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Macular Degeneration Treatment

Treating Dry Macular Degeneration

Once dry macular degeneration reaches the advanced stage, no form of treatment can prevent vision loss. However, earlier treatment for macular degeneration can delay and possibly prevent intermediate macular degeneration from progressing to the advanced stage, in which vision loss occurs.
A recent study found that taking a specific high-dose formulation of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduced the risk of advanced macular degeneration and its associated vision loss. Slowing the progression of dry macular degeneration from the intermediate stage to the advanced stage will save the vision of many people.
(Click Vitamins for Macular Degeneration or PreserVision to read more about antioxidants and zinc as a treatment for macular degeneration.)

Treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration

Wet macular degeneration can be treated with photodynamic therapy, laser surgery, and injections into the eye. None of these treatment options are a cure for wet macular degeneration. Each treatment may slow the rate of vision decline or stop further vision loss, but the disease and loss of vision may progress despite treatment.
Photodynamic Therapy
For this treatment option, a drug called verteporfin (Visudyne®) is injected into your arm. It travels throughout the body, including the new blood vessels in your eye. The drug tends to "stick" to the surface of new blood vessels. Next, a light is shined into your eye for about 90 seconds. The light activates the drug. The activated drug destroys the new blood vessels and leads to a slower rate of vision decline. Unlike laser surgery, this drug does not destroy surrounding healthy tissue.
Because the drug is activated by light, you must avoid exposing your skin or eyes to direct sunlight or bright indoor light for five days after this treatment. Photodynamic therapy is relatively painless. It takes about 20 minutes, and can be performed in a doctor's office.
Photodynamic therapy slows the rate of vision loss. It does not stop vision loss or restore vision in eyes already damaged by advanced macular degeneration. Treatment results often are temporary, and you may need to be treated again.
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Treatment for Macular Degeneration

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