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Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment Information
Options for managing age-related macular degeneration include:
- Vitamins and minerals. Nutritional supplements may slow the damage of age-related macular degeneration. These supplements include specific amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, cupric oxide and either beta-carotene or a combination of lutein and zeaxanthin. These vitamins and minerals help only at certain stages of the condition. According to research, they may be useful if you have intermediate age-related macular degeneration or if you have late age-related macular degeneration in only one eye. However, they do not cure the disease. Companies marketing supplements based on the combinations used in research often mark them with “AREDS” or “AREDS2.” These are acronyms for Age-Related Eye Disease Study and Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2, the studies that found these combinations of vitamins and minerals to be effective. Talk with your physician before taking supplements.
- Medicine. If you have wet age-related macular degeneration, we may inject a substance into your eye to block a chemical called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Anti-VEGF therapy helps stop growth of abnormal new blood vessels. We numb your eye before injecting the medicine. You might need anti-VEGF injections every four weeks. The treatment helps maintain your vision, and a few patients have even seen their eyesight improve.
- Photodynamic therapy. This treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration starts with injection of a medicine called verteporfin into a vein in your arm. We then point a laser into the eye, where it stimulates the drug to close off the abnormal blood vessels. This therapy does not improve your eyesight, but it may prevent further damage. We sometimes use this technique in combination with anti-VEGF medicine.
- Laser surgery. This treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration uses a different type of laser than the one used for photodynamic therapy. The technique involves sealing off the abnormal vessels with heat. This approach is useful mainly when the vessels are clustered away from the center of the macula. Laser surgery is used less often than the other methods because it can destroy surrounding healthy tissue.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration Locations & Physicians
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Age-Related Macular Degeneration Support Services
Understanding age-related macular degeneration helps you to manage it. These websites provide information and resources:
A Sampling of Age-Related Macular Degeneration Support Services
Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute
As part of the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Glick Eye Institute offers patient fact sheets on age-related macular degeneration and other conditions.
This patient-friendly site from the American Academy of Ophthalmology helps you to understand the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of age-related macular degeneration.
Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
This institute enables you to search for Indiana clinical research studies in which you might be able to participate.
National Eye Institute
This agency of the U.S. National Institutes of Health conducts and supports vision research. The website offers fact sheets on age-related macular degeneration and many other eye health topics.