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Age Related Macular Degeneration: Latest Medical Breakthroughs

Tuesday, 15 Mar 2011 12:35 PM

Age related macular degeneration is a condition of the eye where the vision is lost due to damage to the retina. This condition progresses with age. There are two types of this condition; one is Dry Age Macular Degeneration, which is the thickening of the walls of the retina, and Wet Age Macular Degeneration, where fluid is filled in the blood vessels behind the retina.
 
Extensive research is going on in this field to prevent and cure ARMD. Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, have discovered a synthetic way of controlling ultra-small, luminescent Nano crystals. These Nano crystals are used in a variety of applications in advanced bio-imaging, volumetric 3d imaging, and in this treatment.
 
The Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) in Canada, and  the Standing Committee of Physicians and Sickness Funds (NASHIP) in Germany, evaluated the Photodynamic therapy (PDT) which is a new treatment option for age related macular degeneration. It involves a light activated drug used for the treatment of wet age macular degeneration. This is now an approved state of the art treatment and no longer a clinical trial. This treatment does not improve the patient’s vision, but helps stabilize it.
 
The use of an Implantable Miniature Telescope (IMT) has been approved by the FDA. These are designed to replace the natural lens and improve vision in those with age related macular degeneration. In this procedure, the telescope is surgically inserted into one eye to provide central vision while the other eye provides peripheral vision. The two viewpoints are fused into one single image by the brain.
 
Johns Hopkins University studies have found that supplementation containing vitamin E provides a preventive measure for ARMD. The studies show that vitamin E supplements reduce the likelihood of progression of age related macular degeneration symptoms by 25 percent. This is also found to be helpful in reducing the risk of vision loss.
 
Jerusalem's Hadassah University Medical Center has found a method for cultivating embryonic stem cells. This is helpful for stem cell therapy. The research team plans to begin clinical trials for the treatment of age related macular degeneration. During this procedure, the stem cells will be used to repair the retina and improve or bring back vision.
 
In the future, some or all of these macular degeneration treatments are sure to bring about a revolutionary change in the treatment of this condition.

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