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Eye Health / Blindness

What you need to know about cataracts



Cataracts are cloudy areas that form in the lens, which is normally transparent. They are the principal cause of loss of vision in people over 40 years of age.

Cataracts cause more vision issues globally than any other eye disorder or disease and with the aging population the number of cataracts is increasing.

There were 20.48 million cases in the US in 2010, rising to 24.41 million in 2015. Nearly 50 million Americans are predicted to get cataracts by 2050.

A cataract makes a section of the lens blurry, or cloudy. Sight doesn’t easily pass through, and vision becomes blurred, like seeing through a fogged-up window. The more blurry the lens is, the worse the vision becomes.

Congenital cataracts can occur at birth, or appear shortly after, or during infancy or childhood at some stage.

Later in life, age-related cataracts occur, and are the most common type. This article will concentrate on cataracts linked to ageing.

Cataract surgery is nowadays a routine procedure, and the most common form of eye surgery.


A doctor will normally recommend surgery for cataracts.
A doctor will normally recommend surgery for cataracts.

The only successful treatment for serious cataracts is surgery.

The specialist will recommend surgery if the patient:

  • Is having trouble looking after themselves or someone else
  • Cannot drive or finds driving difficult
  • Has problems leaving the house
  • Finds it hard to see or recognize people’s faces
  • Has problems doing their job
  • Cannot read or watch television properly

Patients who take alpha-blockers or are considering taking alpha-blockers should be mindful that these medications will make cataract surgery more difficult.

What to expect in surgical procedures

Pre-operative evaluation: The doctor would examine the patient’s eyes and general health prior to surgery. The eye will be tested to help prepare the new artificial lens.

Before the operation: eye drops will be given to dilate or expand the pupils just before the procedure. The eye drops may also contain an anesthetic, or the doctor may inject local anesthesia into the tissue around the eye.

When the anesthetic begins to function, the region gets numb and the patient can feel nothing. They will be conscious of a bright light during the operation but they will not be able to see what is going on. Cataract surgery is typically a keyhole, or minimally invasive, operation and on the same day the patient will return home.

Various types of replacement lens may be used:

  • A monofocal lens is a fixed-strength lens that is set for one level of vision, usually distance
  • A multifocal lens may have two or more different strengths, providing for near and distance vision
  • An accommodating lens is most similar to the natural human lens. It allows the eye to focus on near and distant objects

The procedure involves removing the blurry lens from the eye and inserting it in place of an artificial, clear, plastic one. This is an implant intraocular, or intraocular lens.

This is called phacoemulsification, or extraction phaco-extracapsular.

The eye surgeon makes a tiny cut in the front cornea and inserts through the cut a minute of a scope. The probe uses ultrasound and breaks up very small pieces of the cloudy lens. What are all being sucked out.

You then insert the artificial lens through the hole. The capsule of the lens functions as a pocket, to keep the lens in place. The lens is folded when it is first inserted but it opens when it is in place.

The whole process takes about 30 minutes to complete. For a limited period, most patients will wear an eye-pad for safety.

Other operating procedures

The lens is cut in one piece for manual extracapsular extraction, and no ultrasound is used to break it up. The surgeon can make the cut in the eye slightly wider.

In intracapsular extraction it removes both the capsule of the lens and the lens. It sews the artificial lens into the eye. This form of procedure is considerably less common.

Usually this is performed 4 weeks apart if both eyes are to be working.

Cataract surgery may be done using conventional instruments, or laser-assisted.

Laser may be used later to address a condition known as after-cataract surgery, which can occur months or years later.

After the operation

Vision improves almost instantly for most patients. It can take a while for the eye to fully calm down. Often the cut in the eye involves a stitch, but usually this is small enough to heal on its own.

Patients can stop physical activity for a while, but as soon as they get home, most people feel they can go about their everyday activities.

