If you have advanced or severe dry AMD, no treatment can restore your vision.
If you have early AMD and do not smoke, a combination of certain vitamins, antioxidants, and zinc may prevent the disease from getting worse. But it cannot give you back vision that is already lost.
The combination is often called the "AREDS" formula. The supplements contain:
- 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
- 400 international units of beta-carotene
- 80 mg of zinc
- 2 mg of copper
Only take this vitamin combination if your doctor recommends it. Make sure your doctor knows about any other vitamins or supplements you are taking. Smokers should not use this supplement.
AREDS may also benefit you if you have a family history and risk factors for AMD.
Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are substances found in green leafy vegetables, may also decrease your risk of age-related macular degeneration.
If you have wet AMD, your doctor may recommend:
- Laser surgery (laser photocoagulation) -- a small beam of light destroys the leaking, abnormal blood vessels.
- Photodynamic therapy -- a light activates a drug that is injected into your body to destroy leaking blood vessels.
- Special medicines that prevent new blood vessels from forming in the eye are injected into the eye (this is a painless process).
Low-vision aids (such as special lenses) and therapy can help you use the vision that you have more effectively, and improve your quality of life.
Close follow-up with your eye doctor is important.
- For dry AMD, visit your eye doctor once a year for a complete eye exam.
- For wet AMD, you likely need frequent, perhaps monthly, follow-up visits.
Early detection of vision changes is important because the sooner you are treated, the better your outcome. Early detection leads to earlier treatment and often, a better outcome.
The best way to detect changes is by self-testing at home with the Amsler grid. Your eye doctor can give you a copy of the grid or you can print one from the Internet. Test each eye individually while wearing your reading glasses. If the lines look wavy, call your eye doctor right away for an appointment.