A new way of identifying patients at risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) could be a positive step towards preventing blindness, a study concludes.
The risks of AMD - that it leads to loss of vision if left undiagnosed - and its treatment with laser surgery were being examined in a clinical trial.
Scientists wondered about the effectiveness of low-level laser treatment as a way of preventing sightlessness in patients with early symptoms of the condition, such as night blindness.
In its advanced stages AMD destroys the macula in the eye"s retina - this is the area that provides the detailed, central vision we rely on for daily tasks such as reading and driving.
While the prospect of laser treatment for the condition was discounted, study analyst Gui-shuang Ying concluded the questionnaire used by the team in their research could be a useful too for professionals to assess their patients.
Wet and dry AMD affect 30 million people aged 50 and over worldwide. Dry AMD amounts to 90 per cent of AMD cases.
by Martin Burns