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Seniors with AMD could drive longer thanks to new treatment

October 5, 2012

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults, and it can often threaten their independence. Among the most significant side effects of AMD is that it can force seniors from behind the wheel. However, a new drug treatment has shown promise and could keep people with AMD on the road a bit longer.

The treatment is aimed at so-called "wet" AMD, which is caused when new blood vessels leak into the center of the retina. The innovative new treatment, which uses the drug ranibizumab, could slow the leakage of vessels and help seniors better maintain their eyesight. A recent study out of Johns Hopkins Medicine analyzed what impact the treatment could have on driving ability, and it found some impressive results.

"What the study showed was that 85 percent of participants in the ranibizumab versus sham study and 88 percent in the ranibizumab versus PDT study read the eye chart better also achieved the level of vision required for an unrestricted license and in turn had greater confidence in driving," said Neil M. Bressler, the study's lead author.

The treatment could prove to be an important aspect of healthy aging in the coming years, as more older adults head on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 7.3 million people are at risk for developing AMD.