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Age-Related Macular Degeneration


What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is leading cause of vision loss for several people over age 50.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1.8 million people have AMD and another 7.3 million are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD. Women develops AMD at early age than men and Caucasians are at higher risk for developing AMD than other races.

AMD is loss of central vission which is caused when there is changes in macula. Macula is small portion of retina that is located on the inside back layer of the eye. This disease can occur in two forms: "dry" (atrophic) and "wet" (exudative). Atropic or dry form is very common in most people and there is no known treatment for it, the less common Exudative or wet form may respond to laser procedures and medication injections, if diagnosed and treated early.


Symptoms and Diagnosis of AMD

Following are signs to diagnose ADM, but it can go unnoticed in early stages:

  • Gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly.
  • Shape of objects appears distorted.
  • Straight lines look wavy or crooked.
  • Loss of clear color vision.
  • A dark or empty area in the center of vision.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, see an optometrist at the earliest for complete eye examination to determine if you have Macular Degeneration or any other eye disease. Central vision that is lost to macular degeneration cannot be restored. However, low-vision devices, such as telescopic and microscopic lenses, can maximize existing vision.

Treatment of AMD

In dry macular degeneration, the tissue of macula becomes thin and stops working, causing loss of central vision which cannot be restored.

In wet macular degeneration, a fluid leaks from newly formed blood vessels under macula. This leakage causes blur visions in center. Vision loss can be rapid and severe. Early detection of wet AMD can be treated with laser treatment also called as photocoagulation. In this process medication is either injected in bloodstream and activated by shining laser into the eye; or by injecting into back of the eye. This slow downs the growth of leaky blood vessels. None of these are permanent cures, but they can help minimize vision loss.

Making dietary changes and proper intake of necessary nutrition such as lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc can slow down vision loss and can help reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, including macular degeneration.