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Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, May 7-11

Last Updated: May 12, 2017.

The 2017 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 7 to 11 in Baltimore and attracted more than 12,000 participants from around the world, including clinicians, academicians, allied health professionals, and others interested in vision and ophthalmology. The conference highlighted recent advances in vision and ophthalmology, with presentations focusing on the latest research in amblyopia, cataracts, glaucoma, macular edema, myopia, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and diabetic retinopathy.

In one study, Petr Baranov, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues found that retinal ganglion cell transplantation is a feasible strategy to restore the retina and optic nerve in diseases such as glaucoma and other optic neuropathies.

"We have demonstrated how to produce retinal ganglion cells from stem cells in vitro in quantities sufficient for pre-clinical development and transplantation. The important finding is that the cells we can make show the diversity of subtypes found in the retina of the eye. They also can integrate into the healthy or diseased retina following intravitreal delivery," Baranov said. "Learning from other cell therapy development stories in the eye (neural progenitors, retinal pigment epithelium), we expect the transition to clinical trial in three to five years."

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In an experimental study, Francisco Damico, M.D., of the University of São Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues found that gestational exposure to marijuana smoke has the potential to inflict lasting effects on the structure of the retina, with progression of effects as the offspring gets older.

"Our study focused on the effects of the daily inhalation of marijuana smoke by pregnant mice in the offspring's retina. Little is known about the impacts of maternal use of cannabis on retinal development and its potential postnatal consequences," Damico said. "We tried to mimic human recreational use of marijuana with our experimental model in order to assesses the potential effects during pregnancy. Our results show that gestational exposure to marijuana smoke resulted in pups with retinas 12 percent thinner on average than non-exposed pups. In addition, evaluation at three time points allowed us to see that retinal thinning continues as the pups get older. It is known that thinner retinas are indicative of poor visual function in many diseases (e.g., AMD, glaucoma, optic neuritis). Thus, we can speculate that this retinal thinning may cause a decrease in visual function or even visual loss in the offspring later in their life."

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Vivian Vuong, of the University of California Davis in Sacramento, and colleagues found that eyes with dry AMD had a slower rate of vessel dilation after treatment with sildenafil citrate, suggesting that the stiffening of choroidal vessels may play a role in the pathogenesis of this condition.

"Previous studies suggest that the choroidal vasculature may be involved in the development and progression of the disease. We investigated whether the compliance, or flexibility, of the choroidal blood vessels are affected in either the neovascular or 'wet' form, or the atrophic or 'dry' form of AMD," Vuong said. "Both forms of AMD (wet and dry) showed an increase in choroidal thickness at one and three hours after a single oral dose of 100 mg of sildenafil citrate. Eyes with dry AMD demonstrated a slower rate of increase, particularly in the presence of reticular pseudodrusen and geographic atrophy. Number of prior anti-vascular endothelial growth factor injections did not impact choroidal response to sildenafil administration."

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ARVO: Conformers Can Stimulate Socket Expansion in MICA

FRIDAY, May 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A series of conformers can be used to stimulate socket expansion for children with severe microphthalmia/anophthalmia (MICA), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, held from May 7 to 11 in Baltimore.

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ARVO: Latanoprost Halts Myopia Progression in Animal Study

FRIDAY, May 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Daily topical latanoprost may help stop progression of myopia, offering a potential new treatment for the condition, according to an experimental study presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, held from May 7 to 11 in Baltimore.

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ARVO: Dichoptic Augmented-Reality Treats Adult Amblyopia

TUESDAY, May 9, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- A novel contrast-rebalance paradigm of daily-activity-based dichoptic training with an augmented reality (AR) platform appears beneficial for adults with monocular anisometropic amblyopia, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, held from May 7 to 11 in Baltimore.

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