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AMD - Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Procedures

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the breakdown of ones macula.  The macula is an area in the retina that is responsible for central vision and is makes it possible to see fine details.  

AMD occurs with age, as the body begins to deteriorate, and can cause serious vision loss in those over the age of 60.  

Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

There are two main forms of AMD: Dry and Wet.

Dry AMD

The Dry form of AMD is when the presence of small yellow deposits, called drusen, are visible on the macula.  A few small pieces may not affect vision, but if and when they grow in size and increase in quantity, deterioration of vision will be noticed.  

Most will notice the loss or distortion of vision when reading or looking at fine details close up.  As this form worsens, the tissue begins to die off causing blind spots in the eye that usually occur in the center of their vision; in the worst cases, patients lose central vision.  

Wet AMD

The Wet form of AMD is when there is a growth of irregular blood vessels from the choroid that occur underneath the macula.  The blood vessels leak blood and fluids into the retina causing the distortion of vision.  The types of vision distortion are where straight lines become wavy, blind spots appear and loss of central vision.  

The most common form of AMD is the dry form, though the dry version can turn into the wet version of AMD (and does in about 10% of cases).  

Risk Factors for AMD

With this disease it is important that one speaks to an Optometrist regularly, as it does progress and get worse as time goes on. Learn more about how we can help with your AMD.

The most common risk factors for contracting AMD are:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Fair skinned
  • Light eyes
  • Females have a higher risk of contracting AMD.  
  • AMD may also be hereditary.  If someone in a previous generation has had AMD you may be at a higher risk of developing it as well.

Treating Macular Degeneration

There is no known reason as to why AMD occurs, and there is no real way to cure AMD.  However, there are some treatments that can prevent vision loss and even slow the progression.  

One option is anti angiogenesis drugs.  These drugs stop the development of new blood vessels and leakage from the irregular vessels within the eye that causes wet AMD.  

Studies also show that a regular use of vitamins can help.  Many people who have taken vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper have seen a decrease in vision loss. Clinical trials in this area are still ongoing.

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