Unfortunately, at this time, there are no treatments for dry AMD available. There is an abundance of research happening right now. The best way to deal with dry AMD is through preventive measures. The treatment options for the wet AMD continue to evolve rapidly. They include laser surgery, photodynamic therapy, and drugs injected into the eye. Each of these has specific pros and cons which should also be discussed with your retinal specialist.
Antioxidants: Deficiencies in antioxidants (specifically zinc,meso- zeaxanthin, zeaxanthin and vitamins A, C, and E) have been noted in some people with age-related macular degeneration. Antioxidants may protect against age-related macular degeneration by preventing free radicals or unstable oxygen from damaging the retina.The wet form of age-related macular degeneration is more likely than the dry form to cause significant vision loss. Different treatments of the wet form are available and may help decrease the amount of vision that is lost. Always check wth your medical doctor and ophthalmologist before taking any Vitamins.
Injections: One option to slow the progression of wet AMD is to inject drugs into the eye. With wet AMD, abnormally high levels of vascular endothelial growth factor ( VEGF) are secreted in your eyes. VEGF is a protein that promotes the growth of new abnormal blood vessels. Anti-VEGF injection therapy blocks this growth. If you are a candidate for this treatment , you may need monthly injections. Although an injection to the eye sounds quite frightening, it is usually very well tolerated by patients with very few, if any complications. Most patients describe the experience as being less painful and unpleasant than they anticipated. If you have fears about injections to the eye, it is especially important to discuss this with your doctor.
Lucentis is a VEGF antibody that was modified from the drug Avastin. This is probably one of the most encouraging drugs that could improve vision in a significant number of wet macular degeneration patients. In mid-July 2005, Genentech officials made this report, and perhaps for the first time Lucentis gives hope to medical scientists and patients as it was said to improve vision significantly instead of just slow down the progression of vision loss. Lucentis treatment requires injection directly into the eye every four weeks.
Avastin is a drug used to treat colorectal cancer and is explored as a drug for treatment of wet macular degeneration (there are several debates going on about the effectiveness of Avastin, consult with your physician to see which drug will work best for you). Just like Macugen, this drug is injected directly in the eye and results had been positively encouraging. This drug is comparatively cheaper than other available drugs but further studies are required to determine its safety and effectiveness.
Eylea is a VEGF Eye-Trap, offers patients with AMD the same excellent results and safety profile of Lucentis with half as many treatments, at a lower cost. Compliance with treatment regiments may be logistically easier and yield better outcomes for patients with Eylea treatments at 2 month intervals than for patients who receive Lucentis or Avastin at greater than monthly intervals.
Photodynamic therapy: In April 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this treatment. A light-activated drug called verteporfin (Visudyne) is given intravenously and uses a cold laser to close the abnormal vessels while leaving the retina intact. You may need several treatments over one to two years because closed blood vessels can reopen within the treated area. Because Verteporfin is activated by light, exposure to sunlight must be avoided for five days after treatment. There are several drugs used to treat Wet AMD called ANTI-VEGF drugs. Many doctors no longer perform this procedure.
Laser Surgery: Eye care professionals treat certain cases of neovascular or wet AMD with laser surgery. However, when PDT became available, this treatment became less popular. With the availablility of anti VEGF drugs, it is even less common. Consequently, this treatment is limited to a very small number of patients. It involves aiming an intense “hot” laser at the abnormal blood vessels in your eyes to destroy them. This treatment is more likely to be used when blood vessel growth is limited to a compact area in your eye, away from the center of the macula, that can be easily targeted with the laser. Even so, laser treatment also may destroy some surrounding healthy tissue.