Updates from the latest American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting
Aleksandra Jones | | Quick Read
- A study by researchers from the University of Miami, Florida, USA, has shown that pain experienced by dry eye patients depends on the way their nervous system responds to pain signals (1). To assess how the nervous system reacts to these signals in patients with chronic, painful dry eye disease, researchers used a technique called conditioned pain modulation (CPM). After evaluating 296 patients, they established that those patients had a normal to high CPM response, which suggests that treatments for painful dry eye may be improved by focusing on the nervous system.
- Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, most school pupils have had to use virtual lessons for extended periods of time. Now, research from Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, has confirmed that increased screen time due to virtual learning has led to more eye strain and convergence insufficiency in children – a condition where eyes are unable to work together when looking at objects up close. This can result in double or blurred vision and make reading difficult for children. Frequent checks for those symptoms, encouraging breaks and frequent blinking helps to resolve eye strain symptoms (2).
- The AAO has outlined the top four issues threatening ophthalmologists’ financial stability. These include: Medicare physician payment fee cuts, with US-based physicians facing drastic cuts from January 2022 as well as expiry of pandemic waiver and a further cut from implementing “PayGo” balance budget rules; surgeon and facility payments for cataract and MIGS codes, with the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid only adding $34 for MIGS procedures to be added to the cost of standalone cataract surgery; lack of equity for post-operative visits included in the Medicare global surgical payments; and prior authorization and step therapy burdens.
- A Galor, University of Miami, “Neuropathic pain: a critical missing piece in dry eye?” (2021). Available at: https://bit.ly/3g2jXnu.
- J Lavrich, Presented at 125th AAO, November 14, 2021, New Orleans, US.