Treatment for Macular Degeneration

How is macular degeneration treated?

 

Nutritional Supplements:

Although the exact causes of macular degeneration are not fully understood, antioxidant vitamins and zinc may reduce the impact of AMD in some people.

 

A large scientific study found that people at risk for developing advanced stages of AMD lowered their risk by about greater than 25% when treated with a combination of vitamin C, vitamin E, Lutein, Zeathanthin, Zinc and copper. Among those who have either no AMD or very early AMD, the supplements did not appear to provide an apparent benefit.

 

It is very important to remember that vitamin supplements are not a cure for AMD, nor will they restore vision that you may have already lost from the disease. However, specific amounts of these supplements do play a key role in helping some people at high risk for advanced AMD to maintain their vision.

 

You should speak with your ophthalmologist to determine if you are at risk for developing advanced AMD, and to learn if supplements are recommended for you.

 

Follow this link for more information on Treatment for Macular Degeneration with Supplements.

 

Injections with Anti-VEGF, Laser Surgery and PDT Treatments:

Recent advances in treating Wet Macular Degeneration, target a specific chemical in the eye that is critical in causing abnormal blood vessels to grow under the retina, which leads to wet macular degeneration.

 

That chemical is called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).  Anti-VEGF drugs block the trouble-causing VEGF, reducing the growth of abnormal blood vessels and slowing their leakage.  For details on Anti-VEGF, see Treatment of Wet Macular Degeneration With Anti-VEGF.

 

Alternatively, certain types of “wet” macular degeneration can be treated with  laser surgery, a brief outpatient procedure that uses a focused beam of light to slow or stop leaking blood vessels that damage the macula. A treatment called photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a combination of a special drug and laser treatment to slow or stop leaking blood vessels.

 

 

These procedures may preserve more sight overall, though they are not cures that restore vision to normal. Despite advanced medical treatment, many people with macular degeneration still experience some vision loss. Early detection and treatment may minimize vision loss.

 

Adapting to low vision

To help you adapt to lower vision levels, your ophthalmologist can prescribe optical devices or refer you to a low-vision specialist or center. A wide range of support services and rehabilitation programs are also available to help people with macular degeneration maintain a satisfying lifestyle.

 

Because side vision is usually not affected, a person remaining sight is very useful. Often, people can continue with many of their favorite activities by using low-vision optical devices such as magnifying devices, closed-circuit television, large-print reading materials and talking or computerized devices.

 

Follow this link for further information on Living with Vision Loss.

 

Testing your vision with the Amsler grid

You can check your vision daily by using an Amsler grid like the one pictured here. You may find changes in your vision that you wouldn’t notice otherwise. Putting the grid on the front of your refrigerator is a good way to remember to look at it each day.

 

Amsler grid

  • Wear your reading glasses and hold this grid 12-15 inches away from your face in good light.

 

  • Cover one eye.

 

  • Look directly at the center dot with the uncovered eye.

 

  • While looking directly at the center dot, note whether all lines of the grid are straight or if any areas are distorted, blurred or dark.

 

  • Repeat this procedure  with the other eye.

 

  • If any area of the grid looks wavy, blurred or dark, contact your ophthalmologist immediately.

 

Follow this link for a Video Demonstration of Using the Amsler Grid.

 

Resources

For more information, please contact:

 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology

415.561.8500

aao.org

 

The American Macular Degeneration Foundation

413.268.7660

macular.org

 

Foundation Fighting Blindness

800.683.5555

800.683.5551 TDD

FightBlindness.org