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Treatment of Macular Degeneration and Ocular Injury

MCW #1248


 Key Inventor

Janis Eells, PhD


There is currently no cure for macular degeneration, but treatments may prevent severe vision loss and slow the progression of the disease considerably. Two common options are available. High-energy lasers are used to destroy actively growing abnormal blood vessels that occur in macular degeneration. Similar, photodynamic laser therapy is a two-step treatment in which a light sensitive drug is used to damage the abnormal blood vessels. A cold laser is beamed into the eye to activate the drug, damaging the abnormal blood vessels.

Researchers are studying new treatments for macular degeneration. The following treatments may soon be available, but are currently considered experimental. The first surgical procedure is used to remove the abnormal blood vessels or blood. A second surgical procedure called retinal translocation is used to destroy abnormal blood vessels that are located directly under the center of the macula, where a laser beam cannot be placed safely. Also, several new drugs are being tested to slow down or prevent the growth of the abnormal blood vessels (angiogenesis).


Drugs for the prevention of abnormal blood vessel growth show promise, but since the body requires blood vessel formation in normal maintenance and repair of tissue, the side effects are a strong drawback. All other techniques involve the intricate manipulation of cutting tools and laser beams to obtain erratic results. The limitations of current treatments affect patient quality of life including low vision rehabilitation and the treatment for depression.


Light treatments of the whole retina from a uniform light source for one to three minutes have proven to be especially effective. As shown here a laser grid was created in the central retina of right eye of each animal. The far red light emitting diodes (LED) treated rabbit fundus had fewer distinct laser spots 1-week following laser injury. These preliminary findings are indicative of improved retinal healing following LED treatment in laser injured rabbit model. No destructive procedures to blood vessels are implemented, but the natural healing power is invoked by a suspected mechanism through cytochrome c oxidase.


Optometrists and ophthalmologists can more quickly and easily treat macular degeneration by treating the whole retina at one time with a uniform light source. No surgical-like skill is required for laser treatment of aberrant blood vessels and no damage to surrounding tissue is incurred. The patient is not only more comfortable during treatment, but it is projected that eventual self-treatment by the patient is feasible. The revenue stream will be generated in two market segments: 1) an initial period of treatment by professionals only, and then 2) eventual purchase or rent of units for self-treatment by patients.

 Stage of Development

The invention is currently under human investigation in trials for laser eye injuries for forward positioned ground forces.

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