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Laser treatment for blindness to be tested

By Jane Fazackarley     Jul 6, 2009 in Health
A newly developed laser technique could help stop millions of older people from losing their eyesight, experts are hoping.
The new treatment helps ease the symptoms of age related macular degeneration, a condition which can cause older people to lose their vision.
Professor John Marshall of King's College London has created the technique which uses a laser to help the eye return to its previous youthful condition.
So far only concept trials have been undertaken and early evidence shows there was an improvement in vision.
200,000 people in the United Kingdom are estimated to have age related macular degeneration and the condition affects the central eyesight.
The condition is caused by debris which clogs the back of the eyes and then begins to affect the eyesight. The new laser treatment clears the back of the eye by using what's known as a short pulse laser. The technique is not painful and does not damage healthy cells.
Early trials show potential in people with diabetic eye conditions. Further studies are now planned for people suffering from AMD.
Professor Marshall said:
"What this laser is doing is trying to treat the underlying ageing process, as it were, reset the clock so that you don't have the manifestations of visual loss."
Tom Pey from Guide Dogs for the Blind said:
"This is potentially a huge breakthrough for millions of people across the world."
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