Ophthalmology Overview: Racial Inequities in Ocular Health Care, Eye Implications of Alzheimer Disease, and More

Highlighting the latest ophthalmology-related news reported across MJH Life Sciences™.

Highlighting the latest ophthalmology-related news reported across MJH Life Sciences.

Combating Racial Inequities in Ocular Health Care

In addressing racial inequity in health outcomes, an article by Ophthalmology Times® spotlighted the health disparities present in eye care. Currently, demographics of practicing ophthalmologists signal a growing racial gap, as 6% of these physician populations are of a minority group, including Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans.

With research showing that when Black men are treated by a Black doctor, they receive more effective care, organizations such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) have made steps to combat the racial disparities in the current generation of ophthalmologists.

In addition to the creation of the Minority Ophthalmology Mentoring program 5 years ago, the AAO has developed 2 task forces: one to self-check if it is living up to its mission to have equal representation in leadership, committee chair structure, and beyond, and the other to look at clinical outcomes in ophthalmology and the racial disparities within. The latter task force also will focus on access, workforce issues, and educational resources, with the goal of reducing racial gaps in ocular health outcomes.

How Ophthalmologists Can Assist in Diagnosing Alzheimer Disease

Reported by Modern Retina, symptoms present in the retina, optic nerve, and the more posterior afferent visual system in the temporal and parietal lobes may provide diagnostic implications of Alzheimer disease (AD), particularly at earlier stages. Because constricted visual fields may serve as an initial pre­sentation of AD, ophthalmologists would typically be the first physician consulted in a patient’s care prior to a neurologist.

In discussing a case study, several tests exhibited slight, but not striking abnormalities in visual issues. However, other tests, including multifocal electroretinography (ERG) and automated perimetry, showed presence of brain disease in the right parietal temporal lobe that suggested potential presence of AD.

Highlighting practical guidelines for ophthalmologists, Robert C. Sergott, MD, director of the Neuro-Ophthalmology Ser­vice at Wills Eye Hospital, said that multifo­cal ERG may be the most sensitive test to identify retinal abnormalities in patients with dementia syndromes, and he advised physicians to monitor patients with visual field defects who have trouble with the automated perime­try test, particularly those with repeated attempts.

Consistent Administration of Ranibizumab Via Port Delivery System Proves Effective

Following data from the phase 3 Archway trial, the FDA approved the biological license application for the Port Delivery System (PDS) with ranibizumab manufactured by Genentech in the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

As reported by Ophthalmology Times®, data showed that 98% of participants with wet AMD being treated with the PDS did not require additional treatment prior to the refill exchange for 6 months. If approved, the PDS would become the first and only eye implant with continuous drug delivery, which could offer people with wet AMD an alternative that can reduce the treatment burden associated with frequent anti–vascular endothelial growth factor eye injections.

The FDA is expected to make an approval decision by October 23, 2021.