Macular degeneration is a disease of the macula- which is a tiny area in the center of the retina. It is a degenerative disease and can cause loss of central vision. Macula is responsible for visual acuity. Hence, a damaged macula may hamper activities like reading, driving and recognizing faces. It is a disease associated with aging.
What Is The Latest Treatment Of Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration has no known cure at present. However, with early diagnosis, some treatments may delay the advancement of the disease.
The dry type of macular degeneration is usually the early stage of the disease and is not as severe as the wet type, wherein, the disease is advanced and can lead to a serious and severe vision loss.
Macular degeneration usually does not hamper the side or peripheral vision. Hence, total blindness is generally not seen in this disease. But, the central vision may be diminished or lost completely, and the central vision is responsible for the activities like driving, reading, watching television, using the computer and recognizing people’s faces. This may cause serious hindrance in performing day to day activities.
Macular degeneration is a degenerative disease of the macula of the retina, which results in central vision loss. Though, there is no known cure for it presently, many treatments are available which can slow the progress of the disease. The latest treatment options being the use of certain drugs like Lucentis, Macugen, Eylea, Visudyne etc. telescopic lens implant remains another option for the disease.
The treatments usually depend on the stage of the disease and also on whether it is dry or wet type of macular degeneration.
- Occupational therapists will work on rehabilitation of the low vision. These specialists can help one in adapting to the changes caused in the central vision.
- Also, a surgical method of implanting a telescopic lens in one eye can be considered. A telescopic lens is a tiny plastic tube-like structure, which has lenses that help in magnifying the vision field. This may be helpful in improving both the distant and the near vision. However, the limitation is that t has a very narrow viewing field, which may not be suitable for all of the situations.
- There are researches stating the use of a drug called Lucentis, for the treatment of macular degeneration. This drug has shown to improve the vision in some cases. This drug is approved for the use in wet form of the disease. Lucentis is actually a form of drug which is used in the treatment of colorectal cancer. This drug works by stopping the growth of new blood vessels in the body. As the wet type presents with an abnormal growth of blood vessels underneath the retina, this drug is used to inhibit this process, thus improving the vision.
- Similarly, there are other drugs called Macugen, Eylea, Visudyne etc. which work in a similar way, with some guidelines as to which type of the disease they can be used in-wet or dry.
- Laser treatment is another option for the treatment of macular degeneration. The lasers destroy or block the new blood vessels, so that they do not cause leakage. However, there is a major side effect of this treatment, that due to scarring caused by lasers, there are many blind spots developed in the person’s vision, which lead to blurred vision. Hence, this treatment is not that widely used now a days.
- Certain nutritional supplements may help in improving the quality of vision in macular degeneration. These nutritional supplements strengthen the eyes and slow down the progress of the disease any further. Thus, the risk for complete central vision loss may be lowered. Researches are going on though, in this aspect and hence any nutritional supplements should be taken only after proper consultation with the specialist, as an excess of the nutrients may also prove to be harmful.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology. What Is Macular Degeneration? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/amd-macular-degeneration
- National Eye Institute. Age-Related Macular Degeneration. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/age-related-macular-degeneration
- BrightFocus Foundation. Macular Degeneration Treatment. https://www.brightfocus.org/macular/treatment