Duke retinal specialists use sophisticated imaging technology and the latest treatment advances to diagnose and manage wet and dry macular degeneration. Our retinal specialists are also researchers whose work focuses on learning more about macular degeneration, and developing promising new therapies. No matter which type of macular degeneration you have, our goal is to diagnose it early, and prevent the vision loss that can occur.
Leaders in macular degeneration research and treatment
Macular degeneration, or age-related macular degeneration, is a leading cause of vision loss, and requires prompt evaluation and treatment. It is mostly likely that you have the dry form, which can cause blind spots in your central vision. About 10 percent of people have the wet form of macular degeneration, which can lead to serious vision loss. While there is currently no cure for macular degeneration, we do everything we can to slow vision loss and maximize your quality of life.
Our retinal specialists are nationally renowned researchers in the imaging and treatment of macular degeneration. While there are few treatments available for wet macular degeneration, we are uncovering new information about the disease. Our goal is to develop drugs that target certain actions, which lead to its progression. At the same time, we use sophisticated technology to create more precise images of the inside of your eye, which helps us pinpoint subtle differences related to the wet form of macular degeneration. We use this information, which is only available to a handful of retinal specialists around the country, to guide the treatment plan we recommend to you.
Choose Duke for your macular degeneration care because we offer:
- Nationally ranked eye care. U. S News & World Report consistently ranks Duke Eye Center among the nation’s best.
- Latest retinal imaging devices. Our researchers are national leaders in the use of sophisticated imaging technology and interpreting their results. Our years of experience, and vast resources let us identify the subtleties and patterns that guide the treatment decisions we recommend to you.
- Low vision rehabilitation. If you are experiencing vision loss related to macular degeneration, we conduct a thorough evaluation of your needs, and give you the tools and knowledge that allow you to optimize your visual function and maximize your quality of life.
- Research advancements. You may be eligible to contribute to our research, which may lead to a better understanding of macular degeneration, more effective therapies, and new ways to manage the disease.
- Leading retinal specialists. Our retinal specialists travel the country to lecture and teach courses on macular degeneration. Our experience and knowledge means we are well versed in all the latest advances. You receive your care from some of the best retinal specialists in the country.
- Comprehensive support. Our clinical social worker is available to help you cope with the emotional and psychological stress of vision loss, as well as other medical or environmental concerns.
The large-scale, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that high-levels of vitamins and zinc may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by up to 25 percent. The AREDS and AREDS2 formulations do not require a prescription, and currently are the only treatment available for dry macular degeneration.
Medications that block or inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) have proven effective at limiting the growth of new blood vessels, and diminishing their injury to the retina. Monthly injections in or around the eye may prevent vision loss from wet macular degeneration.
A low-power laser (“cold” laser) reacts to a dye that is injected into your arm, and makes abnormal blood vessels sensitive to light. The laser seals off leaking blood vessels associated with wet macular degeneration.
A long-acting, anti-inflammatory steroid is injected into the white portion of your eye to decrease blood vessel growth and reduce retinal swelling.
A high-powered laser (“hot” laser) sears leaking, abnormal blood vessels associated with wet macular degeneration. May be used when the abnormal vessels are outside the center of the macula.
Lifts the macula away from underlying blood vessels and moves it to a new, healthier location to restore central vision.
Your retinal specialist will use a variety of imaging devices to conduct a thorough examination of your eyes, their structure and nerves. Additional tests measure intraocular pressure, the extent of damage, and possible vision loss.
Dilation drops allow your doctor to get a better look at your lens, optic nerve, macula and peripheral retina.
Measures the accuracy of your vision by determining the smallest letters you can see on a chart.
A checkerboard pattern of straight lines may appear wavy if you have macular degeneration.
Dye is injected into your arm to identify new or leaking blood vessels, as well as blood in the macula. Magnified devices capture images that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
OCT is a computer-guided device that creates a 3-D image map of the front part of your eye, the optic and retinal nerves, and the macula. It detects changes in the thickness of the macula, and looks for small defects that may be difficult to obtain during a visual field test.