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U of L researchers testing new way to fight macular degeneration

Dr. Tongalp Tezel

"This disease mainly affects the elderly. It affects the portion of the eye called the macula. It's the portion of eye responsible for day vision and color."

Dr. Tongalp Tezel of the University of Louisville is looking for ways to conquer macular degeneration- the leading cause of blindness in the industrialized world.

Dr. Tezel continues

"The visual signal cannot be transmitted and patients start to lose central vision. They won't go blind at first, but it is a very annoying condition, to stop seeing in the center of sight."

Tezel says now is the time to find a way to fix this debilitating disease. In the next twenty years the number of patients with macular degeneration will triple as baby boomers age.

Dr. Tezel adds

"Maculoplasty is a big shift in the concept of treatment of macular degeneration."

Tezel says maculoplasty is a new way to treat the disease—by reconstructing the damaged area of the eye. He says previous treatments would only slow down the loss of vision in a patient with macular degeneration. He believes maculoplasty can fix the problem.

Dr. Tezel concludes

"Maculoplasty is simply a shift from destruction to reconstruction, that means taking out scar tissue that grows under the retina and building up cellular components or structures required for someone to keep their vision."

Tezel hopes to get approval for human clinical trials later this year.

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