There is no cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but there have been treatment breakthroughs during the last 20 years that give scientists, researchers, and retina specialists hope that a cure will be found.
Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania is the leading ophthalmology practice in Berks, Schuylkill, Lebanon, Lancaster and Montgomery counties, and we have four convenient locations in Wyomissing, Pottsville, Pottstown and Blandon.
Barry C. Malloy, MD and Michael Cusick, MD are our fellowship-trained, board-certified vitreo-retinal specialists who are highly trained in the treatment of macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, retinal detachment, macular edema and many other conditions that affect the retina. They will evaluate your eyes and help you manage macular degeneration before it causes severe vision loss.
Treatment for AMD
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a common eye condition that affects the macula, which is the part of the retina that allows you to see fine detail to read or drive. There are two forms – wet and dry.
Dry AMD – The treatment for early dry AMD is typically nutritional therapy, with a healthy diet high in antioxidants to support the macular cells. Studies by the National Eye Institute have indicated that taking certain vitamins and minerals might reduce the risk of developing advanced AMD.
Wet AMD – This more serious, and less common, form of AMD can be treated with laser surgery, photodynamic therapy, and injections into the eye; however, the disease and loss of vision may still progress in spite of treatment.
- Laser Surgery:For many years, laser treatment was the only available treatment for sealing the leaking blood vessels associated with wet AMD. Only a small percentage of people with wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery, and the risk of new blood vessels developing after treatment is high. Repeat treatments may be necessary.
- Photodynamic Therapy (PDT): With photodynamic therapy, a drug called verteporfin is injected intravenously into the arm. It travels throughout the body, including to the blood vessels in the eye, and is activated by shining light into the eye. The procedure seals off leaking vessels while leaving healthy ones intact and is believed to be a major improvement over previous laser treatments. Photodynamic therapy is relatively painless and slows, but does not stop, vision loss. Results are often temporary and may need to be repeated.
- Drug Treatment:Wet AMD can now be treated with new drugs that are injected into the eye (anti-VEGF therapy) to block the effects of a growth factor in eyes with wet AMD that cause the growth of abnormal new blood vessels. Multiple injections may be given as often as monthly. This drug treatment can help slow down vision loss from AMD and in some cases improve sight.
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Neither type of AMD causes any pain. The most common early sign of dry AMD is blurred vision, which is caused by the loss of function in macular cells. This blurred vision will often go away in brighter light. Eventually, there will be a small, but growing, blind spot in the center of the field of vision.
The classic early symptom of wet AMD is that normally straight lines appear crooked, similar to looking through a fun-house mirror. This is caused by blood vessels that grow underneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. The wet form of AMD usually leads to more serious vision loss.
Other AMD symptoms include:
- A dark or blind spot in the center of your field of vision
- Increasing blurriness of printed words
- Difficulty recognizing faces
- Difficulty distinguishing colors
- Sensitivity to bright lights
- Loss of depth perception
If you believe you have symptoms of age-related macular degeneration, contact Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania for an evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial.