There are several treatment options available for macular degeneration, though as yet there is no cure for the disease. Macular degeneration medication and surgery have both been proven to slow progression of the disease; however, some advanced cases are untreatable with the techniques available today. All of the macular degeneration treatment options offer hope of achieving the desired results - sealing the new blood vessels and preventing further vision loss - though each method goes about it in different ways.
Vitamins and Minerals
Dry macular degeneration is still largely untreatable, though changes in diet (including the addition of antioxidant and nutrient supplements) can help slow the progression. It has recently been learned that patients who already show symptoms of macular degeneration and take antioxidant supplements with zinc, as well as vitamins A, C and E, show a dramatic decrease in macular degeneration progression. However, because high doses of supplements can be dangerous, do not begin or increase intake of antioxidants and zinc without first consulting your physician.
Laser Eye Surgery or Photodynamic Therapy
If diagnosed early, wet macular degeneration can be treated with laser eye surgery or photodynamic therapy (PDT). This treatment can stop further formation of blood vessels, but it cannot reverse damage that has already been done. Recovery from these procedures is generally relatively fast, and the pain is minimal.
Thermal Laser Photocoagulation Surgery
Thermal laser photocoagulation surgery is the only proven surgical treatment option available for individuals with wet macular degeneration, and less than 20 percent of individuals with this type of macular degeneration are good candidates. By treating the abnormal blood vessels that have formed on the retina, laser surgery can delay advancement of the disease. Without laser photocoagulation surgery, the blood vessels will continue to grow and leak, further reducing vision. Research and surgical trials for other macular degeneration surgery options, including submacular surgery and macular translocation surgery, are currently underway. Experts are still weighing the overall benefits and risks of these experimental surgeries, and the candidacy for each is very limited as well. Photocoagulation and photodynamic therapy (PDT) seek to close vessels through the use of lasers,
Though rare, possible macular degeneration surgery complications can include acceleration of several degenerative eye conditions, such as glaucoma (elevated pressure in the eye) and cataracts (clouding of the lens). In very rare instances, retinal detachment and severe loss of vision can occur as a result of surgery. As with any other surgical procedure, macular degeneration surgery complications can include bleeding and infection as well.
A class of drugs called anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) medications is often prescribed to slow or inhibit the formation of abnormal blood vessels in individuals with wet macular degeneration. These medications seek to inhibit the growth of new blood vessels in those suffering from the disease. Though currently there is no drug that can relieve the symptoms - and surgical procedures have not yet reached the point where they can reverse the disease - those suffering from macular degeneration may have hope that medication combined with surgery or laser treatment will provide substantial results in the future.
Find a Doctor
If you'd like to find out more about macular degeneration treatments, results and surgery complications, locate an eye care specialist in your area today who specializes in the treatment of macular degeneration.