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Macula Degeneration Treatments

Dry Macular Degeneration

Currently there are no approved medical treatments for dry macular degeneration.

A major National Eye Institute study has produced strong evidence that certain nutrients such as beta carotene (vitamin A) and vitamins C and E may help prevent or slow progression of dry macular degeneration. Daily supplements such as 500 mg of Vitamin C, 400 I.U. of Vitamin E, 25,000 IU beta carotene, 80 mg of zinc and 2 mg of copper may slow the progression of MD

Wet Macular Degeneration

There are three types of treatment for wet AMD:

  • Photocoagulation uses a hot laser to seal leaking blood vessels, but can only be used in a minority of cases where the leakage is not directly in the centre of the macula.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a cold laser to seal leaking blood vessels. This involves injecting a drug that reaches and coats the abnormal blood vessels via the blood stream. The drug is then activated by shining a light at the coated blood vessels and it destroys them.
  • Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) treatments target a protein involved in the formation of new blood vessels. High levels of VEGF can cause proliferation of blood vessels and fluid leakage. The drugs are injected under the macula. Anti-VEGF treatments have been shown to halt sight loss and in some cases restore it by preventing the formation of new blood vessels

A new drug treatment for wet AMD, called anecortave acetate, aims to stop new blood vessels forming, but is injected behind the eye rather than into it. Currently, it's only at the experimental stage.


Alternative Treatments for Macular Degeneration

The attitude of conventional medicine when it comes to Macular Degeneration is that there is nothing to be done – but this view is wrong. There are some very promising therapies that have been demonstrated to slow or even reverse visual loss.

Hyperbaric oxygen HBOT

Patients receiving hyperbaric oxygen are placed in a chamber where 100% oxygen is administered under pressure. The high level of oxygen in tissues regenerates damaged tissues by saturating all cells with oxygen. The HBOT therapy also produces release of stem cells which become transformed into whatever type cells are needed for healing. The results in MD can be dramatic . In a small study the visual acuity of three patients doubled and a 4th patient’s visual acuity quadrupled.


Intravenous Nutrients

The intravenous infusion of nutrients bypasses gastrointestinal absorption producing higher blood levels of the anti-oxidants benefiting eyes(taurine, selenium, and other vitamins and minerals), good results have been achieved using this approach.


Melatonin Therapy

Melatonin is a powerful anti-oxidant which protects retinal cells from free radical damage. This simple bedtime therapy taken in a dose of 3 mg. at bedtime after 6 months had allowed most treated patients to remain stable with less retinal deterioration than expected.


Preventing Macular Degeneration

The best cure for Macular Degeneration is to prevent it happening in the first place. Maintaining good health and avoiding the risk factors can drastically reduce the chances of having to deal with this problem in the first place.

The risks of macular degeneration increase with age and there is also the possibility of a genetic link. The key risk factors associated with Macular Degeneration are listed below

  • Aging. Significant vision loss accompanying more advanced forms of AMD increases from fewer than 1 percent among individuals in their 60s to more than 15 percent among people in their 90s [3].

  • Smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor found in one British study to be directly associated with about 25 percent of AMD cases causing severe vision loss. A 2006 study also showed that those exposed to secondary smoking doubled their risk of AMD[4].

  • Heredity. Recent studies have found that specific variants of two different genes are present in most people who have macular degeneration. Studies of fraternal and identical twins may also demonstrate that heredity is a factor in who develops AMD and how severe it becomes.

  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension). A 2003 study[5] demonstrated that high blood pressure may be associated with development of macular degeneration.

  • Obesity and Inactivity. A 2003 study[6] showed that overweight patients with macular degeneration had more than double the risk of developing advanced forms of macular degeneration compared with people of normal body weight. In the same study, those who performed vigorous activity at least three times weekly reduced their risk of developing advanced AMD compared with inactive patients.

Anyone who studies these risk factors can draw a fairly clear conclusion, that maintaining your physical fitness is key to helping prevent this disease. All of the above risk factors have one thing in common, they reduce the bodies ability to supply oxygen and nutrients to the bodies cells and the best way of preventing Macular Degeneration is to ...

  • Maintain Aerobic Exercise and Weight Reduction – Regular mild exercise improves blood flow and helps to reduce resting heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Maintaining Respiratory Capacity – determines ability to provide sufficient oxygen to the blood – Do not smoke avoid occupations and environments that are known to damage lungs ie smoky / dusty environments.
  • Maintaining a healthy balanced nutritional diet – Reducing sugar and salt. Eating an abundance of green leafy vegetables is associated with less risk of MD. These vegetables are a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin, caretenoids found in the macula that filter out harmful wave lengths of light. One study showed that the persons who ate the most spinach, kale, collards and other leafy green vegetables had a 43% lower risk of MD than the group eating the lowest quantities of these green vegetables.
  • Discontinue smoking and alcohol consumption.
  • Use relaxation and breathing techniques to help reduce stress and anxiety.

It is common that with age, these abilities can start to deteriorate. It is when the bodies ability to provide and adequately pump the oxygen and nutrients it needs to the cells of the body that serious deterioration starts. They are essential to good health and it is likely that the longer you can maintain your fitness, the longer you will enjoy good health. Given the sensitivity of the retinal tissues, it is likely that these will be amongst the first tissues to start to deteriorate when the body starts failing to provide the nutrients it needs