Eyeglasses for Macular Degeneration

Getting the best value for your money when it comes to eyeglasses, sunglasses, eye exams, and contact lenses.

Postby george » Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:08 pm

As a result of one poster's question in the thread on anti-reflective lenses, I decided to do a little research on whether there are certain lenses or lens treatments that are recommended for people with macular degeneration.

From what I could read, macular degeneration can range from very mild to very severe, but becomes more common as people get older. Macular degeneration is where the part of the retina most used for detailed vision becomes damaged (very simplified explanation). As a result, people lose detail vision such as what is needed for reading or recognizing faces. For a much more accurate and detailed explanation, you can review the National Institute of Health's National Eye Institute's page on macular degeneration.

In the other thread, Henry mentioned at Lenscrafters he saw a poster promoting a special lens which reduced glare when looking at lights indoors but increased contrast outdoors. The problem was it decreased needed light transmission. Henry asked if there were any details on "loss of light transmission".

After looking around quite a bit, I was surprised that there isn't any consistent information on lens recommendations for people with macular degeneration. It seems that the best option is to find a low vision specialist who can really work with you and find the best mix. There is such a wide range of severity levels of macular degeneration and varieties in how people are affected that there are several different options that may work for different people.

There was a bit of information out there about lenses with prisms and learning how to use more of the peripheral vision to compensate for the loss of central vision that occurs in later stages of macular degeneration.

I was more interested in trying to find solutions for earlier problems, such as Henry seems to suffer from. There were a few commercial websites the promote products that are supposed to help, but I didn't really find much information from people really saying whether they found the products helpful.

One product is by Luzerne Optical, called the LMmed550 Dinamica. Luzerne Optical makes several different tinted lenses geared towards different diseases. The lenses have different tints and also are photochromic giving additional filtering when exposed to UV lights. You can view some details about the lens in this pdf file. The basic information says:

This lens permits:
- The block of beyond the 99% of all solar rays λ < 550 nm;
- The transmission of at least the 90% of the visible solar light with wavelength λ > 550 nm.
The LMmed 550 is in red color and is suggested in case of macular degeneration, retinis pigmentosa, aniridia, albinism, glaucoma and marked photophobia.

There is also a company called NoIR which makes various ]tinted lenses designed for people with macular degeneration. Based on what I've read, it seems best for someone to try the different tints to see which one works best for them.

I'm sure there are other options out there, and I'd appreciate any comments or feedback people have on these or other lenses for people with macular degeneration.
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