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Laser Treatment Could Save the Sight of Millions

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the i-can-see-clearly-now dept.

Medicine 95

BotScout writes "British experts claim that a new laser treatment could save the sight of millions of people. The process is said to stop the onset of age-related macular degeneration, one of the most common forms of blindness, which leaves victims unable to read, drive or live independently. The technique rejuvenates the Bruch's membrane — a thin layer that lies behind the retina. The process takes just ten to 15 minutes and could be done by any ophthalmologist. While it does not cure sight loss, its inventor, Professor John Marshall, says it could prevent a generation from having to put up with declining vision in old age."

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Too late! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28600785)

Now get off my lawn! I can hear you there!

Related news: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28600795)

I always thought shining a laser in my eyes would improve my vision.

In related news, perpetual motion machines have been proven by another professor to be the source of unlimited energy.

Re:Related news: (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28606741)

Lasers saved my vision several times; my retina tore, and Dr. Odin welded it back together with a laser. However, eventually the retina detached, and he had to stick needles in my eye [slashdot.org] . I bet you never thought sticking needles in your eye could cure blindness, either.

You are at risk of a torn or detached retina if you are extremely nearsighted, more so if you were extremely nearsighted and had your focusing lens replaced [slashdot.org] .

I wouldn't wish a vitrectomy on my worst enemy.

Good news everyone! (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28600841)

Hubert J. Farnsworth will be pleased by this news.

Re:Good news everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28600997)

Do not look directly into LASER with remaining eye.

Re:Good news everyone! (1)

uberjack (1311219) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601253)

I only hope that something can be finalized before I go completely blind. I was diagnosed with MD when I turned 30. I'm 32 now, and my vision has worsened quite noticeably in the last 3 years alone.

Re:Good news everyone! (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601547)

Do you have the requisite $2 million per eye for this procedure?

If so, you can get this done now.

Otherwise, you'll have to wait 25 years along with the rest of the riff-raff to have it done for the low-low price of $10,000/eye.

Where have you found that number? (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601767)

I've RTFed the story couple of times, without finding any mention of 2 million dollars price tag.

Could it be that you have confused it with an overpriced toy? [slashdot.org]

Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (5, Interesting)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 5 years ago | (#28600871)

Over 40 years ago, my grandmother was the first successful retina reattachment patient. She wasn't the first to get the surgery (probably the Scleral Buckle surgery described in the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] ), but she was the first one for whom it actually worked.

Now, repair of a detatched retina is routine, laser eye surgery is advertised on TV and radio like something you'd have done at a kiosk in the mall, and formerly incurable degenerative diseases like macular degeneration are now being treated.

My grandmother is 90 now. If I'm lucky enough to make it to that age (I'm almost halfway there), I wonder if I'll even have my original ocular equipment? I'd love to be able to see me some UV and IR.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1, Flamebait)

raddan (519638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28600957)

Speaking as someone who is about to marry an optometrist: I, too, hope you have a long life, but that your eyesight makes a long, slow decline which requires lots of treatment ;^)

Really, though, just kidding. I have a small collection of eye problems that are easily manageable because of modern medicine. Macular degeneration is pretty devastating for people, especially those people who are dealing with other diabetes-related problems (that said: kids, put down the sugar drinks-- diabetes is a horrible disease). Here's to hoping that these results are reproducible, and more important, actually helpful.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28601163)

Actually it's excess fat in the diet that causes diabetes. After the fat builds is when the sugar starts to become a big problem. Not that sugar is good for you anyway. So stay away from it, but remember it doesn't cause the diabetes itself.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1, Flamebait)

raddan (519638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601313)

That doesn't mesh with my understanding of type 2 diabetes. Here's my citation [wikipedia.org] . Where's yours?

