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Ask an Expert about Macular Degeneration

Latest Questions and Answers
How do you become a candidate for the telescopic implant, which is now approved for macular degeneration? [ 01/05/11 ]

Thank you for your question. There is a booklet developed by Centrsight.com™ that provides detailed information about this procedure. Please read the whole booklet and discuss any questions that you have with your eye doctor at your next appointment. He or she can determine if you are a good candidate for this treatment.


If I were to take an eye vitamin, a mineral supplement and a multivitamin, I determined that I would be taking 31.5 milligrams of zinc and 2 milligrams of copper. Also, the multivitamin has 275 micrograms of lutein and the eye vitamin has 5 milligrams of this molecule. Are these excessive or unsafe amounts? [ 01/04/11 ]

Zinc in the form of 80 milligrams of zinc oxide was given to the 3,500 patients in the AREDS study, along with 2 milligrams of copper. High levels of these nutrients generally caused minimal side effects. However, it is important to note that patients receiving zinc had a higher risk of hospitalizations for genitourinary disorders. If the form of zinc you are taking is zinc sulfate or zinc gluconate, you are at higher risk for zinc toxicity. Lutein has not been extensively studied for toxicity, but it is generally thought to be very protective. Lutein is typically found in green leafy vegetables. In animal studies, doses of up to 400 milligrams of lutein per kilogram of body weight were demonstrated to be safe. It is always recommended that you talk with your doctor before taking any supplements.


I was hit with a steel bar in my left eye and was diagnosed with a choroidal scar on the macula. Please advise if there is any possibility of having clear vision again. [ 01/03/11 ]

A macular scar can be very damaging to vision. If the scar extends through the fovea, or center of vision, the chance of regaining good vision is low. However, if your injury was recent and the scar does not travel through the macula, the chance of visual improvement may be high. Any injury to the choroid* can later lead to growth of membranes called choroidal neovascular membranes (CNV), which can lead to a subsequent decrease in vision as well.

* The choroid layer of the eye has blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to the retina and take away waste.


My ophthalmologist has suggested the use of Restasis to treat my dry macular degeneration. What can you tell me about this medication? She has also suggested surgery to correct "pockets" on my retina. Can you give me information about this type of surgery? [ 01/02/11 ]

Restasis is not a treatment for dry macular degeneration; it is instead a treatment for dry eyes. It is an anti-inflammatory drug that may improve tear production. Surgical correction of "pockets" on the retina is not a commonly used description. Without knowing the exact reason for the surgery and type of surgery proposed, I cannot provide more detailed information.


Does wearing contact lenses for 30 years have anything to do with the development of blurry vision in one eye? If you have macular degeneration can you still wear contact lenses? [ 01/01/11 ]

Blurry vision in one eye can be caused from a variety of factors, including contact lens wear. Depending on the type of contact lens and the hours of wear daily, the tear film and surface of the eye (called the cornea) can be altered, leading to blurry vision. Macular degeneration is not typically a contraindication to wearing contact lenses, and many people with macular degeneration continue to wear contact lenses successfully.


My mother has had wet age-related macular degeneration for about 3 years in one of her eyes. She lost the other eye due to glaucoma. She has been treated with Avastin and other drugs, but the disease seems to slowly get worse. Is there any treatment that can help her if Avastin does not work? [ 12/31/10 ]

Fortunately, other therapies are available if Avastin is not helpful in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration. Lucentis, a drug similar to Avastin, has demonstrated some success in certain patients not responding well to Avastin. Another medicine, VEGF-trap has shown promise in an ongoing clinical trial for the wet form of the disease. This drug has not yet been approved by the FDA, will but likely be approved in the near future. Several other drugs are at earlier stages of investigation as well.


I am 27 years old and I just had an eye exam. I was told that I had a score of .29 for my macular degeneration. What does this mean for me and how fast will my disease progress? I had an eye exam last year and this issue did not come up. [ 12/30/10 ]

Without knowing the specific score and test, one cannot give a definitive prognosis. However, several scales are used for macular degeneration and a score of less than 1 is very reassuring on all of them.  Your eye doctor can provide you with a specific answer to your question.


I had surgery for an epiretinal membrane in August of 2010, but I still have wavy vision. How long does it normally take to notice improvement after this type of surgery? Will I have problems with shortsightedness from this procedure? [ 12/29/10 ]

Your visual recovery after epiretinal membrane surgery will depend on several factors such as the extent of surgery, the thickness of the membrane, etc. In general, it can take 6 – 12 months for vision to recover after this type of surgery.

It is unlikely for someone to develop nearsightedness after epiretinal membrane surgery unless a technique called sclera buckling was used. Your eye physician will likely recommend a refraction (prescription check) after your vision has stabilized to maximize your vision. The refraction will check for any nearsightedness after the surgery has completely healed.


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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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