New treatments for Retinitis Pigmentosa ???

January 28, 2013

Two Novel treatments for Retinitis Pigmentosa move closer to clinical trials

Two recent experimental treatments – one involving skin-derived induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell grafts, the other gene therapy – have been shown to produce long-term improvement in visual function in mouse models of retinitis pigmentosa (RP), according to the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) scientists who led the studies. At present, there is no cure for RP, the most common form of inherited blindness.

Proceed with cautious optimism.

For more info:




Treatment of Macular Degeneration

January 21, 2013

A review published in International Journal of Ophthalmology suggests that micronutrients including vitamin C, E, zinc, β-carotene and dietary supplements like lutein and zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil can help prevent age related macular degeneration (AMD) in some men and women.

Tariq Aslama from University of Manchester in Manchester, UK and colleagues report in their review that evidence from the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) is strong to indicate that vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and β-carotene are effective in slowing the rate of deterioration of stage 3 o 4 AMD to a late stage of the illness during a 5-year follow-up.

However, these micronutrients were found effective in preventing the progression of the early AMD to  neovascular AMD (advanced form of AMD), but not to atrophic AMD, the authors note.

Smokers need to know that “high β-carotene intakes are contraindicated for smokers due to a potential increased risk for lung cancer,” as the authors note.

In addition,  using aspirin for at least 10 years was associated with a small but statistical increase in the development of late AMD, according to results from a new study published in the December 19 issue of JAMA.

For more info, consult with your ophthalmologist.

Treatments for Wet Macular Degeneration

January 14, 2013

Macugen was the first antiangiogenic therapy to be approved by the FDA. It was shown to be effective in 70% of cases, but did not restore vision in any statistically significant amount.

Lucentis approved since 2008. Shot given every 4 weeks. 95% effective.

Avastin similar to Lucentis but much less expensive

Eyelea approved since 2011. Shot given every 8 weeks.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a cold laser + dye treatment that is still being used to treat patients with wet AMD, though much less frequently now that useful drugs are available.

Photocoagulation Therapy is a “hot laser” treatment. With the advent of newer therapies, very few “hot” lasers are performed. For years, photocoagulation was the only treatment available for wet AMD.

For more info:

Webinar on Low Vision & Depression

January 13, 2013

Gail Johnson has been invited to attend an online seminar.


Dr. Kevin Huff, OD speaks on “Visual Impairment Diagnosis – How do I Cope?” emotions surrounding vision impairment diagnosis and what’s new in low vision technology.

If you wish to hear this talk, get in touch with to register.

If you wish to hear Dr. Huff’s previous talk on Low Vision & Depression: