Go through the following article to get relevant and useful information on some of the available treatment options for macular degeneration along with types and diagnostic techniques for the same.
The center of the retina is called macula. It is the layer of tissue present on the inside back wall of the eye. Sometimes, the macula gets deteriorated; it mostly happens in old age. The chronic condition of deteriorated tissues in the part of the eye responsible for central vision is known as macular degeneration. It does not cause complete blindness, but surely affects the quality of life of the patient, as it leads to blurring vision or presence of a blind spot in the central vision. You need to have a clear vision for reading, recognizing faces, driving, etc. You tend to be at a higher risk of developing this condition when you are over 50 years of age.
There are basically two types of macular degeneration – dry and wet. The first type is a more common condition. It involves breakage or thinning of the retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) present in the macula. RPE cells are sensitive to light and contain numerous photoreceptors. The death of these cells is medically termed as atrophy. That is why dry macular degeneration is also known as atrophic macular degeneration. It is symptomized by thinning of the macula and the presence of dots of yellow crystalline deposits which develop within the macula. This particular form may not only affect your central vision but also color perception.
Wet macular degeneration is a more serious form of this disease. In this type, the membrane underneath the retina thickens and then breaks. There is disruption in the oxygen supply to the macula. Your body responds to this by growing new but abnormal blood vessels. They begin to grow through the breaks of the membrane behind the retina towards the macula. It often results in the rise of the level of retina. Such damage to the macula results in rapid loss of central vision and once the damage occurs, it is beyond restoration.
An ophthalmologist may perform a set of examinations to determine whether you are suffering from macular degeneration or not. He will use some eye drops to enlarge your pupils. He will then use a special lens to see your optic nerve and retina. He will also look for any change in the blood vessels and the membrane that surrounds them. The ophthalmologist may ask you to cover one eye and look at a pattern of lines called an Amsler grid. In case you find the straight lines to be wavy, you may be suffering from macular degeneration. The doctor may use of some other diagnostic tests like, fluorescein angiogram and optical coherence tomography.
There is no dry macular degeneration treatment available. However, you may live a relatively normal life with it, particularly if your vision has been affected only minimally. The medical professionals often prescribe high doses of vitamins and minerals to slow down the progression of this disease. They include vitamin A, C, and E, copper and zinc.
There are a number of wet macular degeneration treatment options, which have been discussed below:
Injectable Drug Treatment
The injectable drug treatment directly targets the growth of blood vessels in the macula. The ophthalomologist will numb your eyes with an anesthetic. This medicine will stop the blood vessels from growing, bleeding and leaking. You will be given such an injection every 4-6 weeks. This is done to prevent the blood vessels from further affecting the vision. There are some side effects of this particular treatment, like, redness and scratchiness in the eyeball.
The photodynamic therapy involves administration of a drug injected into the bloodstream. The drug concentrates in the abnormal blood vessels beneath the macula. The ophthalmologist then focuses cold-laser light at the macula. This activates the drug and results in the closing of abnormal blood vessels. This all happens without the damaging of macula. Photodynamic therapy is commonly performed as a combination therapy with other options of macular hole treatment.
Photocoagulation is also known as laser surgery. It uses a high-energy laser beam to create small burns in parts of the retina, which have abnormal blood vessels. It is considered as a better treatment option, when the abnormal blood vessels are still outside the area of the central vision. The doctor decides if it should be used or not on the basis of the location and appearance of the blood vessels, amount of leakage, and the general health of the macula. The photocoagulation may also destroy some surrounding healthy tissues of the eye, which may affect the vision.
Submacular Hemorrhage Displacement Surgery
Doctors use this particular procedure in rare circumstances. Your ophthalmologist may perform it on you if you have experienced loss of vision, which is associated with blood under the macula, and you still have healthy tissue around the macula. The doctor often conducts vitrectomy in conjunction with injections to dissolve the clot and displace the hemorrhage. When the hemorrhage moves away from the central vision, the blood vessels underlying the macula break and cause bleeding.
Since vitamins and minerals can decelerate the progression of macular degeneration, you should make it a point to include them in your daily diet. It will surely help you prevent this eye condition for a long time.