Macular Degeneration

A typical eye disorder is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), also known as macular degeneration. It is the leading cause of vision loss today. In this article, we'll go through the symptoms and signs of macular degeneration in greater depth and the treatment choices available. Continue reading to learn more!

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What is AMD?

You lose your center vision when you have AMD. So whether you’re looking at anything up close or far away, you can’t see minute details. However, your peripheral vision (side vision) will remain normal. 

Consider the following scenario: you’re looking at a clock with hands. You can see the numbers on the clock but not the hands with AMD. AMD is a relatively frequent condition. It is the most common cause of vision loss in adults aged 50 and up.

The macula collects high-resolution images from the center of the field of vision and sends them to the brain via the optic nerve, where they are translated into sight. However, these images are really not received correctly if cells in the macula begin to degrade, and the transferred information to the brain is similarly inaccurate.

What are the types of AMD?

Macular degeneration is divided into two types:

  1. Dry macular degeneration
  2. Wet macular degeneration

Dry macular degeneration

This is a rather common kind. The dry form of AMD affects about 80% of persons (8 out of ten). When sections of the macula thin out and little clumps of a protein called drusen form, this is known as dry AMD. You gradually lose your core vision. There is, at the moment, no treatment for dry AMD.

Wet macular degeneration 

This type is less prevalent, but it is far more dangerous. When new, aberrant blood vessels form behind the retina, this is known as wet AMD. These arteries may leak blood or other fluids, resulting in macula scarring. Wet AMD causes visual loss more quickly than dry AMD.

What is the cause of AMD?

Macular degeneration does not have any major symptoms in its early stages. During a comprehensive ophthalmological examination, however, it can still be detected. Small yellow deposits (drusen) form in the layer of cells right beneath the retina, indicating areas of degeneration.

Drusen are few in number, tiny, and lack considerable pigmentation in the early stages. There is usually no eyesight loss in the patient. The drusen have multiplied, grown larger, become more deeply pigmented, and maybe cause minor visual impairments such as wavy or blurred vision in the intermediate stage. Advanced AMD can cause central vision loss that ranges from partial to complete.

Who is at risk for AMD?

If you do any of the following, you’re more likely to develop AMD:

  • accustomed to smoking cigarettes 
  • are over the age of 50
  • consume a high-saturated-fat diet (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
  • suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • are obese
  • have a history of AMD in your family

Heart disease, as well as excessive cholesterol levels, are also risk factors for AMD. Caucasians (white people) are likewise more likely to develop AMD.

Is early detection for AMD possible?

Macular degeneration is the major cause of vision loss in people 60 and older in the United States, and advanced age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness and irreversible blindness worldwide.

Because early stages of AMD rarely elicit symptoms, waiting until vision abnormalities develop to undergo an eye exam can raise the chance of AMD progressing to the point of irreversible vision loss.

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What are the symptoms of AMD?

Macular degeneration is a disorder that worsens over time. As a result, it will deteriorate with time. In the early stages of the disease, eyesight impairments may go unnoticed. However, when both eyes are affected simultaneously, you’re less likely to notice vision alterations.

Symptoms include:

  • difficulty adapting to low lights
  • blurriness
  • trouble recognizing faces
  • retinal damage
  • a reduction in central vision
  • distortion of straight lines in your field of vision
  • the need for brighter lighting

What are the complications of AMD?

One of the side effects of macular degeneration is the inability to do some tasks independently. Reading and other tasks become increasingly difficult as the condition advances.

People with macular degeneration frequently lose their ability to drive. Therefore, if your doctor diagnoses you with macular degeneration, you may be required to take a vision test on a regular basis to confirm your ability to drive.

What are the treatment options for AMD?

Dry AMD treatment aims to slow down the disease’s progression. Vitamin and antioxidant combinations, known as AREDS or AREDS2 formulations, are now the most effective type of treatment available. AREDS or AREDS2 supplements can cut the risk of intermediate to advanced AMD progression by roughly 25%.

Wet AMD requires more invasive treatment since it is a more advanced type of disease with a higher chance of central vision loss (partial or total). Injectable vascular endothelial growth factor blockers, often known as anti-VEFG medicines, are various therapy alternatives.

There is no cure for either type of AMD at this time. It is impossible to recover vision once it has been lost due to AMD. The techniques indicated above, on the other hand, can help to slow or even stop further eyesight loss.

Can AMD be prevented?

Macular degeneration cannot be prevented, according to experts. Maintaining a health-promoting lifestyle, on the other hand, can help minimize your risk of developing the disease.

This comprises:

  • Quitting smoking if you practice it
  • Consuming a nutrient-dense food on a regular basis
  • Keeping a suitable body weight
  • Consistently exercising as much as possible

To conclude?

Many people are quite unaware they have AMD until their vision has become quite hazy. This is why it is critical to see an ophthalmologist on a regular basis. Before you have any vision difficulties, he or she can look for early indicators of AMD.

Although macular degeneration cannot be prevented, it can be detected early with routine dilated eye exams. In addition, early treatment can help decrease the progression of the disease and reduce eyesight loss.

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