In this month’s (April, 2009) edition of Archives of Ophthalmology, a study reports the prevalence of patients afflicted with macular degeneration is expected to almost double by the year 2050. In other words, the number of patients suffering the disease at a given time is expected to near double in the next 40 years.
All forms of macular degeneration are expected to increase over the next 40 years. There are two major types of macular degeneration; dry and wet. The most common form of macular degeneration is the “dry” form (also known as non-exudative macular degeneration). The most aggressive form of macular degeneration is the “wet” form (also known as exudative macular degeneration). Significant vision loss may result in either type, although the dry form usually progresses much more slowly.
There is good news. The report also predicts that the use of antioxidant supplements will significantly reduce the amount of vision loss as our population ages, that is, current advances in supplements seem to be helping.
Currently there is no approved treatment for dry macular degeneration. Patients with wet macular degeneration often receive injections into their eye of medications called VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor) inhibitors such as; Lucentis®, Avastin® and Macugen®.
Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist, Ophthalmologist