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Science & Research

Latest Questions and Answers
Does Coumadin affect macular degeneration? [ 03/25/11 ]

This is complicated question and depends on exactly what you mean by “affect.” First, the AREDS supplement prescribed for people with a certain subtype of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) contains high levels of vitamin E which can affect warfarin (Coumadin) levels. Also, a recent study has proposed that patients with the wet form of ARMD can have increased rates of bleeding inside the eye compared to patients with wet ARMD who do not take Coumadin. Please do not stop taking Coumadin without consulting the physician(s) who prescribed it to you.

Can x-ray therapy treat wet macular degeneration? Is this treatment available now? [ 03/25/11 ]

Oraya Therapeutics is presently testing a device called the IRay system to treat wet macular degeneration.  This device may be used alone or in combination with certain anti-VEGF therapies to promote anti-inflammatory, anti-neovascular and anti-fibrotic effects.    Preliminary testing of the efficacy of the IRay in animal models seems promising.  As such, patients are now being recruited for Phase I clinical trials.  More information regarding the clinical trial, entitled “Safety & Efficacy Study of the IRay System in Patients with Choroidal Neovascularization (CNV) Secondary to Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD),” can be found on the ClinicalTrials.gov website.

Please provide some information about Dr. Nicholas Bazan’s research concerning neuroprotectin D1. How does this compound affect toxins that build up in the retina? [ 03/24/11 ]

Dr. Bazan's research group has done extensive work regarding the role of neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1) in the central nervous system, which includes the retina. Overall, they report that NPD1 promotes “cell-protective, anti-inflammatory, pro-survival repair signaling,” specifically in retinal pigment epithelial cells, which play a critical role in the development of macular degeneration.

Currently, Dr. Bazan and colleagues are testing whether NPD1 can preserve vision in mice with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). So far, they've taken photos and specific measurements of the back of the eyes (retinas) of the mice and created the treatment delivery system. Next year, they will treat the AMD mice and compare those results with this year's measurements to determine whether NPD1 can protect vision. If this treatment works in mice, the next step will be to take it into human clinical studies.

Below are the references for two comprehensive scientific review articles that summarize some of the work he has done on NPD1.

  • Bazan NG. (2009) Neuroprotectin D1-mediated anti-inflammatory and survival signaling in strok, retinal degenerations, and Alzheimer's disease. J Lipid Research, Supplement 50, pages S400-5.
  • Bazan NG. (2007) Omega-3 fatty acids, pro-inflammatory signaling and neuroprotection. Current Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, volume 10, issue 2, pages 136-41.

I have had dry age-related macular degeneration for at least 25 years, and it has remained stable. Approximately 5 months ago, I started using Restasis for dry eyes. About 1month ago, however, my right eye started to show signs of wet macular degeneration, and I am now getting a series of Avastin shots to stop the bleeding. Is there any relationship between using Restasis and the development of wet macular degeneration? [ 03/23/11 ]

According to the product information provided by Allergan, the makers of Restasis, the most common side effects of using the medication are: temporary burning, eye redness, discharge, watery eyes, eye pain, foreign body sensation, itching, stinging and blurred vision. I found no published reports, either from Allergan or other sources, suggesting any possible relationship between the use of Restasis and development or progression to wet macular degeneration. You may wish to discuss this further with your ophthalmologist.

Do you know if dogs can get this eye disease? [ 03/21/11 ]

Dogs do not have a macula per se, but they do have a region called the 'area centralis,' which shares many of the features of the human macula. Dogs do not get age-related macular degeneration; however, they can get eye diseases that would be considered forms of macular degeneration that effect younger people, such as Best disease (which has symptoms like dry age-related macular degeneration).

I have been getting shots in my eye for macular degeneration, and the pain is getting unbearable. I have tried strong medication with little effect, and I do not feel that my doctor understands what I am experiencing. I may stop treatment, and would appreciate your opinion concerning this choice. [ 03/20/11 ]

Eye pain can be a very unpleasant part of eye injections. Several medications exist to reduce the pain including anesthetic drops, anesthetic gels, anesthetic injections, or a combination of these options. If you are suffering from unbearable pain it is important to have a discussion with your retina specialist regarding this issue, so that a pain management plan can be developed. It is not a good option to stop treatment because that can lead to a permanent worsening of central vision.

During my latest eye exam, my doctor said that there are changes to the pigment in my eyes and this means that I might develop macular degeneration in the future. Can you explain this to me? I have no symptoms other than this pigment change [ 03/19/11 ]

Early signs of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) include pigment changes in the central part of the retina known as the macula. However, a certain quantity of pigment change, or other factors (or other signs) is required to make a formal diagnosis of ARMD. The exact cause of ARMD is not known, but pigment changes may be a sign of irritation or injury to the part of the eye underneath the retina, called the retinal pigment epithelium. Not all people with pigment changes go on to develop ARMD, however. It is important that you continue your yearly eye exams so any potential eye disease can be caught early.

Is it possible for an individual who has been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration to have days on which vision temporarily improves? [ 03/18/11 ]

Visual clarity varies based on a variety of factors. While dry age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is typically expected to cause very gradual worsening of central vision in the eye, other factors can cause vision to temporarily improve. One example of such a factor is hydration of the cornea. A better hydrated cornea can result in temporary visual improvement, and this effect can be mimicked by the use of artificial tears. Also, if a person has diabetes, vision may appear better on days when blood sugar is properly controlled and in a healthy range.

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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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