All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘ARMD’

An eye with late stage exudative AMD

Radiation therapy treatment for Wet AMD

Recent trials studying the effect of radiation therapy on the macular area show promise as another method of treating neovascular (Wet) Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). The two methods which have been looked at differ significantly in the way they deliver the radiation.
The method which hit the news in the last few weeks uses the IRay machine, a low voltage xray machine which delivers xrays to the macular area through three beams which are shone into the eye through the lower sclera (white of the eye). One of the first studies from Mexico reported that over 12 months, patients treated by this method required less anti vegF injections than the control group. This could mean that treating AMD may be cheaper in the future, and hopefully therefore treatment may become more widely available.
More information on the AMD treatments are available on this page, and the Mexico study mentioned is available to read here. (You will need to login or register (free) to see it.

Update – that link no longer works, but if you are interested there is an article here about the safety and efficiency of the treatment. Again, you might need to login or register to read it.


Macular Pigment Density and Dietary Supplements

Dry AMD It has been accepted for a while now that dietary supplements containing antioxidant vitamins and minerals can have a significant benefit to slowing down the progression of Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). It has also been noted that certain pigments which are found in a normal macula (the area at the back of the eye responsible for acute vision) become depleted in AMD patients.

These pigments have a protective mechanism- they are also antioxidants, and their colour seems to filter out some of the more damaging rays which might reach the retina. Many tablet supplements have for a long time included these pigments in their formula, on the assumption that restoring these pigments to the macular area must be a good thing. There has been a long term debate whether ingesting these pigments in a tablet would have any beneficial effect- would they even be deposited back in the macula??

A recent study in Germany found that supplements do increase the amount of pigments in the blood stream, and that they do also deposit in the macular area. The next investigation is to establish if replacing these macular pigments is actually of any benefit- is the loss of pigment a result of AMD or the cause?

Studies are continuing- around the world and in Ireland to look at the effects of these pigments in both healthy eyes and in eyes with AMD, but for the moment we would recommend that tablet supplements containing anti-oxidant vitamins, minerals and pigments do seem to have enough of a benefit to advise their use, if there are early signs of Macular problems.

A healthy diet rich in the “superfood” -fruits, nuts, fish and vegetables may be another, perhaps better option for prevention- they say you shouldn’t throw multivitamins at a bad diet!

The German report can be found here- you may need to register (it is free) or login to see it.

Stem Cell ARMD Clinical Trials

Researchers have recently begun trials to investigate the safety of a stem cell derived treatment for Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD, ARMD). The treatment involves  implanting replacement retinal pigment epithelial cells derived from human embryos. Already there has been some success, with both subjects reported on experiencing an improvement in vision. The trial is continuing, with more subjects being treated. The main aim at the moment for this trial is to determine if this way of treating ARMD is safe- stem cells could differentiate into any cell type, so there is a risk of a type of tumour called a teratoma, though as the researchers have implanted cells which have already been differentiated (they have already been told to be Retinal Pigment Epithelial (RPE) Cells), hopefully this risk will be minimal.

If successful, this treatment will be most useful to prevent damage to the retinal photoreceptor layer. The photoreceptors require support from the RPE, and become damaged after the RPE becomes damaged. Therefore this treatment may in future be a preventative, but may restore some function in more advanced cases.

The full article can be downloaded here;

Eating Grapes

New research indicates that Grapes are the latest food to be found to help prevent Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD or AMD).

Superfoods such as blueberries, pomegranates, spinach and broccoli all confer protection because they are rich in anti-oxidants, but now grapes may be added to the list- they have been found to be as effective as lutein supplements in ARMD prevention!

A balanced diet is proving to be one of the most effective preventatives of ARMD, and while dietary supplements have been proven to be very successful, perhaps those with a very good diet would not have the problem and therefore not require the supplements?

More information on the grapes here

A bad week for Aspirin?

Two reports this week have suggested that Aspirin may not be such a wonder drug after all.

One report published in the Jan 2012 issue of Ophthalmology indicated that regular Aspirin use may double the risk of Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), and that  there is an indication that the more frequent the use, the more severe the ARMD. More investigation needs to be done on this, but for the moment, there is a suggestion that Aspirin use should be reconsidered in people who already have ARMD.

Another study published in Jan 2010, in The Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that Aspirin is not so effective in preventing CardioVascular events as perhaps initially thought, likewise it may not have the preventative cancer protection suspected, but definitely increased the risks of “non trivial bleeding”.

It may be worth asking your General Practitioner if this is of concern…

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