After the post below, several have written to ask about the procedure itself. My dad wrote with details, which I believe are from Science magazine:
The drug for treating macular degenerations is ranibizumab, sold under the brand name "lucentis" by genetech, its developer and manufacturer.
It is "a monoclonal antibody - made by using biotech methods, from genetically engineered bacteria that attacks a protein responsible for the leading cause of blindness in seniors. In clinical trials with Lucentis, the eyesight of about 95 per cent of AMD patients either improved or stopped getting worse."
Lucentis was created by tweaking the molecular structure of another, older drug Avastin, which itself was originally approved for colorectal cancer but now has been approved for certain kinds of lung cancer, and has been submitted to Food and Drug Administration to be used against breast cancer and possible kidney cancer as well.
The editors of Science magazine, the widely respected journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, selected ten "breakthrough" discoveries of the year last December. No. 6 on the list was the results of the clinical trial results for Lucentis.
PS: My son and I often joke that they have run out of car names. With a name like ranibizumab, they seem to have run out of drug names too. I can must see the ad campaign: "With a name like ranibizumab, it's got to be good."