Treatment of Macular Degeneration (AMD) in Portland Maine

By Jackie Nguyen, M.D.

The Vitreoretinal Surgeons and Retina Specialists at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland have extensive experience and expertise in the treatment of macular degeneration (AMD). 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.  The results of these studies suggested that 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 laser treatment is limited in its effectiveness and may also lead to scarring of the Macula and additional vision loss. Thus we tend to emphasize the use of therapeutic injections of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Inhibitors (VEGF) to treat macular degeneration.

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Inhibitors (VEGF)
Avastin®, Eylea® and Lucentis® Injections
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) to limit the 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 Eyecare Medical Group Vitreoretinal Surgeons and Retina Specialists.

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Should you have or be at risk for Wet Macular Degeneration, they will discuss more about the testing and treatment results with you.  They will also be able to tell you more about the length of your actual treatment program, as it varies for each patient. If Avastin® Injection, Eylea® Injection or Lucentis® Injection is a possible option; we 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.

BEFORE patients begin taking any course of vitamin or antioxidant supplements, you should fully discuss the risks and benefits with our Retina Specialists, 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 have not had a recent eye examination or if you are over 50 and especially if you have a family member who has macular degeneration, you may be at greater risk for macular degeneration. Please schedule an appointment by calling Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine at 888-374-2020

Eyecare Medical Group provides treatment of age related macular degeneration in Maine with  and Avastin®, Eylea® and Lucentis® Injections and is conveniently located for patients from Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bath, Berwick, Biddeford, Bridgton, Brunswick, Cape Neddick, Casco Bay, Cumberland Center, Eliot, Freeport, Gardiner, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Kittery, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, Sanford, Scarborough, South Portland, Springvale, Topsham, Waterville, Westbrook, Winslow, Wiscasset, Yarmouth, Portland, Skowhegan and York Maine.

Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine is conveniently located for patients with Cataracts interested in
Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants (IOL), LASIK, Diabetic Eye Problems, Macular Degeneration (AMD), Glaucoma,
Diseases and Surgery of the Retina & Cornea including Retinal Detachment & Cornea Transplants.

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