The patient will need a vision test, since after their operation they will possibly need new glasses. Only after their vision has settled down will the new glasses be decided, but that can take several weeks.


Cataracts cause the lens to become cloudy.
Cataracts cause the lens to become cloudy.

Cataracts typically take years to grow and appear to show up in older age. Gradually, the lens is getting blurry.

Cataracts can make it difficult to read or drive a car, especially at night. It can get tough to see the facial expressions of people.

They grow slowly, because most people don’t realize they have them at first, but the vision eventually gets worse as the clouding progresses. At the outset, long distance vision is more seriously impacted.

Cataracts often impact both eyes, but not on a level playing field.

People with cataracts can have the symptoms of following:

  • Blurry, cloudy, or misty vision
  • Vision may be affected by small spots or dots
  • The patient sees small patches that blur parts of the field of vision
  • Vision worsens when lights are dim
  • Vision is sometimes worse when there is very bright light, or glare
  • Some people with cataracts also comment that colors appear less clear and faded
  • Reading becomes difficult and eventually impossible
  • Glasses need to be changed more frequently
  • Eventually wearing glasses becomes less effective
  • Rarely, the person may see a halo around bright objects, such as car headlights or street lights, or have double vision in one eye

As vision worsens, and the glare of the oncoming headlights and street lights worsens, driving becomes risky. Cataract drivers begin feeling eyestrain and find themselves blinking more often as they try to clear their vision.

Cataracts typically do not affect the looks of the eye. Any discomfort such as pressure, pain, scratching or redness is more likely to be caused by another eye disease.

Cataracts are not harmful to the person’s health or to the eye. If the cataract becomes hypermature, or white, inflammation, headache and some pain can occur. It is necessary to remove a hypermature cataract which causes pain or inflammation.


Everyone may develop a cataract, but age is the biggest risk factor.

More than 40 percent of people aged 75 or older in the U.S. have a degree of clouding of the lens. About half of all Americans aged 80 or older have a serious deterioration in their vision from cataracts.

Factors which may increase the risk of cataract development include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Diabetes
  • Long-term exposure to bright sunlight
  • Previous eye inflammation
  • Previous eye injury

Because of exposure to ionizing radiation, airline pilots are more likely to develop nuclear cataracts.


If the effect is mild it does not require surgical care. Stronger lenses and shinier lights can help enhance vision during the early stages.

The following tips could help people who are not yet ready for surgery

  • Make sure any glasses have the most accurate prescription possible
  • Use a magnifying glass for reading
  • Get brighter lamps for the house, such as halogen lamps
  • Wear sunglasses to reduce glare on sunny days
  • Avoid driving at night

These are preventive steps, as the cataracts will begin to grow and the eyesight will deteriorate.

As daily activities become more difficult to carry out, the person will need surgery. Typically that is a safe and successful procedure.


People should have frequent eye exams to reduce the complications of cataracts, particularly as they get older.

The following tips could reduce the risk of cataracts developing. Some have proved to be successful while others have not been confirmed.

Giving up smoking: Smoking increases the risk of a variety of eye disorders and studies have related this to a 3-fold rise in cataracts. There are also signs that smokers may earlier develop symptoms of cataracts.

Nutrition: A healthy diet decreases disease risk, including eye problems. A balanced diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables , whole grains, unrefined carbohydrates, good-quality fats, such as avocado, olive oil and omega oils, and either plant-sourced proteins or lean, animal-sourced proteins.

In the prevention of cataracts, lutein and zeaxanthin were identified as “promising

Obesity and diabetes: Obesity greatly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is a contributing factor for cataracts. Maintaining a healthy weight and maintaining control of diabetes can help minimize the risk.

Other factors which may help protect against cataracts are:

  • Wearing sunglasses that block UV radiation when in sunlight
  • Get at least 7 hours of good quality, continuous sleep every night

Research has suggested that pycnogenol, a pine bark extract, may help reduce the risk of cataracts.


