Antioxidant vitamins and zinc may reduce the impact of AMD in some people. A large scientific study found that people at risk for developing advanced stages of AMD lowered their risk by about 25 percent when treated with a high-dose combination of:
- Vitamin C (500 mg);
- Vitamin E (400 iu);
- Beta carotene (15 mg);
- Zinc (80 mg), and
- Copper (2 mg).
Another large study in women showed a benefit from taking folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12. And a large study evaluating the benefits of lutein and fish oil (omega-3) is ongoing.
Among those who either have no AMD or very early AMD, the supplements do not appear to be beneficial. Family members of patients with AMD should check with their doctor before taking these vitamins themselves.
It is very important to remember that vitamin supplements are not a cure for AMD, nor will they give you back vision that you may have already lost from the disease. In certain cases, there may be some risks with taking supplements. However, specific amounts of these supplements do play a key role in helping some people at high risk for advanced AMD to maintain their vision. Talk with your ophthalmologist to find out if you are at risk for developing advanced AMD, and to learn if supplements are recommended for you.
Anti-VEGF Treatments, Laser Sugery and PDT
The most common treatment for wet AMD involves injecting a drug into the eye that stops blood vessel growth and bleeding. These drugs, known as VEGF blockers or anti-VEGF treatments, target a specific chemical in your body that causes abnormal blood vessels to grow under the retina. That chemical is called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). These anti-VEGF treatments improve vision in some people with wet AMD.
Certain types of wet macular degeneration can be treated with laser surgery, which is a brief, outpatient procedure that uses a focused beam of light to slow or stop leaking blood vessels that damage the macula.
A treatment called photodynamic therapy (PDT) uses a combination of a special drug and laser treatment to slow or stop leaking blood vessels.
These procedures may save more of your sight overall, though they are not cures that bring your vision back to normal. Even with advanced medical treatment, many people with macular degeneration still experience vision loss.