Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center’s Ophthalmology program is renowned for its medical innovation and groundbreaking procedures. Overcoming congenital blindness through gene therapy, developing accessible tools for analyzing astigmatism data, and activating the nasolacrimal reflex via electric stimulation to treat dry eye, are just a few highlights from this year.
Rare Form of Congenital Blindness Treated with First-of-Its-Kind Therapy
This novel therapy known as LUXTURNA treats patients with RPE65-associated Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), an eye disorder caused by mutations in both copies of the RPE65 gene, which alter a key vision-enabling protein. The newly FDA-approved therapy option developed by Spark Therapeutics, reverses the effects of this condition by replacing the mutated gene that causes the disease with a healthy copy of the gene.
Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is one of ten institutions in the United States to offer this therapy and is home to the only retina surgeons in Texas who are specialized and trained in this advancement.
The most recent treatment in Houston was performed by Baylor St. Luke’s retina surgeon Dr. Roomasa Channa on three siblings from Georgetown, Texas, who were all born with the same condition caused by mutations in the RPE65 gene. “These kids have grown up not seeing things we take for granted, such as stars in the night sky or their parents’ faces,” said Channa, who also is a surgeon at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine. “It’s great to hear their stories and the additional things they can slowly start to see after the procedure. Importantly, the therapy corrects the genetic defect and prevents further damage and loss of vision.”
Developing a Plot Tool for Precise Astigmatism Data Analysis
“This plot is not available in standard software, such as Excel, and can only be found in expensive statistical software such as SPSS, SAS, and XLSTAT costing thousands of dollars. The double-angle plot tool is simple to download and use, and it displays outcomes correctly by simply entering the required data,” he continued.
“I think it is especially useful for in-depth and yet intuitive analysis of our procedures to treat patients’ astigmatism. By offering this to all who use it, we are seeing it become the standard for astigmatism reporting.”