Preventing Blindness: Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Macular Edema


At Splash Box we pride ourselves in caring for the hard of sight community through providing accessibility services to make the internet accessible to the blind or hard of sight. I am a licensed pharmacist that has the privilege of working for this company and working with the hard of sight community. All information presented is for strictly informative purposes. Please see your medical provider or eye doctor if you have questions or concerns about these disease states. Always consult your physicians and pharmacist before taking or stopping any medications or supplements.


Both age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME) are leading causes of blindness so it is important to understand these disease states and what we can do to prevent them. AMD is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans aged 65 and older.1 It is a major cause of blindness worldwide.1 While this is an age-related condition it has many risk factors which include: family history of AMD, Caucasian race, smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.1 DME is a complication of diabetes and is also the leading cause of new blindness in the United Sates.2 The consistently high blood sugars associated with diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the eye over time which results in vision impairment.2 Symptoms of these conditions include blurry vision, partial loss of vision, increase in eye floaters, seeing spots, inability to see in dim light, and double vision.1,2


Prevention of AMD1:

· Tell your eye doctor about any family history of eye diseases

· Get regular eye exams to catch AMD early on

· Never start smoking or quit smoking

· Live a healthy lifestyle to keep cholesterol and blood pressure in healthy ranges

· Certain vitamins when used in combination have been shown to be effective in

decreasing AMD risk

o Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-carotene, Zinc, and Copper

o These can be found in many green leafy vegetables


Prevention of DME2:

· Maintain good blood sugar control

· Live a healthy lifestyle to keep cholesterol and blood pressure in healthy ranges

· Receiving a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year, or more often as

directed by the eye doctor

o If pregnant with diabetes, get a comprehensive dilated eye exam as soon as

possible


How do we treat these eye conditions? For AMD it is broken into two classifications, dry AMD and wet AMD. For dry AMD there is no treatment, but vision aids can help reduce symptoms.3 For wet AMD, both eye injections and light treatment are used. DME is treated with eye injections, light treatment, or corticosteroids. There has recently been a new drug approved in June of this year that is indicated for both AMD and DME with longer dosing periods which will greatly assist doctors in treating these conditions.





It is important to raise awareness of these degenerative eye disorders so we can help prevent blindness. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you prevent these eye disorders. Always consult your physician before starting a new exercise regimen. These treatments are expensive, so invest in your future today by taking care of your eyes and your health.



 


References:

1. Learn about age-related macular degeneration. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/resources/features/macular-degeneration.html#:~:text=Quitting%20smoking%2C%20or%20never%20starting,can%20cause%20permanent%20vision%20loss. Published November 23, 2020. Accessed August 8, 2022.

2. Diabetic macular edema (DME). Prevent Blindness. https://preventblindness.org/diabetic-macular-edema-dme/. Published February 1, 2022. Accessed August 8, 2022.

3. Treatments -Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd/treatment/#:~:text=Treatments%20Age%2Drelated%20macular%20degeneration%20(AMD)&text=Dry%20AMD%20%E2%80%93%20there's%20no%20treatment,stop%20your%20vision%20getting%20worse. Published 20 Apr. 2021. Accessed August 8, 2022.

4. Takamura Y, Ohkoshi K, Murata T. New strategies for treatment of diabetic macular edema. Journal of Ophthalmology. 2018;2018:1-2. doi:10.1155/2018/4292154

5. LUCENTIS (ranibizumab injection). Package Insert. Genentech, Inc.; 2022.

6. EYLEA® (aflibercept) Injection. Package Insert. Regeneron. 2022.

7. BEOVU® (brolucizumab-dbll) injection. Package Insert. Novartis. 2022.

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