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Preventive Treatment for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD): Macular Vision Protection

SDM Retinal Protective Therapy (RPT), developed by Dr. Luttrull, is the first highly effective preventive treatment for AMD. RPT improves all AMD outcomes and reduces the risks of visual loss in all forms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). It does this safely, without treatment risks or side-effects. The benefits of SDM RPT include improved visual acuity, improved indoor vision, slowed disease progression, slowed progression of age-related geographic atrophy, prevention of wet AMD, and reduced need for eye injections for wet AMD.


All of the benefits of SDM RPT for Macular Vision Protection have been confirmed by “Real World Data”, comparing patients with AMD who received SDM RPT for AMD to those who did not. Using a large national database of retina doctors and their patients (Vestrum Health), analysis of over 300,000 patients with AMD shows the superiority of SDM RPT to AREDS vitamins alone. Patients with all types and severity of AMD – both dry and wet – can benefit from RPT. SDM RPT is simple, safe, quick and painless. Dr. Luttrull is happy to see you and explain SDM RPT for AMD. Like any preventive treatment, beginning SDM RPT sooner than later will maximize the benefits and minimize your risks of visual loss. 

Ground-breaking studies:

More Macular Vision Protection: The first treatment to slow progression of geographic atrophy (GA) in age-related macular degeneration

Dr. Luttrull has submitted for publication his analysis of the effect of SDM laser on progression of age-related geographic atrophy (GA). GA is the worst and most rapidly progressive form of dry AMD. Until now there has been no treatment. All previous attempts to treat GA using other types of laser and drug therapies have failed. However, analysis of patients managed with SDM laser for their AMD revealed that SDM, developed by Dr. Luttrull, slowed progression of GA by over 50% per year compared to AREDS vitamins alone. This means that over 3 years of maintained treatment, patients receiving SDM would worsen 83% less that if they did not have SDM treatment. SDM is thus the first treatment to safely and significantly (p=0.0001) reduce the rate of progression of dry AMD and first reduce the risk of visual loss from GA. SDM is the first treatment to slow progression and reduce the risk of visual loss from GA, and the only treatment to do so. SDM does this safely, without risks or side effects. Dr. Luttrull will be presenting his groundbreaking  findings at medical meetings around the world throughout 2019 and 2020.

July 2018: Dr. Luttrull publishes first preventive treatment for “wet”

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

With colleagues Stephen Sinclair, MD of Drexel University in Philadelphia, and Solly Elmann, MD and Bert Glaser, MD of the National Retinal Institute and University of Maryland Baltimore, the open-access journal PLoS ONE published Dr. Luttrull’s discovery that SDM laser can markedly reduce the risk of vision loss in patients with “dry” Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). In one of the largest ever studies on AMD, and in patients with the highest risks factors for visual loss yet reported, Dr. Luttrull found that SDM laser “retinal protective therapy” (RPT) reduced the risk of vision loss due to the development of “wet” AMD (which requires monthly eye injections)  to 5 times less per year than AREDS eye vitamins alone (reducing the risk of wet AMD by 95-98% per year compared to AREDS vitamins alone). Overall visual acuity of SDM treated patients remained stable, rather than declining, as would be expected, over time. This discovery, described in the paper entitled: “Low incidence of choroidal neovascularization following subthreshold diode micropulse laser (SDM) in high-risk AMD” represents one of the most important advancements to date in the treatment of AMD and prevention of visual loss in people over 5o years of age.  (Low incidence of choroidal neovascularization following subthreshold diode micropulse laser (SDM) for high-risk AMD. Luttrull JK, Sinclair SH, Elmann S, Glaser BM. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202097. journal.pone.0202097)  The results of this groundbreaking study have been confirmed analysis of Real World Data (Vestrum Health, Inc) of over 300,000 AMD patients in the US, using a sophisticated statistical technique called “Propensity Scoring” to match patients in a manner similar to Randomized Clinical Trials. In this large, powerful study SDM reduced the risk of developing wet AMD  8.1 times more than AREDS vitamins alone (Retinal Protection Sciences, LLC).

