Macular Degeneration — eye diseases

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Macular Degeneration and the Use of Glasses with Telescopes

Macular Degeneration and the Use of Glasses with Telescopes 0

Macular Degeneration and the Use of Glasses with Telescopes 

Use of Glasses with Telescopes

The process of adjusting to the effects of macular degeneration can be a frustrating one. People with glasses often have a difficult time adapting to their constantly worsening eye conditions because their glasses do not function as well as they used to. Since the macula itself is damaged, the image that people with macular degeneration see is going to be blurry no matter how many times they update their eyeglass prescription. Standard eyeglass lenses are simply constructed with the purpose of focusing light onto the retina, which does not resolve the issue of a deteriorating retina.

The Advantages of Telescopic Lenses

One way to maneuver around the vision problems of macular degeneration is to enhance the type of lens used. Scientists have used the age-old concepts of binoculars and telescopes to help people see better by enlarging the size of what they see. People have been using this technique to aid their ability to see objects that are far away and to see miniscule things more clearly.

Eye doctors have decided to try considering this idea in the context of macular degeneration and other eye diseases in order to facilitate image visualization. Just as people have used telescopic lenses to see fine details, people may now use telescopic glasses to assist their low vision and be able to see far away objects much better than before. People with macular degeneration can utilize telescopic glasses to improve the visual aspect of watching sports and plays, as well as looking at the small font of computer screens, books, and other important documents. Telescopic lenses can even be used to assist in driving!

Telescopic glasses are made up of a tiny telescope mounted inside the lenses of eyeglasses. They are between half an inch to three inches thick. Larger sizes generally indicate increased power. An excellent quality is that the telescope can be incorporated into the normal glasses prescription and adjusted according to daily needs. Adding telescopes to glasses can improve vision at normal distances and can even help people see things far away in just the way binoculars can.

Another benefit of adding telescopic lenses to glasses is that they can legally be used for driving in most places. After a specialized exam and training, people with macular degeneration can use glasses with telescopes to drive around like before. Being able to see clearly is a basic physical necessity that plays a significant role in daily living and social interactions. In that sense, telescopic lenses can help to improve the quality of life for people facing eye complications.  

The Disadvantages of Telescopic Lenses

The gaping disadvantage of using telescopic glasses is their physical appearance. Unlike standard prescription glasses that use a single lens, telescopic glasses demand several lenses to be mounted just over the eye. People with low vision usually only need one telescope mounted in order to improve vision. In addition, there are different sizes and types of telescopes needed depending on the extent of eye deterioration. Some lenses increase magnification, while others are used to widen the field of view. Have you ever been prescribed a telescope for distance or near viewing?

One Love,

Dr. Travis Zigler, Heyedrate, Eye Love

Dr. Travis Zigler

Are Injections For Macular Degeneration Painful?

Are Injections For Macular Degeneration Painful? 2

Are Injections For Macular Degeneration Painful?

There are currently no treatments for macular degeneration that completely cure the disease or even stop its progression. Research in recent years has discovered various ways to slow inevitable vision loss and, although rarely, improve vision in particular areas. Several types of treatment include laser treatment, combinations of medicines, and injection. Concerns about injections for macular degeneration being painful should be eased since they are regarded as straightforward and painless. Several injection-based treatments are detailed below.

Visudyne

Visudyne drug treatment is a photodynamic therapy that was the first drug therapy ever approved for the treatment of the wet form of macular degeneration. It is designated exclusively for people who have what is called a ‚Äúpredominantly classic‚ÄĚ growth pattern of new blood vessels directly under the retina. An area of the arm is numbed with a painkiller after which the drug is delivered via a painless injection. Once the drug reaches the newly growing blood vessels under the retina, a low-energy laser beam is shone into the eye to activate the medication. Upon activation, Visudyne creates a chemical reaction that extinguishes unwanted blood vessels in the eye. Both the injection and the laser are considered virtually painless.

Visudyne diminishes the symptoms of wet macular degeneration and slows down the development of legal blindness in many patients. This laser-activated drug can also be administered along with other treatments, including Lucentis or Avastin.

Lucentis

Lucentis is actually an altered form of the colorectal cancer treatment drug Avastin. Lucentis has more recently been FDA approved as a way to treat advanced stages of the wet form of macular degeneration. In advanced stages of macular degeneration, there is an overgrowth of abnormal blood vessels triggered by a compound called vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF for short. The way Lucentis functions is by blocking VEGF proteins and thus preventing them from growing unnecessary blood vessels in the retina.

Most of the research surrounding Lucentis shows that it has a mostly positive effect. It was beneficial in improving, or at least stabilizing, the vision of nearly all of the people who took it. By limiting VEGF, many Lucentis users experienced improvements in vision, whereas the majority of other treatments simply stop macular degeneration from getting worse.

The way Lucentis is given is through an injection directly into the eye at monthly intervals (or as directed by your retinal specialist). Although the actual injection is considered to be painless, there have been scenarios were adverse reactions took place, such as eye inflammation, elevated eye pressure, and cataracts due to trauma. Continuing studies are required in order to fully explain the implications and side effects of taking Lucentis as an eye injection, but it is considered very safe and effective.

Macugen and Eylea

Macugen and Eylea, like Lucentis, are other forms of eye injection treatment. They both act similarly in that they attempt to stop VEGF from creating more hazardous blood vessels in the retina. Whereas Macugen is given every six weeks, Eylea is only needed once every other month (at the discretion of your doctor). Have you experienced any of the above procedures? Did they work for you?


