Serious Work

ARVO is the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. According to its website it is the largest and most respected eye and vision organization with over 12,000 members from 75 countries.

Basically, ARVO is hot stuff in the vision world.

The 2017 ARVO conference will be at the Baltimore Convention Center starting May 7. If we don’t get this page published for another four months, the 2018 conference is in Honolulu. We could always go there!😎

If you cannot get to Oahu, the ‘Big Island’, for next year, you can always view abstracts of presentations from past ARVO conferences online. There are sections on a variety of eye problems, one of them being retinal concerns.

The first abstract included under retina from 2016 talked about how damaging scar tissue in the eye can be for vision. While anti-VEGF drugs serve to halt the growth of extra blood vessels, they do not prevent the growth of scar tissue. Researchers are working on producing antibodies that will react with the connective tissue growth factor in a protein that contributes to scar tissue formation. This research is still in the (real) rat labs, but may someday be given to wet AMD people with bleeds. Remember bleeds can lead to scars.

The second one mentioned – oops, actually the third – talked about the lack of plasma diagnostic markers for AMD. Plasma diagnostic markers can be found in blood. Someday there may be a blood test that will allow us to determine who is going to start with wet AMD and prevent the growth of new blood vessels even before it starts.

Other abstracts included in the retina section talked about ways of improving ‘bionic eyes’ to provide more details in the images and, yet others, talked about the research being done with stem cells. While the stem cell, clinical trials I am interested in are dry AMD only, there have also been phase 1 clinicals using wet AMD patients. The researcher there, Zheng Qin Yin, reported vision improvement just as was seen in phase 1 clinicals with stem cells and dry AMD. Bonus!

In some studies the stem cell source was embryonic but in other studies they are using bone marrow stem cells. The bone marrow people are also getting promising results.

Never heard of subretinal fibrosis, but apparently someone is studying it! Philipp Roberts to be exact. Not sure why Philipp has two P’s but that is the way he is listed. Anyway……Philipp tells us subretinal fibrosis is the end stage of wet AMD. Apparently you cannot tell the difference between “regular” neovascular tissue and subretinal fibroid tissue with standard imaging techniques. Philipp is working on that.

Basically, there is some serious work being done to hopefully get us out of this mess. I have not said this for a while but I can say it here: now really is the best time in history to be going blind.

And if you are in Baltimore the week of May 7th? Thank a vision researcher for his or her effort. They should be easy to find. The website predicts 11,000 in attendance! Continue reading “Serious Work”

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News: August 25-26, 2016

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