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Up Front | Mar 2015


Study Identifies several Characteristics Associated With Earlier Cataract Surgery After Previous LASIK surgery

Eyes with long axial lengths and higher degrees of corneal higher-order aberrations (HOAs) were more likely to require early cataract surgery after previous LASIK, according to a study published in the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.1

Kei Iijima, MD, of the University of Kitasato School of Medicine, Tokyo, and colleagues conducted a retrospective study to evaluate the eyes of consecutive patients scheduled for cataract surgery after previous LASIK (group 1; n=40 eyes of 40 patients). The control groups comprised eyes with axial lengths matched with axial lengths in group 1 (group 2; n=606 eyes of 606 patients) and all eyes scheduled for cataract surgery (group 3; n=3,642 eyes of 3,642 patients). The investigators assessed age, sex, distance BCVA, manifest refraction, keratometry (K) readings, corneal astigmatism, and corneal HOAs.

According to investigators, the mean age of group 1 at the time of cataract surgery was 54.6 ±8.1 years (standard deviation; SD), which was approximately 10 years younger than group 2 and approximately 15 years younger than group 3 (P<.001, Student t test).

In group 1, 70% of patients were men, which was significantly higher than in the other groups (P<.05, Fisher exact test). The rate of corneal HOAs was significantly higher in group 1 than in groups 2 and 3 (P< .05, Student t test). There were no significant differences in the other parameters analyzed except for K readings.

1. Iijima K, Kamiya K, Shimizu K, et al. Demographics of patients having cataract surgery after laser in situ keratomileusis. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2015;41(2):334-338.

Glaucomatous Eyes Experienced Greater Transient IOP Rise After LACS Than Nonglaucomatous Eyes

Laser-assisted cataract surgery (LACS) caused a greater transient rise in IOP after treatment and a higher residual IOP after vacuum undocking in glaucomatous eyes than in nonglaucomatous eyes, according to a study in the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.1

Erica Darian-Smith, MBBS, of the University of Tasmania, and colleagues compared patients with clinically stable primary open-angle glaucoma undergoing LACS (n=43 eyes) with a concurrent cohort of patients with no glaucoma (n=100) having the same procedure. The investigators used a fluid-filled optical docking system (Liquid Optics Interface; Abbott Medical Optics), and, with the patients supine, they measured IOP at four time points using a rebound tonometer (iCare Pro; iCare). The mean baseline IOP was 20.2 ±4.2 mm Hg (SD) in glaucomatous and 18.9 ±4 mm Hg in nonglaucomatous eyes (P=.06). The mean change in IOP values between each time frame and baseline was as follows: vacuum-on, 13.8 ±9.9 and 11.1 ±6.9 mm Hg, respectively (P=.06); after treatment, 17.4 ±7.4 and 14.1 ±7.2 mm Hg, respectively (P=.014); after undocking of vacuum, 9.9 ±5.4 and 8.7 ±5.7 mm Hg, respectively (P=.24).

“Femtosecond pretreatment caused a greater transient rise in IOP after treatment and a higher residual IOP after vacuum undocking in glaucomatous eyes than in nonglaucomatous eyes,” the study authors concluded. “This is well tolerated short term; however, long-term implications for eyes with glaucoma are unknown at present.”

1. Darian-Smith E, Howie AR, Abell RG, et al. Intraocular pressure during femtosecond laser pretreatment: Comparison of glaucomatous eyes and nonglaucomatous eyes. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2015;41(2):272-277.

Actavis to Adopt Allergan Corporate Name

Following the completion of the acquisition of Allergan, Actavis intends to use Allergan as its corporate name and for its global branded pharmaceutical portfolio, according to a company news release. It will retain the Actavis name for selected geographic regions and product portfolios. The change in corporate name is subject to approval by Actavis' shareholders at its annual general meeting later this year. 

Carl Zeiss Meditec Launches Humphrey Field Analyzer 3 Visual Field Testing System

Carl Zeiss Meditec announced the global launch of the Humphrey Field Analyzer 3 (HFA3) for visual field testing and analysis at the American Glaucoma Society (AGS) 2015 annual meeting, according to a company news release.