There are different types of cataract. Some of them are not related to age.

  • Secondary cataract: These can develop after eye surgery for other conditions, such as glaucoma, or as a result of health issues such as diabetes. Steroid use may increase the risk.
  • Traumatic cataract: An eye injury may trigger a cataract, up to several years later.
  • Radiation cataract: Some type of radiation exposure can lead to cataract formation.
  • Congenital cataract: A cataract may be present at birth, often in both eyes. They do not always affect vision, but if they do, surgery may be needed.


Anyone who has issues with vision should see a doctor, who will then refer them to an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

An eye examination and some tests can reveal a cataract.
An eye examination and some tests can reveal a cataract.

An ophthalmologist specializes in the eye’s medical and surgical care, while an optometrist offers eye care but not procedure.

Tests are carried out by the eye specialist.

These may include:

  • A visual acuity test, to find out how clearly the person can see an object. It involves reading a list of letters from across a room.
  • A slit-lamp examination uses a microscope to inspect the cornea, the iris, the lens, and the space between the iris and the cornea.
  • Tonometry measures the pressure inside the eye.
  • A retinal examination is carried out after using eye drops to dilate the pupils.

Dilating the pupils in a retinal test gives a wider view to the back of the eyes. The specialist investigates the lens for signs of a cataract, and to see how dense any clouding is.


Allergic conjunctivitis: What to know



When a person’s eyes come into touch with an allergen, a chemical that causes the body’s immune system to respond, allergic conjunctivitis develops.

The eye gets inflamed and painful. The overactive immune system causes the body to produce histamine and other active compounds through mast cells, resulting in symptoms. The nerve terminals are irritated when blood vessels dilate or expand. As a result, the amount of tears secreted increases.

Infectious conjunctivitis differs from allergic conjunctivitis. The causes are not the same.


When the immune system overreacts to a substance, an allergic response occurs. The majority of people do not react to dust, pollen, or other substances in this way, but other people are more sensitive.

Allergens that typically cause allergic conjunctivitis include:

  • eye drops
  • make-up
  • pollen, as in hay fever
  • animal fur
  • dust mites.


There are different types of allergic conjunctivitis.

1) Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis or allergic rhinoconjunctivitis

Pollen disease
Allergy conjunctivitis is frequently caused by pollen.

In regions with cold winters, pollen is the most prevalent allergen that causes conjunctivitis.

Other symptoms of pollen-induced conjunctivitis include sneezing, an itchy, clogged, or runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes.

Hay fever is also known as seasonal allergic conjunctivitis or allergic rhinoconjunctivitis.

It generally takes place in the spring and summer. Plants, particularly grass, trees, and flowers, are in pollen during this time. Some people get symptoms in the early autumn.

2) Contact conjunctivitis

Cosmetics, eyedrops, or other chemicals that irritate the conjunctiva in people who are vulnerable induce symptoms known as contact dermatoconjunctivitis. An allergic reaction occurs when these compounds come into contact with the body. Some people are hypersensitive to certain chemicals.

After the substance comes into contact with the eyes, symptoms generally appear 2 to 4 days later.

3) Papillary conjunctivitis (giant papillary conjunctivitis)

This is a common side effect of wearing contact lenses. Contact lenses can be uncomfortable for some people. This might grow worse and more unpleasant with time, causing the eyes to become red.

When a person wears hard contact lenses following eye surgery, giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) can develop.

Infections of the eye can be caused by poor hygiene when handling contact lenses, solutions, and cases.

4) Perennial conjunctivitis

Perennial conjunctivitis is a kind of conjunctivitis that lasts all year. It is mostly caused by an allergy to home dust mites. These tiny insect-like critters like to reside in bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpets.

Dust mites feed on human skin cells and like warm, damp people.

An allergic reaction to a particular dust mite protein is known as dust-mite allergy. Conjunctivitis, a clogged or runny nose, sneezing, and airway tightness, as seen in asthma, are all symptoms of this.

