American Academy of Ophthalmology, Oct. 15-18

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The 120th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology was held from Oct. 15 to 18 in Chicago and attracted approximately 6,000 participants from around the world, including ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians, and other eye health care professionals. The conference featured presentations focusing on the latest advances in comprehensive eye care, including medical, surgical, and optical care.

In a pilot study, Elad Moisseiev, M.D., of the Tel Aviv Medical Center in Israel, and colleagues found that a wearable artificial vision device, Orcam My Eye, may help legally blind individuals (visual acuity of less than 20/200) read, complete activities of daily living, and recognize faces better.

The hands-free device, which features a camera, clips to an individual's eye glasses and takes an image of what the individual is viewing and dictates what it is seeing to the patient through a bone-conduction earpiece. The investigators evaluated the device in 12 legally blind patients and observed a statistically significant improvement in the performance of activities of daily living, including recognizing products and reading a variety of items such as e-mails, letters, newspapers, books, and signs.

"While there have been many advances in eye care, the options for assistance in completing daily tasks are limited and cumbersome," Moisseiev said in a statement. "This represents a new step in the evolution of assistance devices for people with low vision, giving them hope for improving their functionality, independence, and quality of life."

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In another study, Seyed Javad Hashemian, M.D., of Rassoul Akram Hospital and the Iran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, and colleagues found that patients with extreme nearsightedness or severe astigmatism who are not suitable candidates for LASIK procedure may benefit from vision surgery using intraocular lenses such as Phakic intraocular collamer lenses (Phakic ICLs).

The investigators evaluated the effectiveness of vision corrective surgery with Phakic ICLs in 60 eyes in 31 individuals with moderate to extreme levels of myopia or severe astigmatism (all had 20/200 vision or worse). After five years of follow-up post-surgery, the researchers found that 57 percent of eyes (34 eyes) achieved 20/40 vision without the use of glasses or contact lenses. In addition, the investigators found that another 23 percent of eyes (14 eyes) achieved 20/40 vision with the addition of glasses or contacts. In terms of adverse events, two eyes needed realignment.

"The main concerns for this type of procedure are early and late complications," Hashemian said in a statement. "This study shows that if we have a complete preoperative evaluation and choose those who are most likely to be the best candidates for the procedure, Phakic ICL implantation can improve quality of vision and function."

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Jack Parker, M.D., of the Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery in Rotterdam, and colleagues found that Bowman layer transplantation was safe and effective in patients with advanced keratoconus and may prove an effective alternative to full corneal transplantation. The investigators evaluated the efficacy and safety of Bowman layer transplantation in 22 eyes among 19 individuals with advanced keratoconus and followed them for five years.

After five years of follow-up, the investigators found that the Bowman layer transplantation procedure improved vision and stabilized the disease in 90 percent of eyes that underwent the procedure. In addition, the procedure improved patient vision to 20/200. No patients experienced complications commonly tied to traditional, full corneal transplantation.

"Bowman layer transplantation may be safer than a full corneal transplant, is effective, and the benefits last," Parker said in a statement. "The procedure can spare young people with the condition a lifetime of difficult, expensive, and risky eye procedures and interventions."

Parker is a consultant for DORC International.

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