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Surgeons offer new treatment for degenerative eye disease

DURHAM, N.C. -- Researchers at Duke Eye Center believe a surgical procedure they have refined for over a decade can offer hope to more people suffering from end-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is an eye disease that may lead to central vision loss and afflicts an estimated 500,000 people worldwide each year. The surgical procedure helps to restore central vision, but is not a cure for AMD, the researchers said.

The procedure, called "macular translocation surgery with 360 degree peripheral retinectomy" (MT360), is a two-stage surgery that involves first internally rotating the retina to shift the degenerating macula to a healthy area, away from abnormally growing blood vessels and scar tissue. In the second procedure, the eye is rotated to account for the ensuing tilt in a person's visual field. The macula is the central portion of the retina and is used for activities that require fine-detail vision, such as reading or sewing.

"Until now MT360 had been used in patients with recent central vision loss from AMD in their newly affected second eye, but it hadn't been evaluated in patients who had undergone previous macular treatment," said Cynthia Toth, M.D., associate professor of ophthalmology and an eye surgeon at Duke. "We now have shown that this may be an option for patients who are experiencing continued vision loss despite previous treatments for AMD. This technique often allows us to recover a patient's reading vision. It isn't a cure, but our patients' feedback has been very exciting."

The latest Duke research into MT360 appears in the Nov. 1, 2003, issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology. The authors are reporting that patients who have received a round of a standard treatment called ocular photodynamic therapy (PDT) and continue to experience vision loss recovered reading vision after MT360.

Macular degeneration, a disease that may cause blurring of central vision, occurs in two forms, wet and dry. Th
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Contact: Tracey Koepke
koepk002@mc.duke.edu
919-684-4148
Duke University Medical Center
27-Oct-2003


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