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Space-age technology may help diagnose AMD at an earlier stage

Researchers at Cardiff University and the United Kingdom Astronomy Technology Centre have developed a technology that uses extremely sensitive cameras, which are designed for deep-space telescopes to evaluate whether the retina is working properly. This revolutionary technology allows the researchers to see in image form what is occurring in the retina at a functional level. Currently, there are no effective treatments for the dry form of macular degeneration and the ability to detect it at its earliest stages could stop its development before it starts. The device (known as a retinal densitometer) will also enable researchers to study the progress of the disease in more intimate detail, which could lead the way in developing future treatments. The retinal densitometer illuminates the retina with light of different wavelengths and captures the resulting images over time. These captured images reveal the color changes in the retina as it adjusts to diminishing amounts of light and the speed at which the retina does this can be an early indicator of macular degeneration. Researchers are now working on plans to build a more manageable version for clinical trials that will involve an eye tracking system that keeps the camera aligned with the patient's pupils at all times.*  

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