AMD is the leading cause of blindness and central vision loss among adults older than 65. An estimated 10-15 million people in the United States suffer from the disease. This new study shows that by using the analysis of retinal scans that your doctors do on a routine basis, they will be able predict which patients with AMD would progress. could make smarter decisions about when to schedule an individual patient’s next office visit in order to optimize the chances of detecting AMD progression before it causes blindness.Rubin emphasized that this proof-of-principle study needs to be followed up by a larger study, ideally using data gathered from patients seen at other institutions. He and his associates have now embarked on such a study.- MDA

A new computer algorithm could help physicians predict whether a patient’s macular degeneration will progress within a year’s time.

Stanford University School of Medicinescientists have found a new way to forecast which patients with age-related macular degeneration are likely to suffer from the most debilitating form of the disease.

The new method predicts, on a personalized basis, which patients’ AMD would, if untreated, probably make them blind, and roughly when this would occur. Simply by crunching imaging data that is already commonly collected in eye doctors’ offices, ophthalmologists could make smarter decisions about when to schedule an individual patient’s next office visit in order to optimize the chances of detecting AMD progression before it causes blindness.

AMD is the leading cause of blindness and central vision loss among adults older than 65. An estimated 10-15 million people in the United States suffer from the disease, in which the macula — the key area of the retina responsible for vision — shows signs of degeneration. During normal aging, yellowish deposits called drusen form in the retina, which is the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye. As drusen increase in size and number, they eventually begin to damage the light-sensitive cells of the macula. This stage of the disease, called “dry” AMD, can mean blurry central vision and impaired day-to-day activity.

While about four of every five people with AMD have the dry form of the disease, it’s the so-called “wet” form that most concerns ophthalmologists, because it accounts for 80-90 percent of all legal blindness associated with the disease. In wet AMD, abnormal blood vessels accumulate underneath the macula and leak blood and fluid. When that happens, irreversible damage to the macula can quickly ensue if not treated quickly.

But until now, there has been no effective way to tell which individuals with AMD are likely to progress to the wet stage. Current treatments are costly and invasive — they typically involve injections of medicines directly into the eyeball — making the notion of treating people with early or intermediate stages of AMD a non-starter. Doctors and patients have to hope the next office visit will be early enough to catch wet AMD at its onset, before it takes too great a toll.

Predicting progression to ‘wet’ AMD

In a study published in the November issue of Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, the researchers derived a formula that they say predicts, with high accuracy, whether a patient with mild or intermediate AMD will progress to the wet stage. The formula distinguishes likely from unlikely progressors by analyzing patient data that’s routinely collected by ophthalmologists and optometrists when they perform retinal scans with an imaging technique called spectral domain optical coherence tomography……..

Read more: http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2014/11/retinal-scan-analysis-can-predict-advance-of-macular-degeneratio.html

Source: Stanford Medicine

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