Optimizing Prognosis and Treatment Outcomes in Exudative or Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Sunir J. Garg, MD


November 04, 2019

Approximately 10% of patients with dry macular degeneration will progress to wet age-related macular degeneration, also known as exudative or neovascular macular degeneration, because of  abnormal blood vessels that leak and cause the central vision loss that characterizes the condition.

Dr Sunir Garg, co-director of retina research at Wills Eye Hospital, explains that if wet macular degeneration is detected early, much of that lost vision can often be recovered. Using anti–vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy on a patient before subretinal fibrosis occurs is key to optimizing that patient's outcome. Research favors more frequent treatment schedules for better results.

In addition to timing and frequency, other key factors can influence a patient's prognosis, some of which are under investigation as potential therapeutic targets. These include specific genetic variables and other growth factors (aside from VEGF), which may be exaggerated in some individuals.

Information from the National Eye Institute's ongoing Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) has provided a profile of essential nutrients for combating macular degeneration. Dietary changes, smoking cessation, and moderate regular exercise are critical to optimizing outcomes and slowing disease progression.


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