There has been a breakthrough in the treatment of the previously untreatable form of macular degeneration (‘dry AMD‘).
Kentucky vision Scientists have discovered the complex chain reaction of proteins and enzymes that happens in the retina causing dry AMD. They demonstrated that using drugs to selectively block these proteins and enzymes halted the process in various disease models.
There has been no trial on humans yet but this gives hope to millions suffering from dry AMD. Usually taken to be the unstoppable ageing process of the retina, dry AMD can get progressively worse with no effective treatment options. This new breakthrough could open up a whole raft of drug therapies to halt or prevent the condition developing.
People with AMD are at a increased risk of having a stroke, new research has suggested.
Following over 12,000 patients over 13 years, the study found that those with any AMD were about 50% more likely to have a stroke than others even adjusting for other factors.
New AMD treatments called Anti VEGF drugs like Lucentis and Avastin are thought to increase risk of stroke in themselves but this latest research finds people with AMD are already at an increased risk and treating AMD could potentially increase the risk.
There were some limitations with the study and further research is needed.
The leading wet AMD treatment used in the NHS, Lucentis, is under pressure from a cheaper version called Avastin.
Both compounds are from the family of AntiVEGF drugs (anti-vascular endothelial growth factor). In wet AMD, the degeneration causes the retina to make tiny new blood vessels in response to damage. These blood vessels are very fragile and break and bleed into the retina causing scarring and eventually vision loss.
AntiVEGF drugs stop and even shrink the growth of these new blood vessels preventing the damaging bleeding. Until now Lucentis has been the only approved drug for use in the eye and costs over £700 per injection (used in multiples of 3 injections normally). Avastin is in the same family of drugs and currently used to treat heart conditions. Costing only £60 per injection, many specialists in other countries have been using it ‘off label’ in the eye to great effect.
Avastin is now being used to treat 50% of AMD cases in the US and there is increasing pressure on the NHS to approve the use of this drug enabling far more access to the sight saving treatment.
At Cameron Optometry, we’re experts in all forms of macular disease and have the latest OCT technology which is used by specialists to diagnose and monitor the effects of treatment on wet AMD. If you are concerned or have a family history of the condition, come and see us for some expert advice.
Researchers in Ireland have found that part of the immune system is involved in the development of Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and by controlling it, could prevent the progression of the disease.
Using animal and donor human eyes, the team found that the part of the immune system that initiates the inflammatory response in cells leading to conditions like AMD (the fantastically named ‘inflammasome’) could be controlled and doing so prevented the progression of dry AMD to wet AMD.
This opens up a whole new avenue of potential treatment options for AMD. Currently dry AMD can be influenced by nutritional supplements whilst wet AMD requires injections of special types of drugs known as anti-VEGF.
At cameron optometry, we really know our stuff when it comes to AMD and we have the most advanced macular scanning OCT available to give you the most accurate assessment of your macula particularly if you have a family history of AMD.
A recent meta analysis of journal articles has found the prevalence of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) increases 4 times for every decade of age beyond 50.
46 papers from 1950 onwards were analysed by researchers. Due to the differences in the way each of the studies was written, comparison was difficult and among the many interesting details, this key finding emerged: the prevalence of AMD (that is the total number of people with the condition at a given time) increases by a factor of 4 every decade after 50 years old.
At 50 the prevalence of AMD is low at 0.04% but rises to an alarming 12% at age 90 making it a leading cause of registrable visual impairment in older adults.
These findings highlight the benefit of a thorough examination of the eye. Cameron Optometry is one of a handful of practices in the UK with an OCT (Optical Coherence Tomographer) which is the gold standard testing method of AMD. Combining this with our unparalleled expertise in macular disease means we can give the most reliable and accurate advice regarding treatment options.
The Lancet is reporting on an important new breakthrough in the fight against sight loss. Embryonic stem cell transplants have restored vision to patients registered blind as a result of AMD and Stargardt’s macular dystrophy.
Two patients in the US and one Briton were operated on as part of a global trial by US biotech firm ‘Advanced Cell Technology’ carried out at Moorfields Eye Hospital. Although promising, the researchers said such treatments could still be 10 years away from being available on the NHS.
A new non-invasive laser surgery technique is being developed at King’s College London that may delay the onset and development of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
The technique rejuvenates the thin layer that lies behind the retina called Bruch’s membrane which provides nutrients to the retina’s light-sensitive cells, improving the removal of waste created as retina cells renew themselves. The procedure can be carried out in 10-15 minutes by and it is suggested that it could be used as a pre-emptive treatment for people in their 30s from families with a history of AMD.
A new implant could help treat patients suffering from common eye conditions such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
A tiny coil, known as an I-vation is inserted into the back of the eye. Once in place the I-vation slowly releases drugs for a period of up to two years meaning patients no longer need to use regular eye drops or be given eye injections. Early trials of the device have proved effective in the treatment of diabetic macular oedema.
Beryl Haskew who suffers from age related macular degeneration (AMD) has had her vision partially restored using pioneering new surgery to implant a miniature telescope in her eye.
Prior to the IOLVIP (intraocular lens for visually-impaired people) procedure – the first of its kind in the UK – Mrs Haskew could not recognise the face of someone stood in front of her but now she is able to read a newspaper.
For more information on the IOLVIP, click here
Researchers at Moorfields Eye Hospital and University College London have discovered a way to repair damaged cells in the retina.
After trials on rats scientists now hope to develop treatments for conditions such as macular degeneration using regenerative Muller Glial (MG) cells – these cells have the ability to morph themselves into healthy versions of damaged or dying retinal cells. Dormant MG cells cells are found inside the human eye. Trials are now underway to find a way to “kick start” these naturally occurring regenerative cells. In the meantime researchers hope that active MG cells can be nurtured in a lab and transplanted into human eyes.