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Boggio Family of Pharmacies

Boggios: A healthy choice for your whole life

Monthly Archives: August 2015

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision loss in Canadians, especially after the age of 65. There are two types of AMD: wet and dry, with the latter being much more common. Dry AMD typically presents as a slow, painless loss of vision. Usually, the centre of the visual field blurs while the edges of your sight stay the same. In wet AMD however, vision loss is much more rapid.

The cause of AMD is still mostly unknown, but we do know that there is damage to parts of your eye that help send images to your brain. Development of AMD has been linked to genetics, smoking, blood pressure, heart health and diet.

How can you reduce your risk of developing AMD?

  • Stop smoking. Smoking is associated with up to 4 times higher risk of developing AMD. Speak to your pharmacist for help in quitting
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Keep your blood pressure under control
  • Take your cholesterol and heart medications
  • Speak to your pharmacist for tools to monitor your vision. There are special, easy-to-use visual scales that you can use at home to detect if you are developing AMD.

What about vitamins and minerals?

You might have heard that certain supplements might be good to reduce the risk of getting AMD. At the moment, the best data suggest that supplements only help patients with at least intermediate-severity AMD – so if you don’t have a diagnosis of AMD or if your AMD is very minimal, taking a vitamin might not be the best choice. Talk to your pharmacist to see if a supplement is for you.

If you have been diagnosed with AMD with at least some moderate vision loss or more, a supplement might be a good idea. There are many formulations out there marketed for vision loss but not all of them are supported by best evidence. Your pharmacist can help you choose the best supplement for preserving your vision.

What about wet/severe AMD?

If you have been diagnosed with wet AMD, you will need to start prescription medication for AMD. These medications are usually injections that are administered to the eye by your eye specialist. Many of them work well not only to keep your AMD from progressing, but they can also help to restore vision that has been lost.

Many of these injectable medications can be quite expensive but they may be covered by your drug plan. Some of the drug companies that make these medications also offer assistance for patients in paying for these injections. Talk to your pharmacy team for more information regarding the most cost-effective way to purchase these medications and to save you money.

The most common side effects of these medications are minor eye pain and red spots on the eye near the injection site. These are normal side effects and they typically resolve a few days after administration. Very rarely, these medications may cause an infection in the eye called endophthalmitis which can cause permanent vision loss. Therefore, if you notice severe eye pain or vision loss after the injection, see a doctor immediately.