A better drug for treating vision loss in older people

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AMD stands for Age-related Macular Degeneration, a common eye condition that affects people aged 50 and above, causing a gradual loss of vision.

It is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 50, affecting millions of people worldwide.

The macula is the central part of the retina, responsible for sharp, detailed, and central vision. AMD causes the macula to deteriorate, leading to blurred or distorted vision.

There are two types of AMD: dry and wet. Dry AMD is the more common type, affecting about 90% of AMD cases. Wet AMD is less common, but it can cause more severe vision loss.

The exact cause of AMD is not yet known, but several risk factors increase the likelihood of developing the condition, including age, smoking, genetics, high blood pressure, and obesity.

The treatment for AMD depends on the type and severity of the condition. Dry AMD has no cure, but some treatments can slow its progressions, such as vitamin supplements, a healthy diet, and lifestyle changes.

Wet AMD is more challenging to treat, and it requires injections of anti-VEGF drugs directly into the eye to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina.

The injections need to be administered regularly, typically monthly or bimonthly, to prevent further vision loss.

While the anti-VEGF injections can slow the progression of wet AMD and prevent further vision loss, they are not a cure.

They can be expensive, and uncomfortable, and come with the risk of rare but severe side effects, such as infection and retinal detachment.

Moreover, the need to return to a clinic or physician’s office every month for the injections can be a barrier to consistent care, leading to missed treatments and potentially worsening vision.

In recent years, researchers have been working to find ways to reduce the frequency of injections while maintaining the same level of efficacy.

A study from Johns Hopkins Medicine examined two commonly used drugs for wet AMD: aflibercept and bevacizumab.

Both drugs are administered through injections into the eye and work by inhibiting the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina that can cause damage to the central portion of this light-sensing tissue.

The study found that nearly half of the patients treated with aflibercept could safely stop eye injection therapy after one year without further vision loss.

In contrast, only 17% of patients taking bevacizumab could safely wean from the drug at a year.

The findings build on evidence from previous studies, suggesting that some patients with wet AMD could safely pause therapy after one year of monitoring by a physician.

The results suggest that if doctors can match the right patient to the best therapy, many patients with macular degeneration may not need lifelong therapy.

These findings are significant, as they could potentially reduce the burden of treatment for patients with wet AMD, making it more accessible and manageable.

However, the researchers cautioned that clinical trials with a larger group of patients would be necessary to confirm their findings.

If you care about eye health, please read studies about eye disease linked to severe COVID-19 in older people, and what you need to know diabetic eye disease.

For more information about health, please see recent studies that vitamin B3 supplement may harm eye health, and results showing how to treat depression and dementia from eyes.

The study was conducted by Akrit Sodhi et al and published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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