Macular degeneration is also known as age-related macular disease or AMD. It gradually damages central vision. It is the most common cause of vision loss among Americans over 60.

When drusen deposits build up in the eyes, this is called macular degeneration. These deposits can cause light-sensitive cells in the eye to stop responding to light or blood vessels to leak, causing cell damage.

This is more common among white Americans. According to the National Eye Institute, 89 percent of those who develop macular degeneration are white. About 14 percent of Americans over 80 have the disease.

There are two types: dry and wet macular degeneration. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, dry AMD is the most common. It accounts for 85 to 90% of all cases.

Although researchers don’t know the exact cause of macular degeneration yet, they do know that increasing age is the greatest risk. Macular degeneration is not curable. Treatments focus on slowing or preventing further damage to the eyes.

Macular Degeneration, Elmiron

Recent studies have shown that those who use the interstitial cystitis drug Elmiron Lawyer (pentosan-polysulfate sodium), for an extended time are at greater risk of developing pigmentary macularopathy. This is a type eye damage that may be mistakenly diagnosed as AMD.

Drs. Drs. Nieraj Jain and Adam M. Hanif published their study on Elmiron pigmentary maculopathy in Review of Ophthalmology in July 2019. The eye damage was described by the researchers as “preventable vision-threatening medication toxicity that could masquerade with other maculopathies.”

“Our subsequent investigations showed that this rare maculopathy was strongly associated with chronic exposure to PPS, and not interstitial cystitis (IC) or other therapies. This characteristic maculopathy was only diagnosed in patients who had previously been exposed to PPS,” the authors stated.

Drs. Robin A. Vora and Amar P. Patel, both Kaiser Permanente doctors, reviewed Kaiser Permanente’s 4.3 million patient database and presented their findings to Kaiser Permanente in October 2019.

They discovered 140 patients who had taken an average of 5,000 Elmiron pills in 15 years. Ninety-one patients were examined and 22 showed signs of drug toxicity and eye damage.

Elmiron Eye Injury Symptoms

In the Hanif-Jain study, common symptoms of Elmiron eye injury were blurred vision, difficulty adjusting to dark lighting, and metamorphopsia. This is a visual defect that makes lines appear curvy or round.

What was the time it took to develop vision problems?

Patients in the Hanif-Jain study had a median Elmiron usage duration of 14.5 years. However, symptoms can develop as soon as three years after beginning Elmiron treatment.

Vision damage was seen in patients who had vision problems that could last up to nine years. Vision damage could be permanent. Current Elmiron lawsuits are being filed by patients who have suffered vision damage from Elmiron.

Alternatives to Elmiron

Elmiron is only approved for treating symptoms of IC, which causes bladder pressure and pain. There are other options that can be used to manage symptoms of IC if Elmiron is discontinued.

There are many alternatives to Elmiron:

Lifestyle changes

Avoid foods and drinks that can trigger symptoms. Talk to your doctor about a diet plan that can help you manage symptoms. Drink enough water to avoid dehydration. Reduce stress, quit smoking and keep active.

Bladder Training

Training your bladder to hold more urine can help relieve urinary urgency and pain.

Bowel Training

Some people find it helps with their IC symptoms to train their bowels to move more frequently.

Physical Therapy

People suffering from IC symptoms such as pelvic muscle spasms or IC symptoms may need to see a physical therapist in order to help relax tight muscles.

Pain Relief

Tylenol (acetaminophen), aspirin, and ibuprofen are some of the pain relievers that may be prescribed to manage IC symptoms. For stronger pain, doctors may prescribe stronger medications.