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FDA Approves Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl) Gene Therapy to Treat Patients with a Rare Form of Inherited Vision Loss

Posted 20 Dec 2017 by Drugs.com

December 19, 2017 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl), a new gene therapy, to treat children and adult patients with an inherited form of vision loss that may result in blindness. Luxturna is the first directly administered gene therapy approved in the U.S. that targets a disease caused by mutations in a specific gene. “Today’s approval marks another first in the field of gene therapy — both in how the therapy works and in expanding the use of gene therapy beyond the treatment of cancer to the treatment of vision loss — and this milestone reinforces the potential of this breakthrough approach in treating a wide-range of challenging diseases. The culmination of decades of research has resulted in three gene therapy approvals this year for patients with serious and rare diseases. I believe gene therapy will become a mainstay in trea ... Read more

Related support groups: Retinal Disorders, Luxturna, Voretigene Neparvovec

Gene Therapy, Luxturna (Voretigene Neparvovec-rzyl), Approved for Rare Inherited Vision-Loss Disorders

Posted 20 Dec 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 19, 2017 – Luxturna, a form of gene therapy, has been approved to treat a rare group of inherited vision disorders that can lead to blindness. The disorders are broadly grouped together and known as biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy. They affect a combined 1,000 to 2,000 people in the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday in a news release. Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl) delivers a working copy of an existing defective gene that produces a retinal enzyme needed for normal vision. "Today's approval marks another first in the field of gene therapy, both in how the therapy works and in expanding the use of gene therapy beyond the treatment of cancer to the treatment of vision loss," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb. "I believe gene therapy will become a mainstay for treating, and maybe curing, many of our most ... Read more

Related support groups: Retinal Disorders, Visual Defect/Disturbance, Voretigene Neparvovec, Luxturna

FDA Approves Gene Therapy, Luxturna (Voretigene Neparvovec-rzyl) for Rare Form of Blindness

Posted 20 Dec 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 19, 2017 – A new gene therapy to treat children and adults with a rare type of inherited vision loss has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It's the first gene therapy approved in the United States for a disease caused by mutations in a specific gene, and only the third gene therapy ever approved. People with this disorder "now have a chance for improved vision, where little hope previously existed," Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said in an agency news release. The drug – Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl) – can be used to treat people with a condition called biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy. It causes vision loss and, in some people, may lead to complete blindness. The condition affects 1,000 to 2,000 people in the United States, according to the FDA. "One of the best ... Read more

Related support groups: Retinal Disorders, Visual Defect/Disturbance, Voretigene Neparvovec, Luxturna

Doctors Eye the Danger From 'Nerf' Guns

Posted 19 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Sept. 18, 2017 – Nerf guns can be great fun for kids – until someone damages an eye, doctors warn. Nerf guns or "blasters" are hugely popular toys – used by kids and adults alike – that shoot a soft foam "dart" or "bullet." But a new report from emergency department doctors at one British hospital is raising concerns that the toy guns might not be as harmless as once thought. The report outlines three serious eye injuries from Nerf guns and "calls into consideration the need for protective eyewear with their use," according to Drs. Mukhtar Bizrah and Seema Verma of Moorfields Eye Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust, in London. One U.S.-based doctor agreed it might be time to re-examine the safety of these products. That's because people can now purchase harder – and potentially more dangerous – Nerf "bullets" online from manufacturers not tied to the toy's maker. "The seemingly ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Glaucoma, Eye Dryness/Redness, Uveitis, Keratitis, Corneal Ulcer, Retinal Disorders, Corneal Abrasion, Visual Defect/Disturbance

Did You Damage Your Eyes Viewing the Eclipse?

Posted 22 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Aug. 22, 2017 – Millions across America watched the total or partial solar eclipse on Monday, but not everyone heeded eye-safety advice. "After the solar eclipse, we have already seen dozens of patients with concerns ranging from headaches to subjective blurry vision," noted Dr. Avnish Deobhakta. He's an ophthalmologist at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in New York City. Ideally, eclipse viewers shouldn't have taken any direct look at the sun. They should have used specially designed and filtered glasses instead. But in case that advice was forgotten, here's how to spot if you or a loved one got an unhealthy eyeful of the sun's rays. According to Deobhakta, "some of the symptoms include blurry vision, 'holes' or 'spots' in vision, light sensitivity, or infrequently, pain. You should also be concerned if you are experiencing persistent blurry vision, light ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Eye Dryness/Redness, Retinal Disorders, Visual Defect/Disturbance