One Love,

Dr. Travis Zigler

  

Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and Lifestyle

Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and Lifestyle 0

Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and Lifestyle

Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and Lifestyle

Diet plays a significant role when it comes to health management and much more so in such a sensitive case as macular degeneration. As is the case with most eye complications, macular degeneration has no direct cure. Treatment of the disease is instead based on the use of certain drugs, many of which aim to limit the growth of new blood vessels in the retina. Fortunately, there are also nutritional measures that aid in keeping vision loss at bay.    

Eating Right

The obvious advantage of eating foods that help deal with macular degeneration is that it provides each person with individual control. Choosing a healthy diet is a simple step that can go a long way not only in battling macular degeneration, but also in overall health. The general consensus move for reducing unwanted blood vessel growth is to consume antioxidants.

Fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants are a great place to start. Lutein and zeaxanthin, two prominent antioxidants, are readily available in such greens as kale, spinach, artichokes, lettuce, broccoli, and peas among others. A study by Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands demonstrated that people who incorporated sufficient amounts of vitamins C and E, zinc, and beta-carotene had a reduced risk of developing macular degeneration.

Examples of fruits with high vitamin C content are guava, strawberries, pineapple, mangoes, grapes, broccoli and most citruses. Foods high in vitamin E include almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, peanuts, avocados, and canola oil. Some of the best foods for beta-carotene are sweet potatoes, carrots, red bell peppers, cherries, and apricots. Zinc is abundant in high-protein sources, like beef, chicken, and pork, as well as in oysters and lobster.  

An interesting tidbit of information is that omega-3 fatty acids play a role in protecting light cells in the retina. They are naturally found in high levels in wild salmon, sardines, tuna, and walnuts. Another excellent source of healthy unsaturated fats to consider is olive oil.

Foods to Avoid

Eye complications can be propagated by certain problem foods. For the most part, all known sugary foods and refined starches, which include processed bread, rice, and pasta, are hazardous to eye health in cases of macular degeneration. In addition, excess quantities of ‚Äúbad‚ÄĚ carbs can help progress macular degeneration as well as increase the chance of developing cataracts.

These carbs are supposedly dangerous for the eyes because they are high in glucose. Research conducted at Tufts University concluded that eating a lot of high-glucose foods resulted in an increased risk of developing macular degeneration since these foods elevate blood sugar and weaken the blood vessels. When the sugary blood eventually passes through the eyes, it damages them by promoting oxidation and inflammation.

Staying clear of sugary foods and processed carbohydrates is rarely a bad idea. Avoiding foods like sugar, honey, soda, candy, and any goods made with white flour may be beneficial as much for overall health as for the eyes. Managing macular degeneration through proper dieting is just a kitchen sweep away! What tips do you have for managing AMD through diet?


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler

 

Other Macular Degeneration articles by Dr. Zigler: Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and Lifestyle; How Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress?; Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration?

We would love for you to join our Macular Degeneration Support Community on Facebook.

Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration­?

Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration­? 1

Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration

Does everyone with Macular Degeneration eventually go blind?

A person who has been diagnosed with macular degeneration is naturally concerned about permanently losing their sight since the eye disease is the number one cause of severe blindness.

What is Macular Degeneration?

At the front of an eye there’s a lens and an opening, which both adjust to bring objects in focus for the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is a delicate tissue that’s very sensitive to light, similar to the film in a camera. The macula is found in the middle of the retina where the incoming light is focused. It is responsible for all central vision, including color.

Macular degeneration occurs when the cells of the macula become damaged, then stop working properly. It is generally an age-related condition. However, people who are younger, even children, can develop a form of macular degeneration known as macular dystrophy.

What  are the symptoms?

There are two forms of macular degeneration, wet and dry. Their causes are mostly unknown. The macula starts to deteriorate and central vision slowly breaks down. It often occurs in just one eye initially but eventually spreads to both eyes. In the earlier stages, central vision may become blurred or distorted.

The dry form develops over a period of several months. Patients may become very sensitive to light and/or actually see lights that are not actually there. As the disease gets worse, a dark, blurry spot may appear in the middle of the vision. This spot appears because cells in the macula have stopped working. Over time, the blurred spot may get larger and darker, reducing more of the central vision. Wet macular degeneration can develop at any time and is often thought of as the more severe form of AMD.

What’s the risk of blindness?

The wet form of macular degeneration is the more severe of the two. It occurs as new blood vessels behind the retina start to grow toward the macula. According to brightfocus.org, the wet form affects about 10% of people with macular degeneration. The risk of vision loss is significant, but it’s not absolute and can be prevented with prompt and proper treatment. No one will ever go completely blind from macular degeneration.

Prevention

Although most cases of wet macular degeneration are due to genetics, there are a number of lifestyle and dietary factors that can affect the risk of developing the dry form of the eye disease. A study conducted by the National Eye Institute found that higher levels of antioxidants, like pycnogenol or grape seed extract, taken daily in combination with zinc, can reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration by 25%.

Other studies have noted beneficial changes to a diet rich in dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale. Ultraviolet light also can damage the retina and increase the risk of developing macular degeneration. Therefore, it is extremely important to protect eyes when outdoors with a great pair of UV protected sunglasses.

As always, knowledge is power so getting the latest information about macular degeneration is extremely important. Any tips you’ve heard that we may have missed? Let us know below!


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Jenna Zigler

 

Other Macular Degeneration articles by Dr. Zigler: Managing Macular Degeneration: Diet and Lifestyle; How Fast Does Macular Degeneration Progress?; Will I Go Blind From Macular Degeneration?

We would love for you to join our Macular Degeneration Support Community on Facebook.

 

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