Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a slow loss of vision that affects millions of Americans. What's being done to help those who suffer from this devastating loss of eyesight? There have been two recent reports of new experimental treatments. One treatment involves a pair of eyeglasses that send electric pulses to pressure points around the eye and the other is the use of eye drops only FDA approved for glaucoma patients. After discussing both with two Savannah doctors I found neither treatment had enough written evidence for them to recommend these treatments but there is something they are doing and it involves vitamins.

Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65. It causes a range of symptoms. "They will notice it first, their vision appears to be patchy not quite as clear as they'd like, that's what tends to bring them in," says Dr. Judith Piros, Savannah Ophthalmologist. Patient Rita Trotz explains the feeling, "when you go to look at something you have a blank spot, it's darker gray, blurred. Central vision is gone, you sort of have to look sideways." "As we get a more and more older population we'll be seeing more and more of it, " says Dr.

Because it affects so many people and because it's such a devastating disease those who suffer from it are tuning in to any and all possible relief. "Many of my patients are grabbing at straws, anything they see on the Internet even if it's not thoroughly studied, they want to try it," says Dr. Charles Harris with Southern Retina, LLC. One thing the medical community is focusing on is the use of vitamins to slow the progression of the disease. A study by the National Eye Institute showed that high doses of a multiple vitamin will decrease the progression. Dr. Harris cautions, because certain vitamins in high doses can be harmful this treatment needs to be closely monitored. "It is available without prescription but it should be taken under the supervision of a doctor."

Doctors have no clear diagnosis for prevention of macular degeneration but they do have suggestions-- they say keep your cholesterol and blood pressure in check-- don't smoke-- eat a well balanced diet-- and wear good ultra violet sunglasses.

For more information contact Dr. Charles Harris at Southern Retina, LLC -- 912-353-7900 or

Dr. Judy Piros at Ophthalmology Associates, P.A. 912-352-7941