In a study of eye fluid from 38 patients, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have found that levels of a specific protein appears to help accurately predict whether people with the wet form of age-related macular degeneration may need lifelong, frequent eye injections to preserve vision or if they can be safely weaned off the treatments.
The researchers say the protein could also be targeted by new therapies to halt vision loss among patients with the disorder, caused by abnormal growth of blood vessels that leak fluid or bleed into the portion of the retina needed for central vision
The researchers’ findings were published online June 2 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation Insight.
Overall, age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older, affecting an estimated 7.3 million individuals in the United States.
Standard treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration requires monthly or twice-monthly eye injections of so-called anti-VEGF drugs that slow or stop the growth of leaky blood vessels and, in most cases, stave off further vision loss.
Because the injections are inconvenient, costly, uncomfortable, and carry risk of infection, retinal detachment and other side effects,
Sodhi’s research team has long been studying ways to identify subgroups of patients who can safely reduce — or even cease — eye injection therapies without further vision loss.