Although age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has no cure, there are many successful remedies and treatments that may slow the progression of this disease. Many patients have successfully used these macular degeneration treatments to prevent severe vision loss.
Types of Macular Degeneration
About 90 percent of AMD cases are dry macular degeneration, meaning yellow deposits called drusen form under the macula to create the blurred vision and blind spots. The wet form involves leakage of blood into the macula; the wet form always begins as the dry form and progresses from there.
The National Institutes of Health conducted a large study called AREDS (Age-Related Eye Disease Study). In that study, researchers found that supplements of Vitamins C and E, zinc, copper, lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids produced less risk for vision loss.
Medications called anti-angiogenic drugs can be injected into your eye to block the leaking blood vessels that cause the wet form of macular degeneration. Some patients have successfully regained vision after repeated injections for the treatment of macular degeneration.
There are two forms of laser therapy that can be used as macular degeneration treatment. Both forms use a high-energy laser to destroy the growth of abnormal blood vessels that causes AMD. Regular laser therapy involves just the use of the laser, but photodynamic laser therapy also involves using a light-sensitive drug that along with the laser use damages these abnormal blood vessels. In this procedure, the light-sensitive drug is injected into your bloodstream and absorbed by the blood vessels in your eye. The laser light activates the drug which then causes damage to the abnormal blood vessels. This treatment for macular degeneration has been successful for many patients.
There are some experimental procedures that also show promise in the treatment of macular degeneration:
- • Retinal translocation is an experimental procedure also used to destroy abnormal blood vessels. The procedure is used to reach the blood vessels that can’t safely be treated with a laser; the surgeon actually must move the macula away from the vessels then safely treat them with a laser.
- • Submacular surgery involves the surgical removal of any abnormal blood vessels, scar tissue, or blood that is causing the macular degeneration vision loss.
There are many steps you can take in your own prevention of macular degeneration:
- • Stop smoking
- • Eat a balanced diet that contains leafy green vegetables
- • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays
- • Take vitamin supplements with the nutrients described above in the AREDS study
- • You can even check your own vision by using an Amsler grid. This is a pattern of straight lines that looks like a checkerboard. Used daily, it can help you determine if you’ve had any vision changes.
If you only have AMD in one eye, it is still important to check the other eye for new problems. Just remember that most people rarely lose total vision from AMD, even though your central vision will be affected.
If you are over age 65, you should be having regular eye exams to check for macular degeneration. The earlier you are diagnosed, the better your macular degeneration treatment will be. Contact us online or give us a call today at 772-257-8700 to make your eye appointment in our Vero Beach office.