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Mayo: Age-related macular degeneration treatment works even with other eye problem

ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The primary treatment for wet macular degeneration, a chronic eye condition that causes vision loss, is effective even if patients have macular traction problems, a Mayo Clinic study shows. The findings will be presented today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Chicago.

Due to the aging population, an increasing number of patients are being treated for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an eye condition in which abnormal blood vessels develop and leak into the eye. When patients develop wet AMD, they receive injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor medication (VEGF). VEGF prompts growth of new blood vessels in the body. In the case of AMD, however, such new growth is unwanted and may cause bleeding in the retina.

It has not been clear whether this treatment would also serve patients experiencing other symptoms, such as vitreomacular interface disease (VMID), in which there is traction or contact between the retina and the vitreous matter in the eye. Mayo researchers retrospectively studied 178 patients, of whom 18 percent had VMID over an average of 2.5 years.

Findings showed that while eyes with some kind of macular traction required more injections, they still showed improvement (best corrected visual acuity) to similar eyes without VMID.

"This finding is significant," says senior author Sophie J. Bakri, M.D., "because it showed that patients with VMID are not necessarily treatment resistant for AMD." She also says it may help physicians not give up on treating such patients, and understand the need for more doses of medication for those with VMID. Researchers say more study is needed, including a prospective clinical trial.

Contact: Robert Nellis
Mayo Clinic

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