Newswise — Honolulu, Hawaii – Three new studies demonstrate research findings that could offer novel treatments for vision and eye conditions.  The studies will be presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Honolulu, Hawaii, from Sunday, April 29 – Thursday, May 3.

Existing drug replaces steroids for painful eye condition
New research found that Rituximab, a drug approved to treat certain cancers and autoimmune diseases, may be effective at treating a painful eye condition that is currently often treated with a steroid. 

Idiopathic orbital inflammation (IOI) is a condition without a known cause that results in swelling, bulging of the eye and pain. To determine the effectiveness of using rituximab to treat IOI, researchers in New York reviewed cases of nine adult patients treated with rituximab and followed the individuals for at least six months. Only one patient relapsed but responded to a second injection. Steroid treatment has typically had a 33% relapse rate.  No significant side effects were described.

“Local injection of rituximab spares patients the side effects of high dose systemic corticosteroid treatment,” said first author Charles Miller, MD, PhD, of the State University of New York Downstate. “These data support further study of using rituximab as a first-line treatment for this disease.”

Abstract title: Idiopathic Dacryoadenitis Treated with Intralesional Rituximab     
Presentation start/end time:  Sunday, April 29, 8:15– 10am
Location: Kamehameha Exhibit Hall Abstract number: 106 – A0269

Blood thinners linked to vision-threatening bleeding following eye surgery
A new, largescale study shows that bleeding in the eye following surgery is more likely among patients taking warfarin or antiplatelets, two common forms of blood thinners.  The new research may impact the pre-surgical medication management for eye surgery patients. 

In 2015, over 20 million prescriptions were written in the U.S. for warfarin, a drug used to treat blood clots. 

The use of three common types of blood thinners — warfarin, novel oral anticoagulants and antiplatelets — was examined in cases of patients who underwent vitrectomy surgery.  Researchers reviewed more than 73,000 surgical cases for the study and found that the risk of bleeding in the eye was 25% higher for patients on warfarin or antiplatelets than those not prescribed any oral anticoagulants. Patients taking novel anticoagulant agents showed no increased risk of bleeding relative to those not prescribed any oral anticoagulants.

“These data from a large healthcare claims database show that there is real risk of vision-threatening bleeding in the eye following surgery for patients taking either warfarin or anti-platelet medicines. This information can guide surgeons in their discussions with patients prior to surgery,” said first author Ronald Cantrell, PhD, of Genentech Inc.

Abstract title: Post-vitrectomy ocular hemorrhage among United States adults on oral antithrombotics  Presentation start/end time:  
Sunday, April 29, 3:15 – 5:00pm
Location: Kamehameha Exhibit Hall Abstract number: 883 – A0215

Caffeine eyedrops may slow development of nearsightedness
In a recent study, caffeine eyedrops demonstrate the ability to slow progression of nearsightedness, (clinically called myopia) in monkeys, offering further evidence that caffeine and similar drugs may be effective in treating the increasingly prevalent condition. Researchers examined the development of nearsightedness among a small group of monkeys and compared those treated with the caffeine drops to a control group. Those treated with caffeine-containing eyedrops twice a day were less nearsighted than the control group.

“With the risk of severe, irreversible vision problems, the high and increasing prevalence of myopia worldwide has become a significant public health concern,” said first author Zhihui She of the University of Houston. “The results of this study add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that caffeine and other adenosine receptor antagonists may retard myopia progression and highlight the potential of caffeine eye drops in efforts to reduce the burden of myopia,”

Abstract title: Effects of Caffeine, an Adenosine Receptor Antagonist, on Lens Compensation in Rhesus Monkeys    Presentation start/end time:  
Sunday, April 29, 1 – 2:45pm
Location: Kamehameha Exhibit Hall Abstract number: 689 – C0284

 

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The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) is the largest eye and vision research organization in the world. Members include nearly 11,000 eye and vision researchers from over 75 countries. ARVO advances research worldwide into understanding the visual system and preventing, treating and curing its disorders.

All abstracts accepted for presentation at the ARVO Annual Meeting represent previously unpublished data and conclusions. This research may be proprietary or may have been submitted for journal publication. Embargo policy: Journalists must seek approval from the presenter(s) before reporting data from paper or poster presentations. Press releases or stories on information presented at the ARVO Annual Meeting may not be released or published until the conclusion of the presentation.

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Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology