For dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), there is currently no known treatment. Some patients may benefit from the "AREDS2" formulation of supplements and vitamins, in terms of reducing the risk of developing advanced AMD. It would be best to consult your eye doctor on whether these supplements will be beneficial for you. Early detection of conversion to the wet type is also important for better preservation of vision.
If you have been diagnosed with wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), treatment is usually necessary as the condition may worsen over the next few weeks and lead to irreversible vision loss. While treatment can anaesthetise vision, the degree of improvement varies in individual patients, depending on how early the disease is detected, and response to treatment.
Currently, the most common form of treatment for wet AMD is with medications injected into the eye. Bevacizumab (Avastin)*, ranibizumab (Lucentis) and aflibercept (Eylea) are some medications that are frequently used to treat wet AMD as they block the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Other new medications are also in development, and may be available soon. The injection procedure can be performed safely after the eye has been anaesthetised with eye drops. You may experience some mild discomfort after the injection. *Use of Avastin in the eye is off-label, but is safe and well-accepted by all public hospitals and institutions in Singapore for the treatment of wet AMD.
Treatment effect depends on the exact type of AMD you have, and does vary from person to person. In general, the effect of each injection would usually last for a few weeks to months, and in most cases, multiple injections are required over a period of time to adequately control the condition. Clinical studies have suggested that at least 12 to 14 injections may be required over a two-year period to control the disease. During this time, your eye condition will be reviewed frequently. Your ophthalmologist will also need to repeat the OCT scan at most visits, and the angiogram, depending on your response.
Illustration: Intravitreal Injections
of Anti-VEGF Agents
In some selected cases, other forms of treatment, with or without injections, may also be recommended by your ophthalmologist. For example, photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a non-thermal "cold" laser together with an intravenous medication (verteporfin) to reduce leakage and seal up abnormal blood vessels. Sometimes, laser photocoagulation may be used with a thermal "hot" laser to seal up the abnormal blood vessels.
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