The Observatory

New laser treatment trial shows promise for age-related macular degeneration

At the moment there are no treatments available for the early stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). It’s quite frustrating knowing that there is a problem present and not being able to do anything about it. Currently, we have to wait until the late stages of the disease – when vision loss has already occurred – to start treatment, and we can only treat one type of the late stage disease.

Three years ago I had a conversation with Prof Robyn Guymer and she told me about the new nanosecond laser treatment. She was so enthusiastic and excited by the potential this new laser had to slow the progression of AMD. I knew I wanted to be part of this research trial, especially because of the amount of patients I have seen that are affected by the late stages of the disease.

I am now the trial coordinator at the Melbourne site for the Laser for Early Age-related macular Degeneration (LEAD) study. It has been a big change from working in a private clinic but I am thoroughly enjoying it. The participants are so eager to be part of the trial and really want to help find the answers, as most of them have had relatives or friends with AMD and have seen the effects of the disease. They all have the outlook that they will be helping people in the future which I think is a really generous gift.

We have been overwhelmed with volunteers wanting to be part of this trial but unfortunately, not everyone is eligible. To take part, you must be over 50 years of age, and have high-risk early AMD in both eyes. Unfortunately, a lot of people with vision loss from AMD have contacted us to volunteer however these people are not eligible to participate.

For those who would like more information on the trial visit