John Marshall, an ophthalmologist at King’s College London devised a new laser technique to help prevent the onset of a common form of age related macular degeneration. The procedure, which takes only minutes to perform, has already been trialed on 50 patients with very promising results.
The Daily Mail reports:
The technique rejuvenates the ‘Bruch’s membrane’ – a thin layer that lies behind the retina.
This provides the retina’s light-sensitive cells with nutrients and removes waste created as a by-product of the way retina cells renew themselves.
But the membrane’s cells eventually lose the ability to take waste away, allowing deposits to build up.
It can then become so damaged that the retina’s lightsensitive cells start to die off. In a trial involving more than 100 diabetics, Professor Marshall found that using a laser stimulated the membrane’s tired, ageing cells into action.
After the cells were ‘ energised’ by the laser, they began to clean up the waste again.
Patients also said the treatment led to a ‘ marked improvement’ in their sight.
The non-invasive operation uses a laser modified to give pulses of light that do not damage the eye’s light-sensitive cells or cause any dangerous heating of the target area.
Professor Marshall will now treat up to 200 people with AMD in one eye as part of a second trial. Such patients usually get the disease in the other eye within three years.