This health video shows you how to cope and manage having macular degeneration.
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Jennifer Mathews: See the blurry spot in the middle of this picture? That's how things look to many people with macular degeneration. If untreated, a dark spot eventually blocks the central vision. It happens in the retina. Dr. Andreas Lauer: It's not a part of the eye that you can see. It's on the inside of the eye, and it's much like wallpaper that lines the inside of a room. The retina lines the inside of the eye. Jennifer Mathews: At the very center of the retina, blood vessels grow rapidly causing scarring and vision loss. Dewayne Franz was diagnosed five years ago. DeWayne Franz: I lost my ability to read the newspaper and things like that. That's when I really knew that I was in trouble. Jennifer Mathews: Every six weeks, just like this man, Dewayne receives an injection of a drug called macugen. DeWayne Franz : I have not noticed an appreciable difference in my eyesight. What I have noticed is that my eyesight has been maintained. Female Speaker: Okay, let's go down to the smallest line that you can see. Jennifer Mathews: Most patients injected with macugen did lose some vision but not as much as those injected with a placebo. The difference was about 15 percent, and doctors say the news is encouraging. Dr. Andreas Lauer: It is important in the sense that we have a different way to treat macular degeneration, or potentially a different way to treat macular degeneration. Jennifer Mathews: Dr. Lauer says there's only one comparable treatment available now. A combination drug and laser therapy requiring patients to avoid light for several days, something they won't need to worry about with macugen. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.