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    Reduced risk of CNV after SDM laser retinal protective therapy

    The dry form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common type of the disease, but successful treatments have been elusive in patients, resulting in disease progress and visual loss.

    Subthreshold diode micropulse (SDM) laser as retinal protective therapy (RPT), an investigational laser treatment and a specific form of micropulse laser, might be a step in the quest to help patients with this form of the disease.

    The technology was found to improve retinal and vision function in dry AMD, according to Jeffrey Luttrull, MD, in private practice in Ventura, CA, and developer of the therapy. The recognition of its success led to a question about whether SDM can reduce progression of dry AMD to wet AMD. 

    Beginning in 2014, Dr. Luttrull and colleagues conducted an observational retrospective cohort study in which they reviewed the electronic medical records database of all active patients in one private vitreoretinal practice who had been treated with SDM RPT for dry AMD. The patients were classified according to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS 2) categories of severity and all included patients had AREDS 2 or greater in at least one eye. The primary study endpoint was the development of new choroidal neovascularization (CNV) after treatment.

    All study eyes were treated with an identical panmacular treatment technique with identical laser parameters with no titration of the laser treatment, according to Dr. Luttrull.

    The investigators identified 392 patients who were eligible for the study, and, ultimately, the treatment was offered to 95% of those who were eligible. The treatment was elected by 97% of those who were offered the treatment and the actual number of study patients was 354 (547 eyes), after 2% of treated patients were lost to follow-up. All patients were followed for an average of almost 2 years.

    The median patient age was 84 years. All patients took the AREDS vitamin supplement.

    Visual acuity

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