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Heating techniques could improve treatment of macular degeneration

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Credit: Gharib Research Group

SEATTLE, November 23, 2019 – Age-related macular degeneration is the primary reason for central vision loss and leads to the center of the visual field being blurred or completely blacked out. Treatable, some methods can be inadequate or cause undesirable side effects.

Jinglin Huang, a college student in medical engineering at Caltech, suggests ineffective fluid mixing of the injected medication and the gel within the eye may be to blame. Huang will be discussing the impacts of a thermally induced fluid blending method for AMD treatment throughout a session at the American Physical Society’s Department of Fluid Characteristics 72 nd Yearly Meeting, which will occur on Nov. 23-26, 2019, at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

The talk, “Thermal Impacts on Fluid Mixing in the Eye,” will exist at 4: 40 p.m. Pacific (U.S.) on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Room 612 as part of the session on biological fluid characteristics: microfluidics.

AMD typically begins as “dry” AMD, a condition in which the macula– the main part of the retina, responsible for sending details about concentrated light to the brain to produce a detailed picture– thins with age. Dry AMD is really typical and is not treatable however may eventually develop into “damp” AMD, which is most likely to result in vision loss. In wet AMD, unusual blood vessels grow on the retina, dripping fluids under the macula. In the case of wet AMD, injections of medications called anti-vascular endothelial growth factor representatives into the eye can assist handle the condition.

Huang said because the medication does not combine with the gel-like fluid in the eye– the vitreous– efficiently. Applying heat to the mixture can solve this problem.

” Due to the fact that thermally caused mixing in the vitreous chamber can promote the formation of a circulation flow structure, this can potentially serve the drug shipment process,” Huang said. “Since the half life of the drug is restricted, this thermally caused blending method ensures that more drug of high strength can reach the target tissue.”

To apply the thermally induced mixing strategy, no changes in the injection procedure are needed. An extra heating step after the injection is all that is needed.

” It can possibly lower the amount of drug injected into the vitreous,” stated Huang. “It is absolutely simple to be executed.”

Huang and her colleagues hope this work will motivate optometrist to develop much better treatment methods and improve patient experiences.

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