Dry Macular Breakthrough

Did you know that according to Vision Aware nearly 80 to 90 percent of the individuals with AMD are affected by dry macular degeneration? In this condition small yellowish white deposits form on the individual’s retina right under the macula thereby causing it to degenerate with time.  The macula is responsible for our clear vision. However, dry macular degeneration results in thinning of the macula which negatively affects the clarity of the vision and may even lead to loss of sight or blindness.  

Dry Macular Degeneration Symptoms  Common symptoms of Dry Macular Degeneration include: 

  • Visual distortions, 
  • Lowered central vision,
  • Blurriness,
  • Difficulty in recognizing faces, 
  • Decreased brightness or color intensity, and
  • Difficulty in adjusting to low levels of light

Dry Macular Breakthrough—Treatments with a Ray of Hope

Though there was no treatment for Dry Macular Degeneration, clinical trials in the form of feasibility studies are being conducted that are showing a ray of hope to those who are victims of this eye disorder. Let’s take a look at some of the treatments that are being recognized as possible dry macular breakthroughs:

  • PRIMA Bionic Vision System

Comprising of a wireless small-sized photovoltaic sub retinal implant, PRIMA bionic vision system is in its clinical stage undergoing the first human feasibility study. This system is being recognized as a Dry Macular Breakthrough predominantly because of its features and functionality. It is designed particularly to treat the advanced stage of dry AMD. 

Here’s a quick overview of its features and how it works: 

PRIMA Bionic Vision System is created by a Paris based company called Pixium Vision. The concept was however, developed in the US at Stanford University. The PRIMA Bionic Vision System comprises of four essential components:

  1. Small-sized and wireless sub retinal chip or implant that contains around 378 electrodes, 
  2. A pair of glasses worn on the head with a miniature camera and a smart data transmitter, 
  3. Proprietary software program which can easily be adjusted according to the patient dry macular degeneration condition needs, and 
  4. A pocket-sized and high-speed processor for digital signals that transforms light into electrical signals.

The system works smartly by stimulating the retina’s photoreceptor cells via transmits the information to the brain via the optic nerve. The purpose of this system is to restore some degree of lost central vision of the patient helping them with face recognition.

PRIMA Bionic Vision System is being considered as the next generation treatment for dry macular degeneration eye disorder. The PRIMA Bionic chip is implanted surgically in the sub retinal area within 3 hours. The measurement of the implant is around 2x2mm square, while it’s only 30 µm thick.  The camera captures the images in the surrounding which are then processed by the pocket-sized computer which extracts useful visual information for the patient. The images processed from the visual environment are sent back to the glasses. 

The processed images are projected on the Prima chip/implant right at the back of the eyes and under the retina. Furthermore, the photovoltaic cells then come into action converting the visual information into electrical signals thereby exciting the nerve cells of the eye’s retina and inducing visual perception. This is truly a unique concept and is clinical studies are able to find quality results, PRIMA may show a ray of hope to patients with dry macular degeneration.

  • Minocycline Antibiotic 

Clinical trials on minocycline antibiotic are also being carried by the NEI (National Eye Institute). It is believed that minocycline can help patients with GA (Geographic Atrophy). It is the late stage of dry age macular degeneration eye disorder.  Minocycline basically inhibits microglia’s activation which is known to produce inflammatory symptoms in the development of GA. The purpose of these clinical studies is to investigate the possible efficacy and safety of minocycline antibiotic if taken orally by patients with Geographic Atrophy. 

  • Sub-Retinal Transplantation of RPE Cells Derived from HES

This study is in its phase 2 led by Jules Stein Eye Institute in LA. The study is using stem cells of advanced dry macular patients. The purpose of this study is to evaluate effects of sub retinal injection of human embryonic stem cell that is derived from RPE (Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells). Its tolerability and safety is being tested. 



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