A situational analysis of clinical refraction services in the capital city of the Maldives

Fathimath Nestha Mohamed, Rokiah Omar

Medical hypothesis discovery and innovation in ophthalmology, Vol. 10 No. 4 (2021), 24 February 2022 , Page 146-155

Background: Uncorrected refractive error is a leading cause of visual impairment globally. This study aimed to determine the current state of clinical refraction services and barriers to service provision in the capital city of the Maldives.
Methods: This cross-sectional, descriptive-analytical study used a purposive sampling technique. The list of facilities providing refraction services in the city of Malé was compiled through a desk review and finalized after verification by personnel from the Ministry of Health. The availability of human resources and infrastructure was measured using a pre-coded questionnaire that also listed barriers to service provision, followed by on-site observations and subsequent data analysis.
Results: Three clinical ophthalmology departments within hospitals, two ophthalmology hospitals, and nine primary eye care centers were selected for this study. The private sector (n = 12, 85.7%) was the primary provider of refractive error services. All facilities possessed the essential equipment required for refraction. Only optometrists and ophthalmologists conducted refraction. Contact lens assessment and low vision services were not available at any facility. The number of refractions conducted in Malé annually was 145,392. Human resources and management-related factors were the major barriers to the provision of clinical refraction services (n = 21, 44.7%).
Conclusions: Accessibility to refractive error management and low vision services is needed in Malé to meet current population needs. Existing resources, including humans and equipment, require augmentation regarding service provision and enhancement. Knowledge of these barriers could lead to the upscaling of refraction services in Malé, Maldives by health policy makers.

Effect of mitomycin-C on corneal endothelial cell parameters after refractive surface ablation procedures

Hossein Mohammad-Rabei, Raheleh Moravej, Mina Almasi-Nasrabadi, Parisa Rezazadeh, Navid Manafi, Farsad Noorizadeh

Medical hypothesis discovery and innovation in ophthalmology, Vol. 10 No. 4 (2021), 24 February 2022 , Page 156-164

Background: The effect of mitomycin-C (MMC) on the reduction of endothelial cell count in the cornea remains controversial. We aimed to evaluate the effect of MMC on corneal endothelial cell parameters after refractive surface ablation procedures, including photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK).
Methods: In this interventional, comparative, follow-up study, 342 eyes of 171 patients were followed up for 6 months. Patients undergoing PRK or LASEK were included and were divided into two groups: group one (188 eyes of 94 patients) with an ablation depth of ? 65 µm and who received intraoperative 0.02% MMC for 30 s, and group two (154 eyes of 77 patients) with an ablation depth of < 65 µm and who received balanced salt solution for 30 s. Changes in endothelial cell density (ECD), central corneal thickness (CCT), coefficient of variation (CV), and hexagonality values were compared between the groups at 3 and 6 months after surgery.
Results: The mean ± standard deviaiton (SD) age of the patients was 28.11 ± 6.56 years. The mean ± SD ECD did not change significantly in either group between the baseline and at 3 and 6 months postoperatively. The baseline mean ECD was significantly higher in group one than that in group two (P < 0.001) and remained so at 3 (P = 0.002) and 6 months (P = 0.022) postoperatively. The baseline hexagonality value was lower in group one (P = 0.173), with a gradual decrease during the postoperative follow-up as compared with that in group two (P = 0.016 and 0.001 at 3 and 6 months postoperatively, respectively). Group one had a significantly lower CCT at 3 and 6 months postoperatively (both P < 0.001) and a higher mean CV (3 months: P = 0.028; 6 months: P = 0.328).
Conclusions: A single intraoperative application of MMC for 30 s as prophylaxis for corneal haze development during refractive surface ablation procedures had no significant effect on ECD up to 6 months postoperatively. Future studies with a contralateral-eye design (to neutralize factors specific to the individual patient), a larger sample size, and longer follow-up are necessary to confirm or disprove our observations.

Update on indications, complications, and outcomes of scleral contact lenses

Raul E. Ruiz-Lozano, Daniela E. Gomez-Elizondo, Maria F. Colorado-Zavala, Denise Loya-Garcia, Alejandro Rodriguez-Garcia

Medical hypothesis discovery and innovation in ophthalmology, Vol. 10 No. 4 (2021), 24 February 2022 , Page 165-178

Background: The role of scleral contact lenses (SCLs) has increasingly expanded since the first lens was fitted more than a century ago. While it was initially prescribed for the management of severely compromised corneas, the indications for modern SCL use have expanded to include less severe diseases. In this review, we aimed to provide an up-to-date overview of the current indications, complications, and outcomes for the various types of SCLs.
Methods: In this narrative review, we thoroughly searched the PubMed/MEDLINE database for literature published from January 1980 to November 2021. Only relevant up-to-date English references were included. Furthermore, the figures in this manuscript were derived from our unit’s patient documentation.
Results: Currently, SCLs can successfully be used to manage ocular surface diseases, visually rehabilitate irregular corneas, and correct irregular refractive errors. Although newer materials have yielded the same visual outcomes with fewer complications, these consequences still occur in approximately one-third of contact lens wearers, including difficulties in insertion and/or removal, discomfort or pain, and developing either halos, blurriness, or haze. Even though most of these complications are minor and can be easily treated, a good practice is essential to avoid sight-threatening complications such as microbial keratitis.
Conclusions: SCLs are indispensable in ophthalmic clinics. The development of better-quality SCLs has increased the number of indications and improved the achievable visual rehabilitation. The future of developing improvements in SCL design, materials, and fit, and the expansion of their indication range is promising.

