eye exam reveals much more. Researchers at Google say a new application of artificial intelligence shows whether a patient’s eyes point to high blood pressure or risk of a heart attack or stroke.

That the eyes can detect disease in other parts of the body is not new. Through a routine eye exam, doctors can detect diabetes, cancers and other illnesses.

Google’s AI technology has the potential to make detection of diseases faster and cheaper, possibly even providing tools that allow the public to screen themselves, according to a report in The Verge.

 

Additional information on “Assessing Cardiovascular Risk Factors with Computer Vision” is available at the Google Research Blog.

 

Written By: Ari Soglin
Feb. 20, 2018

Winter UV Eye Safety

The Hidden Risk for Skiers and Snowboarders

Most of us remember to wear eye protection and sunscreen in the summer, but we probably don’t think about it as much during the winter months, even though studies show that sun exposure — regardless of season — may increase the risk of developing cataracts, snow blindness and growths on the eye, including cancer.

Do you take the necessary precautions before you enjoy beautiful winter days? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t do so consistently.

In a recent study published in Archives of Dermatology, researchers took multiple readings of winter UV radiation at 32 high-altitude ski areas in western North America and interviewed thousands of skiers and snowboarders to find out whether they took precautions against the sun, such as wearing hats, sunscreen and goggles. The study found that most skiers and snowboarders took only occasional precautions against the sun.

However, sun reflecting off the snow can be very harsh. Exposure to UV radiation can even be high on cloudy days; in the northern hemisphere, the highest exposure is at midday. This extends through late winter and into early spring. Exposure also increases with elevation: the highest UV rating from the Archives of Dermatology study was taken at Mammoth Mountain in California.

Excessive exposure to UV light reflected off snow can damage the eyes’ front surface. In addition to cataracts, sun exposure can lead to lesions and tumors that may be cosmetically unappealing and require surgical removal. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people be especially careful to protect their eyes in the winter months and only wear goggles or sunglasses with UV protection.

 

Article appeared in American Academy of Ophthalmology

Apr. 29, 2014

Discuss your family’s eye history this JulEYE.

It’s as simple as having a conversation and as serious as saving your eyesight.

The RANZCO Eye Foundation (Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists), a national not-for-profit organization, dedicates the month of July to its annual community awareness campaign.  JulEYE is aimed at educating Australians about eye disease and this year is encouraging everyone to discuss their family eye history. Despite 75% of vision loss being preventable or treatable, many Australians are still not finding out if eye disease is part of their family history to determine if they’re at risk and need to have their eyes checked.

juleye

RANZCO Fellow, Professor Frank Martin AM says: “To ensure we preserve our eyesight, Australians need to be more aware of their family’s eye history. If you have a family history of eye disease, a medical condition that can have eye related issues such as diabetes or are over the age of 40, eye testing every two years is essential as it is the most effective way to identify problems early. So this July, find out about your family’s eye health history.”

CEO of The RANZCO Eye Foundation, Jacinta Spurrett explains the JulEYE campaign, now in its sixth year, continues to educate Australians about eye disease.

“Too many young people equate vision loss or blindness to old age, but eye disease, like cancer, is indiscriminate and can happen at any age. More than 200,000 Australians are currently suffering from vision loss related to eye disease and every year a further 10,000 Australians will lose part of their vision or go blind. It is very important that you find out if you have a history of eye disease in the family and if necessary, be referred to an Ophthalmologist to have your eyes tested this July,” Spurrett adds.

“Each year we aim to reach more and more Australians with our message. Our focus in the first week of JulEYE is to encourage Australians to discuss their family’s eye history and to get their eyes tested if there is a history of eye disease. We will also highlight the real and increasing rate of diabetic retinopathy. With over 1.1 million Australians currently diagnosed with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes , it is vital that eye health check-ups are part of their overall diabetes management. Throughout JulEYE we will continue to challenge Australians to start talking about their family’s eye health and make it part of their family health discussions,” Jacinta Spurrett said.

