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Latest Questions and Answers
I am a 45-year-old male who was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) 3 years ago. At a recent exam, my doctor described my condition as "borderline moderate." I know that the progression of AMD is unpredictable; however, I would like to know if the disease is always progressive if it stays in the dry form. Are there any norms or stats that indicate the average rate or progression of this eye disease? [ 04/16/11 ]

Dry age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) tends to progress at a slow rate causing a gradual loss of vision over many years to decades. When dry ARMD  eventually affects the very center of vision, called the fovea, vision is typically lost at an increased rate. In one study, the rate of significant visual loss was 8% per year, with patients over 75 years of age progressing at a faster rate. New imaging technologies have enabled doctors to identify certain people with faster progressing subtypes of dry ARMD, and specific genes have also been linked to forms of this eye disease that progress more quickly.


I am a 56-year-old male who was diagnosed with peripheral degeneration, and I also have diabetes. What is the difference between peripheral degeneration and macular degeneration? How can I find the best eye doctors in the Rochester area of New York who can help me with my particular disorder? [ 04/15/11 ]

Peripheral degeneration of the retina is frequently an age-related change with no visual consequences, though this depends on the specific type of peripheral degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration is a disease of the central part of the retina called the macula, and is unrelated to peripheral retinal degeneration. A second opinion is always beneficial for greater peace of mind, so you can either ask your current eye doctor for a recommendation or seek consultation at the nearest academic center.


I had a cataract removed successfully from my right eye. I now have a cataract in my left eye and the doctors do not want to remove it because the vision in my right eye is good. Can you explain this? [ 04/14/11 ]

Cataract surgery or any other surgery requires that the benefit to the patient outweighs the risk of surgery. Though cataract surgery is commonly performed, patients can permanently lose some or all vision in the eye if a variety of rare complications occur. It is likely that your eye doctor does not feel that the cataract surgery in your left eye would benefit you more than the risks associated with having surgery. It is possible that the cataract is not yet having substantial impact on your vision. You may also have other factors that are contributing to the decision not to perform cataract surgery, and your doctors can provide you with further clarification regarding this.


I have dry macular degeneration, and it was first spotted by my optometrist, who dilated my iris and photographed the retina at 6 month intervals. Should I also be seeing an eye physician who specializes in macular degeneration? I am taking the AREDS vitamins, but nothing more. It doesn't seem as though there is much more that a specialist can do at this point, and the cost would certainly go up for me. Thank you for your input. [ 04/13/11 ]

The only treatment currently available for the dry subtype of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is the AREDS vitamin supplement. If you feel that you would have greater peace of mind with a second opinion, you may benefit from a one-time evaluation by a retinal specialist. They may also be able to direct you to literature so that you can learn more about your disease, and inform you of any clinical trials that you are eligible to participate in.


During the last year, my eyes have gone from bad to worse. I had cataract surgery in October of 2010, and now my vision is worse than it was then. I was told there was nothing that could be done and I would just have to live with it. I sought a second opinion and was given a prescription for glasses. My issue is not that I can't see, but that I can't see WELL! I live on Long Island in New York, and would like to know what eye doctor group can best help me. I need someone who I can trust and will do what’s right for me. I am willing to travel into New York City. Also, I wanted to mention that I am not receiving treatment for my glaucoma. Thank you for your help. [ 04/12/11 ]

The reason for your decreased vision could be from many causes, but without further details I cannot elaborate. Glaucoma can cause central visual loss, however this typically occurs only with advanced glaucoma. Since I do not have information about your primary eye problem, I cannot make a recommendation for the appropriate specialist in New York. It might be most expeditious to contact a previous eye care provider and ask who they would recommend for the specific problem you are having. Otherwise, a major academic medical center would be a reasonable place to contact as well.


I am in a quandary and am I hoping that you can provide some clarification. I have had wet macular degeneration in both eyes for the past 5 years, and have responded well to the eye injections. A few weeks ago, a friend called the organization that makes PreserVision and was told that since she has a history of smoking that she should be taking the formulation with lutein and not the one with vitamin A. Can you please clarify this for me? [ 04/11/11 ]

The standard AREDS formulation of vitamins found in PreserVision contains a type of vitamin A derivative called beta carotene. Beta carotene may result in increased rates of lung cancer in smokers. Lutein is thought give similar benefit to smokers with dry age-related macular degeneration, but does not result in increased risk of lung cancer.


Are there doctors performing artificial retinal surgery? Is there someone that I can contact about this treatment? [ 04/07/11 ]

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science has funded the “Artificial Retina Project.” To find out more information about the project, participating centers/locations and how to possibly enroll in a clinical trial, please visit: http://artificialretina.energy.gov/about.shtml.


I would like to know if Tozal can help stabilize the vision in my 85-year-old aunt. [ 04/01/11 ]

The answer depends greatly on what is causing the visual change in your aunt. Assuming your aunt has the dry form of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), Tozal may have benefit. The data for Tozal is very limited, however, because the study was performed in a small number of patients for a short duration of time. The study showed that taking Tozal had a borderline effect in very slightly improving vision. The average amount of visual gain would not be noticeable by many patients. The best evidence for using nutritional supplements was generated by the large AREDS study. This study is being followed by the AREDS 2 study, which is still ongoing. The AREDS 2 supplement has some similarity to the Tozal supplement. Ask your aunt's ophthalmologist if she is a candidate for an AREDS supplement, as this supplement has been shown to definitely decrease the progression of certain types of ARMD. 


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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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