Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Macular degeneration is a slow, painless, and progressive condition that affects the macula – the small central part of the retina that enables us to see objects in detail. AMD usually causes damage to the macula, affecting the part of the eye that creates clear vision, and can unfortunately take years to progress without being noticed.

In most cases, older patients develop AMD as part of the body’s natural aging process. Some individuals, however, including smokers and those with a family history of AMD, are more prone to the disease.

CAUSES OF AMD

The causes of AMD are not completely understood. However, we know that age, gender, ethnicity, and family history play vital roles in its development. Other factors that may influence AMD development are obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, high fat intake, excessive exposure to sunlight, and high cholesterol.

TYPES OF AMD

Dry AMD

This is the most common type and occurs in 90% of all AMD cases. The dry form is caused by the breakdown of the retinal pigment epithelial in the macula.

Wet AMD:

Wet AMD is more advanced and affects 10-15% of those who have macular degeneration, but accounts for 90% of the vision loss caused by the disease. With Wet AMD, a membrane underlying the retina thickens and then breaks, disrupting the flow of oxygen to the macula.

SYMPTOMS OF AMD

For Dry AMD: The most common symptom is blurred vision, and this develops in the early stages. Brighter light may be used to alleviate this blurred vision. However, if the light-sensing cells are severely damaged, people may see a small but expanding blind spot in the middle of their field of vision.

For Wet AMD: An early symptom would be when straight lines appear crooked. This happens when fluid from leaking blood vessels accumulates in the eye and distorts vision. In wet AMD, a small blind spot which causes a loss of central vision may appear.

MANAGING AMD

Unfortunately, AMD can’t be prevented, but there are a few things that can slow the disease’s progression.

  1. Undergo eye exams annually to assess your macular degeneration status
  2. Take multi-vitamins daily
  3. Wear sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB light for effective outdoor eye safety
  4. Include green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, etc. to your daily diet
  5. Quit smoking
    1. TREATMENTS

      Make sure you understand the risks involved before you opt for any AMD treatment. Consult your eye care specialist so they can explain the entire process involved in any surgical or injection treatment, ensuring you are comfortable moving forward with the procedure.

      Eye injection treatment is an effective treatment for wet macular degeneration or advanced age-related macular degeneration. This treatment is carried out by an experienced retina specialist who has considerable expertise in this field. The injection is pain-free and quick and is a day-patient procedure. With local anesthetic eye drops to numb the affected areas, you will be conscious throughout the procedure.

      Fortunately, the recovery isn’t a painful or lengthy experience. You will only experience discomfort for a few days, which can be effectively managed with pain medication.