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Ophthalmology’s Greatest Hits: Treatment of Macular Degeneration

This installment of ophthalmology’s greatest hits discusses the incredible developments in the treatment of Macular Degeneration over the last 10 years.

State-of-the art cataract surgery
Treatment of Macular Degeneration
Treatment of diabetic eye disease (diabetic retinopathy)
Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma
Treatment of dry eyes

Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible legal blindness among adults in the industrialized world. In the U.S. alone there are more than 2 million people with the severe form of this disease and another 7-8 million with lesser degrees of vision loss and a lifelong risk of progression to advanced disease. These numbers are expected to rise dramatically as the population ages. The usual activities that we all enjoy – driving, reading, watching TV – become increasingly difficult and then sometimes, impossible.

There are two forms of AMD, dry and wet. About 90% of people have the less severe form known as dry AMD. Watch for an upcoming article about causes, risk factors and treatment of the dry form of AMD.

Treatment of wet AMD is one of the truly miraculous developments of modern medicine. What was once an inevitably blinding disease is now treated and controlled with medication in many people. With wet AMD, 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.

Anti-VEGF injection therapy blocks the growth of these new blood vessels. Tiny amounts of medication are injected directly into the eye. Surprisingly, these injections are painless, require only eyedrops anesthesia and are performed in the doctor’s office. Current research is seeking new drugs that require fewer repeat treatments to control the disease.

The earlier that wet macular degeneration is diagnosed and treated, the better chance you have of preserving some or much of your central vision. That is why it is so important to have annual eye checkups. In the event of a sudden change in vision, an urgent visit to the ophthalmologist could save your eyesight.

May 5, 2016