Animal dander, minute scales from animal skins or hair, and bird feathers are among the other causes. Some people may experience an allergic response to them.


symptom of conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis is characterized by pink or red eyes.

The following suggestions may help:

  • Cold compresses: The eyes can be soothed by placing a wad of cotton wool soaked in cold water on the eyelid.
  • Avoiding the allergen: Staying indoors while the pollen count is high, keeping the house clean, and limiting soft furnishings can all help.
  • Contact lenses should be avoided at all costs: These should not be used until all symptoms have vanished. After using any eye medicine, wait at least 24 hours before putting contact lenses back on.
  • Artificial tears: These eye drops dilute the allergen and help remove it.
  • Refraining from rubbing the eyes: Rubbing might aggravate the irritation. It’s tempting to touch inflamed eyes, so this might be challenging.

Antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, and corticosteroids are used to treat the condition.


Antihistamines, taken orally or as eye drops, may provide quick relief from symptoms. Histamines are blocked by antihistamines. When the immune system responds to a foreign substance, histamines are produced.

Cetirizine, fexofenadine, and loratadine are oral antihistamines used to treat allergic conjunctivitis. Once a day is generally plenty. Alaway and Zaditor are antihistamine eye drops. The eye drops will aid with eye problems, but the oral dose will help with a runny nose and other symptoms as well.

Azelastine, emedastine, and ketotifen are the most regularly prescribed antihistamine eye drops. They’re used twice or three times a day on the eyes.

Some antihistamines might make you sleepy. People who are taking them for the first time should avoid driving or using heavy machinery until they know how they will react to the drug.

Mast cell stabilizers

Mast cell stabilizers take longer to operate than antihistamines, but their effects stay longer once they do.

Lodoxamide and nedocromil are the most often used mast cell stabilizers. They are available as eye drops.

Antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers are used by certain patients. Before the mast cell stabilizers start acting, the antihistamines give some relief from symptoms.


These are only used in extreme cases and are rarely prescribed. The adrenal cortex produces corticoid, a steroid hormone. Synthetic corticosteroids are a type of drug that can reduce swelling and suppress the immune system.

Corticosteroids are effective, but they should be taken with caution and only for a short period of time due to the risk of adverse effects.


The majority of people who suffer from allergic conjunctivitis have issues with both eyes.

Symptoms may occur rapidly after coming into touch with the allergen in the eyes. Symptoms may develop after 2 to 4 days in other circumstances, such as when eye drops cause a response.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis:

  • Eyelids swollen: When the conjunctiva becomes inflamed or if the person rubs their eyes a lot, the eyelids may puff up.
  • Soreness: The inflammation may cause pain and tenderness throughout the affected area. Some people describe the pain as burning.
  • Red or pink eyes: As the capillaries, or small blood vessels, in the conjunctiva widen, the eyes become irritated.
  • Pain: One or both eyes may be affected. If a person has painful, red eyes, is light sensitive, or has vision problems, they should see a doctor right away.
  • Itchiness: Itching may occur as the eyes become irritated. Rubbing can aggravate the itching.

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis affects people at specific seasons of the year, generally from early spring to summer and occasionally into fall.

Perennial allergic conjunctivitis patients are vulnerable at any time of year. They could notice that their symptoms are more severe at some times of the day than at others.

Contact conjunctivitis can be identified by red, cracked, or dry eyelids. The symptoms of contact conjunctivitis and giant papillary conjunctivitis are not seasonal, and they can appear at any time of year.


A doctor will examine the patient and inquire about signs and symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose to diagnose allergic conjunctivitis.

Other conditions with comparable symptoms may need to be ruled out as well.

