Macular degeneration affects millions of people in the United States and is a leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 65. Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a disease that causes individuals to gradually lose their central field of vision.
As little as ten years ago, people that were diagnosed with macular degeneration of any form had little to no hope in terms of the future of their eyesight. This is because, until very recently, the treatment options for people with this disease were extremely limited and not very promising.
Today, there are still no guaranteed treatments that will restore the vision lost to ARMD, but there has been groundbreaking research in this area. There are now promising developments in regards to treatments that could reduce the risk of macular degeneration, and treatments that have shown the ability to slow the progression of the disease.
Treatment Possibilities for Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Dry ARMD is the most common version of the disease, affecting nearly 90% of the patients with ARMD. Over the past ten years, new treatments and medications have been developed that focus on protecting the cells affected by macular degeneration and preventing future damage to the retina. There are numerous medications currently undergoing clinical trials that are intended to slow the progression of the condition.
Treatments for Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration
The rare, and more aggressive, form of macular degeneration is wet ARMD. Medications such as Avastin and Lucentis have shown the ability to slow the loss of vision, and some patients have even reported a slight improvement in vision after taking these drugs. The FDA recently approved an injectable medication, Eylea, which has been showing similar positive signs for patients.
Nutritional Breakthroughs That Could Help With Prevention
Recent studies have indicated the important role nutrition plays when it comes to reducing the risk and slowing the progression of macular degeneration. Research suggests that patients who take dietary supplements, or eat nutrient rich foods, that include high levels of zinc, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin C, can significantly reduce their risk of having their macular degeneration progress to more severe stages.
The Importance of Regular Eye Exams
Even with the advancements in treatments, the best way to address macular degeneration continues to be with regular eye exams. This allows eye doctors to detect the condition as early as possible and to begin implementing treatments that can limit the amount of vision loss before it begins.