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If I Am Legally Blind, Can Treatment Help My Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

by Richard C. Lin, MD, PhD

Scripps Health ophthalmologist, Dr. Richard Lin, on treatment of Dry Macular Degeneration and persons that are legally blind.

For people over 50, age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss. About 90 percent of macular degeneration patients have the dry form, which is caused by deposits on the macula, an area of the retina. The wet form is caused by irregular blood vessel growth. Both of these types can cause significant vision loss, including blindness.

Unfortunately, there are no current treatments for dry macular degeneration, but there are options for treating the wet form, such as laser therapies or a medication called t-PA, which both destroy abnormal blood vessels. There are also clinical trials ongoing for medications that control angiogenesis, the biological process that forms blood vessels.

For those who are legally blind, these procedures may help. However, this is highly dependent on each patient’s individual condition. Your ophthalmologist will help you determine the best treatment plan and which options may possibly restore lost vision.

This Scripps Health and Wellness tip was provided by Richard C. Lin, MD, PhD, an optholmologist at Scripps Clinic in San Diego.