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Eye Surgery & Aesthetics

Macular Degeneration

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Macular Degeneration - is deterioration of the macula, which is the small central area of the retina of the eye that controls visual acuity. The health of the macula determines our ability to read, recognize faces, drive, watch television, use a computer, and perform any other visual task that requires us to see fine detail. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among older Americans, and due to the aging. Macular degeneration is diagnosed as either dry (non-neovascular) or wet (neovascular). 


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               Normal Vision  - - - - -   Macular Degeneration Vision

        Macular Degeneration
Dry macular degeneration - (non-neovascular). Dry AMD is an early stage of the disease and may result from the aging and thinning of macular tissues, depositing of pigment in the macula or a combination of the two processes.

Wet macular degeneration - (neovascular). In about 10 percent of cases, dry AMD progresses to the more advanced and damaging form of the eye disease. With wet macular degeneration, new blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. This leakage causes permanent damage to light-sensitive retinal cells, which die off and create blind spots in central vision.

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

Treatment

Anti-angiogenic drugs. These medications -- injected into the eye -- 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 on follow-up visits.

Laser therapy. High-energy laser light can sometimes be used to destroy actively growing abnormal blood vessels that occur in age-related macular degeneration.

Photodynamic laser therapy. A two-step treatment in which a light-sensitive drug is used to damage the abnormal blood vessels. A medication is injected 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.

Vitamins . A large 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 age-related macular degeneration.

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