Introduction to Lumithera Valeda Treatment

At Taylor-West & Co we are dedicated to providing cutting-edge eye care solutions to help you maintain and improve your vision.

Our expert Optometrists in our Hove branch offer the Lumithera Valeda Light Delivery System (Valeda LDS), a breakthrough therapy treatment for drusen and dry Age-related Macular Degeneration. Using advanced photobiomodulation technology, Valeda LDS revitalises retinal cells which slows disease progression and preserves vision.

Read on to discover how this innovative treatment may benefit you or your loved ones.

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Understanding AMD

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition that affects older adults, leading to central vision loss. The macula is the area of central retina responsible for straight ahead vision and for the centre of our visual experience. Good macular function is essential for activities such as reading, driving and recognising faces.

There are two main types of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Dry AMD

This is the most common form, accounting for about 80-90% of cases. It occurs when the macula thins over time as part of the aging process. Small yellow deposits, known as drusen, accumulate under the retina which put the retina under increasing stress, particularly if the drusen get larger and more numerous. With time the retina above the drusen degenerates, leading to gradual vision loss.

Traditional Treatments for Dry AMD
Historically there has been no treatment for dry AMD. Certain lifestyle changes have been advised to try and slow progression and reduce the risk of conversion to the wet form of the disease. These include taking specific vitamins and minerals, following a healthy diet, and protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light.

Wet AMD

This less common form of AMD happens when abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and macula in response the presence of drusen. These vessels can leak blood and fluid, causing rapid damage to the macula and leading to quicker vision loss.

Traditional Treatments for Wet AMD
Treatments for wet AMD aim to interrupt the growth of abnormal blood vessels to prevent or slow further vision loss. These treatments include anti-VEGF injections (medications that inhibit the growth of new blood vessels), laser therapy, and photodynamic therapy.

How Dry AMD Occurs on a Cellular Level

Dry AMD develops due to a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and aging factors. Here’s a closer look at the cellular mechanisms involved:

    • Early Accumulation: Drusen are small, yellowish deposits that form under the retina. They consist of lipids, proteins, and cellular waste products​.
    • Disruption of Retinal Function: The accumulation of drusen is one of the earliest signs of dry AMD. These deposits accumulate in Bruch’s membrane, a layer between the retina and its blood supply, leading to its thickening. This thickening impedes the exchange of nutrients and waste between the retina and the blood supply, disrupting the normal functioning of retinal cells​.
    • Role of the RPE: The RPE is a layer of cells that nourishes retinal cells, removes waste, and helps maintain the visual cycle.
    • Dysfunction and Damage: In dry AMD, oxidative stress and chronic inflammation cause damage to the RPE cells. The accumulation of drusen further exacerbates this dysfunction by inducing local inflammation and oxidative damage. Over time, this damage compromises the health and survival of photoreceptors (the light-sensitive cells in the retina)​.
    • Light-Sensitive Cells: Photoreceptors convert light into electrical signals sent to the brain.
    • Degeneration Process: The presence of drusen and the thinning and dysfunction of the RPE layer lead to photoreceptor damage and loss. As the RPE cells deteriorate, they are less able to support the photoreceptors, resulting in their gradual degeneration and a subsequent decline in central vision​.
    • Advanced Stage: Geographic atrophy (GA) is an advanced form of dry AMD characterized by the progressive and irreversible loss of RPE cells, photoreceptors, and underlying choriocapillaris (the blood vessels supplying the retina)​.
    • Lesion Development: GA lesions typically start in the perifoveal area (around the centre of the macula) and gradually expand to the fovea, the central part of the macula responsible for sharp central vision. This expansion leads to significant vision loss, particularly affecting activities that require detailed vision, such as reading and recognizing faces​.
    • Imbalance and Damage: Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralize them with antioxidants.
    • Inflammatory Processes: Chronic oxidative stress damages retinal cells and contributes to inflammation. Inflammatory processes further exacerbate cellular damage, promoting the progression of dry AMD and the formation of drusen and GA​​.

By understanding these cellular mechanisms, it becomes clearer how treatments like the Lumithera Valeda aim to counteract the effects of dry AMD and preserve vision.

The Technology Behind the Treatment

What is Lumithera Valeda?

Photobiomodulation (PBM) involves the use of specific wavelengths of light to stimulate cellular processes. The Valeda system employs multiwavelength light to penetrate the retinal tissues and stimulate cellular activity. This light therapy works at the mitochondrial level, enhancing cellular function and promoting retinal health. PBM has been shown to improve metabolic activity and reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, which are key contributors to the progression of dry AMD.

How Photobiomodulation Treatment Used by the Valeda Device Slows Down Progression of AMD

Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy, as employed by the Valeda Light Delivery System, leverages specific wavelengths of light to stimulate cellular processes in the retina. Here’s an easy-to-understand description of how this treatment works to slow the progression of AMD.

Mechanism of Action:

    • Light Penetration: The Valeda device emits light at specific wavelengths (red, yellow, and near-infrared) that penetrate the retinal tissues.

      Mitochondrial Absorption: These wavelengths are absorbed by the mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cells, which are abundant in retinal cells. The absorption of light enhances the mitochondria’s ability to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of the cell.

    • Neutralizing Free Radicals: Increased ATP production helps cells to function more efficiently, enabling them to better neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause oxidative stress and damage cellular components, a key factor in the progression of AMD.

      Enhancing Antioxidant Defences: PBM boosts the production of antioxidants within the cells, further reducing oxidative damage.

