Macular degeneration treatment options and how to reduce the risks, answered by Dr Laurence Lim from the Surgical Retina Department at Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC).
Continued from previous page.
Treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
If treatment starts before scarring sets in, it can improve vision significantly. “The gold standard now is to inject medicines into the eye, which cause the blood vessels to shrink away.” At
Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC), patients are given one injection every month for three months.
“After that, we re-evaluate. If things settle down, we stop the injections and continue monitoring them every month. If there’s new bleeding, we restart the injections,” said
Dr Laurence Lim, Senior Consultant from the
Surgical Retina Department at SNEC, a member of the
Doctors also look out for a particular variant of wet AMD known as polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV), which is more common in Asians. Patients with this subtype require treatment with laser in addition to injections.
In the past, successful treatment meant preventing severe visual loss. These days, doctors talk in terms of how much visual improvement can be achieved. “A patient may come in with being able to read only the big letters on the chart, but we can get them back to driving vision if they come early enough. Most of our patients get back good functional vision,” said Dr Lim.
Tips to prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Ageing is the main cause of AMD, but there is also a strong genetic component that puts some people at a higher risk. But you can reduce your risk with preventive actions like these:
1. Wear sunglasses
This will help protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
2. Stop smoking (if you haven't)
It is one of the most clearly established risk factors. About 30 per cent of AMD patients seen at the Singapore National Eye Centre are smokers.
3. Eat right
Foods rich in carotenoids (like carrots, tomatoes or pumpkins) and antioxidants (such as wolfberries) help slow down the rate of deterioration. They may even prevent the spread of AMD to the unaffected eye. A low-fat balanced diet rich in green leafy vegetables is also recommended.
4. Seek help early
Periodically close one eye to see if there’s any distortion in vision and seek help at the first sign of a problem.
5. Control blood pressure
If you already have high blood pressure, take your medication regularly to keep it under control.
See the previous page for
causes of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
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Common Strabismus in Children
LASIK: Is It Suitable For You?
Cataract: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration): What You Need to Know
Glaucoma: The Silent Thief of Sight
Eye (Ocular) Inflammation: What Causes It?
What Causes Optic Neuritis (Optic Nerve Inflammation)?
What is Diabetic Retinopathy?
Aesthetic Eye Surgery: Everything You Need to Know