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28602937)

You can read about several diabetes myths from the American Diabetes Association [diabetes.org] . Notice the third myth is that "Eating too much sugar causes diabetes," which is what I assumed you were referring to. It is a common myth that I have heard several times that deserves to die.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605049)

As someone who worked with a diabetes research group, I assure the Cowardon is right. everyone in that group always did one thing. Lost weight. If you are a quite a bit above the BMI the chance of type 2 diabetes goes up massively (like about 40x IIRC).

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1, Troll)

Macrat (638047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601223)

My grandmother is 90 now. If I'm lucky enough to make it to that age (I'm almost halfway there),

Life after 50 is over rated.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28601453)

Life under 25 is overrated ;)

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28618899)

Life is overrated.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28602051)

Life after 50 is over rated.

Actually it's pretty darn good. You've got enough money to enjoy it, and you're no longer the complete idiot you were in your twenties. (if you're still in your twenties you'll have to just trust me on this one, but you are an idiot.)

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (3, Funny)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 5 years ago | (#28602765)

and you're no longer the complete idiot you were in your twenties.
Speaking from the perspective of someone in their fifties, I have found that the experience and knowledge I have gathered over the years has made me a far more complete idiot than I was in my twenties.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28607669)

No, you were alsways an idiot, but now you're smart enough to realize it.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28603433)

Heh. Getting old sucks, but it's better than the alternative.

No longer the complete idiot? (1)

refactored (260886) | more than 5 years ago | (#28603597)

Sorry mate, you're still a complete idiot, it's just your self awareness is laggy.

Re:No longer the complete idiot? (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28611813)

People are born with the delusion that they know what is going on, and it just gets stronger as they get older. By the time the average person reaches their 80s they are insufferably confident and still actually know nothing. It's kinda sad, really, but at the same time I understand why it happens. Without the delusions, getting old would probably be unbearable since not only does everything suck, but you are saddled with memories of times when everything didn't suck. Shame, that.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28603843)

My grandmother is 90 now. If I'm lucky enough to make it to that age (I'm almost halfway there),

Life after 50 is over rated.

But it beats the alternative.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28607209)

No it isn't. I'm 57 and have more fun than I ever did before.

Of course, I'm not married any more, that has a lot to do with it.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#28608407)

No it isn't. I'm 57 and have more fun than I ever did before. Of course, I'm not married any more, that has a lot to do with it.

Being 26 and recently married, I see your point ;) I kid! I kid!

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28608697)

Two pieces of advice:

  1. Don't let your wife see that comment
  2. If your wife asks "is my ass too big" the answer is always NO, even if she has trouble getting her fat ass through the doorway.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (2, Informative)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604249)

People who get their lens replaced can see into the near UV. Apparently the new material doesn't filter out some frequencies.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28610653)

If there was a way to see the IR that bounces through bathing suits and light cotton...

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28612053)

[citation needed]

Who modded that misinformation as "informative"? The eye's crystal lens doesn't filter out frequencies, although your glasses do (UV won't pass through glass, but IR does). The limits on your color vision come from the size of the individual cones in the retina.

As someone with a variable focus bionic lens in my own eye, I'll just politely say that you're completely incorrect. Whoever told you that needs a good bitch slapping.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28606209)

And yet, nobody found a cure for it!

All they do is fix things that went kaputt. Nobody wants to find out why it happened in the first place.

Why? because there is not so much money in it. Simple as that.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (2, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28606239)

By the way: A cure is something that makes it go away and not come back. That is why this fails too.

And don't say it is because of old age. That is never a cause. There are only two causes:
1. Genetic ones.
3. Environmental effects. (Including food, other people doing and saying things, air, etc.)

Every other "cause" else your doctor tells you, is a lie. :)

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

kthejoker (931838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28607219)

Umm ... so let's assume it's genetic. Do we have "cures" for genetic problems now that are safe, well-tested, and cheap? Let's give science a break, people are working on cures all the time, but we only discovered DNA 50 years ago, we've got a lot of learning left to do before genetic causes can be "cured".

