Macular Degeneration Surgery – When Is It Recommended?
While surgery is a form of macular degeneration treatment, it will not cure or completely remedy the disease. And, typically occurs after other types of treatment options such as macular degeneration injections and medications (if applicable) have been employed.
Additionally, lifestyle changes might be considered before any type of surgery and these can include various types of therapy used to improve visions such as macular degeneration vitamins. There are two different forms of AMD and surgery is not ideal for both and in every case. In fact, surgery is not used for the dry AMD, only the wet form; however surgical techniques can be useful for dry AMD in some cases. But, regardless of which type is being assessed, the need, risk and recommendation for surgery will vary, and your health care provider can determine if macular degeneration surgery is right for you.
Starting with the dry variation of this condition, macular degeneration surgery is only suggested when the cause of symptoms is drusen, which are deposits that are yellow to white in color and can build up underneath the retina. These deposits occur in both healthy people without AMD and those who have the dry variation of the condition. Removal of these deposits may be considered for people with vision symptoms of macular degeneration, and it’s possible that the removal of these deposits can help improve vision in some people. This is typically recommended when either vision has deteriorated substantially, and can be improved by removal of the drusen or, as a preventative measure to slow further vision loss.
A type of macular degeneration surgery called laser photocoagulation is most commonly used for wet AMD. Because the cause of this more serious and more rapidly progressing condition is often blood vessels that leak under the surface of the macula, the use of this surgery, which incorporates a beam of light used to burn the abnormal blood vessels, can potentially slow the progression of the condition. It also can help stymie the growth of scar tissue and the membrane of the retina, two other potential vision disruption problems. However, there are concerns about this type of procedure for dry AMD.
Unfortunately, wet AMD is a rapidly developing condition. It is often characterized by sudden onset of symptoms and increasing loss of central vision. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for a diagnosis to occur beyond the point that surgical treatment would be considered acceptable. And, in some cases, macular degeneration surgery for wet AMD will do little do slow the progression of vision loss and the results of this type of macular degeneration surgery are not always optimal.
Your doctor will determine if surgical procedures are right for your condition and will consider many factors. For instance, surgery for deposits associated with dry AMD can be useful in some people, but also poses a risk of developing wet AMD. Additionally, having a surgery for wet AMD may not yield much of a result. Surgery is most often reserved for cases of rapidly declining vision when the benefit outweighs the risks which include general surgical procedure risks, the risk of further vision loss and the risk of lackluster results. Only your healthcare provider can determine which treatment course is right for you, but remember that surgery will not cure AMD and in some cases won’t help in slowing disease progression either.