Surgery and Injections for Macular Degeneration

eye-needleThere are two types of Macular Degeneration:

The dry form accounts for 90% of the cases. However, it’s the more advanced wet form that is the most common cause of irreversible and severe loss of vision – and for which surgical decisions arise.

Two most common surgical options are laser photocoagulation and photodynamic therapy (PDT). In both, the idea is to seal bleeding blood vessels to prevent any vision loss or to delay further progression of vision loss.

In photocoagulation, intense laser light cauterizes, stopping the bleeding and destroying abnormal blood vessels. (Only 20% of patients qualify for this surgery.) In PDT, a unique light activated by dye, seals unhealthy blood vessels, reducing them. But surgeries vary, and each method comes with its own risks and complications. (More about these supposed “abnormal” or “unhealthy” blood vessels later.)

Not surprisingly, studies find that before and after surgery, patients report a high degree of quality of life impairment due to poor vision; meaning surgery didn’t help improve their vision.

However, that’s not surprising to those professionals who take a holistic view of vision care.

According to the ophthalmologist and nutritional expert Dr. Gary Price Todd, M.D., O.D., the surgery option is not a good one: “If you take the laser [photocoagulation] you have a 4 to 15% chance that 5 years from now you’re going to be seeing better than you would have otherwise, but a pretty hefty chance, well over 50%, that you’re going to be seeing a lot worse immediately than you would have if treatment were not done. In my mind, that’s not a good option.”

Dr. Todd, who conducted his own scientific studies over five years with great success, including blood and vision testing, believed nutrition therapy was far more effective and safer, and with no side effects.

If you don’t get the results, he says, you can still have the laser, but at least “you have a chance, a better chance to correct the metabolic problem rather than going in and burning holes in the back of the eye. Very seldom does a person improve once they’ve had a laser. They just don’t see as well as they did.”

The more important question to Todd and other holistic doctors is what causes the bleeding in the first place?

The answer? – The macula is starving.

In its attempt to heal itself, the body, in its infinite wisdom, creates new blood vessels to replace those in the eye that are drying up and dying due to a lack of sufficient nutrient and oxygen supply to the eyes. These are “abnormal” or “unhealthy” blood vessels are the targets of surgery.

But these new vessels are weak, and crack and bleed. After all, they are not getting any better supply of nutrients than the dying vessels.

So surgery becomes about stopping the bleeding.

Lucentis injections clean up the bleeding, acting like a sponge to reabsorb the blood from the leaks, but they don’t cure Macular Degeneration, which is a common misconception and the mistaken reason many people get the shots.

“But injections and surgery don’t help the macula recover or heal,” says New Jersey-based Andy Rosenfarb, N.D.,, a Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist who specializes in vision problems.

“Maybe you stopped the possibility of bleeding, but you’ve also cut off the new food supply to the macula. So it’s still going to degenerate,” Rosenfarb says. “Possibly, you may have controlled some bleeding, which will probably occur anyway again, but you’re cutting off the body’s attempt to recover and revive these macula cells. So you’re really not helping yourself out by doing that.”

Clinical trials sponsored by the National Eye Institute (NEI) have supported both doctors’ claims “that vision does not improve substantially after surgery.”

Dr. Rosenfarb believes that people – and their eyes – are nutritionally deficient, which is why it’s good to have supplementation.

“After we increase the blood flow to the eyes,” he says, “we have to get the right nutrients into the blood stream to deliver them to the eyes. With the right nutrients delivered into the eyes you have a much higher probability of regeneration and preservation.”

At its best, treating the symptoms may lead to temporary relief. But it’s never the best long-term solution, which is to fully nourish the eyes – and cleanse toxins from the visual system.

In other words, do whatever you can to encourage the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

35 Responses to “Surgery and Injections for Macular Degeneration”

  1. Anna Artemide says:

    I quite agree with you. It will be usefull to advise us as to which nutrition is the best to have.

    • Martin Sussman says:

      Read some of the blog posts. Also, this report is very comprehensive:

      • Karen says:

        Hi. I’m 49 and haven’t been to a doctor in years. However I recently had an issue with my right eye. Blurry vision, grey curtain, large hair like spots. My pupil won’t dialate like the other eye. Vision in the eye, appears as if water (liquid) is in the eye, but not the case. The eye doctor has told me there is blood inside my eyeball and a bulge on my retina which may be melanoma. I’m wondering what the fluid is that I constantly see. And should I keep it covered?

