Preferential Hyperacuity Perimeter (PHP) is an advanced diagnostic tool optometrists use to identify signs of age related macular degeneration (AMD). It is a progressive eye disease associated with UV exposure, smoking and family history, among other risk factors. Optometrists diagnose AMD by examining the macula, which is the sensitive eye tissue located at the back of the eye on the retina, and is responsible for detailed central vision. There are two forms of AMD: dry and wet. Dry macular degeneration progresses gradually; wet macular degeneration can quickly lead to devastating vision loss and requires more aggressive treatment. It is very difficult to restore vision once it has been lost, so AMD treatment is aimed at prevention; the earlier the better.
Unger Eye Care of Troy, Illinois eye doctors explain, “The Preferential Hyperacuity Perimeter is used to detect distortions in vision that could signal conversion from the “dry” form of macular degeneration (AMD) to the “wet” form.” The PHP test is easy take. It only takes a few minutes per eye and the patient can control the pace. Patients that have Dry AMD are generally recommended to start testing with the PHP. Special genetic testing can determine whether a patient has a higher genetic disposition toward Wet AMD, and if so, we will test sooner and more often.
Reichert is the only supplier of the PHP testing instrument at this time. It was developed by Nodal, an Israeli company, which now makes a home model. We have yet to place one of these units but it represents an advancement in the ability to catch Wet AMD at the earliest stage.
Prior to the availability of this new equipment, we had to rely on the patient’s vision and a visual inspection of the macula. Usually, by that time, the disease was more advanced and the outcome of any treatment was not nearly as positive.
The standard course of treatment for a confirmed case of Wet macular degeneration is an injection into the eye by a Retinal Specialist. The injected AMD medication is an anti-VEGF agent, which is easily tolerated by patients and very effective at preserving their vision. “We have detected Wet AMD in patients using the PHP and they continue to enjoy good vision that they otherwise would have lost. Testing also gives peace of mind to Dry AMD patients when they are reassured that their condition remains stable,” the eye doctor notes.
As our patients get to know us, some over many years, they realize that we always have their best interests in mind. They have come to expect that we will incorporate new technologies into our office if they prove to be beneficial. Not only do they appreciate that they are getting a high level of care, they enjoy sending their friends and family to Unger Eye Care, as well.