[Macular translocation] surgery was developed through some work done... in Germany and also at Duke Eye Center by Dr. Robert Machemer in the early 1990's. It involves detaching the retina around its outer edge, loosening it from the underlying membrane, and then rotating the entire retina along with the macula and fovea, with the optic nerve connection as the central axis, in such a way that the macula and fovea are relocated over healthy tissue and away from the neovascularization that was taking place. At the same time the new blood vessels that had developed are removed.
I had this surgery on March 8th of this year. Prior to surgery, my vision had rapidly declined within a six period from 20/40 to 20/80, and I had already lost complete central vision in the other eye. Without the surgery I believe I would have lost central vision in the operated eye. Instead, I have maintained central vision in that eye, and, as of last Tuesday, my vision is 20/50 minus 2 letters.
I am able to read with ordinary glasses, watch TV, drive an automobile during the day and enjoy all the other benefits of being able to see. My vision is by no means perfect. I have difficulty in recognizing people from a distance, am not able to follow the ball very well when I attend a football game, and still encounter other various limitations. I have had one hot laser treatment following this surgery, and two PDT treatments, all intended to stop new blood vessel growth. At this time I don't have any new blood vessel growth or leakage.
But, for me, the difference is powerful and dramatic...I saw my surgeon this past week and she is very enthusiastic about the results being gained from macular translocation surgery. She trained under Dr. Machemer and I think has performed over 100 of these surgeries at this time. She said the results get better and better. As you can tell, this surgery has been the most important good thing to happen to me since I got the first bad news about having MD.