• What to Do About Age-Related Macular Degeneration Diamond Vision

What to Do About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion is the lead­ing cause of severe, irre­versible vision loss in peo­ple over age 60. It occurs when the small cen­tral por­tion of the reti­na, known as the mac­u­la, dete­ri­o­rates. The reti­na is the light-sens­ing nerve tis­sue at the back of the eye. Because the dis­ease devel­ops as a per­son ages, it is often referred to as age-relat­ed mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion (AMD). Although mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion is almost nev­er a total­ly blind­ing con­di­tion, it can be a source of sig­nif­i­cant visu­al dis­abil­i­ty.

What Are the Symptoms of Macular Degeneration?

In its ear­ly stages, mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion may not have symp­toms and may be unrec­og­nized until it pro­gress­es or affects both eyes. The first sign of mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion is usu­al­ly blurred vision with a dim, blur­ry spot in the mid­dle of your vision. This spot may get big­ger or dark­er over time.

What Treatments Are Available for Macular Degeneration?

There is cur­rent­ly no cure for mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion, but treat­ments may pre­vent severe vision loss or slow the pro­gres­sion of the dis­ease con­sid­er­ably. Sev­er­al options are avail­able, includ­ing:

Anti-angio­gen­e­sis drugs. These med­ica­tions (Avastin, Eye­lea, Lucen­tis, Macu­gen) block the devel­op­ment of new blood ves­sels and leak­age from the abnor­mal ves­sels with­in the eye that cause wet mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion. This treat­ment has been a major change in the treat­ment of this con­di­tion and many patients have actu­al­ly regained vision that was lost. The treat­ment may need to be repeat­ed dur­ing fol­low-up vis­its.

Vit­a­mins. A large study per­formed by the Nation­al Eye Insti­tute of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, called AREDS (Age-Relat­ed Eye Dis­ease Study), showed that for cer­tain indi­vid­u­als, vit­a­mins C, E, beta-carotene, zinc and cop­per can decrease the risk of vision loss in patients with inter­me­di­ate to advanced dry mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion. How­ev­er, the ingre­di­ents of vision sup­ple­ments may change with the com­ple­tion of the AREDS2 study. This study sought to see if adding oth­er vit­a­mins and min­er­al to the sup­ple­ment would improve results of the AREDS. The first addi­tion was omega-3 fat­ty acids (fish oil), and the sec­ond was a com­bi­na­tion of two carotenoids, lutein and zeax­an­thin, which are found in leafy green veg­eta­bles and high­ly col­ored fruits and veg­eta­bles. The research showed:

  • Beta-carotene did not reduce the risk of pro­gres­sion of AMD.
  • Adding omega-3 to the AREDS for­mu­la did not reduce risk of pro­gres­sion of AMD.
  • The AREDS for­mu­la was still found to be pro­tec­tive with less zinc added.
  • Peo­ple that took a for­mu­la with lutein and zeax­an­thin and who may not have been tak­ing enough in their diet showed fur­ther improve with the new AREDS for­mu­la.

In gen­er­al, peo­ple who took lutein and zeax­an­thin instead of beta-carotene had more of a ben­e­fit.
Laser ther­a­py. High-ener­gy laser light can some­times be used to destroy active­ly grow­ing abnor­mal blood ves­sels that occur in mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion.

Pho­to­dy­nam­ic laser ther­a­py. A two-step treat­ment in which a light-sen­si­tive drug (Visu­dyne) is used to dam­age the abnor­mal blood ves­sels. An eye doc­tor injects the drug into the blood­stream to be absorbed by the abnor­mal blood ves­sels in the eye. The doc­tor then shines a cold laser into the eye to acti­vate the drug, dam­ag­ing the abnor­mal blood ves­sels.

Low vision aids. Devices that have spe­cial lens­es or elec­tron­ic sys­tems that pro­duce enlarged images of near­by objects. They help peo­ple who have vision loss from mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion make the most of their remain­ing vision.

What Is the Outlook for People With Macular Degeneration?

Peo­ple rarely lose all of their vision from age-relat­ed mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion. They may have poor cen­tral vision, but they are still able to per­form many nor­mal dai­ly activ­i­ties.

The wet form of mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion is a lead­ing cause of irre­versible vision loss. When both eyes are affect­ed, you may expe­ri­ence a sig­nif­i­cant decrease in your qual­i­ty of life.


Dia­mond Vision offers LASIK and laser eye surgery in New York, New Jer­sey, Atlanta and Con­necti­cut. With a world-class staff, mul­ti­ple loca­tions and a proven track record for deliv­er­ing supe­ri­or results using the very lat­est tech­nolo­gies, our only focus is you!

September 29th, 2017|Comments Off on What to Do About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

About the Author:

Born in Connecticut and raised in Upstate New York , Dr. Stetson graduated Cum Laude from Colgate University in New York, and then earned an MD degree with honors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He distinguished himself again in residency at the Albany Medical Center, where he obtained the highest percentile in the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Examinations. Dr. Stetson has performed more than 50,000 refractive surgeries and has been on staff at Diamond Vision since 2004, before becoming Medical Director in 2006.


If you would like to schedule a free consultation or ask one of our amazing staff a quick question, text "Diamond Ready" to (917) 881-3938 between 9am-6pm (M-F) and we will be here to help you!