Treatments for dry Macular Degeneration

July 22, 2017

There are drugs in development for dry macular degeneration. They will take a few years until they are approved by the FDA. In the meantime, what can be done?

In an article in, there are several recommendations.

Treating dry macular degeneration

The unfortunate reality of dry macular degeneration is that it cannot be reversed. Symptoms develop gradually over time, with the user not realizing that they have vision problems until much later in the course of the condition. If caught early, treatment can be initiated before significant levels of vision loss occur. The following are some of the most common treatment methodologies.

  • Vitamin intake: Certain vitamins are known for improving symptoms of dry macular degeneration. In some cases, they help to slow down progression as well. Zinc supplementation helps in this regard. Vitamins rich in anti-oxidants such as A, C, and E are also beneficial.
  • Beta-carotene: A commonly promoted attribute of carrots, beta-carotene can also be useful for promoting eye health. However, beta-carotene supplementation is thought to increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers while increasing the risk of coronary artery disease.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Eating a well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables can help not only promote overall health but also maintain your vision.
  • Surgery: Selected individuals with significant vision impairment in both eyes may require this form of treatment. Surgically implanting a telescopic lens into the eye can help magnify field of vision. This surgery can help improve both distance and close-up vision but has a very narrow field of view.

Home remedies for dry macular degeneration

Your lifestyle can play an important role in the progression of dry macular degeneration. By making simple changes to your daily routine, you can give yourself the best chances for slowing down vision loss. Most of the home remedies recommended act as preventative measures to help you keep your sight as long as possible.

Don’t smoke: Smoking is considered a risk factor for dry macular degeneration development, so by quitting the habit, you’re helping preserve your vision further. If quitting smoking is too difficult, speak with your doctor to get some help.

Choose a healthy diet: Foods that contain antioxidants help to prevent damage to the sensitive structures in the eye. Several fruits and vegetables help to protect eye health. Some of these foods include kale, spinach, broccoli, and peas. These foods contain lutein and zeaxanthin—types of antioxidants that may benefit people with macular degeneration.

Foods with high zinc content may also help preserve vision. These include high protein foods such as beef, pork, and lamb. Non-meat sources include milk, cheese, yogurt, whole grain cereals, and whole wheat bread.

Studies have shown that food with omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna, and walnuts may lower the risk of advanced macular degeneration. However, this correlation was not seen when taking omega-3 supplements.

Manage other medical conditions: Having high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease can accelerate the progression of macular degeneration if not properly managed. It is recommended to control these conditions with prescribed medications to help slow down macular degeneration progression.

Exercise regularly: Getting exercise on a regular basis helps to slow down macular degeneration and keep the body healthy. Losing excess pounds also helps.

Get routine eye exams: There is no better way to determine if something is wrong with your vision then to test them, and the most qualified person to assess your eyes would be an eye doctor or ophthalmologist. By going to your eye doctor on a regular basis, you can be sure that if macular degeneration were to begin, you would catch it at the earliest stage possible.

Vitamin supplementation: Patients with intermediate or advanced macular degeneration taking a high-dose formulation of antioxidants can help reduce the risk of vision loss. Unfortunately, those in early stages of the condition do not benefit from these supplements. The following vitamins and dosages are recommended:

  • Vitamin C – 500mg
  • Vitamin E – 400IU (international units)
  • Lutein – 10 mg
  • Zeaxanthin – 2 mg
  • Zinc (as zinc oxide) – 25 or 80 mg
  • Copper (as cupric oxide) – 2 mg

This article is from 


Occupational therapy eases depression in patients with age-related macular degeneration

July 18, 2017

With any type of medical condition, a loss of independence can lead to growing feelings of depression. People living with age-related macular degeneration experience a gradual erosion of their independence as failing eyesight makes simple tasks such as navigating their homes or reading medicine bottles quite di­fficult.

