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New device provides early detection of macular degeneration

Researchers at the Laboratory of Applied Photonics Devices developed a device that can zoom in on cells at the back of the eye that were previously invisible.


The new technology will be helpful in providing an earlier diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration. Currently, macular degeneration is typically only detected once symptoms begin to appear, which can include blurry patches or wavy lines within the central field of vision.

A sophisticated imaging system in the new technology allows doctors to see the macula cell layers, which are the layers first affected by macular degeneration, in real time. This device allows doctors to view the retina through the white part of the eye (known as the sclera), which allows a different, diagonal viewing of the eye. This helps to eliminate some of the interference from reflected light and provides a better view of the cell layers.

Preliminary tests have demonstrated that the device is reliable as well as ten times more accurate in viewing the back of the eye than current methods. In addition, it shows different stages that those cells go through. Additional studies using participants who have a macular degeneration or other eye conditions will be conducted next.

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