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Questions and Answers on Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

We asked Dr. Wren at Gunbarrel Optometry some questions about Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and here is what he had to say:

Q: What does the diagnosis of AMD mean exactly?

A: The center, most critical for vision, of the retina becomes damaged as a result of oxidative changes (like rust on a car) commonly related to the aging process. Aside from aging, family history of AMD and smoking are significant risk factors for developing AMD.

Q: I understand there are two types of AMD. What are the differences between dry or wet AMD?

A: Dry is the early development of AMD characterized by drusen (lipid deposits) within the macula area. With time Dry AMD may convert into Wet AMD characterized by bleeding and scarring in the macular area causing sever loss of central vision.

Q: What treatment options and/or care is available for this condition?

A: Dry AMD is treated by counseling regarding smoking cessation and beginning nutritional supplementation and more frequent examination. Once Wet AMD has started, current treatment is with injecting anti-veg F medication into the eye.

Q: What are the risks and side effects associated with these treatments? What if you don’t proceed with treatment?

A: Risks of anti-veg F injections include infection, retinal detachment. These risks are outweighed by the benefits.

Q: Regardless of cost or coverage by my insurance, what are some alternative treatments?

A: Currently, no other peer-reviewed and proven treatments are readily available. Research continues on other treatments.

Q: Will a change in a patient’s glasses prescription help at all?

A: No.

Q: What can a person do to protect or prolong their vision?

A: Have a healthy diet rich in anti-oxidants. Don't smoke. and exercise.

Q: Can you recommend a vitamin/mineral program for me that might be helpful or are vitamin supplements specific to each patient.

A: Recent research suggests that some individuals with a specific genotype potentially have an adverse effect from the common eye vitamins for AMD that include zinc. I recommend MacuHealth daily supplement which doesn't contain zinc. Especially if I haven't performed genetic testing on a particular patient.

For more information on AMD aka: Age-Related Macular Degeneration please click here or give us a call.