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Latest Questions and Answers
My grandmother turned 101 years old in September of 2010, and her only ailment is her macular degeneration. This eye disease causes her much distress due to the visual impairment. Lately, her symptoms have become worse and I feel that her doctors are just telling her to cope with the problem due to her advanced age. Are there are any macular degeneration treatments that would be safe for a woman of her age? [ 06/29/11 ]

The treatment options for your grandmother depend on the exact type of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) that she has. ARMD is divided into two subtypes, wet and dry. Currently there are multiple FDA approved treatments for the wet subtype, but none for the dry subtype. Certain patients can slow the progression of dry ARMD by taking a special vitamin formulation. If your grandmother is not being offered any treatments, it is possible she does not have a currently treatable form of the disease. Your grandmother, however, may still benefit from referral to a low vision specialist. Such a specialist can help optimize your grandmother's vision using training and assistive devices for activities that she likes to engage in, such as reading, using a computer, etc. Your retina specialist can help you with the referral.


Can a botched cataract operation cause macular degeneration? [ 06/05/11 ]

There is no evidence that strongly supports a relationship between cataract surgery and increased rates of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). A complicated cataract surgery can cause visual decline for a variety of reasons; however, an increased rate of ARMD is not thought to be one of them.


I have been told that there is a new free treatment for macular degeneration in Miami, Florida. Could you tell me about this treatment? My mother has this eye disease, and she was treated unsuccessfully with Avastin. [ 06/04/11 ]

Many scientists are currently studying age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), and several hundred clinical trials are actively ongoing. Without knowing the specific treatment you are referring to you, I cannot provide more details. It is entirely likely that several trials for ARMD treatments are ongoing in Miami currently, as a prominent center for ARMD research is located there. Please discuss with your retina specialist the potential benefits of referring your mother to experimental therapy in a clinical trial.

Please also talk with your eye specialist concerning the purpose of the Avastin treatment. Avastin injections prevent vision loss in around 90% of patients, but only 30% show an improvement in their vision. Currently Avastin and Lucentis (a related therapy) are first line treatments for patients with wet ARMD.


I am 61 years old, and recently received a diagnosis of early dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). I have taken niacin for two years to help lower my cholesterol level, and recently read some web research indicating that niacin may contribute to cystoid macular edema, and may also increase the risk of developing AMD. I currently take 1000 milligrams of niacin each day. Do you think that niacin can contribute to the development or progression of wet AMD? [ 06/02/11 ]

Much of your research is exactly correct. High dose niacin has been linked with cystoid macular edema. Though no safe dosing level has been established, this side effect typically occurs in people taking 3,500 milligrams or more of niacin daily. Some researchers have found that nitrates can an increase in blood flow to the retina, and proposed that this could function as a potential therapy for age-related macular degeneration (ARMD); however, this has not yet been proven. I am not aware of any study that definitively shows an association between niacin supplementation and increased risk of ARMD progression. It would be helpful to also talk with your eye doctor concerning your question.


My mother, who is 61 years old, lives in Turkey, and suffers from wet macular degeneration. One of her eyes has approximately 90% loss of visual function. She has been undergoing injection therapy for around 2 years, which has been ineffective in halting the disease process. I was wondering if you have any recommendations as to prominent physicians who specialize in treating macular degeneration. [ 05/11/11 ]

A good starting place for your search of a specialist in Turkey, with expertise in treating wet macular degeneration, is the Find an M.D. website, created by the American Academy of Ophthalmologists.

It allows one to search for ophthalmologists located not only in the United States, but in other countries, including Turkey. You can then contact the physicians located close to where your mother lives. Ask for a free consultation to discuss your mother's case and their particular experience and track record in treating similar cases. This may help you to identify someone that best fits your mother's needs.


My daughter is 24 years old and has wet macular degeneration. What are her treatment options? [ 05/04/11 ]

Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is extremely uncommon in people younger than 55, so your daughter likely has an alternative type of macular degeneration. Without knowing her specific condition, I cannot comment on individual treatment options. In general, many other types of macular problems that produce choroidal neovascularization*, can be treated with medicines that are commonly utilized for wet ARMD.

* choroidal neovascularization is the growth of new fragile and leaky blood vessels in the choroid portion of the eye.


I have been told that I have a swelling of the macula due to a medication that I take for cancer. I am in remission, but I was told that I cannot be treated for the macular problem until 2 years after I have completed cancer treatment. Can you comment on this? [ 05/02/11 ]

Swelling of the macula can occur due to a variety of drugs and other medical conditions. General therapies for macular swelling include topical drops, laser therapy, eye injections, and systemic medications. Without knowing your specific situation (such as the specific medication that is causing the swelling), I cannot comment further on management. However, several macula swelling therapies exist that are localized treatments to the eye, so you may benefit from a second opinion to determine if you are a candidate for any of those therapies.


I suffer from an imperfection of the central part of my vision, which was diagnosed in 2000. Are there any surgical treatments that can help to maintain my vision? Please let me know what I can do, and also what I should avoid so that I can retain my vision. [ 04/30/11 ]

Imperfection in the central part of vision can be caused by a variety of reasons ranging from treatable conditions such as age-related macular degeneration to currently untreatable conditions as macular ischemia. Without knowing the exact reason for the imperfection in your central vision, I cannot advise you in regards to prognosis, management, or surgical treatments.


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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: 04/26/13


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