The largest ophthalmology meeting in the world is in San Francisco this week. The American Academy of Ophthalmolgy started over the weekend. It is our industry’s largest “trade” show. Doctors attend to learn about new products, instruments, companies, go to classes and see old friends. Tens of thousands of people are in San Francisco.
Of significance is the number of people that choose to use this meeting to announce their results of ongoing research. So, you will be hit with a huge amount of information as you scan the internet looking for information regarding diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration.
If you are used to surfing the internet for information, you may have noticed that there has not been too much information in the last few weeks about eye disease. The reason is that there has not been a large meeting over the past several months and everyone has been gearing up for the AAO.
This year, there has been some interest in newer anti-VEGF treatments for macular degeneration. Of note, there is a newer generation drug, called Aflibercept (Regeneron). It binds VEGF receptors and prevents their activation. This inhibits choroidal neovascularization, not unlike bevacizumab (Avastin) and ranibizumab (Lucentis). Of significance? The newer drug, Aflibercept, may require fewer injections, yet achieving the same results.
There is also a new drug on the horizon that may be effective against both wet macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema! A company, MacuSight, has developed a drug Perceiva, that is effective against both macular edema and wet-macular degeneration. The drug is believed to inhibit inflammation, angiogenesis, vascular permeability, proliferation and fibrosis; all potential components in the two diseases. The drug is early FDA clinical trials, but has received “fast track” status for the application for diabetic retinopathy.
What does this mean? There will be a lot of information hitting the internet about your specific disease. While it is encouraging, most of the information is “still under study.” Don’t get overwhelmed with “too much information.”
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist