How Wet Macular Degeneration is Treated Compared to Dry Macular Degeneration

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Ophthalmologist, discusses How Wet Macular Degeneration is Treated Compared to Dry Macular Degeneration

Ophthalmologist, discusses How Wet Macular Degeneration is Treated Compared to Dry Macular Degeneration

Video transcript

Featuring Dr. David Maberley, MD, MSc (Epid), FRCSC, Ophthalmologist video title: How Wet Macular Degeneration is Treated Compared to Dry Macular Degeneration Duration: 3 minutes, 8 seconds

Now, if you do end up being diagnosed with wet or dry macular degeneration, there are treatments.

The dry macular degeneration form tends to be managed right now with antioxidant vitamins. And there’s a formulation that has been developed through the National Institute of Health in the United States.

It was a large, properly designed clinical trial that give us a recommendation for certain vitamins. And those vitamins are Vitamin C and E, zinc, usually with some copper supplementation, so you don’t get anemia with too much zinc, and then something called lutein or zeaxanthin, which are carotenoid chemicals that protect the macula.

So that formulation tends to be what’s recommended these days for patients with evidence of early macular degeneration, and really, the key thing here is that you need to have an ophthalmologist tell you that you have enough macular generation to go on the vitamins, and not just go on them on your own because you may or may not actually benefit from them.

If you go on the vitamins, there’s roughly a 30 percent reduction in your risk of getting macular generation over a five to seven year period, so there is some benefit to them for the right patients.

So the wet macular degeneration condition is now treated with injections of chemicals into the back of the eye. And this is a relatively new development over the past decade, and the vision results are spectacular compared to anything that’s been possible before.

In the past, patients would lose two, three lines of vision in their first year, and now we’re gaining two or three lines of vision in the first year with these chemicals. The class of chemicals are called anti-VEGF chemicals. That’s V-E-G-F, and they’re injected into the back of your eye roughly every month to two months, and it can be done quite painlessly, and your ophthalmologist can give you freezing and then clean your eye properly so your risk of infection is lowered.

But that often is required for up to two years. And depending on your disease process, you may need treatments beyond that as well. But by doing that treatment process, your likelihood of losing vision with wet macular degeneration is reduced significantly, and most people are able to maintain the vision that they come in with at their diagnosis, and really hold onto that vision for many, many years.

We find that the sooner people come in, the smaller the area of the retina that’s damaged. And as they delay treatment and delay diagnosis, the area that’s involved with the wet macular degeneration expands.

So the sooner we catch it, the more we can limit the damage. And there’s really no window, but if it’s left for many, many months or even a year, there can be permanent scarring that is irreversible, and then at that point, the injections may or may not have any benefit at all.

So there is a window. The sooner the better. We can’t get you in soon enough. We’d like to get you the first few hours after the disease begins, but that’s never possible. Ideally within a few days of the diagnosis of wet macular degeneration, you do want to be treated.

So if you have further questions about the treatment of macular degeneration, whether the wet or dry kind, speak to your family doctor or your local ophthalmologist.

Presenter: Dr. David Maberley, Ophthalmologist, Ottawa, ON

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This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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