There is no cure or treatment for dry
age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD) at this
You may not have significant problems with your vision for
many years. Vision loss happens very slowly and is usually not severe. It often
affects only one eye, and you may be able to adjust for the vision loss with
the unaffected eye. If you have dry AMD, follow your doctor's advice for having
regular exams and for watching the condition at home (such as using an
Amsler grid), because dry AMD may sometimes develop into wet AMD.
Your doctor may advise vitamin supplements or a diet rich in
zinc and antioxidant vitamins. These vitamins may help slow the progression
of advanced AMD and delay vision loss if you already have AMD.
In a few cases,
wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), which is the more serious
form of the disease, can be treated with photodynamic therapy (PDT), medicines
that are injected into the eye, or thermal laser photocoagulation surgery.
Treatment cannot cure AMD, but it can slow its progression. Other
types of treatments using radiation are being studied. But these
treatments are considered experimental and are not part of standard treatment.
Some cases of wet AMD cannot be treated by either laser
photocoagulation or PDT. And PDT can only be used for a minority of
Treatment cannot restore
vision, but it can sometimes slow down or delay further damage to your
central vision. But in most cases, growth of fragile
new blood vessels in wet AMD recurs, and even repeated treatment is usually not
effective over the long term in preventing some loss of central vision.
Because wet AMD often causes rapid and severe loss of central vision, it
is important not to delay treatment if your doctor recommends it.
If you already have AMD
Do not smoke. For more
information about quitting smoking, see the topic
A large study by the U.S. National Eye Institute
(NEI) found that taking
zinc and antioxidant vitamins may help slow the progression of advanced AMD
and delay vision loss if you already have AMD.2
If you already have vision loss from AMD, your doctor may also conduct a
low-vision evaluation. The evaluation will help you find ways to make the best use of your remaining vision. The evaluation
also may include suggestions for counseling and training on dealing with
reduced vision to help you keep your quality of life as much as
Because AMD often leads to a significant loss of vision
and, in most cases, there is no effective treatment, finding out that you have
AMD can be very hard. Your doctor can refer you to counselors who
specialize in helping people adjust to living with low vision.
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