We tend to view our annual ARVO report as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it involves reviewing abstracts online until your vision is reduced to hand motion. On the other, it’s a terrific way to catch up on both the clinically relevant research that may impact your practice and patients in the near future, as well as the more esoteric, early-stage and proof-of-concept kinds of ideas that may or may not ever see the light of day in the clinic.
While we favor the former and dabble in the latter, there are always a handful of studies that just don’t seem to fit neatly into any box. Here are a few of the studies that didn’t make it into our report, but warrant mention for their novelty, news value or just simple strangeness (as determined solely by me).
Bausch + Lomb researchers have uncovered yet another reason to drink green tea: epigallocatechin gallate, the major polyphenol component of green tea, may act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agent in epithelial cells and have therapeutic potential for ocular inflammatory conditions such as dry eye.Poster #311
Does Medicare reimbursement affect treatment choices? Researchers at Duke looked at reimbursement for punctal plugs in dry-eye patients over seven years ending in 2008. Despite a 28-percent increase in the frequency of dry-eye diagnosis during the period, the use of punctal plugs declined “coincident with declining Medicare reimbursement for this procedure,” the group says. With the confounding introduction of Restasis in the middle of the study period, it’s hard to pin the reduction in use directly to reimbursement rates.3852
Want to know if your AMD patient on intravitreal Lucentis will need a retreatment? Ask him. A group at King’s College in London asked patients their opinion on the need for an injection on the current visit, based on their perception of visual deterioration or distortion, and compared them with changes in vision since the previous visits and fluid on OCT. The result: “Patients are able to predict the reactivation of the disease,” they report, and their predictions correlated well with the visual acuity change and OCT findings.107
Your Jaeger chart may be on its way out. A SUNY College of Optometry group looked at text size and viewing distances for smart phones. Typical working distances and font sizes for these devices are closer than traditional newsprint. “Practitioners need to consider the closer distances adopted while viewing material on smart phones when examining patients and prescribing refractive corrections for use at near,” they say.2840
Lastly, a study that did make it into our report considered the effects of Viagra on intraocular pressure. I found it an interesting study but wondered at the relatively low ‘n’ of just nine subjects. We looked into it and it turns out the original cohort was a robust 500. It probably should have been predicted that one hour after receiving their Viagra, 491 healthy Argentinian gentlemen were suddenly, as they say in the business, “lost to follow-up.”
OK, that last part I made up.