Nanosecond laser is being investigated as a potentially viable intervention for all those at risk of vision loss from age related macular degeneration, according to Professor Robyn Guymer from the Centre for Eye Research Australia.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss with one in seven Australians aged over 50 showing signs of the disease. It is characterised by drusen deposits and a thickened Bruch’s membrane (BM).
A clinical study led by Professor Guymer and the associated basic research lead by Profressor Erica Flethcer and Associate Professor Andrew Jobling has yielded positive results using Ellex Medical’s low impact, low energy, nanosecond laser treatment for patients with early stage age-related macular degeneration.
Ellex Medical’s proprietary Retinal Rejuvenation (2RT) technology has been found to reduce the indicators of the disease and improve the health of important supporting cells at the back of the eye, according to the study, which was published in the peer-review journal Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). Importantly, the study found, the laser treatment does not damage the overlying retinal tissue.
2RT delivers nanosecond pulses of laser energy, which stimulate a natural, biological healing response in the eye and a process of cellular rejuvenation to improve functional vision and the potential to reduce disease progression.
Associate Professor Erica Fletcher from the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne said this was the first study detailing how this new laser treatment may improve eye health in those with AMD.
“These findings suggest treating people with AMD with this new nanosecond laser reduces signs of the disease. Importantly, unlike other lasers currently used to treat retinal disease, the nanosecond laser does not result in damage to the sensitive retina,” she said.
The study also showed evidence that 2RT treatment in one eye could also produce positive effects in the other untreated eye, indicating that monocular treatment may be sufficient to treat the disease in both eyes.
The scientific and clinical research incorporated two sets of work: 24-month clinical data, which is a follow-up to the 12-month pilot study “2RT for Early AMD” (ACTRN 1260900E1056280), and scientific work on the impact of 2RT in two exenterated (surgically removed) human eyes and a series of animal eye models.
The 24-month clinical data, conducted by Professor Robyn Guymer, MB, BS PhD, FRANZCO, at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), reviewed 50 patients with intermediate AMD who underwent treatment with 2RT in one eye.
Data demonstrated the potential of 2RT to reverse the accumulation of drusen in patients with high-risk early AMD over the 24-month period.
The drusen area in each eye was graded at baseline, and post-treatment at 12 months and 24 months respectively. Changes in drusen area in the treated eye were evaluated against a natural history AMD cohort of similar age range and clinical severity. 2RT reduced drusen area in 35-40 per cent of treated eyes at 24 months, compared to 5-11 per cent of eyes in the natural history AMD cohort.
“Importantly, no patients in the 24-month pilot study progressed to Wet AMD. This is further evidence which suggests that 2RT may be a potential viable intervention for those at risk of vision loss from AMD,” said Tom Spurling, Ellex CEO.