HOW IS MACULAR DEGENERATION TREATED?

Dr. Jim Martin 02/04/2016

older-man-taking-pills.pngMacular degeneration (AMD) is the result of retina deterioration. It may significantly compromise vision. The most common form of macular degeneration is dry macular degeneration, which doesn't have a cure at this time. Individuals with dry macular degeneration should continue regular eye screening regardless of whether the degeneration is in one or both eyes.

While there is no cure for wet macular degeneration either, there are a number of treatments available that can slow the disease's progression and even prevent severe vision loss.

Anti-Angiogenic Drugs

Anti-angiogenic drugs, such as Lucentis, Eylea, and Macugen, are the preferred treatment for severe wet macular degeneration. They are injected directly into the eye to stop new blood vessels from forming and abnormal vessels from leaking within the eye. Anti-angiogenic drugs allow many patients to regain vision that was previously lost. Depending on the severity of the macular degeneration, anti-angiogenic drug injections may be repeated on subsequent visits.

Retinal Laser Photocoagulation Surgery

In some instances, an eye doctor will perform retinal laser photocoagulation surgery to wipe out actively growing abnormal blood vessels that form in age-related macular degeneration. The doctor will also burn small regions on the retina. These burns create scar tissue to seal off the blood vessels, preventing them from leaking under the macular. Laser photocoagulation retards central vision loss, scar tissue and abnormal membrane growth, and fluid buildup under the retina.

Photodynamic Laser Therapy

Photodynamic laser therapy is a two step process in which a light-sensitive drug harms the abnormal blood vessels. The drug is injected into the bloodstream. Then the eye's abnormal blood vessels absorb it. The eye doctor activates the drug, which harms the blood vessels, by shining a cold laser into the eye.

Vitamins

For some individuals, taking vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper may reduce the risk of vision loss in patients with moderate to advanced dry age-related macular degeneration. If you're at risk for or in the early stages of macular degeneration, you may benefit from taking omega 3 fatty acids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Talk to your doctor before starting nutritional supplements to ensure that they are a good fit with your current medication regimen.

Following macular degeneration treatment, it's possible for the condition to recur. As such, if you have had macular degeneration, it's critical to test your vision on a regular basis and adhere to any recommendations from your eye doctor.

Undergoing regular eye exams ensures that your optometrist will detect macular degeneration as early as possible. If you're experiencing a loss of distance vision, blurred vision, or a dark spot in your line of sight, set up an appointment with Broome Optical today.

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