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Treatment Options for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

by Jeff Dailey

shutterstock_228022354More than 15 million older adults in America are affected by some form of macular degeneration, a progressive disease which can lead to severe vision loss in the most advanced form, end-stage AMD. There are two main types of AMD: Wet and Dry, and treatment options vary.
Early stage AMD – Currently, there is no treatment, but AMD should be monitored annually by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).Also, there are many service providers who can educate AMD patients and their caregivers about vision assistive devices such as reading glasses with high-powered lenses, video magnifiers, computer aids and many more. Ask your physician for a referral to a low vision occupational therapist.
Intermediate AMD – There are several treatments that may slow progression, but will not cure AMD.

  • Vitamin therapy (AREDS2 formulation for Dry AMD)
  • Anti-VEGF injections (for Wet AMD) — A few different anti-VEGF drugs are available (e.g., Lucentis) and vary in cost and how they are injected.
  • Photodynamic therapy (for Wet AMD) -This technique involves laser treatment of select areas of the retina.
  • Laser surgery (for Wet AMD) – The procedure involves aiming an intense “hot” laser at the abnormal blood vessels in your eyes to destroy them.

AMD Image Post 2End-Stage (Advanced AMD): The CentraSight treatment program uses a tiny telescope, an FDA-approved medical device, which is implanted inside the eye to improve vision and quality of life for individuals affected by End-Stage AMD. It is the only surgical treatment option for AMD.It is also a Medicare eligible, out-patient procedure. Learn more at www.CentraSight.com or by calling 877-99-SIGHT (7-4448)The telescope implant is not a cure for End-Stage AMD. It will not restore your vision to the level it was before you had AMD, and it will not completely correct your vision loss. Patients with this level of AMD have had to cease driving due to their vision; after the telescope procedure, although near and distance vision may improve, driving will not be possible because the implant does not restore normal vision.
How is AMD Prevented?
It’s impossible to completely prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration. Common risk factors for AMD are:

  • Smoking. Research shows that smoking doubles the risk of AMD.
  • Race. AMD is more common among Caucasians than among African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos.
  • Family history. People with a family history of AMD are at higher risk.

To reduce your risk, avoid smoking, exercise regularly, maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels and eat a healthy diet with green leafy vegetables and fish.

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