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28612579)

I assume it is not genetic. I assume it is, like pretty much all so-called "age-related" diseases, a problem with the food we eat, and the toxins in everything around us.
Not the quick ones. The slow ones. That take decades to get to a point where you notice them.
They are the ones where the association back to the cause is the hardest. And this is why they are mostly ignored.

Luckily, someone actually did make a study with over 50,000 patients over 50 years of being the boss of a hospital. And he found out, that nearly everything was food-related.
Nowadays we also have to add Monsanto's work to it. So wait 30 years, and it will be a hellhole, with nearly nobody being able to reproduce anymore. (We already have rising infertility rates because of this).

Of course, this thing could really be just the normal case of the human body not being made for that age and falling apart. So I do not throw out your assumption. Far from it.

I just know that experience makes my assumption far more likely. :)

Any I really do not expect impossible things from science. I know about the progress in genetics.
I just think that pharma companies do not care for that progress, and work in the other direction.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28612763)

I wonder if they'll ever find a cure for the particular retardation that makes nerds turn everything into a stupid conspiracy theory.

You'll die with a brand new set of ghola eyes (1)

GargamelSpaceman (992546) | more than 5 years ago | (#28606781)

No Text

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28606875)

You have your facts wrong. A detached retina can NOT be cured by a laser. If a laser was used, your grandmother's retina was torn, not detached. I know; my retina detached last year after several tears and laser repairs and I underwent a vitrectomy [slashdot.org]

Repair of a detached retina is NOT routine, although repair of a torn retina is. If a torn retina isn't repaired, it will detach and you will either get needles stuck in your eye and your vitreous fluid replaced with nitrogen, or a rubber band wrapped around your eyeball. You do NOT want a detached retina!

The scleral buckle is still used in some cases; a freind's brother just underwent the procedure about the time I had my vitrectomy.

Re:Retina reattachment, 40+ years ago (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 5 years ago | (#28608047)

You have your facts wrong. A detached retina can NOT be cured by a laser. If a laser was used, your grandmother's retina was torn, not detached...

It was the late '60s. If a laser was used, it would have been more like a sci-fi movie than a therapeutic method.

(The confusion is understandable... I wasn't talking about the current advances being used in her case, but instead reminiscing about our family's contribution to medical advancement. Also, all the comments so far had been stupid, so I figured I should add *something* of value to the pot!)

Offtopic, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28600879)

Bit offtopic, but has anyone here had laser surgery? If so, which, when, what was your eyesight and how did it work out for you?

Re:Offtopic, but... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28601037)

I needed about 12 diopters of correction (had myopia and astigmatism), my focal point was about 2" in front of my eyes. After surgery and follow up surgery I have 20/20 in both eyes.

Paid 3k for both eyes, did it over the end of the year so I could do two healthcare spending accounts (they're capped at 2k). I had one eye done late December and the other early January. Doing that saved me what I would have paid in income tax on that 3k.

This was with a Dr. here in Irving TX (he advertises a lot). Was a great experience overall. The only side effect is a slight halo's arond light sources if it's dark, but this is only pronounced if my eyes are really dry. But really, my eyesight is better than when I wore toric lenses (about on par with the brief period I used hard lenses)

Just always do the research first and don't go for the cheapest place (it's your frikkin eyes).

Re:Offtopic, but... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28607069)

There are different types of laser surgery for different conditions. LASIC is for myopia or presbyoopia (near/far sightedness) and your vision can be corrected to better than 20/20. Baseball players with normal vision have this procedure to give them superhuman vision; before you can hit a 90 ph fast ball you have to be able to see it. Cheating? Probably, but it's legal.

A torn retina can be repaird by a laser, and if your retina is torn get to your eye doctor IMMEDIATELY or you will suffer a detached retina and I can tell you from personal experience, it ain't fun.

The surgery described in TFA is a completely different kind of surgery.

