Currently, there are no proven effective treatments for dry AMD.
An Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) study conducted by the National Eye Institute found that a special formulation of vitamins and zinc (the AREDS formulation) for people with intermediate dry AMD can lower their risk of developing the advanced form of the condition. However, data that indicates that whether or not the AREDS formulation works depends on a patient’s genetic profile. Some scientists believe zinc may be harmful to a small percentage of people with Dry AMD and that group can be identified with a genetic test. Other scientists say there is no evidence to suggest this.
If you have dry AMD, speak to your eye doctor to determine the best treatment plan for you. If you smoke or take other medications or supplements, let your doctor know before considering this high-dose formulation.
There are several treatments available for people with wet AMD, which can help slow down vision loss and, in some cases, restore vision. Wet AMD treatments may have costs that are not covered by some provincial health care insurance plans. Ask your doctor about the cost of any treatments you may be considering.
Wet AMD treatments include:
Laser Photocoagulation Therapy
In this treatment, a laser is targeted to eliminate abnormal blood vessels emerging in the macula. This therapy is now used only in extremely severe cases since it can create scars on the retina, resulting in permanent blind spots.
In this treatment, a light-sensitive dye is injected into the body and accumulates in new blood vessels. When a laser is focused over the macula, the dye is activated and causes blood to stop leaking into the retina. This treatment rarely used today.
Anti-Angiogenic Therapy (also known as anti-VEGF injections)
In this treatment, anti-angiogenic drugs are injected into the eye, sometimes for two years or longer, to stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels.
The three most common anti-angiogenic agents for wet AMD are:
Only Lucentis and Eylea have been approved by Health Canada and reimbursed in some provinces and territories.
Treatments for AMD are constantly evolving so it’s important to consult regularly with an eye doctor to learn about the latest developments.