The following note is from Lauren Tappan:
Researchers from Roskilde Hospital have found that the cause of a widespread eye disease, known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), may be found in the immune system.
AMD is a common eye condition and a major cause of vision loss and visual impairment among older adults.
In Denmark, the disease affects every third person.
Roskilde researchers tested 250 patients and found those with advanced AMD had changed levels of the CD200 protein in their blood.
The protein is also related to ageing and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Over the long term, we expect that a blood test can reveal whether a patient with early calcification of the eye is at high risk of developing severe AMD,” Torben Lykke Sørensen, a clinical professor at Roskilde Hospital and the University of Copenhagen, told Dagbladet Roskilde.
Earlier this month we reported on a telescopic implant done in Sandhills, NC.
Now in an outpatient procedure at Rex Hospital in Raleigh, ophthalmologist Dr. Isaac Porter removed a patient’s cataract and replaced it with the implant. The telescope itself is smaller than a pea and redirects the image to a part of the retina unaffected by the disease.
The implant comes with a whole-team approach to care involving the cornea surgeon, a retina specialist, optometrist and a low-vision occupational therapist.
At present, dry macular degeneration is not pharmaceutically treatable. However, things are hopeful for the future. There are 15 major companies with at least 40 drugs in the FDA pipeline. The researchers and the number of treatments for each include:
Acucela Inc. 22
Alimera Sciences, Inc. 23
Bioheart, Inc. 24
Catalyst Biosciences, Inc. 25
Cell Cure Neurosciences, Ltd. 26
Eleven Biotherapeutics Inc. 27
EyeCyte, Inc. 28
Foamix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. 29
Genentech, Inc. 30
GlaxoSmithKline plc 31
Icon Bioscience, Inc. 32
Inotek Pharmaceuticals Corporation 33
MacuCLEAR, Inc. 34
Neurotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 35
Ocata Therapeutics, Inc. 36
Ophthotech Corp. 37
pSivida Corp. 38
Tacere Therapeutics, Inc. 39
In the meantime, there are innumerable assistive devices available to help you cope with the problem.
Carolina Eye Associates have successfully performed a telescope implant procedure for a patient with end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the most advanced form of the disease and a leading cause of blindness in older Americans.
The telescope implant is FDA approved for patients age 65 and older and is the only medical/surgical option available that restores a portion of vision lost to the disease.
Patients with end-stage AMD have a central blind spot or missing area in their vision that makes it difficult or impossible to see faces, read, and perform everyday activities. According to Carolina Eye retina specialist, Arghavan Almony, M.D., “the ability to be able to offer these patients the opportunity to help them resume their favorite activities and independence is truly remarkable.”
Smaller than a pea, the telescope implant uses micro-optical technology to magnify images which would normally be seen in one’s “straight ahead” or central vision. The images, magnified 2.7 times, are projected onto the healthy portion of the retina not affected by the disease, making it possible for patients to see or discern the central vision image that may have been unrecognizable prior to surgery.
Your parents may have told you, “Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyes,” and a new study suggests they were on to something.
Pigments called carotenoids — which give red or orange hues to carrots, sweet potatoes and orange peppers, or deep greens to produce like spinach, broccoli and kale — may help ward off the age-linked vision ailment known as macular degeneration, researchers said.
While the study can’t prove cause-and-effect, one vision care expert wasn’t surprised by the findings.
“I tell my patients that fruit and vegetable consumption are very important for eye health — this study validates that notion,” said Dr. Paul Bernstein, a professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City.
A team led by Joanne (Juan) Wu, a graduate student in nutrition epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, sought to better understand any connection.
Wu’s team found that, in a study of 100,000 people, those who consumed the very highest levels of carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin had a 40 percent lower risk of the advanced form of AMD compared to those who ate the very least.
“Other carotenoids, including beta cryptoxanthin, alpha carotene and beta carotene, may also play protective roles,” Wu added. People who consumed the very highest amount of these carotenoids — found in foods such as carrots and sweet potato — had a 25 to 35 percent lower risk of the advanced form of the illness, the findings showed.
Researchers did not find any link between the carotenoids and the intermediate form of macular degeneration, however.
The study is published in the Oct. 8 online edition of JAMA Ophthalmology.
- Ocata has developed methods to culture and deliver retinal progenitor cells.
- Early, unpublished animal data suggest retinal progenitors can reverse blindness caused by degenerative diseases.
- If shown effective, the retinal cells have a huge number of potential applications.
- Ocata has received funding for retinal progenitor development in the orphan disease retinitis pigmentosa.
- Retinitis pigmentosa has no approved, effective therapy, and represents a potential market over $1 billion per year.
Ocata Therapeutics has stated in no uncertain terms that its embryonic stem cell -derived retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) is its major program, and it has the potential to address an array of macular disorders, including age-related macular degeneration, Stargardt’s disease, macular edema, and myopic macular degeneration.
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