As with most surgical advances, new potential procedures in ophthalmology pose their fair share of risks. However, if those risks can be overcome the rewards to patients can make a significant difference in their quality of life.
Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Chicago, Paulo E. Stanga, MD, from the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital discussed the success he has seen in implanting the ARGUS II device in patients with the dry form of age related macular degeneration. Stanga said while they have seen some adverse events they have also learned how to correct them to help patients successfully use the new technology.:
What results are patients reporting?
We have established that most importantly patients can integrate the newly acquired central visual function with the peripheral vision. None of the patients has reported confusion, and this was a big concern for us, an important concern for us prior to starting the trial, whether patients were going to integrate both types of vision. So the fact that they have is very encouraging.
Now we are working trying to establish what degree or what level of visual acuity these patients have.
How does ARGUS help them?
What patients are telling us, the operated patients tell us, is that it is easier for them when using their central vision which is normally affected by a blind central spot. It’s easier for them to for example see facial features such as whether the mouth is open or closed, whether the person in front of them is wearing glasses or not, or has a beard or not.
How does this work move forward?
We’ve encountered some adverse events like PVR, or proliferative vitreoretinopathy in two patients. The three patients have successfully responded to vitrectomy surgery with injection of silicon oil and the three patients continue to experience central visual function. So this is all very encouraging.
We now plan to carry out 5 more implantations and then depending on results move to a multicenter trial.
What is the future of ARGUS?
We are looking at customizing the currently available array for patients with age related macular degeneration. We are looking at perhaps fabricating a more closely packed array, a smaller footprint that fits more easily within the area of geographic atrophy.
What does it mean to have these new technologies developing?
It is extremely exciting because the evolution of technology never seems to end fortunately and patients will hopefully significantly benefit from all these advances.