Understanding Wet Macular Degeneration Treatment
Recent medical breakthroughs in the treatment of macular degeneration inspire hope in many patients. Like any treatment, wet macular degeneration treatment depends upon the stage of progression. Initial stages are easier to treat. Until recently, the only available treatment was to seal leaking blood vessels using a laser. Today, there are options available!
To start, photodynamic therapy requires a 10-minute intravenous administration of a light-sensitive drug (Visudyne). A low-dose, non-thermal laser is then administered to the afflicted area of the retina. The laser activates the drug, which then seals off leaking blood vessels without damaging healthy retinal tissue. This allows PDT to be used directly underneath the center of the macula, unlike thermal laser photocoagulation, which may burn or destroy retinal tissue.
Thermal Laser Photocoagulation
Thermal laser photocoagulation is a procedure used by most retinal surgeons to cure various eye conditions, one being wet macular degeneration. A thermal laser is administered into the eye at any abnormal blood vessels blooming underneath the retina. The heat from the laser then closes any leaking blood vessels, preventing further leakage or vision loss.
Thermal laser photocoagulation is not used to restore vision. It is critical the treatment is administered as early as possible.
Macular Translocation Surgery
Lastly, we have macular translocation surgery, which involves detaching the retina from the base, rotating it, and replacing it in a new position. The macula then sits on a healthy base.
Macular translocation surgery is unlikely to grow in popularity, though it has proven quite effective for many patients when performed promptly. This procedure does not work for dry macular degeneration, however, as the degeneration simply follows the new positioning.