Macular degeneration Treatment

  • Treatment

    If you are in your 50s or older, and you suddenly develop a problem with central vision or begin seeing a lot of floaters in one eye, you should see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.

    Quitting smoking or never smoking can help decrease the chance that you will develop ARMD. If you already have ARMD, quitting smoking may help your vision from getting worse.

    Your doctor is the best source of information on the drug treatment choices available to you.

    If you smoke cigarettes and you have dry ARMD, you should quit smoking. This may decrease the ARMD in your eyes and help you see better.

    Though laser eye procedures are used to treat dry type ARMD, they have not been shown to help people with this disease.

    There are two types of laser surgery that can help to treat wet type ARMD: thermal laser photocoagulation and photodynamic therapy.

    If you have wet ARMD and your doctor can see blood vessels in your eye clearer when doing a special exam, then thermal laser photocoagulation may improve your vision. If your doctor performs this procedure on your eyes, then he or she will use high-dose laser beams to remove damaged vessels from your retina. This can be done in the doctor's office using numbing eye drops to prevent you from feeling pain.

    If you have wet ARMD, but your doctor determines that thermal laser photocoagulation could cause more damage, then photodynamic therapy may help. If you undergo photodynamic therapy, your doctor will inject a special dye into your veins, and then treat your eyes with a laser. This treatment seems to help some people with wet type ARMD.

    Some people have tried radiation therapy for ARMD, but this does not seem to help.

    Some people have tried taking the herb ginkgo biloba or the dietary supplement lutein in an effort to prevent or treat AMRD. Unfortunately, neither of these treatments has been scientifically proven to enhance vision in people with ARMD or prevent the disease.

    Doctors have not yet developed a type of surgery that could help most people with ARMD see better. Some people with severe wet type ARMD with a lot of bleeding have had sub-macular surgery. In this type of surgery, the eye surgeon removes a lot of the blood vessels growing abnormally in your eye as well as any blood. This type of surgery may help people who have had a lot of bleeding, but it does not seem to help most people with wet ARMD.

    Some doctors are also trying a new type of surgery, macular translocation surgery. This experimental treatment involves moving the macula, the small spot in the eye, from one part of the retina to another. Though it is still experimental, macular translocation surgery seems to help some people with severe AMRD to see better.

    Many people who start out with dry type ARMD go on to develop wet type ARMD. One study showed that 13% to18 % of people with dry type ARMD will develop the wet type within 3 years.

    Available treatment may help decrease visual loss over time, but there is no cure for this disease. If you have dry type ARMD, you may slowly lose your central vision over many years, but if you have wet type ARMD, it may happen more quickly. Low-vision aids, such as large print books, may help you read and carry out day-to-day activities if you have ARMD.

    You should see your eye doctor regularly for a follow-up.

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