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Eye Health Center

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Understanding Vision Problems -- Treatment

What Are the Treatments for Vision Problems? continued...

For macular degeneration, there is currently no cure for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but new treatments are sometimes able to prevent severe visual loss. Treatment depends on the type of AMD, but may include:

  • Injections of medication into the eye -- to prevent the formation of new, leaky blood vessels
  • Laser therapy -- to destroy abnormal blood vessels
  • Photodynamic therapy -- injection of medications that are activated by light exposure
  • Submacular surgery -- to remove blood under the retina, abnormal blood vessels or scar tissue
  • Retinal translocation -- surgical rotation of the damaged retinal tissue away from the macula
  • Low-vision aids -- to help people with partial vision make the most of their remaining vision. These devices have special lenses or electronic systems that magnify images so they can be seen by the parts of the retina that are still functioning.
  • Vitamins -- to help reduce or delay the risk of severe vision loss. Some evidence suggests that certain vitamins and antioxidants -- vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and zinc -- may help. However, more current research replaced beta-carotene with lutein and zeaxanthin with similar results.

Other ways to protect your eyes from AMD include the following:

  • Eating vegetables high in carotenoids, such as spinach and collard greens
  • Wearing sunglasses with an ultraviolet filter when outdoors
  • Not smoking
  • Having regular visits to an eye care specialist to detect AMD and other eye diseases in the early stages

For retinal detachment, some cases can be corrected with laser surgery, which has a high rate of success. If the peeling or tearing of the retina is more advanced, more extensive corrective surgery may be necessary.

Treating glaucoma usually includes using a series of eye drops over time to keep the disease under control. In glaucoma, fluid in the eye fails to drain properly, causing pressure to build up. Laser surgery for this form of the disease, called chronic open-angle glaucoma, has been available since 1979, but ophthalmologists generally use it as an alternative or addition to drug therapy, not as the first line of treatment.

There is no single, surefire remedy for glaucoma. Much remains to be learned about this disease. Glaucoma therapies evolve and change continuously. One long-term study, however, indicates that treating people with laser surgery first works just as well, if not better, to keep glaucoma in check. But medication in the form of eye drops is still the primary and most common treatment of COAG.

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