Saturday, 29 April 2006

Wher was this 10 years ago???

Trial to shine a light on eye damage
April 17, 2006
A new treatment based on a good dose of light and vitamin B2 promises to save the eyesight of thousands of Australians.
The treatment will be welcome news for the estimated 10,000 Australians with keratoconus, a degenerative disease that can lead to blindness.
The State Government will help fund a clinical trial of the procedure at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital over the next 12 months.
Keratoconus is a weakness in the corneas the front surface of the eyes and over time these thin and distort, gradually impairing vision. It usually affects teenagers and until now there has been no treatment other than corneal transplants for the most severe cases.
The new procedure involves removing the "skin" of the eye, applying drops of riboflavin (vitamin B2) and exposing the eye to UVA light to strengthen the cornea. It will not improve eyesight but it will prevent further deterioration and stave off blindness.
Tanya Wilkinson, a 26-year-old travel agent from Langwarrin, is an enthusiastic candidate for the clinical trial. Diagnosed with the condition as a child, Mrs Wilkinson was legally blind in her left eye by the time she was 21 years old. She had a corneal transplant but her right eye continues to deteriorate, raising the spectre of another risky operation.
However, the new treatment could provide a simpler, safer alternative something Mrs Wilkinson welcomes not only for herself, but for any children she may have. "It will be great for my children because if they do get the disease they will have another option," she said.
The trial will be led by Christine Wittig who pioneered the procedure in Germany over the past five years. Her tests on 250 patients have a 100 per cent success rate and there were no long-term complications, she said.
In Melbourne, 100 patients will take part in the randomised trial and the hospital expects the procedure to be generally available next year.
It is hoped the procedure will relieve the pressure on waiting lists for corneal transplants, which come second only to kidney transplant lists nationwide.
About 300 corneal transplants are performed in Victoria each year, half of which are for patients with keratoconus.

No comments: