In this post we discuss the possible treatment for Macular degeneration and how you can reduce the risk of it developing:
Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is an eye condition that affects millions of people around the world. In the UK, it is the biggest cause of irreversable sight loss, so far.
It’s caused by a loss of the light sensitive nerve cells, cones, at the back of the eye. Even though it affects only a tiny area around the width of a human hair, the fovea, its impact is life-changing.
Patients experience a blurring of vision, initially at the center of their gaze but which expands and deteriorates as time goes on. At first the condition affects reading small print coose up. With time recognizing faces or watching television can become impossible.
“This is why it’s such a difficult disease to deal with for patients. It affects the best bit first,” explains Lyndon Da Cruz, a surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, UK. The periphery of the sight is not able to take over as the periphery does not provide sufficient detail or color.
Because nerve cells don’t regenerate, the body cannot heal the condition itself, however scientists at King’s College London and Moorfields are working on a new technique to implant stem cells into the back of the eye.
A trial has already been successfully tested on two patients, both of whom went from being unable to read at all, even with glasses, to reading 60 to 80 words per minute with normal reading glasses.
Operating on the eye is always delicate, but the precision involved in inserting the stem cells is right at the edge of the ability of even the most talented surgeons. Therefore the team has been working with the University’s robotics department to create machines that can work with minute accuracy.
“It’s as if you cut the human hair 10 times and then you need to go with one of those tools in between those layers for two or three minutes stably while the patient is awake. And that’s not something that humans just can do. That’s where robots come in,” says Christos Bergeles, a robotics researcher at King’s.
Bergeles’ team has created a working model of an operating room equipped with a robotic arm that can translate the movement of a surgeon. For the moment, they operate only on mannequins but one day they hope to be able to be restoring sight one cell at a time.
You can take some steps to slow down the progression of macular degeneration:
Stay fit and mobile, provide good blood flow to the back of the eye.
Do not become obese, or if you are, seek adivse and reverse it.
Smoking is a high risk factor with macular degeneration too.
If you have been told that there is ‘some macular change’ check your vision on a regular basis with an amsler chart.