If you are nearsighted, farsighted (even age-related; everyone gets farsighted in their 40s or 50s) or have astigmatism, you can have your eye's focusing lens replaced with a CrystaLens, a new technology introduced in 2003. It costs about $6500 per eyeball, but if you have cataracts insurance will pay for most of it. My eyesight was 20/400 (very, very nearsighted; coke bottle glasses and the kids called me "mr magoo" when I was in school), then in my 40s I became farsighted as well (your eye's lens hardens with age), then got a cataract in my left eye due to some steroid eye drops. With my new bionic lens my vision is 20/16 at distance (I can see at 20 feet what a normally sighted person needs to be 16 feet away to see) and even better close-up. I don't wear glasses or contacts any more. I had to pay about $1000, insurance covered the rest.

My right eye is still extremely nearsighted, I just don't use that one any more, except for extreme closeup work.

I'm missing something... why the laser? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28600947)

Dated 2007, this article [blogspot.com] appears to discuss the mechanism by which the treatment works. (Presumably today's press release has something to do with a successful clinical trial?)

What I don't get -- if the laser isn't actually being used for thermal properties -- is how the light actually "fixes" the problem. If it's just the light that's "stimulating" the cells to "clean up their mess", why not dump 532nm light from an LED? They're just as monochromatic and oughta be bright enough to shine through the relevant tissues.

Obviously, that doesn't work if a high power density is required for some reason other than localized heating, but I'm failing to see why (since the article goes into repeated detail about how little thermal damage is done to photoreceptors) the laser's required.

The only thing that makes sense would be that the amount of waste heat/light dumped into the eyeball by a suitably-bright LED would damage cells in the rest of the retina (i.e. the 99% of the retina that has nothing to do with the macula), and that the laser's only used because it's the only thing that can deposit the required power in the region of the macula without dumping gazillions of green photons everywhere else? (that is, staring into a low-power green LED wouldn't do anything, and staring into a high-power one would be just as damaging as staring into the sun.)

Re:I'm missing something... why the laser? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28601153)

Which advertisement sounds cooler?

"Using a bright green flashlight, we make your macular degeneration go away in ten minutes."

or

"Using a high-tech laser systems designed by a team of professors, we blast your macular degeneration away -- in just minutes!"

Lasers make anything cooler.

Re:I'm missing something... why the laser? (3, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601181)

What I don't get -- if the laser isn't actually being used for thermal properties -- is how the light actually "fixes" the problem. If it's just the light that's "stimulating" the cells to "clean up their mess", why not dump 532nm light from an LED? They're just as monochromatic and oughta be bright enough to shine through the relevant tissues.

Monochrome light isn't the only useful characteristic of a laser. Accuracy is another - the beam doesn't spread out over any appreciable distance because of the coherent nature of the beam.

That said, it makes a very clean instrument; nothing quite as sterile as something that doesn't touch you at all.

IANAO but a very happy recovered patient of a good one. Although my sight was restored with ultrasound and acrylic as much as lasers. With lens replacement surgery lasers are sometimes required to burn away the back of the lens capsule. Strangely, I found the whole process rather fun and entertaining, rather than frightening, but I'm a geek (and no, there were no drugs involved).

Of course that doesn't matter, if there's the prospect of having your sight restored after nearly a year without it, you'd crawl through broken glass if that's what it took.

Thank you Fred Hollows, wherever you are.

Re:I'm missing something... why the laser? (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28602415)

Thank you Fred Hollows, wherever you are.

Dead [hollows.org.au] , unfortunately.

Re:I'm missing something... why the laser? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28607873)

and no, there were no drugs involved

What do you think those drops that dialated your eyes were, rainwater? Of course drugs were involved! And before those drops they put pain relieving drugs in your eyes because without them, the dialation drugs burn like hell.

Re:I'm missing something... why the laser? (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28614941)

You're quite right, there were eyedrops involved. What I meant to impart was that there were no drugs that made me giggle.

Re:I'm missing something... why the laser? (1)

stevelinton (4044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28606707)

The 3 nanosecond pulses may be a factor. I don't think you can pulse a normal LED that fast. I think they also do need very precise aiming.

Great !!! (3, Funny)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601107)

Now I can go blind again..... if I don't stop doing "that"!

