macular degeneration treatment, Lucentis, Eyelea

Treatment of Macular Degeneration


Treatment of Macular Degeneration with Laser & Injection at Center for Sight serving Fall River, Massachusetts and greater Providence, Rhode Island

By Robert Kelly, M.D.

We are pleased to be able to provide treatment of Macular Degeneration at center for Sight in Fall River. If Macular Degeneration is diagnosed early enough, we are very fortunate to have a number of possible treatment options that may help to slow or even halt the progression of vision loss from Macular Degeneration. However, patients must understand that once the Macula has been damaged, there is no treatment that currently can reverse that damage and the associated loss of vision.  Early diagnosis and treatment to prevent or halt vision loss must be the approach that we take.

Macular Laser Photocoagulation
A number of years ago, a distinguished group of eye surgeons and macular disease specialists formed The Macular Photocoagulation Study Group in order to conduct well controlled international clinical studies to determine what particular macular conditions should be treated with lasers, what types of lasers should be used, which patients might get the best results and to try and establish the best ways to use lasers to treat macular degeneration.  Dr. Kelly routinely reviews results from studies such as The Macular Photocoagulation Study and uses a set of useful clinical guidelines derived from this study for the Laser Treatment of Macular Degeneration:

  1. Laser Treatment of the Macula is ONLY useful for the EARLIEST stages of Wet Macular Degeneration.  There is NO application for Dry Macular Degeneration.
  2. Laser treatment of Macular Degeneration is ONLY applicable if the growth of new blood vessels or neovascularization is outside the center of the Macula-called the Fovea.
  3. Very few areas of neovascularization are clearly enough defined to be treated effectively.  We can ONLY treat those areas where the definition of the neovascularization is clearly outlined.
  4. Even in cases where a successful laser treatment was performed, leakage returned in 50% of the cases within 2 years.

The overall guidelines for Laser Photocoagulation for Macular Degeneration suggest that it is limited in its effectiveness and may also lead to scarring of the Macula and additional vision loss.

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Inhibitors (VEGF)
Avastin®, Eyelea® and Lucentis® Injections click to view animation

Resulting from basic research in cancer therapy in the area of “angiogenesis” or new blood vessel growth, a large base of knowledge has been developed in the treatment of Wet Macular Degeneration. Researchers discovered that a specific protein called “Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor” (VEGF) causes the growth of new blood vessels or “neovascularization” to occur in the eye.  From this work, drugs that can be injected into the eye in order to slow or stop the growth of new blood vessels.  Two drugs, Eylea® and Lucentis® have been developed and FDA approved with specific indications to treat Wet Macular Degeneration. Each of these drugs works by inhibiting Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) so that there is little or no stimulus to grow new blood vessels in the Retina.

Eylea® and Lucentis® Injections are intravitreal injections-that means an injection that is placed directly into the Vitreous of the eye.  Generally they need to be repeated every four to six weeks.  Clinical studies of these anti-VEGF Injections indicate that when given to patients who have evidence of new blood vessel formation monthly over 90% of patients will maintain their vision.

The anti-VEGF Injections are performed by prescription only and injected only by Center for Sight Retinal Specialist Robert Kelly, M.D.  Should you have or be at risk for Wet Macular Degeneration, Dr. Kelly will discuss more about the results with you.  He will also be able to tell you more about the length of your actual treatment program, as it varies for each patient.  If Eylea® Injection or Lucentis® Injection is a possible option for you, Dr. Kelly will spend the time necessary to thoroughly review the possible risks, benefits and side effects with you before you decide to proceed.

Age Related Macular Degeneration & Diet
There are a number of studies that have strongly suggested that nutrition may play a role in the likelihood of developing Macular Degeneration. Simply stated, it appears that people who have a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables-particularly green leafy vegetables-have a considerably lower incidence of Macular Degeneration.  It is not yet clear whether taking dietary supplements can prevent progression in patients with existing macular disease, but it does seem clear that certain dietary supplements can reduce your risk of Macular Degeneration.  The Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), which was sponsored by the National Eye Institute, showed that taking high levels of antioxidants and Zinc could reduce the risk of developing Age Related Macular Degeneration by about 25%.  This is not a cure, but we need to consider this as a possible way to help patients who are at risk for Age Related Macular Degeneration prevent vision loss.

A VERY SPECIFIC FORMULATION WAS USED IN THIS STUDY

BEFORE patients begin taking any course of vitamin or antioxidant supplements, you should fully discuss the risks and benefits with Dr. Kelly, who will determine in consultation with your family physician or Internist if necessary, whether this is safe and effective for you.

Macular Degeneration is a complex eye disease. Fortunately with early diagnosis it is possible to have a number of treatment options available to help preserve your vision.

If you, a family member or friend are in need of treatment for macular Degeneration (AMD) or have not had a recent eye examination or if you feel that you may be at risk for Macular Degeneration (AMD), please schedule an appointment by calling Center for Sight in Fall River, Massachusetts at 508-730-2020.

Center for Sight is conveniently located for patients in need of treatment of Macular Degeneration (AMD) in Massachusetts or Rhode Island from Attleboro, Fairhaven, Fall River, Franklin, Mansfield, Marion, Mattapoisett, Medfield, Milford, New Bedford, North Attleboro, North Dartmouth, Norton, Oxford, Rehoboth, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Walpole, Whitinsville, Woonsocket, Providence, Smithfield, Westport, Lakeville, Dighton, Little Compton and Tiverton.