Potential cure for Dry AMD

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.

AMD increases risk of stroke

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.

Avastin challenges Lucentis dominance in wet AMD

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.

Immune system could stop AMD

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.

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