Macular Degeneration Treatment

Historically when people developed macular degeneration they would use brighter light and magnifiers but would eventually lose the central vision.

Now we have several treatment options.

Risk factor modification: Quit smoking and avoid being around second hand smoke. Control blood pressure and cholesterol. Exercise 30 minutes per day.

Vitamins/minerals: When there are medium sized drusen, the AREDs studies found that supplementing with antioxidants reduced the risk of vision loss and disease progression: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Betacarotene or Lutein, Zinc, and Copper were helpful. Zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids may have some benefit. There are several over the counter multivitamins on the market that have the appropriate AREDs study doses. Note: Betacarotene should be avoided in smokers as it increases the risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Anti-VEGF: Vasculoendothelial Growth Factors such as Avastin and Lucentis

VEGF trap: Eylea

These medications reduce bleeding, swelling, and the growth of new blood vessels. These medications have been a game changer. When people with exudative age related macular degeneration are treated regularly they have a good chance of gaining some vision back and/or stabilizing.

PDT: Photodynamic therapy. laser the areas of abnormal vessel growth. This is still useful when abnormal blood vessel growth is peripheral but it is not useful when the central vision is involved.