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People with early AMD not benefited by Laser Treatment

It was earlier thought that low-intensity laser treatment was potentially beneficial in slowing and preventing the loss of vision// from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A recent study, the Complications of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Prevention Trial (CAPT) supported by grants from the National Eye Institute (NEI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has concluded that laser treatment is ineffective in preventing complications of AMD or vision loss. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and 21 other clinical centers have found that low-intensity laser treatment does not slow down or prevent the loss of vision from age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

According to the NEI, AMD is a disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp, central vision. Central vision is needed for seeing objects clearly and for common daily tasks such as reading and driving. People with early AMD have drusen - yellow deposits under the retina. The presence of drusen is the first sign of early AMD, and eyes with large drusen are at an increased risk of progressing to advanced AMD, with accompanying loss of vision.

"For the past 35 years, ophthalmologists have wondered about the advisability of employing preventive laser treatment for patients with large drusen who are at a high risk for vision loss and AMD," said Stuart L. Fine, MD, CAPT chairman and chair, Penn's Department of Ophthalmology; Director, Scheie Eye Institute. "We found that laser treatment had neither a clinically significant beneficial nor harmful effect for these patients. There is no evidence from this trial to suggest that people with large drusen should seek preventive laser treatment."

This was the first large-scale, multicenter study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of this technique. The study followed 1,042 participants over the age of 50 (average age of 71) who had 10 or more large drusen and visual acuity of 20/40 or better in
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