      • Karen says:

        Also, I planned on starting the Gerson Therapy and wondered what your thought were on it.

        In hindesight, I realize my near sight vision has been deteriorating over the past 4 years. Including my depth perception, which was really freaking me out. I hope that by removing much of the toxins accumulated over the years, I can save my vision.

  2. I have had 20 lucentis injections in each eye with a slow improvement in my wet AMD. Treatment is continuing. My diet is excellent and includes a variety of the recommended supplements. I am still vulnerable to bleeding in the eye. My age is 64 and my health is very good in all other respects with no medication. There is no family history. My treatment is at Moorfields under a highly regarded consultant. My hope is alternative therapies will become available to allow macular regeneration.

    • Martin Sussman says:

      I’m glad you’re seeing slow improvement.

      There is ever mounting evidence that Macular Degeneration is NOT only in the eyes. Even though you may not have seen any other symptoms in other ways yet, the toxic build up, lack of systemic flushing and capillary constriction will show up in other ways.

      Start reading here, then look at some of the other relevant blog posts before moving on to the Vision Care Products section and the report on Chinese Medicine.

      • Alan Oliver says:

        I have been diagnosed with wet macular disorder (3years ago) and have now just completed the second cycle of injections. I realise however that this is not a cure and seek advice on where in South Africa I could find alternative therapies you recommend. Any suggestions?/



        • Martin Sussman says:

          Sorry, we don’t make recommendations for doctors that might be practicing an alternative approach to eye conditions. There really aren’t many doctors around the world who have a truly holistic approach. That’s why we offer tools, tips and information so you can become an active partner in your own eye health.

    • Sue says:

      I was interested to read your comments and note you
      attend Mooefields in London, I am thinking of changing
      to Moorfields and would be grateful for your Consultants
      name as you obviously hold him in high regard
      Many thanks

  3. Joseph Morina says:

    I have been taking Eye Max Plus for about ayear and a half. Also have taken Avastin from April toDecember of 2011 and then Eylea from January 2012 between 8 to 10 week intervals, now at theBaskin Palmer Eye Institute and continuing. I have read your blogs and feel that I am on good nutritional foods recommended and controlled by my wife. I find no apparent eye improvement. Any new help out there?

    • Martin Sussman says:

      Every expert says that it’s hard to get improvement in vision after surgery, but you have to know how to measure your success.
      If you do nothing, your vision will decline over time and with age, especially given your situation.
      Keeping it stable is improvement in the face of this. That’s improvement!

  4. Joseph Morina says:

    In my previous comments, I failed to mention that my right eye was hot laser treated 15 years ago which left it badly scared. iN

  5. Joseph Morina says:

    PDF was used first on my left eye in April 2011. It cleared the vision for several days but then hemmoraged and remained visually impaired. I then went to Baskin Palmer for the latest drug injectio of Eyelea and continued care.

  6. Michael says:

    Hi. My mother has mac deg. and she is also taking blood thinning medication and Hydrea a type of blood cancer medication. Can this be a contributing factor? I heard you can replace blood thinning with C-vitamins and Omega 3 oils without negative side effects.

    We are very interested in your nutritional aproach and will be buying a batch.
    Yours sincerely
    Michael Gezelius

    • Martin Sussman says:

      The EYEMAX-plus has been carefully formulated to not contradict blood thinning medication, but I’d have your doctor review the ingredient list and make absolutely sure that that is the case in your mom’s situation.

      There are many factors that contribute to the onset of Mac Degen It’s not only the blood thinning issue; just as important – if not more so – is the structural integrity and strength of the capillary walls themselves.

