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.
Can you please provide some information concerning aspirin and macular degeneration by addressing the following questions: Given aspirin's connection to bleeding, is it advisable for patients with wet macular degeneration to take this drug? Would aspirin cause retinal bleeding in someone who has dry macular degeneration? Could daily aspirin use cause the dry form of the disease to turn into the wet form? Is there a way to prevent blood clots and thin the blood in patients that have cardiovascular disease without causing retinal bleeding? [ 02/03/11 ]
It is still not definitely known if aspirin increases the rate of bleeding within the eye in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration. Some studies report no increase in bleeding rates, while others report slightly increased bleeding rates. It is important to note that this research applies only for the wet subtype of macular degeneration. Since the risks of aspirin have not been conclusively established in age-related macular degeneration, it would not be appropriate to stop aspirin for this reason without talking with your doctor first.
It is still not definitely known if aspirin increases the rate of conversion of dry age-related macular degeneration to the wet form. One small study has suggested that those taking aspirin actually convert to the wet form at a lower rate than those not taking aspirin; however, this was a borderline finding.
All blood thinners can increase the chance of retinal bleeding, but this varies widely based on the type of blood thinner. Aspirin may increase the chance of bleeding slightly, while more powerful blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) and clopidogrel (Plavix) increase the risk of retinal bleeding more prominently.
Your physician, who is very familiar with your current medication regimen and medical history, can give you more specific advice regarding aspirin use. Please note that all medicines have risks and benefits, and they should never be stopped or started without consulting your doctor first.
Can any form of macular degeneration be treated with laser treatment? [ 02/02/11 ]
There are currently no laser treatments for dry macular degeneration. Thermal laser treatment is not currently recommended for wet age-related macular degeneration because it is less effective than the Avastin and/or Lucentis eye injections. However, another type of laser treatment known as photodynamic therapy (PDT) is still used in some cases of wet age-related macular degeneration. PDT is not typically used as a first line therapy, but often in conjunction with other treatments.
Please let me know what macular degenerative condition causes vision loss without any obvious clinical or diagnostic abnormalities? I am considering having indirect ophthalmoscopy, OCT, FFA and other diagnostic tests. If these fail to detect any obvious reason for my failing central visual, what could be the potential cause of my symptoms? [ 02/01/11 ]
Age-related macular degeneration can certainly cause visual loss, but always is associated with clinical abnormalities such as drusen, geographic atrophy, or choroidal neovascularization depending on the severity and subtype of the disease. These findings can typically be found during a complete eye examination and other appropriate studies performed by a retinal specialist. There are retinal dystrophies or degenerations that can cause loss of vision in an eye that appears normal. These disorders are very rare and can be detected by other tests, such as electroretinography (ERG).
I am age 85, and I have had a sudden loss of vision in one eye. It happened within 3 months. I see wavy lines and a bluish shadow on the Amsler grid. What conditions other than wet age-related macular degeneration could cause this? [ 01/20/11 ]
Wet age-related macular degeneration is a very common reason for distortion on an Amsler grid. Other reasons include chloroquine toxicity, hydroxychloroquine toxicity, Best's disease, vitelleform dystrophy, pattern dystrophy, familial dominant drusen, toxoplasmosis, North Carolina macular dystrophy, and many others.