Other important new publications by Dr. Luttrull

February 15 2018 the journal Eye, a division of Nature publishers from the University College London,  published Dr. Luttrull’s research entitled: “Improved visual and retinal function following subthreshold diode micropulse laser (SDM) for retinitis pigmentosa. Developed by Dr. Luttrull, SDM can improve visual acuity, visual fields, and retinal health and function. By producing these improvements safely, Dr. Luttrull hopes that SDM, as “retinal protective therapy”, will slow disease progression and thus reduce the risks of visual loss. 

In May 2018, with colleagues John Samples, MD, David Kent, MD, and Bryant J Lum, MD, Dr. Luttrull published his work entitled “Panmacular subthreshold diode micropulse laser (SDM) as neuroprotective therapy in open angle glaucoma”. This reports Dr. Luttrull’s discovery that SDM can improve visual acuity, visual fields, and optic nerve function in eyes with advanced glaucoma, becoming the first treatment for glaucoma other than lowering of the eye pressure. As more than 60% of patients with glaucoma continue to lose vision despite eye pressure control, it is hoped that SDM can reduce this risk by making the eye and optic nerve healthier.


Dr. Luttrull discusses use of SDM laser to reduce the risk of wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration.Click:


In August 2014 Dr. Luttrull formed “LIGHT”: The International Retinal Laser Society. (LIGHT stands for “Laser Interest Group for Healthier Treatments”). The mission of  LIGHT is to facilitate interaction and collaboration between experts and researchers from around the world to speed discovery and improve patient care. LIGHT members hail from the USA, England, The Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, UAE, Hong Kong, Israel, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, Chile, Oman, Italy, Brazil, India, China, Venezuela, Ukraine, Japan, Slovakia, Russia, South Korea and Saudi Arabia. As executive director of LIGHT Dr. Luttrull will oversee the fifth annual meeting of LIGHT, September 4, 2019, in Paris.

 Dr. Luttrull in the News

Because of his innovative work, Dr Luttrull has been featured by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and featured by the medical website “Medscape“online

Retina Today online at

 “Top Ophthalmologist”

According to “Leading Physicians of the World”, Dr. Luttrull continues to be selected by his peers as a “Top Ophthalmologist”.

 2019 Speaking Schedule

The Filatov Memorial Lectures, Odessa, Ukraine May 24; Moorfields Eye Hospital Abu Dhabi, UAE, May 26; LIGHT: The International Retinal Laser Society, Paris, France Sept 4; European Society of Retina Specialists “Euretina” Annual Meeting, Sept 5, Paris, France.

Invited Lectures

In recognition of his leadership in the development of retinal laser treatments, Dr. Luttrull was invited to present the Plenary Lecture of the International Society for Laser Safety and American Laser Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, March 20, 2017. The ISLS Conference is a biannual meeting of international scientists and government regulators charged with maintaining laser safety in scientific, medical, industrial, and commercial use. Dr. Luttrull’s lecture will be entitled: “The difference safety makes: Laser is the future of blindness prevention.

September 2017, Dr. Luttrull was invited to present the prestigious meeting-opening Plenary Lecture called the “Amsterdam Retina Debate” of the European Society of Retina Specialists , Barcelona, Spain. Dr. Luttrull’s lecture was entitled: “Laser should be the first-line treatment for diabetic macular edema”.  Dr. Luttrull debated Robin Hamilton, MD, head of the retina service at the famous Moorfields Eye Hospital, London.

May 2019, Dr Luttrull delivered the Plenary Lecture on “Modern Retinal Laser Therapy” to the Filatov Memorial Lectures in Odessa Ukraine; and to the retina group of Moorfields Eye Hospital in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.

Dr. Luttrull serves as a member of the invited retina faculty of the European School for Advanced Studies in Ophthalmology (ESASO).

*”MicroPulse” is a registered trademark of the Iridex Corp. Required use of this trademark should not be construed in any way as an endorsement or recommendation of Iridex products by Dr. Luttrull, as equivalent laser technologies are available from several manufacturers.