The leading cause of blindness is Macular Degeneration.
While there is no cure for this disease, there are treatments that can slow down it's progression.
Carla Burbidge has the story in this week's Eye on Health.
Many patients at Trinity Regional Eyecare in Minot, come in on a regular basis to have a needle stuck in their eye. It is not as bad as it sounds. The eye is numb, and the patient has very little discomfort. For a person with macular degeneration, this is a necessary procedure. It's either that, or go blind.
Dr. David Jacobs Retina Specialist, Trinity Regional Eyecare "now we can stop vision loss, and actually 40% of patients gain back some vision"
Recently there's been some good news: Dr. Jacobs is now using a new medication in these injections called Eyeleah. He explains that it binds the molecules that cause his disease. It means patients needs fewer injections than they did in the past.
Dr. Jacobs "most patients need 5 or 6 a year, every two months, as every one month before, six times is better than 12 times a year"
The disadvantage is that the infection is quite costly approximately 1800 dollars a shot, so patients need to discuss it with their insurance provider.
200-thousand people in the U-S are diagnosed with age -related macular degeneration each year.
Dr. Jacobs recommends that anyone over 50 have a regular eye check-up to determine risk factors for macular degeneration. Risk factors include smoking, obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. It's best to catch macular degeneration early.
Dr. Jacobs "Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, you need to exercise, anything good for the body is good for the eye"
So while nobody looks forward to a needle in the eye, nobody wants to lose their eyesight either. For Eye on Health, I'm Carla Burbidge