Eye Floaters Research Update | July 2020

Latest developments in the VDM Project – July 2020

Dear VDM Project supporters, welcome to this latest update of the project, we’re excited to share some new developments of the past couple of months.

As you may know, our first target is to develop better technology and techniques for imaging vitreous, which is essential to develop better diagnostic and treatment modalities. The most promising work in this field so far has been using ultrasound technology.

Ultrasound Imaging

The use of ultrasound to provide assessment of vitreous has been in development for around 5 years. It is extremely useful to quantify vitreous disease severity and the response to therapy. However, there is still work to be done with new advances in ultrasound technology that can provide much higher resolution and more accurate imaging.

The next step for the work at VMR Research is to incorporate the use of a new probe that has 5 sensors, as opposed to the single array that has been used to date. This should help achieve much better quality images. A VMR Research collaborator presented this new 5-in-one ultrasound probe at the World Ophthalmology Congress. (26 – 29 June 2020). We will send out more news on this presentation as soon as we can.

This ultrasound research and development will be done in partnership with Columbia University and Riverside Research in New York. Future ultrasound studies will not only measure the size and number of floaters, but also analyze the importance of location within the vitreous body.

It is hoped that dynamic assessment of vitreous displacement during eye movement will more closely replicate the patient experience during reading and driving. This should provide new ways to assess severity of disease and the response to therapy.

As patients, we know that activities like reading and playing sport are made much more challenging by moving eye floaters, so this research will be a significant step in helping to better understand VDM and its impact upon quality-of-life.

Further information

For anyone interested in learning more about the use of ultrasound in quantifying vitreous floaters, and some of the work Professor Sebag has completed so far, this article is a good starting point: https://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2212941

Additionally, videos of vitreous ultrasonography: 

Alternative imaging research: OCT – Optical Coherence Tomography

Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) technology uses light instead of sound to create an image, and can show the microstructure and anatomy of the inside and back of the eye. In vitreous, OCT could enableprecise localization e of the opacities that cause floaters and Vision Degrading Myodesopsia (VDM)..

Currently, OCT only images the back part of the vitreous body, which is not very useful for the study of VDM in research and the evaluation of patients in practice. Research teams working in Poland (Nicolas Copernicus University) and Spain (University of Murcia) are collaborating with VMR Research to develop new OCT technology to image the entire vitreous body. This is a big step forward, and plans are to make this imaging 3-dimensional, providing a comprehensive assessment of the human vitreous body in vivo.

How is the VDM Project using donations?

Up to now, the donations sent to the VDM Project have been used to directly support Professor Sebag and his team at VMR Research. 

The VMR Institute have recently submitted an article to the American Journal of Ophthalmology which provides a detailed examination of myopia and its relation to vitreous structure and function. This is an important subject for the VDM Project because myopia is the second leading cause of VDM. Also by publishing this work new interest will be generated amongst the professional community, creating more opportunities for R&D collaboration in future.  The article is currently in the review stage and is expected to be published in around 4 – 6  months’ time, the normal time-frame for scientific publications.

Going forward, donations will partly be used to support the work on imaging vitreous using ultrasound technology, as described above, the OCT imaging project, as well as other projects studying VDM in different patient groups, such as those who have had cataract surgery.

There are also plans for public health outreach to the global community of floater sufferers and public awareness campaigns to raise general awareness of this important problem.

How to support this work

We hope everyone will sign up to the newsletter and help spread the word about the VDM Project. It is critical that we continue to grow our community to reach as many people as possible, and to increase our influence to change perceptions in the medical community.

Thanks again for supporting this unique project, we have confidence that it will succeed and we hope you share this confidence.

Let’s unite for clear vision.

Dymock Brett | VDM Project Leadership Team