Re:Great !!! (1)

uberjack (1311219) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601337)

That may be the case, but I don't think "hairy palm syndrome" has been cured yet. Better be safe

Re:Great !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28601975)

Isn't that what electrolysis is for?

Re:Great !!! (1)

Maelwryth (982896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604927)

"Now I can go blind again..... if I don't stop doing "that"!"
 
I thought the problem was if you kept doing "that".

excellent progress! (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601215)

Now all they need to do is train the sharks not to eat the old people during the procedure.

Re:excellent progress! (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 5 years ago | (#28602617)

Now all they need to do is train the sharks not to eat the old people during the procedure.

That must be where the idea of that surgery costs an "arm and a leg" started. Tim S.

Very misleading media reporting (4, Informative)

bargainsale (1038112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601297)

This has been disgracefully overhyped by all the news media that I've seen that have picked it up, often in very similar words, suggesting that the ultimate blame lies with the original press release.

The fact is that the technique hasn't even been *tried* yet on Macular Degeneration, much less been shown to actually work.

All that's been done is some studies on a quite different disease for which quite effective treatments already exist.
The history of efforts to treat Macular Degeneration is full of false hopes, and it is desperately cruel to grieving patients and relatives to put out seriously premature press releases like this. I am an eye surgeon specialising in these conditions and I had to deal with some very upset people because of this only today.

Prof Marshall is a very eminent figure in the development of laser treatments for eye disease, but if he had much to do with the way this has been presented to the media he should do some hard thinking about his responsibilities.

There's a brief press release about this on the website of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (British eye surgeons' professional organisation)
http://www.rcophth.ac.uk/about/press/ [rcophth.ac.uk]

Re:Very misleading media reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28612417)

Thanks. I knew something was up when there was no mechanism other than "stimulation" in the article. I see it's called "polishing" in the press release. Voodoo.

Re:Very misleading media reporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28612707)

It's not that the work itself is without some promise, just that it's been reported as if it was already a proven treatment, when it hasn't even been tested yet.

John Marshall really is a world expert in this, and he may well be on to a great new treatment.

Unfortunately we won't know for some years!

Declining vision (3, Informative)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601305)

Don't believe the fluff. Vision declines for several reasons. First, you'll have general focal point problems. Either myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism (both at the same time - yes two focal points) those can happen at any age. But around 40, your crystalline lens in your eye begins to stiffen. This is presbyopia. The lens cannot bend and this is a lack of "accommodation". Then this lens as a result of UV exposure degrades and you get cataracts. Then you need lens replacement surgery. This is all before we even get to the back of the eye. Floaters in the various humors. Glaucoma (too much humor pressure distorts and damages the optic nerve) , Then, we can start worrying about the retina and things below...

Re:Declining vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28601385)

Oh, don't worry people with facts.

Let them believe there is a quick, "high tech" fix.

Re:Declining vision (2, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601783)

Obviously this is not going to help those with an eye-related illness other than macular degeneration. The conditions you mentioned are treatable with other methods (eyeglasses or lasik for dysopias, medication for glaucoma, etc). This is simply a new way of handling a specific ocular disorder.

All those horrible problems (1)

PleaseFearMe (1549865) | more than 5 years ago | (#28602039)

but not one of them can kill me!

Re:All those horrible problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28602239)

That's the spirit.

I quite like floaters in my various humours anyway.

If I look sharply in one direction, they move around like little UFOs in my otherwise unremarkable office.

Re:Declining vision (1)

Ricken (797341) | more than 5 years ago | (#28603473)

Don't believe the fluff. Vision declines for several reasons. First, you'll have general focal point problems. Either myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism (both at the same time - yes two focal points) those can happen at any age. But around 40, your crystalline lens in your eye begins to stiffen. This is presbyopia. The lens cannot bend and this is a lack of "accommodation". Then this lens as a result of UV exposure degrades and you get cataracts. Then you need lens replacement surgery. This is all before we even get to the back of the eye. Floaters in the various humors. Glaucoma (too much humor pressure distorts and damages the optic nerve) , Then, we can start worrying about the retina and things below...

