Treatment of Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65 in the U.S. It causes loss of central vision, making it difficult to see faces or read. Dry (atrophic) AMD is the most common type and progresses slowly. Wet (exudative) AMD accounts for about 10% to 15% of cases. It progresses much faster and causes more severe vision loss. In some cases, dry AMD progresses to wet AMD in one or both eyes.
What is Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration is the progressive deterioration of the center of the retina, called the macula. The macula is responsible for central vision and seeing fine details. In AMD, central vision becomes blurry or may be a complete blind spot.
In dry AMD, yellow deposits accumulate in and around the macula. Geographical atrophy (GA) is very advanced dry AMD in which the retinal cells begin to die off.
Wet AMD is more aggressive and can cause severe vision loss quickly. It is the proliferation of new, abnormal blood vessels under the macula. The new blood vessels can leak, causing the macular to bulge and distorting vision.
The main line of defense in dry AMD is nutritional support. The AREDS2 formula is currently recommended to help prevent the progression of dry AMD. Some people experience improved vision with nutritional support. The AREDS2 formula includes:
- 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
- 400 international units of vitamin E
- 2 mg copper as cupric oxide
- 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin
- 1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA)
- 25 mg zinc
Other treatments for dry AMD are in clinical trials.
Wet AMD responds well to treatment when caught early. Treatments for wet AMD include:
- Laser surgery
- Photodynamic therapy
- Injections in the eye
Wet AMD treatments are not cures, but they can stop or slow vision loss in many patients. You may require repeat or ongoing treatments.
To learn more about AMD, please search this directory for a list of ophthalmologists near you.