Historically optometrists have had few options for patients with chronic, neurotrophic corneal defects like nonhealing superficial punctate keratitis (SPK) or sterile corneal ulcers.
Artificial tears and more recently even amniotic membranes have left many patients still battling chronic ocular surface disease and the vision distortion that accompanies it.
With a new topical eye drop on the market, optometrists are able to target the underlying concern behind neurotrophic corneal defects: the damaged corneal nerves themselves.
Apex, NC, optometrist Michael Marino shares his experience as the first optometrist to prescribe Oxervate(cenegermin-bkbj ophthalmic solutionDompé) in North Carolina in this podcast in partnership with Defocus Media.
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Oxervate became the first U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatment for neurotrophic keratitis in August 2018.1The novel topical eye drop is a recombinant form of human growth factor, the first biologic topical medication approved in ophthalmology and the first FDA-approved use of human nerve growth factor as a drug or treatment.
The medication was given orphan drug status by the FDA, which fast-tracked its’ approval to be used by both optometrists and ophthalmologists in the United States.
Candidates for the medication are patients with sterile, neurotrophic corneal defects secondary to damage to any level of the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve V).
Common causes of impaired corneal sensitivity includeherpetic infections, ocular or neurological surgeries, injuries, or even systemic conditions like diabetes that can impair corneal sensation and the function of the trigeminal nerve.2
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1.U.S. Food & Drug Administration. FDA approves first drug for neurotrophic keratitis, a rare eye disease. Available at: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-d.... Accessed 10/16/19.
2.Sacchetti M, Lambiase A. Diagnosis and management of neurotrophic keratitis. Clin Ophthalmol. 2014;8:571-579.
3. Bonini S, Lambiase A, Rama P, Sinigaglia F, Allegretti M, Chao W, Mantelli F; REPARO Study Group. Phase II Randomized, Double-Masked, Vehicle-Controlled Trial of Recombinant Human Nerve Growth Factor for Neurotrophic Keratitis. Ophthalmology. 2018 Sep;125(9):1332-1343.
4. Clinicaltrials.gov. Evaluation of Efficacy of 20 µg/ml rhNGF New Formulation (With Anti-oxidant) in Patients With Stage 2 and 3 NK. Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/results/NCT02227147?view=results. Accessed 10/16/19.