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Stem cells and AMD

The recent news about three women who are now legally blind after undergoing an unproven treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) highlight the danger of stem cell clinics that operate without government oversight. “These women had fairly functional vision prior to the procedure … and were blinded by the next day,” said ophthalmologist Dr Thomas Albini of the University of Miami, whose team examined the women after their treatment at a clinic in Florida. The three women, in their 70s and 80s, paid $5,000 to be treated in 2015 for age-related macular degeneration.

AMD damages a part of the retina needed for sharp, central vision and is a leading cause of vision loss in people over 50. Even if caught early, AMD is not always reversible. The best defense is a good offense, and this means seeing your eye care professional regularly, especially if you are over the age of 50. Genetics do play a role in the onset and progression of the disease, and while you can’t choose your parents, you can reduce you risk with lifestyle choices. Exercise, don’t smoke cigarettes, and eat a diet high in green leafy vegetables to reduce your risk of developing AMD. And see your eye doctor regularly.