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Incidents of blindness on the decline

Incidents of blindness on the decline
20th January 2012

A report has shown that age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the most frequent cause of blindness in the Western World, has declined by almost half over the last decade.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen and Glostrup Hospital found that the rate of blindness from AMD has fallen from 522 cases per million people aged over 50 years or older in 2000 to 257 cases per million in 2010.

The study examined the records of 11,848 new cases of legal blindness and found that the decline followed the introduction of a new effective treatment for wet AMD, which is characterised by leaking blood vessels.

By injecting into the eye a medication that inhibits the signalling molecule vascular endothelial growth factor, wet AMD has been able to be controlled.

Professor Michael Larsen, contributory author to the study, commented: "The massive implementation of modern wet AMD therapy has been a challenge.

"It is therefore very important that we can now show an impact on public health and it is wonderful to see a reduction in severe visual loss."

The bacterium Chlamydia pneumonia has been found to be present in patients with wet AMD.

Chlamydia pneumonia has been linked to heart disease and causes chronic inflammation.

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