Phew, at least no slashdotters will be affected by that.

Re:Declining vision (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28603535)

Uh, not around age 40. Early 30s, actually. Most people don't need to treat it with glasses until their early 40s, but I can quite clearly notice that I have presbyopia at age 34 - and have seen it for a year or more. It's just that it's only apparent when things get closer than 4 inches from my face.

I'm a severe myopic - got my first glasses at age 6, first contacts at 8, currently running a -11 diopter - so I'm really, really used to being able to see things UP CLOSE. Furthermore, young myopics have a tendency to get lenses that are "too strong" for them - because they are very young, they can accomodate to extraordinarily close focal points, and because they're myopic they can choose just how close that point can be by sacrificing a bit of far-point focus. Most people may not notice it until 40, but it was astonishing to me when I could no longer clearly resolve objects held 2-3 cm from my eye.

Re:Declining vision (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28611903)

Well LASIK treatment is out for you, but you can still have PRK. Healing time is a week, and you won't ever have as good vision as a LASIK candidate, but it might improve your vision to be more useful in uncorrected situations. Not to mention making glasses and contacts easier to find/wear.

Well, at 32, I do notice a slightly longer accommodation time in some circumstances, over just 4 years ago, but my vision is still excellent.

Re:Declining vision (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 5 years ago | (#28637359)

Pure myopia, no astigmatism. Contacts have to be special-ordered, but are otherwise easily available. Technically LASIK is not out of the picture, if I have thick enough corneas, but why take a risk on something with no long-term data (my family is long-lived and I can reasonably expect to live into my late 80s) when I have total vision correction with contacts?

Mainly, though, the problem is that after surgery there's still a good chance that I'd have to wear some sort of corrective lens. I'm accustomed to being either totally blind or having excellent vision, so why take the risks of surgery when I'll still be wearing lenses?

Re:Declining vision (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28607303)

You are correct, but all those conditions are now not only treatable, but curable. The CrystaLens cures the myopia, presbyopia, astigmatisn, and cataracts (I had one implanted [slashdot.org] in 2006). That eye now also has no floaters, because I had to undergo a vitrectomy [slashdot.org] last year for a detached retina.

I wore glasses all my life, now I don't need them. I see better than most 20 year olds, both distance and close up, and I'm 57. I'm looking forward to gettin the other eye fixed some day.

Re:Declining vision (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28611775)

Ah yes. There are many new advancements in interocular lenses. There are the classic single-focal (which medicare covers), multifocal, toric and so many new ones. They even have some that can accommodate (be focused by your eye).

Combined with laser treatments surgery (of the lens) including Wavefront(tm) you can have vision better than you probably ever could. Some laser treatments are resulting in 80/20 which is about the same visual acuity as a fox.

It seems that our tech is not just replacing, but augmenting our natural abilities when it comes to the eye.

Re:Declining vision (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28611979)

I have the CrystaLens in my left eye, it's an accomodating lens and it's as if I have a twenty year old eyeball again, I can focus on any distance effortlessly. My vision was 20/400, now it's 20/16. I'm pretty sure it obsoletes every other IOL except the single focal lens, and when the patent runs out in 2026 (perhaps earlier) there will be no reason whatever to have any other kind.

It certainly augmented MY vision. You will be assimilated; resistance is futile.

Re:Declining vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28619187)

Regarding floaters:
My wife had dark 'floaters' in both eyes starting in 2005 and we found they can be turned off by avoiding certain foods and food additives. Eating those things brings them back again. It was a very simple discovery and I was surprised how easy it was to get rid of them. She is apparently allergic to the whole Nightshade family of plants, as well as potatoes and corn products. The problem arose at the same time as psoriasis possibly indicating a stress-related link as well.

As it has been written, "Try food first."

