Instruments for surgical treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- Surgical procedure provides a less costly, curative alternative to expensive drug therapeutics that usually only prevent or slow disease progression.
- One time surgical treatment applicable to both wet and dry AMD.
- Specialized instruments allow for precise manipulation of delicate optic tissue during the surgical procedure.
AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50. There are two forms of AMD, wet and dry. Both result in deterioration of the retinal tissues and progressive, irreversible blindness. With wet AMD, new blood vessels form resulting in leakage in the diseased area. With dry AMD, more gradual tissue degradation occurs and can result in formation of drusen. Unfortunately, patients with dry AMD, which is the most common form of AMD, are not candidates for currently available drug-based therapies. These drugs are targeted to mechanisms specific to wet AMD. In addition, these therapies are costly, requiring multiple treatments over extended periods of time. Furthermore, drug-based therapies usually only prevent or slow progression of the disease as opposed to restoring lost vision.
Surgical transplantation of an AMD patient's own healthy tissue from outside their central visual field has been shown to restore AMD-related vision loss. Although the feasibility of this approach has been tested successfully in humans, the procedure has not been widely adopted, in part due to surgical trauma and lack of specialized tools to perform the surgery. Dr. Timothy Olsen and colleagues have developed new instruments to facilitate this procedure. The instruments are designed to support delicate optical tissue during transplantation, thereby protecting tissue integrity and allowing the surgeon to manipulate the optical tissue with ease. The use of these tools to perform this procedure will likely result in improved outcomes, more reproducible surgeries, and reduced surgical trauma.
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- Instrument prototypes have been developed and are being tested in animals.
- Animal and human studies support the feasibility of this surgical procedure.
Joussen et al. (2006) American Journal of Ophthalmology, 142: 17-30.
Joussen et al. (2007) Ophthalmology, 114: 551-560.