Spotting Eye Disease Sooner

December 29, 2008 5:50:59 PM PST
Macular degeneration is the number one reason senior citizens lose their eyesight. The disease creeps up slowly, and many people don't spot the warning signs soon enough. Now, a new computerized test is helping to keep people out of the dark.Slowly, over the past several years, macular degeneration wiped away vision in Axel Johnson's right eye.

"I didn't even realize it," Johnson recalled to Ivanhoe. "I didn't even realize that it was building up in that eye."

Macular degeneration is an age-related degenerative disease that develops when the retina doesn't get enough nutrients. There are two forms -- dry and wet.

"If macular degeneration progresses to wet macular degeneration and goes through its natural course, it will cause scarring in the retina and irreversible permanent loss of vision," William F. Varr, M.D., an ophthalmologist at Kent Ophthalmology, Inc. in Warwick, R.I., explained to Ivanhoe.

Patients typically relied on a grid to test themselves.

"The problem with that test is that the patient has to do it on their own, and to get patient compliance sometimes is difficult; it's sometimes difficult for them to see a change," Dr. Varr said.

A new computerized test, called the Foresee PHP, helps doctors treat the disease sooner. It shows a series of linear dots in a pattern, and the patient has to point out if any are out of place. Then the computer registers the patient's eye sight.

"It's more accurate in that it has a higher sensitivity level," Dr. Varr said. "It will detect a change from the dry macular degeneration to the wet faster and at an earlier stage."

"As you get older, you want to be able to get in that car and go anywhere," Johnson said.

He plans on taking the test several times a year. For 81-year-old Johnson, the goal is to preserve what's left of his vision and his quality of life.

Dr. Varr recommends patients take the test every three to six months, depending on the severity of their disease.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Kent Ophthalmology, Inc.
(800) 263-2078
http://www.lasersurgeryforeyes.com

Notal Vision
info@notalvision.com
http://www.notalvision.com/eng/Products/Foresee.asp

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