Age-related macular degeneration is one of the main causes of blindness in the elderly, in 90% of cases resulting in almost complete loss of vision. Hope for salvation can be - yet experimental - an eye implant from the United States.
12 years ago, Lucentis was developed to slow the development of the disease. However, there was a certain problem with its use: Lucentis was administered by injection directly into the eye, for which patients had to visit an ophthalmologist every 6-8 weeks. The efficiency was about 50%.
With this in mind, the biotechnology company Genentech (San Francisco) has developed a system for delivering the drug to the eye through a special port. It is connected to a device that is slightly larger than rice grain. The device is permanently implanted into the eye and slowly releases the drug into the eye from the reservoir integrated into it. The reservoir is replenished through the aforementioned port, visible on the surface of the eye as a tiny dot.
The effectiveness of the implant was tested during the study, which involved 220 patients. Doctors stated that it was not lower than after a traditional injection, while the frequency of visits to the ophthalmologist was reduced to 1 time in 15 months to replenish the drug.
In general, even despite some side effects, the system has proven itself quite safe. It will become publicly available within two to three years.