711 e-Letters

  • Is it really the same?

    Dear Editor,

    In their review and meta-analysis, Hedengran and coworkers1 report no relative therapeutic benefit of preservative-free (PF) therapies over benzalkonium chloride (BAK)-preserved ones. Should the costlier PF medications therefore be abandoned, or should we question this conclusion?
    Ten of the 16 comparative trials analysed were of short duration, (between 15 and 90 days), the longest taking 6 months. Once-a-day medication was used in each trial, yet the dose response curve for BAK toxicity shows that each additional drop of BAK-containing medication doubles the likelihood of lissamine green corneal staining2 and increases the risk of early failure of glaucoma surgery.3 BAK toxicity is slow in onset increasing over time, due to its continual accumulation within ocular tissues.3 Thus, inconsistencies between experimental studies, which document the harmful effects of BAK and clinical trials, which do not, likely relate to the timing, dosing and duration of glaucoma therapy.4 Two to 12 week trials comparing BAK with alternatively preserved eyedrops, or PF formulations have shown no convincing differences in ocular tolerability, yet the benefits from switching from once-a-day preserved to PF therapy, accrue several months later.4 Longer term transition to alternatively preserved, or PF formulations improves tolerability, and there is good evidence that substituting PF tafluprost for BAK-containing latanoprost significantly improves tolerability.3 So sh...

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  • Dr

    In your interesting paper dealing with the incidence of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment in France, you report the highest incidence rate so far together with Gout et al 1. It is almost twice as high as the incidence found in our area 2. You also report that this incidence was highest in Guadeloupe (28.30±2.74 per 100000 population) and lowest in French Guiana (15.51±3.50 per 100000 population).

    Peters 3 investigated the incidence of RRD in black people and found that it was much lower (0.46/100,000 inhabitants) than in whites. Foos et al. 4 also found that there were no differences in the number of breaks or the proportion/ percentage of vitreous detachments between black and white people, suggesting a stronger adherence in their retinal pigmentary epithelium in the former. Given the fact that black subjects present higher levels of melanin, they have greater resistance against solar radiation, in the same way that they present a lower incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer due to this protective factor 5. Similarly, there is a lower risk of RRD in very dark-colored iris 6 subjects, possibly due to the same reason, as a smaller amount of solar radiation, which has been found to be associated with RRD 7 enters the eye. Taking into account that 70-90% of the population in the French Antilles are mulattoes or creoles (source: indexmundi.com), the lower incidence detected in this geographical location is not surprising. However, we encourage the authors to investigate...

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  • Should the minimum data set be expanded further?

    We read with interest the recent article by Evans et al regarding outcomes in randomised control trial of multifocal lenses in cataract surgery, and their case for development of a core outcome set.1 We wholeheartedly agree that a set of core outcomes would be hugely beneficial to multifocal intraocular lens (MIOL) studies, as there is such variation in multifocal studies currently. This has been commented on by previous Cochrane reviews2 yet there remains no consensus. Such variability makes meaningful comparison between studies difficult.
    Evans’ suggests that the minimum data collected in MIOL studies should be unaided and corrected distance and near LogMAR acuity and contrast sensitivity. Also, the use of a questionnaire for patient reported outcomes that must include questions relating to spectacle independence and halos/glare.
    Whilst we agree with the above measures, we feel that perhaps such a minimum data set may be insufficient particularly as it fails to address intermediate vision. We would recommend the inclusion of a defocus profile that covers distance, intermediate and near ranges. In addition, a standardised method of defocus measurement3 and analysis.4 This could be used as an adjunct to conventional visual acuity testing or indeed as a replacement. MIOLs have different add powers and light distribution profiles; consequently the choice of testing distance for near and intermediate acuity measures has a profound impact on results and hence may n...

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  • Could the current link between PM2.5 and NOx and age-related macular degeneration be confounded by historic exposure to traffic-related lead air pollution?

    Dear Editor,

    Chua et al,[1] used the UK Biobank to identify an association between higher levels of air pollution and increased odds of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We hypothesize that exposure to high levels of the air pollutant, lead, before 2000, while gasoline contained lead, may play a role in this observed relationship.

