Early Stage Macular Degeneration Laser Treatment

Early Stage Macular Degeneration Laser Treatment

Immediate recognition and action of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) could make a significant impact when it comes to slowing progress and potentially saving your sight. One application that has recently been studied is the rapid implementation of using lasers to repair damage caused by AMD. If caught early, this means hope for many diagnosed with wet AMD when blood vessels are affected causing a more serious degeneration to blindness. Talk to your doctor or ophthalmologist about early symptoms and how this recent research may be applied to you if needed.

The Laser Repair

Lasers can be used as high powered light scalpels, cauterizers and blasters for various systemic conditions that a conventional tool would be unable to perform. Combined studies have shown some significant results when nanosecond lasers were used. By sealing leaky blood vessels in, you guessed it, a nanosecond, under the retina, a single session demonstrated how the procedure, over time, slowed AMD progression and improved symptoms.

According to a recent study by researchers at the Department of Anatomy/Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Australia, Bel Marra Health reports that,

“The researchers treated patients with AMD in one eye with a single session of nanosecond laser treatment. Participants underwent eye exams every six months for two years after the treatment…The results demonstrated that treating AMD with laser early on has limited the progression of the disease. The nanosecond laser did not cause any damage to the retina [] and it was shown to even have positive effects for the untreated eye as well.”

This was a small study of only fifty participants, however the checkup duration and results were significant markers which should prompt further study. In addition to the hopeful results, it has been determined that hot and cold laser treatment are two effective choices. They are used in two different ways. Hot laser is capable of cauterizing leaky vessels while cold lasers freeze and remove recently formed leaky vessels without damaging surrounding tissue.

Lead researcher of the study, Erica L. Fletcher, commented,

“It is hoped that this study will provide a basis for the clinical use of the low energy nanosecond laser in those with early stage age-related macular degeneration and that such a treatment will limit the progression of the disease to the advanced, sight-threatening forms.”

Not New, More Precise

As mentioned, laser has been successfully applied to vision related conditions for decades. The American Macular degeneration Foundation (AMDF) reports,

“Between 1979 and 1994, the Macular Photocoagulation Study Group conducted a number of clinical trials that enrolled patients with CNV lesions (Choroidal Neovascularization) in one or both eyes. Each affected eye was randomly assigned to either laser treatment or observation. For eligible eyes with CNV in extrafoveal, juxtafoveal and subfoveal locations, laser treatment reduced the risk of severe visual loss.”

Another study published in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery (6/08) concluded,

“In patients with AMD, LLLT [low-level laser therapy] significantly improved visual acuity without adverse side effects and may thus help to prevent loss of vision.”

This is just a small example of the work that has paved the way, each year, for more precision when using laser treatment. Moving forward this technology is bound to improve.

Check Your Symptoms

You may be showing signs of AMD without even realizing it. Many of the 2 million afflicted per year have missed checkups and considered their vision symptoms to be something that would eventually clear up. By the time some get to the hospital their vision had progressed to full blown AMD.

In addition, don’t let the “age-related” part of the AMD title fool you as symptoms could mean early onset of macular degeneration or possibly another potential eye disease. Either way, always discuss abnormal vision with your doctor or ophthalmologist.

These are the top three symptoms of AMD according to WebMD,

  • Straight lines start to appear distorted, or the center of vision becomes distorted
  • Dark, blurry areas or white out appears in the center of vision
  • Very rarely diminished or changed color perception

Don’t mess with your eyes if you are experiencing these or any other abnormalities and get to a checkup.

We all know that with any disease, catching imminent progression early offers the best chance scenario as to slow down its momentum to which one would probably die before it took their sight. However, as laser treatment continues to hone in with more accuracy and efficiency while reducing recovery time there is a chance that AMD could one day be a disease of the past.

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