Doctors at the eye clinics NeoVize Brno and NeoVízia Bratislava have performed a unique medical treatment – the use of a new biological medicine for the treatment of vitreomacular traction. The new treatment is a huge progress in eye medicine and gives new hope to patients who could previously only be saved from going blind by a surgical procedure known as the vitrectomy.
„From a medical point of view, it is a huge step forward. We are talking about treatment for a serious retinal disease with the help of an enzyme called okriplasmin, which is very similar to the human enzyme, plasmin. If we can choose and diagnose the patient well enough, we can lower or even completely eliminate their risk of a following surgical procedure,“ says the primary physician of the eye clinic NeoVízia, MUDr. Radovan Piovarči, who was the first surgeon in Slovakia and the Czech Republic to perform the enzyme treatment.
A five- minute procedure
„Our first application of the medicine with the enzyme okriplasmin took place completely without any complications. The procedure itself took about five minutes, while the actual injection of the enzyme was only about 10 seconds,“ the Chief doctor of the Eye Clinic NeoVize Brno Šárka Skorskovská describes the process of the new medical treatment.
200 patients a year
„The whole application process is very simple. The procedure is pain free for the patient and they are free to go home after a short rest,“ explains MUDr. Piovarči. There are already new candidates waiting for the application of the enzyme okriplasmin. The biological treatment could help 200 patients a year in the Czech Republic alone.
Deformed vision, problems when driving
What is actually the vitreomacular traction? The filling of the eye ball, the vitreous body, shrinks with age and separates itself from the retina, the inner layer of the eye. However, sometimes it can happen that the vitreous body does not separate itself completely from the retina in the place of the yellow spot, sucks the retina in and continually deforms it. This can lead to a deformed or worsened vision, which complicates everyday activities like driving, reading or recognizing faces. Vitreomacular traction can also lead to a tear in the retina, which causes irreparable damage.
After the USA and Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia
The only treatment option for the vitreomacular traction until now was vitrectomy - a surgical procedure, where the surgeon removes the vitreous body and treats the retina.
The enzyme okriplasmin, which is included in the medicine, is very similar to the enzyme plasmin, which is usually produced by the human body itself. When there is a lack of plasmin in the human body, it is now possible to inject it directly into the vitreous body of the patient in the form of the enzyme okriplasmin. The new medicine from the US- american company Alcon affects the bonds between the vitreous body and the retina, separates them and makes it possible for the vitreous body to be separated without any complications.
„Okriplasmin gives us a new possibility of treating the vitreomacular traction. The application of this medicine is much more gentle than a surgical procedure. For a lot of patients in the future, this could mean that they would not have to undergo a vitrectomy, which is a complete removal of the vitreous body. The progress in eye surgery is extremely fast. Our surgical team finds great joy in every new method that makes it possible to help a growing number of patients,“ explains Šárka Skorkovská M.D.