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Macular research brings hope: Patricia’s story

Patricia Keith, a 73-year-old retired ophthalmic nurse, took part in a world-first trial at CERA for a new treatment for age-related macular degeneration.


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Patricia Keith learned she had early-stage AMD in 2011 during an annual eye check.

Having worked as an ophthalmic nurse, she understood what lay ahead: a loss of central vision, along with her independence.

“Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognise faces. I used to worry constantly if my vision was getting worse, and would check every day for any signs of progression,” she says.

Faced with this prognosis, Patricia was one of 300 people to take part in CERA’s LEAD study – a world-first trial of nanosecond laser treatment for people with the early stages of AMD.

“To be given the opportunity to participate in the LEAD study was a gift,” she said. “I had been given a diagnosis with no cure – why would I not try to be a part of finding that cure?

“The clinical staff and the researchers were wonderful, caring and supportive. We were all working together to try and find that cure. I feel far more positive about my future,” she says.

Thanks to the generosity of clinical trial volunteers like Patricia, the LEAD trial was able to show that people with less severe disease at the beginning of the trial who received the laser treatment had a slower disease progression than those who did not receive the treatment. While the study still needs to be repeated to validate the results, the initial findings are extremely positive.

“A decade ago, there were no effective treatments for AMD and now, we have good treatments for wet AMD and are working towards treatments for early AMD,” says Professor Robyn Guymer, CERA’s Head of Macular Research.

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