Treatments for Dry Macular Degeneration

Once dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) reaches the advanced stage, there is no form of treatment at present to prevent further vision loss. However, there are intervention measures that could delay and possibly prevent intermediate AMD from progressing to the advanced stage in which vision loss occurs.

The National Eye Institute’s Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that the progression of AMD could be delayed or prevented by taking nutritional supplements with a specific high-dose formulation of antioxidants (vitamins C and E and betacarotene), zinc, and copper. A follow-up trial (AREDS2) was completed in May 2013. In that study researchers found that the addition of omega-3 fatty acids to the supplements did not improve the formula’s success. The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin proved safer than beta-carotene, which increases the risk of lung cancer for smokers or ex-smokers.

The AREDS2 recommendation for the supplement formula is:

  • 500 mg of vitamin C
  • 400 IUs of vitamin E
  • 10 mg of lutein
  • 2 mg of zeaxanthin
  • 80 mg of zinc
  • 2 mg of copper

It’s important to find the right vitamins, since many are marketed for eye health but only a few have formulas that have proven effective.

Implantable Miniature Telescope

Approved by the FDA in 2010, the CentraSight® implantable miniature telescope (IMT) may help those with end-stage AMD gain back some vision. The tiny telescope is inserted into one eye, which then provides central vision while the other eye provides peripheral vision.

The telescope projects images over healthy areas of the retina. The IMT can usually be implanted by an eye surgeon during an outpatient surgical visit. After surgery, patients must participate in a structured vision rehabilitation program to learn how to perform daily activities using the device.


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