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AOA 2023: Clinical study gives AMD patients possible new treatment

Video

Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO, who presented a poster on the Light Site 3 clinical study at the AOA online e-poster event, discusses a promising new treatment for patients with AMD.

Video Transcript

Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Emily Kaiser:

Hi, everyone. I'm Emily Kaiser with Optometry Times, and I'm sitting down with Dr Jeffry Gerson, who presented a poster on the Light Site 3 clinical study at the AOA online e-poster event. Welcome Dr. Gerson, thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Jeffry Gerson, OD, FAAO:

Sure. Thanks for having me, Emily.

Kaiser:

Happy to have you here. So first, can you give us a brief overview of your poster?

Gerson:

Yeah, this is something that, to me, is really exciting. As you mentioned, what I presented on was the Light Sight 3 clinical study. This study was looking at using photobiomodulation and macular degeneration. So the first question that comes up is, what is photobiomodulation? It's a big word, and I'll probably just say PBM to make it shorter moving forward. But the way that I explained it is that you break that word down into three parts; photo using light, bio biology, modulation changing. It means you're using different wavelengths of light to change biology. So, you're changing our cellular structure and function by using light. So in the Light Site 3 study, there were 3 different wavelengths of light used, 590, 660, and 850 nanometers. People looked into a device called the Valeda, then looked at what happened to their macular degeneration over two years time. In this study, the majority [of] people have had intermediate, dry macular degeneration. A few of them had early [macular degeneration], and a few of them had late. The 2 really big takeaways, from my perspective, is number 1, there's a statistically significant difference in number of people gaining at least five letters of visual acuity. The reason I think this is so significant, is [that] if you asked me if my intermediate, dry AMD patients, "how are they seing," I would say, "Well, gosh, most of them are already seeing 2020." But, in this study, a fairly large percentage of them gained at least five letters of visual acuity. So to me, that was really impressive.The other thing that was really impressive, is the decrease in percentage of patients that that progressed on to having geographic atrophy.The bottom line is, through this wavelength therapy, people saw better and were less likely to get definitively worse.

Kaiser:

Fantastic. That sounds really, really interesting. What do you hope that optometrists take away from your poster?

Gerson:

I think the big thing to take away is, right now, I think we would all say, we feel fairly limited in our treatment options for our age related macular degeneration patients. Hopefully, this does get approved. When it does, it'll be an entirely new category that will really allow, not just for treatment to hopefully make it so people don't get worse, but a treatment that, in many cases allows people to get better. At 2 years, well over half the patients that received the treatment get at least five letters of acuity. So, to me that's pretty big news to have that gain of visual acuity.

Kaiser:

Yeah, definitely meaningful change. How will that information trickle down into patient care?

Gerson:

Obviously, this is something that will have to be approved here in the US first. I think when it does, it'll be something that we as optometrist will be excited about, because It's a therapy that we can administer in our offices. By the way, the way this is administered is [by] an instrument that patients look into, and there's different wavelengths of light that are shining towards their eyes. A treatment session takes about 5 minutes. In the study, the patients had 9 sessions over 3 to 5 weeks, every 4 months. It sounds like a lot, but they're very short in duration. There's no needles involved. If you look at it compared to the alternative of getting injections, it becomes a pretty easy therapy and very well tolerated. I think that's how it trickles down to optometry in our patients, is that It's really a fairly easy treatment to undergo with really good results.

Kaiser:

Oh, fantastic. That's, forgive the pun, very illuminating, and thank you.

Gerson:

That's a really good pun because it is using light, that's really good.

Kaiser:

Thank you. And thank you so much for taking the time to tell me more. This has been really great conversation. So thank you.

Gerson:

Absolutely, my pleasure.

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