How to Take Care of Your Eyes as You Age: be aware of GMC: Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Cataract

From Consumer Reports:


More than 2 million Americans have glaucoma, but 50% know it. Glaucoma often goes undiagnosed because it causes no symptoms until vision declines, at which point treatment no longer helps. People aged 40-60 should be examined by an optometrist every 3-5 years; those older than 60 need an eye exam every 1-2 years.

Many eye doctors screen for glaucoma with tonometry (measures eye pressure) but that’s not enough. Relying only on intraocular pressure (IOP) when screening for glaucoma could miss up to 50% of all cases. The exam should also include an ophthalmoscopy, which involves examining your optic nerve.

The most common treatment for glaucoma is eye drops known as prostaglandin analogs (PGAs), which lower eye pressure. Generic versions of most of those drugs are much cheaper than the brand-name versions.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

There are two main forms of AMD:

1. Dry AMD, more common variety, which is treated mainly with dietary supplements

A specific blend of vitamins and minerals known as AREDS (vitamins C and E, plus copper, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc) lowers the risk of dry AMD progression by 25%. It’s the only treatment as of 2019.

Not all eye supplements contain the proper formulation. In an analysis of 11 eye-health supplements, only 4 contained the right mix: PreserVision Eye Vitamin AREDS Formula, PreserVision Eye Vitamin Lutein Formula, PreserVision AREDS2 Formula, and ICAPS AREDS.

Don’t bother taking any supplement with the hope that it will prevent AMD, no research supports that as of 2019.

2. Wet AMD, the more serious form, which requires monthly injections from an ophthalmologist with one of three drugs.

For wet AMD, consider an inexpensive drug vs the expensive ones. There are 3 drugs used to treat wet AMD—aflibercept (Eylea), bevacizumab (Avastin), and ranibizumab (Lucentis). Avastin costs just $50 per month, compared with $2,000 for the others. Avastin is officially approved only as a cancer drug and and you would need a compounding pharmacy.


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