Joining the JulEYE call to action is INXS band member and ‘JulEYE’ Ambassador, Kirk Pengilly; renowned Australian legal academic and 2011 Senior Australian of Year, Professor Ron McCallum AO, who has been totally blind since birth; former Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Betty Churcher AO who suffers from macular degeneration; and one of Australia’s highest-selling independent musical artists and motivational speakers, Lorin Nicholson who is also legally blind.

No one should take his or her eyesight for granted.

An eye test can detect the main causes of vision loss such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts. Eye disease is not just an affliction of the elderly – many of these diseases are hereditary and can cause blindness in babies, teenagers and adults alike. To find out where you can be tested, or to donate to The RANZCO Eye Foundation and support eye health research and sustainable development projects, visit www.eyefoundation.org.au or to join the conversation, go to: http://www.facebook.com/EyeFoundation

glasses

Do glasses weaken your eyes?

The popular belief that glasses weaken your eyes is a myth.

If you wear glasses, chances are you’ve wondered from time to time if they’re making your eyesight worse. Not while you’re wearing them, but when you take them off.

Pretty much everyone will need glasses at some point in their lives. And when it happens to you, you’ll probably ask yourself the question on the lips of specs wearers everywhere: do glasses weaken your eyes?

Struggling to focus on printed matter is an unfortunate sign of ageing. Changes to the lens of the eye as you get older mean you have to move the page further and further away before you can see properly. It’s called presbyopia and it strikes us all, usually by our mid 40s. And most of us end up having to wear glasses.

If you think your eyesight’s got worse since you’ve started wearing glasses, you’re far from alone. But the truth is many eye conditions, including presbyopia, get worse over time by themselves, specs or no specs.

In other words, it seems harder to read things without your glasses because it is. But it was going to happen anyway, and your glasses aren’t to blame.

What your specs have done is got you used to seeing more clearly. So when you take them off, the contrasting blurriness is more noticeable.

Glasses don’t change the process of presbyopia or other eye conditions. But take them off, and your eyes might seem a tad lazy at mustering any remaining focusing power. That’s because the muscles that bend and straighten the lens of your eye haven’t worked as hard when your specs have been doing some of the job.

But your glasses haven’t made your vision worse. The real problem isn’t weak focusing muscles; the real problem is your eye’s lens has become less flexible so it can’t focus as well. And there’s not much you can do about that.

Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV light might help delay the stiffening of the lens that causes presbyopia. But the only way to escape it completely is to die young. Not a great option!

So if you want to see well throughout life, wearing glasses or contact lenses is pretty much inevitable – and not harmful. You might as well just accept it (and blame your high school careers adviser for not steering you into the lucrative field of optometry!)

Thanks to Professor David Atchinson, Queensland University of Technology for expert information and Jordan’s Seafood Restaurant and HineSight Optometry for filming assistance.

 

Article appeared on ABC Health & Wellbeing 

by Cathy Johnson

Published 01/07/2008

eyes all over

Eyes All Over – 36th Annual AONA Conference

36th Annual Australian Ophthalmic Nurses Association Conference – Eyes All Over

The clinical team from FOCUS Eye Centre attended the 36th Annual AONA Conference in Sydney over the weekend, with the theme for 2018 set as Eyes All Over. 

Our clinical team was well represented at the conference with Ophthalmologist and Deputy Director of the Lions NSW Eye Bank Dr Con Petsoglou presenting the Welcoming Address on corneal graft surgery and Orthoptist Sally Turner presenting on IOL selection for spectacle free vision. Both presentations were well received by conference attendees and discussed latest technology in corneal graft surgery and information to consider when planning cataract surgery in order to provide better patient outcomes.

 

Technology was a popular topic at the conference with advances in ophthalmology discussed throughout the day, as well as specific cases on uveitis, keratoprosthesis, clinical education, holistic patient care and updates on the NSQHS standards.

