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Steriod implants successfully restore sight in cancer patient

Researchers have developed an innovative treatment for melanoma-associated retinopathy (MAR) that uses long-acting steroid implants injected into the eye. The procedure has been shown to successfully improve vision and reduce symptoms.

The auto-immune disease MAR – a rare cancer-related syndrome which is linked to night blindness and progressive vision loss – was found to react positively to implants which slowly released controlled amounts of the corticosteroid fluocinolone acetonide. This prevented anti-retinal antibodies from attacking proteins in the eye.

The study, which was the first of its kind, was the result of a collaboration between researchers from the University of Surrey, Royal Surrey Country Hospital, and the electrophysiology department of Moorfields Eye Hospital.

“This offers a possible alternative treatment option to patients, whose quality of life is significantly reduced due to the symptoms of this debilitating ailment,” study co-author Professor Simon Taylor, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Surrey, said.

The researchers were working with a 73-year-old patient diagnosed with MAR. After one week of treatment, they detected improvements in the patient’s vision. A detailed examination of the patient’s eye revealed that previously observed abnormalities, such as reduced electroretinogram recordings, had partly resolved. This is consistent with improved inner retinal cell function.

Researchers also found that vision remained stable, with visual acuity remaining at 20/20 after monitoring the patient over a period of three years.

The findings were published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

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