||New Advancements In Treating Macular Degeneration
macular degeneration. also referred to as AMD, is a common eye disease associated with
aging that gradually impairs sharp, central vision. It affects approximately 13 million
people in the U.S. and is the leading cause of vision loss. Because of the aging baby
boomer population in this country, some experts say AMD will be "the epidemic of the
These concerns have led physicians and researchers on an
ever-expanding mission to find ways to improve the treatment of macular degeneration.
The Two Common
Forms of AMD
Eight-five percent of all people with AMD have the dry form of the disease. Researchers
believe that dry AMD is caused by the aging and thinning of the tissues of the macula, a
region in the center of the retina that controls central vision and allows us to make out
fine details. Some people have dry AMD for many years without vision loss. But because the
dry form can progress quickly to the potentially damaging wet form, early detection and
careful monitoring is crucial.
Although there is no proven treatment for dry macular degeneration, there are studies
being conducted to evaluate the possible benefit of nutritional supplements for the
condition. The Eye Centers of Florida is participating in one such study that assesses the
relationship between nutrition and macular degeneration in almost 500 women across the
Although a small percentage of people with macular degeneration have this type, it is a
much greater threat to vision. With the wet form of the disease abnormal blood vessels
grow rapidly, developing beneath the macula, leaking fluid and blood that can cause severe
loss of central vision. Laser treatment has been the traditional and most widely used
method of treating wet macular degeneration, but while it can slow or prevent further
vision loss, it rarely improves vision.
Options for the Treatment of Wet Macular Degeneration
Photo Dynamic Therapy
Eye Centers of Florida is participating in an FDA clinical trial for the
treatment of wet macular degeneration. The trial treatment, developed by California-based
Miravant Pharmaceuticals, is a two-step photodynamic therapy (PDT)*. Patients are injected
with a light-sensitive drug that collects in the abnormal blood vessels. A special
low-power laser light then is used for about a minute to trigger a chemical reaction that
slows or halts the growth of those vessels without affecting the surrounding tissue. As a
result, researchers hope that PDT, unlike traditional laser treatment, may improve vision.
Patients are needed to participate in the clinical trials of PDT. Those who are accepted
will be treated at no charge**. Candidates must be in good overall health, diagnosed with
wet macular degeneration, and be willing to participate for up to 103 weeks, which
includes treatment and follow-up.
who have severe visual loss due to retinal hemorrhages or membranes may benefit from a
"rescue" surgery now performed by a select group of surgeons around the world.
While the early results of this surgery are encouraging, it is not for everyone. Only
those individuals with the most severe macular degeneration are candidates.
The concept is
simple: surgically detach the retina and relocate the damaged portion away from the
central portion of your vision. By doing this, surgeons hope to restore central
vision. Early results have shown remarkable improvement in vision, a rarity among patients
treated for macular degeneration. In one small study, retinal translocation surgery
stabilized the vision of the majority of patients.
While the results are remarkable, the risks of the surgery must be weighed against the
benefits. One significant drawback experienced is the distortion and double-vision
that results if both eyes are not working together. Objects viewed through the operated
eye are likely to appear tilted and distorted. In most cases the tilt goes away on its own
after 4 to 8 weeks, or can be corrected by performing eye muscle surgery.
While retinal translocation surgery is in its infancy, it offers great hope for
patients losing sight from wet macular degeneration. To find out if you or a loved
one are a candidate for this procedure, call Eye Centers of Florida at 1-800-226-3377
We have a simple test that may help determine whether you have symptoms of
macular degeneration. Click here for The Amsler Grid - To
Test Your Vision.
Other Vision Problems
Miravant photodynamic therapy is an investigational drug, limited by federal law to
investigational use.) .
**THE PATIENT AND ANY OTHER PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYMENT HAS A RIGHT TO
REFUSE TO PAY, CANCEL PAYMENT, OR BE REIMBURSED FOR PAYMENT FOR ANY OTHER SERVICE,
EXAMINATION, OR TREATMENT WHICH IS PERFORMED AS A RESULT OF AND WITHIN 72 HOURS OF
RESPONDING TO THE ADVERTISEMENT FOR THE FREE, DISCOUNTED FEE, OR REDUCED FEE SERVICE,
EXAMINATION, OR TREATMENT.