The “dry” type of macular degeneration is not reversible. The only treatment for which there is clinical trial evidence to support its benefit is the use of micronutrient supplementation. This may reduce the rate of progression in patients who have never smoked or who have not done so for six months.

Other more specific treatments that may slow down the development of macular degeneration are currently in clinical trial development and may be available in the next five years. These include the placement of growth factors and human embryonic stem cells inside the eye in an effort to reverse visual loss.

New treatments of the “wet” type of macular degeneration not only may stabilise vision but sometimes bring dramatic and sustained improvement. They are directed towards influencing key molecules in the chemical environment of the abnormal leaking blood vessels beneath the retina. Treatment involves repeated, monthly injection of tiny amounts of medicine into the eye to induce regression of the abnormal vessels or makes them a better target for other treatments.