Dry Macular Degeneration
What is Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

The dry type of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs in individuals greater than 50 years of age. It is characterized by the slow accumulation of waste material underneath the macula. These small yellow deposits, called drusen, eventually merge together and damage the sensitive tissues of the retina. It is important to know that although patients with all forms of macular degeneration, including the dry type, can have vision loss in the center of the view, patients do not become completely blind from macular degeneration. The side vision is unaffected by macular degeneration.

What Causes Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Although the exact cause of macular degeneration is unknown, there is a genetic tendency that emerges as a part of aging. Although anyone can develop AMD, it is found more commonly in people with light pigmentation.

How is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Diagnosed?

Several retinal diseases can be confused with age-related macular degeneration. An examination by an experienced physician can determine the nature of your condition.

What Testing Might Be Done?

Computerized photographic tests such as a flourescein angiogram, indocyanine green angiography, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) help in evaluating the nature and extent of damage. Home self-monitoring with an Amsler grid is often recommended to detect the earliest signs of new changes in the vision.

What Can Make Age-Related Macular Degeneration Worse?

Studies have shown that a poor diet, smoking, and uncontrolled high blood pressure can contribute to worsening vision from macular degeneration. Smoking alone doubles the rate of vision loss!

Are There Treatments for Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

There is no treatment to reverse damage done to the vision by dry age-related macular degeneration.

What About Eye Vitamins?

The Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found a slight reduction in the rate of vision loss in some patients taking a high potency combination of vitamins and minerals. The doses are quite high and your doctor should determine whether they are right for you. Smokers must avoid the very high concentrations of beta carotene.
The Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found a slight reduction in the rate of vision loss in some patients taking a high potency combination of vitamins and minerals. The doses are quite high and your doctor should determine whether they are right for you. Smokers must avoid the very high concentrations of beta carotene.
AREDS (nonsmokers)
Vitamin A (beta-carotene) 28,000 IU
Vitamin C 450 mg
Vitamin E 400 IU
Zinc 70 mg
Copper 1.6 mg

What About Other Supplements?

While the gas bubble is in your eye, you will not be able to exceed altitudes higher than about 1000 feet for several days. Expansion of the gas can cause dangerously high eye pressure. Plan to stay a few days at sea level after surgery. Your surgeon will explain more.

What if my Retina Detaches Again?

Research into nutrients such as Lutien and Zeaxanthin is actively underway, but there have been no definitive conclusions. Bilberry and certain herbs are probably not helpful in this condition

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Yellow-white deposits under the retina, called drusen, are the most common feature of dry AMD

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Note the multiple yellow deposits (drusen) in the central macula in this picture of dry AMD.

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When macular degeneration affects the vision, this is the typical view of the world that the patient experiences

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Fluorescein angiogram of dry AMD.