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Age-Related Macular Degeneration Treatment

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Next Steps for Macular Degeneration

Because some people with the dry form of age-related macular degeneration may develop the wet form, those with the dry form should monitor their vision daily and notify their ophthalmologist of any changes in their vision.

If you have the wet form of macular degeneration, even if it's been treated, you should test your vision to see if any blind spots grow bigger or if any new blind spots appear. New blood vessels can emerge months or years after you have had successful injections or laser treatment.

If only one eye is affected, your ophthalmologist will perform regular eye exams on your other eye to discover any sign of new problems.

What Is the Outlook for People With Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

People rarely lose all of their vision from age-related macular degeneration. They may have poor central vision, but they are still able to perform many normal daily activities.

The wet form of macular degeneration is a leading cause of irreversible legal blindness. When both eyes are affected, you may lose significant quality of life.

The dry form of age-related macular degeneration is much more common and tends to progress more slowly, allowing you to keep most of your vision.

Unfortunately, even after macular degeneration treatment, the condition can recur. Because of this, individuals with macular degeneration must test their own vision regularly and follow the recommendations of their ophthalmologist. Proper and timely treatment, however, cannot only slow the rate of vision loss but often improve vision.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Prevention

Macular degeneration cannot be prevented, but it may be controlled with the help of your ophthalmologist. The best way to minimize vision loss is to get prompt attention by your ophthalmologist. The earlier you have macular degeneration diagnosed, the better the chance that treatment will help.

See your eye doctor if you have any symptoms of age-related macular degeneration and make sure you keep regularly scheduled eye exams.

  • People older than 45 years with a family history of age-related macular degeneration have a greater chance of developing the disease.
  • Using the Amsler grid may help detect subtle changes in your vision. You can monitor your vision daily by posting an Amsler grid on your refrigerator.
  • Ophthalmologists recommend that you stop smoking, eat a balanced diet that includes leafy green vegetables, and protect your eyes from sun exposure with sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) sun rays. It is a good preventive measure not to smoke. A recent literature review found a two- to three-fold higher risk for developing age-related macular degeneration in smokers.
  • The Age-Related Eye Disease Study found that supplementation with antioxidants plus zinc decreased the likelihood of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration in some people.
  • Vision exams for those older than 65 should include age-related macular degeneration screening.
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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD on March 28, 2013

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