A national consortium of researchers has published new findings that could change the standard of practice for those treating Fuchs' Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD), a disease characterized by cornea swelling that can eventually lead to the need for corneal transplantation.
The Fuchs' Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy Genetics Multi-Center Study Group, led by co-principal investigators Jonathan Lass, MD, Charles I Thomas Professor and chair, Case Western Reserve University Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and director, University Hospitals Eye Institute, and Sudha Iyengar, PhD, professor, Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Genetics, and Ophthalmology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, found that changes in the corneal thickness occur in patients at early stages of FECD even before swelling is observed in the clinical setting. Their study is published in the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.
This new evidence suggests that FECD patients should have the thickness of their corneas measured annually to monitor progression of the disease. The disease affects the eye's endothelial cells or the back cell layer of the cornea, which maintains the cornea's normal thickness. However, as the disease advances, it was believed at its earlier stages the cornea remained clear and its thickness did not change. This study shows that the cornea in fact experiences a gradual swelling and becomes progressively thicker. Patients typically see an ophthalmologist only when the swelling becomes critical and the surface becomes swollen and the vision blurs. This study suggests ophthalmologists use ultrasonic technology to measure the potential progressive thickening of the cornea to assist in counseling patients on early surgical intervention before scarring develops and interferes with visual recovery.
"It's important if you have the disease, to be checked regularly and have your thickness measured. In the short term, if your vision is decreasing, an ophthalmologist can determine whether it is coming from your cornea or a concurrent cataract and that would assist a surgeon in intervening earlier with either cataract surgery, corneal transplantation, or continuing monitoring of the disease's progression," says Dr. Lass. "In the long term, it might be a way of determining drug intervention based on an individual's gene set, which may be causing the disease."
FECD is the most common reason for corneal transplantation in the United States. The disease usually becomes apparent on examination at its earlier stages in the 40s and 50s with visual impairment developing in the 60s and 70s. In addition, while the disease is more common in women than men and does have some familial heredity, it does occur sporadically. The study group is working to identify the genes that cause the disease.
"These findings have the potential to improve patient care for Fuchs corneal dystrophy, an often painful eye disease that can be difficult to manage," says Hemin Chin, PhD, National Eye Institute, program director for the study. "Clinicians now have an important tool to better monitor the disease and determine when surgical intervention is warranted, particularly for cataracts."
This study was conducted at more than 30 sites across the country and was led by co-PIs Drs. Iyengar and Lass. It was funded by the National Eye Institute, Research to Prevent Blindness, and the Ohio Lions Eye Research Foundation.
About Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Founded in 1843, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine is the largest medical research institution in Ohio and is among the nation's top medical schools for research funding from the National Institutes of Health. The School of Medicine is recognized throughout the international medical community for outstanding achievements in teaching. The School's innovative and pioneering Western Reserve2 curriculum interweaves four themes--research and scholarship, clinical mastery, leadership, and civic professionalism--to prepare students for the practice of evidence-based medicine in the rapidly changing health care environment of the 21st century. Nine Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the school of medicine.
Annually, the School of Medicine trains more than 800 MD and MD/PhD students and ranks in the top 25 among U.S. research-oriented medical schools as designated by U.S. News & World Report "Guide to Graduate Education."
The School of Medicine's primary affiliate is University Hospitals Case Medical Center and is additionally affiliated with MetroHealth Medical Center, the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Cleveland Clinic, with which it established the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University in 2002.
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Urbanization to convert 300,000 km2 of prime croplands
27.12.2016 | Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) gGmbH
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences