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Current State and Implications for the Future

Wood, Edward H., MD*; Tang, Peter H., MD, PhD; De la Huerta, Irina, MD, PhD*; Korot, Edward, MD; Muscat, Stephanie, BA, MFA§; Palanker, Daniel A., PhD; Williams, George A., MD*,‡

doi: 10.1097/IAE.0000000000002449

Purpose: To review and discuss current innovations and future implications of promising biotechnology and biomedical offerings in the field of retina. We focus on therapies that have already emerged as clinical offerings or are poised to do so.

Methods: Literature review and commentary focusing on stem cell therapies, gene-based therapies, optogenetic therapies, and retinal prosthetic devices.

Results: The technologies discussed herein are some of the more recent promising biotechnology and biomedical developments within the field of retina. Retinal prosthetic devices and gene-based therapies both have an FDA-approved product for ophthalmology, and many other offerings (including optogenetics) are in the pipeline. Stem cell therapies offer personalized medicine through novel regenerative mechanisms but entail complex ethical and reimbursement challenges.

Conclusion: Stem cell therapies, gene-based therapies, optogenetics, and retinal prosthetic devices represent a new era of biotechnological and biomedical progress. These bring new ethical, regulatory, care delivery, and reimbursement challenges. By addressing these issues proactively, we may accelerate delivery of care to patients in a safe, efficient, and value-based manner.

The authors explore four scientific innovations positioned to make a significant impact in the field of retina and describe their potential role in the current health care landscape: 1) stem cell therapies, 2) gene-based therapies, 3) optogenetic therapies, and 4) retinal prosthetic devices.

*Associated Retinal Consultants, Royal Oak, Michigan

Department of Ophthalmology, Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, California

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, Rochester, Michigan

§Stanford University, Stanford, California

Reprint requests: Edward H. Wood, MD, Associated Retinal Consultants, William Beaumont Hospital, Neuroscience Center, 3555 W. 13 Mile Road, Suite LL-20, Royal Oak, MI 48073; e-mail:

None of the authors has any financial/conflicting interests to disclose.

© 2019 by Ophthalmic Communications Society, Inc.