Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects the macula, the middle of the retina on the back of the eye. This can cause your vision to become blurry or wavy. It could also cause a blind spot in the center of your vision. AMD can cause vision loss quickly or slowly, and can make it very hard to do things that require sharp vision, such as reading, driving, recognizing faces, or sewing.

If you are 65 or older, you should get a complete eye exam every one or two years, even if you have no problem seeing well. Talk to a Vistar doctor today about prevention, screening, and the latest in cutting-edge treatments for AMD and other age-related eye diseases.

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Types of AMD

  • "Wet" AMD causes the most serious vision loss. In this form of the disease, tiny unhealthy blood vessels grow under the retina, often breaking and leaking, causing loss of vision.
  • "Dry" AMD, the most common form, involves a breakdown of the retinal photoreceptors and progresses more slowly.

Diagnosing

During a complete eye exam or dilated eye exam, the eye doctor painlessly widens the pupil of the eye with eye drops to check for eye diseases such as AMD.

Treatment Options

The treatment of AMD has changed very rapidly over the past few years and new potential treatments continue to be developed and tested. Vistar Eye Center is now proud to offer the Telescope Implant, a device the can dramatically help improve vision and quality of life for those dealing with End-Stage AMD. 

Medications

  • Eylea (afilbercept) is injected into the eye. It is generally given once a month for three months, then every other month after the initial three months.
    • Stabilizes vision in about 90 percent of cases
    • About 1/3 of patients had improvement in vision
  • Lucentis (ranibizumab) is injected into the eye, often once a month over the course of many months.
    • Has significantly improved vision in about one third of patients over a one-year course of treatment.
  • Avastin (bevacizumab) is similar to Lucentis and is a non-FDA approved medication that is commonly used to treat wet macular degeneration.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a special drug infusion into the arm combined with an infra-red laser beam to destroy unhealthy new blood vessels under the retina.
    • Often used in combination with other AMD treatments

Surgery

  • Photocoagulation uses a stronger laser to destroy new blood vessels.
  • May leave permanent blind spots in a person’s vision
  • Slows or stops the growth of new blood vessels

Other treatments

*Information supplied by the Prevent Blindness America.

  • Vitamin Supplements can help prevent the onset and progression of age-related macular degeneration. People with AMD should discuss nutrition strategies with their eye doctor.
  • Lifestyle changes including quitting smoking, exercising and eating well, may also help prevent AMD.