I am 27 years old and was recently diagnosed with early-onset of macular degeneration. In my case, it is genetic so I am researching treatments and just general ways to stay healthy as long as possible in hopes that I can delay the effects of this disease. Do you have any advice or know of any studies I could be a part of in Canada? I know that this is typically an age-related disease, and I am having a hard time finding other young people in my situation. [ 11/28/12 ]
Macular degeneration is the name for a broad category of diseases. Of this broad category, age-related macular degeneration is the most common subtype. The prognosis, treatment, and potential clinical trials depend on the specific type of macular degeneration you have. Please ask your retina specialist to determine the exact type of macular degeneration you have and then you can research your specific disease. Several clinical trial websites are listed on this page of our site:
In addition, Health Canada is building a similar registry. These websites will be helpful after speaking to your retina specialist.
My mom has had macular degeneration for several years. The doctor performed laser surgery on one eye about ten years ago and she subsequently lost her vision completely in that eye. Now she receives Lucentis injections, but they do not help. What else can she do? [ 11/28/12 ]
In several large clinical trials, Lucentis stopped vision loss in 90 percent of patients, and improved vision in about 30 – 40 percent. You mother may not be in the 30 – 40 percent of patients that demonstrates an improvement in vision after taking Lucentis, especially if she has had prior laser treatment for age related macular degeneration. Laser treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) was minimally effective in stopping vision loss from ARMD, and sometimes resulted in scarring of the retina and worse vision. This unfavorable risk to reward profile is why laser treatment is not commonly used today to treat wet ARMD.
Is there any reason to be concerned that regular use of eReaders could exacerbate mild macular degeneration? [ 09/24/12 ]
There is no evidence that use of computers, tablets, or eReaders is harmful to people with dry or wet age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). In fact, patients with ARMD often benefit from the abilities of these electronic devices to provide increased contrast or enlargement of text. Low vision specialists often recommend such assistive devices when reading for patient with various eye diseases.
Can cataract surgery in a person with dry macular degeneration cause the disease to progress to wet macular degeneration? [ 09/24/12 ]
Numerous studies have been performed to determine if cataract surgery is associated with increased progression of dry age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), or conversion of dry ARMD to wet ARMD. Though some studies found a link between cataract surgery and exacerbation of dry ARMD, many other studies did not find a link. Currently, the consensus is that cataract surgery is not a definite risk factor for progression of dry ARMD.
My 86-year-old mother has wet age-related macular degeneration and has been receiving monthly injections of Lucentis for 18 months. Her vision has not improved but has remained stable. A few weeks ago, her retina specialist switched her to Eylea to reduce the frequency of the injections. Then, after one week, her vision became blurry and her acuity changed from 20/80 to 20/200! Her doctor took retinal pictures and did several other tests but could not find any reason for the changes. Do you think her blurred vision is permanent and do you think she should go back to Lucentis? Thanks for your time. [ 09/24/12 ]
Though research is ongoing, no one knows the definitive effects of switching patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) from one therapy, such as Lucentis, to another therapy, such as Eylea. The trials performed with Eylea were performed on patients who had never been treated with any medicine for wet ARMD. Though these large clinical trials have demonstrated that overall, both Eylea and Lucentis perform similarly for large groups of untreated patients with wet ARMD, it may be that particular individuals respond better to one medication than the other. However, many patients have been switched between drugs without adverse events in practices across the country. Please ask your retina specialist about the possible reasons for the visual decline, as well as if switching back to Lucentis may be beneficial.
I have myelodysplastic syndrome and I would like to know if there are any clinical studies concerning blood disorders and a link to age-related macular degeneration. Thank you. [ 09/24/12 ]
No clinical studies have been published linking wet or dry age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) to myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). The exact cause of ARMD is not known, but it is thought to be related to environmental toxins, such as cigarette smoke, and genetic predispositions. One such predisposition is a certain mutation in part of the immune system called the complement cascade. Some patients with MDS also have abnormalities in the complement subpart of the immune system, but this is not thought to be a common cause of both diseases.
My mother has dry age-related macular degeneration in her left eye and the wet form in her right eye. Will the AREDS supplementation slow the progression of the disease in her left eye? Can this supplement have deleterious effects on the eye affected by the wet form for the disease? She is taking a multivitamin supplement every day, so I wonder if she is at risk of ingesting an excess of vitamins if she starts the AREDS formula. [ 09/24/12 ]
AREDS supplementation has been shown to slow disease progression in eyes that meet certain criteria based on clinical exam findings. Many people with wet-age related macular degeneration (ARMD) in one eye meet these criteria. If a patient has one eye with wet ARMD and another with dry ARMD, the AREDS supplement is not thought to worsen the eye with wet ARMD, while slowing disease progression in the dry AMD eye. The high levels of vitamins found in the AREDS formulation can have side effects, but in the AREDS clinical trial, the side effects were minimal. The most common side effects were a mild yellowing of the skin and a slight increase in urinary tract infections. If your mother is also taking other vitamin supplements, she should discuss this with both her primary doctor and her retina specialist to avoid any vitamin-related toxicity.
I am 49 years old and was diagnosed two months ago with myopic degeneration with choroidal neovascularization in my left (non-dominant) eye. I received one injection of Avastin, which thus far has stabilized the vision in my left eye. I am wondering how likely it is that my right eye, which is also highly myopic will be affected by choroidal neovascularization? Also, would scleral buckling reduce my chance of getting choroidal neovascularization in my right eye or slow the progression in my left eye? [ 07/23/12 ]
People with high myopia have a higher risk of developing choroidal neovascularization (CNV). In people who have developed CNV in one eye, the risk of developing this condition in the other eye is around 35 percent. Scleral buckling is a treatment for certain types of retinal detachment and would not typically be helpful in the treatment of CNV or myopic degeneration. People with high myopia are also at higher risk for retinal detachment, so it is important to discuss the warning signs with your retina specialist so that you know what symptoms to watch for.