Macular Degeneration Surgery

Macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over age 50.  It occurs when the small central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates.  Because the disease develops as a person ages, it is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).  Although macular degeneration is almost never a totally blinding condition, it can be a source of significant visual disability.

There are two main types of age-related macular degeneration: Dry and Wet form.  The “wet” form is characterised by the growth of abnormal blood vessels from the choroid underneath the macula.  This is called choroidal neovascularization.  These blood vessels leak blood and fluid into the retina, causing distortion of vision that makes straight lines look wavy, as well as blind spots and loss of central vision.  These abnormal blood vessels eventually scar, leading to permanent loss of central vision.

The treatment of wet AMD has evolved over the last 20 years.  The treatment options include: laser, photodynamic therapy (PDT), injection of steroid into the eye, and injections of anti-VEGF drugs (Avastin, Lucentis, or Eylea) into the eye.

Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment helps reduce the number of abnormal blood vessels in your retina.  It also slows any leaking from blood vessels.  This medicine is delivered to your eye through a very small needle.  Visudyne photodynamic laser therapy may also be used on the abnormal blood vessels to treat some types of wet AMD.  PDT is no longer considered a first line treatment for neovascular, or wet AMD.  It is typically used in combination with injections of anti-VEGF medicine.