First oral agent to quell invasive macular degeneration, restore lost vision

May 6, 2012, Resveratrol Partners LLC
View left to right shows cases 1, 2 & 3 described above. Ocular Coherence Tomography digital images reveal rapid restoration of normal or more youthful retinal architecture accompanied by marked improvement in visual acuity. Credit: Poster #286 ARVO Meeting 2012

There may be new found hope for patients whose vision is threatened when medicine injected directly into the eyes fails to cause abnormal blood vessels to recede. While injectable drugs called angiogenesis (an-gee-oh-jen-esis) inhibitors are considered a modern miracle and have become the standard of care for patients with the fast-progressive form of macular degeneration, they are not foolproof. For the first time researchers report that an oral nutriceutical, used on a last resort basis, rapidly restores vision to otherwise hopeless patients who face permanent loss.

Stuart Richer OD, PhD, Director, Ocular Preventative Medicine-Eye Clinic, James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, North Chicago, Illinois, says all other therapies were exhausted before employing the oral nutriceutical under compassionate-use protocols on a case-by-case basis. Usually most patients respond to medicine injected directly into the eyes, he says, but about one in three patients recover driving vision and one in six patients go on to experience permanent and others may refuse needle injections directly into the eyes, making them candidates for this rescue medicine.

Three successfully treated cases were presented at the annual Association For Research In Vision & Ophthalmology meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

One striking case is an 88-year old woman whom retinal specialists said was beyond any help offered by conventional medicines or surgery. The nutriceutical helped this hospitalized woman regain her ability to see faces, read a menu and visualize her handwriting in just four days. "As she was an inpatient were also able to observe that her 40-year history of low-blood pressure and migraines improved after months of use," said Dr. Richer.

In another case a 75-year old man with failing vision experienced recovery of vision in 5 days and was able to renew his driver's license after taking just 7 nutriceutical capsules.

Dr. Richer says 16 of the first 17 cases responded positively to nutriceutical medicine. There were no side effects reported. Because these patients faced impending loss of vision, for ethical reasons no patients received inactive placebo pills. He says it is unknown whether this nutriceutical produces such positive results in the more common dry form of macular degeneration, but the benefit to vision is typically observed in both eyes and is self-evident.

Dr. Richer says in these first cases he has monitored, blind spots (called scotomas) disappear, time to recover from bright light (glare recovery) is reduced, and contrast vision (shades of grey) as well as visual acuity (ability to see letters on a chart) generally improve within 3-6 weeks with the nutriceutical. "With our instruments we documented a more youthful appearance of retinal tissues as well as improved underlying circulation. There were also other improvements in health observed or measured outside of the eyes that were unanticipated," notes Dr. Richer.

Only in recent years has there been a reliable way to treat wet , a disorder where abnormal blood vessels invade the visual center (macula) of the eyes. Any of three FDA-approved drugs, Avastin, Lucentis and Eylea, are needle-injected into the white of the eye to diminish the formation of these . These are considered miracle drugs. Re-treatment is usually necessary every six to eight weeks. However, since these drugs are not foolproof, oral antioxidant therapy was employed with measurable success.

Dr. Richer selected a particular nutriceutical mixture of vitamins and small herbal molecules (Longevinex®) because of its extensive testing and proven ability to favorably alter genes in a superior manner to other available nutriceuticals. Dr. Richer cautions that other similar store-bought products are not likely to produce the same rapid results seen among his patients. He advises patients not to risk their vision with unproven products. Nor should patients consider this oral medicine supplants injected medicine.

While the nutriceutical used in this report is non-prescription and directly available to patients and could be used alongside injected drugs, Dr. Richer advises physician consultation prior to its use. It still remains unproven until it is evaluated in broader studies, says Richer, who adds: "this oral nutriceutical taps into the newly appreciated science of epigenetics, where gene protein-making switches are favorably turned on and off, and suggests that age-related eye problems may not be inevitably progressive and biological age is not necessarily cast in stone." There is new-found hope for recovery of lost vision, regardless of the patient's image.

Explore further: Study shows daily aspirin intake can lead to blindness

Related Stories

Study shows daily aspirin intake can lead to blindness

October 5, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- A new study published in Ophthalmology reveals that while taking a daily aspirin may reduce the risks of heart disease and stroke, a disturbing side effect has also been noted to increase the risk of developing ...

Avastin and Lucentis are equivalent in treating age-related macular degeneration

April 30, 2012
At two years, Avastin (bevacizumab) and Lucentis (ranibizumab injection), two widely used drugs to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), improve vision when administered monthly or on an as needed basis, although ...

Vision loss slowed by encapsulated cell therapy

April 7, 2011
(PhysOrg.com) -- A phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of a severe form of age-related macular degeneration called geographic atrophy (GA) has become the first study to show the benefit of a therapy to slow the progression ...

Vision improves modestly in patients after human embryonic stem cells transplants

January 24, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute and colleagues who successfully transplanted specialized retinal cells derived from human embryonic stem cells into the eyes of two legally blind patients ...

Recommended for you

Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma

January 16, 2018
While testing genes to treat glaucoma by reducing pressure inside the eye, University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists stumbled onto a problem: They had trouble getting efficient gene delivery to the cells that act like drains ...

New study offers added hope for patients awaiting corneal transplants

January 9, 2018
New national research led by Jonathan Lass of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has found that corneal donor tissue can be safely stored for 11 days before transplantation surgery to correct eye problems ...

Diabetic blindness caused and reversed "trapped" immune cells in rodent retinas

January 3, 2018
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a cell signaling pathway in mice that triggers vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion – diseases characterized by the closure of blood vessels ...

Ophthalmologists increasingly dissatisfied with electronic health records

December 29, 2017
Ophthalmologists' use of electronic health records (EHR) systems for storing and accessing patients' medical histories more than doubled between 2006 and 2016, while their perceptions of financial and clinical productivity ...

Higher omega-3 fatty acid intake tied to lower glaucoma risk

December 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—Increased daily intake of ω-3 fatty acids is associated with lower odds of glaucoma, but higher levels of total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake are associated with higher odds of developing glaucoma, ...

Protein analysis allows for treatment of eye-disease symptoms with existing drugs

December 21, 2017
Demonstrating the potential of precision health, a team led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine has matched existing drugs to errant proteins expressed by patients with a rare eye disease.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

ormondotvos
not rated yet May 07, 2012
So physorg is taking advertorials now?
chatty
not rated yet May 31, 2012
What is the name of the pill and where can I get it???

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.