 

Focus Eye Centre prides itself on ensuring our staff are well versed and keep our Eyes All Over the latest advances in ophthalmology to provide to our patients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bionic eye

Major step taken toward bionic eye trials in Australia

A major step towards helping the blind to see again has been taken, with an Australian-developed ‘bionic eye’ receiving ethics approval to start human trials.

Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld at the Monash Vision Group says patient recruitment for the first trial will begin in the next two months.

“This is a very major milestone for us,” Prof Rosenfeld told AAP while at the Health Beyond Research; Innovation Showcase in Sydney yesterday.

He said the approval granted by the Alfred Health Ethics Committee is a vindication of what his team has achieved so far.

“We can now start manufacturing enough of the devices to go into our first patient,” he said.

“I would aim to do one or two patients to start with just to do very detailed testing and make sure the device is doing everything we are hoping its going to do.

“Then once we have shown that, we can then start doing more patients and get other centres to take it on as well, both in Australia and overseas,” he said.

The Gennaris Bionic Vision System, or bionic eye, comprises a miniature camera worn by the user on custom designed headgear.

This is linked to a processing computer – a bit bigger than a mobile phone – which transforms the images captured by the camera to patterns and dots like pixels.

Each of these dots stimulate a tiny 5mm computer chip containing 500,000 electrical transistors that has been surgically implanted in the brain via a wireless antenna worn on the back of the head.

“So it bypasses the eyes altogether,” explained Prof Rosenfeld.

“Anyone with glaucoma or who have lost their eyes through trauma are very suitable for our device because it’s going directly into the brain,” he said.

Prof Rosenfeld says much like the Cochlear ear implant, the brain would have to slowly adapt to the ‘artificial’ vision.

While it doesn’t promise complete restoration of vision, the professor is confident it will give some sight back to those who are completely blind.

“What we hope is that the person will be able to recognise shapes in front of them like a saucer and cup or a spoon, where the doorway is, whether people are moving or not; these are the sorts of things people should get out of it. They may also be able to read large print as well,” said Prof Rosenfeld.

The device has been in development for several years.

 

This article appeared on TVNZ on Wednesday 6th June 2018

Keratoconus Treatment Corneal Collagen Cross Linking to be supported by Medicare

Corneal Collagen Cross Linking (CCXL) for keratoconus will be added to the Medicare Benefits Scheme from 1 May 2018.

The lone awaited news has been welcomed by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO), including the RANZCO-affiliated Australian and New Zealand Cornea Society, who have been calling for this change for a number of years.

Access to rebate for CCXL through Medicare will make this important treatment available for people who were previously unable to access it due to cost and availability.

In Australia, people with keratoconus will often require corneal transplantation, which, while often necessary, is a complex and invasive procedure that requires donor corneas to be available and has a long recovery period. However, if these patients are able to undergo timely CCXL, which uses ultra violet (UV) light and drops to help slow the progression of the condition, it is likely that they can avoid corneal transplantation altogether.

“This is an important step that brings an innovative and effective treatment option to the many people living with the effects of keratoconus in Australia,” said Professor Gerard Sutton, Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Cornea Society. “From 1 May these people will have available to them a less invasive option that could mitigate the need for a full corneal transplant and that can either stop or slow down the progression of this visually impairing condition. This is a hugely positive and very welcome change.”

Keratoconus causes a person’s cornea to change shape over time, often resulting in blurry vision and impacting people’s ability to undertake every day tasks, in particular causing difficulty driving at night.

Bright lights can start to appear streaked, glare and halos can appear around lights and over time visual function can become progressively worse making it difficult to go about daily life.

“The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) endorses the federal government’s initiative in recognising the importance of crosslinking for the prevention of sight threatening disease, and in providing financial support for patients suffering from progressive keratoconus. We are delighted that this important innovation is being made more readily available for those that need it,” said RANZCO President, Associate Professor Mark Daniell.

 

mivision | 11 April 2018