    •  Reducing Inflammation: The light therapy helps to reduce inflammation in the retinal tissues. Chronic inflammation is a significant contributor to the progression of AMD, leading to further damage and cell death.

    • Enhanced Cellular Repair: PBM promotes the activation of cellular repair mechanisms, allowing damaged cells to recover and function more effectively. This is crucial for maintaining the health of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and photoreceptors, which are essential for vision.

      Restoring Normal Function: By improving the health and function of RPE cells, PBM helps in maintaining the integrity of the retina and preventing further degeneration.

    •  Clearing Cellular Waste: Drusen are deposits of cellular waste that accumulate under the retina and are a hallmark of dry AMD. PBM aids in the clearance of these deposits, thereby reducing their impact on retinal health.

      Preventing New Formation: The therapy also helps in preventing the formation of new drusen, slowing the overall progression of the disease.

By leveraging these cellular and molecular mechanisms, the Valeda Light Delivery System provides a non-invasive and effective treatment option for patients with dry AMD, helping to preserve vision and improve quality of life.

The Treatment Process

The Valeda Light Delivery System represents a significant advancement in the management of dry AMD, offering hope for improved vision and quality of life for those affected by this condition.

If you are interested in learning more or scheduling a consultation, please get in touch with our Hove branch.

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One

Preparation and Evaluation

Before starting the Valeda treatment, patients undergo a comprehensive examination to assess the stage of AMD and overall retinal health. This includes tests like optical coherence tomography (OCT) to get detailed images of the retina.

Two

Treatment Sessions

The Valeda treatment is typically administered in a series of sessions. Each session involves the patient sitting comfortably while the Valeda device directs light at specific wavelengths to the retina. The treatment is non-invasive and painless, with each session lasting a few minutes.

Three

Frequency of Treatment

Each cycle of treatment consists of nine treatments, administered three times per week for three weeks. For maximum efficacy it is recommended that patient undergo these treatment cycles three times per year.

Four

Monitoring and Follow-Up

Throughout the treatment course, patients are regularly monitored using retinal imaging and functional tests to evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy.

Five

Expected Outcomes

Clinical trials have shown that the Valeda treatment can lead to improvements in visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, and a reduction in drusen volume. Additionally, fewer eyes treated with Valeda progressed to geographic atrophy compared to untreated eyes, indicating a slowing of disease progression. Click HERE for a summary of the most recent clinical trial results.

Who Can Benefit from Lumithera Valeda?

The Lumithera Valeda Light Delivery System is primarily designed for patients with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), particularly those in the early to intermediate stages of the disease. Ideal candidates are individuals who have been diagnosed with dry AMD and are experiencing gradual vision loss but have not yet developed extensive geographic atrophy or advanced retinal damage.

While Valeda is a safe and effective treatment for many patients with dry AMD, certain conditions may contraindicate its use:

Patients with any known reactions to light exposure, or if they have a history of light-activated central nervous system disorders (e.g., epilepsy, migraine).

Patients using any photosensitizing medications (without first consulting with their prescribing doctor).

Severe AMD: Those with advanced geographic atrophy or significant retinal atrophy may not benefit from this treatment, as the therapy is most effective in earlier stages of the disease.

By carefully selecting patients based on these criteria and conducting thorough pre-treatment evaluations, the Valeda Light Delivery System aims to provide significant benefits in managing dry AMD, preserving vision, and enhancing quality of life.

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Is there any evidence that it works?

The latest clinical studies into the efficacy of the Valeda Light Delivery System have provided promising results for the treatment of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

LIGHTSITE III Study

The LIGHTSITE III study, a randomized controlled trial, aimed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the Valeda device over a 24-month period. This study involved 100 patients with early to intermediate dry AMD. Key findings include:

    • Average Letter Improvement: Patients treated with the Valeda device showed a significant improvement in visual acuity. On average, there was a 5.9-letter improvement six-month mark compared to baseline measurements.

    • Percentage of Patients Improved: Approximately 77% of patients experienced a clinically meaningful improvement in visual acuity by the end of the treatment period.

    • Patients demonstrated an improvement at distances up to 120cm, indicating enhanced ability to distinguish between different shades of light and dark.

    • Drusen Volume Reduction: There was a significant reduction in central drusen volume over the 24-month period.

    • Drusen Thickness Reduction: Central drusen thickness also decreased significantly, with an average reduction of 24% compared to baseline.

    • Geographic Atrophy (GA) Progression: The treated group showed a slower progression to geographic atrophy compared to the sham treatment group. Specifically, only 5.7% of eyes in the PBM group progressed to new GA compared to 21.6% in the sham group, demonstrating the Valeda device’s potential in delaying the advancement of dry AMD.

Safety Profile

The Valeda treatment was well-tolerated among patients, with no significant adverse effects reported. The non-invasive nature of the photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy contributed to its excellent safety profile. The study reported no signs of phototoxicity or other serious side effects, making it a safe option for long-term management of dry AMD.

cost

Lumithera Valeda LDS treatment is available in our HOVE branch only.

The cost of the initial treatment is £1600 (or £1400 for one eye), which includes a comprehensive eye examination and assessment of visual function. The first treatment can be performed at the end of this initial assessment.

Subsequent treatment cycles are £1300 (or £1100 for one eye), including follow up assessments as needed.

Members of the Taylor-West & Co Care Plan receive a 10% discount.

Further reading

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