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Latest Questions and Answers
I have had the wet type of macular degeneration for seven years. Due to pneumonia and various other illnesses, I have been prescribed antibiotics several times. I am wondering if antibiotics can cause macular degeneration to worsen. Also, I had two stents put in my heart four years ago and I take Plavix daily. I am also worried that this medication will hasten the progression of my macular degeneration. Thank you for your input. [ 09/22/11 ]

No definitive link has been established between progression of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and antibiotics or Plavix. Smoking, certain dietary factors, and genetic factors have been linked to ARMD progression, however. Please speak to your ophthalmologist to find out if any of these factors are applicable to you, and what steps you can take to minimize the progression of this eye disorder.

Can I take two tablespoons of olive oil and the AREDS II vitamins on a daily basis? Is taking two tablespoons of oil too much? [ 09/15/11 ]

Olive oil has not been established as treatment or preventative for any ocular condition such as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Please speak to your primary doctor if you are using olive for other medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease. The AREDS II vitamin formulation is still undergoing study, and no definitive benefit has yet been proven for patients with ARMD. The AREDS I formulation was proven beneficial only for a select group of patients with ARMD, so please ensure that you speak to your eye physician about any vitamin supplementation you might be considering for ARMD or any other eye condition.

In the 1990s, my husband had frontal and bilateral surgery on his sinuses due to excess fluid. He has recently been diagnosed with macular degeneration. Is there any evidence that links sinus surgery to the development of macular degeneration? [ 09/10/11 ]

No definite link has been established between age related macular degeneration (ARMD) and sinus surgery. Though the cause of ARMD is not completely known, the current belief is that genetics and inflammatory processes contribute to development and progression of ARMD.

I am a 73-year-old female with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), who was diagnosed in 2004. A recent deterioration of vision brought me to my ophthalmologist and subsequently to a retinal specialist who diagnosed pigment epithelial detachment. Are there clinical trials being conducted for this particular problem? What are the odds that this will progress to wet AMD? [ 09/08/11 ]

Age related macular degeneration (ARMD) has two forms: wet and dry. A pigment epithelial detachment typically signifies that you have the wet subtype. Pigment epithelial detachments can occur for other much less common reasons, such as central serous retinopathy, inflammatory disorders, or lack of blood flow to the back part of the eye. Please clarify with your retinal specialist if your pigment epithelial detachment is from ARMD, and if you have the wet subtype of ARMD. Many clinical trials are ongoing for wet ARMD.

I took my 6 year old to the optometrist because she was complaining that her distance vision was blurry. He told me that it was not a refractive problem, but rather an issue with the macula. He said that the macula forms a “perfect picture” and that hers was just not able to do so. He said it was genetic, not an emergency, and then set up an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist. This information comes at you so fast that it is hard to take it all in at once. I can't seem to find anything about the macula that doesn't sound like a very serious disease, so I am very worried. I'm scared and confused, so I am hoping that you can you offer some advice. Thank you for your time. [ 08/31/11 ]

The macula is the center of the retina, and responsible for clarity of central vision. If your child has a genetic disease of the retina, he or she may have reduced clarity of central vision now or later in life. Whether this vision reduction is minor or major, stationary or progressive, will depend on the exact disease. Many people with genetic diseases of the macula live very full and productive lives. Your pediatric ophthalmologist can help determine the exact disease, and provide a referral to a physician specializing in ocular genetic diseases.

I am 61 years old and have been diagnosed with intermediate macular degeneration. My doctor wants me to take the AREDS formula, but I cannot tolerate it because it causes bruising and broken blood vessels. Also, I'm afraid of the “toxic” levels of some of the AREDS ingredients. My doctor gets very mad at me when I say I cannot tolerate the formula. Which of the vitamins in AREDS could be causing the bruising? My grandfather was a bleeder. Thank you for your help. [ 08/29/11 ]

You are correct in thinking that the AREDS trial used higher than normal levels of some vitamins. The most common side effects during the trial were slightly increased rates of urinary tract diseases, anemia, and tooth discoloration in patients using the AREDS vitamins. Increased bleeding or bruising rates were not reported in patients taking the AREDS compared to control group patients, however. The AREDS vitamins can also interact with other medicines you may be taking to cause the increased bruising and bleeding. Please discuss this matter of increased bleeding with both your primary care physician and ophthalmologist; it is possible that you may have a hereditary bleeding disorder than requires medical evaluation.

Is photodynamic therapy more helpful than Lucentis? [ 08/26/11 ]

For age related macular degeneration (ARMD), medicines injected into the eye like Lucentis are typically considered first-line therapies. Photodynamic therapy still is used for a certain subset of patients with ARMD who do not respond to Lucentis or other intravitreal* injection agents.

*Intravitreal refers to the eye's vitreous humor between the lens and the retina.

My mother is 84 years of age. She has wide-angle and narrow-angle glaucoma, dry macular degeneration in both eyes, and wet macular degeneration in one eye. She has now developed cataracts in both eyes, which will require surgery. However, they won't tell her when the procedure should be scheduled or which eye should be fixed first. She has had laser surgery for the glaucoma, and over the course of about two years, she has received 22 injections in her eye for the wet macular degeneration. She has had no bleeding or leaking in her eye for about ten weeks. Can you please provide information about the risks for blindness from cataract surgery (in light of her other eye problems), and information about which cataract should be removed first? [ 08/25/11 ]

Anyone considering cataract surgery should be aware of the risk of bleeding, infection, loss of vision, prolonged recovery of vision, and loss of the eye. These risks are very low, but not zero percent. The results of the cataract surgery can be limited by the macular degeneration and glaucoma. For example, the age-related macular degeneration can limit the final gain in central vision and the glaucoma can limit the final gain in peripheral vision, depending on the severity of each disease. Cataract surgery can also cause brief but intense elevations in eye pressure that can be vision threatening to patients with severe glaucoma. The optimal eye for initial surgery should be decided by your mother and an eye surgeon, who is aware of the severity of all disease processes in your mother's eyes.

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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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