|DISEASES OF THE RETINA
|EYE CENTER of MISSOURI
3535 SOUTH JEFFERSON
St. Louis, MO 63118
Phone: 314- 771- 3000
( Located at the Jefferson campus
of St. Alexius Hospital)
In general, the diagnosis of macular degeneration is made by clinical examination using an
ophthalmoscope, specially through a dilated pupil. Sometimes it may be difficult to detect very early
changes in the retina if the doctor is looking through a cataract or a cloudy cornea. Photographs may
be taken to follow the progression of the disease.
Fluorescein Angiography is very helpful to look at the retina in fine detail. In this test, a small
amount of dye is injected into a vein and as the dye passes through the retina, a series of photographs
are taken and analyzed. This test is specially helpful to detect the wet form in early stages.
Another test called OCT, which allows the doctor to view the layers of the retina in very fine detail, is
also helpful in diagnosis and evaluation of the disease. This test very easy to do and is frequently used
to monitor the condition.
Treatment of macular degeneration has been challenging. Despite advances in medicine, many people
continue to lose vision slowly over time, however several studies have shown changes in diet and life style
help slow the progression. Patients should change to low cholesterol diet, eat green leafy vegetables, avoid
smoking and use UV protected glasses when outdoors. Dietary supplements such as Lutein, Zeaxanthin,
Zinc, vitamin A, C, E and other antioxidants are very helpful in slowing the progression. This list continues to
grow every day.
Wet type is the most difficult to treat. Use of lasers destroys the offending blood vessels but also destroy
the retina and cause a blind spot. Recently there are a few drugs which, when injected directly into the eye,
have caused the regression of sight threatening blood vessels. These injections, though very beneficial, do
have some side effects and a small risk of complications. Generally these injections need to be repeated.
Research in new drugs and other methods of treatments is very promising.
Treatment of wet macular
degeneration by injection.
Side effects include bleeding
inside the eye, infection, retinal
detachment, glaucoma and loss
of vision. These complications
may require additional surgery.
In rare cases, vision may be lost
3535 SOUTH JEFFERSON
ST. LOUIS, MO 63118 PHONE 314-771-3000