Surgery Helps Those With Vision Loss

Procedure aids people with age-related macular degeneration

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MONDAY, Jan. 31, 2005 (HealthDayNews) -- A surgical procedure called MT360 improves quality of life for people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD), say researchers at the Duke University Eye Center.

AMD results in loss of vision in the center of a person's visual field. The condition is caused by damage to the macula, located at the center of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. The loss of central vision makes it difficult or impossible to do activities that require detail vision, such a sewing or reading.

MT360 is a two-stage surgery. In the first part, surgeons rotate the retina to shift the degenerating macula to a healthy area, away from scar tissue and abnormally growing blood vessels. This shift helps to restore function to the macula.

The second part of the surgery involves rotating the eye to compensate for the ensuing tilt in the patient's visual field.

"We can now show, scientifically, that our patients have been able to improve not only their central vision, but their quality of life as a result of the visual improvements following MT360," eye surgeon Dr. Cynthia Toth, an associate professor of ophthalmology, said in a prepared statement.

She's the senior author of two studies that examined quality of life in patients with severe AMD before and after MT360 surgery. The studies appear in the January issue of Ophthalmology.

"The data show patients improve not only in tests of visual acuity done in our office, but also in their everyday lives. Does improving visual acuity improve quality of life for the patient? Yes, it does, and we didn't know for sure until now," Toth said.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more about AMD.

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, Jan. 25, 2005

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