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    New research, interest advancing retinal care

    Atlanta—Treatment of posterior segment disease is in the midst of a paradigm shift, says a panel of experts at this year's annual SECO 2017 conference in Atlanta.

    New options are changing the way optometrists examine retinal care without the need for invasive surgery, and it's all thanks to an explosion of interest in retina studies over the past decade.

    Anti-EPO therapy promising

    One challenge facing retinal optometry lies in understanding the underlying causes behind macular edema in retinal vein occlusion.

    The mechanisms are still not well-known, but there is a visible path for how research in the field needs to proceed, says panelist John Randolph, MD.

    Related: Experiencing retinal detachment as an OD

    Vein occlusions are not one disease but fall into three categories:

    • Combined vein and artery occlusion

    • VEGF driven

    • Inflammatory mediator driven

    Although drug therapies exist to help manage these varying types of occlusions, patients must undergo frequent treatments. Fortunately, many of the delivery systems used in these therapies are improving, Dr. Randolph says.

    “We’re hopeful that, instead of these patients coming in every four to six weeks, they’re going to start coming in every three to four months,” he says.

    Alongside the traditional steroidal and anti-inflammatory drug therapies, anti-EPO therapy is a becoming a possibility for managing retinal care in a different way.

    “We’re finding that EPO is present in every type of edema,” he says. “It may be a critical pathway that we can block.”

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    Optometry Times A/V