Anyone experiencing the following symptoms should contact a doctor right once, since they might be signs of a more serious problem:

  • vision problems
  • very red eyes
  • painful eyes
  • sensitivity to light, or photophobia

Aside from allergic conjunctivitis, the following disorders can cause redness in the eyes:

  • Keratitis: The cornea gets irritated and ulcerated on occasion. It can sometimes lead to corneal scarring, resulting in irreversible vision loss.
  • Iritis: Iris inflammation is a condition in which the iris becomes inflamed. The iris may cling to the lens if left untreated, limiting critical fluid outflow from the pupil. It’s possible that irreparable eye damage will develop.
  • Infective conjunctivitis: This is caused by bacteria or virus. It’s possible that it’s caused by the herpes virus, and it might signify a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
  • Acute glaucoma: In the eye, pressure builds up. Symptoms might emerge quickly. Acute glaucoma, if left untreated, can result in irreversible visual loss.


The doctor will also look to see if the discomfort is caused by an item or substance, such as an eyelash.

If the patient’s symptoms are severe or worsening, the doctor may recommend them to an ophthalmologist, or eye specialist.

After recent eye surgery, anyone who gets papillary conjunctivitis will be sent to an ophthalmologist. To ensure that therapy is effective, the eye or eyes must be closely monitored.

Complications of allergic conjunctivitis, whether chronic or seasonal, are uncommon.

Allergic conjunctivitis can have a negative influence on a person’s quality of life, although it seldom has a long-term effect on health.

Dermatoconjunctivitis and large papillary conjunctivitis can also cause complications.

It’s possible that the cornea will get inflamed. Keratitis is a condition that causes ulcers to grow on the cornea. This raises the danger of scarring and the chance of vision loss for the rest of one’s life.

Keratitis symptoms include:

  • blurred vision
  • a feeling that there is something in the eye
  • watery eyes
  • intense pain in the eye
  • sensitivity to light

If any of these symptoms appear, the person should seek medical attention.


Finding out what causes allergic rhinitis and avoiding the allergen is the best method to prevent it.

Pet fur and pollen are two common allergies.

If your pet is the source of your allergy, try the following:

  • wash their bedding regularly
  • brush them regularly and wash them every 2 weeks
  • keep pets out of the bedroom

If you’re going to a residence with a pet, taking an antihistamine one hour ahead of time may help alleviate symptoms.

If pollen causes an allergic response, do the following:

  • use wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • bathe and change your clothes after being outside
  • try to get someone else to cut the lawn for you
  • stay inside and keep doors and windows closed when the pollen count is high
  • avoid areas with a lot of grass, flowers, or trees

Pollen counts are greatest in the mid-morning and early-evening hours.

If you have an allergic reaction to home dust mites, you should:

  • choose anti-allergenic matresses and bedding
  • vacuum often, and dust with a clean, damp cloth
  • avoid soft furnishings, such as carpets and drapes
  • use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter



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What you need to know about blepharitis



Blepharitis is a condition that affects the upper and lower eyelids. Around the eyelashes, it can cause clumping and stickiness.

Inflammation near the base of the eyelashes causes it. There are a variety of therapies available, including home remedies, that can help to alleviate symptoms.

We’ll go over what causes blepharitis, how to remedy it, and how to avoid it in this post.

Blepharitis can affect people of all ages and can be acute or chronic in nature; chronic adult blepharitis is the most frequent kind. Blepharitis is a term that refers to a persistent inflammation of the eyelids.


The symptoms of blepharitis are depicted in the images below.

  • Blepharitis
  • Blepharitis
  • Blepharitis
  • Blepharitis affects the eyes.
  • Blepharitis
  • Blepharitis


Blepharitis can be caused by a variety of causes.

They are as follows:

  • parasites: Demodex eyelash mites
  • infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV)
  • an inflammatory reaction to bacteria that normally live on eyelids
  • seborrhoeic dermatitis or rosacea

Blepharitis is more common in people who have dandruff. Controlling the dandruff might assist to ease the symptoms.

Dysfunction of the Meibomian glands on the rim of the eyelids is another probable reason. These glands secrete an oily material that keeps the tear film from evaporating in the eye.

