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What is macular degeneration?

This disease is considered the leading cause of blindness, affecting more individuals than cataracts or glaucoma. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula, a part of the retina, is damaged. This area of the retina is responsible for allowing you to see the small details necessary for daily activities such as driving or reading. It typically does not affect your peripheral vision—allowing you to still see the outlines of objects.

Treatments

While there is no 100% effective treatment of AMD and the exact causes are not understood as of yet, nutritional supplements have been shown to have some effectiveness in reducing the effects of AMD. Antioxidant vitamins and Zinc may help.

Some types of wet AMD can be treated with laser surgery, and a treatment called photodynamic therapy (PDT) can be used to slow or even stop leaking blood vessels to help slow down the disease.

Another form of treatment targets a specific chemical in your body that is critical in causing abnormal blood vessels to grow under the retina. That chemical is called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Anti-VEGF drugs block the trouble-causing VEGF, reducing the growth of abnormal blood vessels and slowing their leakage.

Procedures such as these can help preserve overall sight, and slow the progression of AMD. However, these are not cures to restore vision completely. Despite current advanced medical treatment, many individuals will still experience some loss of vision.

What happens if you’ve been diagnosed?

If you’ve been diagnosed with macular degeneration, your optometric physician will refer you to one of our retina specialists. Your retina specialist will evaluate your condition to determine the best treatment plan for you.

Living with low vision

At Quigley Eye Specialists, we can help you adapt to lower vision levels by prescribing optical devices or even refer you to a low-vision center or specialist. Many support services and programs are available to help you maintain a satisfying quality of life, even with reduced vision. Often, individuals can continue to participate in their favorite activities by using low-visions optical devices, including magnifying devices.

For more information, your doctor at Quigley Eye Specialists will be happy to answer any of your questions during your next appointment.