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Research highlights for January 2022

Published: 3 February 2022 at 16:42

Find out about research published by members of ARU's Vision and Eye Research Institute (VERI) in January 2022.

The relationship between mental health and sexual activity during the COVID-19 quarantine in Spanish adults was examined in Gil-Salmerón et al. (1). The study found that people with higher levels of depression had less sexual activity during the quarantine, and those with higher levels of anxiety presented a significantly lower chance to have sexual activity. The study suggested that better mental health status, having less anxious and depressive symptomatology, is associated with having a more active sexual activity during COVID-19 quarantine.

Ghanchi et al. (2) reviewed anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) agents with longer durations of action in chronic sight-threatening eye diseases including nAMD, diabetic macular oedema, retinal vein occlusion, uveitis and glaucoma. The advent of longer-acting therapies brings new treatment options to the horizon, which can improv patients’ regimen compliance and reduce treatment burden for all.

The key inclusion criteria for a glaucoma gene therapy trial were devised in Gruzei et al. (3) via a retrospective chart review in a glaucoma clinic population. They found that the inclusion criteria for a primary open-angle glaucoma gene therapy trial would apply to at least half of the ‘fast progressor’ patients in the population examined.

Jacob et al. (4) aimed to investigate the association between back and neck pain (BNP) and workplace absenteeism and potential mediating variables in a large sample of the US population. The authors found that BNP was positively and significantly associated with workplace absenteeism, and suggested that workplace interventions focusing on the management of BNP and overcoming difficulties in walking, standing, and sitting, potentially utilizing exercise, therapy, and ergonomic interventions could prevent absenteeism.

Scotopic microperimetry is a promising technology capable of detecting changes in retinal sensitivity before changes in other measures of visual function, and a promising functional biomarker with the potential as a useful clinical trial outcome measure. The evolution and applications of scotopic microperimetry was reviewed in Taylor et al. (5).

The association between multimorbidity (i.e., two or more chronic conditions) and sleep problems in the general adult populations of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) was investigated in Smith et al. (6). They found that multimorbidity had higher odds for sleep problems, with pain (24.0%) explaining the largest proportion of the association, followed by anxiety (21.0%), depression (11.2%), and stress (10.4%).

Trott et al. (7) aggregated the risks of diabetic retinopathy in populations with and without pathological eating behaviours via a systematic review and meta-analysis. The authors found that the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy increases almost three times in the presence of pathological eating behaviours, suggesting that practitioners working with people with diabetes should closely monitor eating behaviours so that any pathological eating behaviour can be addressed swiftly.

A systematic review of studies reporting the prevalence of physical activity among carers was performed by Lindsay et al. (8). The authors found that among low quality studies, 16 to 84% of carers self-reported not meeting WHO physical activity guidelines, while in medium to high quality studies, 29.9 to < 99% of carers self-reported not meeting guidelines. Due to the variety across studies, the authors found that it was not clear if carers are at higher risk of physical inactivity than then general population and suggested further research to identify which carer population groups are at a higher risk.

Ramke et al. (9) undertook a Grand Challenges in Global Eye Health prioritisation exercise in order to identify the key issues which need to be addressed to improve eye health. The authors engaged several hundred people across all world regions to produce global and regional priorities, which can be used by a broad range of stakeholders to guide investment and action to strengthen eye health services and work towards eye health for all.


1. Gil-Salmerón, A., López-Sánchez, G. F., López-Bueno, R., Pardhan, S., Grabovac, I., Smith, L., 2022. Association between anxious and depressive symptomatology and sexual activity in Spain: A cross-sectional study during the COVID-19 quarantine. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(1). doi: 10.3390/ijerph19010147

2. Ghanchi, F., Bourne, R., Downes, S. M., Gale, R., Rennie, C., Tapply, I., Sivaprasad, S., 2022. An update on long-acting therapies in chronic sight-threatening eye diseases of the posterior segment: AMD, DMO, RVO, uveitis and glaucoma. Eye. doi: 10.1038/s41433-021-01766-w

3. Gruzei, C., Zhang, J., Bourne, R., 2022. Testing the eligibility of glaucoma patients for potential gene therapy among a clinic population. International Ophthalmology. doi: 10.1007/s10792-021-02044-0

4. Jacob, L., López-Sánchez, G. F., Oh, H., Grabovac, I., Stefanac, S., Shin, J. I., Tully, M. A., López-Bueno, R., Koyanagi, A., Barnett, Y., Haro, J. M., Smith, L., 2022. Association between back and neck pain and workplace absenteeism in the USA: the role played by walking, standing, and sitting difficulties. European Spine Journal. doi: 10.1007/s00586-021-07084-9

5. Taylor, L. J., Josan, A. S., Pfau, M., Simunovic, M. P., Jolly, J. K., 2022. Scotopic microperimetry: evolution, applications and future directions. Clinical and Experimental Optometry. doi: 10.1080/08164622.2021.2023477

6. Smith, L., Shin, J. I., Jacob, L., Schuch, F., Oh, H., Tully, M. A., Sánchez, G. F. L., Veronese, N., Soysal, P., Yang, L., Butler, L., Barnett, Y., Koyanagi, A., 2022. Association between physical multimorbidity and sleep problems in 46 low- and middle-income countries. Maturitas. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2022.01.007

7. Trott, M., Driscoll, R., Iraldo, E., Pardhan, S., 2022. Pathological eating behaviours and risk of retinopathy in diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders. doi: 10.1007/s40200-022-00980-x

8. Lindsay, R. K., Vseteckova, J., Horne, J., Smith, L., Trott, M., De Lappe, J., Soysal, P., Pizzol, D., Kentzer, N., 2022. The prevalence of physical activity among informal carers: a systematic review of international literature. Sport Sciences for Health. doi: 10.1007/s11332-021-00893-x

9. Ramke, J., Evans, J. R., Habtamu, E., Mwangi, N., Silva, J. C., Swenor, B. K., et al. (Pardhan, S.), 2022. Grand Challenges in global eye health: a global prioritisation process using Delphi method. The Lancet Healthy Longevity, 3(1), e31-e41. doi: 10.1016/S2666-7568(21)00302-0