Macular Degeneration Treatment Options
Macular degeneration is one of the causes of severe, irreversible loss of vision in people over the age of 60 due to the deterioration of a small central portion of the retina called macula. While macular degeneration is not a condition that causes complete blindness, it can cause significant visual disability.
There are some treatment options you may want to look into and discuss with your doctor to best help manage your condition.
In wet macular degeneration, there is a development of abnormal blood vessels under the macula that break, bleed, and leak fluid damaging the macula. Anti-angiogenic drugs are effective in treating this condition.
Angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels. It is an important aspect of the development of organs and tissue. Anti-angiogenic (anti meaning against, angio meaning vessel, genic meaning development) substances control the harmful and excessive growth in the case of macular degeneration.
Anti-VGEF drug treatments are anti-angiogenic drug treatments focusing on reducing the levels of a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VGEF) that stimulates excessive blood vessel growth in the macula.
Your doctor directly injects the drugs into the eye after numbing the surface. The patient is made to look in the opposite direction and a small needle is inserted near the corner of the eye. Some people have successfully regained the vision that they lost from macular degeneration. You may need multiple rounds of treatment.
Laser treatment uses a high-energy beam of light to destroy the actively growing abnormal blood vessels in the retina. The light beam burns small areas of the retina, leaving a scar tissue that closes the leaky blood vessels. Through the sealing of these blood vessels, vision loss slows down, but it cannot restore the vision loss caused by macular degeneration.
The laser photocoagulation surgery does not involve a hospital stay. The pupils are dilated for surgery and they will stay dilated for a few hours after the surgery. Protect your eyes using sunglasses. Your vision may be blurry and your eye may hurt for a couple of days post surgery.
The drawback of this procedure is that it causes some damage to the nerve tissue in the retina, which can cause blind spots leading to some vision loss.
Photodynamic Laser Therapy
Photodynamic laser therapy is used to treat wet macular degeneration. It uses a light-sensitive drug and a laser to seal the leakage in abnormal blood vessels.
Before the procedure, your doctor injects a light-sensitive drug like Visudyne into a vein in your arm. It reaches the abnormal blood vessels under the macula. You will be given anesthetic eye drops. A contact lens is placed on your eye to focus the laser onto the right spot on the retina.
Shining a low energy laser beam into the eye activates the drug. The drug then creates blood clots in the abnormal blood vessels. This seals them shut, helping reduce further loss in vision, though any previous vision loss cannot be restored.
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Interested in learning more about the treatment options available for handling macular degeneration? Contact Patel Eye Associates to schedule your initial consultation today!