Macular Degeneration: nanotech drug treatment could replace eyeball injections

September 26, 2015

Melbourne, Australia, researchers have developed a miniature drug-delivery system that could save people with macular degeneration the 10 injections a year – directly into the eye – that serve as the standard treatment in staving off blindness.

The injections, apart from being a psychological torment, require 24-hour recovery period and increasingly leave the patient at risk of infection, scarring and retinal damage.

Scientists at the Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science have come up with a miniature sponge-like device that delivers multiple doses directly into the macula, the region of the eye responsible for fine vision that allows you to read, drive and recognise faces.

Nano Sponge

Professor Ben Boyd, from the ARC Centre for Bio-Nano Science and the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, says it’s thought the device could be loaded with 10 doses of medication, and therefore would only need to be injected once a year.

The tiny sponge is covered in nano-sized light-sensitive pores (one-millionth the thickness of a human hair) that open and close when exposed to infra-red light pulses. Professor Boyd says this means that an ophthalmologist will be able to trigger the medication every six weeks using the same kind of laser deployed in other eye procedures.
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Do patients with age-related macular degeneration have trouble with touch screens?

September 26, 2015

The following is from the journal of the American Academy of Optometry:

Older adults with central vision loss caused by age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have no problem with accuracy in performing touch screen tasks, according to a study in the October issue of Optometry and Vision Science, official journal of the American Academy of Optometry.

But their performance is slower—especially during the initial “exploration” phase of tasks, according to the new research by Quentin Lenoble, PhD, of Université Lille Nord de France and colleagues. The study provides initial insights into the best ways of adapting touch screen applications for use by the millions of people affected by AMD.


People with AMD Are Accurate, But Slower, in Using Touch Screens

Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of loss in , causing serious impairment in driving, reading, and other daily tasks. “The advent of digital displays and use of computer screens has opened up many new possibilities for reading activities and travel aids for AMD sufferers,” comments Anthony Adams, OD, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Optometry and Vision Science.

Dr. Lenoble and colleagues designed an experiment to see how AMD affected performance on a simple touch screen task. Twenty-four older adults with AMD were asked to explore scenes presented on a touch screen, and then to drag pictured objects to the corresponding scene—for example, matching a fish to the sea.

Their performance was compared with that of older adults without AMD, as well as young adults with normal vision. All three groups were highly accurate in matching the objects to the corresponding scene, with correct response rates of about 99 percent.

However, there were significant differences in the initial “exploration phase”—when participants were visually exploring the scenes presented on the touch screen. Average exploration time was about four seconds for AMD patients, compared to three seconds for older subjects with normal vision. For younger subjects, exploration time was significantly shorter: less than one second.

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OkuStim therapy found effective at slowing the progression of Retinitis Pigmetosa

September 19, 2015

NICE, France, Sept. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Okuvision GmbH, the leading developer of transcorneal electrical stimulation (TES) therapy for early and intermediate stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients, announced today that post-market clinical data of the Company’s CE marked OkuStim® treatment will be presented at the European Society of Retina Specialists (EURETINA) Congress 2015. Key findings from the TESOLA and EST II studies will be presented by Dr.Lubka Naycheva, specialist and head of the outpatient clinic at the University Eye Hospital Frankfurt, Germany at the retina industry’s leading conference, now in its 15th year, taking place 17-20 September in Nice, France.

Dr. Naycheva’s  presentation titled “Transcorneal Electrical Stimulation Treatment for Patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa – Summary of Results from the TESOLA Study – a Multicentric Observational Study” highlights the results of 105 patients who were treated with OkuStim for 30 minutes weekly over a period of six months. The majority of patients reported satisfaction with the therapy. Further information on the study’s findings will be presented as a free paper scheduled for Thursday, 17 September at 02:40 PM, Room Calliope, Acropolis as well as a poster presentation number 7679 17 – 20 September 2015 in Acropolis, Nice.

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Macular Degeneration Relapse Linked to Exudate Type

September 19, 2015

Moving Beyond Central Foveal Thickness

In patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration, pigment epithelial detachment and intraretinal cysts are more important biomarkers of vision loss than subretinal fluid, researchers report.

subretinal fluid

This information will be useful when determining which patients need to be followed most closely, said Hrvoje Bogunović, PhD, from the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Ophthalmic Image Analysis at the Medical University of Vienna.

“It all comes down to the need to optimize the treatment,” he told Medscape Medical News. The current standard measure of neovascular age-related macular degeneration — central foveal thickness — is only loosely correlated to visual function.

Dr Bogunović presented the finding here at the European Society of Retina Specialists 15th EURETINA Congress.

“The correlation is not strong, but the message is clear: it’s the volume of the cystoid fluid that is associated with poorer vision,” he said.

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September 17, 2015

The following is from Thibault Peant:

Dear Mr. Logan,

I’m contacting you regarding the launch of Claria Zoom, our all-in-one Android application that makes life easier for elderly and people suffering from eye diseases (AMD, glaucoma…) and helps them stay active and independent.

