The Macula is the center of the Retina surrounding the fovea. It is responsible for the sharpest vision. There are two main forms of macular degeneration. The ‘dry’ form of Macular Degeneration is the deterioration or break down of the lining of the Retina called the retinal pigment epithelium. This can progress to the ‘Wet’ form of macular degeneration by causing abnormal blood vessels to grow and leak fluid or bleed. Diagnosis and treatment of Macular Degeneration is determined with a dilated eye exam and further diagnostic testing if indicated. A fluorescein angiogram and and OCT will be done to determine whether treatment is necessary.
Dry macular degeneration may cause a slow decline in your vision over a long period of time, but it usually does not cause severe vision loss. Dry macular degeneration is identified by yellow deposits in the macula called drusen. Common risk factors include age, family history of wet macular degeneration, and smoking. It is more commone in females and Caucasians. Although there is no treatment for the ‘Dry” form, antioxidant vitamins such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin may help slow down the progression.
Wet Macular degeneration may cause a sudden and significant loss of vision. Wet macular degeneration is the growth of abmormal Symptoms include straight lines that appear distorted or a dark spot usually in the center of your vision. Fortunately, there is treatment available for Wet Macular Degeneration. They include a variety of FDA approved injections.
Both Lucentis and Eylea are FDA approved for the treatment of wet macular degeneration. They both target abnormal leaky blood vessesl that grow into the macula. Avastin is another option for treatment and has shown to be efficacious in the treatment of wet macular degeneration, but has not been approved by the FDA. Lucentis, Eylea, and Avastin are injected into the eye. Some side effects include pain in and around the eye, redness, and elevated eye pressure. Another form of treatment, Visudyne with Photodyamic Therapy or PDT. Visudyne is injected into a vein, usually the arm. As the medication flows through the bloodstream, it adheres to the abnormal vessels in the eye. A ‘cold’ laser is applied to the area to stimulate the medication, Visudyne, to target the abnormal blood vessels. After the laser, it is critical to stay out of the sun for 48 hours.
There is now good news for people with advanced macular degeneration. With the help of a newly FDA approved implantable telescopic lens, many patients may be able to see better. This implantable telescopic lens (IMT) has been developed by CentraSight and has been implanted in fewer than 30 patients in California.
LUCENTIS® (ranibizumab injection) is a prescription medicine for the treatment of patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD), macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (RVO), and diabetic macular edema (DME).
Avastin® solution for IV injection is approved to treat various cancers. It frequently is used to treat macular degeneration as less expensive alternative to Lucentis.
EYLEA® (aflibercept) is an injection Indicated for the treatment of patients with neovascular (Wet) Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Indicated for the treatment of patients with Macular Edema following Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO).