Robotic Procedure Helps Treat Macular Degeneration

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News Picture: Robotic Procedure Helps Treat Macular DegenerationBy Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter
THURSDAY, June 12, 2024 (HealthDay News)

Researchers have found that robot-guided radiation therapy can effectively enhance treatment for age-related macular degeneration, which is the primary cause of vision loss and blindness among older adults in the United States.

A recent study published in The Lancet journal reported that precise radiation treatment reduced the number of routine injections needed for treating wet-type age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 25%.

Lead researcher Timothy Jackson, a consultant ophthalmic surgeon at King’s College Hospital in London, explained, “With this purpose-built robotic system, we can be incredibly precise, using overlapping beams of radiation to treat a very small lesion in the back of the eye.”

Wet AMD is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels beneath the retina, causing them to leak blood and fluid, leading to scarring of the macula and rapid vision deterioration.

The standard treatment for wet AMD involves injections of drugs that inhibit the growth of new blood vessels in the eye. However, most patients require injections every one to three months to prevent fluid buildup.

Jackson noted that although patients understand the necessity of these eye injections for preserving their vision, the frequency of hospital visits and repeated injections is not something they enjoy.

In the new therapy, the eye is treated once using three highly focused radiation beams directed by a robot specifically at the site of abnormal blood vessel growth.

Over 400 British patients with AMD who underwent robotic radiation therapy required around 25% fewer injections.

Globally, approximately 196 million individuals have AMD. The researchers estimated that robotic radiation treatment could potentially reduce about 1.8 million injections annually worldwide.

Moreover, this treatment approach could generate cost savings within the healthcare system, the researchers added.

Research lecturer Helen Dakin from the University of Oxford stated, “We found that the savings from administering fewer injections outweigh the cost of robot-controlled radiotherapy.”

More information

For more information, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s page on age-related macular degeneration.

SOURCE: King’s College London, news release, June 11, 2024

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