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UI Study Shows Promising Results
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (KGAN/KFXA) For Delores Boger driving the nearly two hours from Denver, Iowa to the University of Iowa in Iowa City is well worth it to help save her vision.
Age-related macular degeneration or AMD is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the industrialized world.
In 2006, AMD came as a surprise to Delores. She didnt have a clue that she had it until she couldnt pass her drivers test. By the time she started receiving treatment, she had already lost the central vision in her left eye.
People will get a blister of fluid and blood and scar tissue right in the center of their vision," University of Iowa Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology Dr. Vinit Mahajan said. That blister usually comes on suddenly.
The primary goal for ophthalmologists is to help patients with AMD keep the vision they already have.
The vast majority of patients, if they come see us soon enough, from when that bleed first starts, we can reverse it, and get it close to where their vision was before," Dr. Mahajan said.
Until recently, The National Institutes of Health have reported that when the drugs Avastin and Lucentis are injected into the eyes of AMD patients, they can help ease symptoms. But the University of Iowa was part of the original trial to get a new drug, Eylea, approved by the FDA. They also participated in a pilot study that tested Eyleas effectiveness.
The first author on the paper is Benjamin Bakall, a fellow associate in ophthalmology at the University of Iowa. Bakall, Mahajan and James Folk, a UI ophthalmologist, designed and conducted the research. Other authors include H. Culver Boldt, Elliot H. Sohn, Edwin M. Stone and Stephen R. Russell.
We expect that our study has the potential to change the standard of practice around the world where people suffer from macular degeneration, Mahajan said.
In 90 percent of patients, injections of the standard AMD drugs, Avastin and Lucentis ease symptoms for sufferers. The study found Eylea could help some of the rest. In the University of Iowa trial which included 31 AMD patients, half of the eyes treated with Eylea saw improvement after three months. That brings hope for some patients who previously didnt have an option.
For Delores, Eylea has made a difference. Using other drugs, she had to receive injections about once a month before she would once again have problems with her vision. Since she started receiving Eylea injections six months ago, shes cut those visits down to about every eight weeks.
Thats a relief for a woman who once struggled just to distinguish every day details.
"Even to see the grandchildren's faces or whatever, you know, you'd have to get pretty close," Boger said.
Now, each trip to see Dr. Mahajan is an opportunity to save the vision she has left in her right eye.
When asked what Eylea means to her, Delores simply replied, My world.
Here is a link to the American Journal of Ophthalmology article on the study: http://www.ajo.com/article/S0002-9394(13)00144-X/abstract
To learn more about Vinit Mahajan M.D., PhD, Click here
Check out another KGAN/KFXA look at the University of Iowa's efforts to Save Sight - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kb75QUWilQ