Monday, March 4, 2013

Eye Drops for Dry AMD Treatment

In the not too distant future it may be possible to offer patients eye drops for treatment of Dry Age Related Macular Degeneration. Birmingham Ophthalmologist Marc Michelson, M.D. of Alabama Eye & Cataract Center shared some thoughts and information about some possible eye drop treatments for dry macular degeneration. “With the advent of Lucentis® injections for Wet macular degeneration we have been able to make a huge impact on so many people and their quality of life,” commented Dr. Michelson. “In reality though, 85% or so of the cases of macular degeneration that we diagnose are “Dry” macular degeneration and thus it would be significant if we could find some form of treatment for this type as well,” he further noted.

Although we don’t fully understand the exact cause of “Dry” AMD, we know that it tends to progress more slowly than the “Wet” AMD. It is characterized by the appearance of small white or yellowish deposits, called drusen which form on the retina, beneath the macula, causing it to deteriorate or degenerate over time. “The most likely cause is a diminished blood flow in the blood vessels of choroid-a tissue beneath the retina that supplies it with oxygen and nutrients,” Dr. Michelson explained.

The FDA has facilitated a “fast track” approach and testing of an experimental eye drop that has an active ingredient that has been approved and used in an oral formulation to treat hypertension. It is thought that these new eye drops may act to increase choroidal blood flow and circulation and thus slow or stop the progression of AMD from the early stage (Dry AMD) to the later stage (Wet AMD) by increasing the blood flow in the eye's choroidal vessels. Thus far the early clinical studies show that the drug is safe for use in human subjects and is now being tested to determine if it can be an effective treatment for dry AMD by increasing choroidal blood flow.

“We are continually reviewing the research, the publications and the FDA clinical trials to find better ways to take care of our patients-it’s just part of being a good physician and our patients depend on us. More to come regarding “Dry” macular eye drop treatment as soon as we have the data and information,” said Dr. Michelson.

If you have questions or concerns about macular degeneration or about potential new eye drop treatments for Dry macular degeneration schedule an eye exam by calling Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visiting Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham staffed by a team of specialists including eye doctors who are fellowship trained cornea specialists and cataract and lens implant specialists-all board certified Ophthalmologists & Corneal Specialists-as well as Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser eye surgery such as LASIK for laser vision correction, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease including cornea transplants, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and fitting of eyeglasses and eyewear.