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Cataract surgery helps AMD patients; steroid improves DME; online eye health forum
Date:11/2/2009

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--- This month's Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (Academy) reports on a national study that finds cataract surgery is likely to benefit patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) at all stages of the disease, on a clinical trial showing that the steroid triamcinolone may be effective in advanced diabetic macular edema (DME) patients when standard treatment fails, and on the public's use of two Academy-sponsored online eye health forums.

Multicenter Study Finds AMD Patients Benefit from Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery improved vision in patients with any stagefrom mild to advanced AMD in the first study to include an adequate number of advanced AMD patients. Data was obtained from the multicenter, prospective Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), which was organized primarily to evaluate the effects of high-dose vitamin and mineral supplements on cataract and AMD. As the American population ages AMD prevalence is expected to rise, and many patients will concurrently develop cataract; both diseases can cause blindness if untreated.

"Earlier epidemiology had suggested cataract surgery might worsen AMD, so the data from the AREDS cohort study were evaluated to answer this important question," said Emily Y. Chew, MD, who led the study for NEI.

The cohort, comprising 1,939 eyes (1,244 patients) with various stages of AMD, was evaluated for visual acuity (sharpness) after cataract surgery. On average, patients with AMD, ranging from mild to advanced, gained visual acuity after cataract surgery; the best gains were in patients with vision worse than20/40 before surgery. No difference in improvement was noted between patients with "wet" (neovascular) or "dry" (central geographic atrophy) AMD. About one year later vision gains remained statistically significant in the 865 eyes available for follow-up. Results f
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Contact: Mary Wade
mwade@aao.org
American Academy of Ophthalmology
Source:Eurekalert

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