Can macular degeneration be treated?
Unfortunately, like many eye diseases, macular degeneration is not curable. There are no FDA-approved treatments for dry macular degeneration although nutritional intervention may be valuable in preventing its progression to the more advanced, wet form.
For wet macular degeneration, there are several FDA-approved drugs aimed at stopping abnormal blood vessel growth and vision loss from the disease. In some cases, laser treatment of the retina may be recommended.
What can I do to protect against macular degeneration?
There are a number of steps you can incorporate into your daily lives that can help protect against macular degeneration. It is a disease that is affected by your genetics, your diet, and if you smoke. Thus, a healthy lifestyle with eating lots of green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and kale can boost eye health due to the vitamins found in them. In general, it is always a good idea to shift your device to night mode to avoid unwanted blue light.
Dr. Bristol suggests to our Austin patients to take Zeaxanthin and Lutein supplements. These vitamins are rich in carotenoids, a pigment found in many plants and vegetables that help plants from absorbing too much high energy blue light emitted from the sun. In addition to being found in plants and vegetables, they are also found in high concentration in the human eye, inside the macula. Taking these supplements help block out excess blue light from reaching the retina which, in turn, can help protect against developing macular degeneration.
Testing and low vision devices
Although much progress has been made recently in macular degeneration treatment research, complete recovery of vision related vision loss is probably is unlikely. Your eye doctor may ask you to check your vision regularly with an Amsler grid - a small chart of thin black lines arranged in a grid pattern. Macular degeneration causes the line on the grid to appear wavy, distorted or broken. Viewing the Amsler grid separately with each eye helps you monitor your vision loss.
If you have already suffered vision loss from macular degeneration, low vision devices including high magnification reading glasses and hand-held telescopes may help you achieve better vision than regular prescription eyewear.