British researchers have just invented an eye drop designed to help patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This new eye drop could potentially do away with the need for AMD patients to undergo risky injections.
Scientists at the prestigious University of Birmingham deserve all the credit for these amazing eye drops. Researchers used a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) in their eye drop formula to help AMD medication get to where it needs to go. In their studies, the scientists found that these eye drops worked just as well as common injections.
Felicity de Cogan, the head author of this study, said that the CPP eye drops can "have a significant impact on the treatment of AMD by revolutionizing drug-delivery options." In addition to helping AMD patients, Dr. De Cogan is hopeful these new eye drops could help people with various other eye diseases that now require injections.
If these eye drops are made available to the public, researchers believe they will dramatically lower NHS costs and give AMD patients a greater sense of freedom. These CPP-eye drops will also reduce the risk of infectious diseases and eye tears that often accompany AMD eye injections.
Today, the main way eye doctors treat AMD patients is with uncomfortable injections directly into the eye. Not only do these injections hurt, they can actually make visual symptoms worse in some cases.
There's no word yet on when these CPP-eye drops can be prescribed to AMD patients.
AMD is currently the number one cause for sight loss in the United Kingdom. Eye doctors often diagnose this disease when people are above the age of 60. There are currently around 600,000 AMD patients in the UK.
The first symptom people with AMD usually recognize is blurry vision. However, most of the time AMD doesn't present visual symptoms until the disease has progressed a great deal. Doctors recommend people over 40 get at least one eye exam every year to keep on top of this disease.
There are two main kinds of macular degeneration. The first, which is called dry macular degeneration, happens when the central retina is destroyed. The second, called wet macular degeneration, occurs when blood vessels leak and grow larger behind a person's retina. Both of these diseases cause an overall loss in central vision.
Besides injections, a few other treatment options for AMD patients include laser surgery and a change in diet. Doctors have found that certain vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and zinc can halt the progression of AMD.
People can find Dr. De Cogan's study in the May 2017 journal Ophthalmology & Visual Science. Dr. De Cogan and others entitled the article "Topical Delivery of Anti-VEGF Drugs to the Ocular Posterior Segment Using Cell-Penetrating Peptides."