Originally created 05/02/00

Cautions therapy applicable to few



As a treatment center for Photodynamic therapy, we read with interest your article last week detailing the new Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment for control (not cure) of some wet forms of macular degeneration.

It is indeed an exciting new form of therapy for some individuals. It must be emphasized, however, that the treatment outlined in your article is only applicable to a small number of afflicted individuals.

Approximately 10 percent of the population over the age of 65 will be affected by macular degeneration of which only 6 percent will manifest with the wet form of the disease. Only 10 percent of those individuals with the wet form of the disease are even eligible for treatment with Visudyne and Photodynamic therapy, and it is only this small subset to whom we offer it.

The FDA did not approve it for the other 90 percent of wet macular degeneration or for other forms of wet macular disease (as no treatment benefit was observed).

We are pleased to be able to offer the patients of the CSRA with this new treatment but want to emphasize that this treatment is only one of many new developments being made across this continent in battling the devastating visual effects of age related macular degeneration.

Only a careful retinal evaluation with proper interpretation of the individual's angiograms would determine which of the several forms of therapy at hand would be appropriate.

Dr. Randy Dhaliwal, Augusta

(Editor's note: The writer is the owner of The Retina Eye Center in Augusta.)