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A personal approach to AMD treatment

image-toolsFor most people, being told you are at high risk of losing vision from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a scary prospect.

“It was a complete shock,” said AMD patient Michelle Kornberg. “I was told that I could lose my sight. I was distraught. I went home to my two children and tried to memorise everything about them,” she said.

Michelle is one of 500,000 Australians living with AMD, Australia’s leading cause of central vision loss.

Scientists at CERA are now working on a way to improve the detection of risk characteristics and treatment of this common eye disease, by comparing patients’ genetic profiles with the structural changes in their eyes and looking at how these two factors can help predict individuals at high-risk of losing their vision.

This will lead to a more personalised approach to treatment, based on an individual patient’s risk of developing a vision threatening complication from AMD.

Dr Chi Luu (pictured) is one of the lead researchers working on this project, along with Professor Robyn Guymer.

“We will be using novel imaging techniques such as multicolor optical coherence tomography and infrared reflectance imaging to examine the structure of the retina and detect subtle changes that are not visible through traditional colour photography of the back of the eye or a routine eye examination,” explains Dr Luu.

The team will then correlate these structural changes with the physiological (functional) changes and genetic risk to identify individuals with high-risk of progression. Data from this study could help in the development of different treatment approaches for different types of early stage AMD, and aid in the design of clinical trials.

This research is supported by the US-based BrightFocus Foundation.