Wills Eye Hospital releases new implant to help macular degeneration

Lynne Adkins
November 08, 2018 - 4:00 am
Partially sighted pensioner Raymond Flynn, 80, from Audenshaw, Manchester, has his sight checked by surgeon Professor Paulo Stagna from The Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility at University Manchester Hospital.

PA Images/Sipa USA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There may soon be a way to preserve your vision with a lot less hassle. 

Wet macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss, but it can be treated, according to Dr. Carl Regillo, director of Retina Service at Wills Eye Hospital

He said the medicines work well, but treatment isn't pleasant.

"These are medicines that are injected in the eye, but they have to be injected on a very frequent and regular indefinite basis," he explained. "Patients come to the office and get the injections every four to eight weeks, and that's a lifelong treatment."

But he's finding success with a new, easier method: a tiny device filled with medicine that is surgically implanted in the eye and slowly releases the drug.

"The same type of medicine we inject in the office, we can now fill up a small implant that's placed in the eye, then it's refilled in the office," he continued. "The study showed it needed to be refilled a median of 15 months."

He said the results have been promising. 

The best part is the implant only needs to be refilled about once a year, though it does require a surgical procedure with the normal risks of any operation.