Diagnosis and Treatment
An eye specialist will be able to confirm the presence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Fundus fluorescein angiogram may be performed to look at the extent and severity of the disease.
For dry AMD, certain lifestyle modifications such as stopping smoking may help reduce progression of the disease. The use of low vision aids may also help in visual rehabilitation.
For wet AMD, a new and improved treatment involves injecting special medication into the eye to stop abnormal blood vessel growth and leakage. These drugs (e.g. Lucentis [ranibizumab] and Avastin [bevacizumab]) work by inhibiting proteins called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in the body. VEGF is thought to contribute to development of macular degeneration by promoting the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the retina. Clinical trials have shown that these new treatments gave better visual results compared to traditional treatment using lasers alone.
These may be combined with laser treatment to seal off the abnormal vessels. Argon laser or photodynamic therapy with Visudyne treatment may also be used, depending on the nature and location of the abnormal vessels and membrane. These treatments may help to slow down the progression of the disease and prevent further visual loss.