By Helen Carter
Grants for MD research
Macular Disease Foundation Australia is offering two major funding pools for macular degeneration research to start in 2018.
The Macular Disease Foundation Australia Research Grant offers up to $600,000 and Blackmores Macular Disease Australia Research Grant offers up to $200,000. Both are over three years.
Grants are available for researchers in Australian institutions to pursue research in medical, social, low vision or nutritional research into age-related macular degeneration.
Applications close on 5 June.
Implantable pump for glaucoma
The University of Southern California’s Roski Eye Institute has developed a pump which can be implanted into the eye to deliver medication for eye diseases such as glaucoma.
The small, refillable MicroPump is programmable to dispense doses of drugs every hour, day or month as needed and can be replenished using a needle tubing kit.
Eleven people with diabetic macular oedema and visual acuity of logMAR 0.30 or worse received the implant and were followed for 90 days. The pump was successful in seven people, delivering the dose within 20 per cent of the target amount, and improving visual acuity and retinal thickness, but was unsuccessful in four people as dosage delivery was too slow or inhibited by a damaged device.
Improvements to the device have been approved for the next study.
Blind rats regain visual acuity
Degenerative blindness in a rat model of retinitis pigmentosa can be reversed by implanting a biocompatible prosthetic into the retinas, Italian researchers have reported.
After implantation of the carbon-based prosthetic which converts light to electricity, the rats began to regain light sensitivity and visual acuity, which persisted for six to 10 months post-surgery.
Researchers reported increased activity in the part of the brain that processes visual information.