As you may know, 580 million people are aged 65 and above. Many of these suffer from sight loss, and most of them have trouble using new technologies, and particularly smartphones. Using a smartphone can even turn out to be a real challenge for partially-sighted people. Nevertheless, very few Android apps are available to help these people connect to the smartphone world as easily as sighted people.

Why could this be of interest for your readers on LVATUG Blog?

Claria Zoom is the best app for low vision and offers a wide range of features to improve our users’ daily life:

  • An unrivaled reading and writing comfort: texts displayed in big characters, contrasted color themes, big keyboard and speech activation available on any screen
  • A new easy-to-read home screen for a stress-free navigation
  • A rich and complete navigation thanks to a set of 20+ redesigned and easy-to-use functionalities: phone, text messages, emails, pedestrian GPS, electronic magnifier, OCR… 

Moreover, Claria Zoom can replace dedicated devices for low vision enabling users to save hundreds of dollars.

Please find more information on our website: (video)

How much does it cost?

The demo version of Claria Zoom is available for free on the Google Play Store (download here), and for only $3,99/month (rolling contract), users can enjoy all the functionalities of Claria Zoom (30 days of free trial).

Please find enclosed the press release for the launch of Claria Zoom along with screenshots of the app.

It would be a great help for us if you could spread the word about Claria Zoom on your blog. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any question or need further information.

Thibault Péant

250 Rue Saint-Denis
75002 Paris
P: + 33 9 72 39 27 30

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About Claria

Founded in 2011, Claria is a French provider of digital solutions for visually impaired people. Claria solutions allow both blind and partially sighted people to increase their independence and improve their everyday life, regardless of their fondness for or knowledge of new technologies.

In partnership with Doro, leader on the market of mobile phones for elderly people, Claria has been developing the Doro 820 mini Claria, the ideal smartphone for blind users. This phone has also been chosen as a referent solution for blind users by Orange, phone operator.

Claria Zoom (solution for partially sighted users) won the Golden Silmo award in the “low vision” section at the 2014 World Optical Fair in Paris.

Treatment of Macular Degeneration Using Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelium in Asia

September 13, 2015

The following is from Lauren Tappan:


  • Human embryonic-stem-cell-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells were transplanted
  • Patches of increasing pigmentations were observed after transplantation of the cells
  • Visual function stabilized or improved in all of these macular degeneration patients
  • There were no serious adverse events associated with the cells up to 1 year


Embryonic stem cells hold great promise for various diseases because of their unlimited capacity for self-renewal and ability to differentiate into any cell type in the body. However, despite over 3 decades of research, there have been no reports on the safety and potential efficacy of pluripotent stem cell progeny in Asian patients with any disease. Here, we report the safety and tolerability of subretinal transplantation of human embryonic-stem-cell (hESC)-derived retinal pigment epithelium in four Asian patients: two with dry age-related macular degeneration and two with Stargardt macular dystrophy. They were followed for 1 year. There was no evidence of adverse proliferation, tumorigenicity, ectopic tissue formation, or other serious safety issues related to the transplanted cells. Visual acuity improved 9–19 letters in three patients and remained stable (+1 letter) in one patient. The results confirmed that hESC-derived cells could serve as a potentially safe new source for regenerative medicine.

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International Assistive Technology Conference

September 12, 2015

The following is from Lauren Tappan:

The ATIA 2016 international assistive technology conference will be in Orlando at the Caribe Royale All-Suites and Resort Convention center February 3 – 6. They have an incredible line-up of venders, workshops, and seminars. If you are considering purchasing an assistive device and have the time, money and patience I highly recommend attending this conference.


AbleNet Adaptivation Adaptive Switch Laboratories Ai Squared American Occupational Therapy Association American Printing House for the Blind AssistiveWare Attainment Company BAUM Retec BlueSky Designs Cadan Technologies Charmtech Labs LLC Compusult Conversor Crick Software Daedalus Technologies, Inc. Dolphin Don Johnston Incorporated Duxbury Systems EnableMart Enabling Technologies Enhanced Vision Eschenbach Optik Freedom Scientific FRS Custom Solutions gh, LLC HIMS HumanWare InclusiveTLC IRIE-AT/Zoomax USA Jabbla Job Accommodation Network Kurzweil Education LC Technology Solutions Incorporated Learning Ally LessonPix Lusovu Lda LVI n2y Nasco Optelec Oribi Origin Instruments Perkins Solutions Prentke Romich Company Regina & District Association for Community Living REHAdapt North America Saltillo Corporation Smartbox Smarty Symbols Sonocent Speak For Yourself LLC TACK-TILES Braille Systems Texthelp The Center for AAC & Autism Therapy Box Tobii Dynavox Voxello Inc. Widgit ZYGO-USA

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