Macular degeneration treatment

Macular degeneration is a condition that is often very misunderstood. Many people believe that when you are diagnosed with macular degeneration that you will undoubtedly lose your eyesight, but this is not necessarily the case. Macular degeneration involves the slow deterioration of the cells in the macula. The macula is a small area near the center of the retina. This slow deterioration of the cells will affect what is known as your central vision. Your central vision is the one that will allow you to read, write, drive, and even recognize the faces of the people that you know. What is interesting about macular degeneration is that your peripheral vision is not affected whatsoever.

There are two different types of macular degeneration. 90% of those who suffer from the condition suffer from the dry type. The dry macular degeneration results in yellow spots forming underneath the macular. This type of macular degeneration can evolve into the less common type of macular degeneration, known as the wet variety. In this variety the blood vessels in the eye begin to grow toward the macular, which causes rapid and usually very severe vision loss.

Unfortunately, to date there is not a cure or even a treatment that everyone will respond to. Many of the procedures that have been attempted in the past have not slowed the progression of the condition, but have actually caused more substantial vision loss. One treatment that all doctors will get behind is taking a high dose formulation of antioxidants and zinc. It is believed that this combination will actually slow the progression of dry macular degeneration. In fact, the National Eye Institute Age Related Eye Disease Study has proven through studies that a daily supplement of 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 international units of vitamin E, 14 milligrams of beta carotene, 80 milligrams of zinc, and 2 milligrams of copper will reduce the risk of the macular degeneration progressing to a point where vision loss is moderate or severe.

In some cases doctors are attempting to treat macular degeneration with laser surgery. The problem is that the treatment may not effectively seal up any leaky blood vessels, without causing damage to the retinal nerve fibers. The National Eye Institute has gone on the record stating that the laser treatment can cause vision problems to become worse, and the laser treatment does not seem to slow the progression of the disease for at least a year after surgery, if then.

Photodynamic Therapy is often used to help seal those leaky blood vessels in the retina. This procedure is favored over the laser treatment as it is less damaging and it is easier with this treatment to target the abnormal blood vessels, which will avoid damaging the retinal cells or nerve fibers.

A treatment that is being used to treat we macular degeneration is injectable antiangiogenesis drugs. These drugs, when injected, will actually keep the body from growing those new blood vessels in the retina, which are the ones that leak and cause the problems. Macugen is one of the more popular choices in drugs. Of course, as is the case with any medication there are some risks associated with taking the medication. You should discuss the pros and the cons of taking the medications with your doctor so you have all of the information you need to decide if this is the right course of treatment for you.

Prevention and early treatment is important with this condition. Smokers, those with uncontrolled diabetes, and those with uncontrolled high blood pressure are usually those that are most at risk of developing macular degeneration. Knowing the symptoms will allow for you to get an early diagnosis and begin treatment to slow the process. Symptoms of macular degeneration include straight lights looking wavy, colors look dull, shapes are blurry, words are blurred or difficult to read, and there are blank areas in your central vision. There may also appear to be a fog in the center of your vision.

Last updated on Nov 24th, 2009 and filed under Vision Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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