Successful Guide Dogs Come From 'Tough Love' Moms

Posted 7 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 7, 2017 – Newborn puppies whose mothers let them struggle a little are more likely to succeed in guide dog training than those with doting moms, a new study suggests. "It's remarkable," said study leader Emily Bray, who recently earned a Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. "It seems that puppies need to learn how to deal with small challenges at this early age and, if they don't, it hurts them later." The study included 23 mothers and their 98 puppies at The Seeing Eye, an organization in Morristown, N.J., that breeds, raises and trains dogs to guide blind people. The researchers watched how mothers and pups interacted for the puppies' first five weeks of life. They took note of the mother's nursing position, how often she looked away from her pups, and how much time she spent nearby or licking and grooming them. Following up later, the researchers ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Retinal Disorders, Visual Defect/Disturbance

Generic Eye Drops for Seniors Could Save Millions of Dollars a Year

Posted 28 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, July 28, 2017 – Prescribing generic drugs for seniors' eye problems could save the U.S. government hundreds of millions of dollars a year, a new study suggests. Conditions like glaucoma and dry eye that require daily eye drops are common in old age. University of Michigan researchers report that eye doctors caring for seniors prescribe brand-name medications in more than three-quarters of cases, compared to one-third of cases among nearly all other specialties. "Lawmakers are currently looking for ways to reduce federal spending for health care, and policies that favor generics over brand medications or allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices may lead to cost savings," said study senior author Lindsey De Lott, of the university's Kellogg Eye Center. "Using a brand medication for a single patient may not seem like a big deal, but ultimately, these higher costs are paid by all of ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Glaucoma, Eye Dryness/Redness, Cataract, Glaucoma (Open Angle), Latanoprost, Lumigan, Travatan, Xalatan, Combigan, Alphagan, Travatan Z, Systane, Refresh, Dry Eye Disease, Cosopt, Azopt, Brimonidine, Soothe, Zioptan

Is Annual Eye Exam a Must for People With Type 1 Diabetes?

Posted 20 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, April 19, 2017 – People with type 1 diabetes face the risk of developing a disease that can cause blindness, so treatment guidelines have long called for annual eye exams. But new research suggests this one-size-fits-all advice is costly and ineffective, because people with a low risk may need less-frequent screenings while people at high risk may need to be seen more often. Diabetic retinopathy can damage the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye and trigger full vision loss, the researchers explained. Screening can catch this disease before irreparable damage is done, but not every person with diabetes faces the same risk. "For example, patients with no or minimal eye changes and good blood sugar levels might not need their next examination for another four years," said study author Dr. David Nathan. "On the other hand, if the patient already has developing eye ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Diabetes, Type 1, Dry Eye Disease, Retinal Disorders, Visual Defect/Disturbance, Diabetic Macular Edema, Diabetic Coma (in DM Type I)

Brain 'Rewires' to Work Around Early-Life Blindness

Posted 22 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 22, 2017 – Blindness at an early age triggers the brain to make new connections that enhance hearing, smell and touch, as well as memory and language, a new study suggests. Researchers used MRIs to scan the brains of 12 people who were born blind or lost their sight by age 3. The scans showed a number of changes in the brains of the people who were blind that weren't present in scans from people who could still see. Changes caused by early blindness "may be more widespread than initially thought," lead author Corinna Bauer, a scientist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, said in a hospital news release. "We observed significant changes not only in the occipital cortex [where vision is processed], but also areas implicated in memory, language processing and sensory motor functions," added Bauer. Learning more about these connections could lead to more effective rehabilitation ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Diagnosis and Investigation, Retinal Disorders, Visual Defect/Disturbance

For Seniors, Treatment for One Eye Disease May Cause Another

Posted 16 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, March 16, 2017 – Drugs that preserve vision in people with the eye disease called age-related macular degeneration might increase the risk of another eye condition – glaucoma, a new study suggests. People who received at least seven eye injections of the drug bevacizumab (Avastin) each year to treat macular degeneration have a higher risk of eventually needing surgery to treat glaucoma, the Canadian study found. But, the researchers aren't suggesting that people forgo these treatments for macular degeneration. These drugs help stave off a previously untreatable cause of blindness in the elderly, and should continue to be used, the researchers said. And, if glaucoma does develop, treatments are available. "Even though there may be a risk here, this doesn't mean you should not be getting injections for macular degeneration," said study lead author Dr. Brennan Eadie. He's an ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma (Open Angle), Votrient, Avastin, Sutent, Nexavar, Pazopanib, Stivarga, Sunitinib, Glaucoma/Intraocular Hypertension, Retinal Disorders, Cyramza, Retinopathy, Cabometyx, Iclusig, Bevacizumab, Lenvima, Ramucirumab

