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Latest Questions and Answers
Approximately five years ago I was diagnosed with dry macular degeneration. During a recent eye exam, the doctor informed me that I have developed wet macular degeneration in my left eye. My vision is limited and is very blurry. I am scheduled to receive a series of three injections. How long will the effects of the injections last and does it mean that the right eye will also develop the wet form of this disease? [ 12/17/12 ]

A minority of patients (about 10%) with dry-age related macular degeneration (ARMD) convert to wet ARMD and the most effective treatment for wet ARMD is an injection of a certain type of medication into the eye. In multiple clinical trials, these medications preserved vision in 90% of patients, but improved vision in only 40% of patients. People require different frequencies of treatment, and the most common dosing plan is monthly.

If the left eye has wet ARMD, the right eye is at higher risk of developing wet ARMD. The risk can be as high as 75% in the next five years depending on whether certain features were observed in the right eye during the examinations.

My husband has been taking Lucentis injections for a year and he's not getting any better or worse. His doctor wants to try another treatment. Are there any other treatment alternatives? [ 12/17/12 ]

If your husband has wet age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), Lucentis is a very common treatment. In clinical trials, Lucentis preserved vision in 90% of patients, but improved vision in only 40% of patients with wet ARMD. Your husband many not belong to the 40% of patients that notices significant visual improvement after Lucentis treatment. Other commonly used treatments for ARMD include Eylea and Avastin, which have comparable treatment success rates to Lucentis. Some patients may react better to one eye injection compared to another. Ask your husband's retina specialist if a trial of one of these other wet ARMD injections would be appropriate.

I am a white 84-year-old male in fairly good health, but am borderline anemic and have macular degeneration in both eyes. Would taking iron infusions make my macular degeneration worse? [ 12/17/12 ]

No definite link has been established between iron infusions for anemia and age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Very high levels of iron may be linked to a variety of retinal diseases due to increased oxidative stress in some patients, but this idea is a theory that is undergoing study. Oxidative stress occurs when the body cannot detoxify certain chemicals associated with metabolism of oxygen. If you have low levels of iron and are taking supplements to get back to normal levels of iron to treat anemia, the potential of oxidative stress toxicity is less likely.

Can prism lenses correct double vision caused by macular degeneration? [ 12/17/12 ]

Prism lenses can correct double vision caused by misalignment of the two eyes. Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) typically does not cause eye misalignment, so prism lenses would not be helpful in most cases of double vision due to ARMD. If your double vision is present at any point when either eye is closed, it is unlikely that prism lenses will help.

I had oral surgery, which resulted in a full blown infection. After two days I was prescribed an antibiotic. Can infections cause macular degeneration? The follow-up eye exam showed that my visual acuity decreased from 20/70 to 20/100. Was this a result of the infection? [ 12/17/12 ]

Infections have not been shown to cause or worsen age-related macular degeneration. Your vision could be slightly worse for a variety of other reasons after the infection, including something as simple as dryness of the ocular surface. If your visual acuity does not return to the baseline 20/70, please ask your eye specialist to describe to you any changes he or she might note compared to your pre-infection exam. A variation of 20/70 to 20/100 could also be related to testing conditions such as brightness of the room, minor differences in distance to the chart, etc.

What is senile macular degeneration, and can you tell me what a retinal defect without detachment means? [ 12/17/12 ]

Senile or age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the most common type of macular degeneration and this occurs after 55 years of age. Some would interpret the term “senile” as pejorative, and thus “age-related macular degeneration” is the more commonly used term.

A “retinal defect without detachment” is a complete absence of retinal tissue without fluid underneath the retina nearby. Some of these retinal defects lead to fluid underneath the retina and latter retinal detachment, and some retinal defects do not.

My daughter was diagnosed with heredomacular degeneration when she was six years old. Are there any treatments or strategies to prevent further deterioration of her vision? [ 12/17/12 ]

There are many types of rare macular degeneration that are inherited and seen commonly in children. Without knowing the specific type of inherited macular degeneration your daughter has, it is not possible to specifically share a particular prognosis or treatment strategy to preserve vision. Your daughter may benefit from evaluation by a specialist in inherited retinal diseases. These specialists can be found in large academic centers, and may be able to share with you more about the prognosis of your daughter's disease, eligibility for clinical trials, and strategies to maximize vision and visual function.

I am 43 years old and have a history of multiple sclerosis and leukemia. I have been diagnosed with dry macular degeneration and was wondering if my medical history could have something to do with the macular degeneration, and would like to know the most common cause of macular degeneration. [ 12/17/12 ]

Neither leukemia nor multiple sclerosis has been linked to more frequently developing age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). The exact cause of ARMD is not known, but is thought to be related to genetic factors combined with environmental exposures. For example, ARMD is more common in people of Northern European ancestry and also more common in heavy smokers.

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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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