This is unlikely to be an immediate concern to all you "young-uns" here, but if perhaps you have a friend or relative that is a "baby boomer" this is something that will be of interest to them. It relates to a new treatment for "dry" Age-related Macular Degeneration (dry AMD).
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The RHEO™ Procedure: Look Forward to Life™
If you have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or know someone who does, then you understand the frustration and loss of freedom that comes with it. Until now, vitamin therapy was the best option for prolonging vision quality with dry AMD. Thanks to the RHEO™ procedure, things are different. Supplements are certainly part of the RHEO™ program, but it's the groundbreaking blood-filtration treatments that can change the way AMD affects your life.
Although RHEO™ Clinics are quite new to North America, the principle of RHEO™ filtration was established over 30 years ago. It was developed in Japan in the mid 1970s and then optimized as a treatment for AMD through years of clinical trials in Germany. The wait has definitely been worth it. In one recent study, 52.6% of RHEO™ patients with eyesight worse than 20/40 had their vision improve to levels that would enable them to re-qualify for their driver's licenses only three months after the start of treatment. The better news is that those numbers rose to almost 58% after 12 months.
As the prevalence of AMD grows, so does our commitment to offering patients and their families a new outlook on life through awareness and innovation. Each RHEO CLINIC™ is staffed by experts who understand that AMD is a complex and very personal disease, so please do not hesitate to contact one of our representatives or the RHEO CLINIC™ nearest you if you have any questions.
The RHEO™ Procedure: A Paradigm Shift in Sight
The RHEO™ procedure is a specific method of apheresis - a treatment in which a patient's blood is drawn outside the body and specific compounds are removed before being returned to the body. Apheresis, which is similar in principle to blood donation, has been used for decades to treat a variety of illnesses, including excessively high cholesterol and rheumatoid arthritis.
Japanese scientists developed the basis for the RHEO™ procedure in the 1970s while looking for a way to treat high cholesterol. About 10 years later, researchers at the University of Cologne in Germany used a newly developed filter, today called the RHEO™ filter, in a treatment study for eye conditions characterized by impaired microcirculation of the retina. The treatment was especially successful in patients who had AMD. Based on those results, experts conducted years of clinical research in order to further develop the RHEO™ procedure into a treatment for dry AMD.
Results from recent clinical trials in the U.S. and Europe suggest that - for the first time - treatment of dry AMD may now be possible for many patients. These studies indicated that the RHEO™ procedure not only slowed the progression of AMD in certain patients, but that some participants' vision actually improved.
How Does the RHEO™ Procedure Work for AMD?
The RHEO™ procedure uses patented filtering technology to remove excess levels of macro-proteins and fatty components in the blood that have been associated with AMD. These substances, which are known to thicken the blood, decrease blood flow and cause damage to capillary vessels, include LDL cholesterol, fibrinogen and alpha-2-macroglobulin.
Clinical studies suggest that the blood filtered with RHEO™ is able to flow more easily through even the tiniest capillaries in the body. Researchers believe that the improved microcirculation more effectively supplies the macular cells with oxygen and nutrients needed for proper function.
The RHEO™ procedure has been tested in several clinical trials over the past 10 years and evidence suggests that it is a low-risk, well-tolerated procedure. The low incidence of adverse side effects is similar to other commonly used therapeutic apheresis treatments.
No long-term side effects of the RHEO™ procedure have been observed in clinical studies to date.
Note: Not all patients with AMD are eligible to receive RHEO™ treatments. A thorough screening exam, which includes a dilated eye exam and a series of blood tests, is required to determine if the RHEO™ procedure is right for your patient.
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