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Treatments for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

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  • Dr. Guy Eakin: Hello, I'm Dr. Guy Eakin. Today I'm going to talk about the treatments that are currently available for age related macular degeneration or AMD. There are two types of macular degeneration. The more common dry form, which affects 90% of people living with the disease. And the more serious wet form. The dry for may worsen into the wet form. Or it may not for reasons that are not fully known. In some cases, the web form may arise without a person ever having had the dry form. Caught early, It's possible to reduce the risk of progressing from the dry the more severe wet stage of the disease. There's a few studies that found that taking a specific high dose formula of antioxidant vitamins and seeing certain stages of the disease may delay or prevent further vision loss. That formula called AREDS is recommended for those with intermediate AMD in one or both eyes. It's also recommended for those with advanced AMD in only one eye, whether that be wet or dry form of the disease. Unfortunately this treatment hasn't shown any effect on earlier stage AMD in the earlier phase the best thing for patients to do is visit the doctor regularly to monitor the disease and maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are some clinical trials on your way to test new treatments for dry AMD and you may wish to talk to your eye care provider about whether these experimental treatments would be appropriate for your condition all the remaining treatments that I'm going to discuss are for AMD’s wet form only. While wet AMD cannot be cured their ways of slowing the disease treatments concentrate on stopping the fluid linkage so laser surgery and injections into the arm or eye have been found to delay the growth of fragile and often leaky blood vessels that can cause the vision loss the main treatments for what AMD introduced one of four medicines through an ongoing series of injection several weeks apart so the drugs that are used at the United States are Avastin, EYLEA, Lucentis, or Macugen.* These drugs block the protein that promotes growth of those leaky blood vessels. The procedure is simple, the eye doctor numbs the outside of the eye to limit discomfort before injecting the drug into the eye. There are two other treatments for what AMD that are less commonly used. Photodynamic therapy is used for a rare form of AMD. It involves an injection this time into the arm have a drug that is absorbed by the leaky blood vessels in the eye; lasers and directed to the eye for about a minute; this activates the drug which then destroys the week blood vessels but spares the healthy ones and therefore slows the rate of vision loss. More rarely, laser photo coagulation surgery may also be considered. This uses laser light to burn and seal leaking vessels. No treatment will work for everyone in the same way. So patients doctors should discuss the patient specific situation and preferences as well as potential side effects before deciding on a course of treatment.


    * UPDATE: In October of 2019, the FDA approved Beovu® (brolucizumab). Learn more about this treatment.

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