Center for Sight

Comprehensive Eye Care Center

Diagnosis and Treatment of Age Related Macular Degeneration

Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to preventing vision loss from Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). If you are over the age of 40-45 and especially if anyone in your family has been told that they have macular degeneration, it is a good idea to have a complete eye exam each year. Make certain that you tell the eye doctors and staff at Center for Sight if you have a family history of Macular Degeneration. During your eye examination, eye drops will be put in your eyes to dilate your pupils to carefully examine the macula and retina using various types of instruments and sources of high magnification.

Additional tests that your doctor may perform to further evaluate the macula during your eye exam can include checking your color vision and an Amsler Grid Test, which helps identify distortion of your central vision, and may be an indication of small amounts of swelling or fluid under the macula.

Your doctor may recommend that you take an Amsler Grid home and use it each day to check for slight changes in your vision. If necessary, your doctor and staff will supply you with an Amsler Grid and detailed instructions on how to use it. If your doctor detects any signs of macular degeneration or if they believe that you may be at risk, you will be scheduled to see Center for Sight Retinal Specialist Robert Kelly, M.D. as additional testing may be necessary. Dr. Kelly may find it necessary for you to have some specialized color pictures taken of the macula and retina, an Intravenous Fluorescein Angiogram (IVF) and/or Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) test. These tests give Dr. Kelly a considerable amount of information regarding whether certain types of treatments such as Intravitreal Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Inhibitor Injections of Eylea® or Lucentis® might help stabilize your vision and prevent vision loss. Today, thanks to the advances in treating Wet Macular Degeneration, if caught early, it may be possible to avoid significant vision loss.

If you have evidence of “neovascularization” or fluid under the macula, and thus Wet Macular Degeneration, it is possible to inject Eylea® and Lucentis® medications into your eye to block or inhibit a specific protein called “Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor” (VEGF) that causes the growth of new blood vessels or “neovascularization” to occur in the eye. Eylea® and Lucentis® have been developed and FDA approved with specific indications to treat Wet Macular Degeneration. Each of these drugs works by inhibiting Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) so that there is little or no stimulus to grow new blood vessels in the Retina.

Eylea® and Lucentis® Injections are intravitreal injections-that means an injection that is placed directly into the Vitreous of the eye. Usually, they need to be repeated every four to six weeks. Clinical studies of these anti-VEGF Injections indicate that when given to patients who have evidence of new blood vessel formation monthly over 90% of patients will maintain their vision.

The anti-VEGF Injections are performed by prescription only and injected only by Center for Sight Retinal Specialist Robert Kelly, M.D. Should you have or be at risk for Wet Macular Degeneration, Dr. Kelly will discuss more about the results with you. He will also be able to tell you more about the length of your actual treatment program, as it varies for each patient. If Eylea® Injection or Lucentis® Injection is a possible option for you, Dr. Kelly will spend the time necessary to thoroughly review the possible risks, benefits and side effects with you before you decide to proceed.

There are several clinical studies that have strongly suggested that nutrition may play a role in the likelihood of developing Macular Degeneration. Simply stated, it appears that people who have a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables-particularly green leafy vegetables-have a considerably lower incidence of Macular Degeneration. It is not yet clear whether taking dietary supplements can prevent progression in patients with existing macular disease, but it does seem clear that certain dietary supplements can reduce your risk of Macular Degeneration. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), which was sponsored by the National Eye Institute , showed that taking high levels of antioxidants and Zinc could reduce the risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration by about 25%. This is not a cure, but we need to consider this as a possible way to help patients who are at risk for Age Related Macular Degeneration prevent vision loss.


BEFORE patients begin taking any course of vitamin or antioxidant supplements, you should fully discuss the risks and benefits with Dr. Kelly, who will determine in consultation with your family physician or Internist if necessary, whether this is safe and effective for you.

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