SOS

J.R.R. Tolkien said once that “false hopes are more dangerous than fears.”

Every once in a while Lin and I hear someone make a claim about AMD that we know is not true. Then someone picks up on the claim, believes a foolproof treatment or cure has been found and they have been saved from blindness. This is only to have their hopes dashed a day or two later when the truth comes out. This can be heartbreaking to watch, let alone experience.

Right now, to our best knowledge, there is no cure or available treatment for dry AMD. There are a number of treatments being tested. Even the treatments most advanced in the process are several years away from being available to the general public.

The SOS has been sent. The cavalry is coming but they are still a very long ways away. It is up to us to hold out until then.

When I talk about medical treatments, I am talking only about drugs that will slow the deterioration process. To my knowledge there are no drugs that will regrow RPEs and/or photoreceptors. The drugs will not restore sight. If you have lost your photoreceptors, at this point in time you have lost your sight.

Stem cell replacement at present is for RPEs only. Remember RPEs are only servant cells. They take care of the photoreceptors. The pizza delivery guy may help to keep the neurosurgeon alive but we would not expect him to do brain surgery. Same concept. The RPEs will feed the photoreceptors but they won’t turn light into sight. The best we can hope for is for some of the photoreceptors that are at death’s door to be revived and start working again.

Dead photoreceptors are just that, dead photoreceptors. I have geographic atrophy. Photoreceptors that should be in that area are dead and gone. There is currently no way to get them back. The last I heard they were able to grow photoreceptors but they had been unsuccessful in having them connect with the rest of the nervous system. You have a cell phone in a deadzone. Your phone works great but the signal goes nowhere.

Am I saying have no hope? Hell, no. I live on hope. Just have realistic hope. Treatment is coming. Cures are coming. Just don’t expect them next Tuesday!

Why do people get so hung up by these crazy claims? First of all, they are desperate. Any port in a storm. Beyond that I am not sure. I wasn’t able to find a lot on the mechanisms behind false hope. Maybe it is better to feel better for a little while even if you are destroyed later. Sort of like substance abuse. It felt good at the time.

We try not to deal in rumors, just facts. If we say something you do not think is true, challenge us. If you read or hear something different from what you hear here, alert us to it and we will research it. Better yet, anybody capable of web research might volunteer to help us. There is a lot of information out there.

In the meantime, keep the faith but don’t go crazy. We are not there yet.

Next: How Am I Supposed to Get Home?

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