The HFA3 is the first perimeter to introduce patented Liquid Lens technology. In perimetry, a trial lens provides the refractive correction needed so that each patient can see clearly during the test. The HFA3 replaces the old manual process with a patented Liquid Trial Lens, which automatically delivers the appropriate refractive correction using measurement information entered into the instrument.

The HFA3 provides a streamlined and faster workflow with an array of new features: RelEYE allows doctors to instantly review the patient's eye position, at any stimulus point; the SmartTouch interface reduces the number of steps required for the technician to start a perimetry exam; and the gaze tracker provides faster initialization and works on a wider spectrum of patients compared with earlier models of the HFA, the news release said. The HFA3 also has a kinetic graphical user interface with a full 180° field of view.

Valeant To Acquire Salix Pharmaceuticals

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International has agreed to acquire Salix Pharmaceuticals, a maker of gastrointestinal (GI) drugs, in an all-cash deal valued at about US$10.1 billion. Valeant, the parent company of Bausch + Lomb, will pay US$158 a share for Salix, with an enterprise value of about US$14.5 billion, which includes Salix's debt and cash-on-hand. The transaction was approved by the boards of directors of both companies. 

Salix Pharmaceuticals' portfolio includes 22 products, including rifaximin (Xifaxan), budesonide (Uceris), methyl-naltrexone (Relistor), and mesalamine (Apriso), as well as a pipeline of new assets, according to Valeant.

“Salix's market-leading GI franchise is an ideal strategic fit for Valeant's diversified portfolio of specialty products,” J. Michael Pearson, Valeant's chairman and CEO, said in the news release. “The growing GI market has attractive fundamentals, and Salix has a portfolio of terrific products that are outpacing the market in terms of volume growth and a promising near-term pipeline of innovative products. With strong brand recognition among specialist GI prescribers, a highly rated specialty sales force, and a significant product and commercial presence across the undertreated and underserved [GI] market, this acquisition offers a compelling opportunity for Valeant to create a strong platform for growth and business development.”

Valeant said the combination is expected to yield greater than US$500 million in annual cost savings, and synergies are expected to be achieved within 6 months of close, primarily from reductions in corporate overhead and R&D rationalization.

The deal is the largest ever for Valeant, surpassing its purchase of Bausch + Lomb, which it acquired in in 2013 for about US$8.7 billion. It is the Canadian company's first acquisition since it lost its long hostile takeover bid for Allergan last year. Allergan was acquired by Actavis for US$66 billion.

Caren Mason Appointed President and CEO of STAAR Surgical

Caren Mason has been named President and CEO of STAAR Surgical effective immediately, according to a company news release. Ms. Mason, who was elected to STAAR's Board of Directors in June 2014 and was appointed by the board to chair the Quality and Regulatory Committee in September 2014, replaces Barry G. Caldwell, who will be retired as of March 1.

Ms. Mason's past positions include CEO of Verinta Health, a provider of noninvasive prenatal genetic testing services, and President and CEO of publicly traded Quidel Corporation, which was recognized as one of Forbes' Best 200 Small Companies during her tenure. Prior to joining Quidel, Ms. Mason served as President and CEO for MiraMedica, a private, computer-aided detection mammography systems company, securing its strategic sale to Kodak Health Imaging. She also served as CEO of eMed Technologies, General Manager of the Women's Healthcare business, and General Manager in various capacities for the services business of GE Healthcare.

In addition to being a Director of STAAR, Ms. Mason is a Director of HealthTell, an early-stage life sciences company. She also serves on the Executive Committee for the UCSD Moores Cancer Center Board of Visitors and is Chair of the UCSD Moores Cancer Center Advisory and Innovation Council. n


1. WHO: 1.1 Billion at Risk of Hearing Loss

Unsafe use of personal audio devices and exposure to damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues may pose serious threats.

2. Stages of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Identified

An understanding of distinct immune changes may help improve diagnosis and treatments.

3. Alzheimer Protein Can Accumulate in Young Brains

Amyloid can begin to accumulate in the brains of people as young as 20.

4. Consumption of Healthy Food Improved Worldwide

From 1990 to 2010, diets based on healthy items improved globally.

5. Young Women Hesitant to Report Heart Attack Symptoms

Women may have trouble recognizing symptoms of a heart attack, and those who do may be hesitant to report them.

– Compiled by Stephen Daily, Executive Editor, News;
and Callan Navitsky, Senior Editor