Crispin

WARNING (1)

emjay88 (1178161) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601381)

Do not look into laser with remaining eye!

mcgrew? (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28601635)

Where's mcgrew and his 3 eyes? I want to hear his comment.

Re:mcgrew? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28607617)

Hey, I just got here. Comments galore!

It won't do any such thing on a grand scale... (0, Offtopic)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28602275)

... if the equipment makers and ophthalmologists price those fifteen minutes out of reach of people on small fixed incomes with Medicare.

Re:It won't do any such thing on a grand scale... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28607957)

Medicare covers cataract surgery, and that's a pretty expensive procedure (about $6000 per eyeball). I'm sure when this treatment is proven (see a comment by a retina specialist further up) it will be covered by insurance and Medicare.

Additional Information (1)

iarons (1592483) | more than 5 years ago | (#28602283)

Anyone interested in learning more about John Marshall's retinal regeneration process can read my article about the technology, written in November 2007. The title of my online Journal entry was: Ellex 2RT Retina Regeneration Therapy: A First Report and the link is: http://irvaronsjournal.blogspot.com/2007/11/ellex-2rt-retina-regeneration-therapy.html [blogspot.com] Irv Arons

Threatens marriage (1)

parvin (846446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28602571)

Now THIS is something that can threaten marriage. There's a natural harmony between declining sight and declining sights.

Re:Threatens marriage (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28607821)

That's what Viagra is for. You try getting it up for a fat old wrinkled bitch without drugs!

And the label reads... (1)

sincewhen (640526) | more than 5 years ago | (#28603205)

Do look at laser with remaining eyesight!

"Miracle AMD cure via laser" (1)

Dmpstrdvr (910181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604293)

There are several types of lasers that are used on eyes.

Some reshape the cornea, to improve visual refraction/vision. (aka LASIK, or PRK)
Some clear "secondary cataracts", via breaking up "posterior lens capsule, secondary cataracts" (aka Yag laser)
Some stimulate the retina to react in ways that cause it to respond in a manner that mitigates damage "in progress" - this is most commonly effective in diabetic retinopathy treatment.

While it is possible, I have never seen any evidence of laser being effective against AMD.. ("Lucentis", and a couple of other drugs have demonstrated some efficacy.. )

Bob

P.S. I have attended a dozen ARVO meetings, and many of the scientific sessions, and this subject has not appeared, with evidence of efficacy.. (wife is a retina surgeon)

Oblig. Superman Returns Quote (1)

Amiralul (1164423) | more than 5 years ago | (#28604929)

BILLIONS!!

Check the source! (1)

Fotherington (962601) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605277)

Er, the Daily Mail is a bad choice of news outlet if you want accurate science reporting - it's well known for sensationalist stories of every kind, and has a bad track record in hyping medical research. Recently, they were uncritically quoting an 'expert' saying that autism is caused by (undefined) toxins [senseaboutscience.org.uk] , and they're a regular presence in Ben Goldacre's Bad Science, like in this article [badscience.net] .

Re:Check the source! (1)

Fotherington (962601) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605343)

Actually, I feel slightly embarrassed about that last comment - having read the article, the Daily Mail *aren't* making grandiose statements, and emphasise several times that any treatments will be a couple of years away. This article seems pretty sensible, and looking at some other stuff the journalist in question has written [journalisted.com] it looks like he's not usually overhyping medical research. Just goes to say you always have to dig deeper than surface appearance!

Gives a whole new meaning to -- (1)

s74ng3r (963541) | more than 5 years ago | (#28605391)

Do not look into laser with remaining eye!

So easy ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28605971)

'... could be done by any ophthalmologist.'

We're now trusting bird watchers to cure our eyesight problems????

Re:So easy ... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28608003)

I doubt that is correct; a retina specialist would do that surgery, not the guy who checks your eyes for new glasses.

Meanwhile, at certain biotechs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28606617)

I wonder how http://www.gene.com/gene/products/education/vascular/amd.html [gene.com] Genentech feels about this one? Their Lucentis treatment for AMD is delivered by inter-ocular injection, to which I say "thanks, but no thanks!"

