Blast From the Past

And now, you have been asking for it, I present WET AMD!

Not that I have any first hand experience with the stuff nor do I wish to but I found an article on the history of treatment and thought I should share it. Feel free to chime in.

Preview of coming attractions…or a review depending upon how fast Lin gets her AMD timeline done…the first treatment for wet AMD was laser coagulation in 1979. That folks was less than 40 years ago. That would have been when some of your parents were dealing with AMD and vision loss. Before lasers? Nada. Again, this is not your parents’ AMD.

Since zapping little, tiny bleeders was not an exact science (remember, this was before Blaster Master and other now classic video games. Few people were that skilled), there were some misses. That’s when they came up with Visudyne, a drug that helped to ‘light up’ the target. A specially designed laser activated the Visudyne which selectively destroyed the bleeders. Better but still not great.

The article, Macular Degeneration Treatment from AMDF, went on to talk about 3 problems with laser treatment of CNV bleeders. First, because bleeders may have been too large or poorly delineated, only about 10 to 15% of them could be treated with lasers. Second, there was a 50% chance the leak would reoccur in two years and third, 50% of the treated patients still had subfoveal leakage. Also mentioned was the possibility of technicians with bad aims and further, inflicted damage.

Anti-VEGF is put into use in 2004. We land a Rover on Mars. Lord of the Rings is best picture and Harold Shipman is found hanged in his cell in Manchester, UK. Remember 2004? That was not that long ago! 2004 seems like yesterday, but since then, 13 short years ago, in some parts of the world, Anti-VEGF has reduced the rate of legal blindness by 50%. Wow!

Of course nothing is perfect. Vascular function in the rest of the body has been a worry for some. However, stroke data has been inconclusive. There have been cases of eye infections, increased eye pressure, retinal detachment and floaters.

Not sure where we will be going from here with wet AMD. Some of the work being done on dry AMD will head off both cases of wet and GA. Recall wet and GA are both advanced stages of the disease. New delivery systems are being developed and researchers are kicking around phrases like platelet-derived growth factors, receptor antagonists and immunomodulatory therapy whatever they are. It is a brave new world and we are getting to be part of it. [Click here for the most recent review of research for both dry and wet AMD.]

There you have it: my attempt at fair and unbiased reporting. I will try to do some more about wet AMD but, frankly, the effort may not last. We really need someone to cover this ‘beat’. Any takers?

Next: Thank a Mouse

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