Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a condition that causes damage to a person’s center of vision. Although some people believe that eye drops may help manage the condition, limited research supports this.
AMD is not curable, but a person could manage their condition and slow down the progression of vision loss. Research estimates that approximately
Some may think eye drops can help the condition develop more slowly, but there is limited information to suggest this.
Read on to learn more about over-the-counter (OTC) drops, prescription drops, and options for wet and dry AMD.
People can purchase OTC drops without a prescription, but a person’s doctor may recommend a specific type or brand.
However, there is limited research to suggest whether any OTC eye drops are effective for slowing down AMD. There are currently no OTC drops that are specifically for the treatment of AMD.
One prescription eyedrop that researchers have studied is Votrient (pazopanib).
Some older research from 2015 looked into these prescription eye drops compared with another treatment, Rabibizuman intravitreal injections. Although the pazopanib eye drops were safe and tolerable, they did not improve symptoms as much as the Ranibizumab injections.
Another potential option is atorvastatin eye drops. According to 2020 research, these drops are currently in development. Atorvastatin is in frequent use to treat cardiovascular diseases and may also help manage AMD.
There are two different types of macular degeneration: wet and dry. The appropriate treatment option depends on the type of AMD a person has.
According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, about 90% of AMD cases involve the dry form of the condition. This occurs when the layers of the macula become thinner. Over time, this causes a gradual decline in the function of the macula, causing macular degeneration to worsen gradually.
According to the
However, they say that a person can adapt to their vision loss. For example, if AMD is in one eye, a person can take steps to protect the other eye.
Wet AMD affects approximately 10% of people with AMD. It occurs when new blood vessels develop behind the retina, known as choroidal neovascularization. These blood vessels are weak and cause damage to the macula.
When the wet form of the condition occurs, a person is often in the late stages of AMD. Additionally, individuals may originally have dry AMD that becomes wet AMD.
- Anti–vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) drugs: A doctor can administer these drugs as injections directly into the eye. This helps slow the progression of AMD and may also help improve vision. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), vision improves in one-third of individuals who receive these drugs.
- Photodynamic therapy: This is a type of therapy that uses lasers, injections, and eye drops. A doctor injects a light-sensitive formula that makes its way to the new blood vessels near the macula. A person then receives an eye drop before the doctor shines a laser into their eye. This causes blood clots in the eye, sealing off the atypical blood vessels and helping prevent further vision loss.
There are various vision assisting devices and vision rehab services that a person can use to help manage their macular degeneration. Individuals can also ensure they discuss any family history of eye-related conditions with their eye doctor.
Individuals with AMD can take the
- have frequent eye exams
- stop smoking, if applicable
- maintain optimal cholesterol levels
- maintain a moderate weight
- eat a nutritious diet
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can also take certain vitamins and minerals to lower their risk of macular degeneration by
- vitamin C
- vitamin E
Doctors cannot cure AMD, but there are various ways a person can manage it. While some people choose to use eye drops, there is limited research to suggest that they benefit the condition. As such, eye drops are not a typical treatment method for the condition.
However, some research details that studies are ongoing into developing a prescription eye drop for AMD. Individuals with AMD can discuss treatment options with a doctor.