How Do You Treat Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

February 2nd, 2021
woman rubbing eyes in pain

February is recognized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology as Age-Related Macular Degeneration Month. Since AMD is a major cause of blindness and other vision problems in the United States, it’s important to understand what it is and how it can affect your vision treatment options at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute. For example, this condition may impact your eligibility for LASIK eye surgery.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration describes a condition impacting the retina where central vision is lost. There are two kinds of macular degenerationdry AMD and wet AMD. Dry macular degeneration is the most common, impacting up to 90% of people. Of those who get macular degeneration, 80% have the dry form. With dry macular degeneration, yellow deposits develop under the macula in your retina and it makes seeing fine details very difficult. With wet macular degeneration, yellow deposits develop under the macula and abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. Wet macular degeneration accounts for the remaining 10 to 15% of people who develop the condition. The good news is with both the dry and wet form, your peripheral vision will still be normal.

Risk factors for macular degeneration include:

  • Advancing age, more common in late decades of life
  • Family history
  • UV exposure
  • Poor diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Other environmental factors

How Do You Treat Macular Degeneration?

There is no cure for dry or wet AMD. However, the eye doctors at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute may suggest one or more of the following treatment programs to improve your vision:

  • Anti-angiogenic drugs. Your eye doctor can inject these drugs directly into the eye. They block leaking blood vessels and prevent new ones from forming to reduce the impact of wet macular degeneration. In some cases, patients have also regained their vision following this treatment.
  • Laser therapy. Using a high-energy laser light, the eye doctor can destroy abnormal blood vessels that cause AMD. This is a different procedure than LASIK eye surgery in Phoenix.
  • Photodynamic laser therapy. In this two-part treatment, the doctor first injects medication into your bloodstream. The medication helps the eye doctor see abnormal blood vessels when they shine a laser light in your eye.
  • Vitamins. The doctor may prescribe a supplement formula rich in vitamins C and E, copper, zinc and beta-carotene. These vitamins may decrease the vision loss associated with dry AMD.
  • Low vision aids. There are a number of special lenses and devices that can enlarge images so that you see near objects more clearly.

Because there is no cure for AMD, preventive measures you can take include:

  • Wearing sunglasses
  • Eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables and Omegas
  • Exercise and proper weight maintenance
  • Quitting smoking

Can LASIK Surgery Correct Macular Degeneration?

If you have macular degeneration, it can impact your eligibility for LASIK eye surgery. Although laser treatment can improve some cases of AMD, LASIK surgery doesn’t specifically treat macular degeneration. After a full screening, the eye doctor will evaluate whether you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery if you have AMD.

Can I Still Get Cataract Surgery if I Have AMD?

Are you considering cataract surgery in Arizona? Evidence indicates that cataract surgery typically doesn’t worsen age related macular degeneration. However, if you have AMD, it can impact the improvement you see following cataract surgery.

For more information regarding the connection between AMD and cataract surgery, schedule a consultation or eye exam with one of our eye doctors at our Mesa and Chandler locations. Contact us with any questions that you may have regarding these or any other services offered at Swagel Wootton Eye Institute.

 

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