During a 1-year period 398 new patients were seen with disciform macular degeneration (530 eyes). The lesions were studied retrospectively, and those in which the neovascular tissue did not underlie the fovea, and therefore were treatable, were identified. The following conclusions were drawn: (1) Treatment is possible in most patients with good acuity and few with poor acuity. (2) Treatment is possible in a large proportion of patients with a short history and few with a long history of visual loss. (3) As many as 50% of all patients with senile disciform macular degeneration may be amenable to treatment if seen early enough in the course of their disease. (4) Over one-third of eyes with lesions that are untreated have a visual acuity of 6/60 or better 3 years after the onset of symptoms. (5) If a controlled trial proves that treatment is beneficial, these results emphasise the need for rapid referral and show that these patients will generate a large additional clinical load.
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