Know Your Treatment Options for AMD

Macular degeneration is a very common eye disease in people aged 65 and older and it’s a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. There are different treatment options available which will be explained below.

AMD Treatment

It is very important to see your eye doctor if you have a family history of macular degeneration, if you’re in the age group of 65 or older, or you have any suspicions of developing AMD so that you can get a thorough exam, and if necessary your eye doctor will provide the proper diagnosis and treatment. Macular Degeneration is an eye condition that can damage your central vision, but there are many wonderful resources available. It’s important to consult with your eye doctor who can advise you what the best plan of action is in order to maintain your vision and general eye health.

There are two types of macular degeneration. There is the more mild and much more common dry AMD which does not usually cause significant damage, however it could lead to the more rare wet AMD which can cause vision loss. Therefore early diagnosis is crucial so that the proper steps can be taken in order to prevent dry AMD from turning into wet macular degeneration. For people who have developed wet AMD there is treatment available to stop or even reverse vision loss.

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Treatment

Dry AMD

For this condition, the main goal is early detection and preventing dry AMD from turning into wet AMD. The dry category does not cause damage to our vision but it’s a warning that the retina is at high risk for developing unstable blood vessels which can cause wet macular degeneration.

If you have dry AMD, your eye doctor will recommend a supplement in order to prevent future damage from wet macular degeneration. As a result of a series of studies called Age Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS2), a combination of vitamins has been developed that can help prevent the progression of AMD. The supplement contains vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and copper.

In addition, your eye doctor will recommend that you do a quick and easy at home screening test to make sure that your condition is not turning into wet AMD. All it takes is a small black and white card that you can use called the Amsler grid. This is an extremely helpful tool that is used to assess any changes in your vision which could be a sign for wet macular degeneration. Every day you spend just a few seconds looking at this grid with one eye open and the other closed so that you can detect if there are any changes in each eye over time. If any of the straight lines on the Amsler grid begin to appear distorted or wavy or if part of the lines on the grid disappear then you know to consult your eye doctor who can check if there are any changes in your retina that could lead to wet AMD.

Wet AMD

In wet AMD, the damage is caused by abnormal new blood vessels that form in the retina. The source of these blood cells are proteins called VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and therefore in order to treat this condition, effective injections are used called anti-VEGF which directly block the source of the issue. This treatment can stop vision loss and can even reverse the damage caused by AMD.

The eye is first numbed to ensure that no pain will be felt when the injections are administered. Currently the anti-VEGF drugs are given every 4-6 weeks, however there is a tremendous amount of research taking place to improve this. There is hope that developments are being made to avoid frequent injections. Furthermore, there is research taking place to find a cure that can essentially get rid of macular degeneration.

Common Questions

VEGF is an acronym which stands for vascular endothelial growth factor and it's a protein that plays a crucial role in developing new blood vessels. In wet AMD, there is a growth spurt of these new blood vessels, however they are unstable, very damaging and must be treated. The anti-VEGF drugs are injected into the eye in order to stop the growth of these abnormal blood vessels. Prior to the injections, the eye is numbed so that no pain will be felt during the treatment. As of now, these anti-VEGF injections are administered every four to six weeks. A tremendous amount of research and efforts are being invested to develop new types of anti-VEGF treatment which will not require frequent administration. In addition, there is hope that treatments being developed today will also cure the disease.
If wet macular degeneration is not treated, it can cause on. The good news is that there is treatment available to slow down and even prevent vision loss. If you start treatment early then it's possible to reverse some of the visual damage that has already been caused by this disease. The goal of the treatment is to block the VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) which is responsible for triggering the growth of unstable blood vessels under your retina. These blood vessels can cause damage to your vision when they begin to leak, hence the name wet macular degeneration. Thankfully there are Anti-VEGF injections which directly treat the source of the damage by blocking the VEGF. It's important to note that great research is being performed to increase the chances of reversing the visual damage that this disease can cause.
Know Your Treatment Options for AMD
Dr. Wernick cartoon

Summary

Understanding this eye disease and consulting your eye doctor is so crucial to properly treat macular degeneration. When detected early enough, damage from AMD can be prevented by taking the proper precautions. If the condition has advanced to a stage that could cause vision loss, there is effective treatment which directly blocks the source of the damage. Please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at our office so you can be checked for macular degeneration and provided the proper treatment when necessary.

Testimonials


  • At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.


    Cynthia Norton

  • Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.


    Steve Fay

  • Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


    Mary K.

  • Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


    Peter G.

  • Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


    Kinkie F.

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