• By Anni Griswold
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology, Cornea/External Disease, Retina/Vitreous

    A weekly roundup of ophthalmic news from around the web.

    A self-delivering RNAi drug for retinal scarring seems safe and may improve vision, according to early findings from a phase 1/2 trial. RXI-109 blocks expression of a scar-promoting protein to reduce subretinal fibrosis associated with wet AMD. The therapy was safe and well tolerated in all 9 patients. Early findings hint that it may improve vision and halt or even reverse disease progression. RXi Pharmaceuticals

    A teen’s extreme height nearly disqualified him from keratoconus treatment—until his mother reached out to ophthalmologist Brian Boxer Wachler, MD, inventor of the Holcomb C3-R crosslinking procedure. Four prior ophthalmologists had balked at the idea of operating on the World’s Tallest Teen, but Wachler adapted his treatment room to accommodate the boy’s 7’ 2” frame and says the procedure went well: “We have had super tall patients like NBA basketball players such as Rudy Gay, but I have never operated on someone as tall as Kevin.” Cision PR Web

    Diabetic retinopathy, AMD and glaucoma raise the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by about 50%, according to a long-term study of 3,877 people. “Ophthalmologists should be more aware of the risks of developing dementia for people with these eye conditions, and primary care doctors seeing patients with these eye conditions might be more careful on checking on possible dementia or memory loss,” said ophthalmologist Cecilia Lee, MD, who led the study that appeared Aug. 8 in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. University of Washington

    Blue light from televisions, cell phones and tablet screens can transform ordinary retinal molecules into chemical poisons that destroy photoreceptor cells and speed visual decline, researchers warned recently in Nature Scientific Reports. The lethal combination of blue light and retinal molecules isn’t specific to the eye — cancer cells, heart cells and neurons also crumble in its presence. Avoid staring at cell phones or tablets in the dark, the scientists say. University of Toledo

    Duke researchers have created light-sensing 3D organoids containing all human retinal cell types, according to a paper in the journal Stem Cells. This isn’t the first time researchers have produced a light-responsive 3D retinal cell model, but it may be the only one capable of supporting large-scale automation and drug screening.  Duke University

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