  7. May 30, 2013

    Yes I am 54 yrs of age and have diabetes I have had diabetes for 43 years. I started having yision problems about 3 years ago. I have the wet MD and have been taking your eye vitamins for over 6 months. I also had a couple lasers done to the left eye and am now taking injections of lucentis once a month for the last 4 months the bleeding has stopped but I have damage behind the eye from the laser. Your eye plus vitamins are good but I find I am taking most of the same ingredients in your eye max that I buy at my health food store. So I am really getting the vitamins for my eye. I don’t find my vision any better in my left eye and my right eye I have 20/20 vision. I would like to continue with your eye max vitamin but already am taking lots of the vitamins in eye max. What I would like to see is your eye max get more eye vitamins like, loads of vegatables and fruits also lots of bilberry,lutein an and lypopene. These are the best vitamins for eyes and put the mg up to 150 to 200. This is what helps the eyes along with vitamin C. So stick to the basic of vitamins for the eyes instead of all these others that you can get with a multi vitamin. So there is another eye vitamin out there that just uses the basic vitamins for the eye. So I don’t think I will continue with your eye max plus and try these other ones. I also use your eye drops that I find very good, would not be without the eye drops

    Brendalee Parisian

  8. mary edwards says:

    people should see a good specialist – not listen to you, Dry macular degeneration is slow moving and there is nothing that can be done unless it beomes the wet type when injections will keep it in check.

  9. William Cahill Sr says:

    I have the wet type in my left eye, and I also have cataracts in both eyes. I understand that cataract removal may cause wet type to my right eye if I have cataract surgery. What are the chances of that happening? I also want to know about stem cell treatment. I have heard good things about it, but can’t find a place in the US where I can get it. Why can’t we get treatment in the US?

    • Martin Sussman says:

      Stem cell is still experimental and not offered in the US to the public. Why? It could be for lots of different reasons.
      You’re right in knowing that one of the risks of cataract surgery may be the development of Macular Degeneration. That’s why I suggest that you sign up for this free lecture if you haven’t already:

  10. Donna Gilley says:

    My mom has macular degeneration, could she benefit from injections ,who do I contact ?

    • Martin Sussman says:

      We don’t do injections. And, of course, it’s impossible to say who can and cannot benefit from them over the internet. Your mom has to see a doctor, preferably more than one, to get an opinion that is appropriate for her health and circumstance.

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  14. Jean Branigan says:

    My husband has had the shots for several years, but is very discouraged as his have gotten much worse. The last injections left his eyes so bloodshot for two weeks. Do the shots cause scar tissue? He is 84. Jean Branigan

    • Martin Sussman says:

      We don’t do injections. And, of course, it’s impossible to say what the outcome would be over the internet. Your husband has to see a doctor, preferably more than one, to get an opinion that is appropriate for his health and circumstance.

  15. Ross Edwards says:

    Hi I have recently been examined by an Optomerist @ advised that I have Macular Degeneration,, he didn’t tell me if it was wet or dry. I now am on the waiting list to see an Eye Specialist at our hospital, is there anything I can do to help while waiting please. I live in New Zealand many thanks.

  16. Jean Abel says:

    I am 64 I have MD been taking shots both eyes same time and laser both eyes thinking about stoping it’s not helped at all can not stand light it hearts them What can I do? Please help ? Tired of all the test task all day than all the drops they put in your eyes makes it bad

  17. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well
    written article. I will make sure to bookmark it
    and return to read more of your useful information.
    Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

  18. Très bon article : j’en parlerai dans la semaine avec certains de mes potes

  19. pj says:

    Hello…A 93 year old WW2 vet told me he had shots in his eyes (did not hurt) for M-D and he see’s great … He lives in Tyler, Texas…can this be true? Thank you for your attention to my question.


    • Cambridge Institute for Better Vision says:

      At its best, treating the symptoms may lead to temporary relief. But it’s never the best long-term solution, which is to fully nourish the eyes – and cleanse toxins from the visual system.

      In other words, do whatever you can to encourage the body’s natural ability to heal itself.


  1. Can Eating Grapes Slow or Help Prevent Macular Degeneration? | Macular Degeneration Health News - [...] (See our earlier posts, Take This Macular Degeneration Quiz and Surgery and Injections for Macular Degeneration.) [...]
  2. Four Keys To Maintaining Healthy Vision | Macular Degeneration Health News - [...] See two earlier posts: Lutein and Zeaxanthin and Macular Degeneration and Surgery and Injections for Macular Degeneration. [...]

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