Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The Best Treatment Options

Ophthalmologist see elderly patient

Before we discuss the best age related macular degeneration treatments, we must first know where it occurs. In our eye, we have this part called the “macula” which is the most sensitive area in the centre of the retina that is responsible for our visual perception.

What is age-related macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration or usually referred to as “macular degeneration” or “AMD” is a very common eye state wherein the macula is slowly deteriorated. This condition of the eye can also lead to loss of vision among older people. In some cases, age-related macular degeneration develops gradually and may not result in vision loss for a length of time.

On the other hand, for some people, it can advance quicker and can lead to central vision loss on one eye or both. In due course, it may create a blurred view on your eye that can grow bigger and can create blank spots on your vision to an extent.

The development of AMD alone does not imply total blindness. The interference or loss of central vision caused by age-related macular degeneration may hinder one’s everyday life. People experiencing this condition may experience the difficulty to see or recognize faces, write, read, and may have a bit of trouble in driving. Moreover, one may have a hard time having close work, such as stitching and cooking.

We already have an idea of how AMD affects your everyday activities. As Dr Claudine Pang from Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre points out, there is no age related macular degeneration treatment that cures the condition. Rather, ophthalmologists focus on preventive measures as well as reducing the effects of the symptoms. With that said, let us move on and talk about what are the best treatments that you can undertake if you have this condition:

Age related macular degeneration illustration

For Dry AMD

Dry age-related macular degeneration is an early phase of this condition. It may be caused by ageing and thinning or losing the ground of the macular tissues that may hinder it from working correctly. Unfortunately, there has been no proven cure for Dry AMD, and loss of central vision caused by this condition may not be brought back.

On the other hand, several doctors, as well as researchers, believe the connection between the development of Dry AMD and nutrition. They think that a way to treat Dry AMD is through nutritional remedy. It means promoting a healthy diet which is high in antioxidants to maintain and support the macula cells. Assembling dietary adjustments and taking dietary supplements that contain Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Copper, Lutein, Zinc, and Zeaxanthanin can slow down the loss of vision.

For advanced Dry AMD, doctors usually prescribe taking supplements. It is to increase the number of certain minerals and vitamins that can help in supporting the cell structure as well as help in boosting healthy pigments.

For Wet AMD

Wet Macular Degeneration also referred to as The leakage of abnormal blood vessels causes wet AMD into the macula. It can result in the formation of a blind spot on your central vision and may exhibit blurriness.

There can be different treatments for Wet AMD and let’s go over each of them:

Anti-VEGF Therapy

For years of research, it was found out that people having AMD on their retinas produce excessive amounts of a protein. They are referred to as vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF that causes the leakage of blood vessels. It can result in the formation of blurry grey areas on the centre of your vision.

Anti-VEGF therapy or elaborately called Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor therapy is the most common treatment for wet AMD. This therapy injects drugs on the eye that binds VEGF and slows down and may even stop the leaking blood vessels.

Most people receive this therapy by being injected a drug into their eyes every four to eight weeks, but generally, the frequency of the injections depends on the response of the patient. To avoid infections, your eye will be cleaned with the use of antiseptics. A particular device is used to measure one’s response by producing an image of the retina, presenting the quantity of fluid in it.

There can be different costs and the frequency of the therapy for every person. The treatment depends on the needs of your condition. So, it will be beneficial to discuss questions and issues regarding this therapy with your trusted health practitioners.

Elderly asian woman reading

Laser Photocoagulation

Laser photocoagulation is a laser surgery that makes use of an extremely light beam to burn areas in the retina and stops the leaking blood vessels that have developed in the macula. By sealing the leakage, laser photocoagulation treatment slows down the loss of central vision.

In this treatment, your doctor may give you injections, and numbing eye drops so that you won’t feel anything during the procedure.

After putting the anaesthetic, a particular contact lens will be put in your eyes. It will aid in focusing the laser light beam on your eyes, specifically on the retina part. After finishing the procedure, your eyes will be temporarily covered, and your doctor will be the one to signal if the covers will already be removed and that you are safe to go home.

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy involves the injection of a light-sensitive drug called Visudyne. After the injection, and is followed by your doctor radiating a fixed light generated by a special laser that targets abnormal blood vessels in your eyes. This light triggers the drug to close the leaking blood vessels without destroying the healthy retina; tissues nearby. After undertaking this kind of treatment, your doctor may advise you to stay away from direct sunlight as well as bright lights. It may take several days just as the drug is still present in your body.