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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

Low Vision Aids to Help with Late Stage Macular Degeneration

Low Vision Aids to Help with Late Stage Macular Degeneration 0

Low Vision Aids to Help with Late Stage Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration currently has no medical treatment that reverses its effects, but there are ways you can slow it down during the early stages. For those for whom the disease has progressed into a later stage and who are dealing with low vision, there are some devices that can amplify remaining vision.

Magnification

All of the devices used now are based on some form of magnification. Since the central field of vision is lost with macular degeneration, magnification extends images outward from that lost central vision, making it possible to see more of what is in front than would be possible without these aids. The problem comes from each device being made for specific tasks. Reading, driving, and watching television all require a different type of magnification.

How a specialist helps

One of the first things a specialist will do is find out the most important needs of the patient. A researcher who seldom ventures away from home or who doesn’t drive would be more focused on aids to make reading and computer work easier. An adventurer, who only reads to figure out how to get from point A to point B would look for another type of device.

Next, the eye doctor will determine how much vision has been lost already. And finally, they will design a device for the person with low vision creating the right amount of magnification for the most necessary tasks to aid the person with low vision.

Types of devices

Telescopic low vision devices help with distances – near and far aids are made specifically for the wearer. These could be made to help one or both eyes depending on the needs of the patient and can help with identifying faces and facial expressions, reading, walking, playing cards, and watching television.

E-Scoop low vision glasses are considered a simplified version of telescopic low vision devices, though the E-Scoop glasses are actually very sophisticated and enhance vision significantly. They transfer images as they hit the eye to the healthy area(s) of the macula. Using these glasses, some have been able to pass their DMV driving test without problems. Others with more severe vision loss may require a telescope to pass their test and drive safely.

Microscopic low vision magnifiers make everything bigger, especially print for reading. The amount of magnification depends on the needs of the patient, and the magnifying portion of a lens is combined with the patient’s prescription lenses. They can be used for either one or both eyes. These are the best resort for patients who have run out of other options.

For those who have approximately the same amount of remaining vision in both eyes, prismatic low-vision readers afford a higher amount of magnification than can usually be found in reading glasses. A specialty eyewear lab is required to make these because most do not have the equipment to make them.

In 2010 the FDA approved another device known as the implantable miniature telescope (IMT) for those with end-stage age-related macular degeneration. This implant helps visual acuity by reducing the central “blind spot” of the patient. The implant is a telescope that is about the size of a pea. The procedure is surgical, and the natural lens is removed and replaced with the IMT in the eye capsule. After surgery, as light enters the eye, images are enlarged at three times magnification. This does not repair the damage already done; it’s purpose is to enlarge the remaining field of vision.

Have you tried any magnifiers to improve your vision? Let us know what worked best for you!

One Love,

Dr. Travis Zigler

 

SOURCES: http://lowvisionlosangeles.com/macular-degeneration/

http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/amd.htm

http://www.visionaware.org/info/your-eye-condition/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd/new-fda-approved-implantable-telescope-for-end-stage-amd/125

 

Ocular Health Formula

 

Avastin: Reliable Vision Improvement For AMD Patients

Avastin: Reliable Vision Improvement For AMD Patients 0

Avastin: Reliable Vision Improvement For AMD Patients

The wet type of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which occurs when the disease has progressed from the dry type, is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The drug Avastin is used to treat the wet type of macular degeneration. According to amd.org, “Avastin was developed by Genentech to treat colon cancer. It uses the same antiangiogenic approach to stop the growth of blood vessels to the cancer tumor.”

What is Avastin?

Avastin is the brand name for “bevacizumab,” a drug injected into the eye in order to slow vision loss in people who have wet AMD. Avastin is part of a class of drugs that block the growth of abnormal blood vessels, which are the cause of wet AMD. Avastin is also used to treat macular edema, swelling of the macula, which is often associated with diabetic retinopathy. Since Avastin was approved as a cancer treatment, this use of the drug is considered “off-label” use but this is permissible if a drug is demonstrated to be effective for treating other diseases.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, when asked about the risks of injecting Avastin into the eyes to treat AMD, Dr. Richard Bensinger responded, “Avastin has been a terrific improvement in the treatment of wet macular edema and bleeding as well as new disease states of the eye, which seem to be introduced each day.” The list of potential side effects is long and concerning, as with any cancer treatment, but the amount used to treat the eye is very small, also reducing the risks of side effects.

What are the side effects of Avastin?

Avastin can cause infection in the eye as well as bleeding and inflammation, but these are uncommon. It can also cause the pressure in the eye to rise as well as increase the risk of cataracts but again, these occurrences are rare.

In addition to Avastin, there is another drug frequently prescribed called Lucentis (ranibizumab). It received FDA approval in late June 2006 and the new macular degeneration drug was celebrated as a major breakthrough. Many Americans with the more severe or wet forms of AMD endure gradual loss of central vision. In clinical trials Lucentis has been shown to stop and, in many cases, reverse at least some vision loss. These findings clearly indicate Lucentis is the most effective FDA-approved treatment currently available for AMD.

But some eye doctors suggest that Avastin remains just as effective and is a more realistic option for lower-income people with advanced AMD. The issue remains that Avastin is approved by the FDA only for treatment of colon and other cancers, but not for AMD. Many eye doctors have been using Avastin off-label to treat advanced AMD. Like any treatment plan, one should investigate not only the available options but the risks and side effects of each option in order to make the most informed decisions. Do you suffer from AMD? Have you undergone injections to treat it?


One Love,

Dr. Jenna Zigler 

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

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