Date: Wed 26/05/2021 - Fri 26/05/2023
Provider: Luxottica Institute of Learning
Optometrist Credits: 1 General credits
Event Type(s): Online
Number: 09 929 3274
During a year when the world was focused on the negative outcomes of a virus, a piece of news about the positives may have slipped past many optometrists. Excitingly, the first gene therapy for inherited retinal disease was approved by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in August 2020. This treatment is delivered to the eye by a non-pathogenic viral vector and has the potential to change the lives of many.
This exciting development is the latest stage of a groundswell of advanced therapeutics and medical devices for patients with retinal disease. Once the realm of science fiction, therapeutic options, such as vision prostheses (bionic eyes) and gene therapy, are now commercially available. Stem cell treatments for a range of ocular diseases are in late stage clinical trials. We are truly at the beginning of a new era of disease management, and it is important that optometrists understand these treatment options and can counsel patients appropriately.
This article discusses the current progress in this field and highlights areas of rapid research and development. While this is a dynamic area, the take-home message is that various treatments are being developed for those with previously untreatable eye disease. This should offer great hope and excitement to both patients and the clinicians who help them to see.
At the completion of this CPD Activity, participants should be able to:
1. Understand the scientific basis of gene therapy,
2. Understand the scientific basis of stem cell therapy,
3. Understand the scientific basis of vision prostheses (bionic eyes),
4. Describe which patient populations are suitable for the emerging treatment modalities, and
5. Know the current referral pathways for patients who are eligible and/or interested in both clinical trials and regulatory-approved emerging therapies.