Nanosecond laser treatment for age-related macular degeneration is pain-free

Ophthalmology laser maker Ellex Medical Lasers (Adelaide, South Australia) is developing a nanosecond laser-based technology to painlessly intervene in early-stage age-related macular degeneration (AMD; a cause of blindness).

Related: Nanosecond laser therapy helps slow age-related macular degeneration

People with AMD suffer from a degeneration of the cell structures in the retina, creating black spots in their vision and eventually total blindness. Current treatments for the condition include regular injections into the eye, which require the patient to return every six weeks for further injections.

The 2RT nanosecond laser system uses a laser pulse that lasts 3 ns to target the macular at the back of the eye. Tom Spurling, managing director of Ellex, says that a finely tuned laser fires an incredibly short burst of light that agitates the structures in the eye to trigger a natural, cellular-level healing response. An intervention in one eye can prompt the body to heal both eyes, he adds.

The laser system will launch at the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons Congress (Barcelona, Spain) in September 2015, but several of them are already being used in Germany, Holland, France, Italy, New Zealand, and France. Clinical trials for the system began in March 2015, with 290 patients participating. The company will run the trial for three more years, closely monitoring, analyzing, and recording the results, Spurling says.

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