Macular Degeneration Treatment

Macular degeneration treatments will not cure the disease but may help to maintain or to improve your current vision.

There is no cure for macular degeneration, and no treatment will completely reverse vision loss. However, some macular degeneration treatments may help you to see better. Your specific treatment will depend on the type of macular degeneration you have.

In addition, our retinal specialists work closely with the Henry Ford Center for Vision Rehabilitation and Research and the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, connecting macular degeneration patients with low-vision specialists who can help patients adapt to life with vision loss.

Dry macular degeneration treatment

Your Henry Ford ophthalmologist may recommend one or more of the following dry macular degeneration treatments to help improve vision:

  • Special glasses or magnifying lenses to help you see better, especially for reading
  • Certain vitamins and minerals that may slow down the progress of macular degeneration

Wet macular degeneration treatment

This condition is characterized by growth of abnormal blood vessels in the macula, which can cause leakage or bleeding into the macula. Wet macular degeneration treatments focus on reducing or disrupting these abnormal blood vessels, and include intraocular injection of medications, including anti-VEGF therapy.

Anti-VEGF intraocular injections

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a protein that promotes the growth of new blood vessels, including abnormal blood vessels. With anti-VEGF intraocular injections, a special drug is injected into the eye near the retina. The drug blocks growth signals of new abnormal blood vessels.

During this macular degeneration treatment:

  • Your pupil is dilated
  • Numbing drops are placed in your eye
  • Your eye is held open with a special eye opener
  • The medicine is injected into your eye

The procedure only takes a few minutes. Typically, your eye does not need to be patched, and you do not need to use any eye drops after this treatment.

After treatment, it may feel like a piece of sand is in your eye, irritating it for a few hours. You may also experience temporary bleeding in the white of the eye, which usually resolves over time. Typically, you will need repeated anti-VEGF injections over several weeks to get the full benefit of this treatment. In some cases, this may include regaining some vision, but it will depend how well your macula responds to the treatment.

Can macular degeneration be prevented?

While aging eyes can become more susceptible to developing macular degeneration, research by retinal specialists has shown that certain vitamins and minerals may slow down aging and progression of macular degeneration. Ask your Henry Ford retinal specialist about these. In addition:

  • In wet macular degeneration, the earlier leaking blood vessels are detected and treated, the better the chance of preventing loss of sight.
  • You can help detect macular degeneration by performing a simple test at home called the Amsler grid test.

At Henry Ford, patients come first.

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is committed to providing our patients with compassionate, personalized care. We feature the most advanced treatments in eye care and are dedicated to vision research – always staying at the forefront of innovation. A leader in Michigan, as well as one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the United States, we treat more than 55,000 patients per year at 12 locations throughout southeast Michigan. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it.

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