Frequency of retinopathy of prematurity at a tertiary referral center

Niusha Kasiri, Ali Kasiri, Fereydoun Farrahi, Mohammad Sadegh Mirdehghan, Rozhin Kasiri

Medical hypothesis discovery and innovation in ophthalmology, Vol. 10 No. 4 (2021), 24 February 2022 , Page 179-184

Background: With advances in medical facilities and increased survival of premature infants, the prevalence of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) has increased. This study aimed to determine the frequency of ROP and its associated risk factors.
Methods: This descriptive-analytical, retrospective study included all premature infants with a birth weight (BW) equal or less than 2,500 g and/or gestational age (GA) equal or less than 35 weeks who were referred to Imam Khomeini Hospital in Ahvaz, Iran, for ROP screening over a 7-year period from April 2013 to April 2020. Demographic criteria, associated risk factors, and findings of eye examinations were collected and analyzed.
Results: Of the 812 at-risk infants screened, 807 met the inclusion criteria. ROP was observed in 316 (39.0%) of the 807 premature infants, with types I and II in 142 (45.0%) and 174 (55.0%) infants, respectively. The mean GA (29.6 ± 2.5 weeks versus 30.7 ± 2.5 weeks) and BW (1,203.6 ± 382.8 g versus 1,333.5 ± 386.5 g) were significantly lower in infants with ROP than in those without ROP (both P < 0.001). GA (r = 0.80; P < 0.001) and BW (r = 0.85; P < 0.001) had a strong positive correlation with ROP, and the correlation increased as GA and BW decreased (all P < 0.001). Associated risk factors in infants with ROP, in order of frequency, were oxygen therapy (22.8%), respiratory distress (16.1%), phototherapy (14.6%), blood transfusion (5.7%), apnea (4.1%), mechanical ventilation (1.6%), and intraventricular hemorrhage (0.9%). Multivariate regression analyses showed low GA and BW (both P < 0.05) as independent predictors of ROP.
Conclusions: The frequency of ROP in premature infants was slightly higher than the average range reported for domestic and foreign statistics. Low BW and GA were independent predictors of ROP.

Background: Angiogenesis causes severe vision loss in patients with exudative or wet forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The pathogenesis involves upregulation of several proangiogenic factors, particularly the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Contrary to the pathogenesis of exudative AMD, molecular events leading to the development of dry AMD remain unclear. Dry AMD is characterized by loss of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). The mechanism that triggers RPE cell loss remains unclear. Choriocapillaris development is absent in mice with RPE-specific deletion of VEGF. Moreover, in later life, background VEGF secretion promotes the survival of the RPE and maintains choriocapillaris integrity.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized that reduced synthesis of VEGF (hypo-angiogenesis) or abnormalities in its receptors, VEGF receptor-1 (VEGFR1) and VEGFR2, may be involved in the pathogenesis of non-exudative AMD or dry AMD. If the concept of hypo-angiogenesis as a driver for dry AMD is proven, treatment with VEGF or induction of angiogenesis could be considered. Similar attempts at therapeutic angiogenesis have been actively investigated in cardiac and limb ischemia.
Conclusions: The reasons for a patient developing exudative AMD or dry AMD remain poorly understood. Nevertheless, targeting increased VEGF production in patients with exudative AMD using anti-VEGF drugs is highly efficacious in preserving vision. Similarly, dry AMD may be a manifestation of reduced VEGF synthesis (hypo-angiogenesis) and subsequent decreased RPE cell survival. Experimental studies exploring the possibility of reduced VEGF secretion and/or increased receptor resistance/abnormality could pave the way for clinical trials of angiogenesis to treat dry AMD.

Common causes of visual impairment in the elderly

Mashael Al-Namaeh

Medical hypothesis discovery and innovation in ophthalmology, Vol. 10 No. 4 (2021), 24 February 2022 , Page 191-200

Background: Aging is not a disease; rather, it is a process. As people age, visual impairment (VI) becomes more common. In 2010, the overall prevalence rate of vision impairment in all races was 25.66% in individuals aged equal to or more than 80 years, according to the estimate of the National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health. This review aimed to address the common causes of VI in the elderly.
Methods: In this narrative review, an electronic search of the PubMed/MEDLINE database was conducted using “visual impairment” and “elderly” for the period between January 2010 and April 2021, to include randomized clinical trials and observational studies concerning VI in the elderly. The selected time period was chosen to provide an updated review.
Results: The search yielded 2,955 articles published over the period of more than 11 years. The relevant randomized clinical trials or observational studies were included and reviewed. Cataracts, refractive errors, open-angle glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy were the most common age-related ocular disorders leading to VI if untreated in the elderly. The loss of visual acuity can adversely affect quality of life in the elderly. Difficulty with activities of daily living related to VI can lead to social isolation, depression, and anxiety. Loss of vision in the elderly is linked to an increased risk of falls, hip fracture, depression, and poor quality of life.
Conclusions: The most common causes of VI in the elderly are cataracts and refractive errors. VI in most ocular diseases is more prevalent in women than in men due to longer lifespan. The overall prevalence of the main causes of VI in the elderly is expected to increase; therefore, health policymakers should consider this when planning for the health-enhancement program of the population.