Macular Degeneration - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/9/07

Macular Degeneration

Especially if it's in your family, Macular Degeneration is a real fear. The wet kind is the most aggressive form of Macular Degeneration when it comes to stealing your sight.

For Tom O'Connor, it started like this with a large blank hole in the center of his vision. Straight lines looked wavy. That's because blood vessels had started to grow under the center of his retina, the macula, and they were leaking fluid and blood and distorting his vision.

A year ago, these symptoms would have cost Tom O'Connor his vision permanently. But here's what's new. Doctors say a new drug treatment is changing the outlook for these patients.

Lucentis and a similar drug called Avastin are injected in the eye. Both work by binding to a substance called Veg-F.

"Veg-F is the culprit for the disease. It's the driving force behind the wet form of the disease. When Lucentis binds to Veg-F, it inhibits it and stops the progression of the disease. So, if we can catch this disease early we can really stop patients from losing vision and if they have lost vision there's a chance we can actually improve vision," said Dr. Richard Kaiser,  an Ophthalmologist.

"I probably had about 20 percent in that eye, my left eye and I probably have  90 percent now. It's amazing isn't it? it's a miracle. It really is," said O'Conner.

You should know you are at high risk of Macular Degeneration if you have a family history of the disease, if you have high blood pressure, or if you are or have been a smoker. But high risk or not, this disease is one of the reasons regular eye exams are so important to catch any vision changes early and get the treatment you need.

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