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July 23, 1997

Radiation Therapy for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Author Affiliations

Queen's University of Belfast Belfast, Northern Ireland

JAMA. 1997;278(4):288. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550040044025

To the Editor.  —I read with dismay the Medical News & Perspectives article on radiation therapy for wet-type macular degeneration by Mr Skolnick.1First, the article showed a complete disregard for the first comprehensively documented phase 1 and 2 trials carried out on this subject. This work initially was reported in 1990,2 and the long-term follow-up on the same patient group was published in 1996.3Second, the claims of visual stabilization and improvement in patients with wet, age-related macular degeneration following external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) as reported by Skolnick are meaningless as they are based entirely on short-term data with no attempt to distinguish between the classic and occult forms of this disease.My own data searches have revealed that since our initial report2 more than 850 patients have been treated with EBRT worldwide. The baseline visual characteristics of these patients vary markedly within and between centers, with