A study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science examined two therapeutic approaches to macular degeneration rehabilitation and how they affected patients’ levels of depression. In the study, subjects were provided with the same baseline low-vision optometry evaluation and in-office patient training, and then split into two groups. The first group received six one-hour, in-home sessions with an occupational therapist, who helped the patients work on practical lifestyle tasks such as writing checks, measuring ingredients and pouring liquids. The second group received an equal amount of time with a counselor, who engaged in supportive talk therapy about their vision loss and disability, but offered no pragmatic advice on how to complete chores or navigate their environment.

After four months, researchers assessed the progress of both groups. The patients who received the occupational therapy showed greater improvement in their ability to perform daily activities than those who did not. (The talk therapy participants did experience some improvement, likely attributed to the initial low-vision optometry sessions and possibly from the encouragement they received from the in-home counselor.) The researchers also concluded that when patients improved in their functional ability, their level of depression decreased, according to AOA.

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Demos at Duke Eye Center

July 18, 2017

The following is from Lauren Tappan

Duke Eye Center in Durham, North Carolina has several new AT equipment available for demonstration. You can contact them if you are interested in seeing the ORCam or Video Eye.

  • Hear any printed text
  • Read Restaurant menus
  • Recognize faces
  • Identify supermarket products
  • Identify currency


Indian Scientists Grow Embryonic Eyes

June 25, 2017

This article by Lauren Tappan

A team of Indian scientists led by Dr. Indumathi Mariappan was able to grow complex eye-like organs in the lab by allowing the cells to organise themselves in three dimensions. The miniature eye closely resembles the developing eyes of an early-stage embryo. The eye-like structure consists of miniature forms of retina, cornea and eyelid. The results were published in the journalDevelopment.

“It took about four–six weeks for the eye-like structure to form from iPS cells. We then removed the cornea-like structure for further study,” says Dr. Mariappan from the Centre for Ocular Regeneration at the LV Prasad Eye Institute and the corresponding author of the paper.

The cornea has three layers — epithelium (outer layer), stroma (middle layer) and endothelium (inner layer). “All the three layers of the cornea were observed, indicating that the mini-cornea had developed correctly,” she says. “The cornea initially forms as a simple bubble-like structure which is very delicate to handle. It later matures to form a thick cornea-like structure over a period of 10-15 weeks.”

The corneal epithelial sheets that would be used for treating the damaged eyes were then grown in the lab using small pieces of the mini-cornea containing the epithelium and a portion of the stroma. The stem cells present in the tissue pieces proliferated and gave rise to a uniform sheet of epithelium of about 2.5 cm by 2.5 cm size.

Animal trials

The team is currently focusing on testing the usefulness of the corneal cells grown from iPS cells in restoring vision in animal models (rats). “We will soon be starting the animal experiments,” she says. Trials on human subjects will be considered if the animal experiments turn out to be safe and effective in restoring vision.

In treatment

In parallel, the researchers are also working on producing mini-retinal tissue and actively exploring iPS cell-derived retinal tissues for treating several retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa and certain forms of congenital blindness seen in children and young adults.

Already, retinal cells grown using human embryonic stem cells and iPS cells are being tested in clincal trials in a few countries to treat retinal diseases.

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Macular Degeneration Affects More Than Just Vision

June 24, 2017

The diagnosis of low vision due to age, such as macular degeneration, often comes with more consequences than just the inability to see. A new study by the National Eye Institute (NEI) reports that patients with low vision experience twice the depression that the blind experience and five times more depression compared with normal populations. The study brought together mental health and eye care professionals to study the causes of depression in those diagnosed with low-vision due to age.

Another 2013 national study of adults aged 20 and older published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology (JAMA) concluded that, “self-reported visual function loss…is significantly associated with depression.” Anecdotal evidence from low vision optometrists over the years noticed that about 1 in 10 low vision patients attending the clinic had some form of a mental health problem. Moreover, all low vision patients who attended the low vision clinic showed a general reduction in their quality of life.