Some clinicians feel that blepharitis is a prelude to Meibomian gland malfunction rather than blepharitis being caused by gland dysfunction.


Blepharitis can be anterior or posterior.

Anterior: This affects the eyelid’s front edge, where the eyelashes contact it.

Posterior: This affects the inner edge of the eyelid, where it meets the eyeball.

The following are the key signs and symptoms:

  • burning or stinging eyes.
  • oversensitivity to light (photophobia).
  • gritty feeling in eyes and the sensation of having something in the eye.
  • itchy eyelids.
  • red eyes.
  • irritated and watery eyes.
  • flaking and crusting at the base of the eyelashes, similar to dandruff.

Symptoms are usually more noticeable in the mornings.

Although blepharitis is not a sight-threatening condition, it can cause temporary vision loss.

Chronic blepharitis symptoms come and go, with periods of remission (a break in the symptoms) followed by exacerbations (a flare-up). It frequently affects both eyes at the same time.

Blepharitis is frequently associated with other disorders such as ocular rosacea, psoriasis, and seborrheic dermatitis.


dry eye gel drops
Artificial tears may aid in the relief of symptoms.

Blepharitis is usually treated with a combination of medical and home remedies.

A doctor will likely prescribe home therapy, such as the ones listed below, but they can also do the following process:

Electrochemical lid margin debridement (BlephEx): This clears the eyelids of any mites, bacteria, and the biofilm that they produce. Any congested Meibomian glands are also opened.

Thermal pulsation treatment (Lipiflow): This dissolves any clogging debris in the Meibomian glands.

Intense pulse light therapy (IPL): This helps to unclog congested eyelid glands.

Severe instances of blepharitis may necessitate the use of antibiotics, either topical or oral.

Home remedies

In order to treat both forms of blepharitis, it’s important to keep your eyelids clean. Even if your symptoms have improved, you should keep doing it.

The most important aspect of therapy is self-care. Blepharitis symptoms might reappear if self-care is not maintained.

Although blepharitis cannot be cured, it can be effectively managed with medication.

People with eyelid inflammation should avoid wearing cosmetics around their eyes, such as eyeliner, mascara, and other eye makeup, in addition to home therapy.

Blepharitis treatment entails:

  • massage, to express the small oil glands of the eyelids
  • lid cleansing, to remove crusts
  • warm compresses, to loosen crusts

What is the best way to apply a warm compress?

Placing a warm compress over closed eyelids, warming the compress with warm water when it cools, and reapplying for up to 10 minutes is all it takes to use a warm compress.

The following are some suggestions:

  • Using a soft cloth only: Scrubbing too vigorously or using a rough cloth can damage the skin and eyes.
  • Dipping the cloth in warm water: Some patients have suffered facial burns by using a microwave to heat up the wet cloth.

Cleanse the eyelids after using a warm compress for up to 10 minutes.

Warming eye masks: These may have the same effect as warm cloth compresses while being more convenient. There are additional eyelid cleansers (Ocusoft, Thera Tears Sterilid) that can be used instead of dilute baby shampoo.

How do you clean your eyelids?

To do so, use a cotton swab soaked in a mild solution of baby shampoo to gently rub the eyelid margin—at the base of the eyelashes and where the glands are located. In roughly half a cup of warm water, drop 2 to 3 drops.

This lid hygiene must be done twice a day, every day as a self-care routine. This is a significant lifelong commitment, but without it, the symptoms will return.

How do you massage your eyes?

Massaging helps express the oily contents of the glands after applying the heated compress to release the sebum.

Massage the eyelid margin, where the eyelashes and glands are, with a finger or a cotton-tipped applicator or swab in tiny circular strokes.

Artificial tears

These non-prescription eye drops will assist to alleviate the dryness of the eyes caused by blepharitis during the day. Artificial tears that are free of preservatives are the finest to use.