    Lead is a toxic heavy metal pollutant that can accumulate in various tissues in the body, including the retina and bones.[2] Lead exposure can induce inflammation and oxidative stress, processes that can be harmful for the eye.[2]

    Various studies have indicated a link between lead exposure and AMD. An autopsy study reported 50% higher lead levels in AMD-affected eyes than controls’ eyes.[2] A doubling of blood lead levels (BLL) in the Beaver Dam Offspring Study was associated with 60% greater risk of 5-year incident AMD.[3] Analyses of a nationally representative Korean survey found 25% higher odds of late AMD per 1 μg/dl increase in BLL.[4]

    In the late 1970s, mean BLLs were 12 μg/dl higher than today, primarily due to exposure from leaded gasoline.[5] BLLs were even higher among those living close to major roads. Once inhaled, lead can deposit in bones, with a half-life of up to 49 years.[5] While the concentration of lead in air decreased dramatically after lead was removed from gasoline, the lead that has accumulated in bones is slowly released, resulting in persistent endogenous exposure which may negativel...

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  • Influence of corneal guttae and nuclear cataract on contrast sensitivity

    Reply to the comment on: “Influence of corneal guttae and nuclear cataract on contrast sensitivity”

    We thank Sanjay V Patel for the comments. Patients with Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (FECD) are known to have reduced contrast sensitivity due to corneal edema and guttae. Before the introduction of endothelial keratoplasty, penetrating keratoplasty had been performed mainly in patients with advanced FECD and clinically significant corneal edema. However, as endothelial keratoplasty procedures such as Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty can bring excellent visual acuity outcomes, surgery can be performed earlier and even in cases without any clinical corneal edema. Therefore, it has become even more important to detect the causes of visual impairment in patients with FECD. In our retrospective study, we enrolled FECD patients with >5 mm of confluent guttae and no corneal edema (modified Krachmer grade 5). When analyzed by Scheimpflug tomography, our FECD patients showed no difference in the central corneal thickness and corneal volume when compared to the control group of cataract patients without any corneal pathologies.1 Recently, Sun et al. presented a new method to detect subclinical corneal edema in patients with FECD.2,3 The authors analyzed three Scheimpflug tomography pachymetry map and posterior elevation map patterns to detect subclinical edema in FECD patients: loss of regular isopachs, displacement of the thinnest point of the cornea, and...

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  • Dimness and blur

    I read with interest the paper by Gagrani and colleagues, regarding the self-characterisation of visual field loss by glaucoma patients, and the development of an app to allow this to be measured.1

    The study helps to further understand the experience of glaucoma patients. Their experimental results support the view that patients experience their visual field defects as blur rather than 'black holes'. Hu et al found the most common subjective symptoms in glaucoma were "needing more light" (57%) and "blurry vision" (55%).2 In the study by Gagrani et al., subjects were able to modify both dimness and blur, though in practice they did not choose to use the dimness response at all.

    It is possible that differences in the measurement tools might potentially influence these findings. For example, patients may have found the dim response more difficult to use.

    The potential for this app to allow patients to better understand and self-pictoralise their visual disability is poignant and important. It will be interesting to see whether this novel approach yields similar results when replicated in future.

    1. Gagrani M, Ndulue J, Anderson D, Kedar S, Gulati V, Shepherd J, et al. What do patients with glaucoma see: a novel iPad app to improve glaucoma patient awareness of visual field loss. Br J Ophthalmol. 2020 Nov 20.
    2. Hu CX, Zangalli C, Hsieh M, et al. What do patients with glaucoma see? Visual symptoms...

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  • B-scan ultrasound, visual electrophysiology and perioperative videoendoscopy for predicting functional results in keratoprosthesis candidates

    Luzia Diegues Silva MD1, Albert Santos MD1, Flávio Eduardo Hirai MD. Ph.D1, Norma Allemann MD1,2, Adriana Berezovsky Ph.D1, Solange Rios Salomão Ph.D1, Paulo Ricardo Chaves de Oliveira MD1, Gabriel Costa de Andrade MD1, Andre Maia MD1, Luciene Barbosa de Sousa MD1, Lauro Augusto de Oliveira MD. Ph.D.1,*

    1 Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil
    2 Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
    Corresponding author: Lauro Augusto de Oliveira

    Dear Editor,

    We read with interest the comments about our article by Anchouche and associates.

    We agree with the authors that B-scan ultrasonography is widely accepted as the gold-standard preoperative imaging modality used to assess the posterior segment in eyes with severe and dense anterior segment opacities and it has been proven to be a useful tool in the preoperative evaluation of Kpro candidates. We also agree that it is safer, cheaper and a less invasive procedure when compared to VE. However, this image modality offers mostly anatomical information and less functional prognosis prediction when compared to direct visualization of the posterior segment achieved with VE.[1]

    We are aware and agree with the authors’ concern regarding the invasive nature, the risk of elevated intraocular pressure, and cataract formation as discussed in our work. However, as it is clearly described in our manuscript,...