Losing basic visual functions impacts individual’s ability to perform even the simplest motor functions, be they daily tasks like cooking, getting ready for work, or even just watching TV. So, while a diagnosis of permanent vision loss can often affect far more than just the ability to see; from how to dress, eat and work to how to maintain independence- it does not have to dictate your life.

By properly addressing these issues, low vision optometrists can help patients lead the fullest possible lives. Scheduling an appointment with them to get fitted for low vision glasses is the first step to helping patients become individuals again; avoiding needless concern, fear, despair and depression.

Knowing that there is hope after vision loss, and that hope lies in making the choice to get fitted for low vision glasses. Low vision optometrists are helping people get back to the activities they enjoy, rather than focusing on the loss of the activities due to macular degeneration and low vision.

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression due to low vision, please seek help. To reach a qualified low vision optometrist with extensive training and experience in dealing with the visual issues of macular degeneration, you may locate a member of The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists near you by contacting their website: or calling 1-888-778-2030.


Experimental Drug Able To Slow Macular Degeneration

June 24, 2017

An experimental treatment may significantly slow the progression of the blindness-causing disorder macular degeneration, in what would mark the first therapy of its kind, research showed Wednesday.

There are currently no available treatments to stymie macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people aged 60 and older.

More than 5 million patients globally are affected by a form of the condition known as geographic atrophy, which causes lesions on the retina.

But the authors of a new study, published Wednesday in the American journal Science Translational Medicine, say that a clinical trial of the therapy lampalizumab reduced lesion expansion by 20 percent, thereby thwarting the destruction of light-sensing cells.

The 18-month phase two clinical trial tested the safety and efficacy of the antibody on 129 patients.

The treatment produced no serious side effects, according to the study.

Researchers found that the treatment reduced by 44 percent the condition’s progression in a subgroup of patients carrying a certain genetic marker, known as CFI+.

But in some patients with the genetic trait CFI-, the therapy had no effect.

The results of two phase three clinical trials including 936 patients will be available in 2019.

Age-related macular degeneration negatively impacts the central part of the retina — the macula — which is vital for reading, writing and recognizing faces.

The condition results from a gradual aging of photoreceptor neurons that capture light, which is transformed into signals and sent to the brain to produce images.

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The Advantages of orCam

June 23, 2017

OrCam’s mission is to harness the power of artificial vision by incorporating pioneering technology into a wearable platform which improves the lives of individuals who are blind, visually impaired, have a reading disability or people with other conditions. The breakthrough OrCam MyEye device provides a visual aid through a discreet, wearable platform and easy-to-use interface.

OrCam was jointly founded by CTO Professor Amnon Shashua and CEO Ziv Aviram, who are also the co-founders of accident avoidance system Mobileye. The OrCam MyEye device was launched in the U.S. in 2015.

An easy, unobtrusive fit on any eyeglasses frame, OrCam’s breakthrough conversion of visual information into the spoken word enables you to instantly and discreetly read text, recognize faces, as well as identify product and money notes.

Activated by a simple, intuitive gesture-pointing your finger or pressing a simple button- OrCam MyEye makes newspapers, books, computer and smartphone screen, restaurant menus, labels on supermarket products and street signs accessible- in real time.

Following a quick one-time entry process, previously stored faces or people who are important to you- family members, friends, co-workers- are seamlessly recognized and announced by your own voice tag once they come into the OrCam MyEye smart camera’s view. Up to 100 faces of individuals can be stored.

OrCam MyEye stores up to 150 of your favorite products- such as supermarket items, drugstore necessities and credit cards- and instantly communicates them through your own voice tag, enabling an independent shopping experience.

“For me, OrCam just feels like it’s an immediate solution to all the problems I face as a blind person. It was amazing how quickly I was able to use the device. The best thing about OrCam is when my son, who is four, runs up to me, it gives me a little warning that he is coming, so that I know that there is a hug coming. It’s just a great experience. “