Macular Degeneration — Macular Translocation Surgery

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Surgical Options for Wet Macular Degeneration

Surgical Options for Wet Macular Degeneration 0

Surgical Options for Wet Macular Degeneration

Surgical Options

The wet type of macular degeneration is considered advanced. Usually the eye disease begins as the dry type of macular degeneration. When the macula in the retina begins to leak blood and fluid, it becomes the wet form. The risk of partial or complete blindness increases when the disease becomes the wet form, so many options are available, from nutritional and supplement therapy to prescription drugs and surgical options.

Here are the surgical options currently available for people with wet macular degeneration:

Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) was developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and approved for AMD treatment in April 2000. PDT involves a 10-minute intravenous administration of Visudyne (a light-sensitive drug) followed by a low-dose, non-thermal (light only) laser to the affected area of the retina. The drug circulates through the body's blood vessels and is particularly attracted to new blood vessels formed by the diseased macula.

The laser activates the drug, which can selectively seal off the leaking blood vessels without damaging the healthy retinal tissue surrounding them.

Thermal Laser Photocoagulation

Thermal laser photocoagulation is a process used by eye surgeons to treat a number of eye conditions, including the wet form of AMD. A thermal laser is used on the eye, focused on abnormal blood vessels growing beneath the retina. The heat from the laser closes off the unwanted blood vessels, preventing additional leakage and vision loss.

This process of thermal laser photocoagulation does not restore lost vision. In the past, it was critical that this treatment was initiated as early as possible in the course of the eye disease. Unlike PDT, thermal laser can also destroy healthy retinal tissue as it seals the leakage from abnormal blood vessel growth. Presently, thermal laser is rarely used in clinical practice to treat wet macular degeneration.

Macular Translocation Surgery

Macular translocation is a surgical procedure involves detaching the retina from the base, rotating it slightly, and replacing it in a different position so that the macula rests on a different, healthier base. While this kind of macular translocation surgery is unlikely to become standard treatment for everyone with wet AMD, it has been effective for some people when done promptly. It does not seem to work for the dry type of AMD because, for reasons not fully understood, degeneration continues in the new position. This procedure is rarely used anymore!

Undoubtedly there will be other surgical procedures developed in the future as the population continues to age. Have you had any of the above procedures?


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Dr. Travis Zigler, Eye Love

Dr. Travis Zigler

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