Tracking AMD with the most advanced technology

Physicians at the UTMB Health Eye Center are using the most advanced imaging technology available to diagnose and track age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in their patients. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people ages 55 and older. The technology was acquired with a gift from Jamaica Beach resident Sidney J. Wolfenson.

UTMB Health Eye Center also offers genetic testing for the wet form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common eye disorder in older adults that can lead to blindness.

Dr. Bernard Godley, AMD specialist and department chairman, said, "Our imaging technology is the best in the area. It allows us to see changes at the near-microscopic level in advance of when they would be detected with standard equipment."

"This allows us to see progression of the disease and to get out in front earlier with the most effective treatments. It also contributes to our research to measure the effectiveness of early treatments."

Godley added that understanding one’s risk of developing AMD helps to identifying the level of risk can determine how often a patient should be checked by a retina specialist.

"While there is no preventive treatment, with early diagnosis we can manage the condition with medications to reduce the likelihood of vision loss."

At UTMB's Macular Degeneration Center of Excellence, a team of researchers aims to understand the mechanisms of the disease and develop treatments that prevent vision loss.

Dr. Godley first developed an interest in AMD during his residency training at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He went on to study as a fellow at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Institute of Ophthalmology, University of London, a world-renowned AMD center.

He has conducted AMD studies funded by the National Institutes for Health (NIH), conducted early clinical trials on AMD treatments and published a number of AMD research papers.

According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, this incurable eye disease affects more than 10 million people in the United States alone. The National Eye Institute estimates more than 92,000 Texans have the disease, the symptoms of which include blind spots in the central vision and fuzzy or dim primary sight. AMD is characterized by deterioration of the macula, the middle portion of the retina that focuses central vision and makes it possible for a person to read, recognize colors or faces and see objects in detail.

Click here to read more about AMD on this National Institutes of Health website.

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New genetic test for Age-related Macular Degeneration