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Macular degeneration

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Macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the main causes of poor vision in senior patients. This condition manifests itself in a distortion when looking at straight lines and in a decreased ability to read. The first signs (drusen) can sometimes be detected at a younger age during an eye fundus examination. Drusen are deposits of cholesterol and fats in the vicinity of the macula. Affected patients are prescribed food supplements containing lutein, zeanxanthin and vitamin E. Later on in life, these patients may develop macular degeneration. Patients will be susceptible to tiny haemorrhages from newly-formed blood vessels in the membranes at macular level. The treatment consists of photodynamic therapy (PDT) and possibly an intravitreal injection containing a special product that will counter the new formation of blood vessels.

PDT (photodynamic therapy)

This treatment is used in patients suffering from “wet” macular degeneration (AMD). In wet AMD, protein and haemorrhages in the macula and a swelling of the retina are detected. Patients suffering from AMD are intravenously injected with the dye Verteporfin (trade name Visudyne) and the macula is then treated with a diode laser. This procedure takes half an hour and is performed twice a year. Recent articles have shown that the combination of PDT and intravitreal injections with anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) products offers the best chance of success. Patients who had difficulties reading beforehand will once again be able to see close up as a result.

Intravitreal injections

Macular degeneration or macular oedema is treated by injecting specific medication (Avastin, Macugen, Lucentis) into the corpus vitreum. These injections are administered under sterile conditions in the theatre at the clinic. Patients are given three injections at 6-weekly intervals. Following the injection, you must apply anti-infective and antibiotic eye drops to the eye. Risk of infection is minimal, though, two days after the procedure, we will need to see you again to measure your eye pressure and to check for any signs of infection.

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