Treatment for Macular Degeneration

Today, no effective treatment exists to reverse dry macular degeneration. This does not imply that people with dry macular degeneration will lose their eyesight. The condition usually progresses slowly and most people are able to lead normal and productive lives. The ophthalmologist will recommend periodic eye exams to see if the condition is progressing.

Treatments for macular degeneration usually involve preventive measures to arrest the progress of macular degeneration. These include:

  • Vitamin and Mineral Supplements: Taking high doses of vitamins may help slow or halt the progression of dry macular degeneration. The National Eye Institute (NEI) has developed a formulation consisting of 500mg. vitamin C, 400 IU vitamin E, 15 mg beta carotene, 80 mg zinc and 2mg copper for this purpose. However, for people with early stages of macular degeneration, no evidence has been found to suggest that vitamin supplements can provide a benefit.
  • Increased intake of fruits and vegetables can also contribute to overall eye health which may prevent the progression of macular degeneration. Some people may prefer to take this option rather than resorting to vitamin and mineral supplements. Discuss both options with your doctor.
  • Surgery: This option is used in cases of advanced macular degeneration. A telescopic lens is implanted in the eye and can help to improve both near and far vision.
  • Drugs: Anti-angiogenic drugs are injected into the eye and help to prevent the formation of new blood vessels and prevent leakage from the affected ones. This treatment can help people regain lost vision and may need to be repeated.
  • Photodynamic Laser Therapy: This is a two-step treatment involving an injection of a light sensitive drug into the bloodstream that is absorbed by the blood vessels of the eye. A cold laser is used to activate the drug which then destroys the abnormal blood vessels.
  • Vision Aids: Devices with special lenses or electronics help produce enlarged images. They help people with macular degeneration cope with vision loss.
  • Sub Macular Surgery: An experimental treatment used to remove abnormal blood vessels.
  • Retinal Translocation: A surgical procedure used in cases where laser treatment cannot be used directly. It involves relocating the macular center to a healthy area of the retina. The laser can now be used to remove the abnormal blood vessels.

Frequently asked questions
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  2. Pradeep S. Prasad, Steven D. Schwartz, Jean-Pierre Hubschman, Age-related macular degeneration: Current and novel therapies, Maturitas, Volume 66, Issue 1, May 2010, Pages 46-50, ISSN 0378-5122, 10.1016/j.maturitas.2010.02.006.
  3. Thomas J.W. Stokkermans, Treatment of age-related macular degeneration, Clinical Eye and Vision Care, Volume 12, Issues 1–2, 1 March 2000, Pages 15-35, ISSN 0953-4431, 10.1016/S0953-4431(99)00043-0.