Macular Degeneration (AMD) Treatment

Dry AMD is the most common form of macular degeneration, but another form called Wet AMD is much more aggressive and sight-threatening.

Early detection and treatment can help slow down and even stop macular degeneration.

If you notice problems with your vision such as blurring or specifically distortion of straight lines appearing curved or kinked, you should make an appointment with an eye specialist as soon as possible. If your vision suddenly becomes worse or you notice blind spots in your field of vision, seek medical advice immediately.

Treatment Options

While macular degeneration is a common cause of vision loss, early detection and timely treatment can help delay its progression and preserve your vision. Vision that is lost due to macular degeneration can significantly impact a person’s lifestyle, so prevention is an important part of treating this condition.

You can play a part by leading the healthiest lifestyle possible. Quit smoking, control your blood pressure, watch your weight and exercise. Studies have shown that nutrition matters as well, and that taking a prescribed combination of natural eye supplements can slow the development of this condition.

However, nutritional supplements may only work in certain situations and are not guaranteed to help. During the early stages of treatment, your eye care professional may write a new prescription for your eyeglasses, and ask you to schedule regular eye exams. You may also be asked to use an at-home eye test, called an Amsler grid, to monitor for changes in your vision. Although dry AMD is far more common than wet AMD, wet AMD requires timely diagnosis and aggressive treatment.

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For both Wet and Dry AMD, there are some medications and lifestyle changes that may help prevent the condition worsening, or even occurring in the first place:

  • Stopping smoking
  • Smokers are more at risk of macular degeneration and particularly Wet AMD, so it is important to stop smoking; especially if you have been diagnosed with AMD.
  • Dietary changes
  • Eating more nuts and fish oils may help prevent AMD.

Nutritional supplements

Clinical studies have shown that taking the right combination of nutritional supplements can be beneficial in the fight against Age Related Macular Degeneration, or AMD. One study, known as the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), has shown that multi-vitamins rich in nutrients called antioxidants, plus eye vitamins and minerals, can actually reduce the risk of progression of moderate to advanced AMD, and its associated vision loss. Vitamins C, E, and A, are nutrients rich in antioxidants.

They are most abundant in dark, green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, red foods such as peppers, and orange foods such as carrots. While eating foods rich in antioxidants may help, the AREDS study also offers indications that people at higher risk of AMD, should take additional nutritional supplements of zinc and copper.

Newer research has shown that supplements of Zeaxanthin (Zee-en-zan-thehn) and Lutein (Loo-teen), are also important for AMD risk reduction.

Clinical studies have shown that among those AMD patients most at risk, taking the prescribed combination of nutritional eye vitamin supplements, can help preserve eye health, and reduce the risk of having the disease progress to a more advanced stage. Ask your eye care professional which multi-nutritional eye vitamins are right for you.

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Our macular degeneration experts at Exeter Eye use the most advanced medications and treatments for Wet AMD, including:

Wet AMD medication

Medication in the form of injections have been shown to improve vision in people with Wet AMD. These will be repeated over several months.

Wet macular degeneration if left untreated can result in considerable reduction in central vision. It is not a blinding condition however and even in severe cases you retain useful peripheral vision that enables you to remain independent.

A sudden deterioration in central vision with distortion of vision (straight lines becoming bent or crooked) is often a sign of wet macular degeneration which requires urgent treatment.

Unhealthy blood vessels grow into the retina and leak causing swelling or rupture causing haemorrhage. These blood vessels are stimulated to grow due to a protein called “VEGF” produced by the retina. Drugs used to treat wet macular degeneration are called “anti-VEGF” drugs as they destroy this protein and stop the abnormal blood vessels leaking. When the leakage stops the retina can pump itself dry and return to its normal shape and function better with improved vision in many cases.

There are three drugs used and all are equally effective; Avastin, Eylea and Lucentis. The drugs have to be injected directly into the eye with a very fine needle having had local anaesthetic drops to numb the surface of the eye. Three injections are given initially, one a month over a 3 month period and then depending on your particular eye and how you have responded, further injections may be needed, sometimes indefinitely but much less frequently to preserve the vision.

At Exeter Eye we are able to give injections as a “one stop” service at the first consultation if needed and the retina is monitored with state of the art scanning equipment which can detect the earliest signs of leakage that may require further injection treatments in order to preserve vision.

Important Information

If you are diagnosed with Wet AMD you must be treated quickly to avoid permanent damage to your sight.

Tips for those with Dry AMD include: using magnifying lenses, large-print books, very bright reading lights and screen-reading software on your computer to allow you to “read” emails and documents, and browse the internet.

The very best patient care and comfort
Our experienced ophthalmic surgeons will be with you every step of the way and provide support and advice after your treatment.

Make an appointment today

Exeter Eye is a specialist ophthalmic eye clinic treating all eye conditions and offering the very best in patient care and comfort. We always ensure we fully understand your condition and lifestyle before identifying your treatment options and then help you choose the best one for you.

For more information or to discuss macular degeneration, make an appointment with one of our eye specialists today. Simply fill out an enquiry form or call Exeter Eye on 01392 699969.