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Ask an Expert about Macular Degeneration

Latest Questions and Answers
Does massage affect macular degeneration in any way? [ 02/11/11 ]

Massage has not been shown to affect age-related macular degeneration in any way. Smoking and diet are currently the only two modifiable risk factors that have been established with good scientific evidence. Wearing sunglasses, having a regular exercise regimen, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping blood pressure under control, and getting regular eye exams are also important preventive measures.

How can I get my mom into a clinical trial study concerning the telescope eye implant? We live in the Seattle area and she fits the criteria for the study. She is 86 and blind due to her eye condition. [ 02/10/11 ]

The only open telescopic implant clinical trial concerns the evaluation of pre- and post-implantation management of patients with end-stage age-related macular degeneration who have already had the implantable telescope (IMT) surgery, and the research is taking place in England. In July of 2010, the FDA approved this surgical procedure for patients with end-stage macular degeneration who meet the qualification guidelines, and there are centers in the United States that provide this surgical procedure; however, your mom should talk with her ophthalmologist to determine if she is indeed a good candidate. VisionCare™ Ophthalmic Technologies can provide your mom and her doctor with a list of facilities that specialize in this type of surgery, as well as a patient information booklet explaining the risks and benefits of this specialized procedure.

Can rickets result in developing macular degeneration later in life? [ 02/09/11 ]

Vitamin D deficiency is related to the development of rickets, and  researchers are currently exploring how this vitamin might influence one's risk  of developing macular degeneration. I did not find any scientific reports demonstrating a direct link between rickets and the development of macular  degeneration, however.

There was a recent announcement that the FDA approved clinical trials to use stem cells for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Does this mean we are closer to a cure? Will the cure happen within 5 years? [ 02/08/11 ]

Preliminary studies using stem cells to treat/improve vision in  persons with retinal diseases, such as macular degeneration, have proven to be  very promising, hence the increase in support for continuation or advancement  of similar studies.  However, it is not  possible to place a timeline on when or if a cure will actually come from this  line of research.

Your publication, “Living with Macular Degeneration,” mentions that maintaining blood pressure at normal levels is important for good eye health. Why is this so important? What relationship is there between macular degeneration and hypertension? I am a 45-year-old Bolivian woman and 3 months ago I was diagnosed with macular degeneration. Any information you can give me will be greatly appreciated. [ 02/07/11 ]

Maintaining blood pressure at an appropriate range definitely reduces the risk of a variety  of health problems, and will help you avoid heart, brain, and kidney diseases. In addition, some research studies have reported an association between high blood pressure and worsening of age-related macular degeneration, which could then lead to permanent loss of vision.

I am 17 years old and I have had macular degeneration since I was born. Over the years, my vision has gotten worse. The doctors have told me that I will be blind by the time I am in my 20s or 30s. Is there anything that I can do to slow down or stop the vision loss? I have heard that there is no known surgery for my type of macular degeneration. Is this true? [ 02/06/11 ]

The most common type of macular degeneration is called age-related macular degeneration, and is infrequent  before the age of 55. You have a more rare form of the disease, and the  potential therapy for your retinal degeneration will depend on the exact cause.  If you have not already done so, please contact a retina specialist for an  evaluation. He/she can also refer you to a low vision specialist, who can help  you obtain devices and training to maximize your independence and quality of  life.

My mother has macular degeneration, and since March she has been injected seven times in the eye. The doctor said he will perform more injections this month and then he will let her rest. She is desperate because it seems like there have been too many injections and she is afraid of them. My mother has already lost the vision in one eye and the doctors are trying to save the other eye. Thanks for your help. [ 02/05/11 ]

The best treatments currently  available for wet age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) are the Avastin and  Lucentis eye injections. In large clinical trials, Lucentis stopped 90% of  patients with wet ARMD from losing vision and 30% of patients actually gained  vision. In these same trials, patients received injections every 4 weeks for 2  years with a very low rate of side effects. Thousands of patients have been  safely treated with these eye injections. Please have your mother discuss her  treatment concerns with a retina specialist, so that she can clearly understand  the benefits and risks of the therapy.

I have lattice degeneration, which is monitored by my ophthalmologist and retinologist. Would taking an AREDS vitamin formulation help prevent the lattice degeneration from getting worse? [ 02/04/11 ]

Lattice degeneration is a  peripheral retinal degeneration that rarely leads to retinal detachment. Since  retinal detachment is a potentially blinding disease, it is important to obtain  periodic follow-up examinations by a retina specialist who is familiar with the  symptoms of retinal detachment. Vitamins with the AREDS formulation would not  be beneficial for lattice degeneration.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is a public service of the BrightFocus Foundation and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional; it is not intended to constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice. BrightFocus Foundation does not endorse any medical product or therapy. All medications and supplements should only be taken under medical supervision. Also, although we make every effort to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the posted information reflects the most up-to-date research.

Some of the content in this section is adapted from other sources, which are clearly identified within each individual item of information.

Last Review: 04/29/13

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