Age Related Macular Degeneration
February is Age Related Macular Degeneration awareness month.
What is Age Related Macular Degeneration?
Age related macular degeneration or AMD Is a disease where the macula, a part of the retina, becomes damaged. There is no way to cure AMD but there are treatments that can slow or stop its progress. Early detection with an eye exam is important as AMD requires a diagnosis from your doctor.
Between appointments, there are some changes to watch for. Even though early AMD is often asymptomatic there are some things to watch for: Blurry sight especially in the center of vision, lines that are distorted, lines of text may bend or warp or you may have difficulty seeing in low light levels. The result of AMD is the loss of vision in the center of your field of vision. Where the center of our sight originates in the macula, the most sensitive area inside our eyes. The outermost areas of sight are not affected.
There are two types of Age Related Macular Degeneration.
Most cases of AMD are considered “Dry AMD” This type progresses slowly and is ofter a precursor to Wet AMD. Dry AMD affects the macula by irregular thinning/distorting and breaking down of the cells of the macula and the supporting cells around it. AMD affects both eyes.
Cases of Wet AMD are usually preceded by the Dry form of AMD. It is caused when abnormal blood vessels develop in the retina. Their growth is abnormal and they are thinner and more fragile than normal vessels. They leak and that leakage damages the retina. That damage is irreversible and can occur rapidly leading to vision loss and even blindness.
How Can We Prevent AMD? Live a healthy lifestyle, don’t smoke, choose a diet that includes fresh veggies, salads and fruit while increasing fish and Omega 3s. Regular exercise also helps while regular visits to your eye doctor can catch any damage earlier protect your sight. Discuss the frequency of your visits with your eye doctor.
How is AMD treated?
There are not many treatments for Dry AMD outside of therapeutic use of vitamins and living a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise. Wet AMD has a couple therapies. Using lasers, doctors can stop the growth of abnormal blood vessels. Chemicals can be used to stimulate the growth of healthy blood vessels and drugs can be used to shut off the flow in the offending blood vessels in the macula. You may also use the help of a therapist to cope with your changing sight.
Below are some other resources to learn more about Age Related Macular Degeneration, Its causes, prevention and treatment.
Resources for more information.
What Is Macular Degeneration? - American Academy of ... May 10, 2019 - Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem with your retina. It happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/amd-macular-degeneration Age-Related Macular Degeneration/ Awareness Month Media … https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/age-related-macular-degeneration-awareness-month-media-advisory