Dry Macular Degeneration Treatment
by Isobel Washington
Macular degeneration, most often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a progressive eye disease characterized by the deterioration of the macula (the central part of the retina responsible for acute vision). Dry macular degeneration has no cure, but there are treatments to slow its progression.
Advanced AMD is the leading cause of permanent vision loss for Americans over the age of 60, according to AllAboutVision.com. Dry macular degeneration is AMD in its early stages, before the possible advancement of wet AMD, which threatens vision loss. Until recently, there were no effective treatments for dry AMD.
Functions of Treatment
Because dry AMD has no cure, treatment methods currently focus on preserving vision ability and preventing vision loss by inhibiting progression toward wet AMD. Dry AMD patients account for 85 to 90 percent of all AMD patients, and have a 10 percent chance of progressing to wet AMD, with an even higher chance if dry AMD is left untreated.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) reports that AREDS (age related eye disease study) special vitamin-and-antioxidant-potent formula is effective for preserving vision and preventing advanced AMD. The supplements include vitamins C, E, and A, beta-carotene, copper and zinc. Before this finding, there were no dry AMD treatments.
The NEI study found that dry AMD patients who took the AREDS formula lowered the risk of advanced AMD by 25 percent. Results concluded that these high levels of vitamins, antioxidants and zinc are highly effective for preventing advanced AMD and its associated vision loss.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Lutein
The NEI is now testing the effects of other vitamins and nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids and lutein, on macular degeneration advancement. Lutein is a protective antioxidant found naturally in the macular tissue (and throughout the human body), green leafy vegetables and orange fruits and in supplements.
Rheopheresis is a potential treatment for dry AMD that is under clinical study. This treatment is based on the idea that macular degeneration is a disease of vascular origin, and therefore its cure requires a change in blood composition, according to The Eye Digest on AgingEye.net (agingeye.net/mainnews/rheopheresis.php).