Know Your Treatment Options for AMD

Macular degeneration is a very common eye disease in people aged 65 and older and it’s a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. There are different treatment options available which will be explained below.

Know Your Treatment Options for AMD in Olympia

AMD Treatment

It is very important to see your eye doctor if you have a family history of macular degeneration, if you’re in the age group of 65 or older, or you have any suspicions of developing AMD so that you can get a thorough exam, and if necessary your eye doctor will provide the proper diagnosis and treatment. Macular Degeneration is an eye condition that can damage your central vision, but there are many wonderful resources available. It’s important to consult with your eye doctor who can advise you what the best plan of action is in order to maintain your vision and general eye health.

There are two types of macular degeneration. There is the more mild and much more common dry AMD which does not usually cause significant damage, however it could lead to the more rare wet AMD which can cause vision loss. Therefore early diagnosis is crucial so that the proper steps can be taken in order to prevent dry AMD from turning into wet macular degeneration. For people who have developed wet AMD there is treatment available to stop or even reverse vision loss.

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For this condition, the main goal is early detection and preventing dry AMD from turning into wet AMD. The dry category does not cause damage to our vision but it’s a warning that the retina is at high risk for developing unstable blood vessels which can cause wet macular degeneration.

If you have dry AMD, your eye doctor will recommend a supplement in order to prevent future damage from wet macular degeneration. As a result of a series of studies called Age Related Eye Disease Studies (AREDS2), a combination of vitamins has been developed that can help prevent the progression of AMD. The supplement contains vitamins C and E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and copper.

In addition, your eye doctor will recommend that you do a quick and easy at home screening test to make sure that your condition is not turning into wet AMD. All it takes is a small black and white card that you can use called the Amsler grid. This is an extremely helpful tool that is used to assess any changes in your vision which could be a sign for wet macular degeneration. Every day you spend just a few seconds looking at this grid with one eye open and the other closed so that you can detect if there are any changes in each eye over time. If any of the straight lines on the Amsler grid begin to appear distorted or wavy or if part of the lines on the grid disappear then you know to consult your eye doctor who can check if there are any changes in your retina that could lead to wet AMD.


In wet AMD, the damage is caused by abnormal new blood vessels that form in the retina. The source of these blood cells are proteins called VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) and therefore in order to treat this condition, effective injections are used called anti-VEGF which directly block the source of the issue. This treatment can stop vision loss and can even reverse the damage caused by AMD.

The eye is first numbed to ensure that no pain will be felt when the injections are administered. Currently the anti-VEGF drugs are given every 4-6 weeks, however there is a tremendous amount of research taking place to improve this. There is hope that developments are being made to avoid frequent injections. Furthermore, there is research taking place to find a cure that can essentially get rid of macular degeneration.

Common Questions

VEGF is an acronym which stands for vascular endothelial growth factor and it's a protein that plays a crucial role in developing new blood vessels. In wet AMD, there is a growth spurt of these new blood vessels, however they are unstable, very damaging and must be treated. The anti-VEGF drugs are injected into the eye in order to stop the growth of these abnormal blood vessels. Prior to the injections, the eye is numbed so that no pain will be felt during the treatment. As of now, these anti-VEGF injections are administered every four to six weeks. A tremendous amount of research and efforts are being invested to develop new types of anti-VEGF treatment which will not require frequent administration. In addition, there is hope that treatments being developed today will also cure the disease.
If wet macular degeneration is not treated, it can cause on. The good news is that there is treatment available to slow down and even prevent vision loss. If you start treatment early then it's possible to reverse some of the visual damage that has already been caused by this disease. The goal of the treatment is to block the VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) which is responsible for triggering the growth of unstable blood vessels under your retina. These blood vessels can cause damage to your vision when they begin to leak, hence the name wet macular degeneration. Thankfully there are Anti-VEGF injections which directly treat the source of the damage by blocking the VEGF. It's important to note that great research is being performed to increase the chances of reversing the visual damage that this disease can cause.
Age-related macular degeneration affects older people more often and It’s the leading cause of severely impaired vision in adults over 60. Whereas macular degeneration, which is also sometimes called juvenile macular degeneration is believed to be genetic. Examples of juvenile or non-age related macular degeneration are best disease, stargardts, and juvenile retinoschisis. You might be at a higher risk if someone in your family has the disease. A number of other factors can lead to macular degeneration include smoking, having high blood pressure or high cholesterol, obesity, eating lots of saturated fat, being light-skinned, being female, and having light colored eyes. In both cases of juvenile and age related macular degeneration, the disease leads to central vision loss due to the deterioration of the macula. A low vision optometrist helps patients with age related and juvenile macular degeneration regain their independence by enabling them to have the tools to maximize their remaining vision.
Know Your Treatment Options for AMD
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


Understanding this eye disease and consulting your eye doctor is so crucial to properly treat macular degeneration. When detected early enough, damage from AMD can be prevented by taking the proper precautions. If the condition has advanced to a stage that could cause vision loss, there is effective treatment which directly blocks the source of the damage. Please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment at our office so you can be checked for macular degeneration and provided the proper treatment when necessary. You can schedule an eye exam with our eye doctor by calling (360) 491-2121. Patients searching for advanced medical eye care for AMD visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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