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  • Letter: Optimised retinopathy of prematurity screening guideline in China

    We were intrigued by the study by Yang et al[1] recently published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. They conducted a detailed analysis of the fundus screening results of 5606 infants over 5 years in tertiary neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in four medical centres in Shanghai, China. They found the detection rate of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)to be 15.9%, and the detection rate of type 1 ROP (1.1%) was lower than that previously reported. The mean gestational age (GA) and birth weight (BW) of infants with ROP have also decreased. Therefore, they suggest modifying the criteria of Chinese ROP screening to GA <32 weeks or BW <1600 g. Application of these criteria to the studied cohort yielded a 98.4% sensitivity, with the infants requiring fundus screening reduced by 43.2%. Therefore, these criteria would reduce medical costs significantly. This is of great significance to the screening and treatment of ROP in China, which has a huge population and regional medical resource imbalances.
    However, the study also had issues that need further discussion. First, the patient cohort was not a continuous population-based cohort, and the authors did not clearly state the specific criteria for screening. Therefore, the rate could be the detection rate rather than the true incidence. In addition, the development and general conditions of these patients from NICUs are significantly different from those of the general population. Therefore, although it was a r...

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  • B-scan ultrasound, visual electrophysiology and perioperative videoendoscopy for predicting functional results in keratoprosthesis candidates

    Dear Editor,

    We read with interest the study by Silva and colleagues.[1] The authors investigate the prognostic potential of B-scan ultrasonography, visual electrophysiology and perioperative videoendoscopy (VE) for 13 patients undergoing keratoprosthesis (KPro) surgery and identified perioperative intraocular VE as a predictor of functional visual outcome at 1-year follow-up.[1] While we find this study interesting, we would like to caution against the interpretation and over-generalization of the findings reported therein.

    Negative predictive value (NPV) was as defined as the number of patients with abnormal VE findings and subsequent unsatisfactory visual acuity over all patients with unfavourable VE. The authors report a NPV of 50% in 10 patients. By contrast, they report a positive predictive value (PPV) of 100% for this test.[1] Although a high PPV, as reported by the authors, is of great importance when deciding which patients are appropriate KPro candidates preoperatively, once the patient is undergoing surgery, we believe identifying patients at highest risk of poor visual outcome using NPV is more clinically relevant. The small sample size of 10 patients with a low prevalence of patients with unsatisfactory post-operative visual acuity, and NPV of 50% are important limitations of this study. From these findings, we are unable to justify VE's clinical benefit to the surgeon and their patient at the time of surgery. This is especially true give...

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  • Orbital MRI versus fundus photography and OPTOS in the diagnosis of optic nerve hypoplasia and prediction of vision

    Kruglyakova, et al recently published an excellent paper about visually pertinent correlation of optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH) with intra-operative photographic measurements1. We recently reported similar findings without subjecting children to general anesthesia if ultra-widefield imaging (OPTOS; Dunfermline, UK) is available2. We agree that a MD/DD ratio greater than 3.22 (≥3.51) is consistent with clinical optic nerve hypoplasia but our direct measure of horizontal optic nerve size was even more predictive utilizing our definition of logMAR for pediatric and low vision patients3. Instead of starting from the temporal edge of the optic nerve to determine MD (macula-disk) distance, we found the center of the optic nerve more uniform. In addition, we have also noted a worrisome relationship between ONH and threshold retinopathy of prematurity4 and wonder if the authors also found any association between the two common pediatric blinding conditions ONH and ROP?

    1. Kruglyakova J, Garcia-Filion P, Nelson M, Borchert M. Orbital MRI versus fundus photography in the diagnosis of optic nerve hypoplasia and prediction of vision. Br J Ophthalmol. 2020;104(10):1458-1461.
    2. Arnold AW, Eller AM, Smith KA, Grendahl RL, Winkle RK, Arnold RW. Direct nerve size determination and prevalent optic nerve hypoplasia in Alaska. Clin Ophthalmol. 2020;14:491—499.
    3. Arnold RW. Digital values for alpha acuities. JPOS. 2020:In Press.
    4. Arnold RW. Opti...

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