Macular Degeneration

  • Medical Author:
    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS

    Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Eye Problems Pictures Slideshow: Recognize These Common Eye Conditions

What is the treatment for dry macular degeneration?

There is currently no treatment available to reverse dry macular degeneration. However, dry macular degeneration is usually slowly progressive and most patients with this condition are able to live relatively normal, productive lives. Often one eye is affected more than the other.

Once dry AMD reaches the advanced stage, no form of treatment can prevent further vision loss. However, treatment can delay and possibly prevent intermediate AMD from progressing to the advanced stage of severe vision loss. The National Eye Institute's Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that taking a specific high-dose formulation of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduces the risk of advanced AMD and it's associated vision loss. Slowing AMD's progression from the intermediate stage to the advanced stage is helpful in reducing the progression of visual loss in many people.

In this study, researchers used an antioxidant formulation that included vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene (or vitamin A), and zinc. For people with early-stage dry macular degeneration, there is no evidence that these vitamins provide a benefit. It is recommended that people with intermediate-stage dry AMD in one or both eyes or advanced stage AMD (dry or wet) in one eye, but not the other eye, take the AREDS formulation. Patients with increased risk of lung cancer should not take beta carotene. Studies involving other supplements such as lutein and bilberry are currently being performed.

The progression of dry age-related macular degeneration can also be slowed through lifestyle changes. These include changing the diet to include more fruits and vegetable, choosing healthy unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, over unhealthy saturated fats, such as butter, eating whole grains rather than refined grains and adding fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/7/2015
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  • Macular Degeneration - Treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration

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