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Newest Trends in Eye Care From Annual AAO Meeting I

October 25, 2009

This week is the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).  Over the next few days I will report on a few of the latest trends being presented at the meeting in San Francisco.  Many of these short synopsises will be taken from "Academy Live" an e-mail; alert from the AAO.  Each synopsis will be followed by some of my personal commentary.

LASIK safe for Form Fruste Keratoconus?  Damien Gatinel, MD, went back and looked at outcomes after LASIK and PRK when they were performed inadvertently in patients with suspected keratoconus.  “Three years later, the results are so far satisfactory,” Dr. Gatinel said, “There was no topographical sign of ectasia in these patients.  Even if it’s not recommended, he concludes that refractive surgery seems safe in topographically diagnosed keratoconus suspect eyes with a good biomechanical profile. When the audience was polled as to whether they would perform surgery on patients with forme fruste keratoconus, 77 percent said they would not.  Even after hearing this evidence, I personally feel that it would be foolish to do LASIK on a suspected keratoconus patient, the risks are just too high!

New Phakic IOL from Alcon holds promise.  Ronald R. Krueger, MD, medical director of Refractive Surgery at Cole Eye Institute, evaluated safety outcomes from clinical trials of the AcrySof Phakic Angle-Supported IOL.  Vision increased by two or more lines for 20 percent of subjects, one line for 44.6 percent and unchanged for 33.8 percent.  Phakic IOLs are an excellent method of providing superb vision in high myopes.  I currently use the Visian IOL, a posterior chamber IOL manufactured by Starr.  The Alcon lens will allow more ophthalmologists to provide this technology to their patients once it is approved, as it will be a much simpler IOL to implant.

Avastin vs Lucentis Trials underway:  Avastin and Lucentis are competing in a hefty schedule of six head-to-head randomized clinical trials directly comparing their use in AMD patients, said Daniel F. Martin, MD.   Initial study results are expected to be available in early 2011.

Here’s the status of each of the studies:

  • The NEI-sponsored CATT (Comparison of AMD Treatments Trial) study began enrolling an estimated 1,200 wet AMD patients at 44 sites in the United States in February 2008. The four-arm study comparing bevacizumab and ranibizumab on fixed and variable schedules is proceeding well, according to Dr. Martin, with one-year results targeted for 2011.
  • In April 2008, researchers in the United Kingdom began enrolling an anticipated 600 patients at 17 sites in the IVAN (Inhibit VEGF in Age-related choroidal Neovascularization) study. This four-armed study compares monthly bevacizumab 1.25 mg and ranibizumab 0.5 mg injections given over two years with three monthly injections followed by PRN dosing.
  • The four-site German VIBERA study started enrolling 360 AMD patients in 2008 to receive three monthly bevacizumab 2.0 mg or ranibizumab 0.5 mg injections and additional injections as needed.
  • The Austrian MANTA study began assigning an anticipated 320 AMD patients in June 2008 to three monthly bevacizumab or ranibizumab injections, with additional treatment as needed.
  • Researchers in Norway began enrolling an anticipated 450 patients in the 12-site LUCAS study in March. Subjects receive bevacizumab 1.25 mg or ranibizumab 0.5 mg monthly as needed until dry, with intervals between doses decreasing over time.
  • French investigators opened enrollment this fall in the 600-patient, 20-site GEFAL study. Subjects are randomized to receive three initial monthly injections of one of the two drugs.

I am anxiously awaiting the results of these studies, as I am a strong advocate for the use of Avastin as a primary therapy in the treatment of SMD.

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