Eye Exam Might Help Spot Poor Circulation in Legs

Posted 9 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 8, 2017 – Could a routine eye exam some day point to trouble with circulation in the legs? New research suggests it might be possible. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said changes in the eye's retina may help spot people at risk for a narrowing of the large blood vessels in the legs – a condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD). "PAD is estimated to affect approximately 8.5 million Americans above the age of 40 years and is associated with significant morbidity, mortality and quality of life impairment," noted one heart specialist, Dr. Samy Selim. He's an interventional cardiologist at Northwell Health's Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. And while the disability from PAD is serious and widespread, "physician screening for PAD is not satisfactory, to say the least," Selim said. The new study was led by Hopkins researcher Chao Yang and is ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Eye Dryness/Redness, Pre-Diabetes, Raynaud's Syndrome, Peripheral Arterial Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Pyoderma Gangrenosum, Intermittent Claudication, Eye Redness/Itching, Retinal Disorders, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Chorioretinitis, Retinal Hemorrhage, Arterial Thrombosis, Peripheral Arteriography

'Halo' Effect Common After Lasik Eye Surgery

Posted 2 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 2, 2016 – Nine out of 10 Lasik laser eye surgery patients report satisfaction afterwards. But a sizable percentage experience new visual disturbances – like seeing halos around lights – up to six months after the procedure, a new study finds. "While Lasik has long since been proven safe and effective over decades of use, a small but significant subset of patients report post-operative effects including glare, halos and other vision symptoms, as well as dry eyes," said Dr. Christopher Starr. He's an associate professor of ophthalmology at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. "These effects typically resolve over time, either during the healing process, which can take up to 12 months, or with additional treatments if needed," said Starr, who wasn't involved in the new study. Of hundreds of patients surveyed, fewer than 1 percent said any ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Retinal Disorders, Visual Defect/Disturbance, Myopia

Lengthy Space Missions May Harm Astronauts' Vision

Posted 28 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 28, 2016 – Researchers have pinpointed the cause of a vision problem affecting astronauts who have completed long-duration space missions. The condition – called visual impairment intracranial pressure (VIIP) – has been reported by nearly two-thirds of astronauts after extended time on the International Space Station. The astronauts experienced blurred vision and were found to have structural changes, such as flattening at the back of their eyeballs and inflammation in their optic nerves. VIIP is caused by changes in the volume of clear fluid found around the brain and spinal cord, according to the study. "People initially didn't know what to make of it, and by 2010 there was growing concern as it became apparent that some of the astronauts had severe structural changes that were not fully reversible upon return to Earth," study lead author Noam Alperin said in a news ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Retinal Disorders, Visual Defect/Disturbance, Refraction - Assessment

Nearly 6 in 10 Diabetics Skip Eye Exams, Study Finds

Posted 10 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 10, 2016 – Almost two-thirds of people with diabetes don't get annual eye exams, despite having an increased risk for serious eye disease and vision loss, researchers say. About one in 10 Americans has diabetes. Having a dilated eye exam yearly or more often can prevent 95 percent of diabetes-related vision loss, the study authors said. "Vision loss is tragic, especially when it is preventable," study lead author Dr. Ann Murchison said in a news release from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). "That's why we want to raise awareness and ensure people with diabetes understand the importance of regular eye exams," said Murchison. She is director of the eye emergency department at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. The study included information from nearly 2,000 people aged 40 and older with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that 58 percent didn't ... Read more

Related support groups: Diabetes, Type 2, Eye Conditions, Smoking, Smoking Cessation, Diabetes, Type 1, Insulin Resistance, Pre-Diabetes, Diabetes Mellitus, Retinal Disorders, Diabetic Retinopathy, Retinopathy, Visual Defect/Disturbance, Abnormal Glucose Tolerance

Paintball Causes Many Vision-Robbing Eye Injuries

Posted 3 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Nov. 4, 2016 – Paintball guns pose the greatest risk of vision loss among the sports most commonly associated with eye injuries, a new study finds. Basketball, cycling and baseball injuries to the eye occur more often than paintball-related eye accidents. But the popular air guns are far more likely to impair sight when an eye injury occurs, at least in the short term, researchers say. The findings emphasize the importance of eye protection, said Dr. Matthew Gardiner, director of emergency ophthalmology services at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston. "It's important to be aware of the threat to vision in these activities and wear safety glasses," said Gardiner, who wasn't involved in the study. "Simple preventive measures can solve almost all these problems." The new report is the most extensive analysis of its kind, said lead author Dr. R. Sterling Haring, a research fellow ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Retinal Disorders, Ophthalmic Surgery, Visual Defect/Disturbance

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