Artificial tears may be purchased over the counter, but you should first consult your doctor to ensure that they are appropriate.


Symptoms will be discussed, a medical history will be taken, and the patient’s eyelids and eyes will be examined.

Slit-lamp examination

The doctor will search for indicators that will help them figure out which sort of blepharitis you have. A slit lamp may be used.

This is a low-power microscope with an intense thin-beam light source that has been particularly constructed.

The doctor may examine the exterior of the eyes and the eyelids with the lamp while the patient’s head is held still by the chin and forehead resting on supports.

The doctor will next provide a therapy recommendation. This may or may not be the case, depending on the cause. A acceptable alternative will be picked if blepharitis looks to be caused by a skin condition, such as rosacea, or if it is caused by mites.

Complications such as Meibomian cysts, conjunctivitis, and corneal injury can all be avoided with treatment.



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Eye Health / Blindness

A novel laser treatment for macular degeneration may be effective



A novel form of laser treatment has the potential to reduce the course of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of visual loss, without causing retinal damage.

A retinal artery occlusion, or eye stroke
A novel form of laser therapy that does not harm the retina has been found to minimize the visual loss associated with age-related macular degeneration.

This was the finding of a research published in The FASEB Journal by the University of Melbourne in Australia.

The effectiveness of a new low-impact, low-energy laser therapy for individuals with early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was investigated by Erica Fletcher, an associate professor at Melbourne’s Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, and colleagues.

They discovered that, unlike previous laser therapies, the “nanosecond laser” they examined did not harm the retina, which is the light-detecting tissue at the back of the eye.

Prof. Fletcher claims that theirs is the first study to show how the novel laser treatment can help people with AMD improve their eye health.

AMD is a painless eye condition that causes central vision loss over time. It is the main cause of irreversible impairment of fine or close-up vision – such as that required for reading – among people aged 65 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (resource no longer accessible at

According to estimates, roughly 1.8 million Americans aged 40 and over have AMD, with another 7.3 million at risk.

AMD is responsible for 48 percent of severe vision loss in Australia, where the study took conducted, with an estimated 17,700 new cases per year.

New laser treatment reduced drusen and thickness of Bruch’s membrane

In the early stages of AMD, examination of the back of the eye reveals the development of microscopic fatty deposits known as drusen, as well as a thickening of a thin layer of tissue known as Bruch’s membrane. As these symptoms increase, the core section of the retina is slowly destroyed.

According to the findings, the nanosecond laser can diminish drusen and thin the Bruch’s membrane without causing damage to the retina’s structure.

The researchers conducted a number of tests and experiments as part of the study. One study included 50 AMD patients who had a single session of nanosecond laser therapy and were followed up on two years later. Their drusen burden was lowered in comparison to a similar group of untreated individuals, according to eye tests.

The membrane was thinner three months after treatment in mice with thicker Bruch’s membrane who underwent the laser therapy.

New laser treatment did not damage the retina

The researchers used human and animal eyes to assess the new laser’s effect on the retina, for example, using a procedure called “immunohistochemistry,” which can detect minute changes in tissue structure.

The researchers state this about their research:

“Nanosecond laser resolved drusen independent of retinal damage and improved BM [Bruch’s membrane] structure, suggesting this treatment has the potential to reduce AMD progression.”

The findings “indicate that treating people with AMD with our new nanosecond laser lowers indications of the disease,” according to Prof. Fletcher.

“Most importantly,” she continues, “the nanosecond laser does not cause harm to the delicate retina, unlike other lasers now used to treat eye disease.”

The researchers also discovered evidence that using the nanosecond laser to treat one eye can have beneficial benefits on the other eye, raising the prospect that one therapy could be enough to correct disease in both eyes.

Glaucoma, in which fluid builds up in the eye and puts pressure on the optic nerve, is another main cause of blindness. The condition is treatable, but there is no treatment at this time.

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