Re:Meanwhile, at certain biotechs... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28612163)

You'd better hope you never get cataracts [slashdot.org] or a detached retina [slashdot.org] , because without getting needles stuck in your eye, you'll be blind. Actually, if you have AMD and don't get the injections you'll go blind. The needle won't hurt, I've had needles in my eye twice. Local anasthetic fixes you right up.

In the case of cataract surgery, it does kind of freak you out when the needle goes in, but it doesn't hurt.

Speaking as the child of an AMD patient... (1)

kaizendojo (956951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28606725)

I can tell you that any hope is welcome. My Dad was using PDT treatments (which ruined the contrast in his vision) and Avantis injections (which were some help), but the real break through was when Lucentis came of trial and became available. He went from diminished vision and the prospect of not being able to drive to a vastly improved vision spectrum and only limiting his night driving (due to contrast issues). While the injections are costly ($1500 just for the drug - thank god for his insurance coverage!) it's been a night and day difference. I've been very involved in his treatments, taking him each month and going in the office and treatment rooms to gauge his progress and ask questions. We're lucky to have a great retina specialist who invites questions and participation, and thanks to this my Dad is able to do most of the things he used to enjoy - reading the newspaper, driving Mom around, working in the garden and workshop. But before Lucentis, it looked like I was going to need to move back in and care for him (not that I would have minded in the least - I have wonderful parents). If you or a loved one is suffering from this disease, please see a RETINA specialist asap - time is a factor. As far as the subject of the article, I am looking at it with great hope, because as a preventative it may be of use to me since I have some of the early signs myself.

Pity... (1)

TaleSpinner (96034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28606891)

...that most UK residents won't get the treatment for years while their sight degenerates as they sit on the waiting list. Unless they get it done in the United States...oh, that's right - they won't be able to once Obama is done with health care.

Re:Pity... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28612371)

Madicare covers cataract surgery, which ISN'T laser surgery but involves physically removing the eye's focusing lens from behind the iris, and replacing it with a plastic one. It costs three to six times as much as LASIK. If you opt for the more expensive accomodating lens, Medicare still covers it but you have to make up the difference from your own pocket (I got mine done with private insurance, which also didn't cover the extra cost of my bionic lens and I had to pay an extra grand). So I see no reason why universal coverage wouldn't cover a procedure as simple as this sounds.

I don't live in the UK (and suspect you don't either) but I seriously doubt you're going to have to wait a month to get dialysis or a broken bone fixed, or treatment for a degenerative disease like this. Otherwise, the Brits would have a far higher infant mortality and a lower life expectancy, rather than the other way around. We do not have the best health care in the world, contrary to what the anti-universal care people say. It's only the most expensive.

BTW, what insurance company do you work for? Or are you just one of the ignorant pawns who believes their utter bullshit? I prefer my triage to be done by doctors, rather than by money (or the insurance companies) like it's done here. Not everyone who needs a new liver will get one, do you determine who gets a new liver by who has the best chance of survival, or who has the most money?

Re:Pity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28615243)

what ever your waiting list in the UK, medical care in the US has its problems, many of those steem from the fact that in the other side of the pond health is a bussiness rather than a universal right, no money no dought, so dont try to sell your bullshit about how good is the US private system, Americans wish the health care that France, Spain or Sweden has and is free for all despite of not being perfect or free of problems either.

They say Democracy is of all the bad political systems, the best one ( because we dont know of any one better that works) same can be said of properly implemented unversal health care

If only I could turn back the clock... (1)

kaaona (252061) | more than 5 years ago | (#28614431)

My dad had cataract surgery and recovered his ability to read about 15 years ago. If only this new surgery had been available back then, my dear mother (who unfortunately also suffers from advanced Alzheimer's) would not have lost her ability to read, do crossword puzzles, or even look at family photos -- things she enjoyed immensely.

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