The FDA approved Lucentis (ranibizumab, Genentech), a monthly intravitreal injection for the treatment of patients who have neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration. In phase III clinical trials, visual acuity at one year improved by 15 letters or more or remained stable in 95% of patients treated with Lucentis. Nearly 40% of treated patients achieved visual acuity of 20/40 or better.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology predicts a shortage of eye doctors willing to treat retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Only half of pediatric and retina specialists currently treat ROP, and one-fifth of these physicians plan to stop taking these infants as patients, the AAO says. Half the doctors who no longer take ROP cases stopped within the last 10 years. Of these, 67% say medical liability was the most influential factor in their decision. Other top reasons: the complexity of scheduling care for children (50%) and poor reimbursement (37%).

 Community-based vision screening for elderly patients results in no improvement in their vision, according to a study in the July 19 issue of Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. One chief reason: Most community-based health centers failed to establish a clear follow-up plan to treat conditions found in the screening.

Vol. No: 143:08Issue: 8/15/2006