Q: I have been diagnosed with dry macular degeneration. What can I do now?
A: Dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a slowly progressive disease affecting central vision. Typically, it is identified in adults greater than 50 years of age. Vision loss can range from mild distortion while reading to difficulty recognizing faces, watching television or driving. Peripheral or side vision is usually preserved.
Currently, there is no treatment or cure for dry AMD; therefore, risk modification remains the mainstay for patients. Smoking and tobacco cessation, AREDS2 eye vitamin use and timely retina evaluations are common recommendations to help reduce the risk for AMD development and progression. (AREDS2 is short for the Age-Related Eye Disease Study of 2006, a follow-up to the initial 2001 AREDS by the National Institutes of Health's National Eye Institute. Both studies developed nutritional formulations to reduce the risk of developing AMD.)
Dry age-related macular degeneration is in contrast to wet AMD, which can occur in approximately 15 percent of patients with dry AMD and can result in more rapid loss of central vision, necessitating treatment with injectable medications.
For further information regarding your risk, current research and prognosis, seek a consultation with your regular eye doctor or retina specialist.
— Rohan Shah, M.D., Southeastern Retina Associates; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society