There may be new found hope for patients whose vision is threatened when medicine injected directly into the eyes fails to cause abnormal blood vessels to recede. While injectable drugs called angiogenesis (an-gee-oh-jen-esis) inhibitors are considered a modern miracle and have become the standard of care for patients with the fast-progressive form of macular degeneration, they are not foolproof. For the first time researchers report that an oral nutriceutical, used on a last resort basis, rapidly restores vision to otherwise hopeless patients who face permanent loss. Stuart Richer OD, PhD, Director, Ocular Preventative Medicine-Eye Clinic, James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, North Chicago, Illinois, says all other therapies were exhausted before employing the oral nutriceutical under compassionate-use protocols on a case-by-case basis.
This week, the second-year results of an important clinical trial on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), known as the Comparison of AMD Treatments Trials (or CATT), were published in the journal Ophthalmology. Researchers found that two drugs known as Avastin (bevacizumab) and Lucentis (ranibizumab), commonly used to treat the wet form of AMD, were similarly effective in maintaining vision. In this clinical trial funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health, CATT researchers found that two years into the study, two-thirds of patients retained a vision of 20/40 or better, whereas only 15% of patients retained similar vision with previous treatments. "As a nonprofit organization that funds groundbreaking research and provides public information on AMD, the American Health Assistance Foundation welcomes discoveries from the CATT trials on wet AMD, which affects two million Americans, " says AHAF Vice President for Scientific Affairs, Guy Eakin, Ph.
Around 80% to 90% of school-leavers in major East Asian countries like China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea suffer from myopia or short-sightedness. This represents an enormous burden of disease that will lead to further problems in the future, as 10 to 20% of those affected suffer from 'high' myopia that can ultimately lead to loss of vision, impaired vision, as well as blindness. Professor Ian Morgan, from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Vision Science, and the Australian National University in Canberra, and team report in the second paper in The Lancet Series on Ophthalmology that this extremely high prevalence of myopia is linked to increased schooling, according to recent data, which indicates that the lack of daylight exposure could have a major impact on this gigantic problem.
At two years, Avastin (bevacizumab) and Lucentis (ranibizumab injection), two widely used drugs to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), improve vision when administered monthly or on an as needed basis, although greater improvements in vision were seen with monthly administration for this common, debilitating eye disease, according to researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health. Of the two drugs, Avastin is most frequently used to treat AMD. However, prior to the Comparison of AMD Treatments Trials (CATT), a two-year clinical trial, the two drugs had never been compared head-to-head. Second year results were published today in the journal Ophthalmology. First year results were published in the May 19, 2011 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in older Americans.
Transplanting tissue from newborn fetal membranes prevents blindness in patients with a devastating disease called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a Loyola University Medical Center study has found. The study by senior author Charles Bouchard, MD, and colleagues is published online ahead of print in the journal Cornea. Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) is a disorder in which skin and mucous membranes, including the eye surface, react severely to a medication or infection. SJS causes painful skin blisters, and as the disease progress, the skin sloughs off as if the patient had been burned. A more severe form of the disease, involving more than 30 percent of the body surface, is called toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). Between 50 percent and 81 percent of SJS/TEN patients experience eye problems, ranging from mild dry eye to severe scarring that can cause blindness.