IMI Newsletter Features Update on 'MACUSTAR' Trial

The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) published its July 2019 newsletter

An update is provided on the ECRIN-supported trial 'MACUSTAR' (Dry age-related macular degeneration: Development of novel clinical endpoints for clinical trials with a regulatory and patient access intention), copied below:

Changing light levels a challenge for people with eye disease AMD

People with the eye disease age-related macular degeneration (AMD) struggle more with navigation under changing light levels than under constant low light conditions, according to initial results presented by the MACUSTAR project at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

If the findings are confirmed in a larger group of patients, they will give us a better understanding of the impact of lighting on navigation and other everyday activities in people with AMD. People with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) gradually lose their central vision, usually in both eyes. It is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. However, as patients retain peripheral vision, the disease is not thought to affect mobility. In this study, people with AMD navigated their way around an obstacle-strewn maze at different light levels: 256 lux (equivalent to muted office lighting); 4 lux (equivalent to a road lit by streetlamps at night); and 1 lux (equivalent to moonlight). They also navigated the maze as the light level fell from 256 lux to 1 lux. While the participants’ performance was similar when navigating while the light level remained stable, it was a lot worse while navigating under changing light conditions. Their walking speed dropped by an average of 19 % compared to the 256 lux maze, and they experienced more mobility and orientation errors. The project is now gathering further data to confirm their findings and analyse if and how performance differs for patients at different stages of the disease. They will also verify if the findings at the two centres used (in Paris and London) are comparable. The research was led by Dr Hannah Dunbar of UCL and Ariel Zenouda of StreetLab, Paris – watch a short video where Dr Dunbar describes her work in MACUSTAR.