Researchers at USC California recently published the results of a Stem-cell Retinal Implant, finding that it is feasible for use in people with advanced dry age-related macular degeneration. The technology which is at a very early stage, was able to be safely introduced and integrated with the patients own tissue.
This is the first human trial of this technology, but it provides hope and further avenue for the treatment of dry age related macular degeneration.
Dry age-related macular degeneration is the most common type of age-related macular degeneration. Over time, it can lead to loss of central vision, which can diminish people’s ability to perform daily tasks like reading, writing, driving and seeing faces.
As part of the study, the research team also performed a preliminary assessment of the therapy’s efficacy. One patient had improvement in visual acuity, which was measured by how many letters they could read on an eye chart, and two patients had gains in visual function, which was measured by how well they could use the area of the retina treated by the implant. None of the patients showed evidence of progression in vision loss.
Further research is ongoing, but this is promising and exciting progress for a hitherto untreatable problem .
The best current treatment for ARMD is avoiding smoking, healthy diet with plenty of green leafy vegetables and oily fish, whilst having regular checks to aid early diagnosis of wet ARMD which can be treated with injection treatments of anti VEGF.