New Treatment offers Hope to Macular Degeneration Patients

Age-related macular degeneration has become the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.  Researchers at King’s College Hospital in London have started a trial for a new treatment for wet macular degeneration that may offer hope for patients suffering from the eye disease.

Macular degeneration is a degenerative eye condition of the retina.  It has become the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly.  With two types of the eye disease, dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration, wet macular degeneration is the most aggressive type of the eye disease.  This variation is responsible for 90 percent of the blindness caused by this eye condition and if left untreated can lead to blindness in less than three months.

Mr. Tim Jackson, a consultant eye surgeon at King’s College Hospital in the United Kingdom will perform the UK’s first operation in which a small dose of beta radiation will be delivered directly to the are of the retina affected by wet macular degeneration.  This will minimize damage to healthy adjoining tissue in the eye.  The operation utilizes a device called EpiRad, which will be calibrated and will deliver the radiation to the area afected by the macular degeneration.

Mr. Jackson said “This is a potentially exciting development – a single procedure like this could offer significant patient benefits when compared with current treatments, which involve regular and expensive injections in the patient’s eye, potentially for life.”

Currently, the most popular form of treatment for macular is injections of the drug Lucentis.  However, this involves regular and long-term injections into the eye resulting in enormous expense and continued stress on the patients suffering from the eye disease.

This new macular degeneration treatment is administered by a common daycase ophthalmology surgical procedure, and the whole operation can take less than an hour to perform. It has the potential to offer significant patient benefits when compared with current treatment such as Lucentis, which involves regular and long-term injections into the eye. The operation is a one off procedure that produces a lasting effect, meaning that further regular injections are seldom required.  It is hoped that this international trial will confirm the promising early results.

With new developments such as this in the area of macular degeneration research, the outlook for patients suffering from the eye disease continues to approve.

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