New technology offers promise for patients with age-related macular degeneration

An in-office test is offering hope for many patients with age-related macular degeneration.

Key Points

Fortunately, however, new treatment options are offering hope for many patients. Studies such as the Comparison of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatments Trials (CATT) and the VEGF Trap-Eye Trial (VIEW 1) are evaluating the effectiveness of those options, including ranibizumab (Lucentis, Genentech), bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech), and an intravitreal injection (VEGF Trap-Eye, Regeneron).

Limits of the Amsler grid

Adherence is not the only challenge to the Amsler grid's effectiveness, however. Because of the way the brain functions to correct the abnormalities captured by the eye (a blind spot, for example), patients using the Amsler grid may not notice the early-stage changes of CNV. The brain often will adjust and correct the distortions in the pattern to make it match the pattern that it already has learned. Consequently, by the time the patient actually notices a change in the Amsler grid, vision loss may already have progressed.