In the United States, laser therapy is providing new hope for those who suffer an affliction that costs 15,000 Americans their sight each year.
SV PAN 7 SV Carl Jaenicke undergoing eye tests. (2 SHOTS)
SCU Jaenicke speaking.
CU PULL BACK SV Jaenicke's eye being examined.
SV ZOOM IN CU Model of eye showing growths that threaten sight.
SVs & CUs An eye being treated laser surgery. (6 SHOTS)
CU Dr. David Orth speaking.
SVs & CU Woman patient being treated with laser surgery. (3 SHOTS)
JAENICKE: (SEQ 2): " I thought I needed a change of glasses."
ORTH: (SEQ 6) "We had 113 treated and 111 untreated, and we found that in the untreated patients, 42 percent of those patients were blind. And of the treated patients, only 14 percent were blind."
NOTE TO EDITORS: THIS STORY HAS COMMENTARY BY NBC REPORTER BARRY KAUFMAN WHICH MAY BE USED IF REQUIRED.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In the United States, laser therapy is providing new hope for those who suffer an affliction that costs 15,000 Americans their sight each year. It is senile macular degeneration (SMD), caused when new blood vessels grow into a small spot on the retine called the macula, which controls the central field of vision. These vessels can haemorrhage, causing blindness. Medical teams in a dozen centres are now using lasers to deal with this problem. Treatment takes then minutes, can be done in a doctor's surgery, and costs the patient 1,000 dollars per eye. One man to benefit was an elderly American, Carl Jaenicke. He thought he needed new glasses, but diagnosis revealed SMD. Now, he is cured. Dr. David Orth, who operates the scheme, said treatment dramatically improved chances of saving the eye. But doctors say early detection of SMD is vital if the eye is to be saved.