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Healthcare

New Options to Treat Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a progressive eye disease that shows up in older adults. In this disease, the central part of the retina, called the macula is affected. Despite its high occurrence, there are only limited treatment options available, and many new treatments are currently under development. If left untreated, this disease can lead to permanent vision loss especially in people over 50 years of age.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1.8 million Americans are living with AMD while 7.3 million individuals are at high risk. It is most common in Caucasians as compared to other ethnicities and women exhibit their symptoms much earlier than men.

Typically, there are two types of Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), wet AMD and dry AMD. Treating wet AMD is easier and it requires injections in the eyes evert month, or after two months. On the other side, there is no such treatment for dry Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and most the patients who are diagnosed early are advised to follow preventive measures to limit the damage.

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The on-going treatment trials will improve the lives of millions of people who are helpless regarding their condition. These treatments will help all those people who are unable to get better with existing strategies and options.

The news release from the American Academy of Ophthalmology has confirmed the promising effects of the on-going AMD treatment trials that are thought to help all those who never got treatment for AMD before.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) defines damage to the macula, which is a tiny and central part of the retina in the eyes. Most people who are diagnosed with AMD suffer from the dry AMD clinically called atrophic AMD and there is absolutely no treatment available to reverse this damage.

Although some studies have shown some benefits by using dietary supplements, along with the Mediterranean diet, while quitting smoking and avoiding sun exposure. But the effects of all these things even the intraocular anti-VEGF injections are only effective when given at an early stage. Once the damage has already taken place, there is no way to heal it. These last stage AMD patients mostly live a miserable and highly dependent life.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has recently revealed that some clinical trials have shown promising results. These trials include two experimental drugs which focus on a small part of the immune system that plays a significant role in AMD progression.

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These two experimental drugs, if approved will be injected into the eyes, like treatment of wet AMD. Based on trials till now, both of them appear to be safe for users. But they may take up to one year to show significant results in terms of visionary improvement.

Some studies are investigating if it is possible to replace the eye cells which are dead or near to death in dry AMD patients. Despite the promising results, it will take a long time to get these treatments to be a part of clinical practices.

VEGD or vascular endothelial growth factor is the biggest cause of wet AMD and treatment for wet AMD was introduced nearly 15 years ago, in the form of anti-VEGF injections. These injections are up to 90% efficient to prevent vision loss patients don’t follow a regular treatment plan which lowers its efficiency to 50% only. The new treatment options that are currently under investigation may help eyes to create natural anti-VEGF medicine, but without the final results, it is hard to predict anything.

Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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