The People's Perspective on Medicine

How to Save Your Vision Despite Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is a major cause of vision loss among older adults, but both drugs used to treat wet macular degeneration preserve vision.
Eye exam glaucoma macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an important cause of vision loss among older people. Researchers discovered almost twenty years ago that people with moderate AMD could slow the progression of their macular degeneration by taking a specific nutritional supplement (Archives of Ophthalmology, Oct., 2001). That trial (AREDS) was updated a few years ago, with the finding that lutein and zeaxanthin could be substituted for beta-carotene and get equally beneficial results. Adding fish oil to the supplement did not help, however. (JAMA, May 15, 2013). You can read more about that study here.

Drugs That Treat Macular Degeneration:

Although AMD can cause blindness, a long-term study shows that treatment with medications that prevent blood vessel proliferation can help preserve vision for years. The drugs bevacizumab (Avastin) and ranibizumab (Lucentis) are both used for treating “wet” macular degeneration. Lucentis was designed specifically for this purpose, while Avastin is also used to treat cancer. Bevacizumab is substantially less expensive than Lucentis, however.

Both Drugs Help Preserve Vision:

A large clinical trial compared the two and found that they are equally effective. Five years of follow-up found that half the patients treated had 20/40 vision. That is far from perfect, but it is good enough to drive or read. In comparison, fewer than 10 percent of untreated patients with macular degeneration are able to maintain 20/40 vision.

Ophthalmology, May, 2016

Presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, May 2, 2016, Seattle, WA

Rate this article
star-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-empty
4.7- 41 ratings
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 4 comments
Comments
Add your comment

What is the difference between “dry” macular degeneration and “wet” macular degeneration? And is the treatment (as much as there is any treatment) different. I have started taking Areds2; it seems that is about the best that can be done now.

I also have AMD and read recently that sprouting of seeds will slow it’s progression along with a lot of fruits and vegetables. There is a book in print re: AMD and it is very helpful.

I was diagnosed back in 2008 both eyes and told there was nothing I could do. I turned to the Internet and learned about lutein and zeaxanthin. I upped my intake of veggies (Google vegetables with the most of these things). I get my eyes checked every year.

Apparently even different docs see the tell tale signs in the back of my eyes BUT the disease has not manifested yet. Thank goodness! I read a study reported in the NYTimes saying that aspirin users have higher rates. I had been taking aspirin everyday as heart attack prevention. All drugs have unwanted effects. Go plant based. Look at NutritionFacts.org.

Has any progress been made on the treatment for the dry type of Macular Degeneration? My husband has lost almost all vision in one eye and now it is starting in his other eye. Please tell me there is something that can preserve the vision he has remaining. He has been taking the vitamin protocol for Macular Degeneration for about 15 years now.

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^