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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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I have been diagnosed with macular degeneration. Are there

Customer Question

I have been diagnosed with macular degeneration. Are there any treatments for this condition
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 5 years ago.
Doctor DanB : Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?
Doctor DanB : Patients with ARMD can experience no symptoms at all, a generalized worsening of their central vision or they can experience distortions (such as objects that should be straight that are wavy) and/or scotomas (areas of their vision in which they see nothing). There are typical spots found in the retina of patients who are diagnosed with macular degeneration, and these spots are called drusen. Drusen are collections of metabolic byproducts of the retina; they are yellowish spots as seen on exam by the ophthalmologist which collect underneath the retina. The retina overlying these drusen has the potential to waste away and lose function as well as having leaking of fluid, blood, and/or cholesterol through these spots. Drusen are a fairly generic feature of many retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), in addition to retinal dystrophies and other retinal degenerations.  There is a dry form of ARMD, that 90% of those with ARMD have, and a wet form (which 10% of those with ARMD have). Fortunately, of those that lose significant vision, only 10% have the dry form and 90% have the wet form. The bottom-line is the dry form is best and most people with that form don't lose significant vision.However, it is possible to convert from dry to wet. For that reason there are a few things that can be done to help decrease those chances and to help catch it if it does happen. The things we know for sure that affect the course of macular degeneration are as follows: 1. Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet and exercising regularly provide the best lifestyle protection against age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) worsening. 2. Taking the AREDS vitamin is also crucial to slowing the progression of vision loss and decreasing the incidence of severe vision loss from ARMD. However, it is important to take the supplement (# of pills and # of times per day) as it states on the supplement bottle; some people take less # of pills or take it less times per day than is recommended, but with an altered regimen, the efficacy of these vitamins may be suspect. Additionally, if you have ever smoked before, it is important to make sure that you're not taking an AREDS supplement with vitamin A or beta-carotene (those are synonyms) in it; this can increase your risk of lung cancer if you've smoked and are taking this vitamin. 3. Also, smoking increases your risk of worsening ARMD so stopping smoking would be important. 4. Lastly, protect your eyes from UV exposure by wearing sunglasses while outside in the sun. 5. It is important to monitor his vision on a regular basis (1-2x/week) with an Amsler grid. The instructions and a copy of the grid can be found online with a simple google search. This will enable you to catch any possible changes to the vision which could herald a conversion from dry to wet ARMD. If this were to happen it would be vital to your vision to see his ophthalmologist right away to get this treated because if it is caught in time, the changes can be stopped and in some cases reversed. However, if these vision changes are ignored for a week or more, then they can scar over and become permanent. Those are the only things that have been proven to affect the course of ARMD. Does this information help address your concerns? Does this make sense? Do you have any other concerns that I haven't addressed?
Doctor DanB : It appears you are momentarily offline.  I am happy to be able to help you today. I will also be happy to answer any other questions until you have the information you need; please just respond with any further needs and I will address them then.If not, Please help me get credit for my efforts in answering your questions and press the ACCEPT button for this encounter; this allows part of the funds that you have deposited to the website to be released for my efforts to assist you. This does not end our conversation, however-we can continue to discuss any of your concerns without further charges until you are satisfied.Any positive feedback and/or bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated. Thanks for your inquiry!My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor.
Doctor DanB : Do you have any questions about this?