New Laser Treatment to Halt Blindness
July 6, 2009
Over the past weekend, the London press reported on a new laser treatment that claimed to be able to save the sight of millions. The London Mail’s headline proclaimed, “The laser that can halt blindness and offer hope for millions”, while the Guardian said, “Hope for blindness cure with laser breakthrough”.
Both newspapers were relating the story being told by Professor John Marshall of King’ College in London, about the new laser he and Ellex of Australia are working on that can be used with patients with macular degeneration to ”clear” Bruch’s membrane and regenerate broken down retinal tissue.
As related by Professor Marshall, he has developed a way of “cleaning” eyes which, due to the aging process, have accumulated tiny particles of debris which start to cloud their sight. His pioneering technique uses a painless “short pulse” laser to solve the otherwise intractable problem of how to help the eye’s waste disposal system do its job after it has been weakened by age.
Marshall, a senior ophthalmologist at King’s College London, said he hopes this “retinal regeneration therapy” can prevent and reverse the onset of AMD.
The technique works by rejuvenating a thin membrane behind the retina, called Bruch’s membrane. Over time this membrane becomes so “clogged” with the by-product of cell renewal that vital nutrients can no longer cross from the bloodstream into the retina and excess material becomes trapped, unable to pass in the other direction. This leads to the death of retinal cells and, in time, to AMD and eventual blindness.
This is not new technology. I wrote about it for Eye Doc News back in March, and wrote the original article about Ellex’ 2RT Retinal Regeneration Technology in my online Journal back in November 2007,
To read more about new technologies for treating AMD, please see my Journal entry: AMD Update 5: Emerging Technologies for Treating AMD; and the original entry on Retinal Regeneration: Ellex 2RT Retina Regeneration Therapy: A First Report.
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