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American Academy of Ophthalmology, Nov. 16-19

Last Updated: November 22, 2013.

The 117th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) was held from Nov. 16 to 19 in New Orleans and attracted approximately 24,000 participants from around the world. The conference featured presentations focusing on the latest advances in comprehensive eye care, including medical, surgical, and optical care.

In one study, Anat Galor, M.D., of the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and colleagues found that the environment affects dry eye syndrome, which is associated with significant morbidity. The investigators suggest that environmental manipulations may be warranted both on an individual and global level.

"Dry eye syndrome is a prevalent condition. Air pollution and weather conditions influence presence of disease. A higher risk of dry eye syndrome has been associated with higher air pollution, higher atmospheric pressure, and lower humidity," said Galor.

One author disclosed financial ties to Bausch + Lomb.

Press Release

In another study, Jonathan Micieli, M.D., of the University of Toronto, and colleagues found that professional National Hockey League (NHL) players who choose not to wear a protective visor are significantly more likely to experience an eye or orbital injury that results in games being missed.

"This takes a large human and financial toll on the league -- a cost of over $32 million. Most injuries occur by deflected pucks and high sticks and are mostly accidental in nature," said Micieli. "Eye injuries are an economic burden to the NHL as they still have to pay the player who is missing games, they have to call up a player from their minor league team, and there are large direct medical costs and other indirect costs. Not to mention, they may not get the player back if his vision does not recover, which is sometimes, unfortunately, the case."

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology industries.

Press Release

Yvonne Luo, of the Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London, and colleagues examined the response of eight patients implanted with the Argus II retinal prosthesis system when presented with eight common objects (namely a teapot, a mug, a plate, a salt and pepper pot set, a set of keys, a remote control, a mobile phone, and a wallet).

The Argus II retinal prosthesis is a system in which the subject's glasses have a miniature video camera attached that sends information to a patient-worn video processing unit. Here, the camera-captured image is processed into instructions transmitted wirelessly to a retinal implant. The implant is fitted with 60 electrodes that pulse to stimulate cells in the retina. Visual information is then transmitted along the optic nerve to the brain, creating the perception of patterns of light.

"The Argus II system allowed blind subjects to correctly identify common real-life objects more frequently with the device on than off. The accuracy of identification could be improved by enhancing the outlines of the objects," said Luo. "The findings of this study have practical implications in terms of modifying a subject's environment and allowing future development in image capturing and processing units to maximize a subject's performance with the device."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Second Sight Medical Products. One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology industries.

Press Release

During the meeting, the AAO launched a comprehensive eye disease and condition patient database, the IRIS™ Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight), to improve patient care.

"Electronic health records (EHRs) don't improve quality. Registries like IRIS will enable doctors to compare their quality scores and their risk adjusted outcomes for cataract, corneal grafts, etc., to their group, their sub-specialty, or to a national benchmark," said William Rich, M.D., medical director of health policy for the AAO. "It is the first registry that will demonstrate the impact of interventions (surgeries, drugs, devices, biologics) on the natural course of a disease and help identify which are the most efficacious for different patients."

According to Rich, IRIS will have no impact on clinical practice workflow. It will extract data overnight from a physician's EHR and will load it into your registry.

"In the future, IRIS will be the basis of research for randomized clinical trials and drug/device surveillance," Rich added.

Press Release

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Shan Lin, M.D., of the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues found that women who had taken oral contraceptives for three or more years had a higher risk of glaucoma.

"This study should be an impetus for future research to prove the cause and effect of oral contraceptives and glaucoma," Lin said in a statement. "At this point, women who have taken oral contraceptives for three or more years should be screened for glaucoma and followed closely by an ophthalmologist, especially if they have any other existing risk factors."

One author disclosed financial ties to Allergan and Merck.

Press Release

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