New treatment for age-related macular degeneration

Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital has introduced a new treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which is an important condition affecting older people.

This condition affects the macula which is a small area at the centre of the retina. The macula is responsible for what we see straight in front of us, allowing us to see fine detail for activities such as reading and writing, as well as our ability to see colour.

Vision can be severely affected if the delicate cells of the macula are damaged and stop working. Affected sufferers experience symptoms such as blurred vision or distortion (with straight lines appearing wavy and objects appearing to be an unusual size or shape). In more advanced cases, sufferers develop a blank patch or dark spot in the centre of their sight which makes reading, writing and recognising small objects or faces difficult.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition affecting older people. There are two types of AMD – ‘wet’ AMD and ‘dry’ AMD. There is no medical treatment for dry AMD which is the milder form of this condition. Wet AMD is the more severe form of this condition. Wet AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the UK, with thousands of new cases every year. About 20,000 people in the UK are estimated to suffer from wet AMD.

The new treatment is only effective in individuals with wet AMD. Wet AMD causes growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina which cause a build up of fluid, bleeding and scarring. This condition can be easily diagnosed by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) examining the eye using special equipment.

The new treatment is an injection of a special drug that controls the build up of fluid under the retina in wet AMD. This injection treatment is not a cure for AMD. However, it can control this devastating disease in most individuals, and improve sight in some, provided treatment is started at an early stage.

Patients with suspected wet AMD should be referred by their GP to Mr Douglas Newman or Mr Declan Flanagan, who are the retinal specialists at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital.

For more information call 01223 266990 or complete our online enquiry form.

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